- Charles Spurgeon- defined the loftiest of all sciences is to “know God”.
- We think of knowledge today in a much different way then in any previous generation. For example: All the books in the Library of Alexandria Egypt could be placed on a single silicone chip. (700K parchments alone in that library)
- When you or I receive a birthday card that has a recorded message/song on it…we throw it away… we have just thrown away more computer power than was known before 1950.
- Someone has estimated if you took the accumulated knowledge from the beginning of history to 1845 it would be represented by one inch. All the knowledge from 1845-1945 would be three inches (100 years). 1945-1975 would be the height of the Washington Memorial. Since then, immeasurable.
- Our store of knowledge is increaing. But it’s informational knowledge. What about spiritual knowledge? What about knowing God?
Today’s text addresses: “How can I Know God?” How can we know Him? And if we know Him, how can we know Him better? And why is it that some don’t know Him…and even disregard Him?
- It is true God uses our minds, he wants us to be active thinkers. But it is more then that. Knowing God involves our minds but is greater, more objective.
- Story of Susie: Drawing the face of God. Teacher points out that no one knows what God looks like. Susie responds: “They will in a minute.” That could have been Jesus’s line.
- People don’t know God in any kind of manifested form. “No one has seen God,” the Bible says, “but the only begotten Son Who’s in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him…declared Him, showing Him forth.”
In John 14 we are dealing with the Last Super scene, Jesus comforting his apostles, telling them what was coming, preparing them.
- The have already heard enough to cause them fear and become distraught.
- Jesus said that He is going away, going to be killed, denied, betrayed.
- Thomas says, “we don’t know the way and we don’t know where you are going.” From last week, Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
- This section is continuing the conversation, an interchange between Jesus and Philip (another disciple)
Two things to examine in this section of scripture:
- Roadblocks to knowing God
- Resources, how can we better know God?
The first roadblock: Inadequate comprehension– Vs. 7, these disciples, believe it or not, have not connected the dots as to just Who Jesus is.
- In vs. 7 Jesus uses the word “known”/ Now watch that four times it will show up in 7/8/9. It is important to John “known” is used 141 in his Gospel. John also wants us to “believe” word is used 98 times.
- “Know” is used in four different ways:
- Knowing a fact.
- To understand the truth behind a fact.
- Knowing a person relationally.
- To have a deeper, fuller, comprehension of that person’s identity. This is how Christ is using it here.
- Philip you have known Me, if you had known Me…if you had really known Me…
- These disciples had been around Him for the past 3 years. They were learning who he was but not fully comprehending his identity.
- On the sea of Gal. Jesus calms the storm, disciples ask: “Who can this be that even the wind and the waves obey Him?”
- They are in school for 3 -31/2 years discovering just who this can be. Peter finally says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
- They knew He could work miracles
- That He could speak well.
- That He was the Messiah.
- But they did not quite grasp the Deity part of it. Why? Because of their upbringing, background, how could God reside in a physical body? That was just foreign to them.
- They will come to reality in due time, a few more days. When Jesus appears to Thomas he connects the dots. “My Lord and my God.”
- With us too: our worldview. The lens through which we view the world and God.
- People wills say things like “Well I’ve always viewed God like…”
- Who you think God is and who God really is may not necessarily be the same. That’s why it’s important to understand who He is by how He is revealed to us through the Word of God.
Second roadblock: inappropriate confirmation.
- I want proof, something visible, physical.
- Understanding Philip: Feeding of the 5K, Jesus asks Philip where we can buy bread to feed all these people to test him. Philip gives the wrong answer. Th right answer is the ONE to who Philip is facing, Jesus.
- Philip says, “I want to see God.”
- The other disciples probably had the same longing.
- That is the basis in part for our worship.
- But our longing can also be an excuse for unbelief, we need proof, we need to see to believe.
- Illustration about Quaker and atheist: How do you know he exists?
- This longing is also the root of idolatry. We make an image, some representation of God. The need to bring a transcendent God down to a human level.
Resources: Four principles to helping us know God and know him better.
1. By being in His presence.
- Vs. 9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” So how can you say show me the Father?
- It’s possible to be in someone’s presence without really knowing who they are.
- But it is possible to know God if you have an inquisitive heart.
- For the unbeliever, challenge to spend a little time investigating the evidence for the faith is Christ.
- “If you seek the Lord with all of your heart you will find him.:
- Evaluate your time, not what you do for God but the time you spend with God. We can be so busy doing work for God we don’t really spend time with him.
- Rev. 2- Ephesus, they labored but, “they has left their fist love.” So busy with the Kings business they forgot the King.
2. Believing in His person.
- Vs. 10, Think about who Jesus is speaking to when he says “Believe Me.” To believers, his own disciples. Not atheists who need saving, people who already believe in him.
- Vs 11, Believe is present active indicative, keep on believing, let your faith grow.
- 2 Cor. 10:15 “We hope that your faith will continue to grow.”
- Hebrews “For without faith it is impossible to please Him and whoever comes to God must first believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
- How diligently are we seeking Him?
3. Bending to His word.
- Vs. 10
- Jesus’s words evoked a response of comfort or hostility. Even after the sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7) “For He spoke as One who had authority and not as the scribes.”
- In the upper room Jesus is appealing o the words that He had spoke over the last few years. “You’ve heard the power in of these words”!”
- If you want to know God read his book. When you read you will begin to know God, His personality, His character, His attributes, His mind and heart towards you and others.
- Martin Luther: The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet. It runs after me, it has hands, it lays hold of me.
- A sign of us being His children is a person’s hunger to learn more about God.
- George Gallup Jr. called America a land of biblical illiterates. Only 4 of 10 Americans know Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Only 3 of 10 teenagers know why Easter is celebrated.
4. Beholding His works.
- Vs. 11
- On the evidence of the works themselves!
- One of the ways of knowing God is not just by receiving information, but by seeing transformation. We see wherever Jesus is He changes a life. God is at work within out live, we are being transformed, renewed.
- A good question: “Lord, will you give me eyes to see what you are doing and let me join you?”
- And, “Lord, help me to know You better, more intimately, as I read your book.”
“Oh Lord, let our highest priority in our lives to be to know You… to know God.”