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Man's Greatest Need: To Know the Lord!
There is a great difference between knowing the Lord, and knowing about the Lord. Most professing Christians today only know about the Lord, through what they have been taught in Sunday school and through preaching and doctrinal teaching. They have subjectively learned something about Christ but they do not have an active, ongoing, living knowledge of Him that comes from a true relationship with Him.
John 14:9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me" John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Philippians 3:10-11 "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
The first death we have to be raised from, is from being "dead in our trespasses and sins" according to Ephessians 2:1. That is how Jesus could say in John 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (physically), yet shall he live(spiritually): And whosoever liveth (spiritually) and believeth in me shall never die (spiritually). Believest thou this This man who truly believes upon Christ can only die physically. Spiritual death is separation from God. Hell is eternal separation from God. In Genesis 2:17, God said to Adam and Eve, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they did not physically die, but they died spiritually; and were separated from God. They lost the fellowship and relationship they had with Him from the beginning when they were created. Isaiah 59:2 says "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, . ." The final separation, which is eternity in the lake of fire, is called the second death. It's eternal spiritual death, or separation from God, with no hope of salvation and without any grace or mercy (Revelation 21:8).
These confessing 'Christians,' who do not have a personal experiential knowledge of Christ, are not "growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Head knowledge, consisting of giving mental assent to the Biblical facts concerning Christ and believing that they happened, is not sufficient for salvation. It is not 'believing about Him' or 'knowing about Him' that brings a change in our lives, but 'believing Him' and 'knowing Him'.
Notice the words of Jesus in John 14:7: "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also." Obviously those that Jesus was talking to "knew" him in the natural or according to the flesh. And just as obviously, Jesus was not talking about knowing Him and the Father in that way, but to know them spiritually. These people knew who Jesus was, yet He said they did not know Him. They didn't know that He was God Incarnate, the Redeemer who was to come, and they didn't know Him as to His nature and character. 1Corinthians 6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." They were not one in spirit with God, but had the spirit of the devil. They knew neither God nor His ways. Jesus said the reason they didn't know Him and couldn't hear Him was because their (spiritual) father was the Devil. John 8:42-44 "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jesus said the reason men could not understand His (God's) Word is because they didn't know Him or the Heavenly Father. That's 1Corinthians 2:14; "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." To know Jesus is to know the Father for He is the revelation of the Father to man. John 14:7-10 "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Jesus and the Father are essentially one for they are one in Spirit, one in nature and character, one in purpose, one in being eternal. They work together in everything, in complete unity and harmony, and they do nothing separate from each other. So Jesus could say that it was because they did not know the Father, that they did not know Him, and because they did not believe the Father, they did not believe Him.
The proof that we know Him is that we are one with Him. John 17:22-23 "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." The proof of knowing Him is that we have received His Spirit, been born again of His Spirit, and walk according to His Word. 1John 4:13 "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." 1John 4:16 "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1John 2:3-5 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." So to "know" the Lord, is for Him to manifest Himself to us. That is the only way we can truly come to know Him. We can only know of God what He chooses to reveal of Himself to us. The only way we can know His ways is that He reveals them to us. We can only know His nature and character, when He impresses them upon us, and causes us to know them by the Holy Spirit.
Knowing Him is not going to church, being a church member, repeating a 'sinners prayer,' or doing any religious act or ritual that will bring us to salvation. John 3:5 says we have to become "born again of water" (which is the Word of God according to Ephesians 5:26) and of the Spirit" (of God, the Holy Spirit,) to "enter into the Kingdom of God". Simply being religious is of no spiritual value and no gain. You can't 'join' the kingdom of God by joining a Church; you have to be born into the kingdom of God. It isn't whose name is written on a church roll, but whose name is written in the Lamb's "Book of Life". Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh, shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." From this we can see, it isn't how we begin our lives, but how we end them. Adam was created perfect and pure before God. When he sinned, his innocence was lost. Jesus said "but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Mark 13:13. We have to continue with the Lord, and be faithful unto our death. Revelation 2:11 "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
It is of the greatest importance for us to recognize that above all else, Christ's desire for us is that we should know Him. This is the purpose of all His dealings with us. This is the greatest of all our needs. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to reveal Himself to us, and told us that His greatest purpose for our lives, is that we "be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). This is what God has "predestined" us to, it's what He has planned and purposed for us. This is the purpose of the Cross! It is not for fire insurance for man, but for the restoration of the relationship that was lost when Adam fell. Adam was the created son of God. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He died that we might again be 'sons'. The desire of the Father is that through Christ, He would have many 'sons'.
The training and teaching of believers has been such that our minds have been occupied with outward 'Christian' service (works) and the Word of God; and we have thought that doing things for the Lord is the chief object of the Christian life. We have been concerned with works and ministry. Witnessing, teaching, and getting believers to work, have been in the foreground of our efforts. Although knowledge of the Scriptures, with Christian service in view, is important, it is not the most important thing to the Lord. Jesus is far more concerned about our knowing Him and living by faith in Him than anything else. God's priority is not what we are doing for Him, or can do for Him, but what He desires to do in us and through us. The priority is our personal relationship with Him. This is what will give us the ability to stand when all else fails. It is not your doctrine or Bible knowledge, or good works, that will enable you go through the 'fiery trials' and come out without the smell of smoke upon you. It will be your personal walk with the risen Lord and Savior.
It is possible to have a tremendous grasp of Scripture, a comprehensive knowledge of doctrine; to stand for cardinal truths of the faith; to be an unceasing Christian worker; to be devoted to the salvation of men, and yet, to have a very inadequate and limited personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ within us. I have heard of ministers that came to the place that they were working so hard, they had no time for personal fellowship with the Lord. After His repeated efforts to get them to voluntarily come aside and spend time with Him, He put them in a position that they had no choice. The ultimate value and purpose of our life is not what we do 'for the Lord,' or what we know about Him and His Word, but simply that we know Him. To know Him we have to love Him enough to spend time with Him, and talk with Him daily. You can't have and maintain a relationship without ongoing fellowship.
This is the one thing that will remain when all else has failed and passed away. Our real ministry and accomplishments of our earthly life are based upon our personal knowledge of the Lord Himself.
One of the greatest problems of the Christian life is guidance. We want instructions from the Lord, and He wants us to have "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinrhians 2:16). The Scripture says in (Philippians 2:5) "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." The Scripture goes on to tell us that His mind was one of humbling Himself, to die to His own will and desire as a man, and do the will of the Father. We see the outworking of this in the garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus prayed; "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). Mark 14:36 records it this way; " Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt In John 6:38 Jesus said; "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me And in John 5:19; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise Jesus is the great example for us to follow; (1Peter 2:21). Jesus said to His disciples; "Without me, ye can do nothing John 15:5). Christ lived as a man led and possessed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14). He wants us to be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said; "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26)."
Men keep looking to some man to tell them what God wants for their life, like the children of Israel in Exodus 20:19; when they told Moses, "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." Still today, men would rather go to another man for the answers to their life and for God's will for their life, than go to God in person, and ask Him. But what is even sadder is that they did not listen to Moses as they had said they would. James 1:5 said: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Jesus is made wisdom unto us. He is our source of life, wisdom, salvation, redemption, and of everything that is good. Colossians 2:10 says "And ye are complete in him." Romans 8:14 says "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." As with natural sons, God has intended for His spiritual sons to come to him for everything. To depend upon Him, trust in Him, lean on Him, and commit their lives unto Him. Jesus said in Matthew 7:9, 11; "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Christ has a mind and consciousness; and by the Holy Spirit, He wants to impart to us that mind and consciousness. 1John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and . . . as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." Jesus wants to be our source of life, wisdom, knowledge, peace, and comfort. Yet so many 'Christians,' are running behind others, like the foolish virgins, asking them to pray for them, or give them a 'word' from the Lord. On the other side, are the self appointed prophets and prophetesses, who run around telling people who haven't asked and don't know what they are talking about; 'I have a word for you from the Lord.' It is at best the imaginations of their heart; but many times it is the work of familiar spirits, simply, spiritual witchcraft. This is not God's order, method or way for His people. Jesus said in Revelation 14:4; "These are they which . . .follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." John 10:4-5 "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they (God's people) know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers
This is an appalling condition in the body of Christ today. Those who claim to be God's children; who claim to know Him, and possess His life and salvation, have their lives totally immersed in that which is external in this world. They receive their counsel, guidance, and support, their knowledge of God and means of receiving His grace from a source outside of God; that is external of Him. A personal, spiritual knowledge of the Holy One is a very rare thing. No wonder the enemy has been so successful with his delusions, counterfeits, and false representations. We have forgotten that everything in our lives; every experience, dream, vision, preaching of the Word, or Church doctrine must be in accordance with the Word. All these things must be filtered through the Word of God for it is the only standard by which we can measure what is truth and know if our lives and experiences are in accordance with what God says is acceptable of Him. Many today are exalting their experiences above the known and revealed Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. They exalt their experience to the place of representing truth, and the standard of measurement of that which is of God. But the Word of God is our only source of absolutely infallible truth, and that which is eternal before God. Man is fallible, and so our interpretations are fallible. Only God's Word is true and eternal and unchangeable. God has told us that His Word is like a mirror for us to see within ourselves, and to see how we line up, or fail to line up to the standard of His Word. Man, because of his sin and desire to justify himself and his ways, twists and contorts the Word of God, to make it fit into his life. That is backwards. No man is the example, or has the right to change one iota of the Word of God, or to pick and choose what he likes and is willing to accept, and reject the rest. Jesus is our only example, and He said we would be judged by His Word; not man's. He looks over His Word to perform it, not man's. One of our greatest safeguards against being led astray by such errors in judgment and doctrinal teaching, is a personal walk with the Lord, such that by experience and the Lord's discipline, we have our "senses exercised (trained) to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). That we learn how to separate and know "the difference between the holy and profane and . . . to discern between the unclean and the clean" (Ezekiel 44:23). And that we have a thorough knowledge of the abiding Word of God to direct our steps. David said "How shall a young man cleanse His way?"; then he answered his question: Psalms 119:9, 11 "By taking heed thereto according to thy Word. . . Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee". Jesus overcame Satan by the Word of God. After each temptation by Satan, Jesus replied to him; "It is written". That is our key to victory over sin and temptation and doctrinal error, a knowledge of the Holy and of His Holy Word, which is to be written upon the tablets of our hearts (2Corinthians 3:3). Revelation 12:11 told us we overcome Satan "by the blood of the Lamb, and the Word of our testimony." That Word is the Word of God. We speak God's Word; that which God has spoken in His Word. We come into agreement with His Word. We line up our lives to His Word, we confess His Word, and we live by His Word.
It is because of the things that we reach out for: the supernatural manifestations, experiences, sensations, evidences, and proofs, that we have become exposed to the realm of Satan. When he gives false conversations, false baptism in the Holy Spirit (a baptism with an unholy spirit), with false tongues, false manifestations, false dreams, false visions, false peace, false evidence, false guidance, and even false signs, wonders, and miracles, many are deceived. It is but spiritism (witchcraft) that they are following. Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 11:4; about "Another Jesus whom we have not preached ... another spirit ... or another gospel ...". To truly KNOW the Lord, and have a walk of faith in Him, will bring steadfastness in your life. When others are being carried away by (Ephesians 4:14) "every wind of doctrine", and by fiery trials and temptations, and falling away because of tribulation or persecution (Matthew 13:21), you will be "unmovable," and "unshakable," because you are "rooted and grounded" in Christ and His love (Ephesians 3:17). To know the Lord is to put your life recklessly into His hands, to lay down your life, and "commit the keeping of" your "souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator" and not putting forth your own hand to help the Lord (1Peter 4:19). This is why the apostle Paul had such determination and steadfastness, such poise and patience in the midst of such sufferings, that he could say "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" Galatians 6:17. And no matter what came his way, he continued "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2); remaining a faithful servant and steward of the things of God. Paul said "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11)." The key was his identification with Christ. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20)." He had died to himself. He said "I die daily" (1Corinthians 15:31), as to his life and will (just as the Lord Jesus Christ did when He walked on this earth) and he learned to let Christ live through him, depending upon the Lord for everything. That is why nothing "moved" Paul, and why he remained steadfast without ever complaining or feeling sorry for himself. Nothing could upset him, because he was not living by or looking at what he could feel, hear, see with his natural eyes, or by his circumstances or anything in the natural. In 2Corinthians 4:18, he said: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." He had a confidence in the Lord based upon his relationship with the Lord. He had tried and proved the Word of God in his life. He had proved that the Lord was faithful. He knew God was in control of everything in his life, and that nothing could happen to him without God's knowledge and permission. That is why he was willing to go to Jerusalem, when he was told it mean imprisonment. He said; "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24). In (v.22) he said he was "bound in the spirit" to go to Jerusalem. He did not care if it meant death. He knew that his life was not of this world. That true life doesn't consist in anything here in this realm. This life is temporary. The real life is based upon our relationship with a living Lord and Savior, who is Lord of all; who has all power and authority, and controls all things. That is why Paul said "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Those who KNOW the Lord will bear the fruit of that relationship, and they will have a quiet restful confidence and strength without fretting or worrying. They have entered into the Lord's Sabbath rest (Heb.3 & 4).
The absence of a personal knowledge of the Lord and relationship with Him, has been the most tragic part of the history of the Church. All those who have fallen away, backslidden, or fallen into heresy and doctrinal error, did so because of a lack of true knowledge of the Lord. They knew about Him, but didn't walk in a continual relationship with Him. This has caused millions to walk down a pathway that leads to spiritual ruin and destruction.
Let me ask you: Do you truly know JESUS? Or do you know some religion and teaching of men about Him. Those who know Him, are truly His, and are becoming one with Him, and being made into His image, nature, character, and likeness. They are having their minds renewed daily by the Word of God, and are being led by that "still small voice" of the Holy Spirit. They are the ones who will spend eternity with Him. The others will spend eternity with that which they have loved and known and followed: their religion; and with their father, the Devil.
Again I ask: DO YOU KNOW JESUS??? That is your greatest need. Is it your desire? Only those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness, will be filled (Matthew 5:6) with His righteousness. What are you being filled with? Who are you being made into the image of? Jesus, or the great imitator and deceiver, Lucifer? Eternity depends upon the answer. You need to make sure, and KNOW, that you know HIM! Let Jesus become your Lord and Savior today. If He is not Lord in your life, then neither is He Savior of your life. Let Him become your everything, your all and all, today. "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2Corinthians 6:2).
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