A few years ago, I was invited to go Target Practice Shooting with handguns. It seemed like a fun thing to do so we headed out to the shooting range & my friend handed me some earmuffs/goggles & then he handed me a 9MM handgun & showed me how it worked. I aimed it at the target & fired the gun, proceeding to miss the target every time. Now, I was in the right place because I was at the shooting range & I had the right tools because I had…, but I wasn’t accomplishing the purpose for which I was there, which was hitting the target. So my friend said…, “Pastor, let me be of some assistance to you, first of all, here is how you grip the gun…,” With some instructions from someone who knew what they were talking about, I was able to hit the target, not the bullseye but I could hit the target.
All of you are in the right Place…, & you’ve got the right Stuff…, but something is missing, the target is not being hit.
According to the Bible, “The sole purpose of every human soul is THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, or TO KNOW HIM
Jeremiah 9:23-24…, Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and Knows Me.”
Q – “How are You doing with Your soul-purpose? How well do You know God?”
- Some people Don’t know God at all, they are the dead to God!
- Others know Him Casually, they believe in God but they are conveniently related to Him.
- Others know Him Informationally, they have read enough about God or heard enough sermons to be able to give you an in-depth description of who God is.
- Others know God Religiously, they are involved in the program of a church & they translate church involvement to knowing God.
- Other people know God Emotionally, they can tell you how it feels to be in an environment where Holy Ghost is moving around them & they equate that to knowing Him.
None of that is what I’m talking about. Certainly, knowing God will include some of these things, you need your intellect to help you understand information about God, and you need your emotions to help you feel God, but that’s not what I mean by KNOWING GOD.
When a Man sees a lady that captures his imagination he will sashay.., “What is your name,” so it starts with an introduction, & the goal of the introduction is to gather more information, but the information isn’t his ultimate goal, it’s necessary but that’s not where he’s going.
He wants information to begin a conversation that might lead to a friendship, followed by deeper conversations/feelings that might lead to dating, then exclusive dating which leads to deeper commitments, & then one day he asks…, “Will you marry me,” & if she…, “Yes,” they get married & go on their honeymoon, & assuming they have waited, on that night, He gets to know her.
That’s why Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived,” there was an INTERTWINING of life… INTERMINGLING of beings.
Here’s what is interesting, when God chose a word to describe the kind of relationship He wants with you, He used a sexual word. The word God used in Genesis when He said…, “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived,” is the same word He used in Jeremiah…, “Let him who boasts, boast that he knows me.” So, we’re not talking about meeting God, gaining information about God, or dating Him, we’re talking about PLUNGING into the depth of His being & having His presence absorb and transform you. Now that ought to give a clear enough picture of what God is interested in, He is after intimacy at the highest level, that is your Soul-Purpose!
Context: The people of God are being held in Babylonian captivity, and chaos is ruling the land, so God comes to them in the midst of this chaos and the 1st thing He says to them is, “You are all going after the wrong thing, V-23, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches.”
Contemporize: A Big Bank Account, (High Roller) Highly Educated (Degrees on the Wall) & Clout, (Status & success…) those are the 3 things that every American is after, making as much as they can make, being as educated that they can be & climbing as high on the social latter that they can climb!
Consider the attention we give to those 3 things, MAKING MONEY is an 8hr a day plus commitment… GETTING A DEGREE, a master’s or PHD will involve tens of thousands of dollars/hours of invested brain-power… HAVING STATUS in your community requires immense focus. In other words, gaining these things is not a small-time commitment, it’s not…, “Well I hope it happens,” you must invest in those things. In fact, if someone minimizes our accomplishments, we are quick to…, “I worked hard for this…,” we want it to be clear that this was a serious commitment/investment of our time, talent & treasure.
But God …, “If that’s all you’ve got to brag about if your claim to fame is you’ve got MONEY in the bank… PHD or Masters next~name…POWERFUL person in ~ community, if that’s all you’ve got to brag about then you’re bragging about the wrong thing,” He’s not condemning having money or being educated or having status because the Bible says in many places that God gives to men/women all 3 of these things, so He’s not condemning the possession of those things, but He is condemning it if you have it at the expense of knowing God, (Having intimacy with God) if you know your BANK account but you don’t know God DEGREES but you don’t know God… REACHED a level where everybody knows you but you don’t know Him, that’s when He…, “Let not a man boast in….!”
Pride in any of those 3 areas needs to be treated like the whiskers on my face, I have to shave them every day. Every day I get up & put shaving cream on my face & shave because if I don’t the whiskers will grow. And if you don’t keep riches, education & success in its proper place it will grow on you, & if you don’t shave it off it will take over & we will forget what you look like.
It’s easy to become like King Nebuchadnezzar who forgot God…, “Look at the BABYLON I built TALENT that I have… MONEY that I have accumulated… WHAT I’ve done,” God…, “Let him who boasts, boast not that he has money or education or status but let him boast that he KNOWS ME,” & by “knowing” He’s not talking about being part of the JESUS FAN CLUB!
We all know what Fans do, real fans SHOW up every time there’s a game, 75K strong, they are season tick holders… TALK about their favorite player like they know them, “My boy Larry Fitzgerald is something else. Lebron…,” they’ll give you information about him but they haven’t met anybody… STUDY the stats & brag about the great exploits of their favorite player & even listen to talk radio to get more information about them but they don’t know anybody, they’re fans!
Jesus has a lot of fans too, they are season ticket holders, “I’m going to show up on game day & cheer my favorite player. Jesus did this & God did that, look what the Lord has done…,” that doesn’t mean you know Him, it may just mean you’re part of the fan club.
We are encouraged to brag, but God…, “Let him who brags not brag about…, but brag that YOU”VE been intimate with me… WE have hooked up,” because that’s the word “Know.”
Putting it another way, to “Know Him” means to have Him rub off on You, V-24, “Let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness ON EARTH,” notice, He’s not talking about what He’s doing in the HEAVENS, He’s talking about what he wants to do ON EARTH.
It’s hard to be intimate with somebody who’s NOT home… SLEEPING in the next room, you can’t have long distance intimacy, & for some, this is the disconnect because God seems so far away — so allow me to explain something.
God is spirit, (Which is another world, the spirit world) but He wants to be known in your world, (On earth) so we are not talking about some pie in the sky, “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be,” that’s not what God is after, He…, “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness ON EARTH. To know Me is to allow me to rub off on you on earth…!”
When you really get to know somebody, they rub off on You, & you predict their actions & reactions & likes & dislikes & preferences, and how they function because you’ve gotten to really know them & information has led to intimacy.
A Challenge That Guys Have: If a guy walks over to a lady…, “I want to get to know you,” he’s got an immediate problem on his hands because once he communicated…, “I want to get to know you,” he’s made himself totally vulnerable, because now the question is, “Does she want to be known by you?” (Hello)
In other words, you can only know someone to the level that they want to be known, they have to reveal themselves to you, we call that “a Revelation!”
“Revelation” is where God unveils Himself & lets you see what He is really like.
Revelation is like sitting at a Play. The curtain is closed but you hear rumbling behind the curtain so you know something is there, but you don’t know what it is because there is a veil that is blocking you from seeing what is really there. Until it’s time for the “Unveiling” & the curtain opens & you see what is really behind the curtain.
If you really want to know God, the 1st thing you must do is Allow Him To Unveil Himself To You. Drop all your pre-conceived suppositions about God & allow God to unveil Himself to you the way He is, as He is the reason why you want to do something. What you Pre-Suppose may not be what you wind up with! (Remember the Bible is the #1 way in which God unveils Himself to us.)
It’s like the man who met the Opera Singer, prettiest thing he had ever seen, most beautiful voice he’d ever heard. Swift romance, got married & went on their honeymoon & boy was he shocked, she TOOK off her wig revealing a bald head… TOOK the false teeth out of her mouth… PULLED out a glass eye & put it on the nightstand… UNSTRAPPED a wooden leg & laid it on the sofa. The man looked at that lady…, “You’d better sing.”
A lot of people don’t allow God to unveil who He is, they want to impose on Him what they want Him to be, & then they get ticked off when they find out He’s not like that!
There are a lot of misconceptions about God & that’s why there are so many misquoted Scriptures, like the verse that people quote, “If you make 1 step, God makes 2.” (Anybody ever quoted that? It’s not from the Bible)
If you’re really going to know God then God must have the freedom to tell you Who He Is, What He Likes & How He Operates, & for most people, God does not have that freedom, we do not want a God who unveils Himself, we want a God who is convenient to us, but then you don’t know God; you know the image/idol that you created that you call God.
Have you ever said to someone, “Don’t speak for me, I can speak for myself.” Now, if you who are human can say that on your own behalf, don’t you think God, who is perfect, holy can speak for Himself, “I am the Lord & I say who I am.” When we relate to God in any other way than who He tells us He is, then we are no longer relating to the true God, & therefor we don’t get to know Him.
Q – “What Does God Say About Who He Is?” (3 things)
V-24, “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness…” in other words, “If you discover who I am based on who I say I am, then you will discover how committed I am to you.”
A lot of us don’t really believe that God is committed to us. We look at our circumstances & our problems…, “God can’t be all that committed to me because I’m going thru this/that” but…, “When you know me, you will discover that I am more committed to you than you could ever imagine.”
He also…, V-24, “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice,” justice has to do with equity among men, the horizontal relationships that you have with people, God…, “When you know me you will understand how people ought to relate to people based on a divine standard.”
Then He…, V-24 “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness,” righteousness is God’s standard whereby He is pleased.
So let’s put it all together, “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth,” in other words, knowing God will rub off on you regarding THE way you think about God & experience His grace, kindness & commitment to you… HOW you act & react to the people around you… THE rightness of your living or how you live your daily life.
Let me tell you what is Blocking knowing God, when we will not allow God to be God because we want to impose on Him something that is not Him, (Something He doesn’t agree with). When we do that, He will stop unveiling Himself because He’s not going to keep unveiling Himself so we can keep redefining Him.
Maybe you’ve heard someone…, “You’ve got to accept me as I am,” God…, “I want you to accept me the way I am & not who you would prefer me to be.”
I hear people say…, “I don’t think God would do that,” “Pastor, I don’t think God would do this or that,” everybody’s got a thought, but revelation means, “I’m going to tell you who I am, I don’t need you to tell me who I am.” Don’t you hate it when people try to define you?
I love how the passage ends, V-24, “for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord, in other words, “You’re making me happy.” If God is on the inside & He’s happy, then how should you be feeling? (Happy) So maybe, if you’re not happy it’s because the God who is on the inside is not happy because He’s not delighting in your knowledge of Him.
How many wives are unhappy even though they are legally married, because there’s no relationship in the house. There’s a legal standing…, but nobody is talking or spending time together or dating or romancing, that is, until you want something, (I’m trying to keep it real) “You want something so now you’re nice. You don’t want my heart you just want my hand,” God…, “I want you to know me…!
God has a thick Resume, a 66-book resume, thick! When you read His resume you…, “Wow God, you’ve got some experience on you.”
Not only does God have a Resume he has References, how many references do you want, He’s got people of every nation/tribe/language/race/gender all over the world talking about Him, hundreds of millions of references.
But it’s normal for an employer, after he’s gotten a Resume & after he’s checked References to request an Interview, because what is written is good & what other folk are saying is nice but I want to see you for myself.
A lot of Christians are satisfied with God’s Resume, so they come to church every Sunday &…, “Read me some more of God’s resume because it’s awesome.”
And folks love the References, (Testimonies) “He’s been good. He’s mighty good. God is good all the time & all…,” that’s God’s references~testimonies.
But God is…, “I’m waiting for THE Interview… YOU to sit across the table face to face because I want to know you.” (Next week I’m going to share, “How to have a face-to-face meeting with God)
Three years ago one of the teenagers came up to me and said, “Pastor, have you seen the Avengers Endgame movie,” I said, “Yes…” “But have you seen it in 3D,” I said, “No I saw it in HD,” he said, “Then you haven’t seen the Avengers because if you have not seen it in 3D then you have not seen what it really is.” His buddy…, “Pastor, forget about 3D, because I saw it at IMAX3D & it was sick (translation: incredible!). My chair was shaking & the movie jumped off the screen & stuff was coming at me & it felt like Thanos was all over me…, because when you look at it WITH different glasses on… FROM a different dimension, it leaped from the screen & it was all over me.”
God is…, “I’m not satisfied with a regular viewing of me, or a HD viewing of me, or a 3D viewing of me, I want some IMAX attention so that I’m all over you, so when you GET up in the morning I want you to be running into me… GO to the bathroom you run into me EATING breakfast you run into me… GET in your car, all day long I want you to…, ‘I just keep running into you God because you are all over me.’”
Heavenly Father, I believe you observe all that I do and say, and you also take note of the intent and motivations of my heart. As I study your Word, I am open to correction. I believe as I hear and obey Holy Spirit, as He speaks to me about changes for me to make in my life, that He gives me the will and the power to make the changes He requires of me. My goal is to love You God, to please You first, and to keep my heart pure, as I am walking worthily of Your calling upon this life you have given me. I keep my priorities established in a manner that You can testify that I daily pursue You for my life, and to be established for your glory and honor.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
EMIC Groups Pastor