Summary: The one requirement that we have in this life is that we know God. Without that we do not have eternal life; we have eternal punishment. So Jesus came to reveal God, to make Him known. The method of knowing God is through forgiveness of our sins, where we
God is Fully Revealed in Jesus Christ
Please open your Bibles to John chapter 17.
Today’s subject is “How to Know God.” But wait a minute; a good majority of people don’t really care to know God. We hear all the time, oh that religious stuff is fine for you, but I’ve got my work and my family, or my school and I just don’t have time for that “God stuff.”
But see, that is only because they don’t know of their need. Let me illustrate this: on commercial airplanes, flight attendants go through a whole thing about emergency exits, oxygen masks, life rafts, etc. And what are people doing during their demo? They are reading, or sleeping, or talking. Why? Because they don’t see their need; tTheir perception is that they are all fine. But suppose now that we’re in the air, about halfway over the Atlantic ocean, and the pilot comes over the intercom and says, “Ladies and gentleman we have a problem in that two of our engines have stopped, we will be ditching in the Atlantic. Our flight attendants will now demonstrate the use of life vests and rafts.” Do you think people would pay a little more attention? Yes, because now they see their need. Now they have a right perspective. Well, let’s look at some perspective on the importance of knowing God:
Now this is eternal life [we’re talking life and death here]: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
Now we ought to have a proper perspective about knowing God. If we do not know God, we will not have eternal life, and we will be punished. That shows us our need; it shows us the one requirement that we have in this life. The sermon today answers the question, “How can I know God?” And I want to share with you just three things today:
1. the requirement: to know God
2. the method (How do we know God?)
3. the results
So we’ve seen the requirement: we must know God in order to have eternal life. But what is the method? How do we know God?
Throughout history, people have attempted to answer that question. The Greeks sought to gain wisdom, believing that wisdom was the pathway to God. We have modern-day counterparts to the Greeks today in the New-Agers and mystics like Wayne Dyer, Ravi Shankar, and Shirley MacLaine; but, in all their gaining of wisdom, and in all their spiritual enlightenment they still did not know God.
The Jews took a different path; they sought to know God through the keeping of the Law, hoping that their good deeds earned them favor with God and put them in a right relationship with God. But we saw last week that the Law is described as a mountain burning with fire, shouting “keep out, you can’t get to me this way.” So we cannot know God through gaining worldly wisdom, and we cannot know God through trying to be good, and that brings us to today’s passage:
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. John 1:18
This verse tells us that Jesus Christ has made God known; He has revealed Him, put Him on display for the world to see, and has made Him knowable.
But there is a contrast brought out here. Notice that in the past no one had ever seen God, but now God is fully revealed. The contrast is that under the Law God could not be fully seen or known. But now in Christ, God is fully revealed and can be fully known.
Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud (“thick darkness” KJV) 1 Kings 8:12
Clouds and thick darkness surround him... Psalms 97:2
Under the Law He was not revealed. What could be known of someone who dwells in “thick darkness?”
“…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
The contrast is thick darkness to wonderful light; obscure knowledge of God, to full revelation of God.
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." 22 …I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen." Exodus 33:18-23