Summary: First of two sermons on knowing Christ personally and intimately (as lamb, Lord, and Life)
CHCC: November 22, 2009
Today I have the opportunity to preach anything I want. So I decided … why waste that opportunity --- If I can talk about whatever I want, I’ll talk about the most important thing in the universe – knowing Christ. There is absolutely NOTHING that matters more in your life or in mine than that. Knowing Christ is the only hope for this world. It is the primary and foundational message of the entire Bible.
In Ephesians 1:17 Paul gives this prayer for those who follow Jesus: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Sprit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better.
The English word for “know” is generic. It can mean anything. I “know” that 2+2=4. I also “know” my wife, Susan. Those are two very different kinds of “knowing.” The Spanish language has two different words for “know” that make this distinction between knowing a fact and knowing a person. The two Spanish words are “saber” and “conocer.”
Saber means to know a fact or to learn a lesson. When you ask a person if he is savvy concerning what you are saying you are using a gringo-ization of the word for saber. In fact, in Spanish, you might say simply, “Sabes?” meaning, “Do you understand?”
The word “conocer” means to know a person and it implies a two way relationship … meaning that both people know each other in a personal way. In Spanish the verse says we need to conocer Jesus better.
I’ve read several books about Winston Churchill … but of course, I never met the man. I admire him and appreciate him, but can’t say that I know him in the way that I know my own father. The difference lies in the fact that I have been around my father for 59 years. I’ve talked with him and spent time with him I know his voice when I hear it. I know his personality as well as his strengths and weaknesses. I know the kinds of things he worries about, I know how reliable he is to keep his word and commitments. I know how honest he is. I know the kind of provider he has been for his family. I know what ticks him off. I know what are the most important things to him.
In other words, I KNOW my dad. But I only know ABOUT Winston Churchill. That’s true of most historical characters. We can know all kinds of things ABOUT them. But we have no way to really KNOW them personally.
But Jesus is not JUST a person who lived in history. Jesus still lives today. Through His Spirit, Jesus Christ can have a very real and personal relationship with you and with me … in the here and now.
So when Paul prayed for Christians to KNOW Christ better, he was talking about personal relationship kind of knowledge. I wanted to come up with a way to talk about how we can KNOW Jesus --- some way that would be easy to explain and easy to remember. I believe we need to know Jesus the LAMB, our LORD, and our LIFE.
Jesus was first introduced to the world as the LAMB of God. John the Baptist was preaching to large crowds in the wilderness when he saw Jesus approaching in the distance. He told the crowd, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! When He called Jesus the LAMB of God, He was quoting the prophecy about the Messiah from Isaiah 53.
John already knew Jesus in a personal way because he and Jesus were cousins. But it took divine revelation from God for John to know that Jesus was the Messiah – the LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Knowing Jesus as the LAMB of God is the way most of us are introduced to Jesus. Before we can start to know Christ, we first have to understand our own sinfulness … and our need for a savior. In our confession of faith we say, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God, and my Lord and Savior.”
Every week, when take the Lord’s Supper, we remember the central truth in all of history --- that Jesus … the perfect LAMB of GOD … gave up his life in order to take away the sins of the world.
Knowing Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is not full Knowledge of Christ. The better we get to KNOW Jesus as our Savior, the more we want Him to be the LORD of our lives. But knowing Jesus as LORD means so much more than just following a bunch of rules. Jesus is not looking for rule-keepers.