Summary: There is no more important question in all of life than that very question...Do you know God. It is the secret of true success...the source of wisdom beyond our understanding...the strength to endure in hard times.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
I want to begin this morning by asking you life's ultimate question. Be as honest as you can be with yourself...Do you know God?
Notice that I didn't ask, "Do you believe that He exists...or do you believe in Him...
I didn't ask if you are trying to live a good moral life. The question is, "Do you know God?" Now if you say yes, then what evidence do you have that your answer is authentic? [If you were arrested...]
There is no more important question in all of life than that very question...Do you know God. It is the secret of true success...the source of wisdom beyond our understanding...the strength to endure in hard times.
It is the one thing that should demand our constant attention and the focus of our lives. It is of more value than power or position...yet nothing is more needed in Christianity today than knowledge of God.
Hosea was called to prophesy to the nation of Israel because this quality of life was lacking. The sins of the nation came from the absence of it...the people had been destroyed because they had rejected it.
And the people of God today are no different. Look at the church today and you have to agree that the lack of the knowledge of God is the cause of wavering spirituality...inconsistency between the walk and the talk of believers...ineffectiveness in prayer...and even social righteousness, the way we act toward others, those outside our "group"
What does it mean to know God...and to live with a knowledge of Him?
Knowledge of God involves two things: intimacy...and integrity.
1. First, let's look at intimacy...
To experience the kind of relationship with God that He meant for us requires us to open up our innermost being to Him...just like He revealed Him innermost nature to us. In fact the word intimacy means "proceeding from within...inward...internal.
And so knowledge of God is more than an accumulation of facts...it is more than ideas about Him...or some broad concept we've developed... ex. I am your pastor. And some of you probably think you know me fairly well. But do you really?
I've been preaching to you for 16 months...and from that you may have an idea of where I stand on certain issues...a little about my background...my temperament. But most of you don't know me personally very well.
For instance, how many know that I love classical music? Tchaikovsky and Mozart, Rossini and Verdi...How many know that I love to read the Puritan writers and more modern works by Andrew Murray, Tozer, Ravenhill and others...that from these men of God I get much of my hunger for enthusiasm and fire, my drive for a closer walk with God?
You wouldn't know these things about me unless you had a much closer relationship than we do. It's the same with our knowledge of God. It is easy to get a surface knowledge and think that will suffice.
Knowledge of God involves the total person: intellect, emotion, and will. And the beginning of our knowledge of God and our relationship with Him comes when we know that !we„Ç are known by Him.
Our understanding and our awareness of God are met in response to our being known by Him...absolutely and thoroughly. David's understanding of this gives us a good example...Ps. 139:
1; 23 24 READ
And this is something we resist and rebel against. We don't want anyone...especially God, to know us..deep down inside. I'm sure most of you wouldn't want me to know what goes on inside your heart and mind...(boy, wouldn't that make for some interesting sermons...)
And yet somehow we get this idea that we can fool God...we can buffalo Him into believing all our rationalizing...our excuses...our justifications for the things we do...or don't do...
And we can never begin to develop that knowledge of God until we realize that He already knows us...He knows everything...the good and the bad. Once we come to that realization we can begin a relationship with Him as it was meant to be.
A true, intimate relationship must be based on truth and honesty. And we must take a true and honest look at ourselves before we can begin to experience an intimate union with Him.
2. Now let's look at integrity...because knowledge of God demands integrity. The word integrity means "wholeness..undivided, unimpaired, ...Completeness.
Integrity is consistency of behavior...consistency between what we believe and what we do. If we are Christians and we claim to know God, then His character and His commands should be...intertwined with ours. Knowing God requires integrity and a consistent life of faithfulness.
And what it boils down to is obedience...obedience is the secret of a growing knowledge of God.
Hosea addresses the lack of both intimacy and integrity in Israel. And what is said is just as true for the world today. Few Christians live in a daily intimate relationship of being searched and known by God. Opening ourselves up and daring to be real with God is very difficult for us...in a nutshell, we lack integrity.