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Summary: This sermon is based on Paul’s statement in Phil 3:10-11 "All I want is to know Christ". Do we view our christian walk in these terms?

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New Year Challenge – A closer Walk

Bumping into Ross-anne at Supermarket

 At the supermarket this past week, I was at the meat counter when this girl came up and threw her arms around me

 Fortunately I knew her

 She belongs to a Christian group, “Cornerstone” who operates an evangelistic ministry in Ballarat.

 We hadn’t seen each other for over 6 months and we spent some time catching up with what was going on in her life and the life of her team.

 It was great to hear the news of what God was doing in their lives, but I did have one regret.

 The leader of the team, Nerida, had become engaged and moved back to Burke

 My disappointment came from not catching up with her before she left.

This is what happens though when we don’t stay in contact with one another

 we lose track of what is happening in each other’s lives.

 It the same with God. When we don’t stay in touch with Him as we should, we lose track of his agenda for our lives.

As we start a New Year, it’s important we step back and evaluate our relationship with our Great God

 For me personally, the most important aspect of the changes our church has been through is this aspect of how we now relate to God

 Instead of trying to relate to God through the law, it is now defined through a personal relationship of love

 No longer is it a matter of trying to win God’s approval by performing impossible tasks

 I know I have been accepted into a personal relationship with the God of the universe through the blood of Jesus Christ

 This change has a dramatic influence on how we practice our Christianity

Let me ask you a question

 Think of two individuals – both Christians

 One gets up early and spends time in prayer and Bible Study before heading off to work

 The other gets up late and rushes off to work without touching bases with God

 Which one does God love the most?

 God loves them both equally – God does not love in degrees like we do,

 nor does he love conditionally - “If you do this, I will love you”

 How would we be if this is how we related to our spouses

 We would never tolerate this in our own personal relationships, so why do we think God operates in this way

 God loves us all, period!

 Does he like it when we talk to him and read his word – absolutely, but we can’t equate this with His loving us more

John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;

 like the Pharisees we can study the Bible all we like to acquire knowledge about God

 But knowledge about God is not going to give us eternal life

 and these are they which testify of Me.

 the scriptures, the law and the prophets were given to lead us to the source of true life, Jesus Christ

 40 “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

 only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can bring eternal life

 we do Christian things because of a relationship, not because it is a condition of God’s love, or because we are told to or else!

 Sons of God do godly things, it is part of our new nature

 As this verse says, we have to be willing to come to Jesus Christ, not just academically, but personally

 Notice what drove the apostle Paul

 Phil 3:10-11 All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.

 Can’t get any more personal than that

How well do we know God - Rowland Croucher

The business of knowing God, and it is after all our chief business, is not so easily practised as it is talked about. For many of us ’knowing God’ consists of having given intellectual assent to Christ’s claims to duty and having accepted the fact that Christ died for our sins. We then blithely go through the routine of life, say a few mumbled prayers -- perhaps even on a daily basis

-- study the Bible a little and regularly attend the services of the church. We might even be involved in volunteer ministry. We might just feel serious enough about the whole thing to tithe. For some, ’knowing God’ may even have led them to attend Bible college or seminary -- perhaps even to engage in ’full-time’ Christian ministry. But is this what is really meant by ’knowing God’?

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