Summary: Second in a series of messages encouraging believers to do "whatever it takes" to grow in their walk with Jesus. This message focuses on discipleship.
A “Whatever it Takes” Commitment:
1. Does not hold to convention
2. Is not hemmed in by circumstances
3. Does not heed convenience
4. Is not hampered by criticism
5. Does bring honor to Christ
Purpose (v. 2):
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
“How to” (vv. 6,7):
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Five strategies for knowing God:
1. Decide to accept Christ’s priorities
…just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord…
The process of knowing God begins with the decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of my life. In his letter to the Roman church, Paul made it clear that in order to begin a relationship with God, we have to receive Jesus as both Savior and Lord:
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Unfortunately, it seems like there is a tendency in today’s culture to stress Jesus as Savior, but to kind of conveniently forget the part about also making him our Lord. Maybe, it’s because we don’t really use the word “Lord” a lot. When we think of the word “lord”, it seems that we associate it with the “Lord of the Rings” or the Sith lords in the Star Wars movies, or maybe even with the House of Lords in England. But the word simply means the one who is in charge – the master or the boss.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, it means that we accept his authority over our lives. We make a decision to let him determine the priorities for our lives. We agree to submit our own desires to his desires for us. The readers of Paul’s letter had made such a decision and Paul is commending them for that decision. But as we’ll see in just a moment, making such a decision is just the starting point in our journey to know God; it’s not all there is to knowing God.
It’s kind of like what happens when we accept a job. When we go to work for someone else, we agree to work under their policies and procedures. Our boss gets to decide what our priorities are going to be in that job. We don’t get to tell our boss how we’re going to do our job. But it takes more than just a one time decision to be a good employee. If I really want to get to know my boss so I can serve him effectively, I have to reinforce my decision to follow him or her on a daily basis.
So the first step in doing whatever it takes to know God is to decide to accept Christ’ priorities for my life.
2. Depend on Christ’s power
… continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him…
Paul recognizes our own human weaknesses. He knows that left to our strength, we are just not capable of knowing God. So we have to humble ourselves and depend on the work of Jesus Christ in our life if we really want to know God. Notice here that Paul uses the phrase “in him” twice to reinforce the idea that we are dependent on Jesus Christ. If you really want to see how Paul emphasizes that principle even more, read Ephesians Chapter 1 this week. There you will find that Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” or “in him” time after time in that chapter.