Knowing Christ   Leave a comment

who is jesus

who is jesus

Knowing Christ Click Here to Download

 

” What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” ( Philippians 3/8)

 

One day when arriving in the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus questioned his disciples and said: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”(Matthew 16/13)

 

What if Jesus asked us the same question? What would we say?

 

Do we really know Him personally?

 

In the book of the prophet Malachi (1/6-9), we see God reproaching the priests who were despising His name through the defiled offerings they brought.

 

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name…”

 

And we read in verse 7 ” You place defiled food on my altar.. ”

 

You may say that these verses apply only to the priests of that time and have nothing to do with us but we read in the book of Revelation (1/6) that God has made us a kingdom of priests. In the Epistle to the Hebrews (13/15) we read ” Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

 

and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. “(Revelation 1/6, 1 Peter 2/9)

 

Yes we are priests and we offer to God offerings such as our praises and our life. Let us therefore not imitate those priests but rather honor God while serving Him.

 

We call God our Father, Lord and Master and at times we really need to consider the words we are pronouncing.

 

Our God is great and mighty and how much do we need to honor Him by surrendering our whole being to Him and be instruments readily available for Him to manifest His glory.

 

If those priests really knew God, they would not have acted in such a defiled way but would have brought an unblemished sacrifice to the God almighty. It is therefore essential that we know God intimately because it directly determines the type of offering we are bringing to Him.

 

I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6/6)

 

God also blamed Israel through these words: “Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.”” (Isaiah 1/3)

What about us? Do we really know the One we belong to?

If we do not know God, there will not be this deep sense of reverent fear of His mighty name. We will tend to do what we please instead of His will. When we love someone, we want to know this person more in order to please the latter and it is also the same with our relationship with Christ. When we know what He likes and dislikes, we will conform ourselves to His will.

If there is so much immorality today, it is simply because there is a lack of knowledge of God.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.” (Romans 1/28)

 

Some months after I took my water baptism I realised that I had very little knowledge of who Christ was and this hindered my walk with Him. I believed that He died for my sins, that He was the Son of God and saved me but this was all I knew of Him. My life was barren and monotonous since I had very little knowledge of my Savior. Many Christians are still at this stage and they have not grown up since their conversion. But the Christian life is a life of discovery, research and faith. We need every day to desire of knowing God more and more. When we know in whom we believed, we do not worry about tomorrow because we trust and have faith in Him. When we know in whom we believed, there is still peace in our heart even when troubles come and this because we know that He is in control and knows everything.

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Timothy 1/12)

In everything we do or endure, our first reaction is to turn to Him because we know the wisdom, love and power of the One we are turning our eyes to.

 

We are not afraid to face tomorrow and even to die because we know in whom our hope is. When Christ is our life and our treasure, we become satisfied with the simple things we have.

Paul said:

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6/7, 8)

We no longer fix our regards and covet the things of this world because Christ is sufficient for us. Knowing who our Father is, we no longer worry about what we will eat or clothe (Matthew 6/25-34) because we know the Father’s love. We have all in Him and we regard ourselves as travelers and pilgrims walking towards our Heavenly dwelling place. Death is just the start of a new life of closer relationship with Him and it’s why Paul said “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1/21).

 

God our Father spoke to the Israelites through various intermediaries (prophets, priests). There was not a heart to heart communication between every Israelites and God. God spoke through the prophets and priests through various ways (dreams, visions, revelation) and this from time to time. The Israelites did not hear God’s voice everyday but after days, months and years.

 

« In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.» Hebrews 1/1,2

 

The author of the epistle of Hebrews was probably a Jew who knew the scripture very well. Like any other Jew, this man was proud to recall that he had Abraham as forefather (Matthew 3/9) or ancestors like Moses and Isaiah. It was no longer through Moses or Abraham through whom God spoke, but it was through His Son. God himself came to us to make Himself known. We no longer need to wait for a vision or dreams from an intermediary to hear God’s voice because God now lives in our heart. Our privilege is greater than Moses, Isaiah and Abraham. These great servants of God did not have God dwelling in them.

 

Jesus is our glory and the source of our strength and joy. He was and will always remain faithful to me.

Paul said:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ… “(Philippians 3 / 7, 8)

 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 / 20)

Paul could say those words ‘I consider them rubbish’ because he knew his Lord, he was not afraid to die, lose everything and live for Christ because He knew in whom he believed.

 

When we really know who is our Lord, we will not dare to abandon Him even in the midst of trials and this because we know deep in our conscience that there is no other God apart from the one we serve. David said “Where can I go from your Spirit Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139/7). We cannot say that we love someone if we do not really know him/her. It is also the same with our relationship with Christ, it is only by knowing Him personally that we will be able to know the things He likes, desires and hates. It is only by knowing Him that we will be able to resemble Him and run towards perfection.

 

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!.” (Philippians 3 / 10,11)

 

Paul in this chapter speaks of the zeal he had in Judaism, he had a deep knowledge of the law and Jewish traditions and was an irreproachable Pharisee and he now considered all the Pharisaical knowledge he had as rubbish. What mattered now for him was to know Christ and to put aside all the knowledge he had! Not only did he want to know Christ but also to share in the suffering of the Lord whom he previously persecuted out of ignorance. He wanted to know this power of resurrection that God displayed three days after the crucifixion and made Him a new man. This is why he was ready to lose everything, take his cross and follow Christ. Christ was living in him and was the reason he was living for.

This knowledge of Christ is not an intellectual knowledge but rather a knowledge of a person’s character, desires and will. The relationship with Christ and the believer is more than what can exist in a couple and this because Christ dwells in us, knows our thoughts and knows who really we are inside. God is with us (Emmanuel) and living in us!

 

This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory… “(Colossians 1/26-29)

 

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2/22)

 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6/19)

 

That is what Paul has been doing throughout his life: Proclaiming Christ crucified for our sins, risen and living in our life! We must not only know Christ, but also know the power that lies behind the work He did. It is not enough to say that we believe in Christ, it is not enough to say that we took our baptism, were blessed and healed by Him. What is most important is to know Christ such that He is Himself our treasure. Many people profess of knowing Christ but Christ does not know them.

 

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” (Titus 1/16)

 

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’. “(Matthew 7/19-24)

 

Beware of making ourselves a ‘fictitious christ’! Many people will be deceived on the day of judgment and this because they did not put off their old self and lived by the Spirit. They have not encountered with the true Christ (the true Vine) who asks us to leave everything behind, take up our cross and follow him. Christ must not only be part of our life but be Himself our life. By offering our life to Christ, we find ourselves doing hard things like putting off the old self. There is a constant conflict between the desires of the Spirit and flesh.

 

If we keep His commandments, thus we know that we have known. Whoever said, “I’ve known, and which does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2/3,4)

It is not the spiritual gifts or vast intellectual knowledge we have that pleases God but rather the observance of His commands and obedience to His will.

It is therefore vitally important to put into practice what the Bible teaches us and not be forgetful listeners. The Word is a means which God uses to talk to us and it is why we should make every effort to be like disciples and hear when He speaks. The Word of God should not be kept in our mind but rather in the heart because the mind forgets.

It is only when the Word reaches our heart that we will be able to put it into practice, keep it (Psalm 119/11) and love it. The heart is the only ground where the Word of God can grow and bear fruit.

 

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”(John 14/21)

We see again that the Word is the key factor which enables us to know God and be loved by Him. The Word is the source of wisdom and knowledge of God.

We were once strangers and never knew God but thanks be to Jesus who came to us and revealed us the Father of Heaven!

Paul said to the Galatians:

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God…” (Galatians 4/8, 9)

 

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1 / 21)

 

God knows what is deep down in our heart, we do not know the number of hairs we have or the duration of our lives but God knows it all. He is the Vine and we are the branches and it is in Him that we are living. We are now part of God’s family and are known as sons and daughters. As Christ’s imitators, we submit to the Spirit so that Christ’s characters are formed in us.

 

“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2 /19)

 

We would all like the Lord saying “Well done, good and faithful servant!” instead of ” You wicked, lazy servant!” and the only way is to obey Christ and knowing Him more.

If on earth we let Jesus reign as Lord of our life, He will present Himself as our Lord when we die. He will remember this heart that let Him reigned as King and will say “Come you who are blessed by my Father” instead of “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”* If we have been ashamed of Him and His Word, He will also be ashamed of us (Luke 9/26). Our degree of affection towards someone usually determines how much we value him/her. For example, the attention we pay and the time we set aside to people around us differs in quantity because we usually assign different value of importance to these people. Our relationship with God is also a product of how much we revere and know Him. The way we serve Him is the fruit of our knowledge of Him. The way we value and know Him indicates how much of our life we withhold from Him and gives Him. If Jesus is Lord and Master of our life, we will be like priests whose offerings are pleasing to Him otherwise we will resemble those priests described in the book of Malachi.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD“(Jeremiah 9/23, 24)

This is how we know Jesus:

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:4

Jesus once said “Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I say”. If we profess to know Jesus, we have to obey what He taught and live as children of light.

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Posted June 4, 2011 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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