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How Can I Know Jesus? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 16, 2024 6:00 am

How Can I Know Jesus? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 16, 2024 6:00 am

What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.

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You know, one of our roadblocks in really knowing who God is, knowing Jesus, is all the baggage that we bring into the relationship, the baggage of our upbringing, our culture, our customs, our worldview. And all of that forms a lens by which we view God. That's why a person will say things like, Well, I've always pictured God like, or my view of God has always been. That's their baggage.

That's their lens. The point who you think God is and who God really is may not necessarily be exactly the same. They may be miles apart.

Welcome to Connect with Skip weekend edition. Have you ever heard that story of the blind mice and the elephant? Basically, each mouse feels a different part of the elephant and describes what it is based on what they feel. One feels its tusk and says the elephant is like a spear, while another feels its trunk and claims an elephant is like a snake.

In the story, you realize that none of the mice even has an inkling of what the elephant is truly like, or even that it's, well, an elephant. You know, the same thing happens when we have a limited perspective of God. Well, today in Connect with Skip weekend edition, Pastor Skip is discussing a topic that hits home for so many of us with a teaching that he's titled, How Can I Know God? John chapter 14 is where we'll begin today.

So turn there in your Bible and you want to open up there beginning in verse seven. Here's Skip Heitzig to get our study started. Knowledge is power. That's what Francis Bacon, the statesman, scientist, said in the 16th century knowledge is power. If that is true, then this is the most powerful generation in history. Our store of knowledge is growing at such an ever increasing rate and its accessibility is instantaneous.

You can get on Google today and find just about anything possible that is worth knowing or even not worth knowing it's there. Now, let's suppose you went to a birthday party and you were to give a birthday card that when you open it, it plays a song, you know, the kind, maybe happy birthday or whatever. And the person who receives the card will thank you for it, but later on is going to toss it. When they throw that card away, they have thrown away more computer power than was on the earth before 1950 in that one card, staggering what we have learned from then till now. You can put as much informational knowledge on a single silicone chip as was in the entire library at Alexandria, Egypt, the largest in the world at that time, the ancient world, 700,000 parchments in that library alone.

You can fit all of that on a single silicone chip. Someone estimated that if you took all of the accumulated knowledge from the beginning of history until the year 1845 and you were to represent that by one inch, then all of the accumulated knowledge from 1845 to 1945, a mere 100 years later, would be three inches. And what we've accumulated from 1945 to 1975 would be the height of the Washington Monument in D.C. And what we've accumulated from 75 until today is anybody's guess. Our store of knowledge is increasing. But that's just informational knowledge. What about spiritual knowledge? What about knowing God?

What Charles Spurgeon called the loftiest of all sciences, the greatest of all knowledges, knowing God. I want to talk to you a little bit about that today, knowing God. How can we know Him? And if we know Him, how can we know Him better?

And why is it that some don't know Him and even disregard Him? I have a copy of a Newsweek magazine from sometime back, and on the front is the big letters, God and the Brain. And it says how we're wired for spirituality. Here's a portion of that article.

This is from Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Canada. He suspects that religious experiences are evoked by many electrical storms in the temporal lobes. And that such storms can be triggered by anxiety, personal crisis, lack of oxygen, low blood sugar and simple fatigue, suggesting that a reason some people find God in such moments. Persinger speculates that our left temporal lobe maintains our sense of self. When that region is stimulated, but the right stays quiescent, the left interprets this as a sensed presence, as the self departing the body or of God.

You understand what they're saying? They're saying, it's all in your mind. It's all in your head. God, it's all in your head.

It's just your temporal lobe firing off. Now, it's true, God employs our minds, our brains. He expects us to be very active thinkers, but it's more than that.

Knowing God involves part of that, but more than that, it's greater and it's more objective than that. I've always loved the story of the teacher who told her class to draw whatever their favorite thing they wanted to draw was, and all the kids bent their heads and started working away. As the teacher went through the classroom and noticed one little girl head down very, very intensely drawing, the teacher smiled and said, Susie, what are you drawing? Without looking up, she said, I'm drawing God. The teacher said, Susie, nobody knows what God looks like.

Without lifting her head, without even flinching, she just said, they will in a minute. Now, that could have been Jesus' line, because people didn't know God or understand God in any kind of manifested form. No one has seen God, the Bible says, at any time, but the only begotten Son who's in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him, declared Him, shown Him for. Now, we're in John 14.

We're dealing with an upper room Passover conversation. It's Jesus comforting His disciples before He leaves. He's going to be killed the next day. And this final meal, they have already heard enough to cause them some fear and to be distraught. Jesus said He's going. Jesus said He's going to be killed. Jesus said Peter's going to betray Him, excuse me, deny Him, that Judas is going to betray Him.

And so, they're agitated. And in the conversation we saw last week, Thomas says, we don't know where you're going and how can we know the way? And Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

Now, we're continuing the conversation. And this time, we see that Jesus and Philip, another disciple, have an interchange. Let's begin in verse 7. Jesus speaking, if you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.

And from now on, you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, have I been with you so long and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. So how can you say, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? In the words that I speak to you, I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else, believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. I really want to talk about two things that I see here represented in our text that we just read. Number one, roadblocks to knowing God. There's a couple of them and the disciples experienced both.

And then resources, how can we know God better? Now let me draw your attention back to verse seven, and here's the first roadblock to knowing God as seen here, and that is an inaccurate comprehension. In other words, these disciples hadn't fully connected the dots of who Jesus was. In verse seven, Jesus uses the word known. Now watch, four times it'll show up in these two verses.

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also, and from now on, you know Him and have seen Him. Verse nine, have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? Mark that, four times in two verses, Jesus uses the word know or known. Why is that important?

I'll tell you who it's important to. It's important to John. One hundred and forty-one times in the Gospel of John, he uses the word know.

It's one of his favorite words. He wants you to believe in God, believe in Jesus, that's the other big word, ninety-eight times it's mentioned in the book, but he wants you to know Him. Okay, now without going through all the language stuff, let me just say that John uses the word know four different ways in this Gospel.

This will help you. Number one, he sometimes uses it to mean knowing a fact, just knowing the fact. Here's the fact, good, I know that. Here's another way he uses it, to understand the truth behind that fact, where that fact is leading. Number three, he uses the term to know in reference to knowing a person relationally.

And number four, to have a deeper, fuller comprehension of that person's identity. That's how Christ is using that here. You should have known Me, Philip, if you had known Me, if you had really known Me.

Now, he's not saying that we're not acquainted relationally, this isn't Jesus saying, Philip, I'm Jesus, nice to meet you. They've known him probably better than any other human being for the last three and a half years, these disciples had been around him. And they were learning who he was, but they didn't fully comprehend his identity. They're still computing all of that in their brains. I recall on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus calmed the storm that the disciples asked the question, who can this be that even the wind and the waves obey him? That was their question, who can this be? And they were in a three and a half year schooling process of discovering who this can be.

Until Peter finally says, I get it, Matthew 16, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. They knew he could work miracles. They knew he could speak really well. They believed that he was the Messiah, but they didn't quite grasp the deity part of it.

Because of their background, their upbringing, the idea that God would reside in a physical body was foreign to them. Now, they will come to that understanding. As time marches on, Jesus will die the next day, three days later, he'll be resurrected. So when Jesus appears to Thomas, Thomas is the guy that connects the dots. And he says to Jesus, my Lord and my what? God. My Lord and my God. I get it.

I get it now. You know, one of our roadblocks in really knowing who God is, knowing Jesus, it's all the baggage that we bring into the relationship, the baggage of our upbringing, our culture, our customs, our world view. And all of that forms a lens by which we view God. That's why a person will say things like, well, I've always pictured God like, or my view of God has always been. That's their baggage.

That's their lens. Here's the point, who you think God is and who God really is may not necessarily be exactly the same. They may be miles apart. It's true for any of us. So that's why it's important to understand who he is by who he reveals himself to be.

He's been doing that for three and a half years with these men, and obviously they didn't quite pick it up yet. So that's number one, inaccurate comprehension. Here's number two, second roadblock. An inappropriate confirmation. In other words, well, I want proof.

I want some visible, physical manifestation. That's all I need. Look at verse eight. Philip said to him, show us the Father, and it's sufficient for us. Uh, yeah.

That would be like sufficient for anyone. Do you kind of understand where Philip's coming from? Jesus, you keep telling us you're going. You keep telling us you're going back to where you came from. You keep talking about you and the Father being one. You keep bringing the Father up.

It looks like we're going to be losing you soon. If you just show us God the Father, we'll be happy. That's all we need.

It will be sufficient. There's something to understand about Philip. We've met Philip before in the Gospel of John. You remember when Jesus was feeding the multitude, the thousands of people that came to Galilee, and Jesus did the miracle to feed them? Before he fed them, when all those people were gathered around, the Bible says that Jesus turned to Philip and asked him a question. He said, hey, Philip, come here. Where can we buy bread that we can feed all these people?

The Bible says it wasn't because Jesus needed the answer to that. He did it to test them, and Philip failed the test. Philip, where do we buy bread that we can feed all these people? Immediately, Philip's little accountant, left-brain, pragmatic thing kicked in. He starts computing.

Okay, let's do 100 to 1,000. He says, Jesus, I figured this out. We're gonna need 20,000 bucks, 200 denarii, eight months wage for a common person's labor, and that won't even cover the cost of all this, but I figured it out. That's not the right answer. The answer is staring you in the face, Philip. His name is Jesus.

He's gonna do it. That's the Philip we're dealing with here. So Philip says, I want to see God. Do you understand that that longing that Philip has, and probably all the other disciples had it, this longing is the basis, at least in part, for our worship. It's the basis for our worship. We worship in faith, but we worship with the faith that one day we're going to see God face to face. That's our promise.

That's our longing. Moses, you recall, prayed something very similar. He said, Lord, just show me your glory. Now, why would Moses ask for that? Think of all of the manifestations Moses had seen. He'd seen a burning bush. He'd seen the Red Sea part.

He had seen a heavenly GPS system with a cloud and the fire leading them throughout the wilderness. That'd be enough, because now it's not enough. Show me your glory.

And that brings up something very important. No matter how sophisticated we are or spiritually well-informed we are, at our very core, that's what we want as believers to ultimately see God, which means all of the worship experiences we have now on the earth, no matter how good they are, will never satisfy you. They weren't meant to satisfy you.

They were meant to whet your appetite. Well, I've gone to this cool worship thing. I flew all the way across the country.

It was the greatest worship experience. Cool. Are you done now? Are you satisfied with that, like for the rest of your life?

No. It whets your appetite for when you see him visibly, physically face-to-face. Here's an example. When I travel and I take pictures of my family with me, if they're not with me, I take a picture, a representation of them. When I get really lonely, because I've been gone for like a week or two, a couple weeks, I'll look at the picture, a little two-dimensional image, and then I'll even talk to them on the phone. I don't hang up the phone, close up the picture, and go, okay, that's all I needed. I can stay away now for another year or two.

No. Talking on the phone and looking at the picture simply accentuates my loss for them. I want to see them more than ever. So longing to see God, no matter what experience we've had, is at the very core of who we are, and that's the anticipation and the reason we now worship now in faith, waiting for the day when our faith will become sight.

But something else. This longing to see God is often an excuse for unbelief. See, an unbeliever will say, well, I agree with Philip. All I want is to see God. You can produce God and let me see God, then I'll become a believer.

I'll worship Him. But I've never seen God. I've never heard God. I think I've told you before about the atheist who was having a conversation with a believer. The believer happened to be a Quaker, and the atheist said, have you ever seen God? And the Quaker said, nay.

That's how they would say no. Nay. Have you ever heard God? Nay. Have you ever felt God? Nay. Have you ever smelled God? Nay.

Then how do you even know there is a God? Well, the Quaker was a little befuddled by that, but thought he would turn the argument around and he said to the atheist, hast thou seen thy brain? Well, no. Hast thou ever smelled thy brain? No, of course not. Hast thou ever felt thy brain?

No. And the Quaker smiled and said, then how dost thou know that thou even hast a brain? It's a very rudimentary argument, but I think it packed a punch nonetheless. Something else about this desire that Philip has in verse 8, this longing is part of the root of idolatry, to make an image, some representation of God, to physically represent Him. If only God could be visible, if only I could take transcendent God and bring Him down to my level, a human level, so that I can relate to Him and I'll carve an image with little eyes on it and a nose and a mouth and I'll worship that. It's the basis of idolatry.

It's the root of idolatry. It's what people have done for thousands of years and even the children of Israel had all around them in the Old Testament. And I think that's one of the reasons people today will say, I looked at the clouds and I saw Jesus. You see Jesus? I looked just like Jesus. Well, I've never seen Jesus.

I wouldn't know. Or, look, look at this piece of toast. There's Jesus' face in the toast. Or the tortilla. There's Jesus in the tortilla.

Or in an overexposed reflection of a fender on a car. I mean, I have seen it all. It's their desire, like Philip, to see God. Boy, some great examples of just how important it is to get Jesus right as the true Son of the Living God. And that's where we'll have to pause for today. Today's teaching was titled, How Can I Know God?

And it was only part one. The conclusion is coming up next time. Now, before I tell you how to get a copy of today's teaching, we wanted to be sure to let you know about an exciting resource package we put together. The Holy Spirit bestows many different spiritual gifts on believers, like prophecy, healing, miracle working, and more. And each gift shares a common purpose, to edify others. Here's Pastor Skip Heitzig explaining the best way to use our spiritual gifts. I think man's greatest capacity is to be a channel from which the Holy Spirit flows into us, but then out from us, as Jesus said, like torrents of living waters. Dive into this month's Connect with Skip Heitzig resource to discover who the Holy Spirit is and deepen your understanding of how and why He gives spiritual gifts to believers. He comes on us to give us His empowering.

He has something He wants us to do, a task He wants us to perform. The complete expound Holy Spirit teaching series is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to help this ministry continue reaching a lost world. Plus, we'll include a copy of Bring the Rain, Skip's book on expositional teaching. Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. If you'd like a copy of today's message, you can find it at connectwithskip.com or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888.

Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. We'll continue through our series Believe 879 with more from the Gospel of John next time, so I hope you can join us right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast your burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-16 06:10:25 / 2024-06-16 06:19:20 / 9

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