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How Do You Know God

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
August 21, 2022 3:00 pm

How Do You Know God

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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The key to knowing God exactly as He is, is Jesus. And I want to know God exactly as He is. Welcome to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. How do you know God? It's the title of today's message, a message focusing on His grace.

Teaching from the book of Hebrews, chapter 1, here's Anne. How can you and I possibly know God? How can you know someone who is incomprehensible?

How can you know someone who is invisible and who speaks inaudibly, and how can we know God? And the answer to that question reminds me of a story that John MacArthur tells about a friend of his, we're going to call Bill, who was staying with some of his friends named the Joneses, and he was staying with them here in Asheville. And Bill was invited to Greenville, South Carolina, which is about an hour and a half away, and he was invited to go down and speak while he was staying with the Joneses. So a couple from Greenville drove up to Asheville, and they picked Bill up at the Joneses and drove him to Greenville, and Bill spoke. Then the couple drove him back to Asheville, back to the Joneses' house. When they got back to the Joneses' house, it was after midnight. It was in the dead of winter, and it was already beginning to sleet and snow, and the roads were getting bad.

It was freezing cold. So Bill said to the couple that had driven him from Greenville, he said, drop me off at the driveway. I know you need to get back to Greenville before the roads get impassable. So you all just drop me off.

I can see the lights on in the home, and I know I'll be all right. So they dropped him off. They turned around.

They went back to Greenville. Bill walked up to the house of the Joneses, and he went to the front door, and he knocked on the door, and there was no answer. So he knocked on the window, and there was no answer. He went around the back to the kitchen door, and he banged on the door. There was no answer. He banged on the windows.

Nobody came to the door or the windows, and no lights came on. So he thought, well, try as he could. He couldn't wake anybody up, and so he thought, well, I'll just go next door to the neighbors, and the neighbor was about a quarter of a mile down.

He said, but that's not a problem. I'll just walk to the neighbors, and I'll call the Joneses, and ask them to open the door for me. So he walks down to the neighbor's house, and as they drew near to the neighbor's house, he heard this big dog start to bark, and he thought, whoa, wait a minute. It's after midnight, and I'm walking as a stranger to the neighbor's house, and I wonder if that dog bites, and I wonder if his neighbor has a shotgun, and maybe it's not such a good idea to go to the neighbor's house, and then he thought, well, I'll just go find an all-night convenience store, and I'll call him from there. So Bill began to walk down the road, and he walked, and he walked. At one point, he fell into a ditch that had two feet of icy water in it.

He was wet, freezing cold. It was dawn before he found an all-night convenience store, and he went into the convenience store, and he called the Joneses on the phone. His teeth were chattering, and he said, Mr. Jones, where have you been? And he told his whole tale, and Mr. Jones was horrified, and he said, Bill, I'm so sorry.

I'll be right there to pick you up, but Bill, don't you remember? Before you left for Greenville, I gave you a key to the house. Bill reached in his pocket, and there was the key. How do you know God? He's given you the key, and the key is Jesus Christ. Jesus is enough to know God exactly. The thing that's amazing to me is how so many people seem to be throwing away the key, but the key to knowing God exactly as he is is Jesus.

I remember speaking once at a large national secular convention, and they had invited me to speak, and so I did what I do, which is knew my best to exalt Jesus, and when I'd finished, I was at a banquet table that was in front of several thousand people, and the emcee stood up at the platform, and he looked down at me, and he said, Mrs. Lotz, we think you need to understand that we all have our own gods, and some of us call him Mohammed, and some of us call him Buddha, and some of us call him Allah, some of us call him Messiah, some of us may call him Jesus, and I didn't say anything, but I thought, you know, I don't want to know God like that. If there is a God seated on a throne somewhere at the center of the universe, then surely he has a personality, a character, a name by which he calls himself, and I want to know God exactly as he is. I don't want to know him the way someone says he might be, or the way they think he is, or the way they've been taught, and as much as I appreciate the way my parents raised me, and one of the blessings for me has been as I've sought to know God myself through scripture and through Jesus, I found out he's just like my parents taught me, but I don't want to go just on what my parents said, or my pastor tells me, or someone else, I want to know God exactly as he is, and Hebrews says that he is exactly like Jesus. So if you open your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 1, we're going to look first of all at the fact that Jesus Christ is enough to know God exactly. Jesus is enough to know God exactly for two primary reasons. One, because of his deity, and two, because of his humanity.

So let's begin considering his deity. Verses 1 to 3 of Hebrews chapter 1. 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.

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven. And every time I read those verses, I feel like I've been into the most holy place.

It's like holy ground, isn't it? As Jesus Christ is revealed as the Son of God in his deity, and the scripture says that in times past, God spoke in many different ways. And speaking in the Old Testament, I just thought about that for a moment. He spoke to Abraham. I don't know how he spoke to Abraham. In fact, one of the things I want to ask when I get to heaven is, Abraham, how did God speak to you?

And, you know, you're just there in Ur, worshipping idols, and suddenly God leans out of heaven. Was it like a trumpet blast? Or was it handwriting on the wall? Or was it just an impression in your heart? And what would cause God's voice to be so distinct that you would leave everything to follow him?

I want to know that, but I don't. And I know he spoke to Moses through a burning bush. I know he spoke to Jeremiah through parables and to Ezekiel through visions. And he spoke to Balaam through a donkey and spoke to Mary through angels and spoke to Nebuchadnezzar through dreams. And he spoke in many different ways, all sorts of ways, but in these days he's spoken to us through his son Jesus. And John 1, 1 says, In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, even Jesus Christ.

And the Word that John uses in John's gospel for word is logos, which means the entire expression of God's heart in his mind. Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks. And I think we've got to say the same thing about God that out of the abundance of God's heart he speaks. And what he has said is Jesus. You want to know what's on God's heart?

It's Jesus. He's the exact revelation of the heart of God. There's someone here who's afraid of God.

And maybe it's the way you were raised, maybe something that happened in your past, maybe the way your churches presented him to you, or for some other reason and you're afraid he's out to get you, or you're afraid that he doesn't like you. And if you want to know how God feels about you, then you just look at Jesus. For God so loved you that he gave his Son. God loves you. Jesus' expression of what's on the heart of God. And God's heart is saying, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. He's the exact revelation of the heart of God.

And he's the exact revelation of the mind of God. It says he is the heir of all things. And if I had an heir when I died, I would leave everything I had to the heir. My heir would receive everything I had that the bank didn't claim first. And an heir is just somebody that has everything that's coming.

And Jesus Christ is the heir of all things, not in the sense that God is ever going to die, but that God has given everything to the Son, that he's the heir of all things. So he is the exact representation of what's on the mind of God for the future. Do you know what the future of planet Earth is? What's the future of the United States? You know, with all of the terrorism going on, what's the future of the United States? What's the future of Israel and Iraq and her neighbors? And what's the future for North Korea and the Pacific Rim and China? And what's the future for Australia and South America and Russia?

Do you know what the future is for planet Earth? It's Jesus. Jesus is God's plan for the future. One of the most thrilling chapters in all of the Bible. In fact, when I look at the Bible, I think of Genesis chapter 1, the thrilling creation chapter. And then I think of maybe some other parts in the Old Testament, but the next chapters that stand out to me, Luke 1 and 2, when the Creator became incarnate as our Savior. Then I might think of John chapters 18, 19, 20, when the Savior who gave his life on the cross was raised from the dead.

And then maybe Acts 2, Pentecost. But surely one of the most thrilling chapters in all of Scripture is Revelation chapter 5, when John says, I saw heaven opened and I saw someone sitting on the throne and he was holding a scroll in his right hand. And the scroll was a title deed to planet Earth. And whoever possessed the scroll had the right to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race. And no one was found who was worthy to possess that scroll except one man who was able, even Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb upon the throne. And Jesus walks over to the one who's holding the scroll and he takes the scroll, asserting his right to rule, asserting his right to fulfill God's purpose for the human race.

And nobody says, you can't do that. Nobody says, who do you think you are? He's claiming his right to rule the world and fulfill his Father's purpose for the human race because he's the heir of all things. He is the future of the world. You want to know what the future of the universe is? The most intriguing verse in Ephesians. Ephesians 1 verses 9 and 10 says, And he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. That the future of the universe is Jesus. The future of planet earth is Jesus. Do you know what your future is? Your future is Jesus.

In 2 Corinthians 3.18 it says that, As you and I behold him, the Holy Spirit within us changes us from glory to glory, character to character, until you're conformed to the image of Jesus. 1 John chapter 3 says, One day when we see him, we're going to be like him. Your future is Jesus. The future of planet earth is Jesus. The future of the universe is Jesus. Because he is the exact revelation of what's on God's mind. God is planning the future and it's Jesus. Exact revelation what's on God's heart. His heart says, I love you. He so loved you he sent Jesus.

The exact revelation of what's in his hands. In verse 2 it says that through whom he made the universe. I was an adult before I wrapped my mind around the truth that Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe. I thought he began at Bethlehem. I thought he was born as a baby.

I didn't realize that he has always been. And you find him in Genesis 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep. In verse 3 and God said and his word went forth let there be light. And all the way through Genesis 1 and God said his word went forth. And we would think that's just nouns and pronouns going out of the mouth of God or some language.

Until we come to John's Gospel chapter 1 that tells us that that word that went forth in the beginning was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. And Colossians 1 says that everything that is made was made by him and for him. He is the creator. And because he's the creator of the heavens which are great big things and the earth which are little bitty things then we know that God is actively at work. His hands are involved in great big things. Let me just tell you how big for a moment and then we'll apply it.

I don't know this myself. I read this out of a book, okay? But I'm assuming it's true that our sun is so big that you can fit 1.2 million earths into the sun and still leave room for 4.3 million moons. Our sun is the nearest star. The next nearest star is five times larger than our sun.

The north star is 400 trillion miles away and 400 trillion, that's 14 zeros after that. Now that's just great big, that's the heavens. He created great big things actively involved at work and big things. So let me ask you, what big thing is facing you? A big decision? A big job change? A big commitment? A big project? A big responsibility?

Maybe it's a health issue, something in your family and it's big. Oh God works through Jesus in great big things. And he works through Jesus in little bitty things. He's the creator of the earth and the earth doesn't mean just dirt or the planet. It means the little molecules and atoms that make up earth. And he's at work in small things. Did you know that the brain cells that hold all of your memory are confined to a half inch cube?

I think that's why I can't remember anything. I need a bigger cube. Your heart beats 800 million times in a life span.

No two snowflakes are alike. The wires that connect the information centers in the human brain, if you stretch them end to end, would reach from the planet earth to the moon and back. I mean they're small. He's at work in small things. What did you think was so small? It was too small to bring to his attention.

Had somebody last week with tears coming down her cheeks and said, my husband doesn't believe that God can find me a parking place when I go to the mall. I care about little things, she said. But he does. He cares about whatever you care about. A small home, small children, small ministry, small dream, small desire, small words, small fear, small tear. He cares about small things and God works through Jesus in small things.

Nothing too small for him. He works in great big ways and he works in small things. Jesus is the exact revelation of what's on God's mind, what's in God's heart, and what his hands are involved in. And he's also the exact representation of God's glory. Verse 3, the sun is the radiance of God's glory. I don't exactly know what that means, but we think of radiance as being like a shining light. And I know in the Old Testament, the children of Israel were wandering through the wilderness, do you remember? And they needed to see their way at night. Then God sent them a fiery pillar to lead them through the wilderness at night and to give them light after dark. And then during the day in the broiling heat, he sent a cloudy pillar to hang over their heads sort of like a great big umbrella, but it also led them through the wilderness. It was a glowing cloud and it was the symbol of God's presence leading them through the wilderness. I know when Moses went up on Mount Sinai, that the glory of God was so intense that when Moses came down, his face shone, do you remember? And everybody knew he had been talking with God because his face reflected the glory of God and Moses dropped a veil over his face so people couldn't tell when the glory departed.

And do you remember when they sacrificed in the tabernacle? And God accepted their sacrifice and this golden glowing cloud would come down in the tabernacle and the priest was terrified to go in because it was a symbol of God's presence. And there's something about the radiance of his glory and that Shekinah glory and that golden glowing that has to do with his presence. Do you remember on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go up on the mountain and then in the middle of the night against that inky black sky they saw Jesus standing there and they said that his clothing was brighter than anything could ever wash it clean. It was brilliant white like the sun shining and the light that was coming from Jesus wasn't reflected. It was coming from within him. It was the radiance of God's glory.

I don't know exactly what that means but one day you and I are going to see that and we're going to see the glory of God not in a cloudy pillar leading us through the wilderness and not reflected on somebody's face and not a golden glow that makes us terrified to go near but we're going to see it in the person of Jesus Christ. But the word glory is also interchangeable with character and so when you think of the glory of God you think of the character of God and Jesus Christ is the exact representation of the character of God and on these talk shows they're all discussing what God is like and will he be like this or will he be like that and they say is he capricious? Is he selfish? Is he ruthless? Is he cruel? Is he soft? Is he indecisive?

Is he benevolent? Is he detached? Is he ignorant? Is he weak?

Is he conniving? Is he like your abusive father or your legalistic pastor? You know what God is like? He is exactly like Jesus. Jesus is God in focus and therefore we know God is kind and he's tender and he's loving and he's patient and he's good and he can be stern and he's just and he's forgiving and he's faithful and he's strong.

Jesus is God in focus. God is exactly like Jesus. He's the exact representation of the glory of God, of the character of God. So if you want to know what God is like you don't have to look any farther than Jesus.

He's exactly like Jesus. And Jesus is the exact representation of God's greatness. Verse 3 says he sustains all things by his powerful word and it's a thrilling comfort to know that God is not detached and we keep messing with this universe and we see all sorts of things erupting to know that God hasn't just created us, spun us around on the globe and then left us to just sort of make our own way or guess our way through life. But God is actively involved every second, every moment, every day of our lives. You think of him sustaining the universe through the power of his word.

In other words Jesus is the word of God and he sustains it and these are some more things I discovered. There's a gravity like force that holds the neutrons and the protons together in our universe or in our planet. And I don't know if whenever you were a little child did you ever look at a globe and know when you know the world turns and we're on the bottom side how come we don't fall off? It's gravity is what your mother tells you. It's gravity and of course I want to know where gravity comes from and I think it'll be so interesting one day when we get to heaven to find out where it comes from and could it be that that magnetic force comes from Jesus himself?

But he doesn't have to work hard to hold it together he just speaks a word and he sustains all things with his powerful word. And do you know if the sun were closer to our planet we would burn up? If we're any farther away we would freeze to death. Did you know that our planet is tilted exactly 23 degrees which gives us four seasons of the year? If it were any other degree of a tilt it would give us continents of ice. Did you know the moon is at the exact distance it is from our earth to give us tides twice a day? If we're at any different distance our earth would be undated with water because the tides wouldn't stay in their boundaries. Did you know the ocean floors are at the right depth to give us oxygen? If they were a different depth we would have carbon monoxide in the air and it wouldn't be fit for human consumption. Did you know our atmosphere is just the right density?

And if our atmosphere were any thinner meteors and things that come through the space all the time would come right through and just blow us to bits. Now who keeps all that delicate balance in place? It's Jesus.

Just through the power of his word. So what is there in your life that needs to be balanced? Is it your time? I pray for balance in the attention I give my children.

I want each one of my children to feel like they're my favorite. And that takes balance doesn't it? And I pray for my staff that each one would feel my attention and my care and what needs balance in your life. And it's a delicate thing. Maybe it's something in your business. Maybe it's something in your health.

Maybe it's your blood pressure. Something else that needs this touch. Bring it before him.

Ask him to help. He sustains all things with his powerful words. He's the exact representation of God's greatness. He's the exact representation of God's grace. Verse 3. After he did this he provided purification for sins. And this is the most incredible thought to think of his humility.

Philippians 2. The one who thought it not robbery to be equal with God because he is God. Creator of the universe.

Sustainer of all things. And he took upon himself the form of a man. Made himself of no reputation. Took upon himself the form of a servant. Humbled himself. Became obedient even to death. A death on the cross.

We have the one who's the creator and the sustainer. Giving his life to bring me purification of sin. And we see his humility. That's God's grace. Nothing but the grace of God would send his son Jesus to die on the cross. For you and me sinners who didn't even know we needed a savior at that point and could care less. Romans 5-8 says here in God demonstrated his love for us. Now while we were still sinners we didn't know we needed a savior.

We didn't care. He sent Jesus. That's his grace. And not only his humility but we see his authority when it says in verse 3. That after he had provided purification for sin he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.

That Jesus Christ left his glory in heaven. And came to earth and took upon himself the form of a servant. And humbled himself even to the cross. And then after he had been raised from the dead. God highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name. That at the name of Jesus every tongue would confess.

Every knee would bow. And that's God's grace isn't it? That the creator became our savior who is now the one who is our Lord. His exact representation of the grace of God. You questioned God's grace.

So aware you deserve his justice. So afraid of what he's going to allow happen to you because of something you've done or some sin in your past. And you look at Jesus and you see the grace of God. Giving us what we don't deserve at all. The creator who became our savior who is now our Lord. Whoever lives to intercede for us. One day coming back to receive us to himself. It's just God's grace.

Now here's Ann with this final word. The blessings we access by God's grace are awesome. But they pale into insignificance when compared to the thrilling revelation of God we see in Jesus. Praise God.

What marvelous grace that is greater than all our sin and guilt and shortcomings and mistakes and failures. God did not have to reveal himself to us but he did. He chose to make himself visible in a way we could understand.

As man. This visibility is not only compelling and clear. It's glorious. This has been Living in the Light. Please take advantage of all the free resources at to help and encourage you in your walk with God and in your study of his word. Join us here each week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-07 15:48:05 / 2023-03-07 15:59:11 / 11

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