NEWSLETTER

January 2015

KNOWING GOD


 
We will begin our new Wednesday night series on January 14TH with the study of J.I. Packer’s book, Knowing God. A workbook will also will help us study this material, and prepare us for our group discussions. Let me
suggest six reasons why is it wise to make this a priority in 2015:

1. We should focus on the knowledge of God while the “iron is hot”:

A black smith heats up his iron so that it becomes soft. He then strikes the iron to mold it into the intended shape before it gets too cold and resistant. It is the testimony of many in our Church family that each Wed PM series beginning with “Behold Your God” has powerfully impacted their walks with Christ.

Therefore, now is the time to dive into Packer’s book. It is considered by many to be a 19TH century classic on God’s attributes. I believe that
Knowing God has the force of a spiritual “cannon ball” lit by the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It will provoke a hungering and thirsting in us for a greater knowledge of the Majestic One.

2. We are instructed in the Word that the knowledge of Christ is more valuable than anything else in life: Phil 3:7-16

Here Paul compares everything in life to the knowledge of Christ. The value of knowing Christ far surpassed everything else. Therefore he considered everything else in comparison to be waste. Moreover, his testimony here is inspired Scripture. This is testimony of the One who has been placed in our hearts to reveal the knowledge of Christ – God, the Holy Spirit.

No other priority in life compares to the value of knowing Him. Therefore Paul says he pressed on to lay hold of this knowledge, Phil 3:12-14. “To press on” is a picture of a runner using full exertion to capture the prize. Paul was driven with commitment and intensity of effort to grow in this knowledge. “To lay hold of” is to take up ownership of the knowledge of God. This is not merely information about Jesus. It is the personal,
intimate knowledge of Jesus Himself.

3. We are commanded to “hunt down” the knowledge of God:
Hosea 6:3

Hosea mentions the knowledge of God twice at the outset of v. 3. He is emphatically shouting out to our ears – “listen to me! Knowledge of God is what you are to cherish!” The term “press on” in the Hebrew is to hunt down, to endeavor with utmost effort to obtain. The prophet reinforces the motive to “press on” to know the Lord at the end of v. 3. Hosea describes the certainly of obtaining this knowledge. As certain as “the dawn” will arise in the morning, so God will provide the knowledge of Himself to the one who seeks it. God makes this same certainty clear in Jer 23:13 - ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

In v. 3, Hosea uses a second illustration to incite hunger for God. The knowledge of God, states Hosea, is like the spring rain watering the earth. He indicates that the knowledge of God will provide the thirsty heart with that which is truly refreshing and able to flourish the inner person with spiritual vitality and satisfaction.

4. We are to pursue the knowledge of God over empty religious disciplines: Hosea 6:6

Here the Lord declares that He delights in “the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” As Christians, we do not offer up external sacrifices. But in much the same manner, we do externalize our pursuit of God. It is easy to pray, read the Word, worship in Church, and so on, while not actually hungering after Christ Himself.
Such pursuits do not please the Lord, Psalm 51:16. They ignore the access Christ grants to us into the holy presence of our God, Heb 4:16. They also waste our time.
As Jesus states, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing”; Jn 6:63.

Let us seek His “beauty” and His “face” when we are in the Word and prayer, Ps 27:4, 8. Let us ask God to make us conscious of our empty religious activities. They are to be abhorred as vain, and deceptive in that they produce pride rather than the contrition, and the joyful humility which comes with the true knowledge of Christ.

5. We are to boast in our knowledge of Him: Jer 9:23-24

To boast in the knowledge of God is the desire of our Lord. He knows what is best for us. It is not wise for us to find our security and our treasure in human wisdom, physical strength and/or earthly treasures. These are at best fleeting and unstable objects of joy and security. True fulfillment and lasting value, states Jeremiah, is found in the knowledge, the personal experience of God’s attributes – His love, His kindness, His justice, and His righteousness.

6. We are to know God to accomplish great things for Him: Dan 11:32

Here God declares that those who know Him are obvious. They “display strength and take action”. If we lay hold of the knowledge of Him, we will have a godly impact upon our community. The power of such knowledge is dramatically stated – these people display God’s might in action. They are the ones who will put the power and the
courageous conduct of God on vivid display before both the lost and before their own brothers and sisters in the Church.

Let us gaze upon God in this new series that He might lift us up with this omnipotent hand and lead us to achieve glorious things for His glory in 2015!



Pastor Blain


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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427