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The Knowledge of Him

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(1/17) There is a great verse for Husbands in 1 Peter 3 that we will probably look at again when we get to Ephesians 5 and talk about marriage Godís style. 1 Peter 3:7 (look at it) says, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."

I wish so much, that someone had shown me this and other verses like it and talked to me about how to be a husband before I got married. One of the most important things a husband needs to do; in fact, must do, is study his wife. Take the time before you get married, and all your life, to know her particular disposition. I had no idea that there are different temperaments and I had no idea that the difference between men and women is more than just physical. One of the absolute essentials in premarital counseling is to help couples understand these differences. If you have never done it before, this Valentineís day is a great day to start. She is not you, and she doesnít think like you, and BTW, ladies, the same is true for you.

Learn the differences, learn them early, and you will save yourself a lot of heartache. Learn her aspirations, learn what she enjoys, what she loves, what she hates, what her love her love language is, how important talking and listening is to her, how important relationships, safety and security are to her.

For example, never ever, get her anything as a special gift for Valentineís day, or any special occasion, anything she has to plug in. You may love to get a new power tool, but she does not want a new crock pot or electric frying pan for a special gift. She wants it personal, not corporate. You buy those things together. She wants you to know her. Even that skimpy negligťe may seek like a good gift for you, but will see think so? Better to let her buy that and surprise you. She does not want to be taken for granted. She needs to know how special she is to you every day. If you got her a card today, and didnít give it to her yet, donít let Hallmark express your love. Write your own note inside that card. Better yet, donít buy a card, write her a poem or a love letter.

Thatís the point of 1 Peter 3:7. Understand this special, precious, priceless, person God has graced you with. She wants you to know and understand her, and God wants you to as well. Do you understand this? Ladies the same is true for you. Your husband may want power tools. But if you get him one, donít get the cheapest thing out there. If it says battery powered, make sure it is a battery pack and not AA batteries that it runs on.

What does this have to do with Ephesians? Everything! The title of this message is different than what I said it would be because once I started on it, my thoughts headed in a different direction. Letís go back and look at Paulís prayer (vv. 15-23). "For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."

This is the Fatherís deep desire for you. Underline or highlight verse 17. He wants you to know Him; not just know about him. When Peter finished his second letter, he said this, "Ö therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," (2 Peter 3:17-18).

I have shared with you many times that Jeremiah 9 is Jeremiah sharing his lament for his people, and God says, in verse 3, "They do not know," and in verse 6, "they refuse to know me." And then Jeremiah records in verses 23-24, And circle, underline, and highlight verse 24, "Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me,." That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord.

This is not just intellectual knowledge, this is experiential knowledge, intuitive knowledge. This is knowing deeply personally, the God who created you and chose you before the foundations of the world, and predestined to adopt you as His own child, and accepted you, and redeemed you and forgave you and gave you the spirit of wisdom and insight, and an inheritance to share with Jesus, and the very personal presence of His Holy Spirit to be with you forever. Let me ask you a very personal question. Do you know Him? I know you know about Him or you wouldnít be here today. But do you know Him? Many people have concocted their own ideas about Him and created a savior of their own conception; like in Romans 1:18-23.

One of the pastors I pray with every week said he was invited to a ministerial meeting to talk about accepting Islam into the faith community, implying that all roads lead to God like all rivers flowing into the same ocean. They do not know nor understand God. One of the things that bothers me is the possibility of people thinking that because they prayed a prayer or were baptized, or go to church or do religious things that they really know Jesus, when in fact, they donít know Him at all. Remember in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, ĎLord, Lord,í shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ĎLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?í 23 And then I will declare to them, ĎI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!í I never knew you. These had no relationship with Jesus. How many pastors and parishioners will hear those words because they created a Messiah in their image and liking and never had a relationship with the Savior? It grieves me.

Now obviously there are a lot of things we donít know and wonít know about God this side of heaven, but we can know what God has revealed about Himself. For a few moments letís focus on God the Son.

When Paul wrote 3 of his letters from a Roman jail, he had to insert something of the majesty of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Here in Ephesians, Paul says the Father has exalted Him to a position of sitting down at His right hand and has given all the power of the universe to Him. No angel or demon, or politician or king can do anything apart from his enabling or permission. That may be hard to understand logically but it is true non the less.

To the Philippians Paul says, He has been given a name above every name exalted to a position where at the mention of His name every knee of every being and every angel and every demon will bend to Him and confess He is Lord.

To the Colossians, Paul says He is the creator of everything just as John 1 and Hebrews 1 state, and that He has preeminence over everything in the universe because He was before everything and in Him all things consist. The author of Hebrews says the same thing. Do you know what keeps the world spinning on is axis? Jesus. Do you know what allows you to sweat water out but not soak water in when you swim or walk in the rain, or take a bath? Jesus. Do you want to know what your God is like? Jesus is the exact image, the icon of God. Allah is not God. Muhammed is not His prophet. He may be Satanís prophet but He is not the immortal Godís prophet.

Do you remember when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father? And, Jesus said, "Really, seriously, I have hung out with you guys for over 3 years and you donít know me, seriously? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:7-10). True Christ Followers are those who know Jesus. John 10 is the great chapter on the Good Shepherd, Jesus says (v.14), "I know My sheep and they know Me."

When Jesus prayed His great priestly prayer of John 17, He says is v. 3, "This is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Eternal life is connected with knowing God by knowing Christ.

In 1 John 5:20 there is a tremendous statement, "We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding in order that we might know Him who is true, even Jesus Christ."

John MacArthur writes, "What do you mean knowing Christ? Ödo you mean knowing intellectually about Christ? No, that is not the verb that means to know intellectually. It is from ginosko which means to know experimentally, or to know experientially, or to know personally or to know by personal involvement with."

Turn with me and we will finish our time this morning in the Prison letter of Paul to the Philippians and look at chapter 3:7-11. "7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Letís try to understand what Paul was saying. Paul or Saul as was his Hebrew name, was on a fast track to becoming the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. He had an impeccable pedigree. He had the law degrees. He was a Pharisee and already a member of the Sanhedrin. He was zealous for God and as such he hated this new sect of followers of Jesus. He was bent on eliminating them at all costs. Killing, imprisoning, torturing, he was feared by the church. Then one day, Jesus met Him while he was on his way to Damascus. And His life was forever changed. In His testimony to Timothy (1:12-16) He says this, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."

Paul found great grace from the one he had fought so hard against. And His one desire now is to know the one who would choose, adopt, accept, redeem, and forgive him. Paul realized that what he had tried to pour his life into didnít fill that void in his life. Kinda like Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Look at what he says in Phil. 3:7-8, I count all of that stuff as loss, rubbish, like the filthy rags of Isaiah 64:6. The word he uses here in Philippians 3, for rubbish is skubalon, for dung, manure, excrement, feces, poop, refuse.

Paul wanted to know Jesus (v.10) so well that he thought with the mind of Christ; he wanted to feel with the emotions of Christ. He wanted to emulate the character of Christ; that is, with meekness and humility. He wanted to share the same grace that Jesus had shared with Him. He wanted his heart to beat in rhythm with Jesusí. Thatís why in Phil. 1, he would say for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

He wanted to know the Power of His Resurrection. Paul wanted to experience the reality of the Holy Spirit in His life accomplishing things he would have never thought possible. Thatís why he tells the Ephesians that he wants them to experience the same thing. He would say in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

And he wanted to know the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death. This is the taking up of the cross that our Lord so often spoke of. I want to partner with Jesus. I have crossed the line in the sand. I have already given up my life for the cause of Christ. I will shoulder the suffering that comes from the hatred towards Christ. I will feel the grief of Jesus for the lost, the hurting, the blind, the refugees, the forgotten people that He loves. I will feel the pain of caring for the sick, and the dying, the imprisoned. I want to know Jesus so deeply and personally that my very identity is wrapped up in Him.

F.B. Meyer wrote, "We may know Him personally intimately face to face, Christ does not live back in the centuries nor amid the clouds of heaven, He is near us, with us, compassing our path in our lying down and acquainted with all our ways. But we cannot know Him in this mortal life except through the illumination and teaching of the Holy Spirit. And we can surely know Christ not as a stranger who turns in to visit for the night or as the exalted king of men, there must be an inner knowledge as of those whom He counts His own familiar friends, whom He trusts with His secrets who eat with Him of His own bread. To know Christ in the storm of battle, to know Him in the valley of shadow, to know Him when the solar light radiates our faces or when they are darkened with disappointment and sorrow, to know the sweetness of His dealing with bruised reeds and smoking flax, to know the tenderness of His sympathy and the strength of His right hand, all this involves many varieties of experience on our part. But each of them like the facets of a diamond will reflect the prismatic beauty of His glory from a new angle,"

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman