Knowing God

I’d like to propose an idea to you – If God truly exists, then nothing on earth is as important as knowing Him.  If God is God, then we cannot simply give Him an acknowledging nod and be on our way. The fact of His existence should change everything.

Now if that “if” is still a big “IF” for you at this point, I would encourage you to look into it and make a decision for yourself. Doesn’t the gravity of the implications demand that you at least invest some time into making a decision?

Why it’s so important to know God :: When asked “What is the most important truth to teach any follower of Christ?” Cru founder Bill Bright responded, “The attributes of God.” He went on to say, “There is nothing more important to teach another believer than who God is, what He is like, and why or how He does what He does.”

This semester here at Cru we will be doing a series of talks on the character of God.  Tonight I want to briefly touch on why it is so important to know God.  What else matters more? I’ve heard it said that there are only 3 things that are eternal – God, His Word, and the souls of men.  If God truly is the creator and sustainer of everything, than what better use of our time then to get to know Him?

The Bible: it’s author – God. It is all about His dealings with us. He wants us to know Him. He created us to know Him. We are the only thing created “in His image.” (Gen 1:26-27 “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, …27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”)

Our life was created to reflect who He is. Just as a mirror displays the image of whom stands before it, we are to display the image of our creator. If we do not know Him, we cannot reflect Him, we cannot live our life in a manner pleasing to Him.  AW Tozer said, “What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” (Knowledge of the Holy)  My question for you is, do you know Him? Do you really know Him? Or do you just know about Him?  Or, do you think, “I know Him,” but you’re really worshiping a cheap replica.  Maybe your picture of God has been distorted by bad experiences or family or even a well-meaning religious upbringing. Maybe your view of who God is is all wrong.  I say this, because, again, our view of God has implications:

  • If I realized how much He loves me, I would be more loving myself.
  • If I saw the extent of His grace and mercy I would never live in guilt
  • If I reminded myself that God is omnipresent (that He is everywhere) I would never feel lonely
  • If I truly believed in His omniscience (that He knows all) I would talk to Him as a friend who is intimately involved in my life instead of a distant deity.

Alright, so where do we start? If it is so important that we know God, how do I get to know Him

How you can know God :: Based on the Bible, here is how it is:

1. God loves us and created us to know Him personally. We covered that.

2. People are sinful and separated from God; our relationship has been broken. And we are the culprit.

3. Jesus came to earth to die, to pay the penalty for our sins and restore a right relationship between us and God

So, how do we respond to this? It all comes down to God’s proposal and our response.

  • “…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:14
  • “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20
  • Here’s what God is offering to us: a personal relationship with the Creator and Lord of the universe, forgiveness for our sins, and eternal life.

Let me lay out for you the best deal in history:

  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Jesus gets (or takes) ALL our sin, guilt, death, and punishment
  • In exchange, we get ALL His righteousness, forgiveness, peace.
  • Deal or no deal?!

Acknowledgement is not acceptance.  For example, when I proposed to my wife Jenn. Say I were to get down on one knee, ask her to be my wife, and she thinks for a minute, and then says, “I understand.”  And then she walks away.  Are we engaged at this point? No.
God’s proposing to us, asking us if we want in. Do we want to know Him?

How it should effect our lives :: Let me tell you about what this relationship with Christ, this knowing God personally, looks like played out in real life.

This is powerful picture of the brevity of life and the NEED to know God. Some of you have heard, but a student at UW-La Crosse was killed last Friday night in a car crash. Sean knew God (and knows God now like he never had before), and that effected his life greatly. He served on the Cru leadership team at UW-L where he had a passion to clearly communicate to men on campus the need for a personal relationship with Christ. The last 3 months of his life he dedicated to sharing the Gospel to anyone who would hear. He didn’t know it, but he was finishing strong.

If we truly know God, it should affect our lives like it did Sean’s.  But it all starts with a decision, a choice to begin that relationship, that personal relationship with God.  If you are reading this, and you have never made that decision, I’d like to give you that chance.  The following is an example prayer. They’re not magic words – it’s all about the attitude of your heart.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

If you made that decision, please contact one of our staff, or even a student leader.  We’d love to get a hold of you and talk to you more about that decision.

- Paul (paul.runnoe@uscm.org)

Relationship

God is moving in so many ways at Winona State University. It has nothing to do with staff and students of CRU but it is because of the power of the Gospel.

#1- God loves you and created you to know Him Personally. He has a wonderful plan for your life.

God’s Love

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God’s Plan

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3, NIV).

#2- People are sinful and separated from God.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

Man is Separated

“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23). “…(Those) who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus…will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord…” (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9)

law2

This diagram illustrates that God is holy and man is sinful. A great gulf separates the two. The arrows illustrate that man is continually trying to reach God and establish the personal relationship with Him through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion – but he inevitably fails. The third principle explains the only way to bridge this gulf…

#3- Jesus is God’s only provision for our sins. Through Him alone we can know God personally and experience his love and plan.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He Rose From the Dead

“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

He is the Only Way to God

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’” (John 14:6).

law3

This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.

It is not enough just to know these truths…

#4-We must personally accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, then we can know God personally and experience His love.

We Must Receive Christ

“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12)

We Receive Christ Through Faith

“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth (Read John 3:1-8.)

We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation

[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our will.

These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

] self directed lifechrist directed life

Which circle best respresents your life?

Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

The following explains how you can receive Christ:
You Can Receive Christ Right Now by Faith Through Prayer

(Prayer is talking with God)

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”