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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Knowing God.

A good morning with the friends in Coatbridge Baptist Church.  I always enjoy my visits there, as they are such an encouraging group of people and, over the years during which I have been privileged to assist, so many have become personal friends.

This morning, we looked at the difference between knowing about God, and knowing God!  And it's a big difference!  There are many who know a great deal about God, but who have no personal relationship with Him.  And even among those who do have that relationship, many have not worked at deepening, and improving it.

I used, as my illustration this morning, my own marriage, and showed four ways in which I know my wife, and by which we may know God better.  The first of these is that my wife and I entered into a covenant relationship.  Almost 44 years ago, we stood in front of the Rev George B. Duncan and made that special commitment, for life, to one another.  We didn't know each other particularly well at that stage, but we knew enough about one another to be prepared to take that step.  If we wish to know God, we must do the same thing.  Based on what we do know about His love, and grace, and mercy; about His desire that all people be saved; about His wisdom and power; we take the step of commitment that leads us into a covenant relationship with Him.

However, I pointed out that my wife and I also spend time together.  And not just time, but 'quality time'!  If we wish to know God, then we need to do the same.  Not just a rushed 'Quiet Time', with one eye on our Bible, and the other on the clock!  We need to fit our schedules around His, not vice/versa!

We also need to communicate - and to realise that true communication is a two-way affair!  It's not enough or me to do all of the talking, I need to learn to listen to my wife as well and, when I fail to do so, it is usually to my own detriment.  So with God.  If I wish to know Him, I must communicate with Him - reading my Bible; coming before Him in prayer; listening to what He would say to me.  That's something that I can't achieve in a five-minute slot!

Finally, I pointed out that I have borne fruit with my wife.  We have two (now adult) daughters, both of whom we love dearly.  They are the result of the most intimate knowledge of one another that a couple may enjoy.  In my relationship with Father God, I may also bear fruit.  Not the fruit of physical children, of course, but what Paul refers to as "... the fruit of the Spirit [which] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;" (Gal 5:22-23).

So, the question is - do you know God; or do you merely know a great deal about Him?  Early in the message, I quoted from J.L.Packer: "A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him".   It's a thought worth holding.

Do you know Him?!

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