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   Life's Greatest Pursuit

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." --- (SofS 2:4)
Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher          Northgate Baptist Church          F.E.A.S.T Ministries

Understanding And Knowing God


Jeremiah 9:23-24, "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD."

Philippians 3:7-10, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"

2 Peter 1:1-10, "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: {2} Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, {3} According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that <pertain> unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: {4} Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. {5} And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; {6} And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; {7} And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. {8} For if these things be in you, and abound, they make <you that ye shall> neither <be> barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. {9} But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. {10} Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

Introduction:

A. What Is The Meaning And Purpose of Your Life?

1. Success at any price.--- look out for #1.--- no matter who it hurts.

2. A Trim and Firm stomach and thighs --- living for the physical.

3. Victory in what ever you attempt ...

4. Prestige -- Prosperity -- Prominence ..

5. Building Large Churches by any and every means possible.

a. Giving people What They Want --- instead of what they need .....

b. Prosperity gospel --- social gospel --- social activities

B. What I Want You To Understand Is That --- Unless God Is The Major Pursuit of Our Lives --- All Other Pursuits Are Dead End Streets.

1. They won't Satisfy --- they won't result in Fulfillment.

2. They won't do for you What You Think they will do.

3. Jeremiah 9:23, "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches:"

C. The Cure --- Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD."

D. What Is It That Will:

1. Make an Unfaithful church-members --- Faithful?

2. Make an Influential man who is Controlling people --- a Servant's Heart ... ?

3. Make a Treacherous man --- Gentle and Gracious.

The Answer -- Knowing and Understanding the Living God.

(West Memphis, Ark. --- Sammie Simmons)

I. What Does It Mean To Know And Understand The Living God?

A. In the Hebrew language --- To Understand means to --- have Correct Insight into the Nature of the object.

B. How many people today really tries to Know and Understand God --- not many.

1. Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts <are> not your thoughts, neither <are> your ways my ways, saith the LORD. {9} For <as> the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

2. This is why we must Stop Thinking As Men think!

3. We must Think As God Thinks.

Philippians 2:5, "Let this [mind] be in you, which was also in [Christ] Jesus:"

1 Corinthians 2:16, "For who hath known the [mind] of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the [mind] of [Christ].

C. It is Not Impossible to know and understand God.

(To Have The Mind of Christ)

1. I can assure you that He Has Not Hidden Himself.

2. He is Not playing a Cat & Mouse, Hide-And-Seek, type game --- "You can't find me - I'm hiding from you."

D. Romans 1:18-20, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

E. Psalms 19:1-4, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."

(God Is Not Trying To Hid From You!)

F. The Most Natural Thing In The World is for a child to believe in God --- you Have To Teach him Not to believe in God.

Why Is It Important To Know And Understand God?

II. Knowing God Gives Me A Desire To Be Like Him.

A. Jeremiah 9:24, "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD."

1. Notice that God list His attributes: --- Lovingkindness --- Judgment (Justice) --- and Righteousness

2. It is Natural To Become Like Those we live with --- We pattern our life after those we idolize --- those we think about the most often ...

B. Paul (in Phil. 3:7-10) said:

1. "I count all things [but] loss For The Excellency of The Knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:"

2. "That I May Know Him, --- the Power of his resurrection, --- the Fellowship of his sufferings, --- being made Conformable unto his death;"

3. Paul wanted to share in Every Aspect of the ministry of Christ --- Good & Bad.

4. II Peter 1:8, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

C. Paul not only had a desire to be Conformed to the Image of Christ --- he also desired All Christians to be:

1. Galatians 4:19, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,"

2. Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof]."

3. Colossians 3:10, "And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

III. Knowing God Reveals The Truth About Myself:

A. Isaiah 6:1, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." --- V. 5, "Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

B. It doesn't hurt you to know:

1. God is Holy --- we are Unholy.

2. God is Perfect --- we are Imperfect.

3. God is Strong --- we are Weak.

4. God is Patience --- we are Impatience.

5. God is Impartial --- we are Prejudice.

6. God is In Control --- we are Out of Control with fear and worry.

7. God is Love --- we are Bitter.

C. When we See Ourselves As We Are --- we are Better Equipped to Lean on God --- and Become More Like He Is.

D. Instead of looking at Christ --- the devil will attempt to get you to Look At Others --- then you look pretty good.

II Corinthians 10:12, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

E. The Closer we get to Christ, the more we see Our Need of Him.

F. The more we see Our Need of Christ, the More Important He is in our Life --- Home --- Work --- Society.

IV. Knowing God Enables Me To Correctly Interpret My World --- (The World In Which I Live)

A. For some people it takes Insanity --- or the coming to the End of Themselves --- to find God.

1. The prodigal son (Luke 15).

2. Jonah (Jonah 2)

3. Nebuchadnezzar --- Let's look at him:

B. Daniel 4:33, "The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' [feathers], and his nails like birds' [claws]."

(( Not All break-downs are the end of a person's life --- sometimes it is the Beginning. ))

C. In the very next verse, Nebuchadnezzar had a complete Change of Heart:

Daniel 4:34-37, "And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."

D. Nebuchadnezzar had now learned about the Sovereignty of God.

E. When you get to really know God and learn that He Is In Charge --- you won't panic every time you read the paper.

F. God Is Not sitting on the edge of heaven --- looking down upon the earth --- about to have a nervous break-down --- not knowing how to handle a situation..

G. God is Not Intimidated by:

Computers --- nuclear war heads --- famines --- financial reverses --- earthquakes --- or even death.

H. God is still In Control!

V. Knowing God Makes Me Stronger And More Secure.

A. Daniel 11:32, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits] (maximize, capitalize on)."

B. Why are individual Christians Weak Today:

1. They have allowed their Minds To Be Conformed To This World.

2. They have Forgotten What God Is Like.

3. They have Forgotten What God Promises to do for those who Trust Him.

4. Their God is a Little God who Would Like To restrain evil and save the world --- But He Cannot.

5. Their God has Left His Children To Fend For Themselves in a dangerous world.

C. Such A God Is Not The God of The Bible --- The God of the Bible is:

Isaiah 6:1, "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."

Revelation 5:12-13, "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Isaiah 9:6-7, "...the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

VI. Knowing God Introduces Me To The Eternal Dimension of Existent.

A. John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

B. I John 5:11-12, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

C. I Corinthians 2:9, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

D. You will never, in this life, Fully Know and Understand God --- it is a Continous Learning and growing process.

Romans 11:33-36, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen."

1. Knowing and understanding God is More Than Just Learning Facts concerning Him.

2. True Knowledge affects the way we live --- our Attitude --- our Response to others --- our Decisions --- our Direction in life.

VII. After We Know God --- What Should Be Our Response To Him?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." --- V. 12, "beware lest thou forget the LORD," --- V. 23," And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in,"

Psalms 31:1-5, "In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou [art] my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou [art] my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth." --- V. 9-15, "Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, [yea], my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel (cast-a-way). For I have heard the slander of many: fear [was] on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou [art] my God. My times [are] in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me."

I Chronicles 29:26-28, "Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel [was] forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three [years] reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead."


If You Are Not Saved, Nothing Else Matters


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