Being Known by God (part 1)

Being Known by God (part 1)

Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio.  This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt.  You can hear the whole sermon, Discipleship (part 5), by clicking here.

David said “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Ps. 27:4)  Likewise, Paul, perhaps the greatest discipleship story of all time, had given up all of his personal righteousness, all the standing he had as a Pharisee for one reason, for one thing . . . in his own words, “that I may know Him.”  (Phil. 3:10)  That’s the ONE THING – to know Him!

There have been seasons for me where it seems like I hear the Lord at the drop of a hat.  In those seasons it almost seems that if there is any second that my mind is not occupied with something, I seem to instantaneously hear the voice of the Lord.  In those seasons, Jer. 33:3 seems to be fulfilled so easily!  “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”  There have also been seasons for me where I am thinking “am I doing something wrong? . . . because I’m not hearing much!”  That said, there are naturally going to be some seasons in your walk with God where God seems to be more vocal with you and some seasons where He seems to be quieter with you.  It’s OK!

God doesn’t respond to “a lot of words”. God respond to honest words. Recently, Peter very honestly told the Lord “O Lord, I just want to hear you more.”  And in the instant he laid his heart before the Lord he heard “my silence has been an invitation for you to speak.”

Sometimes we go silent before God thinking we are doing Him some sort of favor or paying Him some sort of reverence.  AND there is actually a place for that.  Eccl. 5:1 says that we need to be reverent before the Lord when we come before Him – slow to speak, quick to listen!  Similarly Jn 4:24 tells us “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”   The truth that He gives us in His word – that’s what you want to bring back before God.  We are actually worshipping God when we bring back before Him the words that He has spoken.  That said, is it possible that God sometimes is more interested in knowing you than He is interested in hearing you say “all the right things?”  And that’s what this message is about: being known BY God.  The last message was about knowing God.  The one thing.  This message is about being known BY Him … even if you know that when He knows you that He’ll know that not everything is all quite right.  “My silence has been an invitation for you to speak.”  God is a great conversationalist.

But what does it mean to be known by God?  What’s the Word say about being known by God? Having a well-rounded or circumspect council of scripture about a topic, enables you to think well about that topic.  Let’s start with Gal. 4:9.  Here Paul says: But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God . . .” There are two points we can glean from this scripture about being known by God.  First we see that “knowing God” and “being known by Him” while separate things, they are like conjoined twins – “cut from the same cloth” and inseparably linked!  In looking at the Greek of this verse, we also see that “rather” more accurately means “better or much the more.”  Applying that, the translation would be something like this: “But now after you have known God, or better yet (rather) are known by God.”  Wow!  Not only is being known by God very closely (almost inseparably) linked to knowing Him, but we also see that it almost deserves special emphasis and recognition – even in the elite context of the ONE THING of knowing Him!  It is particularly special to be known by God!

In Mt. 7:21-23 we read that“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, In fact, Jesus will tell some of them “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”   Being known by God is ESSENTIAL to salvation.  These people Jesus spoke of were prophesying, casting out demons, and doing mighty works  IN HIS NAME!  They knew something about Him!  For us, as believers, we may tend to read Mt. 7 and get a bit worried thinking “I hope Jesus doesn’t say that He didn’t know me.”  Here’s the thing . . . if you are worried about that, this scripture is not for you!  But there are some people who know a lot about God, but God doesn’t know anything about them.  “Depart from Me; I never knew you.”

1 Cor. 8:3 says But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.”  We actually love God by being known by Him!  He wants to know how we are.  But, do consider this . . . God responds particularly to vulnerability.  It’s humility that’s the key to connection!

We can see from the life of Moses that being known by God is actually a platform on which God can release an increase of His grace in our life.  Remember that Pastor Brad has shared that “grace is God’s willingness to use His power and His ability on our behalf.”  Moses was known by God and that increased God’s willingness to use His power and His ability on Moses’ behalf!  Jesus increased in favor with both God and man!  How do you increase in favor?  Step one is you have to be known!   Similarly in Genesis 18:19 we see that God is making a covenant with Abraham and He is saying “I’ve known Abraham.”  Why?  “So that covenant can happen.”  God wants to give a legacy to and what’s one of the pre-requisites to God being able to do that through Abraham?  God knowing Abraham!

In 2 Samuel 7 we see David essentially tell the Lord “You know me perfectly and completely, what more can I say?”  There was absolutely nothing left unsaid there.  God knows David perfectly and then, as a result of that knowing, God is using all of His power and all of His ability on David’s behalf to establish His covenant with David – to show Himself good with David!

So Abraham, Moses, and David were all known by God and the results were profound.  Being known by God is essential for salvation. And we actually love God BY letting Him know us!  Knowing God and being known by Him are absolutely linked and there is a particular emphasis on the wonderful nature of being known by Him.  That is some of the council from the Bible on what it means to be known by God.

Finally, Jesus says in Jn 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  So … (They hear My voice) + (I know them) = They are a follower of Christ.  This is the equation for being a follower of Christ!  You hear His voice, He knows you, you are following Him. Being known by God is the other half, the cooperating parter to knowing Him!  May we know Him and be known by Him!

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