~ 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 6), by clicking here.
Many Christians are going to be very surprised that the focus of Heaven is knowing and worshiping God! Teaching about Him opens a door, but until you walk through it, you don’t know Him. The teaching about Him is like a map which indicates “there’s such and such territory over there.” Until you venture into it, you haven’t been there – you’ve just heard about it. When you look at God’s counsel across His Word, it helps you round out your understanding of His Word on a certain topic. This is important! Here’s why . . . as powerful as meditation is, the trouble is, when you meditate on one scripture at once, if you don’t know a lot of other scriptures, you may get some good revelation and some revelation that might be “off the reservation!”
Last time, we looked at a number of scriptures about being known by God, but lets highlight one of them again. Look at Jn. 10:27. “Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Who, according to Jesus follows Him? People that hear His voice and people that He knows! We often just do not catch that in scripture! We know that there’s something about knowing God, but rarely have I heard a teaching on being known BY GOD. Yet, it is a clear, consistent, and important concept in the scriptures! We saw that knowing God and being known by God is a 2-way street, a 2-way relationship. All good relationships have that 2-way exchange. A real relationship is not just me “knowing about you” its me “knowing you.” When we know the Lord’s words, we know Him. When He knows our words, He knows us! As we see with Moses, God choses to empower those whom He knows! Why? Because when He knows you, He knows what you will do with the power!
Probably the best place to start looking at “how” to be known by God is the strongest place in all of scripture that talks about God’s knowing of us. We see in the first 18 verses of Ps. 139 the incredible with which God knows us! He knows what we speak before we say it! God knew you before you were you! God has so many thoughts about you that if you were to count them, they would outnumber the sand. He is with you when you sleep, and with you when you rise. God is with us! We see in verses 1-18 an absolutely incredible omniscience from God spelled out for us.
In the context of those first 18 verses of Psalm 139, let’s look at the last two verses of the Psalm, verses 23 and 24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way (or way of pain) in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” All those verbs are now present tense. They are all for the now. David knew all about God’s omniscience. He knew God knew everything and David had surely experienced being known by God. But yet at the end of this Psalm David still tells the Lord “search me, know me, try me, see me, lead me.” All present tense! What’s the take away? David was known by God because he asked God to know Him! That’s the first point in “how to be known by God” . . . ask God to know you.
Genesis 3 is another classic story of relationship with God and being known by Him Adam and Eve, had been walking with God in uninterrupted relationship, but they sinned and then hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. So, God went to find them and they are hiding. So, let’s look at God’s response in verse 9 because there is a profound understanding here as it relates to being known by God! “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Notice that God asked Adam where he was! Did God know where Adam was? Of course He knew where Adam was! The Bible says “God fills the Heavens and the earth.” Where Adam and Eve were, God was there. He was not at a loss for knowing where they were. BUT, He did ask “where are you?”
You have to get this! As it relates to our relationship with Him, we have to understand that our omniscient Father generally chooses to make Himself dependent upon our invitation to be Known by Him. God knew where they were. But He asked them where they were!
This might be a little bit hard for some of us to grapple with, but consider this question based on we know of the Word now: “is God omnipotent?” Is He all powerful? Absolutely! Can God do anything He wants? YES! But what did He do? Put man in charge!
Look at Ps. 8:6-8: “You have made him (man) to have dominion over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.” God put man in charge of the earth! He told man “be fruitful and multiply. Have dominion.” What’s that equal? “I put you in charge!” God, in His power gave us power! He gave us dominion! Consider Mt. 10:7-8 when Jesus sent out His twelve: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” LOOK at those verbs! Did Jesus tell His disciples when they went out “go out and see if God might heal.” NO! Our Lord sent them with action verbs: heal, give, raise, cast out, preach! The sovereignty doctrine as it relates to prayer causes passivity in prayer; it castrates the Christian. Likewise, the sovereignty doctrine, as it relates to being known by God, causes us to say “well He knows everything anyway, so why would I have to share myself with Him” and IT SABOTAGES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!
Look at Ps. 138:6 “Though the Lord is on high, Yet He sees (regards) the humble (lowly); But the proud He knows remotely (from afar). God knows everything, but with whom does He develop a relationship? The humble one, the honest one, the one that has a humble heart before Him. Facts alone do not develop relationship, but humble, honest words do. Be humble!
James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Do you notice who has the first step in this verse? It’s us! Romans 5:1-2 says “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…” (Rom 5:1-2) We have access and it was bought at a price! He’s paid for our healing, He’s paid for our access, He’s paid for it all! So from there, who has the first step now? Us! God died to restore our relationship with Him. God wants to to know you. He has already made the ultimate, once-and-for-all, first move. Now He is saying “let me know when. I want to know you.” So far, we’ve learned that we can be known by God by (1) asking God to know us, (2) not hiding from God because of shame – or because of truths that we know, (3) having a humble heart before God, and (4) drawing near to God. Amen!