The Most Important Question

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It was a sunny afternoon in Louisville KY. The Ohio River was glistening that day as I walked hand in hand with my girlfriend, Suzy White, along the Louisville Riverwalk. The moment arrived. We sat on a park bench and I asked her the most important question I have ever asked anyone. “Will you marry me?” Each day for the past 34 years I am grateful that she said yes.

In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked an even more important question, “‘But what about you?’ … ‘Who do you say I am?’”

This is the most important question we will ever answer, even more important than a marriage proposal. The way we answer that question will have profoundly personal and eternal consequences.

How would you answer Jesus if he asked you, “Who do you say I am?”

As we continue our series, Seeking God, we come to

Important Truth #3- To Know God you must know God’s Son.

John 1:1

In the beginning the Word already existed.

    The Word was with God,

    and the Word was God.

John 1:14

So the Word became human and made his home among us.

Imagine you are all-powerful, and you want to communicate with an ant colony to let them understand how much you love them. How would you do it without terrifying them?

About 2,000 years ago, an angel of God appeared to a young virgin girl named Mary who is engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, and informs her that she is pregnant through a supernatural work of God.

The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”

Important Truth #4: Jesus was both fully human and fully God in one person!

Jesus had a human body and experienced physical limitations. He grew intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Jesus expressed human emotions and faced all the temptations we face but never sinned.

Yet even in His human fullness Jesus was fully God. In addition to his supernatural birth, Jesus displayed attributes of deity when He changed water into wine, multiplied food, calmed a storm, revealed people’s thoughts and forgave sins.

As I share with people in my life who seek to know God, it is critical that I help them to know Christ because Jesus is God who visited earth in the flesh. It was Jesus who said, “The Father and I are one. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

So encourage those you are sharing with to get to know Jesus. Challenge them to read through one or two of the gospels. Pray with them that God will reveal His son Jesus to them. We can’t know God apart from knowing Jesus.

You can now download my Seeking God booklet on the resource page. 

Knowing God Through the Word

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Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century monk, wrote in Practicing the Presence of God, “Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him.”

The modern theologian, J.I. Packer wrote, “the main business that you are here for is to know God.”

Whenever I share the gospel with someone who has yet to accept it to be true, I start with the question, “Do you want to know God?”  And then I help them see that God has made knowing Him fairly easy and he primarily reveals Himself in two ways:

  1. Through the written Word of God.
  2. Through the person of Jesus Christ.

This week we will look at the first way God reveals Himself.

Important Truth #2-  To know God you must know God’s Word…

In Acts 8:26-35 we meet a man who had a desire to know God. As he was traveling home to Ethiopia he was seated in his carriage and was reading from the book of Isaiah.  God sends one of the early leaders in the church, Philip, to meet this man and to explain to him what he was reading. He showed Philip the passage of Scripture he was reading and asked at least one question. Philip than begins with that same passage and helps the man to come to know God through Jesus Christ.

God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the written words of Holy Scripture. The Bible is God’s Word. This means that through the Bible God reveals to us His character and identity. We learn that God is three persons in one being, that he is love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness all wrapped together. We also learn through the word that He is holy and just and cannot let sin go unpunished.

The author of the Book of Acts gives honor to believers in Berea because they searched the Scriptures day after day. The Apostle Paul told us that faith is developed as we are exposed more and more to the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

God cannot be known apart from His Word. Thus it is critical that we get the Word of God into the hands of people. Earlier this year I was on a teaching trip in India. I met a man in the church in India who is a taxi driver. His life changed forever one day when our pastor in India handed the man a Bible along with his taxi fare and his phone number. The man read the entire New Testament in about a month and gave His life to Christ. Today this man and his beautiful wife and two daughters have all surrendered to Christ and serve the church in India faithfully.

When I am studying with a non-believer, I explain to them that while many books of the Bible can be difficult to understand, much of the Bible is simple and straight forward. An excellent version of the Bible to start with is the New Living Translation, written in a contemporary language. I challenge them to get a Bible and set a goal to read 15 minutes a day and stick to that plan.

A suggested reading plan for someone new to the Bible is:

  • The Gospel of Luke (A story of Jesus’ life)
  • Book of Acts (The story of the first followers of Jesus)
  • Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians (Letters of Paul)
  • James, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John (Briefer letters)

And so it is critical to help people to see that if they truly desire to know God, they must come to know the Word of God and understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21

Seeking God

 childs-faith-christian-stock-photosI’ve always been a fairly organized and structured individual. My favorite app on my iPhone is Wunderlist.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I love my lists.

I also am a fairly good thinker. I rarely make decisions based on emotion. I like to consider all points, reasons, opinions and possibilities. 

So it’s no surprise that when I share my faith with people I make use of a study booklet I developed that is organized, structured and appeals to the mind as well as the heart. Conversion to Christ should never be just based on emotions. A commitment to follow Jesus rarely lasts very long when the decision is based on how we felt at a religious event. The mind must be converted as well as the heart.

This study, “Seeking God” is built around ten foundational truths from the Bible. Each of the next ten weeks I’ll share one truth and some logical reasons to accept that truth.

Truth #1- The Bible assumes the existence of God.  It doesn’t attempt to prove the existence of God.

The opening words of the Bible are well known. In the beginning, God…

The writer doesn’t present the ontological (existence), teleological (purpose), or cosmological (origin) arguments for God’s existence. He doesn’t delve into the moral argument of how we determine right from wrong if there is no God. He simply states that from the very beginning of the universe God existed.

The Bible defines God as the creator of all that is in existence including the universe, the earth and all living beings who dwell on earth. Rather than attempt to prove God’s existence, the Bible states, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” In other words, it is simply foolish to not accept the truth that God exists.

The issue is less about the existence of God and more about whether or not we will seek to know God.

Solomon, the third king of Israel, knew God and served him with a whole heart and with a willing mind. (1 Chronicles 28:9). Solomon didn’t just believe that God’s exists (even the demons believe that God exists). He personally knew God and served Him both emotionally (heart) and intellectually (mind).

Not surprisingly, God promises that, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13

In James 4:8 we are told, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Many who choose not to believe in the existence of God have never sought God in any real sense. Although my belief in God is built on solid logic, I know God exists because he made himself known to me as I have sought him and drew close to him.

One of the first questions I ask when sharing with a person about Christ is, “Do you want to know God?”  The starting point is to help others recognize that God wants you to seek him in a real, personal and relational way. Sadly, many people who claim to believe in God live like practical atheists, as though God does not exist or is indifferent to man.

Fortunately, God has disclosed himself and has made himself knowable to us.

Next week we will discuss how to help others come to a relational knowledge of our creator.