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2021 Vision

Jan 10, 2021 | Rob Culler

God's Vision for Your Life - Know Him

John 17:3
God’s Vision for Your Life in 2021

Know Him ~ January 10, 2021

 Note: This is Pastor Rob's manuscript, not a transcript of the message.

Last week, I talked about having 20/20 vision for 2021 and beyond. For the next three weeks, I want to talk about God’s vision for your life in 2021 and beyond.

There are many ways I could package this idea, but I want to keep it simple and memorable with three words: know, grow, and go. We’ll focus on one of those concepts each week, beginning with know today.

Since before you were born, God’s been on a quest for you to know him, not just to know about him. He wants you to know him by having a relationship with him.

Some of you have known about God all your lives because your parents took you to church soon after you were born. Others learned about God later in life. Some developed a concept of God with no formal training. Others aren’t even sure there is a God. It doesn’t matter where you are on that spectrum because our spiritual journeys are as individual as we are.

The important thing I want you to understand today is that God wants you to know him; he wants a relationship with you.

  • He doesn’t want a relationship with a better version of you.
  • He’s not waiting for you to get your act together.
  • He’s not waiting for you to reach some level of acceptability.
  • He wants you, right now, just as you are!

Some of you secretly wish that this were true. It is true. Forget the rules and extra stuff you may have heard from other people and believe God himself.

  • We learn from Jesus is companions that he regularly welcomed and hung out with those who didn’t fit the molds of religious people’s expectations.
  • In fact, he was ridiculed by religious people for welcoming and befriending sinners.
  • He took it in stride, telling his detractors that doctors exist to treat sick people, not healthy people.

Some of you who have attended church your whole life need to hear this: God isn’t waiting to love some better version of you; He loves you! You may have kept him at arm’s length because you felt, or people made you believe, that you’re not good enough for God. That’s not true!

And it is true!

I’m not contradicting myself, so please hear me out.

Scripture is clear that on our own none of us is good enough to know God. That’s why he sent Jesus to be our savior.

  • Jesus’ perfection covers our imperfection.
  • His sinlessness covers our sin.
  • His righteousness covers our unrighteousness.

Some of you with church histories, who believe God is waiting for a better version of you, are believing in the wrong savior! You’re taking salvation into your own hands…

  • If I could do this, or if I could do that…
  • If I could stop this, or if I could stop that…
  • If I could change this, or if I could change that…

Such attempts lead to failure every time!

Adam and Eve tried to save themselves. After disregarding the one law God gave them, they understood what they’d done and tried to cover up their sin. God came looking for them and called out, “where are you?” Don’t think he didn’t know what they'd done and where they were. He knew, and their story shows us how relationship with God works.

  • He looks for us even when we feel like we need to hide from him and cover our tracks.
  • He asks us to come clean and own up to the reality of what we’ve done.
  • He takes our lame attempts to save ourselves and does it far better than we could ever imagine.

What was true then is still true today!

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you’ve done, however you feel about it, God is looking for you and wants you to know him!

Let’s look at three passages of scripture to help us understand this idea of knowing God.

 John 17: 3 (NIV)This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

There is only one way to know the only true God—through his son Jesus Christ.

  • All spiritual paths do not lead to the same place.
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to God except through him.
  • You can’t make it your own way.

God wants you to know him, and that begins when you confess your sin and accept Christ as savior.

Folks brag about so many things in this life—their children, their accomplishments, their status, their skills, their superiority, but all that means nothing when life is over. We’ll leave all that behind. The Prophet Jeremiah tells us this, ”This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NLT)

Those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they…know me.

People boast about things that give them pride, importance, significance. The one thing that can bring us more pride, importance, and significance than anything else in this world aren’t man-made, it’s heaven sent!

The God of the universe loves you and wants a relationship with you—not a one-night stand, not a live-in arrangement; he is dead serious about you and proved it with the death of his son. He has already committed to you, and he’s waiting for you to commit to him. I love how Casting Crowns put in their song, “Who am I?”

Not because of who I am

But because of what you’ve done.

Not because of what I’ve done

But because of who you are

Being able to boast that we know the eternal God is so much better than boasting of anything temporary in this world!

Now, you might wonder if it’s worth it to know God. Obviously, I say it is, but let’s look at someone else’s story and see what they have to say about it.

The Apostle Paul wrote more of what we call the New Testament than any other single writer. However, he wasn’t always a follower of Christ.

When Stephen became the first Christian martyr, Paul approved of his killing. He set out to destroy the church by going house to house in Jerusalem and dragging off men and women to prison. He received permission to travel to the city of Damascus to look for Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished. He testified that he persecuted and beat some Christians to death.

He was so thoroughly convinced that Christianity was a threat to his religion, his people, and their way of life that he did everything he could to get rid of it. He changed his tune after a dramatic encounter with God on the way to Damascus. His life changed, and in his letter to the Christians in Philippi, he wrote, ”You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.

The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.” (Philippians 3:4-11, The Message).

Paul had it all and then concluded that it was all trash compared to knowing Christ.

What about you! Do you know him? It’s not a matter of if you want to know him, you need to know him! Listen to Jesus.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

What an invitation!

Do you know him? He wants to know you! He knows you and still wants you to know him.

  • He’s not looking for a better version of you.
  • He’s not waiting for you to get your act together.
  • He’s not waiting for you to reach some arbitrary level of acceptability.
  • He wants you to know himas you are, right now!

If you’ve never committed your life to Christ, you need to understand the problem and the solution.

If you’re recommitting your life to Christ...

If you’re a church person who’s worried that he doesn’t want to know you…

Prayer

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