One of the big problems we encounter in the postmodern Evangelical church here in independent-minded America is a fallacious idea so many have that once a person “accepts” Christ–he’s instantly mature in the faith and knows everything there is to know about being a Christian. For those of us who have the task of teaching, confusion over this issue can be a real source of irritation as we run in to so many who feel they don’t need to study the Bible for themselves because they are “filled” with Spirit. And this is the main reason that deceptions like the Purpose Driven Life and the Emergent Church are able to slither their way into the Body of Christ in the first place. However, the Bible still says – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

So let’s put to rest–once and for all–the false teaching that says: “I’m born again, and since I have the Holy Spirit, He’s just going to reveal everything to me.” Now as usual, Satan will season his lies with just enough truth so as to make them taste good to our selfish nature, and as a way to make his spiritual cyanide just that much easier to swallow. Here though, is the whole truth. If – you as a Christian – really want to know Jesus intimately-then you will have to make that effort. In Philippians, chapter 3, the Apostle Paul wrote – I want to know Christ…becoming like Him… I press on to take hold…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal… And he also infomed us – I beat my body and make it my slave (1 Cor. 9:27)… I think it’s safe to say that Paul is speaking of exerting an effort here, and I think we’re also secure in saying that there do not appear to be any Paul’s on our immediate horizon here in this timid and tepid – “I want it; and I want it now” – American Evangelical Church of Laodicea.

Do you remember what Jesus says about the spiritually wishy-washy? I know your deeds – [of tolerance and compromise] – that you – [try and please everybody] – you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of My mouth – Revelation 3:15-16. Let’s think of this imagery for a moment. Have you ever been very thirsty on a hot day and come upon a drinking fountain expecting some refreshingly cold water, only to take a big gulp of warm and stale water? What is your instinctive reaction? You’d immediately spew it out of your mouth. And so it is with the Lord. This is how He feels about Christians who profess to love Him, but do not make the time and effort to show their gratitude for His saving them, by cultivating a relationship with Him. Instead, they feel their own purpose driven lives are more important than doing what Jesus asks us to do. O how foolish we are! Here we expect our own children to love us, to spend time with us, and to obey us, but we don’t give our Lord the same kind of commitment that we then demand of our own sons and daughters.

The fact is, if you truly want to have a deep, intimate, and personal relationship with Jesus, it does take commitment. And it requires daily diligence–perseverance–prayer and zealous study of what God has revealed about Himself in His Word, the Bible. Because, if you chose to simply go about your daily business–not making the time to do these things–then your very life becomes like the person who spends their entire day on a beach building an intricate sculpture of sand, and the instant the tide comes in it is immediately reduced to rubble and is quickly washed away. As always, A.W. Tozer speaks to the heart of the matter when he said:

It is doubtful whether we can be Christian in anything unless we are Christian in everything. To obey Christ [sometimes] and then in fear of consequences to back away and refuse to obey in another is to cloud our life with suspicion that we are only fair-weather followers and not true believers at all. To obey when it costs us nothing and [then] refuse when the results are costly is to convict ourselves of [making Christ’s commands unimportant] and [to reveal our] gross insincerity.

God tells us in Holy Scripture – You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). We need to see here that this Scripture cannot be speaking to unbelievers because they do not seek God–remember? As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God – Romans 3:10-11. The lost, which is all those who are not in Christ–and all of us were lost at one time–the unbeliever does not seek God, it is the Lord Who would seek them. That’s why Jesus of Nazareth came into His world in the first place – For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost – Luke 19:10. Therefore, this Scripture in Jeremiah must be speaking to believers. So God says – you – [Christian] – will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. The Lord is trying to encourage you by telling us that as one matures in the Christian faith, you should come to understand this incredible truth! You have a chance to have an intimate and personal relationship with Almighty God Himself–Who is the all-powerful; all knowing; everywhere present at the same time–Sovereign Creator of this entire universe! Now let me run this by you again; as a Christian–His dear child–the LORD God Himself wants you to know Him! And He loves you with a love more pure than any you could ever find in this world. Are beginning to get it? That’s right; you who sometimes feel so small and inconsequential in this big ol’ world – you have been specifically chosen by Jesus of Nazareth to have a relationship with God – here and now, in this life, and for all eternity!

Engraved By The Lord

Men and women, I shall prove it to you. This is what the Lord says – See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands – Isaiah 49:16. Almighty God became flesh for you, and He will go through all eternity with these nail-scarred engravings of His hands from that brutal crucifixion–for you. If it was not for the grace of God none of us would know Christ; but Jesus chose to reveal Himself to you. The Master said – No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him – Matthew 11:27. God–a Being of pure Love–chose you to have this incredible privilege of a daily experience with the One Who simultaneously controls every second of every event in a universe that He created instantly–out of nothing–by His Word. The infinitely powerful one true and living God created this amazingly complex universe with all of its intricate design simply by commanding it to exist. Beloved, do you really think anything can ever happen that the LORD God Almighty won’t be able to see through with you?

What is more, did you know that the laws which operate within it do so because Jesus of Nazareth tells them to. The Bible says – For by [Jesus of Nazareth] all things were created…and in Him all things– [in the universe]– hold together (Col. 1:16,17)…[because God the] Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His Being, sustaining all things– [in our universe]– by His powerful Word – Hebrews 1:3. Keep in mind that we don’t go flying off this planet as it speeds around the Sun at some 67,000 mph because Jesus of Nazareth won’t let us. We need to understand that the stars and the planets in this immense universe don’t collide because Jesus tells them not to! Is it becoming a little clearer for you, just Who it was that was being beaten and crucified by men He had made. Can you see just Who it was that these mere creatures nailed to that cross, which was made from the wood He had created? Now that we know this, things like the Purpose Driven Life seem rather silly, don’t they? Do you think–oh, just possibly–that Christ might be worthy of a little more respect than He is currently being shown through the man-centered psycho-philosophies of the seeker sensitive Evangelical church today? And dear Christian, don’t you think our great Lord is worthy of just a little bit more effort to obey Him than you currently give?

So now let’s put this all together. Christ Jesus of Nazareth–the very Creator of the universe–Personally chose to reveal God the Father to you. Not only that, but God the Son wants you to know Him–by the power of God the Holy Spirit–because He longs to spend time with you! However, we must never forget that the God Who is revealed in the Bible–without beginning and without end–is a Being far superior to us. So much so that He can be present individually with you, as if you were the only person in existence, and while He is doing that He is also equally as present with everything and everyone else in a universe so vast that you and I cannot possibly comprehend it! And yet the Lord is even bigger than that! Now I ask you, do you possibly think that once you are saved you suddenly know everything about God; this Self-existing Being of pure Spirit-with the intellect and power to simultaneously sustain innumerable galaxies while at the same time knowing every creature’s very thoughts! Has the ant now graduated Harvard University with a Doctorate in Nuclear Physics? Of course not; the Christian must seek out his Lord–not for salvation from sin and Hell–that Christ Jesus has given you. But, if you really want to know Jesus, and to experience here on earth, an intimate relationship with our wonderful Lord–then it must be your consuming desire–above all else. We must be willing to pay the price to let God strip us of the effects of this evil world system that has been s horribly corrupted by sin from what our Creator had originally intended.

Do you see? The LORD God’s creation, the world we see, what we call nature–the awesome wonders of space and the oceans–and the animals He created for us, is in itself good. However, at the same time there is an evil “world” order that has been developed by Satan and his demonic forces with a very able assist from fallen mankind that is filled with its cruelty–selfishness–greed–and perverse sexual immorality. What the true Christian should know is this world right now is a horribly “backward” version of life as God would order it. It is here that the old adage “things aren’t always what they appear to be” applies. And it is from this irreparably warped evil world system world that the Christian has been called out to walk with God by Jesus of Nazareth. But to walk with Him against this world requires much constant, diligent effort. Herein lies the vital reason why we need to meet together in our local church, to see that there are other real Christians out there. Beloved, we are not alone, and we need to be encouraged by hearing God’s Word preached together. And as that Day draws ever more near, we also need to remind each other that–even though everything looks backward–the Lord will continue to accomplish His will in each of us; if, we will only give ourselves completely to Him. And this is the blessing of making an effort for an intimate relationship with your own loving Creator!

May the Lord be praised…