Saturday, 10 of December of 2016

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How Can I Know God?

Life is full of many deep questions but by far the most important of them all is, how can I know God?  We all have a secret craving for the answer to this because it’s the key to so many other questions such as, why am I here? and where did I come from?  This in turn provokes further questions:  where am I going?  How can I be sure I’m going to Heaven?

IT STARTS WITH THE BIBLE. The answer isn’t found in ancient rituals, hidden codes or at the top of a Tibetan mountain.  It’s found in a document that you may already have in your house called The Bible.  Perhaps you’ve neglected the Bible because “that would be too easy.”  We sometimes undervalue objects that are commonly available.  But God made sure that the Bible was the most published book of all time for a good reason — so that you and I can know Him.  If you have a Bible, you may want to get it now so you can find some verses we’ll discuss in a moment.

God refers to the Bible as “His Word” to mankind and there’s every reason to believe this is indeed so.  The Bible is the most thoroughly researched book in all human history.  The finest academic minds of the last 2000 years have affirmed it’s authenticity.  Throughout the centuries it has continuously demolished the short-lived theories of its critics in matters of history, origins, science, predicted events, human behavior and other areas.  And each turn of the spade brings new archeological evidence of the Bible’s stunning accuracy.

GOD REVEALED. The Bible reveals a Being who is completely unlike us.  His primary attribute is that He is utterly holy.  Referring to much more than His moral perfection, holy pertains to God’s “otherness” including His self-existence, omnipotence and separateness above all His creatures.  Within this holiness are His secondary attributes such as perfect love, compassion, mercy and generosity.  But equally important are His attributes of perfect justice and hatred of sin.

WON’T YOU JUST ADMIT IT? The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1.15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  Why would Paul say such a thing?  How could the greatest Christian who ever lived refer to himself as the chief of sinners?   The answer is that when Paul evaluated his public and private life in light of the holiness of God there was only one inescapable conclusion — he too was a dreadful sinner.

You and I are no different and we’ve got to admit it.  We all gossip, we all occasionally think bad things of others, we laugh at off-color jokes, take the Lord’s name in vain, exhibit lust, greed, anger, cynicism, jealousy and a thousand other things.  In fact,  each of us carries—in the deep recesses of our minds—thoughts and impulses so dark and unspeakable that we dare not share them with anyone.  Can you imagine if they knew?

But God knows all about them and He has a name for them: He calls them sin.  And He has declared in His word that “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6.23).  Now we all, of course, die a physical death so what does God mean?  He means that the consequences of our sins is eternity apart from God in a real, literal place called Hell.  And eternity is a long time.  There is no “undo” button after you die.

HOW CAN I BE SAVED? Remember what Paul wrote?  He wrote, “Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  This is what we call the Good News. Jesus came into the world to save those willing to confess their sinfulness and call on Him to save them.  He has the authority to save us because He Himself is God and He Himself paid the ultimate price by dying on the Cross on our behalf.  This is referred to as “substitutionary atonement.”

It means that Jesus paid it all.  Therefore it’s by faith alone in Him that we’re saved.  No amount of good deeds or special prayers or acts of contrition will ever save us.  Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2.8-9 writing, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

So what are you waiting for?  Won’t you admit to God that you’re a sinner and that you now understand that Jesus died for you?  Do it now, by yourself in private.  You don’t need a “priest” or anyone else.  God says you may not get another chance.  He says, “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6.2).

HOW WILL I KNOW I’M SAVED? The Bible says, “if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. Old things have passed away” (2 Corinthians 5.17).  You’ll not only know God but know Him in a very personal way. You’ll experience His love in a way you never could have imagined before. Paul puts it this way: “The Holy Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”  Put another way, you’ll have an internal peace about it. You come to realize that although you’re more flawed than you ever dared believe, in Christ you’re more loved and accepted than you ever dared hope.  You’re going to Heaven.

You’ll also know you’re saved because you’ll start to think and act differently.  You’ll have a desire to study the Bible and to please God with your life and to worship Him at a local Bible-teaching church.

Won’t you come visit us to start your new life in Christ this coming Sunday?