The following is a summary of a sermon preached at Celebration Church on October 12, 2016.
Men and women spend their lives attempting to gain knowledge of God–whether they are seeking THE God, a god, or find themselves to be god. Religions strive to gain knowledge by vain works which become self-centered endeavors. Yet, in Christianity, knowing God is by revelation. God reveals Himself to man. Scripture tells us about this mysterious God.
Colossians 1:26-27, NKJV
The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Why is God Mysterious?
1. God is infinite and man is finite.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25, NKJV
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputed of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
2. The deeper problem is that man is sinful and God is holy.
Sin creates a barrier to knowing God because man cannot comprehend Him.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14, 16, NKJV
Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. Nevertheless when one turns (to be converted) to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
God has revealed Himself through creation itself. Creation around us, and the act of creation itself declares the glory of God! Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, this general revelation is distorted and with sinful influence becomes self-focused. The ultimate end in creation, man, & history are self-fulfilling and exist only for personal pleasure. We see this illustrated in:
Romans 1:20-21, NKJV
(20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened
To those whose minds have been blinded by sin, the wine of God’s knowledge becomes the vinegar of human confusion.
For those who believe, the source of God’s revelation of Himself comes by and through the Word of God– the Written Word (Scripture); the Incarnate Word (Christ); the Spoken Word (God speaks); and Revealed Word by the Holy Spirit. And all of these are cohesive and never contradict the truth of what God has expressed in His written Word and through Christ.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 illuminates God’s delight in revealing Himself to those who delight in Him.
Jeremiah 9:23-24, NKJV
Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.
I would show here that God is the all wise, all knowing God, and thus the true believers can rest in His knowledge, which He reveals to those whom He wills.
Isaiah 40:13-14, NKJV
Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?
I. God is the Source of all Knowledge
Having knowledge is as a stream from an endless spring. God is the fountainhead of all knowledge. To have this revelation from God is both rational and experiential. Jesus spoke of this in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” True Christianity is expressed through our enjoyment of God, and our enjoyment of God brings us to greater revelation of God.
1. Knowledge itself is not God, nor is salvation obtained by enlightenment as the Gnostics believe; rather, God reveals himself in Christ through divine knowledge as the Savior
The work of the believer is to have knowledge given through enjoyment of God that we might speak about God more accurately and to savor God’s beauty in that knowledge
If everything in creation is originated and designed by God, to reveal His glory, then to pursue knowledge without reference to and enjoyment of God is not learning but insurrection
2. God knows all things because He declares all things
What God knows is perfectly true and accurate because He declares it. It originates with Him.
Isaiah 46:9-10, NKJV
Remember the order things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure”
3. God’s knowledge is boundlessly perfect, expressed infallibly in His Word
Psalm 19:7, NKJV
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of
the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
John 17:17, NKJV
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Hebrews 4:12, NKJV
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerning of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Christ is the expression of this Word. He is the representation of the Father’s idea of Himself to mankind. Christ’s nature is the Word of God. He fully man, yet fully God.
4. Nothing can be hidden from God
Daniel 2:22, NKJV
He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
Hebrews 4:13, NKJV
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account
Ezekiel 11:5, NKJV
Thus says the Lord…for I know the things that come into your mind.
The trees of the garden of Eden could not conceal Adam and Eve. No one saw Cain murder his younger brother, but his Maker witnessed his crime. Sarah laughed insider her tent, but God heard. Achan stole gold and hid it, but God brought it to light. David went to great lengths to cover up his wickedness, but God took note of it all. God is not only thoroughly acquainted with the events of the universe, but even the smallest, seemingly insignificant detail of our lives (and He is not surprised).
Luke 12:7, NKJV
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered…
5. The knowledge of God is infinitely greater and higher than any knowledge that man may have or may obtain
Psalm 147:5, NKJV
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.
Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Considering these truths regarding the knowledge of God, His omniscience, true believers can rest in God’s knowledge:
I. My path is known by God
Job 23:10, NKJV
But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Psalm 37:23, NKJV
The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord, and He (The Pleasure of God) delights in his way.
There is nothing that happens in your life which surprises God or catches Him off guard.God is confident in His ability to sustain you, no matter what happens in this life.
Consider Christ’s death: God allowed what He abhorred for the sake of His eternal plan; and He sustained Christ through it. Even, when Christ cried from the cross, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” Christ was crying out the very essence of His nature, deposited into Him by His Father as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb—the Word of God—prophesied by David thousands of years earlier in Psalm 22. For the joy of the Father’s Promise (Luke 24:49) set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), Christ was sustained through even death on the cross.
II. God knows how and to what end we were formed
Psalm 103:14, NKJV
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Isaiah 42:3, NKJV
A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench…
MacClaren says this regarding Isaiah 42:3:
The two metaphors which we have in the former part of these words are not altogether parallel. ‘A bruised reed’ has suffered an injury which, however, is neither complete nor irreparable. ‘Smoking flax,’ on the other hand-by which, of course, is meant flax used as a wick in an old-fashioned oil lamp-is partially lit. In the one a process has begun which, if continued, ends in destruction; in the other, a process has begun which, if continued, ends in a bright flame. So the one metaphor may refer to the beginnings of evil which may still be averted, and the other the beginnings of incipient and incomplete good.
Chris is the Healer of the Broken. For as Isa 53:4-5 declares, He was wounded and bruised. And Christ is the Restorer of the Flame. Isaiah 61 creates a beautiful picture of Christ raising beauty out of the ash heap of our lives. The burned out ashes of your life, influenced by the fire of Heaven can bring again a bright a burning flame.
III. God knows my thoughts and meditations of my heart and thus I am never alone
Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
John 21:17, NKJV
…And he said to Him, “Lord You know all things…”
Psalm 19:14, NKJV
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
IV. God acts on His omniscience
Consider for a moment if God based His decisions and actions on man’s advice: In this action, He would be sinning by breaking the first commandment, “have no other gods before me;” additionally, consider how flawed God’s eternal plan would be following the counsel of fallible humans.
What produces action? Our minds conceive a thought based on its meditations or outside influence. The desires are then stirred if the thought is allowed to progress, and eventually a man’s emotions, or the heart of a man, becomes affected by these desires and thoughts, resulting in action. Jesus addressed this process of an evil man:
Luke 6:45, NKJV
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Proverbs 4:23, NKJV
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
If God is motivated by infinite love towards His Son that has been imputed to us as adopted sons and daughters, then God’s actions regarding us are the eternally supreme best activities towards us in that we are the objects of His love in Christ. Thus the greatest display of His glory is that we are ultimately satisfied with God alone. God’s knowledge of our enjoyment in Him, His desire for us to enjoy Him and thus display His glory, and being that He is full of infinite love towards His son and expresses this love to us; God’s actions towards us are those that bring about our ultimate satisfaction in Him alone and thus magnify His majestic nature.
In other words, all that God does is rooted in His knowledge of our satisfaction in Him and His desire to display His glory in and through our lives through our enjoyment of Him.
V. Revelatory Spiritual Gifts are inspirations from God of pieces of this divine knowledge for the comfort, encouragement, and exhortation of others
Regarding these wonderful spiritual gifts that are still in operation today: Prophecy, Words of Wisdom, & Words of Knowledge
1 Corinthians 14:3, NKJV
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
VI. Instead of acting recklessly we should seek the knowledge of God
Romans 12:2, NKJV
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Ephesians 5:26 says that, He washes us with the water of His Word.
VII. Knowledge of God is not an end to itself, but the beginning, which results from faith-produced godly fear
Proverbs 9:10 & Psalms 111:10 both declare: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”
We are apprehended by grace as a free gift of God. Grace produces faith, or our spiritual perceptivity to divine realities. Faith produces godly fear, and according to the Word of God, this fear is just the beginning of knowing God.
VIII. To enjoy God more fully results in greater revelation of God. This is the true pursuit of the believer: to enjoy God more fully that we may know Him more richly.
Ephesians 1:17-19, NKJV
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
You know more about someone the more time you spend enjoying them. You can spend unenjoyable time with someone and know nothing. Intimacy is developed by mutual enjoyment.
In this wonderful enjoyment of God, both our experience with God, and the truth of what God says about Himself must kiss:
John 4:24: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.