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The Complexity of Simply Knowing God

Andy Im


Andy Im

Associate Director for the Dept of Public Campus Ministries in the Michigan Conference. Director of the Institute of Adventist Apologetics for C.A.M.P.U.S. 


  • August 1, 2019
    1:45 PM
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Jesus equates eternal life with knowing who God is and this is eternal life that they know you are the only true God and Jesus Christ. And this is eternal life that they know who you are the father. And Weiss says that to know God is to love him in thinking about this passage were really going to be breaking down this one verse that's all we're going to be doing this evening and in reflecting on this I came upon I thought were very interesting quote from Ellen White she says this. The whole spiritual life is molded by our conception of God and if we cherish Eroni its views of his character our souls will will for staying injury that's at some level you and I. Worship God and experience God on the basis of our understanding of what we know him to be our notion of who he is our idea of who we are of who he is and that kind of thing and in reflecting on this this passage I began to think how in the world that can the whole spiritual life be molded by our concept of God and she goes on to say if you have to Roni its views of this of his character our souls will sustain injury. When I was growing up before I got married. I had a very very challenging a big challenge in trusting God for who I was going to going to marry ultimately how many of you experienced that challenge at one time or another and I kind of felt like you know what if I if I trust God I feel like God is going to give me a wife that's more along the lines of Ecan Neisha and goldenseal right. That's healthy for me that's for my best good but. I didn't quite fink that trust God that he had my happiness in mind. And I had a difficult time trusting my future spouse into the hands of God and trusting him completely and so that part of my life I kind of compartmentalize and said well I can't I don't I can't really give all of that up to him and had that challenge and and so you can see how your understanding of God can alter mutely impact the basis of the foundation of whether or not you are going to truly trust your life into his hands and sometimes we have this huge picture of God that ultimately keeps us away from surrendering our entire life into his hands and sometimes we doubt that God has our best interests in mind to give you another example this all started in the Garden of Eden you have gone saying Of every tree look at all the trees out there and by the way Durian is also included was included in the Garden of Eden and I'm sure it smelled much better and that came to mind as we're talking about Cambodia and Thailand and one of the fruits that you that you can eat when you go out there and it's very fresh by the way Malaysia has the best durian I believe in the world because you go to the stands in Malaysia and they are super hardcore about their durian you go to the stands and they have them all numbered like one to like 50 and I was with a good friend of mine his name of David Frum here he runs a health center in Malaysia and we went to this durian stand and you know he would he would be like try 2626 actually has a chocolaty flavor to their durian and sure enough I get number 26 and well yeah that that actually. Tastes a little bit like chocolate and then another one would pace a little bit like coffee and I mean there's all kinds of variations of durian if you go to Malaysia how many of you by the way like durian anyone in here OK I see a couple of hands in here. I would certainly say give it a try because the frozen stuff you get here in the in the Korean and Chinese market it's not the same as when you go out there and eat it eat it fresh but here you have God saying Of every tree of all these thousands of trees you may freely eat all that you can be this just this one that you can. Write the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then when even counters the serpent the focus now shifts from all that she can eat to the one that she can't and as a matter of fact the temptation if you look at the underlying principle of what satan is trying to do there is is causing Eve to distrust God that that God has her best interest in mind and that caused her to distrust God and of course we know all the result of what happened in that decision so the whole spiritual life is molded by your concept of God who you know God to be and if you have Iranians views of his character your soul will ultimately sustain injury a very profound thought there if you think of a dog how many of you have a seen a dog that's been abused. And how many of you have rescued or seen a dog that's been rescued I've talked to many people of who rescued dogs that have been abused and so forth and one of the things they tell me is that in rescuing a dog that's been abused again and time after time again and again is that it takes a long time for the dog to begin to shift its conception of human being's right from that of one that's abusive to one that's loving and so even when you reach out your hand in gesture of love to an abused dog it's going to him interpret that gesture of love as one that is potentially threatening against that dog and therefore you see dogs lot of times you see these abused dogs that when they come up to your dog that gets hit a lot and they'll build the just be crawling at you and sometimes they'll be peeing all along the way and you've seen that before in some dogs really just react in aggression right anything that comes near their disconnect snap at you and the dogs conception of human beings will determine how it will react and interpret any gesture from any human being so your notion your idea of who God is Will alternately determine your experience and even whether or not you'll accept or invite God into your heart in the 1st place getting who God is correctly is so crucial to the Christian experience. So then the question arises why all the Eroni Askham subjects will think about all of the different ways that your concept of God can go wrong you think of all the mixed messages from various Christian entities and group. That can certainly skew an individual's perception of who God is from conspiracy theorist to to hate group said and and so forth another way could go wrong is is in the family and you know one of the things you know Piquet's for example have a reputation of a lot of times going in the opposite direction of their past or their fathers and and I understand this pressure pressure being a pastor and also working in the conference office in Michigan when you go to a church and your children are acting up and it's so easy to to talk to your children in a way that that forces them to conform rather than for them to be who they really are and that you know that messaging to our children can really mess up their experience with God and pray for your pastors because it's it's not easy we visit churches and and you know you have children and and and by God's grace we want to instill in our in our children the love of God a true living experience will love of God and not just one where you're making it just because you want to have a good reputation and sometimes that has to be sacrificed for the sake of your children and I really believe that but but family and the home life can really shape a child's understanding of who God is you think of all the media types right the left that's intention all in the right and all the mix messaging we get from those who are secular to those who are professed Christians and. Kind of thing and social media and what the media is really conveying when it comes to the edge of who God is you think of all the the Christian leaders another example of of how we begin or a pain an understanding of God and think of all the waves that it can go wrong because there are a lot of mutually exclusive notions of who God is that's portrayed amongst Christian leaders today you think of Eroni S. Fiala G. right an example of that would be eternal burning how fire and what a misguided doctrine can say about who God is think about it in the light of this this passage here how repugnant to every Mo emotion of love and mercy and even to our sense of justice is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell that for the sins of a brief earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live it's beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which has been run when we consider in what false color Satan is painted the character of God Can we wonder that our birth of all Creator is feared dreaded and even hated the appalling views of God which have spread over the world from the teaching of the Pulpit have made thousands yes millions of skeptics and infidels by the way all our doctrines all 28 of them alternately paint a picture of who God is they should paint a picture of God of who God is and many times we go to evangelistic meetings and so forth we don't often connect the dots of of how these doctrine. Are related to one another and the picture of God that's presented even in our doctrines and how Christ can be the center of even our distinctive truths so we can do even a better job in that regard you can also have. Aspects of of Yala G.E. or understanding things that articulate in the Bible that can often bring Miss understanding as to who God is and that's where delving deeper into the Word of God to truly understand for example the understood the notion of the wrath of the lamb or the wrath of God is a concept that we see in scripture and lot of times will discount to sweep that under the rug because we don't want to go there or it's just it's it gives us the NG stat night time but again we just don't want to go there but I believe we need to continue to search even with even wrestle with some of these things that are hard to understand and grapple with and I want to talk briefly about the wrath of God How should we understand the wrath of God something that seems so severe and is portrayed as as God as someone who is angry and out to get us how do we understand even something like the wrath of God that's found in scripture and I was reading well known theologian from Yale he was a born in Croatia show went through the whole genocide in sittin years and years ago and notice what he says as he's reflecting on the wrath of God and how he came to grips with it and alternately accepted this biblical concept of the wrath of God he says here I used to think that the rat wrath was unworthy of God isn't God Love shouldn't did Divine Love be beyond wrath God is Love and God loves every person and every creature that's exactly why God is rock full against some of them my last resistance he says to the idea of God's wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslav. Avia the region from which I had come according to some estimates 200000 people were killed and over 3000000 were displaced by villages and cities were destroyed my people shelled day in and day out some of them brutalized beyond imagination and I could not imagine God not being angry how did God react to the carnage in other words to the perpetrators by doting on them in a grandfatherly fashion wasn't God fiercely angry with them though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God's wrath I came to think that I would have to re bell against a God who wasn't wrathful at the sight of the world's evil god isn't wrathful in spite of being love God is wrathful because he's ultimately a God of love. When someone rapes a child. To be angry at that that cold act. I can't even imagine my daughter I mean you know you're here I've heard Pastor say if someone did something to my child good friends you know I think the biggest temptation would be Lord help me not to kill that person. And the fundamental basis for that anger is the love of your child and imagine all the evil we see in this world where God's people are victims in this and children are victims of cruel and evil people is not God angry at those things on the basis of his love. You know. David conducted a census toward see in is towards the more of the latter part of his life and will read we read the passage cheer in 1st Chronicles say to good against Israel and cited David to number Israel so it's so David said to Joab in the commanders of the Army go in number Israel from Beersheba to Dan and bring me a report that I may know their their number and reflecting on this in the book be trucked in profits providing a little context with a view to extending his Kwan conquests This is David among foreign nations David determined to increase his army by requiring military service from all who are of proper age to effect this it became necessary to take a census of the population and the reason why I'm sharing this is that is the story at the end provides a window into how David's understanding of who God is and was. Alternately determined his decision when he was given 3 options is very fascinating you know she goes on to say in that context it was pride and ambition that prompted this action the numbering of the people would show the contrast between the weakness of the kingdom when David ascended the throne and its strength and prosperity under his rule this would tend to still further to foster the already too great self-confidence of both King and people this this this statement right here kind of reminds be of King Nebuchadnezzar right wow look at the glories that I have done and so they was basically saying he wanted to show and reveal to the nation the weakness of the kingdom when he when he started raining in the country and by the time. The census was conducted how much was built up and it really was about himself and David was not immune to pride and and selfishness and some of these things and of course we know the story of the Lord spoke to gad a prophet David C. are saying go and say to David Thus says the Lord 3 things I offer you choose one of them that I may do it to you and what were the 3 options well. Very interesting it was 3 option one was 3 years a feminine very long time but it kind of reminds me of a death by a 1000000 cuts right it's a problem long period of time famine is bad but it's not like so like a earthquake where millions of people could die in like you know in a moment but this long drawn out judgment if you will then you have 3 months so little shorter shorter length here but 3 months of devastation by sort of the enemy and then finally 3 days by the sword of the Lord of the implication is it's kind of clear here you know the most powerful entity here is of course gone and it only takes 3 days but that judgment could be quite severe and notice what David's response is. And Davis said to gather I am in great distress let me fall into the hand of the Lord for here is Mercy is very great but do not let me fall into the hands of man. The one who could do the most damage it's the one thing he chose on the basis of who he knew God to be he didn't run from God He didn't choose the famine I probably would have chose the famine right and I would have chose something else but this one but he chose the mercy he chose God and His mercy and this is my daughter my oldest Livia how many of you like to play around with your children you know one of the things I did when they were younger is I come home then and I still do it to this day but not as much as I used to but out I would always. I do this thing where it's really corny and cheesy and actually very embarrassing but but I would do this thing where where i would you know if you think of a nuclear plant and that's to say there's a leakage and like everything is is going very bad and I imagine the sound the alarm that would resound through the building and it goes something like and and right and I would I would I would play like I'm a monster and make that noise and go to my daughter and then they would get here my daughters get scared and and I don't maybe that's cruel I don't know but I would do this thing where I'm like going after them and you know what's the most fascinating thing when you do that when you're going to your kids and there they are kind of scared run to you. Every single time it will be like. You know who want to go and ultimately all to Billy what that tells mean is they know their daddy right they know all that that beneath that exterior right they know that they have a father who love them. And so when I do that and as scared as they are living always runs to me and grabs me with all her mind. And that's how I picture David he ran to God because that's who we knew you can't write the book of Psalms in the way that he did or many of the songs without having an experience and being in love with God and he knew he made a huge blunder but he ran to his judge and appealed to his mercy and I praise God for that you and I must get much more better acquainted with the God that we serve he loves us you and I he wants to save us and all we have to do is to get to know him. And we all love him. As we close as the final little oil strays in here the Bible says that the pure in heart will see God's the pure in heart will see gotten used to think Oh if I become purer and I become a a good human being and the Lord cleanses me I'll I'll see God when He appears in the clouds of glory and that is one that is a correct way to interpret that passage that those who God cleanses and purified by blood and transforms will see God because they will have a purity of heart and soul and mind but another way to see that is that the pure heart can see God Now the human eye can have an experience with God where we see him now. Notice this statement only like can appreciate like do you believe that isn't that a I'll never understand what a World War 2 veteran I don't understand what it means to have bullets flying in to have you know fellas might my friends and colleagues or fellow soldiers dying and bleeding out I just I'll never never understand their But veterans. Who are out there will understand each other and and she says this only like can appreciate like unless you accept in your own life the principle of self sacrifice to glow up which is the principle of his character you cannot know God we discern the truth the truth of love by becoming ourselves partakers of the divine nature another way say this is it takes one to know one and as God changes us us and as we engage in as we sacrifice and do love being acts to others even when it requires and demands some sacrifice of our lives we begin to understand and paste a little bit more of what it means and and understand the implications of what Jesus really did for you and I how many of you like to drink orange juice like sack sack who likes the sax. I love the sax right I don't like the orange juice without the fat the. But you can also make it how many of you have made you know the orange shoes just like you know with the things you press down. You know and some of them that if they don't have that then you really gotta go at it right and one of the things that my mother used to do when we would visit home from being away and that kind of thing we'd visit at home and one of things my mom used to do is she would squeeze orange juice every morning for my brother and I and so we'd we'd sleep or we'd wake up and I'd look over and there'd be like orange juice right there on the bedside. And I would be like man that's and I love my mother you know. This is awesome and and I drink that orange juice and it was it was wonderful and 11 weekend in particularly we have some other family here and so she was busy having to cook food and breakfast and and take care of other things so the night prior she said Andy can you actually make some orange juice actually for everybody in you know the visitor of the family in and that kind of thing so I said yeah no problem I can do that and so I started to I woke up earlier than usual and I started making the orange juice and I didn't realize that it takes like $500.00 orange juice I oranges to make like one glass riser was like oh man is only 2 glasses and it's like you know and so Mike it took forever and as I was doing that though right then the thought struck me my mom has been doing this every single morning when we're here and can you imagine. The pre-show. The law of the emotions became that that much more stronger that much more for women because in sacrificing myself and it was a sacrifice but I don't like waking up super early in the morning right but as I was doing that I said wow the love of a mother for my brother and 9 and and it was then that I realized you know like. Appreciates like and we all fit into an abbot to some there's this big debate today sanctification and becoming like Jesus and legalism men and you got to just do it and be like him and gee the not going to come back until we reflect this character and all this kind of stuff but ultimately we can view sanctification in this context that ultimately sanctification is all about Jesus that I can fall into deeper love with cheese us as I began to grow and as he transforms my life and as I become more like him I will also love him that much more because I would now resonate with the sacrifice and it's only like in the you know if there was an ocean like the love that we have burst of the love of Christ if it's a drop of water right a little drop in the vast ocean in terms of the love that Jesus has for you and I how many of you want to have that kind of love. A love that is willing to say Lord I will follow you wherever you go. No matter what it takes I know what it takes will drive I don't know 30 days or whatever whatever is driven to go to Montana or whatever to help people you begin to see the love of God and it was mentioned that that the trips that are OUR are the most appreciated are the ones that we're the most sacrifice is actually taking place there is a dying world and they just need to see that God loves them and they see that through your love and my love may God help us towards that end that's our heads for a word of prayer Heavenly Father. We thank you so much for your love we we don't understand it fully but more just give us a little taste to help us to see that the Lord is good and we want to pass on that goodness to a dying and suffering world. And Lord if we yet lack that understanding of how much you love us we pray that you will beep in our understanding if it takes studying the Bible and reading the Gospels and reading Paul's writings and seeing how you led the ancient Israelites and that you were always there to save them to help them even in the midst of being a crooked nation or or being rebellious and yet you love us so much help us to see that love is our prayer our corporate prayer this. We ask all this in the name of Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio force a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.


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