The Flip Side of Knowing God

  • I still remember the first time I heard her name
  • I was a single young man, happily single, but yet knowing one day I wanted to find a wife and enjoy marriage
  • my love life was completely void of any love life
  • and then I heard a name, and although the name meant nothing to me at the time, I filed it away in case it came in handy later
  • and then came the actual person
  • let me say that the details of the actual person were also filed away because there was a good chance I might need them later
  • and then came the flirtations
  • when I saw her one day I squeezed her elbow – ever so subtly, but we knew what was going on
  • and then one day, in front of all of our peers, she flirted back
  • I was joking about trying one of her chicken wings, when she got up, marched all around the table, and deposited a chicken wing on my plate
  • it was the best chicken wing I’ve eaten in my entire life
  • it was true love
  • in this process, I was filing more and more information away about the woman I was one day going to marry
  • and I began to discover that she, as well, was accumulating information on me
  • as much as I wanted to get to know Charlene, I found out that she likewise wanted to find out more about me
  • this was not going to be a one-way proposition
  • which is a good thing, because I wasn’t really interested in a one way proposition
  • the most satisfying relationships are always mutual, where as one grows deeper in their knowledge of the other, the other individual likewise moves deeper in their knowledge of you
  • there aren’t many Christians who are uninterested in getting to know God better
  • ask any genuine believer whether they desire more intimacy with God – a deeper sense of the presence of God, a stronger belief and trust in his power, a deeper knowledge of his will – and you will receive some interest
  • I think that all of us realize that we desire to know God more fully
  • but any good relationship has got to be mutual
  • let me put it this way: if your interest in God is not reciprocated, you’re wasting your time
  • you’re an unwelcome suitor
  • however, if your desire to know God more fully is not only reciprocated but surpassed, you are on solid ground in your quest to know God better
  • what seems to matter most is this: not that you know God, but that God knows you
  • the wonderful truth is that God welcomes your quest to get to know him better, and what’s more – God knows you already, in an intimate way
  • you, my friends, are graven on the palms of his hands
  • you are never out of his mind
  • there is no moment when his eye is off you, or his attention is distracted from you
  • there is no moment, in fact, when his care falters
  • this is wonderful news
  • it is the flip side of knowing God: the fact that God already knows you, and cares about you
  • this has some wonderful implications, which I’m going to spell out for you
  • when getting to know Charlene, I would say that I faced a fair amount of anxiety in allowing myself to be known, at least fully
  • as a result, I was always on my best behavior around her
  • she bought the lie, and as a result, it was a shock for her when we were married and she found out the truth: I wasn’t perfect
  • I could no longer hide those blemishes of character, those annoying habits, and other troubling characteristics from her
  • but God knows you – every detail of your life, every blemish
  • God has seen all the twisted things about you that non one else has seen
  • God has seen more corruption in your soul than even you’re aware of
  • but here is the great truth: “His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst of me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me” (James Packer, Knowing God)
  • think of it: God knows you at your absolute worst, and having every reason to be disgusted with you, loves you with an irresistible and unchangeable love
  • Paul speaks about this truth in Romans 5:
  • (Romans 5:6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
  • (Romans 5:7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
  • (Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • if you underline your Bible, you should underline those five words in verse 8: “while we were still sinners”
  • these are amazing words
  • God sent Jesus to die for us, not because we were good enough, but because he loved us
  • we all at times feel unworthy of God’s love, but just remember this – God loved you before you ever turned to him
  • if God loved you when you were a rebel, he surely loves you know that you love him back!
  • for some unfathomable reason, God wants us as his friend, desires to be our friend, and has given us his Son in order to accomplish this purpose
  • as we approach God and desire to know him better, we don’t have to worry that God will turn us away because we’re not worthy
  • God desires a relationship with you – he desires to know and be known, even though we’re so unworthy
  • and when, like the prodigal son, we wander far from God and are scared to return, not knowing how our Father will respond, we can be sure that when God sees us off in the distance, he will welcome us back and kill the fatted calf in celebration of our return
  • when we’re scared to approach God because of our unworthiness, rest assured that God desires us to approach him and enter into communion with him
  • and be sure that nothing you could ever do will turn God away from you
  • (Hebrews 13:5) God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  • in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, after chapters about God’s judgment on Judah, a reminder of God’s love appears as a breath of fresh air, and a reminder to us of God’s unchanging love no matter what happens:
  • (Jeremiah 31:3) The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
  • you know friends, God has seen you at your worst, and God has chosen to love you anyway
  • as far as getting to know God better, listen – God desires that you get to know him better, even if your record has been spotty lately
  • you don’t need to turn away from this quest, even though you’ve been inconsistent in your Christian walk
  • no matter where you are spiritually, God still desires that you enter into intimacy – he’s seen you at your worst, and he still desires a relationship with you anyway
  • it’s amazing to think that God knows you – parts of you that you’ve forgotten
  • God knows your faults
  • God knows the sins you will commit in the future
  • he knows the hidden thoughts of your heart that even your closest friends don’t know
  • and God has chosen to love you anyway
  • God desires a relationship with you
  • (1 John 4:19) We love because he first loved us.
  • implication number two is equally wonderful
  • to think that the God of this universe desires a relationship with us – not as a superior, although he is that
  • but God desires a relationship with us, as a Father desires a relationship; indeed, as a friend desires a relationship with a friend
  • I have some very close friends, and for the life of me I can’t remember ever befriending them
  • I’ve come to the simple conclusion that I didn’t initiate the friendship; they did
  • I don’t value those friendships any less; in fact, it’s kind of nice that someone saw me and pursued a relationship with me
  • Paul says of our friendship with God:
  • (Ephesians 1:11) In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
  • (Ephesians 1:12) in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • the knowledge that we were chosen by God is revolutionary
  • our knowledge of God is the direct consequence of God’s taking knowledge of us
  • we know God by faith because he first singled us out by grace
  • God, in his sovereign grace, loved us, chose us, redeemed us, called us, and is preserving us
  • God has chosen you to be his friend
  • when the Bible speaks of God’s knowledge of us, that knowledge is personal
  • (Exodus 33:17) And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
  • (Jeremiah 1:5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
  • (John 10:14) “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–
  • (John 10:27) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
  • God knew you, just as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived
  • God thought about us and planned for us
  • when Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd, he contrasts that role with someone who just looks after sheep for money
  • whereas a hired hand tends sheep for money, the shepherd does it for love
  • Jesus is not merely doing a job; he loves us and cares for us, and ultimately gave his life for us
  • God’s knowledge of us “implies personal affection, redeeming action, covenant faithfulness, and providential watchfulness, towards those whom God knows” (Packer, Knowing God)
  • I’m here this morning to tell you that God knows you by name
  • he desires a relationship of love with you
  • before the world was created; before you were born or even conceived; even when you rebelled against God, he has always loved you
  • God knows what you’re going through in your life right now
  • (Matthew 10:29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
  • (Matthew 10:30) And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
  • (Matthew 10:31) So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
  • Jesus said that God is aware of everything that happens to sparrows, but you’re far more valuable to him than sparrows
  • God knows everything that happens to you; you need never fear trials and difficulties
  • God has intimate knowledge and infinite love for you
  • Twila Paris sings the beautiful song, “Every Heart that is Breaking”

For the young abandoned husband
Left alone without a reason
For the pilgrim in the city where there is no home
For the son without a father
For his solitary mother
I have a message
He sees you, He knows you
He loves you, He loves you

Every heart that is breaking tonight
Is the heart of a child that he holds in his sight
And oh how he longs to hold in his arms
Every heart that is breaking tonight
(Copyright 1988 Ariose Music/ASCAP and Mountain Spring Music/ASCAP)

  • God has always taken the initiative in his relationship with us
  • he came to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden
  • he came to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets
  • he came to the disciples, and to Paul on the Damascus road
  • he has come to us as well
  • God has taken the initiative to pursue a love relationship with you – even though he knows all your faults
  • but your worst blemishes haven’t deterred God from loving you
  • he loves you unconditionally
  • God desires a love relationship with you that is, as one author puts it, “real, personal, and practical”
  • and more than anything else that you might do, God wants you to love him in return with your entire being
  • in fact, he created you for that purpose
  • in a verse that was written for Christians – it’s not an evangelistic verse as we often use it – Jesus says:
  • (Revelation 3:20) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
  • Jesus is knocking on the door of our hearts
  • he wants to have fellowship with us, and he wants us to open up to him
  • by rights, lukewarm Christians should be standing at Christ’s door, begging for forgiveness for their half-heartedness and their apathy
  • but look at the picture that is painted here
  • no other love is like Christ’s love!
  • the nail-scarred hands of Jesus are knocking on the door of a callused Christian, whose heart should be warm with worship night and day
  • but it’s not
  • so the disappointed but long-suffering Jesus patiently knocks on the door of a tepid Christian, saying, “I’m seeking you out”
  • “But I am extending myself to you. I’m knocking at your door. I’m taking the initiative.”
  • and he says, “Open the door”
  • God knows you and is seeking out a relationship of love with you
  • I sense Jesus is knocking on the door of your hearts this morning – some of you sense it
  • he’s inviting you to dine with him, to fellowship with him, to know him better
  • are you going to open that door?

Adapted in part from Our God is Awesome by Tony Evans

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada