God will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 1 v.8
Do you know God? One of the possible implications of this verse which is engaging our attention over these three days is that you will be asked that question even though he already knows your answer. It is possibility that challenges us to do some serious self-examination.
Please do not be offended by this challenge on the basis that you would not be a church member if you didn’t know God. Rather use the opportunity to explore what it means to know God as fully as you are able.
Let me present a ‘starter for ten’. See if you can find 26 attributes of God beginning with the letters of the alphabet.
Now that is not a huge challenge although one or two letters might find you scratching your head. The real challenge is, even if you have been a Christian for many years, is your knowledge of God simply head knowledge or has it infused your very being.
Allow me to give you some concrete examples of what this means.
God is Holy – Am I seeking to live a holy life?
God is Love – Do I even begin to love like God loves me?
God is Sovereign – Have I submitted myself to his sovereign will?
God is totally Just – Are my dealings in all parts of my life like that?
God is Creator and Sustainer – Do I acknowledge this or do I think I can manage OK?
God is incomparable – Do I think there is something or someone better?
God is Omniscient – Do I live as if he doesn’t see and know me?
God is Faithful – How faithful am I in relation to Him?
God is Judge – How will I fare when I stand before him at the last day?
You see the challenge of Exam Question 1 is ‘Does my knowledge of God impact my life in every aspect.’
Jesus’ words from Matthew 7 v. 21-28 focus on the difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Paul’s words in Philippians 3 v.10-11 seem a very appropriate for us as we ponder how we know God.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.