SERMON KNOWING JESUS CHRIST
Today I would like all of you to imagine that you’re a news reporter. You have been working for the New York Times for years. Your employer has full confidence in your abilities and calls on you often to interview people with high prestige.
Your boss call you in, asks you to sit down, and after a pause, he blurts out, in his intense serious way: “We have a job for you. We want you to write a series of articles on Mr. Jones, the future Republican presidential candidate. Your job is to find out everything you can about his past, his views, his character etc. All must be explored in depth, no stone must be left unturned.
This is your mission and you cannot refuse it. A successful series of articles will turn into international recognition and great rewards.
That is your mission brethren. Your job for the next two minutes is to list what you would do to tackle the job and find out the most about the man.
How many of you said
1. “Interview Him”?
2. Investigate his past?
3. Analyze his personal works (Written works, letters, articles, Etc.)
4. Interview those who knew him?
5. Follow him around and observe his interactions with others.
6. Wire tap his phone?
By now you maybe be asking “So what’s your point?”
My point is that though the mission I just described is fictitious, the mission in a way is true.
We Christians have been given a mission long ago by our Boss to get to know Someone special, someone of high prestige. The person is not a presidential candidate. The person is in fact greater than any presidential candidate: It is Jesus Christ.
I Peter 3:17-18
17You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Charis the word for grace may either mean a state of grace or the gracious traits of Christ.
But that is not our focus. Our focus is part two:
Grow in the knowledge of Christ.
What is “knowledge””?
The word comes from the Greek word “gnosis”.
The Primary meaning according to Vine’s Dictionary is “To come to know recognize, understand, or to understand completely.”
What does it mean, therefore, to “grow in the knowledge of Christ?”
It means to engage in an active pursuit of the understanding of Christ. That implies getting to know the mind of Christ. It implies doing a thorough and ongoing analysis of our Savior and all that he is and stands for.
How can we pursue this mission?
Can we interview Him? Well, personally no, we can’t. But in a way we can. We can formulate certain questions, and then deduce the answers from The Bible. Many such questions may get a simple answer. Some will get a partial answer, and for some there cannot be any answer.
To a certain extent we can rely on others who have interviewed Christ, long ago and who have recorded his answers. Much of what we read in the Gospels was the result of questions asked by people such as the Pharisees, His disciples, and others such as Pilate.
Some of the deepest truths revealed in the Gospels where answers to questions. One of the most reassuring and profound truths in the Bible was the result of an implied question asked by Paul.
That is Lord why will you not heal me?
2 Corinthians 12:9
9And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Christ strength is made perfect in weakness. When we are weak it’s not an indication of being forsaken as Paul may have thought, but of special closeness to Christ, if we are close to Him.
What about digging into His past?
Can we dig into Christ’s past?
Yes, we can. We can read about his childhood, his family, and a variety of his early experiences. But, most of all, we can do something that we cannot do with anyone else on earth: we can study His pre-existence.
We can actually trace the constancy of Christ’s mind as it manifest itself in his love toward humans, his hatred of sin, and his firmness in dealing with stubborn sinners. From the beginning Christ is totally reliable and constant in all of those areas.
Christ’s personality is revealed throughout the Bible, not just in the New Testament. His love for the weak and the needy and His hatred for sin filters through the whole Bible.
Ex. 22: 22 22 "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.
23: 9 9 "Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.
34:66 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
Is. 57: 15-1615
For this is what the high and lofty One says—
In other words Christ valued meekness all along as He does today
WHAT ABOUT HIS WORKS?
Can we analyze His works?
Yes we can. We can analyze both his artistic and literary works. But how?
The whole creation that surrounds us is the handiwork of Christ.
Everything we see was and is the handiwork of Christ.
Show some flowers.
The trees or plants in your backyard. The tomatoes on your plant. The fruits on your fruit trees. The vegetables in your garden, or the ones at the store.
That face you see when you look in the mirror. Those precious gorgeous children in the congregation.
All is the manifestation of Christ’s ongoing creation. Impressive isn’t it.
13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
What about His literary masterpieces?
Did He ever write any great works of Literature?
Any poetry, any prose?
The answer is absolutely.
The Bible is His Literary masterpiece an this is evident from Chapter 1 and V. 1 of Genesis.
Can any creation account ever come close to the nobility and power of genesis 1?
Read a few verses.
What about the most beloved and reassuring song ever written, written by David but inspired by Christ.
We are familiar with the Psalm the Lord is my shepherd, but let me tell you what the Psalm really says:
Since Christ inspired it for our inspiration and reassurance this is how I read it:
1 I The LORD am your shepherd, you shall not want.
2 I will make you to lie down in green pastures,
3 I will restore your soul.
4 Even though you will walk
5 I will prepare a table before you
6 Surely goodness and love will follow you
What about the most ennobling description of the highest expression of womanhood found in
Proverbs 31 ( Do not read)
Asource of guidance and inspiration to women for millennia.
What about the book of Isaiah? The book that most probably contains more direct statements from Christ than any of the Gospels?
Christ speaks to us in beautiful language from the beginning to the end.
The mind of Christ is evident of the pages of Isaiah and to a lesser extent the other prophetic books.
When was the last time we read and reflected upon the
Some of the most meaningful and impactful words ever spoken on the face of the earth:
The beatitudes Matthew 5 (What do these words reveal about Christ? Matthew 5
1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is our God. This is our Saviour. Not a God that values what the world values but one that values humility peace. Love, kindness and righteousness.
What about the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6
9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
That too is His masterpiece
The profound wisdom of Matthew 12
“A house divided will not stand”
‘A tree is know by its fruits”
The parables of the Kingdom Matthew 13.
The parable of the Lost Sheep”
Or His deep-felt conversation with His Father in John 17
And lastly the life-giving warnings of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation.
All sweet poetry that no Dante, Goethe, Milton or any other great poet could ever even come close to composing. That is why the whole word knows of Christ but only a limited number know of Dante, Milton, Goethe or Shakespeare.
What about interviewing those who knew him?
Clearly that is not possible.
Can we observe Christ?
That is not possible either.
But we can read the reliable, detailed account of those who knew Him.
The answer is absolutely yes
I John 1:1-4
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Luke 1: 1-4
Luke 1:1-4 (King James Version)
1Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
3It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
His acts on Earth are recorded in the Gospels. They reveal much about His strength, His courage, His meekness, his tenderness, His compassion.
All we need to do is to enter that magnificent mind is to read the Gospels carefully, paying close attention to details. By so doing you will discover very revealing insights as to Who Christ was and how stunning His thinking really was.
The Gospels are filled with wonderful details that hasty reading fails to notice.
John 18: 4-6 (Christ’s divinity)
4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"
5"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.
"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 21(Christ serves breakfast)
A Breakfast by the Sea
1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately[a] got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?"
They answered Him, "No."
6And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."
11Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
Have you ever stopped to ponder this event? This is God cooking and serving breakfast to His creation. Is that humility and love or what?
23Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Why would God ever allow such intimacy? Simple He was not just a friend. He had made him. John was His child.
John 11: 35 (Jesus wept)
Luke 19:41 (Weeps over Jerusalem)
Matthew 26 Exceedingly sorrowful.
This is the Saviour and Lord we worship and love.
This is the one we call Lord.
This is the One we need to grow in knowledge of.
Can we, therefore, fulfill the job God has given to us?
Can we grow in the knowledge of Christ?
Is there enough material do accomplish the mission?
Are there rewards to knowing Christ?
Let me share a few with you.
1. Knowing Christ reassures us that God not only exists but that He actually walked on the earth and that He actually lived among men.
He became physical substance and lived among men as a man. Thus he knows exactly who we are, our frailties or needs. Thus He can empathize with our human condition.
2. Knowing Christ’s assurance strengthens our faith in times of trials.
21So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. 22And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
3. knowing Christ gives us courage when we feel like quitting.
Hebrews 12: 1-3
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(A) 3For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4. It reassures us of Christ understanding and empathy when we go through great trials.
5. It reassures us of Christ’s special love for us, that is for His called out ones.
John 17: 9, 20-26
9"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
24"Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me;
Lastly, knowing Christ leads to lasting spiritual change.
The more we know Christ the more we want to be like him.
Our aim is to be like Christ, to think and act like Him. Immersing ourselves into this mission will produce great changes in us.
That process slows down significantly, when we draw back from the mission, when we stop learning about Christ.
Philippians 3: 7-8
Philippians 3:7-8 (New King James Version)
7But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Brethren, though we have not been given the job of learning about a presidential candidate.
We definitely have been given the job of getting to know Jesus Christ our God and savior.
Have we accepted the mission? Have we ignored it thus far?
Let’s remember Paul’s words and let’s take them seriously. Let’s grow in the Grace and knowledge of Christ.
Let’s grow in the appreciation of his power, wisdom, creative greatness, Let’s especially grow in the knowledge of this incomprehensible being that showed so much tenderness to perishable humans, so much love to undeserving men and women who values humility, kindness, love and righteousness.
Let’s be in owe of him and let’s emulate Him more and more until we will see Him as He is because we will be as He is.