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July 7, 2024

Knowing God, Not Just About Him

Passage: Acts 19:11-20
Service Type:

In his sermon, “Knowing God, Not Just About Him,” Elder Victor Laird from Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville explored the profound difference between knowing about God and truly knowing Him. Referencing Acts 19:11-20, he highlighted the remarkable miracles God performed through the Apostle Paul, including healing the sick and casting out evil spirits. However, when the seven sons of Sceva, itinerant Jewish exorcists, attempted to invoke Jesus' name without truly knowing Him, they were overpowered by the evil spirit. This incident spread fear and led many to confess their deeds and burn their books of magic, illustrating the transformative power of genuinely knowing God.

Laird delved into the life of Apostle Paul, a devout Jew taught by the respected leader Gamaliel. Paul knew the scriptures but did not know God until his transformative experience on the road to Damascus, which led him to spend years seeking the Lord intimately, as detailed in Galatians. Laird posed a critical question to the congregation: Are you here to know about God, or to know Him personally? He cited Matthew 7:21-23, emphasizing that merely knowing about God is insufficient; even those who perform miracles in His name may be turned away if they do not truly know Him.

The sermon contrasted the desire to know about God for knowledge, debate, power, or blessings with the deeper yearning to know God intimately. Laird used personal examples to illustrate this point, comparing it to someone wanting the benefits of marriage without the commitment or enjoying job perks without doing the work. He referenced Psalm 103:1-6, which speaks of the numerous benefits of knowing God, including forgiveness, healing, redemption, and renewal. However, the focus must remain on God Himself, not just His benefits.

Laird explained that knowing someone implies intimacy, using biblical examples where “knowing” denotes a close, personal relationship, such as in Genesis, 1 Samuel, and Judges. He cited Jeremiah 29:13 and Matthew 7:7-8 to emphasize that finding God requires wholehearted seeking. Knowing God as Father, Best Friend/Groom, and Comforter/Teacher fosters different facets of this intimate relationship.

As a Father, God offers a relationship where believers are His children. John 1:12-13, Galatians 4:6-7, and Romans 8:15-16 highlight this filial connection, where believers cry out “Abba, Father,” indicating a deep, personal bond. Laird stressed the importance of imitating God as dear children, as stated in Ephesians 5:1, and trusting Him like a child trusts a parent, reflecting Matthew 7:7-12.

Jesus as a Friend and Groom of the Church underscores a personal and sacrificial love, seen in John 15:12-15 where Jesus calls His followers friends. The intimate conversations between God and Moses in Exodus 33:11 illustrate this friendship. Laird pointed out that God desires this close relationship with all believers, not just a select few.

The Holy Spirit as Comforter, Helper, and Teacher was another key point. John 14:15-18 and John 16:5-15 describe the Holy Spirit’s roles in guiding, teaching, and revealing truths to believers. Laird emphasized the necessity of remaining connected to the Holy Spirit, drawing an analogy to accessing information in the cloud versus a hard drive, where constant connection ensures up-to-date guidance and knowledge.

Laird connected his message to the previous sermon by Patrick on the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, underscoring that the focus should be on the Giver rather than the gifts themselves. He warned against seeking God merely for solutions or knowledge, as exemplified by the Pharisees and other biblical figures who knew the scriptures but did not know God.

The sermon concluded with a call to deepen one's relationship with God, urging believers to seek Him with humility and sincerity, echoing 2 Chronicles 7:14. As part of this journey, Laird led the congregation in communion, a symbolic act of intimate fellowship with God, referencing Matthew 26:26-28.

#KnowGod #GreatIntimacy #RelationshipWithGod #SpiritualGrowth #FaithJourney

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