Knowing GOD?

Knowing God cover

There is a sort of knowledge that only ‘puffs up’ our ego (1 Corinthians 8:1) while the love of God is always constructive, in others’ lives as well as our own. But to know the love of God, we need to know God himself, first. This first of three brief posts on the theme of knowing God, comes from J. I. Packer…

J. I. Packer writes…. “People have gotten into the practice of following private religious hunches rather than learning of God from His Word; we have to try to help them unlearn the pride and, in some cases, the misconceptions about Scripture which gave rise to this attitude and to base their convictions henceforth not on what they feel but on what the Bible says…modern people think of all religions as equal and equivalent – they draw their ideas about God from pagan as well as Christian sources; we have to try to show people the uniqueness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s last word to man…people have ceased to recognize the reality of their own sinfulness, which imparts a degree of perversity and enmity against God to all that they think and do; it is our task to try to introduce people to this fact about themselves and so make them self-distrustful and open to correction by the Word of Christ…people today are in the habit of disassociating the thought of God’s goodness from that of His severity; we must seek to wean them from this habit, since nothing but misbelief is possible as long as that persists.”

From J. I. Packer in Knowing God 

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God’s unpleasant call?

Spurgeon

Jonah flinched at God’s call when he realized it meant going to a people he personally despised. Peter discovered that willingness, sincere at the start, was no guarantee of obedience to the end. But both were called, and both went, and both, by the all-sufficient Grace of God, survived the traumas of discipleship to become effective servants of God. This final brief post on the theme of the call of God comes from Charles Spurgeon… 

 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
 

Isaiah 6:8.  

 Charles Spurgeon wrote… Now, Christian brothers and sisters, it would be a very pleasant thing for me to ask you whether you would go for God in your daily vocation and tell of Jesus to sinners who are willing to hear of Him— you would all be glad to do that. If I were to ask which sister here would take a class of young women, all anxious to find Christ, why you would all hold up your hands! If I could say, “Who will take a class of boys who long to find the Savior?”

“You might all be glad for such an avocation; but I have to put it another way lest you should afterwards be dispirited. Who among you will try and teach the truth of God to a drunken husband? Who among you will carry the gospel to despisers and profligates, and into places where the gospel will make you the object of rage and derision? Who among you will take a class of ragged roughs? Who among you will try and teach those who will throw your teaching back upon you with ridicule and scorn?

“You are not fit to serve God unless you are willing to serve Him anywhere and everywhere. You must with the servant be willing to take the bitter with the sweet; you must be willing to serve God in the winter as in the summer. If you are willing to be God’s servant at all, you are not to pick and choose your duty and say, “Here am I, send me where there is pleasant duty.” Anybody will go then; but if you are willing to serve God at all, you will say today, “Through floods and flames, if Jesus leads, I will, by the Holy Spirit’s aid, be true to my following.”  

From Charles Spurgeon in a sermon preached April 22, 1866, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

 

 

Incandescent?

Utmost

Peter jumped to follow Jesus’ call to discipleship; he even jumped out of a perfectly sound fishing boat into a stormy lake proving his trust in Him and, for a while at least, found that faith in Jesus made all manner of things possible. Later, Peter, for a while at least, would miss his calling and so learn an even greater lesson about faith in Jesus. This second brief post on the theme of the call of God also comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers writes… “Moses (Exodus 2:11) saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven into blank discouragement, he sent him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years.

“At the end of that time, God appeared and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses said – ‘Who am I, that I should go?’ In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God.

“We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing; then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say – ‘Oh, who am I?’

“We have to learn the first great stride of God – ‘I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee.’

“We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God (see Matthew 3:11). We fix on the individual aspect of things; we have the vision – ‘This is what God wants me to do’; but we have not got into God’s stride.

“If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.

Grapes? (or marbles?)

Utmost

Jonah heard the call of God quite clearly, but then objected to the place, and more particularly to the people, to whom God would send him. Our expectations of how God will call us to service, and more particularly, perhaps, where and to whom He will send us, may need adjusting too. This first of three brief posts on the theme of the call of God comes from Oswald Chambers…

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…”
Colossians 1:24 ESV

Oswald Chambers writes … “We make calls out of our own spiritual consecration, but when we get right with God He brushes all these aside, and rivets us with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of, and for one radiant, flashing moment we see what He is after, and we say – “Here am I, send me.” This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object.

“We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.

“I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You are nor ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have been remarkably bitter.

“To be a sacramental personality means that the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted to God before we can be broken bread in His hands. Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest