Sunday, 9 February 2020

How do I know that I know God?

Reading: 1 John 2: 2-14

(v.3) We keep his commands… which are?

So, we can know objectively that we know God. No-one, I think, is going to ‘love the Lord their God with all their heart’ (Matthew 22: 37, 38) unless something profound has happened to them.

And if we sin; if we mess it up – which we surely will - we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (v.1) who is the propitiation or ‘sin-offering’ for our sins and everyone’s (v.2).

Understanding this, keeps us focused, because we don’t have to keep beating ourselves up over failures. Jesus has dealt with them. As we meditate on the reality of that and worship the Lamb who was slain, we draw close to God.

(One of the things about praying ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done’, is that the centre of worship in heaven is the Lamb who was slain.)

We can know about God. We can be familiar with the language of godliness – that that doesn’t fundamentally change us.

Knowing God changes the purpose of our lives. (Be transformed…)  
Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him (v.5) 
There is evidence when somebody knows God. It isn’t entirely a private thing, it shows itself in every part of life.


In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul is in a dilemma. He understands that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel (1 Cor 9: 14), but this is impractical in his situation. Nevertheless, he says, necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Cor 9: 16). God has placed a burden on his heart that he cannot silence. He says elsewhere (2 Cor 5: 14), the love of Christ compels us.

Other men of God have said similar things. When Jeremiah resolved to be silent and stop getting himself into trouble, he could not:

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.
Maybe you’re not a prophet, preacher or an evangelist. These are particular gifts that not everyone has. Paul talks about the love of God has been poured out (or ‘shed abroad’) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5: 5). Imagine sharing your office space or your morning commute with someone who just oozes the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Eventually, it would get to you. You’re in the presence of God.

Godly thoughts

Does it ever just strike you that God is amazing.

Do you find that you could happily talk about him and nothing else all the time? You are constantly amazed at his creation, or the wisdom of his word, or the intricacy of his plan of salvation. Or the beauty of Jesus. Are you heart-broken by Jesus’ suffering?

Oh, how I love Your Law! Says the Psalmist. It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119: 97)

Or Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
It’s a brilliant piece of writing where David draws together is meditation on the God’s written Law with his contemplation of the physical world. He sees the one in the other.

I don’t know God well. I often feel as if I don’t know him at all. But what I can see is very brilliant. I’ve been accused of getting excited (can you imagine it?).

I’ve spent all my life conscious of my own mediocrity. It’s very frustrating. And even now, people keep telling me what won’t work, what I can’t do and what I’m not good at. But God loves me. He doesn’t love me because I’m good at anything – or because I’m good at all. He knows that I’m not.

But he loves me because he is altogether lovely. He is love, indeed. And he loves me …to the end.

Through my sin and corruption and mess, my lust and my evasiveness and fear, he came to me and took on my well-deserved death. Jesus is my propitiation. My advocate with the Father. My life; my dignity and my hope of glory.

So, of course, I get excited! Wouldn’t you?


We see God’s people exhibiting great boldness in the scriptures:

Abraham challenged God’s righteousness over Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 18: 25
Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
That’s boldness!

Moses stood between God’s wrath and his people on several occasions, for example when they made the golden calf:

Exodus 32: 9-12
The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?  Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.
That’s boldness
  • Or Paul, setting out on his missionary journeys to Asia Minor, to Europe or to Rome itself to stand before the emperor.
  • Or Sandie running the missions at Dovegate.
  • Or Simon, coming up with Walk in a prison cell.
  • Or any ‘great’ man or woman of God that you can name.
God doesn’t want you to be Billy Graham or Martin Luther; he’s had those. But he wants to see what you can be if you let him loose in your life.

Over and over again in the NT, we see the apostles praying that they or others might have boldness to speak the word or act in faith, or boldness before God in prayer.

Perhaps we don’t seem very bold. But let’s become bold. Let’s step out in faith and prove God’s faithfulness. Let’s prove this word we claim to believe.

I’m looking around the room, and I reckon that most of us here know God. His peace and grace are evident in your lives, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But maybe you’re thinking that you don’t know him well – or that you need to know him more.

John 17: 3
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Knowing God, and knowing Jesus Christ (same thing) is eternal life. We need to know God.


Be direct.

Ask God to show you how to know him more. Ask him to show you how to read his Word; how to be passionate in prayer. He will show you.

Seek him. Specifically, seek the face of Jesus. (How do you do that?)

Back in the day, people could literally go and find him. He was in a place at a time. Nowadays there would be an app showing where he was from hour to hour. So how do we do it?

Seek him in the Bible.

1. Seek him out in the gospels. Find him feeding the 5000 and meditate on it. Find him forgiving the woman taken in adultery and meditate on that.

2. Seek him out elsewhere in the Bible. What does Paul say about Jesus? What does it say in Hebrews? In the Psalms? In the Prophets? In Revelation?

Talk to him. Spend time with him.


Don’t be satisfied with second-hand knowledge. It is our privilege and our responsibility to know him for ourselves.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

My Times are in His Hands

In a morning service recently, I spoke about the text from Psalm 31, ‘My times are in His hands’, concentrating mainly on the word Times.

In Ecclesiastes we read, ‘There is a time for everything under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die ...’.  All and every day our times are in His hands, yes, even our age!

Consider God’s hands. The phrase ‘the hand of God’ appears 16 times in the Bible, 7 in the Old Testament, 9 in the New.  Psalm 118: 15-16 says,
The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high.
The Psalmist writes about God’s 'severe chastening’. God has opened the gates of righteousness, v19 and in v21 he gives thanks that God has become his salvation. The hand of God has opened up a way spiritually; Jesus died and hung by His hands to pay the price for our sins to give us salvation.

God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. His hand is working in people’s lives, He is a miracle working God.

We read in 1 Peter 5 v 6,
Humble yourselves therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.
‘Under God’s mighty hand’. The safest place to be is under God’s hand, but people in general do not understand or see it. They do, however, in football experiences recognise a God who works miracles! The well-known World Cup match in 1986 - Argentina playing England - when Diego Maradona illegally hand knocked the ball into goal. The goal was counted because the referee did not see the touch by hand, and because this seemed like a miracle for the Argentines it was known worldwide as ‘The hand of God’! This goal, although illegal, shows how people can believe that God can change the circumstances of life!

The Bible shows God's hand in lives, working His purpose out - Romans 8 v 28. Have you recognised God's hand in your life? If not put your life in His hands and see Him working today.

Psalm 31 v 14 - MY TIMES ARE IN HIS HANDS.

God’s hands are shown in the wonders of creation. His hands are shown throughout the Bible. One passage in Jeremiah 18 vs 1-6 speaks of the potter taking the marred pot in his hands and remaking it into something worthwhile and beautiful. That is what God can do in our lives which are often broken, like the potter he takes us in His hands and remoulds us, often by physical or spiritual healing.

We read in Romans 12 v 2 about the renewing of our minds, and in Galatians 5 about the gifts of the Spirit. Romans 5 v 5 reminds us:
hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
So many ways GOD’S HAND is working today. Just commit your way to the Lord and He will bring it to pass.

Thank You Heavenly Father that our times are in your hands. Help us to use those times in your service effectively and bring honour to your name every day.  Amen.

Colin Poyser