Knowing God


Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 December 2014


Sermon synopsis: Apprehending God (Pursuit of God by A W Tozer):
It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man's faith in God. To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. 'He must be,' they say, 'therefore we believe He is.'

Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed. To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence. These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience.
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Knowing God.

Apprehending God (Pursuit of God by A W Tozer)

(O taste and see..-Psalm 34:8)

It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man's faith in God.

To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. "He must be," they say, "therefore we believe He is."

Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed.

To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence.

These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.

Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God, and they have been taught to pray, "Our Father, which art in heaven.“

Now personality and fatherhood carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. This is admitted, I say, in theory, but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.

Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. "O taste and see that the Lord is good." "All thy garments smell Of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces." "My sheep hear my voice." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God.

How do you recognize someone you know?

You see them and recognize them by their face.

You hear them and recognize their voice.

God can be heard, he can be seen, he can be touched, he can be tasted, he can be felt. The end effect of this interaction with the Lord is that our lives become a sweet smelling savour to Him

Have you experienced The Lord like this?

Knowing God.

Knowing God.

Enoch is spoken of as a man who walked with God.

Genesis 5:21-24.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Abraham was called the friend of God and was even prepared to take his only son Isaac and on instruction from the Lord, to offer him on the alter’

David was referred to as a man after the heart of God and as we read the many Psalms he wrote we see clear evidence of his special relationship with God.

What is it that sets certain people apart to have such a close and intimate relationship with the Lord

Knowing God.

It is Christmas season and we are remembering the birth of Jesus.

One of the names given to Jesus is Immanuel, meaning “God with us”

Do we realise the significance of that name.

How do we respond to the invitation of the Almighty God to walk with Him, to get to know Him, to hear His heart and understand His desires and plans and purpose for our lives.

On Friday I received an e-mail from a friend in the AGF that was just confirmation of how I have been feeling this week as I look to the Lord to set things in order as I go into a New Year and as I look forward to a time of “Fasting and prayer” to re establish things that have been eroded by busyness and fatigue.

Knowing God.

E-Mail title: As my age increases so does longing to share the Wonder of this season.

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes, the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

So wrote celebrated poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. And so it is with this season: Some see, and take off their shoes. Others sit, munching the season’s cookies, unaware of the wondrous Sustenance at its centre (as I was unaware for 23 years!): For it was He that declared the most profound words ever recorded: "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst … if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John. 6: 35; 51). The implication is stupendous: The perishable foods of this world are here today and gone tomorrow, along with our mortal bodies. But His gift of His life to save ours will endure for eternity. May we truly see, for truly He is wondrous, and truly this is a breathtaking season. (Mike Dabrowski)

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Isaiah 55:1-3 & 6-9.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

NB: (We are called to listen to look to eat and to drink and we are reminded of the window of opportunity and the requirement of Repentance.)

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

David didn’t develop his taste for the Lord in a day. He fed upon the Word of God until to him God’s “judgments” were “Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” Ps:19:10.

The quotes from authors who lived in past centuries cause one to stand in awe of some of these writers. How did they develop such a deep under-standing and appreciation, such an appetite for God and His Word, that most Christians lack today? They invested time, effort, and devotion in communion with God and in meditating deeply upon His Word—time that few are willing to invest today because loving God is not high on their list of priorities.

Jeremiah 29:13. God did not promise to reveal Himself to the casually curious but to those who would seek Him with “all [their] heart”

Hearing God.

John 10:3-5.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

Hearing God.

Revelation 3:20. Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.

Jesus will not speak guidance and direction into our lives through a closed door like some unwanted visitor or salesman.

Perhaps you too busy with work or even ministry, maybe you have time for your favourite TV programs or gym or sport, but the Lord gets your left overs.

Joyce Meyer says that there is no drive through breakthrough.

Seeing God’s face.

Have you seen the Lord?

1 John 3:6.

No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.

If you have had an encounter with Jesus, you will know why John says this in his epistle. Because the Lord only reveals Himself to the sincere seeker and opens their eyes to their sinfulness so that He can deal with it.

Jeremiah 29:13.

You shall seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

The basis of Faith is believing that

Hebrews 11:6.

“He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him”

Seeing God’s face.

Seeking God’s face is getting to know Him, spending time with Him, having a relationship that is intimate, being a friend. (Remember that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh)

John 14:8-9 & 18-21.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Touching God.

Mark 5:21-34. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

A sweet smelling savour.

In our relationships as humans our five senses are involved in a progressive way.

Hearing and seeing can be done from a distance. We hear of someone that sounds interesting, but we first must see them to see if we find them attractive. Once we like what we hear and see, a successful relationship will progress to touch (holding hands, hugs) then to kissing and ultimately in marriage and intimacy which results in conception and birth.

The tasting in our relationship with the Lord is an invite from him, our part is to smell good.

A sweet smelling savour.

The perfume industry is a lucrative industry as Woman endeavour to smell appealing.

After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, those who trust Christ “His future bride” are a soothing, sweet smelling aroma.

Paul used a known experience to teach this

powerful point.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16,

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

A sweet smelling savour.

In the time of crisis a Roman general took several Roman legions and attacked the enemy. When the war ended, the victorious Roman general and his troops would return to the city of Rome. To honour the general and to celebrate the victory,

Rome would have what they called the triumphal march.

The whole city would line the parade route.

The streets were lined with burners that produced clouds of incense.

All the defeated, condemned captives were paraded through the streets with the general and his troops.

To those captives, the clouds of incense were the horrible smell of death.

To the victorious Romans, the clouds of incense was the wonderful smell of victory.

A sweet smelling savour.

In Paul's illustration:

God organizes the triumphal march.

Christ is the conquering general.

To all people who accept Christ's liberation and salvation, the incense is the aroma of freedom from sin and death.

They have been freed.

The smell is the sweet smell of holiness and purity produced by liberation from the power of evil.

To them, Jesus Christ is the aroma of life.

But to all people who love ungodliness, evil, and the unholy, the incense is the aroma of certain death.

They are the soldiers of evil marching to their eternal deaths.

They hate holiness, and purity, and Christ, and God.

To them, Jesus Christ is the aroma of death.

A sweet smelling savour.

We sinful people get used to the smell of evil, but the holy God never does. As humans we get so accustomed to the smell of common evils that we do not "smell" them.

The ungodliness that we classify as horrible has an awful odour.

The ungodliness that is common place all around us has less odour all the time.

The ungodliness that is acceptable does not even have an odour.

The ungodliness that we find pleasurable actually smells good to us.

A sweet smelling savour.

Consider some illustrations.

To many Christians, homosexual acts, prostitution, rape, forced

human bondage, incest, abortion, murder, and violent crime

have a horrible odour that really turns most Christians off.

Many can't stand to be around "those kinds of people.“

Many believe the gospel cannot help "those kinds of people.“

To many Christians, adultery, "living together" arrangements, "one night" stands, white collar crime, recreational drugs, and gambling have some odour--but the odour is not that bad.

It would be bad to do those things openly.

But if we can do those things secretly and quietly with "the right people," its okay--“ no big deal."

A sweet smelling savour.

To many Christians, deceit, greed, jealousy, selfish ambition, and hate do not have an odour, but those who wrote the New Testament, who understood Jesus and his teachings said:

Deceiving a person insults God (Matthew 5:33-37).

Greed is idolatry, an act of worship to a false god (Colossians 3:5).

Jealousy and selfish ambition are ungodly arrogance (James 4:14).

Hate nourishes murder and destroys eternal life (1 John 3:15).

To many Christians, "getting high" on alcohol, "getting high" on recreational drugs, entertainment that is sexually stimulating,

"If they don't smell bad to me,

they cannot possibly smell bad to God."

A sweet smelling savour.

In the Judaism of the New Testament and the early centuries beyond, a man could divorce his wife but a woman could not divorce her husband.

A few exceptions were allowed.

In the exceptions, the woman could not actually divorce her husband, but she could demand that her husband divorce her. If my memory is correct, there were five circumstances in which a wife could force her husband to divorce her.

I remember one clearly.

If her husband's occupation was tanning animal hides, she could demand a divorce.

Tanning animal hides was a process that involved horrible odours.

The stench was so penetrating that the odour actually permeated his skin.

Literally, the odour could not be washed off--no matter how much he cleaned himself, even when he could not smell the odour, he still stunk.

If his wife could not tolerate the odour, she could demand a divorce.

A sweet smelling savour.

We lived in West Africa for four years.

After three years, some of our African friends felt close enough to us to be quite honest instead of kindly polite. Once we asked them what was the most difficult thing they did with the missionaries. They said the hardest thing they had to do was visit us in our homes.

Shocked, we asked why.

Respectfully, they replied, "You people smell so bad. The odour is almost more than we can take."

How ironic! We bathed every day, used deodorant every day, we used lotions, and we put on clean clothes every day.

We had showers; they did not. We could afford deodorant and lotions; they could not; we could afford to buy enough clothes to change frequently; they could not.

Yet, we were the ones who smelled so bad they had trouble coming into our homes.

A sweet smelling savour.

We lived in West Africa for four years. (continued)

We did not stink to us--we smelled good to us. Yet, we smelled awful to them.

Why? Because of our diet.

Missionaries ate a lot of meat; we could afford to.

They could not afford meat very often.

When you eat a lot of meat, your body secretes offensive odours in societies where most people do not eat meat.

A sweet smelling savour.

The spiritual truth:

Every human stinks to God. Sin makes us stink. There is enough evil ingrained in all of us to make each of us give off a horrible odour to God. Our diet included evil every day of our lives, and the evil makes us stink to God.

Only one thing can remove the odour: God's forgiveness administered through Jesus' cleansing blood. When a person trusts God's acts in Jesus' death, the blood of Jesus removes the odour. God will remove the odour from any person who enters Jesus and lives in Jesus.

"Preacher, do you know what is wrong among Christians?

I'll tell you what is wrong. We have a huge behaviour problem in the church."

A sweet smelling savour.

I certainly agree that Christians have a huge behaviour problem, but that is not the foundation of our problems.

The foundation is this:

Too many Christians do not trust God. They were not baptized because they trusted God. Trust had little to do with their baptism. They did not want a holy or a pure life. They still do not want a holy or a pure life. They love some forms of evil. They want the smell of evil, not the smell of purity and holiness. To them, the greatest option in all life is to smell like evil and stay out of hell.

When you look at your personal holiness and purity, are they more important to you today than a year ago? Is your purpose to "get used" to the smell of evil in your life? Or, is the purpose to let God cleanse you every day of your life so that you have the smell of holiness and purity?

David Chadwell

Knowing God.

I had a personal experience which drove this point home as I took two bakkie loads of rubbish in bags that were breaking to the dump yesterday.

How do you we smell in God’s nostrils?

We put on creams and lotions and perfumes to appeal to our fellow humans, but do we even care what we smell like to God?

What is the purpose of Salvation?

The purpose of Salvation is not the forgiveness of your sins. That had to take place to fulfil the purpose of Salvation

The purpose of Salvation is not that you may escape Hell! That is the draw-card for many, but Salvation is more than a fire escape from hell.

The purpose of Salvation is

that you may have a

relationship with God

Knowing God.

The most important question that I could ask you is not.

Do you believe in God?

Do you read your Bible?

Do you pray?

Do you fast?

Do you go to Church?

Do you Tithe?

These things all have there place, but you can do all these things and go to hell!

Knowing Jesus isn’t about ministry or doing good.

Luke 18:9-14.

The Pharisee who prayed, fasted twice a week and tithed went home condemned with his prayers not even heard.

Matthew 7:21-23.

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!

James 2:19.

You believe there is one God, good! Even the demons believe that and tremble.

Works without Faith is dead.

Knowing Jesus goes beyond hearing or seeing him.

Knowing Jesus isn’t about Church attendance, hearing or reading about him or even seeing him.

Luke 13:23-28.

Someone asked him, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? He said to them, Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, Sir, open the door for us. But he will answer, I don’t know you or where you come from. Then you will say, We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. But he will reply, I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers! There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.

Knowing Jesus is about obedience & victory over habitual sin.

1 John 3:5-6.

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

1 John 2:3-6

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

What happens when we turn from God and fall into sin?

What happens when we turn from God and fall into sin?

2 Chronicles 7;12-16.

The Lord appeared to him at night and said: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

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