Looking for God?

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I recall one night when I was laying down on a grassy meadow that behind me was a forest of trees swaying in a summer’s night breeze and in front of me was a lake. The stars above were twinkling, and other than the wind there was a peaceful silence as I was grasping for the meaning of life. I was thinking and wondering why was I here, why was I breathing air, what is really the meaning of life (especially mine); was there a purpose or reason that I was even able to think these thoughts?!

I had no idea nor did any divine inspiration come to mind, and truly I was discouraged; I remember having similar thoughts for years without ever grasping any real understanding.

This may seem like a silly story but it is what put me on a course that eventually led me to my Savior and my God. When I was originally introduced to God in my early twenties I was literally shocked to see that His Word was actually His Word!

When anyone finds Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, simultaneously they will find God as their heavenly Father rather than as simply “the (unknown) man upstairs.” The quest for God and spirituality is a large part of the human experience that most people come to at one time or another. Some will seek Him in nature, others will look in other places, yet He only becomes personally induced to the searching heart as one comes directly face to face with His Word and truly finds Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the lifeline to Him.

Acts 17:23 – {The Apostle Paul is addressing a crowd.} For as I passed by {on his way up to Mars Hill in Athens} and beheld your devotions {statues and other objects they worshiped}, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him {God} declare I unto you.

Then Paul begins to preach the Word of God to them. The reason that they had a statue addressed to the unknown God was just in case they accidentally missed one, because they tried to the best of their ability to worship everything under the sun. However, if they accidentally missed one, then they had an extra one to cover.

Today this may seem a little ridiculous, yet they were simply covering all the bases. Paul finding this one statue gave him an in to start helping them find the true God, it’s a great story to read sometime.

Let’s go to the conclusion of Paul’s teaching:

Acts 17:30-34a:
-30:  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
-31:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man {Jesus Christ} whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance {pistis} unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
-32:  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
-33:  So Paul departed from among them.
-34a:  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: . . .

The word “assurance” is the Greek word pistis and means the believing faith of Jesus Christ, for with his believing faith (Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12:2), we are enabled to perceive the spiritual realities of God. Christ’s faith is given to every believer at the moment of salvation.

Ephesians 2:8 records, “For ye are saved through faith.” This is not our faith but the saving faith of our Savior Jesus Christ, and with his faith he literally becomes our spiritual eyes, helping us perceive God in the genuine light that His Word shines into our conscious lives. Rather than God being unknown to us, or just out of our grasp, or trying to find Him Who dwells in eternity, we can learn the true joys in obtaining the realities of Him through knowing Jesus Christ.

The Knowledge of Christ (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity; he put them into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. Yet he was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell.

I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer.

This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest, first century teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures, named Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew spelling, while Paul is from the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {this way represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12: And I {Paul} thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
-13: Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Ignorantly in unbelief means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religious training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Redeemer and the Savior of humanity.

One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life met Jesus Christ, and as we know from the Scriptures, Paul had an immediate change of mind and heart, because he for the first time in his life saw the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally — if I were Paul — this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history.

The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {or allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Discovering our Lord and Savior in the Word of God is a rewarding adventure in this life as Jesus said, the Scriptures testify of me (John 5:39). It is Jesus who opens up our understanding to the Word of God, so with him the words in the Word begin making perfect sense. Luke wrote: ”Then opened he {Jesus} their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

II Peter 1:2:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace is something we may expect to receive simply by going to our Bibles and looking for the knowledge of Christ, who is according to I Corinthians 1:24, ”the power, and wisdom of God.”

Grace and peace being multiplied in the Apostle Paul’s heart is what changed his life around and presented to him great deliverance, and this will also bless us with the inner comfort of having grace and peace in our hearts through discovering the wondrous knowledge of Christ.