“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (NIV)
Christians are eager to know God. Every Sunday sermons are preached, and each week Bible studies are taught, expounding on the need to “know God.” Countless books sit on the shelves of Christian bookstores directing us on “the method” that will help us to really know Him.
Some folks feel that knowing God is found by spending more time in prayer, that they might have intimate fellowship with God’s spirit and presence. Others believe that they must increase their time spent reading the scriptures, which will help them understand and know God in truth. Still others spend as much time as possible attending church services to praise and worship and adore their Creator, thereby having fellowship with Him.
While it is undeniable that prayer is an essential part of one’s relationship with the Father, is it the primary manner by which a person knows God? And certainly the scriptures are a light unto our path, but does one’s meditation upon them lead one to know the Father? God dwells in the praises of His people, but does corporate worship and praise equal “knowing” God?
Jesus’ words ring loud and clear. You cannot know God the Father unless Jesus reveals Him to you. This raises a very important question: To whom does Jesus reveal his Father?
Before you answer this question, give it some serious consideration. Here are some of the many ‘techniques’ that Christians think will cause them to know God:
Had enough? Let’s try to think of more techniques! Yes, that’s it, more ideas, and more sermons, more church services, more, more, more!
No, wait, haven’t you read that new book; you know, the one that really nails it home, the latest of the series that everyone is so excited about? What, you haven’t read them? Oh, you HAVE to read these books. They really show you how to know God; the author is so inspired.
I know! You just have to watch this program on the Christian TV network. This brother has the most awesome series of tapes. Just listen to them, you can’t help but draw closer to God.
You really MUST come to church with me. Our pastor is SO anointed! He is a man after God’s own heart; I mean it. Why, there’s just no one like him!
C’mon’ now, you really aren’t convinced are you? All this stuff sounds good, and most of it is good, but are these the things we need to do to have Jesus reveal his Father to us?
· Matt 11:25-26 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. (NIV)
Having a tough time understanding Jesus? Let’s help the wise and learned. On second thought, let’s not. After all, the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, has hidden it from them, so why try? So let’s talk to the kids. That’s right smarty-pants, unless you have the heart of a little child, the Father has hidden Himself from you. Now that we have made the scholars, theologians, scribes and Pharisees mad at us, let’s talk to the children.
Jesus loved the little children. When his disciples tried to prevent them from getting close to Jesus, this made the Lord angry and indignant. Jesus saw something in the children that he did not see in the big, smart adults (or should we say the big, pride-filled, know-it-all adults!).
Jesus goes a step further. He tells his own disciples that they must receive the kingdom of God just like a child does, or else they won’t enter into it themselves! Don’t just sit there and read this with an ‘amen’ dear friend (we get enough ‘amens’ on Sunday morning already). You too must welcome and receive the kingdom of God in the same manner as a child, or else YOU won’t enter it either.
· Mark 10:13 And they kept bringing young children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples were reproving them [for it]. But when Jesus saw [it], He was indignant and pained and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me—do not forbid or prevent or hinder them—for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] positively shall not enter it at all.” And He took them [the children up one by one] in His arms and [fervently invoked a] blessing, placing His hands upon them.
What is it that Jesus sees in little children? There must be certain characteristics that are inherent in young children that made Jesus say what he did. It is ESSENTIAL that true seekers grasp this most basic and simple truth. If you love the Lord, and truly want to know God as your father, you must relate to Him as a little child.
It’s a ‘no-brainer.’ You want to know God as your Father? Then you have to be His child.
· Matthew 18:1-6 At time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, “Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, and said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in and acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin [that is, who entices him or hinders him in right conduct or thought], it would be better (more expedient and profitable or advantageous) for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea.
The Greek words used in Matthew 18:1-6 are defined by Strong’s Dictionary as follows:
Another Greek word frequently used to describe children is found in Strong’s Dictionary:
Maturing into a relationship where one knows God involves becoming like a small child in your heart. Jesus said that you must be “trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving”. Think about it. Contrast how we “mature” adults handle life with what are very young children are like?
Many more examples could be given, but I’m sure you get the idea.
The New Testament is replete with the use of the word “children.” God the Father wants to gather all of His children into one family. He wants to be in relationship with His children as their Patriarch from heaven.
· John 11:49-52 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (NAS)
Although the Israelites were given the promises and covenants and commandments of Yahweh in the Old Testament, there was provision, even in the Law, for Gentiles to be a part of the covenant promises of Yahweh. They too could become children of the Most High.
God is spirit (John 4:23-24). He is not concerned with the outward, with the flesh. Israel counted on the fact that they were the fleshly descendents of Abraham, and assumed that was enough for them to be Yahweh’s descendents. Ha! The eternally sad fact for those who trusted in the flesh is, that the true descendents of the Father God (Yahweh) are those who are of the spirit. Not everyone who descended from Israel’s bloodline were descendents and children of God.
· Rom 9:6-8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. (NAS)
Jesus came at just the right time. He redeemed those under the law, whether it was the Law given at Sinai, or whether it was the law of their conscience. To those whose received Jesus as God’s son, (and as their redeemer), a provision was made for them to become children, with the full rights of a son. In the Hebrew culture this meant that they could share in the estate of their Father. That is, they could be sharers of His kingdom.
· Gal 4:1-7 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (NIV)
· Gal 4:22-31 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking: for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; for more are the children of the desolate than of the one who has a husband.” And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. (NAS)
· Heb 2:9-18 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (NIV)
It is to those who become like children, who have been converted to a child-like state of heart, that have the ‘spirit of adoption’ sent into their hearts, so they can truly say, “Abba Father.” Many preachers, pastors, and ministers have stated that the term, “Abba father” means “Daddy.” Nice try guys. The term means much more than “daddy.” The AMG Reference CD defines the term as follows:
This definition should be adequate to convince any serious seeker that to know God is to know Him personally, emphatically, and possessively as Father. These are the children in heart. They entreat God by saying, “Father, MY Father.” They speak to Him in simplicity of heart, making their weaknesses and needs known to Him, because they are assured that He loves them as He loves His son Jesus.
Now that we understand what “Abba Father” means, the next passage speaks to us of maturing in the family of God. Yes, even children must mature and grow. Even Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Maturity doesn’t mean we revert back to being self-righteous know-it all Christians. Maturing has to do with understanding what our Father desires, and responding in obedience, desiring always to please Him.
· Romans 8:13 For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! For even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope [Eccl. 1:2]. That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now. [Jer. 12:4, 11]. And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God’s sons).
The following scriptures give us the most essential aspects of how God expects His children to act. To truly ‘know God’ as your Father requires your very life; He desires that we love and obey Him. There is no need for commentary here; God’s word is adequate.
· John 13:33-35 “Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NAS)
· I Jn 2:1-6 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (NAS)
· I Jn 3:16-24 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (NAS)
· I Jn 4:4-12 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (NAS)
· I Jn 5:20-21 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (NAS)
· Matt. 21:15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did and the boys and the girls and the youths and the maidens crying out in the porches and courts of the temple, “Hosanna (O be propitious, graciously inclined) to the Son of David!,” they were indignant. And they said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus replied to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of babes and unweaned infants You have made (provided) perfect praise?’” [Ps. 8:2].
Adults Who Were Children
You can be an adult with the heart of a true child of the faith. In fact, as one matures in his or her faith, the more their heart becomes like that of the children we discussed earlier.
Below is a list of some examples in the New Testament of believers whom Paul calls his children in the faith.
· 1 Cor 4:15-17 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (NAS)
· Phil 2:19-23 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me. (NAS)
· 1 Tim 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (NAS)
· Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (NAS)
· Phile 1:10-12 I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, Onesimus, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart. (NAS)
Still Want To Know God?
You simply CANNOT know God, nor love Him, without loving His children. Jesus was God’s child, His only begotten son. We are God’s children, if we believe in Jesus, and if we love one another.
If you have someone who is your best friend, someone you spend time with, and share with, how could you reject that person’s own children? The child is a part of its parent, and to ignore, reject, spurn, hate, or be indifferent to the child, it is the same as if you did it to the father of the child.
So it is with Christians who SAY they want to “know God.” No matter how much you pray, or read your Bible, or go to church, or sing praise songs, you will never “know” God unless you know and love His child Jesus, and all of the other children born of the Father’s Spirit.
· I Jn 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. (NAS)
· I Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (NAS)
· I Jn 3:23 And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (NAS)
· I Jn 4:20-21 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (NAS)
The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.
The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.
The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.
The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.