Our Mission Statement as a church is:
To bring people into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and each other.
The last two Sundays, Harry Fleming has preached on important parts of this statement. Week one was all about ‘bringing people‘ and week 2 was all about the forgiving power of ‘Jesus Christ‘. You can watch those messages here. The sermon series is called, “The Skinny on PromiseLand” and it explores ‘the why’ behind ‘the what’ of everything we do.
This week, I will tackle one word…’intimate’.
Each prayer we pray is important. Filling up a building is great. Creating religious habits has value. However, at PromiseLand, we spend a whole lot of time, effort, energy, and money on going beyond a single prayer, experience, or tradition. Our ultimate goal is for individuals to personally know Jesus on an intimate level. This is beyond the salvation experience.
Intimacy has four criteria:
- Close Association/Familiarity – To know as a close friend. To anticipate actions
James 2:23 “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. The relationship between Abraham started when God called him. Then, Abraham responded with faith and works. Over time, they related in familiarity.
- Detailed Knowledge – To know all about the data and details. To know as much as possible. Always wanting to know more. A hunger for more. We find all the knowledge we need of God in his written word.
2 Peter 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
- Deep Understanding – For the ‘detailed knowledge’ to be put to use. To know WHY the knowledge is important and relevant.
Completely understanding God is impossible. However, when we are familiar with God, know God’s word, and communicate with Him regularly, He brings understanding to us. All of Proverbs 2 brings truth to this subject, but verse 6 highlights it. “6 For the Lord gives wisdom;from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; “
- Affectionate/Loving – This is the part of intimacy in which most are familiar. Unfortunately, Intimacy from a world’s perpective has been shaped by media to mean sexual connectivity. Indeed that is a part or type of intimacy. We, as a culture, are starting to equate intimacy almost as a dirty word. We have even had some people question the use of it in our mission statement. Without a doubt, to be intimate means to be affectionate and loving. Song of Solomon reveals the potential of affectionate love.
Intimacy does not just happen. It is not an emotion. Jesus gave the disciples distinct instruction before His ascension. Go make disciples. Why ‘make disciples’? God was not interested in having a bunch of robots walking around that had a lot of knowledge or followed tradition perfectly. He also did not want people that were forgiven and then continued to live a life for themselves. I believe that the discipline was the path to intimacy as described in the 4 points above. Intimacy is a beautiful baby of systematic discipline. That doesn’t sound very romantic or Hollywood. However, I believe many people are mistaken when they think that they will have a relationship with God by following after a mythical religious experience.
Just as intimacy with my spouse comes after vulnerability, faith, work, perseverance, and romance so does my intimacy with God. Invest. Sow seed. Reap…
Posted on October 28, 2011, in Church Business, General, theology and tagged buda, church. intimate with Jesus, kyle, promiseland, san marcos, smtx, spiritual intimacy. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
I like it!
My wife and I were recently introduced to a book that I will not recommend, and this book talked about the ULTIMATE way to get more “intimate” with God was to “sit in silence”. We found this to be one of those “[mystical] religious experiences” of which you speak, where, by some sort of osmosis, we would suddenly be closer to God.
In the Great Commission, which continues from “make disciples” and says later in verse 20, “…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” explains that this discipline is in learning the things that Jesus taught. Where can we learn them? In the Word—through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which was given to us, in part, for such a purpose!
Getting to know my wife and deepening in our relationship, as an example, happens when we speak to one another! If I sat and stared at her I don’t think our relationship would grow much at all. That, and she would eventually say, “WHAT?!!!?”