GOD KNOWS YOU! DO YOU KNOW HIM?
‘Philippians’ is a personal letter from the apostle Paul to “all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi” where he and his companions founded a church on their second missionary journey to this Roman colony around A.D. 61. Paul wrote this letter when he was a prisoner in Rome and made it a point to thank the Philippian church for their gift which he received while he was in the prison (4:18). He also emphasises the fact that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone.
The Macedonian Call
The Gentiles of the city of Philippi did not know the living God until the apostle Paul, in obedience to ‘the Macedonian call’, went to Macedonia with the gospel and introduced the Lord Jesus Christ to the people there (Acts.16:10-40). Paul’s labour of about three years in Philippi led to the conversion of a cloth merchant named Lydia and her family, a slave girl, and a jailor and his family. These first converts in Philippi never looked back after their life-changing encounter with the Lord and were apparently used immensely by God to lead many more Gentiles to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ! They partnered with the apostle in spreading the gospel and winning other Gentiles to Christ (1:3-5).
When was your personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ? When we meet Jesus and respond to His loving invitation to come to Him by faith, we begin to know Him. At that moment, God begins His good work in us and continues it until our last breath or until the Lord Jesus comes back for His perfect bride adorned for Him by God! “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).
A Lasting Relationship
God knew and chose each one of us before He created the world! “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer.1:5a). “He (God) chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph.1:4;Phil.3:20-21). God knowing us and our knowing God completes His work of redemption that brings us sinners back into a personal relationship with God – a relationship that lasts through eternity!
It was God who took the first step of making Himself known to us by taking on the human form in the Person of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago (2:5-8). Having taken the first step of reaching out to us, he expects us to take the step of faith to reach out to Him while He waits with His outstretched arms to embrace us and make us God’s children. “To all who received Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (Jn.1:12). “I (Jesus) have made you (God) known to them (the disciples), and will continue to make you known” (Jn.17:26).
But those who reject Him or give Him mere lip service, saying “Lord, Lord” and do not obey Him, are in grave danger of hearing Him utter these harsh and dreadful words on the day of judgment, “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers” (Matt.7:21-24). Although God knew them before the creation of the world, He will disown them on the judgment day because they rejected Him when He came as a man. They will have no excuse whatsoever for rejecting God’s offer of friendship through Jesus Christ.
Grow In Him
As God works in us through His Spirit, we must cooperate with Him actively by abounding and growing in His love, bearing the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. This was Paul’s prayer for the Philippian Christians (1:9). Is it our prayer for the church in our age? ‘Abounding in love’ and ‘fruit-bearing’ are the by-products of our knowledge of God’s word and our implicit obedience enabled by the Holy Spirit. With God’s word in our hearts, we can discern what is best, pure and blameless and avoid the dangerous pitfalls of this life (1:9-11;Jn.15:5).
Dear reader, God knows you! Do you know Him? Make sure that you do.
A suggested prayer: Lord Jesus, in response to Your loving offer of a personal relationship with me, I come to You as a sinner, asking You to take away all my sins and cleanse me with the power of Your blood that You shed for me on the cross. Help me to study Your word, the Bible, so that I get to know You better day after day as I strive to obey Your commands with the strength You give me. In Your name I pray with thanksgiving. Amen.