‘Knowing God makes a difference’ 16 May

‘Knowing God makes a difference’

Acts1:15-end, Psalm 1, 1 John5:9-13, John 17:6-19


The dominant call within all of our readings today is the importance of getting to know God, deep up and personal in our lives. The need for witnesses to share what they know and, crucially, who they know, with those around them. Knowing God makes a difference. When we know God our lives are transformed and changed and the difference that God makes in our lives should make a difference in the lives of those around us as well.

The psalmist talks about the ‘wicked’, ‘sinners’ and the ‘righteous’. In the language of the Old Testament the terms ‘wicked’ and ‘sinner’ refers to anyone who does not know God and is outside of a relationship with Him. In a similar way when Jesus speaks of the ‘world’ he is referring to any aspect of human society that is organised outside of reference and relationship with God. God’s desire is that everyone should know Him and Jesus came to show everyone the true nature and character of God.

We might be ‘in the world’ but Jesus is making it clear that when we place our trust in Him we are no longer ‘of the world’. Our identity and purpose changes. As Christians we might sin but we are no longer known as sinners – we are made right before God by recognising who Jesus is and placing our faith in him.

The message in John’s letter is a striking one and at times blunt and without compromise. Basically: if you know Jesus for yourself then you ‘have life’ and if you don’t then you haven’t. John is making it clear to the church what Christ has achieved for those who believe and place their trust in him. They need not live their lives with their fingers crossed.

Knowing God transforms our identity and we are placed into the wonder of working collaboratively with God himself. Jesus says: ‘I have sent them into the world’. There are many occasions when individuals in scripture are ‘sent’ on a mission. It’s always best to be a ‘sent one’ rather than a ‘went one’. If we are sent then just as we might be asked to fulfil an errand to the shops with cash to purchase specific items, so God sends us into the ‘world’ to share what we know of His love in our lives and his promise is that he will equip us for that purpose. That is why the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.

At some point in our lives we will all be called to open our mouths in a situation or a conversation to be God’s voice. It might be to call attention to the way someone is using the name of Jesus as a swear word, or to challenge an injustice or to offer to pray for someone in need. The rest of the time it is the way we live our lives that speaks of the difference God makes to us. How we speak of others, how we think, how we act, how we spend our time, our money or the way that God comes first in our decision making process.

People are hungry for something that makes sense of their lives. In Christ we have the answer because we have come to know the truth and the truth makes a difference.