In Pursuit of Relational Knowledge

Relational knowledge

Sunday 02/05/23

Message: In Pursuit of Relational Knowledge

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In Pursuit of Relational Knowledge

For weeks now we have been focused upon some words in 2 Peter 1 which addresses the believer’s growth in Christ. We’ve taken it a step further by connecting this with our series from last year. Looking at how, we can follow the instruction given us in Peter in order to facilitate the inward work of the Holy Spirit as He forms Christ in us.

One thing which stands out as you go through that 1st chapter of 2 Peter is the absolute necessity of knowing Christ intimately. To not just know ABOUT Him, but to know Him intimately which is gained by relationship.

So last week we pointed to those phrases in 2 Peter 1 which highlighted our need for this relational knowledge… verses like

2Peter 1:2,3 & 8, “(2) May grace and peace be lavished on you AS YOU GROW INthe rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!  

(3)  I can pray this because His divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.  

(8)  For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive IN YOUR PURSUIT of knowing our Lord Jesus Christmore intimately.”

Now this knowledge, which we are regularly calling ‘relational’ as opposed to academic knowledge is the Greek word epignosis.

We defined it last week as meaning, a knowledge which expresses a  thorough participation from the one acquiring this knowledge through interaction with the One they desire to know.

As used in the New Testament this knowledge often refers to knowledge which very powerfully influences the life we live in Christ

It is a knowledge which requires and provokes personal involvement. As such the pursuit of this knowledge is driven by a hunger for God. 

Peter gives us a little insight into the heart of the Christian who fails to pursue this growing relational knowledge of Jesus by saying they are blind and shortsighted and have forgotten how they were cleansed from their PAST sins. So one could turn this around and say that hunger for knowing Him can be maintained, at least in part, by gratitude!

Of course, our go-to passage is John 5:39-40. It clearly states this truth by mentioning both the academic knowledge we get through reading, research and study of the word of God and the relational knowledge we can have if we simply come to Jesus directly.

John 5:39-40

“(39)  You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about Me,  (40)  but you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.”

A new verse I want to introduce into this teaching about relational knowledge is found in something Jesus said by way of reprimand and encouragement in Matthew 11:20-30,

“(20) Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which He had done many of His miracles, because they did not repent.  

(21)  “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  (22)  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you!  

(23)  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day.  (24)  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!”  

(25)  At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to little children.”

Do you remember how we read something very similar from Paul in 1 Cor. 2 towards the close of last year? 

God has chosen what is foolish to the wise to confound the wise, because those who are wise in this world have eyes for the world and NOT for God. They are NOT hungry for Him, they are hungry for the praise and admiration of their peers. They are proud and haughty and have not cultivated a hunger for God. They have never seen the Spirit and in fact cannot see Him or KNOW Him.

“(26)  Yes, Father, for this was Your gracious will.  (27)  All things have been handed over to Meby My Father. No one KNOWS the Son except the Father, and no one KNOWS the Father except the Son and anyone to Whom the Son decides to reveal Him.” 

Well who does Jesus decide to reveal the Father too?

Well remember, Jesus had revealed Himself to His disciples and in so doing told them that if they had truly seen Him, they would have known the Father!

Jesus had told these same disciples that they were on the inside crowd with Him, because they had eyes to see and ears to hear. He said that to those who are outside, all things come in parables so that they would NOT see or understand.

Here in Matthew 11, Jesus goes on in verse 26 to invite ANYONE who will, to come and know the Father…

“(28)  Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take My yoke on you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (30)  For My yoke is easy to bear, and My load is not hard to carry.”

This type of knowledge is the kind leaders in the early church prayed their fellow believers would be given by God in letters like the ones written to the Ephesians and Colossian believers.

One thing we saw suggested last week in those letters was that in order to be a candidate for relational knowledge, which comes through drawing near to Jesus to learn from Him, a believer must FIRST have an active and alive faith in Christ which is at VERY LEAST producing the fruit of love for the brethren in their hearts.

Ephesians says, “…after I heard of your FAITH in the Lord Jesus and your LOVE for all the saints,  (16)  do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:  (17)  that the Father may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”

Colossians says, Epaphras… told us of your love in the Spirit. (9) For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”


“(2) My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may… have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ,”  

So it would seem that the prayer of coming to know Jesus deeper and more relationally would at very least be the most effective if the believer being prayed for was exhibiting a genuine faith in Christ which manifested in the fruit of love for the brethren.

So THAT too is a key.

You want to know Jesus in a way which will impact your living, then don’t just sit on the relational knowledge of Him that you already have! LIVE IT OUT! 

Why should more be given to the one who has done nothing with what they already have?

Love for the brethren is the baseline for all other attributes of growth. 

John even says by the Spirit that ANYONE who claims to know God but does not actively love their siblings in Christ has never met Him!

You want to pursue relational knowledge of Jesus? Get busy, loving your siblings in Christ!

How do I love them?

1st – prefer them

2nd – honor them

3rd – live for them and their benefit

4th – NEVER owe them – pay what you owe! 

5th – give self sacrificially to them

6th – seek God for grace for them

7th – pray and intercede for them


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!