How Genuine is our Love & Pursuit of God

Genuine Love Pursuit

Sunday 06/04/23

Message: How Genuine is our Love & Pursuit of God

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How Genuine is our Love & Pursuit of God

So far this year we have taken our cue from 2Peter 1:1-11. In it we are informed both directly and indirectly about the all-surpassing importance of continually coming to know the Father more intimately and completely by means of knowing Jesus more intimately and completely. 

Peter refers to this as a pursuit we should all be actively engaged in.

So far we have seen that this pursuit begins and ends in purity and character change. 

As we grow to know God more, we see Him with more clarity. As we see Him in more clarity we are transformed into the likeness of Him that we behold.

THAT is the first and primary benefit of this pursuit.

Knowing God out of love and desire for Him, begins with the kind of heart that is soft and willing to change. Such a heart is actually perfectly conditioned for change because it is malleable and hungry for transformation. 

The more like God we become, the more intimate and profound is the potential of our communion with Him.

Hardness of heart and pride are a turn off to God. He hates it and James tells us that God is actively resisting the one who is proud. 

Now this reveals an unpopular character trait of God, but God owns it and does not need to apologize for it. FAR from revealing Himself more to such a person through personable influence (grace) He actually resists any attempt at intimacy.

Women, perhaps better understand this than men. For most women, intimacy is not a switch that can usually be flicked on at a moment’s notice. However, if her husband’s interest in her is genuine. If the provision for her is stable and certain. If the obvious desire is for her throughout the day and is not just sexual, then it is a far more natural thing for a woman to not only succumb to intimate overtures, but to actually invite and desire them. In this way God is seen more clearly in women than in men.

God will not be used through selfishness. God is not stingy with His power or authority, nor is He a cold fish. But a person who only draws near to God in order to get FROM Him an emotional boost or an answer to prayer – is not someone whose pursuit is coming out of a genuine desire and hunger for Him, but rather for what He or association with Him can provide. 

Without mentioning all the emotional and relational aspects of this, Peter does in fact draw attention to the need for our desire for God to be genuine in this pursuit. That our lives offer evident proofs of interest in fellowship, communion and conformity to Him or intimacy will not happen.

Let’s cast our eyes back on our original text for this series and see what we may about the necessary conditions for knowing God.

2Peter 1:1-11,“(1) From Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, have been granted a faith just as precious as ours.  

(2)  May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the 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.  (4)  Through these things He has bestowed on us His precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.  

(5)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge;  (6)  to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness;  (7)  to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.  (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 Christ more intimately.  

(9)  But concerning the one who lacks such things – he is blind. That is to say, he is nearsighted, since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins.  

(10)  Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin.  (11)  For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you.”

So the two benefits of pursuing Christ Jesus that we have explored the most have been that we might experience greater intimacy with Him and that as a result we might become more like Him.

These are noble and noteworthy goals in themselves, yet, it came to me yesterday morning that there is another reason why we pursue knowing The Father through Jesus which is less focused upon ourselves. 

We pursue this knowing of Jesus that we might be filled with grace which we can share with others. Grace is of course God’s direct influence upon our hearts. It is from this place of honest and genuine communion and intimacy that all true ministry springs.

This is something I believe all true ministers of Jesus discover time and again in reflecting upon their own lives as they seek to minister to others.

It is SO easy to study God’s word, pursue knowing Him and contemplate on His word in order to have something to give to others. 

While there is a certain nobility in this, the focus is wrong.

I was experiencing this myself Friday night as I wrestled through sleep with God. I want to have words to impart life to you, but in my striving for that I can lose focus.

I found myself telling God I wanted to see Him, that I might have some good word seasoned with genuine grace to impart to those who hear… and then I heard my own words and how hollow they were. If I want that, I have to have that and I come to this place from time to time.

We have been talking about being in pursuit of knowing Jesus more intimately, which is just another way of saying, Seeking God’s face. Over and over the scriptures talk about the intimacy of face-to-face communion with God (which in scripture is a turn of phrase, but which represents real intimacy).

Moses spoke with God face to face – meaning directly and without parabalistic words [Numbers 12:7]. Jesus spoke to His disciples at the end, as to friends. In response they said,

“See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!  (30)  Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” – John 16:29-30

When Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses saying that he was not the only one God speaks to, He speaks to us as well. God got angry with them and asked them how they were not afraid to speak against Moses, a man with whom God speaks face to face, openly and not in riddles and who has seen the general form of God? 

Jesus in warning those who might offend others through their sins, warned

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”Matt. 18:10,

We know that right now we see God through a glass dimly, but one day face to face, which means we will know even as we are known. So to seek God’s face or to ask for an encounter with Him is to seek to see Him, hear Him and experience Him with clarity. But why do we ask?

Anytime, our focus is ANYTHING but God, in the purity of knowing Him out of a heart that delights in Him, we get further and further away from living the good news. 

When we get lost like this in our lives sometimes and even in godly efforts such as ministry. In times like this it is always good to go back to the beginnings of our faith.

We will continue from this thought next week as we look deeper into the Genuiness of our love and pursuit of God.



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!