He Knows His Own
I know my own and my own know me….I know the , and they follow me.(John 10:14,27)
God’s knowledge of those who are His implies personal affection, redeeming action, covenant faithfulness, and providential watchfulness, toward those whom God knows. It implies, in other words, salvation, now and forever.
What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlines it- that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort- the comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates- in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow men do not see (and am I glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.
The question in every human from Eve in the Garden till present day is whether or not they are loved by God. It is this question that is at the root of an intimate relationship with God that is not based on performance but connection. Though we may call ourselves the children of God, many times we see ourselves only as the servants of God. In John 15, Jesus speaks of this to the disciples.
13 No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father. 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.
The first thing Jesus says is that His love for us is so powerful that He will lay down His life for us and He proved that by dying on the cross on our behalf. God doesn’t just proclaim His love, He proves it over and over. No greater proof can be found than the sending of His Son and the sacrifice on Calvary. That well-known verse of John 3:16 tells us so.
16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The only qualification or measuring device that Christ gave them and us is that His friends keep doing as He has commanded them. This is not a heavy-handed demand but a wholehearted response to love and friendship. We know in our earthly relationships that it is never drudgery or duty that motivates us to serve or bless or meet the needs and desires of those we love. Parents work, cook meals, take care of their children not because they are forced to do so but because of love. In the same manner, we do the work of God not because we must but because we respond to His overwhelming love and blessing. How can we not respond to such love that caused God to give us His only Son?
The next thing we read in John 15 is that we have not been called to be the servants of God (although we serve, and serve gladly), but Christ says that we have been called His friends. He says that the servant doesn’t really know what is in the heart of his master, only the specific orders; but friends share the secrets of the heart and the friends of Christ are given the revelation of God’s intent, purposes and desires. He speaks to us as a friend, almost as an equal and keeps nothing from us. I hope you have a best friend in whom you can confide. A friend with whom you can be yourself without rejection or shame when you make known your worst secrets. A friend who though they may not always understand you or even agree with you still loves you and remains your friend. This is the friendship that Christ is speaking of. Our friendship with Him is different from our friendship with other humans for there is nothing about us that He doesn’t already know. Were we to say to Him that we have a deep, dark secret we want to share, He would say, “I already know that.” No wonder the song writer wrote: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus!”
The portion of this scripture that always stirs my heart is when Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you and placed and purposefully planted you….” Sometimes I’m amazed that someone will choose me as their friend. I know that they don’t know everything about me and there are those times when someone has chosen to be my friend they drop the friendship after getting to really know me. So to think that God who knew and knows everything about me would still choose me as His friend and never choose on His part to sever the friendship is mind boggling. Many of you have heard me proclaim over and over that for me it is an honor and privilege to serve God and His church. The reason is this, that as a recipient of this love and friendship so incredibly displayed by God toward me when I know I deserve none of it cannot be responded to with half-hearted passionless service. O that every Christian would know the fullness of the measure of the love of God toward them and the power of that love would move them to passion and worship and service.
Jesus concludes by saying that we as the friends of God, the chosen of God, the loved of God need never fear that our prayers won’t be heard or answered. He literally says that as His children “whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give to you”.
I hope today that God will make known His love for you and in turn you will fall madly in love with Him. May your relationship with God be that of a beloved child rather than just a redeemed servant. May this love for God change your heart and your motive and your attitude in your work in His kingdom. May His joy be in you, His blessing upon you and His love around you. May you remember that out of over seven billion people on this planet, He knows your name and your need and your struggle and He who knows will not sit idly by without intervening for you.
Dr. John Thompson