Philippians chapter number three verse number seven. And you can follow along silently as I read. The Bible reads in Philippians 3:7:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Let’s bow our heads for a brief word of prayer.
Father thank you so much for the service tonight and for the opportunity to preach. And, God, I thank you for those who are willing to come to church on a Monday night to hear the Bible preached because they love you, because they want to learn the Bible. And, Father, I just pray you would bless this particular sermon and use it in a great way. Fill me with the Holy Spirit, Father and in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Now, I would like to read for you one more verse before I start preaching. This famous verse is Matthew five verse eight. You don’t have to turn there, but from the beatitudes the Bible reads, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
That’s the title of my sermon tonight. What does it mean to know God? What is it to see God? I don’t believe that Jesus was talking about physically seeing God. The Bible says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
He looked at Moses in Hebrews chapter is described as enduring seeing him who is invisible, seeing God.
Paul talks about here in Philippians three, if you look down at your Bible, he talks about the driving force in his life. Did you ever wonder when you think about the apostle Paul, what would motivate a man to go through some of the things that Paul went through? I mean he was beaten with rods three different times. Five different times he received 40 stripes save one. He was shipwrecked. He was stoned. He was left for dead. He was in hunger and want and all kinds of adversities. Why did he do it? Why did he keep going? What kept him going?
Well, it is found right here. The Bible say in verse number eight, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” And then down in verse number 10 he says, “That I may know him...”
See his goal...I wonder what the goal of your life is. I wonder what the goal of Christians is. I wonder what the goal of most preachers is. I have had many goals in my life. I have a goal to see as many people saved as I can. That’s why I went to Phoenix, Arizona to start a church knocking doors. Yes, that is how I started my church. Yes, that is how I am going to continue to see God bless that church. Yes, door to door soul winning is what works in 2007. Yes, preaching the gospel to every creature. Not handing out a flyer. Not just inviting somebody to church, but opening my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel. Hey, that is what I am talking about soul winning.
I have other goals in my life. I have a goal to see Faithful Word Baptist Church grow to greater proportions. I have a goal to raise my family and my children for God. I have a goal...I have many goals. But I see the apostle Paul’s goal and I am sure he had all those same type of goals. I know he did.
But he had another great goal that was the driving force all the time. He said, “That I may know him.”
Now people talk a lot about knowing God. They talk a lot about having a walk with God, having close fellowship with God. The Bible talks a lot about this. Jesus talked about seeing God, understanding God, knowing God.
Now, if you are going to see God... flip over to...I just want to turn to two more places. Flip over to the book of James to chapter four please. James chapter four and we are going to read verse number eight. I want to ask you something. What are you willing to give up to know God? Isn’t that why you are hear tonight, because you want to know God? Is it because you love God? Is it because you want to know God and have fellowship with Jesus Christ? Isn’t that why you are hear tonight? Well, if you are going to know God, don’t you think that it...Paul had to give up everything to know God. If Paul had to count all things but dung he had to say, “Everything in my life is worthless, all my education to me is worthless. All my friends and my accolades that I have in achieved religion is worthless to me for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord,” he said, “That is what is important to me.”
What are you willing to give up to know God? What are you willing to give up to see God? Well, look down in your Bible at James chapter four, verse number eight. The Bible reads, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” What is that saying? It is saying about being close to God. The same thing we are talking about, being near God, nigh to God. Now he says if we draw night to God, God will draw nigh to us. If you take one step toward God, God takes another step toward you and you are twice as close to God.
But don’t stop reading there. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you? But let’s keep reading. How are we going to draw nigh to God? The Bible says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” He said, “If you want to be near God you have got to purify your heart. You have got to cleanse your hands.”
See, first you cleanse your hands and then you purify your heart. You say the outside doesn’t matter. Hey, your hands on the outside of your body. You have got to wash your hands. You have got to be clean, morally, spiritually, physically and then you have got to purify your heart and get close to God. And when you get close to God, you are going to have a pure heart. When you have a pure heart you are going to see God. And when you give up the sin in your life you are going to know God. That is the truth of the matter.
You can talk all about getting close to God so many different ways. And I am going to tell you how I get close to God. I get close to God by reading the Bible, the Word of God. And I get close to God by being in a constant process. I haven’t attained, as Paul says later in the chapter. He says, “I haven’t attained. I don’t reach my goal. I don’t know God like I want to know him.” But he says, “That is the direction I am going.” It is in the direction of getting to know God. And he said, “In the process of getting to know God I have had to give some things up.”
You see, you can only see...you can’t see God and see all that the world has to offer. You must decide which one you are going to see. Now, which one is more important to you? Do you want to see your favorite TV show when you get home today? Or do you want to see God.
You are saying, “Well, I can see both.”
Oh, I don’t know if you can see both. Thinking about what is on television right now, I don’t know if you can see both. But let me ask you something? Do you want to see that worldly DVD that you are going to pop in when you get home or do you want to see God? Because you have got to decide which one you want to see.
Now if you say, “Well, I think the DVD is going to be more exciting.”
Hey, you must know how exciting it is to see God. Do you want to see that filthy magazine that you might open up, you might be tempted to open? Or do you want to see God? Do you want to watch MTV, watch all the rock music and see all that garbage? Or do want to see God? What do you want to see tonight? Why are you here tonight? Hey, do you want to see God tonight?
I was thinking about it. Do you want to see Seinfeld? Is that what you want to see? Or do you want to see God? Hey, do you want to see Friends? Or do you want to see God? Do you want to see American Idol tonight? Or do you want to see God tonight? Hey, do you want to see Will and Grace or What not to Wear? Hey, all the garbage shows. I probably preached about shows that are off the air. Because thank God I’m in the process of trying to see God. I don’t want to see the world and television. I want to see God.
You see, you are going to have to choose what you want to see tonight. And the question of what you want to see and what you want to know is a question of your heart. Is your heart pure tonight? Is your heart right with God?
Now, I was thinking about this. My wife and I, years and years back, short on money and we did the same mystery shop. If anyone knows what mystery shopping is, put up your hands if you know. You know what I’m talking about? Hey, you know what? We did mystery shopping for? McDonalds. Mystery shopping for McDonalds. And we would go to mystery shopping...and if you don’t know what that is, we would go to McDonalds. We would order the food and we would fill out all the survey about how it was. And sometimes we got...one time we got $60 to eat at McDonalds one time. Usually it was about six or 10 dollars that we got.
But we would be in the drive through at McDonalds. We would order our chicken sandwich combo meal and we had a stopwatch. And we had to time everything. And did you know that most of the time when we went to McDonalds and we timed it with a stopwatch we were out of there—good night—in a minute and 53 seconds sometimes, a minute and 57 seconds. I remember a few times we were at a branch that was doing a terrible job and it would be maybe three minutes and 47 seconds and we are thinking good night. It has been three minutes and 47 seconds and I don’t have my food. What in the world...
But if you think about it, you know, three minutes and 47 seconds is pretty fast to get a complete meal cooked.
No imagine tonight...is there a Blank Angus around here? Is that a restaurant? What’s a fancy restaurant? What’s a fancy restaurant around here? The Outback. All right. You go to the Outback. Can you imagine sitting down at the Outback tonight and you are served with your meal in three minutes and 47 seconds. Good night. I mean you would be thrilled. That would be great. Hey, the things that are worth something in life, they don’t come instantly ever, never. Never is it that fast.
Now, what do you want to eat tonight? Do you want to eat McDonalds or do you want eat at the Outback? Do you want to eat chicken Mcnuggets? Huh? Do you want Christianity [?]? No. Or do you want to know God like the Outback know God, like a t-bone steak know God, hey, like filet mignon know God.
Well, I am going to tell you something, it is going to take time. It is going to take faith because you can’t just say, “Well, you know what? Brother Anderson, I’m so inspired by this sermon. I think I want to know God tonight.”
It is not going to happen tonight. You are not going to see God tonight. You could start on the road to seeing God tonight. But let me tell you something.
You say, “Well, I want to go down the road of knowing the world. I want to know what all the devil has to offer. I want to know what the world can give me.”
You know what? You can have that immediately. You can have that in three minutes and 47 seconds. All you got to do tonight...go home, get out the phone book and call up, you know, Dish Network, call up, you know, Cox Cable is what we have in Phoenix. I don’t have it, thank God. But, you know, hey, call them up and say, “Hook me up. Hey I am at 2620 West Greenway Road, Tempe, Arizona. Would you activate my cable set? Would you give me HBO? Would you give me Showtime? Would you give me Cinemax? I want to see filth. I want to see sin. I want to see what’s wrong.”
It will be there. They probably won’t even have to come out for a service call. The jack is probably already there. You probably just need to move a bookshelf. You might need to move a coffee table and you could put your television there. You could plug in and you could watch all the filth imaginable.
But if you get out the King James Bible tonight and you sit down with it, it is not going to happen that fast because it is not fast food. It is not have it your way. It is not Burger King. Hey, it’s the Outback.
Now turn to one more place tonight, Hebrews chapter 12 and verse number one, just one book backwards from the book of James, the book of Hebrews. Hebrews chapter 12, the Bible reads in verse number one: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking [watch these words] Looking unto Jesus.” We are talking about seeing God tonight.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Now I was thinking about that phrase before I get into what I want to show you from this. I was thinking about that phrase, “Striving against sin.” Now what does it mean to strive? Well, striving means wrestling. It means fighting. It means battling, right? Isn’t that what it means? It is a fight, right?
Well, I was thinking about fighting against sin. There’s so many fights out there aren’t there?
You say, “What are you talking about? We’re in church and you are talking about fighting?”
Hey, you must be in the wrong church. You must have [?] somewhere down the street. Hey, here’s the Bible that we read around here says, “Fight the good fight. Fight the good fight of faith”
Hey, there is a fight going on. There is a fight between the forces of evil in this world and the forces of good in this world. There is a fight going on.
You know I have...there’s so many things I am fighting for that I said, you know, I am fighting to get people saved, fighting to keep my family straight, keep them right, to raise my kids right.
You know, there is a fight that we might not have to think about. It is a fight against sin. My church has a goal in addition to all the other goals I mentioned of fighting against sin. Hey, fighting the fight for this country, the sin in this country.
You know, there is a price that you have got to pay. If the Bible says we are supposed to look at the sacrifice that Jesus made in his fight against sin, “Looking unto Jesus” “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself.”
Hey, think about what he went through fighting against sin. You have never drawn blood and [?]. Have you ever been attacked in such a way that you drew blood because you were fighting against sin? I haven’t. I’ll be honest with you. But the Bible is saying here that Jesus Christ did shed his blood in the fight against our sin.
I thought of this immediately when I read this and thought, for sure. I thought about 1 John 3:5. The Bible says, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” So the purpose for Jesus Christ dying on the cross was to take away our sin. Hey, that’s what salvation is, by the way.
The Bible says in Matthew chapter one, “His name shall be called Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.” What is that talking about? It is talking about not only are we saved from the penalty of our sin in hell, but we are saved from our sins, like our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west. And we never have to answer to God for our sins because they are paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross, Hallelujah.
He goes...that is not the only reason that Jesus died on the cross. That’s the big reason. But if you read that same chapter in 1 John chapter three and verse eight the Bible says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
See, I was just striving against sin. He said, “I want to destroy what the devil is doing in the world. I want to fight against the sin that runs rampant in the world. Hey, he gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
And so there is a price that we need to pay as Jesus paid, yes, to win people to Christ. Number one. Amen, praise the Lord. There is a price to be paid if you are going to start a church or pastor a church or build a church. There is a price to be paid to help people and to help people that are in need. But I am going to tell you something. There is a price you have got to be willing to pay to fight sin, to strive against sin, to fight tooth and nail against sin in your life, not just the pastor, you. Fight the sin that is taking over this country.
Hey, don’t let sin take over America. Hey, don’t let sin take over the state of New Mexico here. Hey, don’t let sin take over in your family or in your life the fight against sin.
You know, the queers have taken over this country. Did you know that? Hey, did you know that the queers are taking over this country on Saturday in Phoenix where I live, a few miles from where I live. The gay pride parade. Gay pride.
Actually, do you know what they call it? They don’t call it gay pride. They call it Phoenix pride. Thank you for using Phoenix as a synonym for being a filthy pervert. Phoenix Pride 2007. And do you know what? I drove by that because I was on my way to work on Saturday and do you know what I saw? Do you want to know what I saw? Thousands upon thousands of people. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw thousands of them, thousands and thousands like a great mighty army.
They are fighting. They are fighting to take America.
Why don’t we fight for a while? Are you ready to fight?
Do you know the abortion holocaust in America marches forward at 3000 to 400 per day? And like a mighty army of machine gun soldiers marching down the street.
You say, “That is not the way it is. It is in a doctor’s office.”
Hey, I am going to tell you something. That is the way I see it. Hey, I think that is the way that God sees it. I think God sees an army of nurses, an army of doctors, an army of blood thirsty murders of human life. Hey, I am going to tell you something. Are you willing to stand up and say, “No more. It is enough. Stop. You have gone too far. You can’t do that. No.”
I am. Are you going to join me? Are you going to join Jesus Christ in the fight against sin. But let’s...let’s look back at the chapter [?] fighting against sin in verse number four both in the world and in our personal lives.
Verse number five says:
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.
We are in Hebrews 12:7.
For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
What is he talking about? God disciplining us for the sin in our life. God chastening us for the sins that we commit. Now what is the purpose? The Bible says:
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure.
But what is God’s motivation for chastening us? “But he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
So what’s the goal of God disciplining you? It is to bring about personal holiness in your life. It is to purify your life. It is to get the sin out of your life. That is why God disciplines you.
Now, the Bible reads, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,” verse number 11:
But grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Now watch this verse in verse 14. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” That is what we are talking about, seeing God.
So in verse number three...actually verse number two we started out looking unto Jesus. I mean we are looking in the direction of him. Maybe we can’t see him so clearly. But off in the distance we are looking in the direction of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are looking unto Jesus. We are looking in the direction of Jesus. Then in verse number four we begin to fight against sin in verse number four. And then in verse number five through 13 God is going through a chastening process with us where he is disciplining us for our sins, where he is trying to bring us into a higher level of holiness, where he is trying to clean up our lives and discipline us so that we can be more righteous and holy before God.
And then all the way down in verse number 14 he says, “That is where you are going to see the Lord.”
You are not going to see the Lord back in verse number three when you just say, “Oh, I think I am going to look over at Jesus.”
Hey, why don’t you start striving against sin? Hey, you got to endure chastening. You have got to go through God’s discipline. And when you get all the way down to verse number 14 you are going to see God when you are pure in heart, when you have cleansed your hands, when you have purified your heart.
Now this is the truth tonight. This is the true road to knowing God. It is not that little devotional book that they will hand out to you and tell you, “Read this every morning. This is your walk with God.” That’s not how you walk with God.
Hey, you walk with God when you clean up your life. Hey, your walk with God is when you obey God.
I was thinking about a...I was thinking about my favorite character of the New Testament which is the apostle John. I was thinking about how John was not only one of the 12 disciples—talk about a man who knew God, talk about a man who knew Jesus Christ. He said, “Our hands have handled him,” in 1 John chapter one.
And so here is the apostle John. Not only one of the 12 disciples, but he was also one of the choice, you know, Peter, James and John who got to go certain places with Jesus that some of the other disciples didn’t go. Only three disciples were at the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew chapter 17. That was Peter, James and John. And if you remember at the Last Supper when the 12 apostles were sitting around the table, who was the one that sat right next to Jesus? That was the apostle John, known as the disciple whom Jesus loved sitting right next to him. He actually leaned on the breast of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. He was that close to him. I mean he was leaned up against him physically. He was physically touching his body at the Last Supper.
Hey, here is a man who knows what it means to have fellowship with God. Here is a man who knows what it meant to be nigh to God. Here is a man who knew what it meant to have a pure heart.
And I was thinking about what he said in 1 John chapter one where he said:
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another
Us and Jesus Christ is what he is saying. “We have fellowship one with another.” Hey, can you say that tonight? Can you say, “I have fellowship with Jesus Christ”? He said:
We have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Chapter two. Listen to this.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Verse three. “And hereby we do know that we know him...” John said, “This is how I know that I know God.” He said, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” That is how you know if you know God or not.
You want...? Do a self test right now. Do I know God? Do I keep God’s commandments? Same answer. Same answer. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” Hey, that is how you are going to know God tonight, by keeping the commandments of God.
I thought about what David said in Psalm 16. He said, “I have set the Lord always at my right hand so that I will not be moved.”
You know, I don’t...a person...I don’t know about you. I don’t want to be like these people that change all the time. You know, they change the Bible. They change over from the King James Bible to one of these fly by night modern Bibles that just came out last week. Hey, they change the kind of music that they used to condone and have in their church. Hey, they changed.
I am talking about people who changed the way that they dress. They used to dress modestly. They use to dress like a godly decent Christian. Now they dress like the world. And I am talking about people who change their doctrine. They change what they believe.
Hey, “Meddle not with them that are given to change.” Hey I don’t want to be like people...I don’t want to be like churches that are constantly changing. Jesus Christ said, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” He said, “I am the LORD, I change not.” Hey, I don’t want to be like people who change. I don’t want to be like churches who change. I don’t want to be like the Christians who have known change.
Hey, how are you going to keep from changing? How are you going to still be in church 10 years from now, 20 years from now? How are you still going to believe the things that you believe right now 10 years from now, 20 years from now? I’ll tell you how. You have got to set the Lord always at your right hand just like David said in Psalm 16.
You say, “What was brother Anderson’s sermon about?”
Was it about fighting sin? That’s not it at all. You are missing the point. It is about being close to God. It is about having fellowship with God. It is about waking up on Monday morning and having Jesus Christ right there with you at your right hand where he can reach out and touch you. Hey, try to have Jesus Christ with you on Tuesday. It’s about having Jesus Christ with you when you wake up on Wednesday and, again, when you go to bed at night on Wednesday. Hey, Jesus Christ is always at your right hand. “I have set the Lord always at my right hand that I might not be moved.” He said, “I don’t want to be moved. I am going to keep Jesus where I can always...no mater how dark it gets, no matter how hazy it gets with right and wrong and what people believe. Hey, I can always reach out and touch Jesus Christ. And I don’t get that far away from him.” He said, “I want to have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Hey, I want to keep him always at might right hand so I can just always reach out and say, ‘Well, I know Jesus didn’t move and if I can just reach out and touch Jesus right now, hey, I know that I haven’t moved because I am in the same place. Because I know he is in the same place.’”
Hey, set the Lord always at your right hand that you will not be moved. Hey, draw nigh to God and he will draw night to you. Hey, cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Hey, blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are pure in heart for they shall see God.