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Gregory Dickow - To Know Yourself by Knowing God

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    Gregory Dickow - To Know Yourself by Knowing God

Well, are you ready to receive your miracle? Receive your healing, Receive your breakthrough? Father, give us the miracle that each person needs. You said if two shall agree about anything they ask, it would be done by our Father who is in heaven. We agree for the healing, for the breakthrough, for the miracle today, for the family salvation, the salvation of the entire families, entire households today, in Jesus name. Amen. Well, I want to talk to you about knowing yourself by knowing God and knowing what he's really like and how to enjoy your relationship with God and your relationship with yourself. We start with the Ephesians chapter one, verse 11, in the message Bible, the foundational verse that we've been talking about for many weeks now, for it is in Christ that we find out both who we are and what we're living for.

In Christ, we find out who we are, what we're living for. We're living in a serious crisis, an identity crisis in our culture that people are trying to understand and figure out who they really are. And as as much as I believe most people's intentions are good, trying to discover who they are, the effort that people are making is in the wrong direction because we'll never truly know who we are until we know who we are in Christ, for it is only in Christ, as this verse says it is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we're living for, who comes before what. So many people are trying to discover what they're living for, but they don't realize who they are. And the only way that you'll truly know who you are is by knowing who you are in Christ, by being in Him, first by being born again and receiving Jesus as your Savior, but then by truly understanding who God says you are and because of what Jesus did on the cross and the resurrection, we can truly know who God says we are.

We are a finished work from an eternity past. We are becoming more and more like Jesus as we open ourselves up to His Word and open ourselves up to who we truly are in Christ. You know, it's really important that we know who we are. Socrates even said years ago, thousands of years ago, Know thyself, Know thyself. And there's a great author who wrote the book The Art of War, the timeless book, The Art of War. And he said, Know yourself, said, if you know these three things, you can win any battle. Know yourself, know your enemy. And know your weapons. Know yourself. Know your enemy and know your weapons. And we need to understand, we've been given the spirit of God. We've been given the promises of God. We've been given the word of God so that we understand we use those as weapons. But first we use those scriptures to understand who we are.

We use the scriptures to understand who our enemy is. And we use the scriptures to understand what our weapons are. Because once we know ourselves and know our enemy and know our weapons, we will truly begin to fulfill God's great purpose and destiny for our lives. But to know ourselves, we must know who created us and what he is really like. We really need to know what God is really like. Most of us would agree we’re made in God's image, but most of us are confused or many of us are confused about what that image looks like. Well, I can answer that with a simple thought in a simple word, but then I want to break it down a little bit more for you. But Jesus said when he walked this earth, he said, If you've seen me, you've seen the father. In other words, the only way to truly know God and know what his image is. What is God really like? We find that in Jesus. What did He do when he came into this earth? He came and he gave. He came and he loved. He came and healed. He came and he delivered. He came and he sacrificed. He came with the greatest generosity, the greatest love, the greatest power, the greatest authority, and I might add, the greatest humility as well.

Now, I want you to think about that. Jesus is the embodiment of what God is really like. He said, If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. We don't have to wonder anymore. All we have to do is read the read and pray for the power. Read what's in the Bible about what Jesus actually was like. We find Him loving. We find him powerful. But we find him gentle. We find him with the greatest authority in the world. But we also find him with the greatest humility in the world. This is our God. And when you get to know God in this way, you're going to enjoy God. And when you get to enjoy God, you're going to start enjoying life. And when you begin to know him as he wants to be known, I tell you this there will be no stopping the joy. There will be no stopping the goodness. There would be no stopping the laughter. There will be no stopping all the blessing that will come into your life by knowing God. You'll realize when you realize you're accepted by him, you're adored by him.

When you realize you're actually like him and made in his image, he is love. Therefore, we are love. He is mercy and grace. Therefore, we are mercy and grace. The Bible says in First John 4:17 as he is, So are we in this world. So we don't have to be afraid of judgment. You know, when the Bible says in Galatians chapter five, verse 22, for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, self-control. Did I leave one out? Gentleness, Maybe. But think about this. The fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, generous faithfulness and self-control against such things there is no law, the Bible says. When he says the fruit of the Spirit are these things, He's not saying, Hey, what's wrong with you? Start behaving like the Holy Spirit. Start behaving like the Spirit. He's not saying that. He calls this the fruit of the Spirit.

So what is he really saying? He's really saying, Eat of my fruit. Fruit is meant to be eaten. He's like, Eat this. The fruit of the spirit is love. So receive the love, the fruit of the by knowing the Holy Spirit, by having the Holy Spirit. We've been given love. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, generous faithfulness, self-control, eat of those things, receive them from God. Realize that He is patient towards you, realize that He is gentle towards you, realize that he is kind towards you. Love joy, peace, patience, all of these things are the fruit of the spirit. This is what we can eat from. And then you you've heard the old saying You are what you eat.

As you eat from the fruit of the spirit, you begin to bear the fruit of the spirit. You begin to give the fruit of the spirit. You begin to produce the fruit of the spirit in yourself and in your relationships with our our relationship with self, our relationship with our family, our relationship with our church, our relationship with the community. We begin to produce these fruits because we first eat of them. See, so many people have interpreted the Bible in such a legalistic manner that when we see the fruit of the Spirit, we immediately think that the police officer of God is demanding that we behave a certain way, rather than realizing the fruit of the spirit is something we get to partake of and enjoy. And then we get to give it back out to others as well. But the first purpose of our existence has to be resolved in the way that it gets resolved is by knowing God.

When you know him, then you begin to know yourself, to know his spirit, to know his tone, to know his personality and all that he is. But we're going to have to choose God's version of him, not rely on all man's opinions of God and not rely on man's opinion of ourselves either. I shared this verse a few weeks ago. Jepthah, in Judges chapter 11, verse one. Jepthah was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot. Notice the contrast between the two identities of Jepthah. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot.

Now, what does that mean? And how should we interpret that? We should interpret it as each one of us have two identities that we can choose to get in alignment with. We can choose to get an alignment with our God given identity, Mighty man or mighty woman of valor. Or we can choose to get in alignment with the DNA of our history, the DNA of our past, the DNA of our parents mistakes, the DNA of our parents, parents mistakes, or grandparents all the way back to Adam and Eve. Which lineage are you going to choose to identify with? Which lineage are you going to choose to align yourself with? See, I believe that God is giving us a secret here in this passage of Scripture in Judges when he says we are mighty men and women of valor, but we're born to sinful people and we're sinful people too. But we choose to identify with who God says we are rather than who our fingerprint says we are.

To know God is to begin to know yourself and your true identity. God is the creator of laughter. I got to get to this verse. I love this verse. Oh, Zechariah, but the creator of laughter, the creator of play. Most assuredly has a playful side. Otherwise we wouldn't see it played out in creation. We wouldn't see we wouldn't see children playing so freely and for such a long period of time. Kids don't hardly ever get tired of playing. Did you ever get tired of going to recess when you were in school as an elementary kid, as long as you weren't bullied? Right. But or maybe you were the bully. God deliver us all, right? But the point is, is you- We didn't want to go back to class.

If we're playing kickball, if we're playing dodgeball, if we're out in recess, playing on the swings or whatever it was, the monkey bars or whatever they're called now. We didn't want to go back in. When I was a kid, I didn't want to go back in. I wanted to stay out all night just having fun. Sun goes down. It's summer. We just played and played and played and played. You know that. Children are like that. Why? Because we’re made in God's image and God created play. Listen to what Zechariah chapter eight, verse five says. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets. I love this verse. It's like this hidden verse in Zechariah, and I love finding these hidden nuggets in Scripture and the streets of the city, the city of the future, the City of God, the City of Heaven, the city of a revived city or a revived nation.

You know what will be found in the streets? The streets of the city would be filled with boys and girls playing in the streets. You know, our streets today are filled with paint. Our streets today are filled with drugs. Our streets today are filled with violence. Our streets today are filled with loneliness. With prostitution, with pain. All of that stuff is to dull the pain that people feel. But when you truly discover who you are, it changes how you see yourself. It changes how you see others. And it changes how you behave. You become a playful human being. You become a joyful human being. You become a humble, childlike faith human being. You see, if we're going to see our cities change, if we're going to see revival, it has to start inside of us. We have to discover this amazing relationship with God as father, and we have to experience life knowing our true identity because that's when we'll know our true purpose.

But the first purpose is to know God, to know Him. And then we'll know ourselves because we're made in his image. So in that spirit, we need to discover what God is truly like. And we will truly enjoy life. And we'll transform our streets from streets of violence to streets of play, from streets of drugs to streets of happiness and joy, from streets of prostitution- And I'm not picking on that as some sort of really bad sin. Sin is sin, and being separated from God is the sin of all that God has has come to rescue us from and find our connection in our intimacy with Him, because he is the vine and we're the branches. It's a connection and relationship that God's after. I'm simply saying that when, when, when streets lack revival, they end up being filled with anything that can fill people up as a substitution and a temporary fix for the kind of high and the kind of fellowship and the kind of peace and the kind of playfulness that God created.

He is the God of play. He's the God of playing in the streets. He's the God whose idea was to have a city where the children, the boys and girls are playing in the streets. That's God's idea. Why? Because that's how he's always been. Look at Proverbs chapter eight, verse 30 and 31 as wisdom personified is speaking on behalf of Jesus, Jesus, the Son of God. Wisdom, the daughter of God in one sense, they’re one. But in one sense they’re two. But he says in verse 30, Wisdom speaks, Then I was with him as one brought up with him, and I was daily. His delight, rejoicing always before him. I want you to see wisdom says I was with him from the beginning and I was daily his delight and I was always rejoicing.

You know, when you’re walking in wisdom, you'll always be walking with joy because wisdom sees how to handle the situation. Wisdom sees the way out or the way in. Wisdom sees the way to treat a matter, the way to overlook what somebody has done to us. Wisdom sees an answer that can't be found any, anywhere else. The wisdom of God and therefore it rejoices. And I love what he says in verse 31, rejoicing in the habitable part of this earth of his earth and my delights were with the sons of men. Let me read this to you from the message Bible starting in verse 26 or 27, when he mapped and gave borders to the ocean, to wild ocean, built the vast vault of heaven and installed the fountains that fed the ocean. When he drew a boundary for sea, posted a sign that said No trespassing and then staked out Earth's foundations. I was right there with him.

Notice what wisdom is saying. Notice what Jesus is saying. I was right there with him, making sure everything fit. Day after day, I was there with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company. This is the life God has for you. Always enjoying his company. Then look at what He goes on to say. Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family. This is God's will. This is God's purpose for us. That we would be like this day after day, with joyful applause, day after day, with enjoying his company day after day, delighting with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family that is God's will for this earth, that is God's will for your life. That is God's will in heaven. Hallelujah. Are you getting this?

This is what God is like. And when you see that He's like this, you're going to become like this. You're going to start seeing yourself the right way because you're seeing him the right way. Most preaching doesn't glorify this aspect of God. So much preaching is God's mad, God's condemning you. That's not the Bible. That's not God. That's not what he's like. That's not what a father is like. A father wants to bless his family, and we're inferior fathers to God. He is the father of fathers. He is the perfect father. And guess what Jesus called him? Our father. Whew. Man, that excites me so much. If we could just turn this ship from this version of God that is so man-made religiosity, legalistic, judgmental, self-righteous, condescending God. That's not our father. That's not the God of the Bible. That's not the Jesus of the Bible.

If we could turn that ship and see that he's like this and he wants to play with us like that, he wants to celebrate the human family like this. Wow. Look at what the passion translation says in this verse. I'm so excited about this as you could tell, but you can be too. This is the relationship you can have with God and with yourself. Man so many people are lonely because they don't have this kind of relationship with God. Maybe they keep rules. They're rule keepers. God bless you for keeping the rules. Better to keep it than to break it or hurt somebody. But you understand that's not what relationship is about. It's not about a bunch of rules. It's about joy. It's about enjoyment. It's about understanding. We all have weaknesses. We're human. We're we're we're frail. We're we're flawed people. But we're Happy, Imperfect People. That's what makes us HIP. We're not hip because we're cool like you. We're HIP because we're Happy, Imperfect People.

All right, you got this? Look at what it says. Whew. I'm so. I'm so happy about this. I literally preached myself happy. I can go home right now and feel good because I feel good about the word of God and what he's showing us about who he really is. This mystery unfolding right before our eyes. I love what the passion translation says here. In the beginning, I was there for God possessed me even before he created the universe. From eternity past. I was set in place before the world began. I was anointed from the beginning, before the ocean's depths were poured out and before there were any glorious fountains overflowing with water. Whew. I was there dancing. I was there. What? I was there dancing. You don't believe me? Read it yourself.

I was there dancing, he says in verse four. How many Christians were told it back in the twenties and thirties and forties and fifties? I'm talking about 1900s. Not 2000s. But: "dancing is such a sin. You shouldn't be out dancing." And yet here we find Jesus dancing before creation ever happened. Before God created everybody in the world, He was, they were dancing even before... Look at what it says. Verse five. Can't even get to the points that I wanted to get to because this verse, this passage is too, too good to be true. But it is true. He says, Even before one mountain had been sculpted or one hill raised up, I was already there dancing. There it is again. Just in case you thought you doubted the first time, he said I was already there dancing. When he created the Earth, the fields, even the first atom of dust, I was already there.

Verse 27 goes on. When he hung the tapestry of the heavens and stretched out the horizon of the earth, when the clouds in the skies were set in place and the subterranean fountains began to flow strong, I was already there when he set in place the pillars of the earth and spoke the decrees of the seas commanding the waves so they wouldn't overstep their boundaries. I was there close to the creator side as his master artist. Daily, he was filled with delight in me. Do you know that God is filled with delight in you? He said daily. He was filled with delight in me as I playfully rejoiced before him. I laughed and played so happy with what he had made while finding my delight in the children of men so happy with what he made. I wish we could learn from this to be happy with what God made. You know He made you be happy with you. He made this earth. Be happy with it. He made the sea and the skies and the stars. And he made people. Be happy.

If we could have this kind of relationship with God. Think about all the problems that would be solved in this world. I was praying the other day, as war has continued in the European area of Ukraine and Russia, and I was praying God end this war help us end this. We should be celebrating life. We should be watching out for one another, not destroying one another, not attacking inferior countries. We should be protecting and preserving life rather than taking life. If we saw God how he truly is, and we began to see ourselves, how we truly are, we begin to see one another as they truly are in God's eyes. And war would end. Joy would be unstoppable. Goodness would just keep flowing. So he goes on to say, So listen, my sons and daughters, to everything I tell you for nothing will bring you more joy than following my ways. You know, if there's a lack of joy, it's because we're following our own way rather than God's way. Today, repent of your view of God. Repent.

See, so much preaching is all about repent from this and stop doing this and stop doing that. If there's one thing we need to stop and repent of, it's looking at God the wrong way. It's seeing Him from a distorted point of view rather than seeing him like this. His delight. He delight. Daily he was filled with delight in me as I playfully rejoice before him. I laughed and played so happy with what he made while finding my delight in the children of men. That Jesus takes this privilege of delight and playfulness and happiness and joy. He takes this dynamic that he has with the father, and he shares it with us and finds delight in sharing it with us. Wow. The very delight that the father has in the son. The son has that delight in us.

So you know what this should teach us? The very next verse. Listen, my sons and daughters to everything I tell you for nothing will bring you more joy than following my ways. God has chosen from the beginning of creation to have a relationship with us, with us, His creatures that is all about delight and is even playful. In First Timothy and he says in verse 17 God has created all things richly for us to enjoy. God wants us to enjoy our lives by enjoying the relationship we have with Him and with each other. Even in the midst of unrest, uncertainty, division in the world, War in the world, pain in the world, our enjoyment of God and with one another will spill over and heal the brokenness of this world. I wish we could see that God created us for pleasure and enjoyment. Revelation chapter four Verse 11 says, Thou art worthy, oh, Lord. And I'll I'll start to close here because and we'll just put a comma at the end of this and pick it up where we leave off next time.

But Revelation 4:11 says, Thou art worthy, oh, Lord, to receive glory and honor and power. You know, most Christians, they they read that part. And that's a beautiful part. Oh, Lord, thou are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. Amen. And amen. But then the next verse, that next part of the verse, for that was created all things and for your pleasure they are and they were created. You, God, one translation says, created everything. And it is for your pleasure that those things exist and that those things were created. It is for God's pleasure. We are created to be in a relationship with God that brings Him pleasure and that brings you and me pleasure and relationship with each other that brings us pleasure. Pleasure was God's idea. Pleasure without God was man's idea. Pleasure without God is unfulfilling. Pleasure without God. It doesn't lead to anything good.

Sin is pleasurable for a season because it will not last. The pleasure will go away, but the pain that's caused will not go away without a miracle from God. So you see, we we sometimes associate even the word like lust. We think of it all only in negative terms. And yet lust means strong desire, epithymía, is the word, in Greek. It means strong desire. There's nothing evil about the word lust. It's just how it's applied that determines whether it's good or evil, whether it's good or bad. If we could get a hold of that, God created us for pleasure and enjoyment that He that we could have this enjoying, enjoyable, playful relationship with God. God created play when we do it his way, nothing will bring us more joy. Can I pray for you? There's so much more I'd like to talk about, but we'll pick it up. Pick it up next time. We're going to break the power of depression, anxiety and unhappiness.

You know, really, medicine is, thank God for medicine. Thank God for therapy. Thank God for all of the things that help people feel better. But nothing will truly heal you and fulfill you more or completely other than God and a relationship with him, a relationship with him. I don't say relationship with religion or relationship with God. The person, the father, son and holy Spirit. He's so good. He gives us all three parts of him. He gives us all of him, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Wow. If you've never received Jesus, this Jesus that I'm talking about, this God that I'm talking about, let's pray right now. Just pray this out loud right where you are. Just say:

Heavenly Father, I see how good you really are. Help me to see you more clearly. I accept Jesus into my life. I accept Jesus into my life as my Savior, as my Lord. I believe Jesus rose from the dead, and I believe he lives today and I receive him in Jesus name. Amen.

Now I want to pray for everybody that will crush sadness and sorrow and will step into this joy. No greater joy, he says. There's no greater joy. Nothing will bring you more joy than this relationship with God.

Father, I pray that you give us a revelation of who you really are so we can see ourselves for who we really are and see ourselves the way you see us. Give us your eyes to see. Open our eyes to see you as who you are And to see ourselves as who you said we are. Let us see your playful side. Let us see your joy side. Let us see your happiness. Let us see your love. Let us see. We know that you're just. We know that you're true. We know that you executed justice on man's sin by putting Jesus on the cross. And your anger lashes for a moment. But your word says your your favor lasts for a lifetime. I just pray that we would tap into that favor, that joy, that love, that peace that passes all understanding in Jesus name. Amen.

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