To know him and to make him known

There it was. We couldn’t miss it. As we walked into our daily chapel service at Columbia International University, we had only to look to the front of the auditorium to be reminded why we were there. Printed on the front wall were the words “to know him and to make him known.”

Hasn’t this been an anthem of the church since its beginning? Jesus called people, not just to follow him, not just to believe, but to know him in a special way. It is often said one of the differences between religion and Christianity is rules vs relationship. Sure, we have rules, but they are built around the relationship with Christ, without which the rules are worthless.

Reading deeper into the New Testament we see the depths of this relationship as described by Paul in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

The desire for a fulfillment of this relationship with Christ permeates the New Testament and has been a topic for writers and musicians from the beginning of the church. The deep passion for this growing relationship with Christ was expressed so beautifully in the song Oh, I Want to Know You More, ending with these lines:

Oh, I want to know You more!
Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You.
And I would give my final breath
to know You in Your Death and Resurrection,
Oh, I want to know You more.
Oh, I want to know You more.
Oh, I want to know You more.

When we, as humans, find something that enhances our lives, don’t we want to share it with our friends? If you were a doctor and discovered a cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share with the world? When you discover the key to knowing God is a relationship with Jesus Christ, shouldn’t it be a most natural thing to share this with everyone? I don’t mean these to be rhetorical questions, therefore the only proper answer is “of course!”

The Christian experience goes beyond just knowing Christ to having that knowledge overflow so that others can share the same relationship. To know him and to make him known should be the most natural combination for those who follow Jesus Christ.

When the early church was scattered from Jerusalem as described in Acts 11, they were not cowed by their experience with persecution, but shared the message wherever they ended up. One result of this was the church at Antioch, which later became the base of operations for Paul and his missionary teams.

Paul saw this as such natural progression he wrote in Romans about being in debt to everyone in terms of sharing the gospel. Later, in 1 Corinthians 9, he wrote, “. . . when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. . . . I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.”

To know him and to make him known should be a natural progression. It is also the subject of several commands/reminders/exhortations directly from Jesus, reinforced by the apostles and New Testament writers.

“He [Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’” (Mark 16:15).

When commanded by the Jewish authorities not to preach the gospel, Peter and John, speaking for all believers, replied, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

As much as we sometimes presume on grace, the Bible demands that followers of Christ actually do what he told us to do. As did Yahweh to the Jews in the Old Testament, there is no doubt Jesus did command his people to overtly share the message of salvation with others – from those nearby to the figurative ends of the earth. So John declares in 1 John 2:3, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”

In another still-popular song, Casting Crowns makes this natural connection to knowing Christ, making him known to others, and growing in our relationship as we do both:

Into Your word we're digging deep to know our Father's heart
Into the world we're reaching out to show them who You are

So living water flowing through, God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire

Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It's time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Let’s obey the command, pay attention to the exhortation, follow the examples, do the natural.

Know Him and Make Him Known