I am the only when left of my family staying with my aunt in NYC. I stayed behind to visit Union Theological Seminary on monday and fly home monday afternoon. I decided to go to Church this morning and the only Church or pastor that I am familiar with in NYC is that of Tim Keller's. He probably falls under the category of a minor Christian celebrity because of the many popular books he has written. Most notably, The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. The name of the Church is Redeemer Presbyterian and the congregation has 6,000 thousand members. The church has a unique way of gathering in that there are many locations (not churches but auditoriums and other halls) that Tim Keller makes his way around to through the day and gives the sermon at each. The service I went to must have had 2,000 very diverse people packed into a college auditorium. It was as solid classical service outlined by an old school liturgy but capped off with a enlightening sermon from Tim Keller. The sermon was entitled To Know the Living God and here are some high lights that I took from it:
God is knowable. Therefore, what is it to be in fellowship with God? or to know God or to walk with God?
Knowing God is a heart experience but not pure mysticism. There is an objective body of truth that can not be ignored, i.e. the Bible and the clear commands and clear overarching themes that dictate the Christian life. Hence, you can not create your own God from a feeling or whatever else that does not come from or align with this body of objective truth.
What does it look like to be in fellowship with God? The following are the six different aspects Keller offered as to know if you are walking with God:
1. To know God is to delight in his presence. You know you have really experienced God's presence when you cant stand living in the absence of that presence.
2. Intimate 2 way communication or exchange.
Prayer - you know you are not in fellowship with God if you treat him as an ATM.
Word- you know you are in fellowship with God if you are reading the word and asking questions and learning in a way in which lead you to adore God more, repent, etc. Are you reading the word and learning about yourself, God, and the world?
3. When you are in relationship with a person they influence your life and you lose certain freedoms. Therefore when you are in fellowship with God there is a loss of freedom but also a gain of a different more joyous and eternal freedom.
Probably the most accurate way of knowing if you are walking with God is if God is messing up your life.
4. You love and desire Christian community
5. Anybody who knows God wants others to really know God.
6. Organic growth from the inside.