When We Believe, We Gain the Treasures of Heaven

We need a 'personal experience with God' to enter into 'the knowledge of truth,' explains this devoted pastor

John 1:1–3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

The above Scripture is a phenomenal statement. John is recognizing that the person of Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God when the worlds were created — when darkness turned into light, when boundaries were established, and when humankind was created out of the dust of the earth.

Jesus Christ was there with God — moving with and in unison with the Father.

All things were made through Him.

In other words, Jesus Christ exercised the full authority and power of God.

In Him was life, and this life was the light of man.

The apostle John continues to say, in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

A lot of people know about Jesus Christ, including unbelievers.

And many Christians can say, “I know that He is God. I know He was in the beginning with God. I know He has the power to create a galaxy with the spoken word of His mouth. I know all these things.”

But the apostle John goes beyond knowledge when he says, “Then we saw Him. He manifested Himself to us, and we saw Him and His glory, as ‘the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’”

In other words, they experienced God — they knew Him personally. They were impacted by Jesus’ willingness to touch their lives in such a profound way that their very lives were changed.

Knowledge is a good thing, but if it doesn’t lead to a personal experience with God, we are not entering into the knowledge of the truth. Knowledge of God alone is not enough. Even the demons had knowledge of who Jesus was — they knew He was the Son of God, and they knew He had power over them, but they did not follow Him.

There is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. There are many Christians who have not come to the knowledge of the truth within their hearts. They are still living in bondage to behaviors, sins, habits and feelings because they have not come to the place of recognizing the reality — the truth — of the Word of God in their lives.

It’s one thing to know about the Lord and another thing to see Him — to come to the realization of who He is and what He has done for you personally.

The apostle John goes beyond knowledge when he says, “Then we saw Him. He manifested Himself to us, and we saw Him and His glory, as ‘the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’”

There comes a time when the Word manifests and becomes real. Luke 4:15–21 shows a moment of recognition of the reality of the Son of God.

The passage says: “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”

Imagine being in the synagogue on that day and hearing Jesus, the very Word of God in the flesh, read the Old Testament prophecy about the coming of the Messiah and finish the reading by closing the book and saying to everyone seated in front of Him, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled.”

The people of Israel had been waiting and looking for the time when the Messiah would come.

They had been anticipating the day of their salvation — the day they would be set free. And here Jesus declares their day has come — their freedom is right before their eyes.

How did they respond? Did they jump up and down and praise God for their day of visitation?

No, they did not recognize their moment. They had memorized this specific Scripture — they knew what the Bible taught, but they did not recognize the day of their freedom. The Son of God was standing right before them, and in spite of all their biblical knowledge they did not recognize this moment of truth.

I am reminded of a time that the Lord came to Elijah. He spoke to His dear prophet in the midst of Elijah’s depression. God said to him, “What are you doing here?” In other words, “Elijah, you know who I am! You know I can keep you, you know I have all power, you know I have all authority, and you know I have called you. Elijah, you don’t belong here! You don’t belong in depression. You don’t belong in bondage. You don’t belong in despair. Elijah, you have the Spirit of God in and on you now!”

Today, as believers, we are in a place where our knowledge of God and His Word can be experienced. The truth that we see in God’s Word and have believed for salvation can jump off the page and truly come alive in our hearts and in our sight.

God is speaking to us today just as He spoke to Elijah.

Jesus said that today, right before our eyes, that this Scripture is fulfilled in our hearing. Everything that is mentioned in this passage can be ours.

Our hearts can be healed. Our prison doors can open. We can understand the treasure of heaven that now belongs to us.

Today, His very presence can come alive in our hearts.

Carter Conlon is the senior pastor of Times Square Church in Manhattan, an interdenominational church with over 10,000 people in attendance, representing over 100 different nationalities and 875 home satellite fellowships worldwide. He is the author of the new book, “It’s Time to Pray,” released November 6.