For me, the most important thing I’ve ever learned is that personal intimacy with Yeshua changes everything. Currently, most of the church ignores this simple fact. To my horror, even churches preaching the gospel about the blood and the cross, focusing on new converts and leading them to the Lord, often don’t mention this from the pulpit. All of their services are evangelistic.
As far as I can tell, the pastors and teachers who know this don’t have any reticence to teach on the subject. They simply forget to mention it. I can understand that. People who do not know the Lord, do not have the Holy Spirit. So, this level of intimacy is not helpful in getting them saved. Without the Holy Spirit, personal intimacy with God Almighty seems beyond strange, pure fantasy.
Then you have traditional churches. Here the pastor often does not even know this is possible. I hope you’ve seen the Barna polls talking about the large percentage of pastors in America today who do not believe in the virgin birth, resurrection, hell, or other core beliefs. Here’s one about the Great Commission. Of course, these churches are Christian in name only. But sadly, members of them believe they are Christians. I pray for them constantly. (In addition, the stats aren’t that much better for evangelicals or Pentecostals.)
Often, these Church members are resistant to the Gospel. They react badly to the concept of being born again. They reject the availability of the power of the Holy Spirit to all believers. They do not believe that Jesus is ever going to physically touch His foot on this planet again. They are an ignored mission field.
So teaching about personal intimacy with Yeshua has become critical to the church as a whole
This blessing is enabled by our rebirth or birth from God. It’s a normal part of walking in the Spirit. However, our Messiah always remains a gentleman and will not force His attentions upon you. This is a two-way street. This level of intimacy requires intense communication back and forth between both of the two people involved. In order to have intimacy with God, you are required to know Him well and talk with Him often in a frequent, long-standing personal relationship.
One of Jesus’ most frightening warnings
He revealed this in one of the scariest passages in scripture—Matthew 7. Jesus is talking about walking the straight and narrow path and carefully examining the fruit of believers. Then He comes to this strong warning.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ But then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil.’” Matthew 7:21-23 MEV
NOTE CAREFULLY: He says this to people in the church. He’s talking about people who have “signs following”. That doesn’t happen to people who have not had an encounter with the Lord. They’ve repented, asked Him into their lives, and try to follow Him. Yet, Jesus tells them, “I never knew you…you who practice evil.” The word knew here does mean to know, understand, become acquainted with. By the general understanding of what “being saved” is all about, these people certainly knew Jesus.
However, we know that Jesus’ listeners in Israel 2000 years ago were engrained with the Jewish slang of the day. Their understanding of knowing a person includes this idiomatic meaning, sexual intercourse. In practical terms, knowing is an intimacy like that experienced in marriage. For those of you who have not had the blessing of Christian marriage, as a three-way covenant between a man, a woman, and God Almighty, you become one with your spouse—and with God. NO! This level of intimacy does not require marriage.
All believers can expect this level of intimacy with their Lord. As mentioned above, personal intimacy with Yeshua must be sought out. Jesus will not force it upon you. You need to ask Him for it. But if you ask Him for this level of intimacy—He will respond quickly and directly. He will always respond to this seeking by you with a strong affirmation. You may need to be a little persistent, so He knows you’re serious.
How do we know this from the scripture quoted above?
Because Jesus calls them evildoers. In other words, they had accepted Jesus, but all of the works they were doing were being done out of their flesh. These spiritual works need to be done under the guidance of Jesus. And, how can you get this guidance without talking with Him? Often people base their actions on a scripture. This remains a good way to learn about them. But we need to use them in a specific case only by the leading of the Lord. You can cause damage to people by doing them as you see fit— because you are then doing them out of your flesh.
It’s the result of conversational prayer with your future husband
Yes, if you are a believer, you are engaged to Jesus. We all are. We find out that a major part of our walk with the Lord is coming to know Him. We need to learn this now before we’re yanked out of here. Why? Because if we do not know Him at this level we may not be going in the Rapture. More importantly, this lack of personal intimacy with Yeshua really hampers the effectiveness of our witness and the development of fruit in our lives.
I realize that the focus of many Christians is the saving of souls. We are not mistaken about this. It is the initial part of the Great Commission—to be followed by discipling those who repent and turn to the Lord. We are all to be involved in this.
But we must not avoid the more uncommon task of developing intimacy with our betrothed. I mean: we’re engaged. Don’t you want to get to know Him better before He becomes your spouse for all eternity?
Is intimacy required?
I believe it is. It may be possible to make it to heaven without it. Personally, I wouldn’t count on it. How can it hurt? Do a search in the Bible for knowing God. Jesus, in his priestly prayer of John 17, states emphatically, “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3 MEV. Yes, it’s the same word again.
Here’s a book I wrote on the subject named The Wife of Jesus: No. It’s not Mary Magdalene. It may bless you.