Tag Archives: knowledge

IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM!

IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM!

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been His counsellor?

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?

“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.

“To Him be glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36.

Could Paul have concluded his presentation of God’s wisdom in any other way than a grand doxology of praise?

How mistaken we are if we think that salvation is all about us! Have you ever wondered why God created Adam and Eve in the first place, knowing full well that they would disobey Him and drag the whole universe into disarray?

This salvation saga goes much farther back than the Garden of Eden. Before God spoke the universe into existence, He created an order of spirit beings called angels (or messengers) who would share His domain of the unseen realm, and worship and serve Him with unceasing praise.

There were different orders and functions of angels; those who worshipped Him around the throne (Isaiah 6); those who carried out His instructions (Psalm 103); warrior angels headed by the archangel, Michael (Daniel 10) and the archangel, Gabriel, God’s special messenger who would later be sent to announce the imminent arrival of Messiah (Luke 1). After the creation of angels, God created the heavens and the earth and the angels celebrated His magnificent work with Him (Job 38).

Lucifer headed the throng of angels who worshipped around the throne. He was the most beautiful (Ezekiel 28) of all the “sons of God” (Job 38) who perpetually celebrated His glory and holiness. However, pride in his beauty crept in (Ezekiel 28) and turned him from a worshipper into a rebel. He had designs on God’s position (Isaiah 14) and lost his place in heaven, taking a third of the angels with him.

God banished him and his minions to the earth (Revelation 12), where he would mount a campaign to discredit God, steal the allegiance of God’s human children and lead them down a path of self-destruction. In spite of His foreknowledge of what would happen, God created the beginnings of a human family with the purpose of revealing Himself to them and winning their love in spite of the devil’s efforts to turn them away from Him.

Why did He do this? Without man’s fall, there was one aspect of the God’s character which remained hidden – His mercy, the weightiest of all His attributes. In the unfolding of His salvation plan which He put in place before the foundation of the world, His mercy is revealed in His rescue of rebellious and undeserving sinners. He purposely created a race of people who could and would choose against Him and then He won them back by His bold plan to send His representative – His own son – to become one of them. Jesus risked the same fate as theirs, eternal death, if He failed to live as a perfect son.

Where the first Adam failed, the last Adam, Jesus, overcame and exposed the devil’s deception. He revealed both the Father’s love and His justice by taking the punishment for sin in Himself and forgiving the sinner. Was there ever a display of mercy like that!

Who taught God wisdom like that? Does He owe us anything? Who but Almighty God could think up a plan so risky and bold and carry it out with such outstanding success? He showed the world that love and mercy are far more powerful than bombs and guns. Only through love could He rebuild and restore what was destroyed through man’s disobedience.

And it’s all about Him!

The hostile forces of darkness were left in no doubt about who was right and who was wrong. Mercy won the day, and the rebel hoards of demons and all the humans who side with them now, await the day of their final judgment; banished from the presence of God then; banished to a place of everlasting darkness and torment when Jesus comes again to complete what He started – God’s eternal kingdom of love and light.

It’s no wonder that Paul recognised, as he worked his way through the wonder of the gospel, that God, alone and above all others, deserves the praise!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE


ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE

“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they might be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:1-4.

How dangerous is zeal without knowledge and sincerity without truth!

Look what those who are zealous for their religious beliefs are doing to those who do not believe as they do. Look what the apostle Paul did to believers in Jesus before he came face to face with Jesus and learned the truth about Him. Look at what Hitler did to the Jews because of his zeal and the zeal of those he brainwashed into believing that they were vermin and needed to be exterminated.

According to Paul, the Jews themselves believed they could achieve righteousness by observing the law. In their zeal, they tried to bulldoze out of existence everyone who believed that Jesus was the way and followed Him as the way to God. In their sincere conviction that they were right, they became guilty of breaking the very law they were trying to uphold.

How could they justify hatred and murder as God’s way of dealing with those who did not believe as they did? Just as Jesus said, they were manifesting the very characteristics of their father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning.

Whatever the outward circumstances might be, behind every national and international conflict lies the battle between religion and truth. People will kill and people will die for what they believe, whether it be lies or truth. Take the ongoing conflict between Muslim and Jew in the Middle East, or the battle between moderate and radical factions of this religion or that religion. Take the laws that are passed in parliament to wrest the freedom from people to practise their faith according to their conscience. Who or what is the source of all this animosity; this hatred; this belief that you are my enemy if you do not believe as I do?

If we watch Jesus for a moment, we will notice that, in all His dealings with people, be they religious fanatic or weeping sinner, He spoke the truth and honoured their freedom to make their own decision regarding what He had said. Never did He put pressure on anyone to believe His word by force or emotion. Again and again, He brought people back to God’s word as the foundation for what He told them.

“It is written,” was His “slogan”. He used it to silence the devil in the wilderness when he tried to lure Him into acting independently of His Father. He used it to pull the religious opposition back to the true foundation of their beliefs and behaviour. He dismissed their accusations with contempt because they were based on prejudice, not on truth. The words He spoke were an echo of His Father’s words, faithfully spoken in obedience to Him.

This was His way of dealing with unbelievers: “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn him at the last day.” John 12:47, 48.

On every occasion He spoke the truth and gave His hearers the opportunity to believe or reject what He said. Upon them rested the responsibility and consequences of their choices.

How important is the knowledge of the truth as the foundation for what we believe! For the Jews, zeal without knowledge led them away from God and into condemnation instead of the righteousness they worked so hard to achieve. For those who trust in Jesus for His gift of righteousness as God has promised, they are fully accepted, declared not guilty and restored to the family as dearly loved sons and daughters of God.

This is God’s way; it is the truth upon which we can base our lives with all the zeal in the world and, with a good conscience, we can invite others into His family as well.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Key To Hidden Treasure

THE KEY TO HIDDEN TREASURE

Children love stories about hidden treasure.

How exciting to discover the legend of a pirate ship that was wrecked just off the coast where they live and to find an ancient map that holds the clues to the secret place where the treasure chest lies buried! They diligently follow the instructions, dodge the villains who are also after the treasure, and endure capture and imprisonment until they are miraculously rescued. They eventually defeat the would-be thieves and dig up an ancient chest which is filled to the brim with gold nuggets.

A story like this holds children spellbound to the very last page!

God has His treasure chest, hidden in an ancient document written thousands of years ago. He has disclosed, in the pages of this manuscript – the Bible, details of His treasure and the way to find it. What is this ancient document, what is the treasure and how do we find it?

The Lord is exalted for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure (Isa. 33:5-6).

Many areas of the world are in a ferment of unrest; crime, violence, protests, discontent, racial tension and war, not to mention family disintegration; divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, rebellion, and even family murders are tearing society apart. Our world is in desperate need of divine intervention.

However, most of the world is not even looking for a treasure like the one God offers. Gold is what they are after – gold to satisfy all the needs and wants of this life, even though gold is as transient and perishable as any other earthly treasure. People use every means possible, even to plundering others to achieve their goal of gaining more wealth, but where does it get them? More alienation, more aggression, more disruption in society and more personal disintegration – all in the name of “progress”.

In spite of the pursuit of money, deep in our hearts we know that the possession of wealth does not bring happiness; ownership is transient (it can disappear in a heartbeat) and money cannot buy what our hearts crave. We cannot throw money at our problems in the hopes that money will solve everything.

God’s treasure is indestructible – salvation, wisdom and knowledge. What does He mean by salvation? We have narrowed our understanding down to having our sins forgiven so that we can go to heaven when we die. Is that really the reason for Jesus’ appearance on the earth? Did He come to save us from hell? Perhaps, but He came to earth for a far greater purpose than that.

Adam’s declaration of independence put the entire universe on a path of destruction. Jesus came to reveal, to reconcile and to restore. He came to reveal the true nature of the Father – not the demanding disciplinarian His people made Him out to be but the Father who loves His erring and wayward children enough to sacrifice His Son for them.

He came to reconcile the Father’s estranged children to Him and to restore everything that Adam’s rebellion ruined, including our fellowship with the Father, to God’s original intention. He came to give us life, His life in its fullness. He came to restore God’s just and righteous rule on the earth so that His human family can again enjoy His love, joy and peace in harmony with Him and with one another.

God’s treasure chest holds three great treasures – salvation (wholeness of body, soul and spirit), wisdom (living in harmony with God’s ways) and knowledge (personal experience of the love and fellowship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – what Jesus called “eternal life” – John 17:3).

How do we gain access to this treasure?

We don’t need a map to find the way or tools to dig it out of the earth. God has given us the simple answer – The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.  What is the fear of the Lord?

Proverbs 1:7 declares, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Until we understand who God is and develop a reverential fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from understanding who God is and that He is holy, just, and righteous. Deuteronomy 10:1220-21 records, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving Him, and, yes, loving Him.


Some redefine the fear of God for believers to “respecting” Him. While respect is definitely included in the concept of fearing God, there is more to it than that. A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment on sin—even in the life of a believer. Hebrews 12:5-11 describes God’s discipline of the believer. While it is done in love (Hebrews 12:6), it is still a fearful thing. As children, the fear of discipline from our parents no doubt prevented some evil actions. The same should be true in our relationship with God. We should fear His discipline, and therefore seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him.

Believers are not to be scared of God. We have no reason to be scared of Him. We have His promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). We have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.”

http://www.gotquestions.org/fear-God.html – retrieved May 2106

When we fear the Lord in such a way that it affects the way we live, we will have free access to the treasures of salvation, wisdom and knowledge. This is the treasure that can never be destroyed and anyone can freely find it if we fear the Lord. Society does not change through revolution but through transformation – one life at a time being transformed by the power of God as we trust in and submit to His authority and rule in our lives.

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

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A Serious Warning

A SERIOUS WARNING

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses, How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10: 26-31).

This is a serious and severe warning against trifling with sin. The blood of sacrificial animals was offered for sins committed in ignorance.

If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realise their guilt, and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect (Lev. 4: 27).

‘But what about David?’ you may ask. ‘Surely he knew what he was doing when he committed adultery and all the other sins that went with it?’ David knew what he was doing was wrong, but he went ahead and did it anyway. How, then, could God forgive his sin since it was committed intentionally? Was it because he willingly admitted his wrong, unlike many of the kings of Judah and Israel who refused to take responsibility for their sin? The Bible does not tell us. All we know is that God forgave him but did not release him from the consequences of what he had done.

Is God saying that we have to be perfect in order to satisfy His holy standards? If we sin after we have come to faith in Jesus, will we be condemned to hell? If that were true, what was the point of Jesus’s death for the forgiveness of sin? That would contradict the very terms of the new covenant.

Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Matt. 26: 27-28).

Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins, past, present and future, otherwise we would still be held responsible for the sins we will still commit in the future.

There is something else that comes into play here. Under the old covenant, the people began to look upon the animal sacrifices as a covering for sin. They could do as much wrong as they liked regardless of what God wanted of them in His covenant because they could always come back and offer a sacrifice. What God intended as a reminder of the seriousness of sin became an excuse to sin. Such was the perversity of their wicked hearts.

Ephraim has built a lot of altars, and then uses them for sinning. Can you believe it? Altars for sinning! (Hos. 8: 11 – The Message).

This is a subtle attitude that can creep in when the lure of sin becomes stronger than the awareness of the cost of our salvation. This kind of thinking spawns three unforgivable attitudes: Jesus is not worth taking seriously; His blood is cheap and the Holy Spirit’s grace is unnecessary. These attitudes effectively cut us off from the mercy of God and place us back under judgment.

How important is it that this writer issue this kind of warning? Surely those who have recognised the value of their salvation would not trespass into this kind of perverse thinking? We will never know how subtle the devil’s ways are until we realise that he will stop at nothing to alienate us from God and bring us down. He has no rules in his game. He will do whatever it takes to win God’s children back to himself, most of all by devaluing the cost of our salvation.

If we continue in our life of sin after we have received God’s gift of forgiveness, it means one of two things: we have never really understood what Jesus has done for us or we have been lured into thinking that His shed blood gives us licence to sin because forgiveness is always available. Jesus came to rescue us from Satan’s dominion and to restore us to the family of God as His sons and daughters. His intention is that we grow in our likeness to Jesus, our elder brother. That cuts sin out of the equation.

Yes, Jesus has shed His blood for us and, yes, He has forgiven all our sin, but we must keep walking in His way, and not trifle with God’s mercy by playing the fool with His forgiveness. Outside of Jesus there is no salvation. To reject Him for any other religion, or to disregard Him or the value of what He has done and the work of the Holy Spirit in us is to place ourselves in line for the judgment reserved for the devil and his angels.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublshing.com.

 

They Took the Key

THEY TOOK THE KEY

“‘You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key to knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.’

“As soon as Jesus left the table, the religion scholars and Pharisees went into a rage. They went over and over everything He said, plotting how they could trap Him in something from His own mouth.” Luke 11:52-54 (The Message).

Who were the religion scholars and Pharisees? They were the religious boffins – the theological students and professors of their day who dissected the Torah and reassembled it according to what was acceptable to them.

We have them today, the men and women who take the Word of God apart and pass judgment on its authenticity, accuracy and validity, judging by the standards they set up. They write books about their findings and, if they have a big enough name, their books often carry more weight than the Bible itself. So-and-so said this or so-and-so said that.

But Jesus wasn’t interested in who said what about the Torah. He was more concerned about what it said to them and how they responded to it. Knowledge has no value unless it impacts our lives for the better. The Pharisees and religion scholars were good examples of the futility of scholarship for its own sake.

Their ‘learning’ actually shut God’s word up to the common people. Their interpretations and applications were so complicated that ordinary people did not have the capacity to enter the simple way of life God was offering them. The boffins themselves were no example of real piety. Their lives and learning were pure sham, all for show.

So, what does this mean for us? Two things. Firstly, no ‘learning’ is of value if it complicates the simplicity of God’s way. The study of God’s Word must result in changed lives, otherwise we may as well spend our time dissecting ‘Winnie the Pooh’ for all the value it has for us.

Secondly, God’s Word must always be the measure for what people teach and write about it. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 (NIV).

This altercation Jesus had with the Pharisees also exposed the disposition of their hearts. They were more concerned about being right than about being righteous. Because Jesus spoke truth, and they knew it, their driving passion was to silence Him. Jesus said emphatically that those who are on the side of the truth would come to Him and He was right. By their very behaviour, these religious frauds revealed whose side they were on. They sided with the deceiver because of their hardened hearts.

Every time we hear the truth we either embrace or silence it. When we kill the truth in our hearts, we kill Jesus and stand in danger of the same judgment Jesus poured out on them.