Knowledge, Faith and Pleasing God.
Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of KNOWLEDGE”. What is the antidote to this destruction? In John 17:3 Jesus says “And this is eternal life, that they KNOW you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Knowledge of God that leads to character refinement is the antidote to destruction because your character is the only thing that will follow you when you leave earth. Colossians 1:10 says “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the KNOWLEDGE of God”. Satan does not mind us going to a church where we get miracles and financial breakthroughs as long as we never increase in the knowledge of God because he knows that it is that knowledge that will eventually translate to eternal life. Miracles and financial breakthroughs can never provide that for you.
In Matthew 4:23 we are given an account of how Jesus spent His life. Essentially our Lord spent His time on earth on 3 things-Teaching, Preaching and Healing.
Now understand that teaching and preaching are the same things only that teaching is educating the mind while preaching is educating the heart. So in essence Jesus spent 2/3rds of His life teaching people because He was aware of the reason why they were perishing which is what we just read in Hosea 4:6. He was passing on knowledge.
After your salvation, God does not let you die even though the bible tells us in Philippians that to live is Christ and to die is gain. We are left on earth and so we must ask ourselves why?
If you don’t believe you are a spirit and your body is not the real you, take time to examine the word self-control. If that word means you have to control your self then who is having the control? It follows that if the self is being controlled by you then the real you cannot be the self. The bible says in Job 32:8 “it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.” Don’t go through life being only conscious of the self. You are not your self. You are your spirit and just as your phone can stop working but your SIM card keeps working, your self will pass away but your spirit will live on. So which should you develop? The part that dies or the part that lives on?
So God leaves us on earth so that we can develop that part of us that is required to have control over the self which includes the mind and the emotions. And it takes discipline to do that and discipline cannot be miraculously imparted into you, it is something that you must work out after it has been worked into you by the Spirit.
Now don’t forget that we will be given new immortal bodies in the Kingdom of God. So if we cannot discipline the self in this existence and bring it into subjection to Christ how can we control the immortal bodies we will receive in the kingdom?
The reason that we are left on this material world after we obtain salvation is so that we can develop our character because character is the only thing we will take to heaven. That is why we have the admonition of Romans 12:2.
But how do we develop our character?
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”-Colossians 3:10
The only way that we can develop our character is via knowledge. You see, there are no shortcuts. We must obey the law of process!
Some people may say what about those who receive salvation and they die almost immediately after. What about the thief on Jesus’ side who receive a promise of entry into the kingdom the same day?
You see, salvation guarantees you entry into the kingdom, but character refinement determines how useful you will be to God in the kingdom. It is a fallacy to think that everybody has the same status in God’s kingdom. The bible never taught that. There are elders, there are rulers over cities, there are other statuses there.
Consider that in the natural the length of your training in school is tied to the status of the job you are preparing for. So if you want to be a clerk, and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a clerk, there is a limited length of formal education required to prepare you for that role. But if you want to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, rocket scientist, the length of time increases.
So, let each one of us run our own race by increasing in the knowledge of God and the knowledge of how to please Him.
Let me read Hosea 6:6 in the good news bible “I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me”.
Of everything we do in church, the one that pleases God the most is when we grow in knowledge of Him. But if we come here and praise and sing and dance and get excited and some prophesy and some perform miracles and others bring thanksgiving offerings, we will just be like a man who is buying a perfume for the President of his country. Then we will leave the President’s presence thinking we have done him a big favor and and thus increased our influence with him but one small boy who knows the President will be laughing at us. Then you ask the small boy why are you laughing and he says that the President does not wear perfumes!
The reason why God so desires that we increase in knowledge is because God’s greatest pleasure is to be believed-Hebrews 11:6. However, you can only believe God to the extent that you have knowledge of Him, His qualities, promises and principles. That’s why Romans 10:17 says “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”.
Do you know see the relationship between faith and knowledge?
It is through knowledge that you will eventually manifest the good life that Jesus died for you to have as He said in John 10:10.
If you don’t know, you don’t grow. You will end up with zeal but not according to knowledge.
You can go to a church where your senses are excited with easy believism and your zeal is fired up, but if you have no knowledge you will be like a car whose gear is in neutral. No matter how much the driver hits the accelerator that car won’t accelerate unless and until you shift the gear from park to drive.
Let’s read Proverbs 19:2.
I remember when I was a teen ager, I took my mum’s car and tried to drive it without knowing how to drive and I ended up hitting a man. That is what happens to the man who attempts to grow in God with zeal rather than knowledge. You will be like an excited teenage boy who cannot drive in a car but that car will not take you to your destination. In fact it may end up taking you to your destruction!
Lets confirm this word. Read Romans 10:2, Proverbs 22:12 and Matthew 12:36. You see, God watches over knowledge so if you train yourself to seek the knowledge of God and you train your lips to always speak it God will watch over your words. However, if you don’t seek knowledge your words will be guided by ignorance and they will be careless words and you may if you don’t repent be at the risk of judgment.
Matthew 13:45-46- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, (46) who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
To understand this parable we need to read and understand Philippians 3:4-8.
The merchant is the man seeking knowledge and the pearls are different types of knowledge that exists but the pearl of great price is the knowledge of God which when a man has found it if he is wise he does what Paul says in verse 8 and count it all as nought that he might obtain Christ.