Thursday, July 06, 2017
Knowing God's Word
In Psalm 32 verse 8 the Scripture says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Then He says this, "Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding."
There is no virtue in not understanding.
There is no virtue in a lack of information.
There is no premium on not knowing.
In Psalm 73 and verse 22 the psalmist writes, "When my heart was embittered I was senseless and ignorant and I was like a beast before You." Senselessness and ignorance before God is considered to be that which is characteristic of an animal, not a man.
In the prophecy of Isaiah 1:18 you remember these familiar words, "Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord." \
In Jeremiah 4:22 we read these words, "Words of condemnation for My people are foolish, they know Me not, they are stupid children and they have no understanding."
In Hosea the prophet says in chapter 4 what would sum up a very important truism, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." God has never put a premium on mindlessness, just the opposite, just the opposite.
Turn for a moment to Philippians chapter 1 and let me remind you of some verses there. Verse 9 says, "And this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God." Going through that backwards, we are to be filled with the fruit of righteousness so that we may be sincere and blameless. To do that, we must approve the things that are excellent and to approve the things that are excellent, we must have real knowledge and all discernment.
In 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 5, Peter writes, "Now for this very reason also applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence and in your moral excellence, knowledge, knowledge."
Beloved, I just say this by way of reminder. We are called to know. We are called to use our minds, to understand the truth of the revelation of God.
Not to engage ourselves in experience as that which determines truth, not to be caught up in mysticism, but that is ever becoming the mode of operation of the church today. That is why you see the blurring together of Catholicism, liberalism, charismaticism because it is all predicated on the same kind of mystical approach which wants to bypass the mind to feel God. The late Rufus Jones wrote, quote: "Whenever I go to church I feel like unscrewing my head and placing it under the pew in front of me because I never have any use for anything above my collar button," end quote.
We're not here to make you feel, we are here to make you think because proper action and proper response comes with proper understanding. Christianity is a matter of the mind.
Do I need to remind you how the Bible describes the mind of the sinner, the mind of the unregenerate, the mind of the one without God?
In Romans 1:28 it says he has a depraved mind.
In 2 Corinthians 4:4 it says he has a blinded mind.
In Ephesians 4:17 he has a futile mind, or an empty mind, or a useless mind.
In Colossians 1:21 he has an alienated mind, that is. it is alienated from God.
Romans 8:5 and following. "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God for it does not subject itself to the law of God for it is not even able to do so."
So the unregenerate man
has a depraved mind,
a blind mind,
a futile mind,
an alienated mind that can be summed up as a mind of the flesh.
He can't think properly.
He cannot understand the things of God.
They're foolishness to him.
But on the other hand, the New Testament tells us about the mind of the believer.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 16 it says, "But you have the mind of Christ," a Christ-like mind.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says God has given us a sound mind. And so we are able to think on things that are virtuous, things that are pure, things that are noble, things that are good.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 5 Paul says, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Your thoughts must be captive to obey Christ. And wherein has Christ revealed His will but in the Scripture. And so as our minds are filled with divine truth, as that filling of the mind with divine truth becomes woven into the fabric of our lives, then that begins to control our conduct. William James said, quote, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes," end quote. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A man is what he thinks." And the Scripture says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
Beloved, the purpose of preaching and the purpose of teaching is to pour truth into your mind, to pour it in your mind in a persuasive way, to pour it into your mind in a convicting way, to pour it into your mind in a clear and precise and definitive way. That is its purpose.
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