Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Power of knowledge

The Power of knowledge

God says “My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge……” (Hosea 4:1-6)

What was it that people did not know, and why was that lack of knowledge so dangerous?

The context of the above text reveals that before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians (722 B.C.), the prophet Hosea focused upon one of the main causes of Israel’s frightening destruction, Hosea said “People of Israel listen to the Lord’s message. The Lord has something to say against those who live in this land: God says “My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge.” The rest of verses explain that: “Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children”. It’s important to note the structure of the verse: “rejected knowledge” is parallel to “forgotten the law.” in a similar line, Isaiah, speaking for the Lord, warned the southern kingdom of Judah of a coming time of disciplinary despair: “My people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge” (Isaiah 5:13). The prophetic word was fulfilled in the Babylonian Captivity (606-536 B.C).

Bible also tells that “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”(Rom. 15:4), since the great truths of the Old Testament serve for our learning surely we can conclude that a sustained ignorance of knowledge can bring nothing but tragedy to the people.  Edward Everett said “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army." Proverbs 24:3 says “by wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Christianity is a religion of instruction. Where there is no solid Biblical education, the Christian system can neither commence nor continue. Knowledge is prerequisite to ascertain faith. The supreme concern within God's heart in giving us the Bible has been, through the centuries that we might understand what goes on in the human spirit, affecting everything we do.

Jesus said "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). This is a pivotal verse speaks to us of freedom by knowledge of the truth. Jesus takes a moment to inform those who believe in Him the power of truth. He said, that if you know the truth, then that knowledge you obtain, that truth will set you free. It is only through knowing Christ that a person becomes truly free, through the truth that He brings and through the redemption He obtained at Calvary on our behalf. You shall know the truth, and it will set you free. But free from what? In the first place, the freedom we obtain from the truth is the freedom from ignorance, primarily the ignorance of spiritual things.

 As we know that if a person has no education then his opportunities are limited. A person who is illiterate will face many closed doors and will have difficulty even finding the most menial of jobs. If this is true in our secular society, imagine the impact this has on a spiritual level. A person who is illiterate of spiritual truths will not be able to thrive spiritually. Anyone who does not know the teaching of the Word of God or the basic fundamental truths of the scriptures is in bondage to their spiritual ignorance. And that ignorance can be devastating. This is why peter said in 1 Peter 2: 2 “As new babies want milk, you should want to drink the pure milk which is God’s Word so you will grow up and be saved from the punishment of sin.” So Bible says in Proverbs 23:12 “Apply your heart to discipline (Education) and your ears to words of knowledge.” In another words Listen to instruction and do your best to learn. How do you gain knowledge? “For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding”. (Proverbs 2:6) The greatness of a community or a Nation can be judged by the Knowledge and life style of its people.  Learning is the beginning of action. Action is the completion of learning. Education shapes our world view. Our world view shapes our life. Moral Education is the key to Good Life.  This is why Socrates said, “Virtue is knowledge.”

One of the marvels of the Holy Bible is that it uses language that communicates with people of the most primitive and limited understanding, while at the same time it still has significance, and inexhaustible meaning, to the most scholarly and intellectual of men. It addresses itself with equal simplicity to all classes of mankind. No other book that I know of has that distinction. Bible begins with one of the most profound statements ever made in the hearing of men.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) It gathers up in ten English words (seven in Hebrew) the answers to the four fundamental questions which every person faces when he really begins to think seriously about his life and the universe in which he lives. This verse also begins with the greatest observable fact known to man: the existence of the universe, the heavens and the earth, (Genesis 1:1); and it links to that the greatest fact made known by revelation: the existence of a God who creates. There is thus brought together in this simple verse at the beginning of the Bible the recognition of the two great sources of human learning: Nature, which is discoverable by the five senses of our physical life; and Revelation, which is discoverable only by a mind and heart illuminated and taught by the Spirit of God.

God has deliberately made the physical to correspond to the spiritual in such a way as to illustrate to us what is going on within. Dr. F. A. Filby, said “The material world is designed to produce parallels and parables -- of the spiritual. There is indeed a spiritual law operating in the natural world, and God put us on a planet where light is separated from darkness for our spiritual education as well as for our physical needs. There is a spiritual, as well as a physical reason, for the pattern of creation and he who divorces science from true religion will never be able to come to a real understanding of the world.” Both of these sources of knowledge are from God, and each of them is a means of knowing something about God. The scientist who studies nature is searching ultimately for God. Nature is designed to teach us certain facts about God, but revelation is designed to lead us to the God about whom nature speaks. Thus the two are complementary.  They are not contradictory in any sense, but complete one another.

The more we know the truth; more powerful we are to change our world. There is no excuse for not being the best possible. Now is the time to regain the power we have given away because we are waiting for someone else to fix things for us, and get what we know we deserve. So what are we waiting for? Remember “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”(Proverbs 9:10)

Religions, universities, museums and libraries are full of mans attempts to discover wisdom, knowledge and understanding apart from God. In many ways, they are the futile attempts to explain God and His creation while leaving Him out of the process. It is the best that men without God can attain. Bible tells us about the first man “Adam.” And the tree of the knowledge of good & evil in Gen 2:15-17, This Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, seems to have had the power to convey immortality to man, and as such is used in Scripture as a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Timothy 1:10 says “but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” first Corinthians 15:22  says “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

But what is this "tree of the knowledge of good and evil"? &why did God forbid Adam to partake of this fruit? In Genesis 3:5 Satan misuses the truth, in order to draw women on until she become the victims, of his lie. Serpent said to the woman “You will not certainly die,” “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”That suggests a clue as to what this fruit was and what it did. God knows evil, not by experience because he cannot experience evil, but he knows it by relating it to himself. That which is consistent & in line with his character and his nature is good; that which is inconsistent and out of line with himself is evil. That is how God knows good and evil. He relates it to himself. God is the only one who can properly do that. God is the only being in the entire universe that has the right to relate all things to Himself. When man tries it, he gets into trouble. We are crated to discover the difference between good &evil by relating all to the Being of God, not to themselves. When man ate of the forbidden fruit he began to relate everything to himself. Yet, as a creature, he has no real ability to sustain this kind of relationship and thus he is constantly Interrupt an unbalanced element into life. When man began to think of himself as the center of the universe, he tried became like God. But it was all a lie. Man is not the center of the universe, and he cannot be. But as we trace the course of human history we can see that this is the seductive lie that the Satan has whispered into the ears of men ever since: "You are the center of life. This is your world, everything relates to you. What you like is right; what you don't like is wrong.." You can find this idea predominant and alive throughout the philosophies of men. That is the curse that fell upon man when he ate of the fruit in the Garden of Eden.

In a sense his mind was twisted, and related all things to himself. But when man does this he introduces a tainted element into life, into creation. That is why everything is always going off in wrong directions. But the glory of the gospel is that when men are redeemed, through faith in Jesus Christ, they resume once again a balanced life, and everything relates once again to God. God now becomes the center of things. The purpose of Jesus is here, to put God back into the center of his world and relate everything in our life and in the lives of others to him and not to us.

Jesus said in John 15:4-5 “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”(AMP)
This is what the gospel message is all about. Have you crowned Jesus Christ Lord of his empire, where he belongs, and invited him with gladness to sit upon the throne of your heart and rule there? There is coming a day when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Then the destruction, desolation, and despair of the Garden of Eden will be reversed, and men shall once again acknowledge the centrality of God in life. Then the world shall be filled with knowledge and glory of God. Everything shall be what God intended it to be.

Destiny and Duty

Destiny and Duty : Text: 2 Peter3:8-15

The word Advent means "coming” Advent is far more than simply marking 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. That acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live "between the times" and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s in breaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which "all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption," Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in glory and power.

2 Peter chapters 3 talk about Christ’s second coming, “The day of the Lord” If we read our Bible carefully, we’ll notice how often the New Testament texts speak of that coming day. We forget about these sayings of Jesus. Though we read and pray every day: “Thy kingdom come, we don’t always take them to heart.  But remember “The day of the Lord will come.” The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness” Peter writes, “but is patient with you, not wanting any one of you to perish, but all to come to repentance.” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. Actually Peter just reminding himself what Jesus said in Luke 12:39: ……..“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." The most glorious prophesied future event in the Bible is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible is abundantly clear that Jesus will return to earth, and He will return in the same way as He left.  Therefore we must know our destiny and Peter wants us to know, 

1. That Jesus will returnHe writes 2 peter 3:3, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this `coming' he promised?  "Of course people are going to scoff". "But" he continues, "The day of the Lord will come" (3:10)

2. That Jesus will return according to God’s Perfect plan:  (2 Peter 3:8-9) “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years". And God's schedule is motivated by love.  v9b, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance". God knows who he wishes to spend eternity with him: that is why he waited for you to be conceived; that is why he waited for you to turn to him - or maybe that is why he is still waiting - waiting for you to put aside your stubborn pride, intellectual arrogance or willful selfishness and admit that he is God, surrender to him and receive his free gift of forgiveness, acceptance and life. 

 That Jesus will return unexpectedly: (2 Peter 3:10)"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief". Actually Peter here is just reminding himself what Jesus said: "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Luke 12:39)

4. That Jesus will return with power and glory: (2 Peter 3:10)"The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." the emphasis of Peter here is less on the destruction, and more on the fact that there will be nothing that we can hide ourselves behind. When Jesus returns, whether you have already died, or are still living on earth, God will see us as we are. On that day there will be no more hiding or pretending. Everything and everyone in which we have put our trust will be stripped away from us: we will stand alone and naked before our God. We spend so much of our time and money on building up our comfort zones, our walls, our defense systems, and our image: whether it is homes or cars or beautiful things or technology or work or children or clothes or books or insurance schemes. One day, either when we die, or when Jesus returns, it will all be stripped away from us. On that day, it will be a face to face encounter: a one to one with Son of God. It is worth preparing for.

5. That Jesus will come with a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13)  In fact we are told that the creation waits for his coming, so that it might be set free from its bondage to decay. The goal of Jesus' return is a new heaven and a new earth:  Bible says: 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man or woman conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'. (1 Corinthian 2:9) that because “God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3)  We live, in relationship with Jesus now, looking to the future “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"(2 peter 3:14). Because your relationship with him will matter then, your relationship with him matters now: and note we are not told to be at peace with ourselves, or with our environment, but to be at peace with God. And that involves confession, repentance, receiving the gift of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and eternal life. Peter not only wants believers to know the Destiny but asks in verse 11, “What sort of people ought you to be?” or what is our duty as Christian? So he writes...

1. We must determine to live our lives that are Holy and godly.  (2 Peter 3:11)  “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives” The Lord designed you for a godly life, one that will satisfy you like no other. Don’t allow your natural desires to hinder your ability to reach His purpose for you. The sacrifices of a well-disciplined life are nothing in comparison to the rewards of fulfilling your God-given destiny. It’s a prize well worth the training.

2. We must be diligent in living our lives that are faithful and righteous. Knowing that He is returning at any moment, we must be living lives that are pure, clean, spotless, and marked by enjoying peace with God. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:14)

3. We should keep in mind that our Lord's patience means salvationAgain, this can mean seeing the time before Jesus returns as opportunity for us to take care of those areas of our lives that we have allowed to lapse, or, it can be referring to our attitude as Christians towards those who aren’t Christians. If you really care, open your mouth! Tell your story! “Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” (2 Peter 3:15)

4. We should be careful not to be carried away by wrong teaching (16-17). As we saw in chapter 2, False Teachers are leading people into idolatry, and are actively denying the teaching of Christ. We catch the idea from Peter that they are also viewing those Scriptures that are little harder to understand, and instead of saying they don’t know all of the specifics, they are creating their own teachings from them. “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

5. We must be vigilant and prayerful at all times- Peter cautions the believers that “I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” (2 Peter 3:17)

6. We must be growing in grace and in the knowledge continuallyBut grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” (2 Peter 3:18) This is a present tense verb, meaning there is never a time we aren’t growing. It doesn’t matter our feelings, our age, our history, our past mess ups. We must always be growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.

All true believers know that, At Christ’s return, believers who are dead will be the first to be resurrected, and then immediately in the twinkling of an eye, believers who are alive will be transformed into their new glorified immortal spirit bodies. Both groups will then be gathered together in their resurrected glorified immortal spirit bodies in the air, and rise up as the First fruits to meet the returning Jesus Christ. Then, they will all descend with Jesus onto the Mount of Olives to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom of God and beyond, forever.