THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND OF JESUS OUR LORD
If you love someone, you try to know them better, and try to do or give them things that you know will bless or please them. Do you truly know and love God? Let us take a moment to consider the knowledge of God; if you look for it, you will be amazed at how many scriptures speak of the knowledge of God. Several of the prophets speak of the knowledge of the Lord: Isaiah speaks of the earth being full of that knowledge;
Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
If the knowledge of the Lord will one day fill the earth, should we desire for it to fill us now? Habakkuk spake of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord filling the earth;
Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Have you looked at the things God created, and in knowledge marveled at His glory? Some cannot see the glory in His creation. God has told us that not just the knowledge of it, but His glory itself will fill the earth;
Numbers 14:20, 21 And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
The knowledge of God will give us the knowledge of His glory. And again, if the earth will one day be filled with that knowledge, why not desire that in us now? In the book of Hosea the prophet tells us our having the knowledge of God is more important to God than what we offer to Him;
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Do you want to please Him? Increase in the knowledge of Him. Having the knowledge of God will let you awake to righteousness;
I Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
It was noted in a prior encouragement that a very simple definition of holiness could be righteousness to perfection. It is plainly stated in Hebrews 12:14 that without holiness we shall not see the Lord. Does this give you a desire for more righteousness, grace, and peace? Then you should desire to know Him more, whereby you may receive these things;
II Peter 1:1, 2 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
If these blessings of God are ours … through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord …we should have a greater desire to know Him! As the book of II Peter closes, Peter again relates our growth in grace with our growth in the knowledge of God;
II Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Peter exhorts them (and us) to grow in the knowledge of Jesus; the Word is inspired by God, so God is exhorting us to know Jesus more. There is great promise in knowing Him. Where, or how, do we find or receive the promises of God? By His divine power and our knowledge of Him;
II Peter 1:3, 4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The corruption, the lust of the world that the knowledge of God and the divine nature will allow us to escape, is noted in I John;
I John 2:15 – 17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
We must overcome these things, and our overcoming is in hearing and doing His will. We can do this only by the knowledge of God, and being partaker of the divine nature. His divine power has given us all that is needed, including His … exceeding great and precious promises …
How do we “know” Him? The depth of that knowledge is not usually something that just comes on you. We do not require or expect a first grade student to do calculus. It would only be confusion to them. They are taught numbers, addition, and subtraction, in later years multiplication, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry before they can learn calculus. Their schooling also includes other subjects at the same time; reading, writing, English, history, and social studies. If we desire to be heirs, we need to allow ourselves to be put in school;
Galatians 4:1, 2 NOW I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Get on the path of knowing Him. You cannot receive it by being the lazy, complacent student. God does not want you waiting to cram before the test. Allow Him to begin pouring the knowledge of God into you by His Spirit and you will see and begin to receive the things Peter spoke of, and become the sons of God;
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
As you walk the path of knowing God, realize that if you feel confusion you are not hearing the Spirit, or have misplaced your learning or walk;
I Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
The enemy will always attempt to confuse you, hinder you, or stop you and prevent your growth in the knowledge of God. Seek God, and He will open the word as you are able to bear it. Remember and understand that you may need to grow in other areas of knowledge to receive the specific area you are having difficulty with. The knowledge of God will begin by increasing our belief, or faith, in Him;
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
God wants us to then add to our faith;
II Peter 1:5 – 7 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How many of you knew that these verses end in … the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? Our perception is that the knowledge of God is a specific area of learning, but all of these areas of spiritual growth help us learn of Him. The Word also tells us that charity (love) is a must to know God;
I John 4:7, 8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
You could and should spend the rest of your life learning of the depth of the love of God. The knowledge of God can only lead you on that path, since … God is love. However, this topic is prepared so that you understand the need to know God, so you can purpose to spend the rest of your life in that pursuit. Let us stay on topic for now.
The first two verses of Hebrews chapter 12 are very well known, quoted, and preached, but let us get a different perspective of the third verse;
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
God wants us to consider Jesus and what he endured under great contradiction. In the Strong’s Concordance the word translated “consider” here means to estimate, or figuratively contemplate. It is a step in knowing Him! And if we do not consider Him, the verse says we can be wearied and faint in mind. Up to this point it has appeared to many that the knowledge of God is optional, or only for those in ministry. We cannot endure or be overcoming without the knowledge of God! What are some of the things we would attribute to wearied and faint in your minds? Are you stressed? Consider Him! Are you anxious? Consider Him! Persecuted? Consider Him! Treated wrongly? Consider Him! Facing a financial crisis? Consider Him! Is your faith wavering? Consider Him! Is the enemy attacking you? Consider Him! Is your prayer life or your anointing lacking? Consider Him! How many times have you read or heard these verses and not received this very simple call? Consider Him! Now let us go back to the first two verses;
Hebrews 12:1, 2 WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The first verse has been preached many times calling Christians to eliminate sin from their lives. How often have we tried to lay aside our weights and sins by our self and failed? If the weights and sins so easily beset us, they will not be easily overcome in the flesh. However, these two verses are separated only by a comma; it is one sentence. In the Strong’s Concordance the Greek word “looking” in verse 2 means to consider attentively. It is only through considering Him that we can lay aside our hindrances. In Him is our sufficiency to lay aside the weight and sin. Consider Him! Jesus made it very plain in Matthew 11, but our reading emphasis is often on His rest and the easy yoke;
Matthew 11:28 – 30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
In taking this yoke we are encouraged to learn of Him, and His humbleness. Do you truly know Jesus? Consider Him! We need to come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Jesus. These two things are tied to each other in the following scripture. Our limited knowledge of Him does not let us go on unto perfectness, or His fullness;
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
The apostle Paul had cast off the desire for the things of this life, and notes his desire to know Him and to attain the next life;
Philippians 3:8 – 11 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Paul calls the knowledge of Jesus excellency, and notes that his righteousness is from that knowledge. He then lists the things that he wants to know. Have you read these as separate and distinct in the past? Realize now they are dependent on our knowing Him. We cannot fully know the power of His resurrection, or the fellowship of His suffering, or be conformable to His death without knowing Him. We cannot attain to the resurrection without knowing Him. The depth of our knowledge of Jesus will determine the depth of our knowledge of each of these things. We must have the knowledge of God.
It is only through His shining in our darkness that we can have light for the knowledge of His glory;
II Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
As God spoke the light into the creation, He will allow it to shine in your heart if you repent and seek Him. We need to allow this light, this knowledge, to shine in our hearts, or we could fall. Falling into sin after you know Jesus will leave you in a worse state than before;
II Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Be diligent in hearing and doing and He will keep you on your path forward in Him. To walk worthy and pleasing we will be filled with the knowledge of His will, act and be fruitful in it, and will then increase our knowledge of Him;
Colossians 1:9, 10 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
We need to know His will, and do it, and we will increase in the knowledge of Him. Hear and do, as Brother Buckner says, and there are two parts to that. As mentioned in the past, this church collectively is strong on hearing, the Topeka church on doing. They are not as deep in the Word, but they are to be commended for being so active in the Rescue Mission, women’s prison, help programs, etc. But with either part left out, hearing or doing, we limit ourselves. If we do not know His will we cannot accomplish it, no matter how many outreach programs we take part in through our own will. If we know His will and do not accomplish it we are no better off; in each instance we will not reach the depth of the increase in the knowledge of Him that He has for us.
The enemy will try to trap you in unrighteousness or the flesh and send you to his high places, … spiritual wickedness in high places. If we are negligent in either hearing or doing we will miss the mark and be asleep spiritually. We must worship and serve God in spirit and in truth, Awake to righteousness.
Sister Schoonover talked about seeing a food distribution program for the poor from the basement of the church when things were really bad. What have we done about it in 14 years? Another lady is quoted as seeing the pews of the church full. How will that happen? Only by hearing and doing!
The verses above from Colossians tell us to have knowledge of His will. These things must come in His timing and plan, what do we need to do? God is more and more impressing on me the following scripture;
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
To do justly speaks of righteousness; mercy will bring us to love and compassion for the poor, fatherless and widows; how can we walk humbly with God? Only by hearing and doing! Smith Wigglesworth quoted someone as saying that to really serve God we need to have our “I” knocked out. If we do not walk humbly we will not receive the depth of the promises God has for us.
With this scripture from Micah, does God inquire these things of us? Does He desire these things of us? The Word says he requires these things! The word translated “require” is number 1875 in the Strong’s, darash; daw-rash’. It means: properly to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship.
Treading or frequenting speaks of walking, and being in a place regularly. Following also speaks of our walk, but the definition says for pursuit or search. In pursuit speaks of an urgency or hurriedness, and of diligence in doing so. Search speaks of diligence in trying to find something. Even with seeking there is often some walking necessary. God requires of us a spiritual walk with Him. The last part of the definition is that it is worship. God expects our worship to be in doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him! Grasp and understand this thought from the parts of the definition; your spiritual walk is your worship. In Hosea 6:6 above we saw that God desires mercy and the knowledge of Him more than sacrifices. Amos 3:3 says Can two walk together, except they be agreed? You must know Him to be in agreement with Him and walk humbly with God; and you will be a witness to those around you.
Walking humbly with God describes our continual going on in the Spirit. It is not a run, which can wear you down. It is not a ride, counting on others to provide the energy, preparation, and diligence for you. It is not a drive, where you take control until problems are encountered, and then ask God to correct things. Consider the following verses;
Psalms 1:1, 2 BLESSED is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
If we stand, or sit, or allow our walk to stray from the humble path with God we will fail. We are often encouraged of the benefits of walking for our physical health, and it is the same in the spiritual. It is easy, and restful, if we will walk humbly with God, and God is always there for us. Please note the delight in the law of the Lord, and the meditating in verse 2; again we see the need for the knowledge of God.
How have you approached your spiritual walk? Is your worship a once per week thing or is it a continual witness? Is your spiritual food (the Word) a summer picnic or a continual feast? Is your spiritual walk a vacation or a vocation?
Ephesians 4:1 – 3 I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This vocation that is your calling will not be the drudgery of a job; Jesus will reward your diligence in Him: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me … and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset you. Consider Him! Press in with a greater desire for more knowledge of Him; He will meet you and graciously reward you with what you desire!