September 13, 2018
It doesn’t take long after we’re born to begin gathering knowledge. Is your tummy hungry? Cry and someone will feed you. Smile and the adults around you will smile back. That’s just the beginning of knowledge. Soon the child will learn to read, eat properly, and to discern right from wrong. We gather these bits of knowledge as we move through life. The most important knowledge we can gain is knowledge of God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. The fear of the Lord is something we often ignore. We like His love for us, but too often we think that love means we have the freedom to sin all we want and He will just overlook it. When you fear the Lord you’ll respect Him and follow His ways. The more you know of Him the more you’ll respect Him and desire to please Him. You’ll come to understand that God’s laws are for our protection and following those laws is a wise choice. Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who either feared the Lord or defied Him. We can learn from both examples.
Job was a man who had been blessed with a large family and much wealth. He also feared the Lord and was obedient. That’s why Satan made him a target. Because of Satan Job lost all of his children, all of his wealth, and his health failed. Then some friends came to sit with him in his misery. They weren’t at all comforting and in fact said some awful things to Job. That can happen today. Every one of us will face tragedy and failing health, but if we study Job we can learn from his troubles. After listening to his friends point out his supposed sin and how he deserved the sorrow he was going through he indulged in self-pity. That pity party didn’t last long because Job knew God. When he stopped listening to his friends and began to rely on God he was able to say “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27. Though Job lived centuries before Jesus walked this earth he still knew that his Redeemer lived. This knowledge didn’t stop the heartache and health problems he faced, but he still knew his Redeemer. As Job’s story unfolds, we learn that through his struggles he came to know God better than he did prior to the problems. “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.” Job 42:2. We’ll always get through the trials of life much better if we know our Redeemer lives and that God can do everything. As we go through life we’ll face many things that can draw us away from God. Public schools and colleges plant seeds of doubt in young people and those who haven’t been grounded in God’s word, and even some who have, will be drawn away. If you know that your Redeemer lives you won’t be deceived.
Adults often have a double standard of living and live like the world for six days each week then play church on Sunday. That’s not fearing God and if you’re only a Sunday Christian then you really don’t know God. Many things can get in the way of knowing God if we allow them to. God is always there but it’s us who can become blind to His glory. When doubts begin to muddle our minds and we question if God is really there, that’s when we need to think about all He has done. Amid all the turmoil in life, we need to keep God in our hearts and our minds. In fact, the Psalmist encourages us to find refuge in the Lord when things are at their worst. “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. When you know God you’ll know peace in spite of trouble.
Many people have heard of God, but don’t know Him. Try asking your co-workers what they know about Jesus and the answers may surprise you. Some might say He was a nice man who started a religion and others may say He is the brother of Satan. If they aren’t born again Christians they won’t be able to give the right answer. Jesus is God and He created everything. When Jesus was ministering on this earth He met many people. Many of the people just followed Him because they liked His miracles and the religious leaders had no idea who He was. They didn’t really know Him. One day He encountered a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans had a mixture of beliefs which were partly Jewish and partly pagan. Although their belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob wasn’t pure they had some basic knowledge of God. This woman was living a life of sin, but Jesus reached out to her. This woman knew some things about the Messiah, and that knowledge was enough for Jesus to change her life. He didn’t condemn her, but pointed out her sin. She was surprised that He knew that she had been married numerous times, but was not married to the man she was living with. “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” John 4:25. If you follow the example of Jesus you just might help to change someone’s life. Start with what they know about Jesus, then lead them to the truth.
Once your life has been changed by Jesus you’ll never be the same. You’ll know that you know that you know the truth that Jesus is the Christ. When that happens nobody will be able to change your mind. You may lose friends and family may turn against you, but you’ll know the truth. Even religious leaders may try to confound your knowledge of the Living God. This happened to a man who had been born blind. One day Jesus healed his blindness but those religious men who despised Jesus questioned this man. Instead of rejoicing over the miracle they only sought to condemn Jesus. This man knew what Christ had done for him and wouldn’t be influenced by the religious Pharisees who wanted him to deny what Jesus had done.”He answered and said, “He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25. If Jesus has removed your blindness to Him and you know that He is the Christ, don’t deny Him. Draw nearer to Him and get to know Him better.
Knowing about Jesus isn’t enough to bring you salvation. You may know who He is and a Scripture or two but that isn’t what salvation is based upon. Jesus said that there would be false prophets who would spread a false Gospel. Even though they know who He is they haven’t accepted Him as their Saviour. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22-23. These false prophets lead many people astray. They haven’t placed their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but use their false faith as a magic wand to do marvelous things. They say the right words in order to impersonate a Christian but they have no true faith. Their choice will condemn them. The best way to avoid being duped by one of these false prophets is to study Scripture. Know it and write it on your heart. Then when you encounter false teaching you won’t be turned from the truth.
What does Jesus know about you? He knows a lot more than you might want Him to. He knows whether your faith is real or if you only give Him lip service. A good example of Jesus’ knowledge of ones who were very religious but had no faith is found in almost every conversation He had with the Pharisees. Jesus was God incarnate, but they just wouldn’t believe Him. They loved the power they had over people, but they didn’t love God.”But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” John 5:42. Jesus knew the truth of their hearts, and He also knows the truth of your heart. He knows if your faith is real or just a show. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and knows who truly follows Him and who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even among the men who were closest to Him, there was a traitor. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him. This betrayal fulfilled Scripture. Judas had the same opportunity as the others to know Jesus, yet he chose betrayal. “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” John 13:18. Is this something that Jesus knows about you? Do you pretend to follow Him but are only fooling yourself or others? You haven’t fooled Jesus because He knows.
Even demons know things about you, like if you have authority in Jesus to command them. Scripture tells of some men that the King James translation calls “vagabond Jews” These Jewish men had seen Paul cast demons out in Jesus’ name and thought they could do the same. “…We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” Acts 19:13b. They only knew of somebody who knew Jesus and the demons knew their faith wasn’t real. They didn’t know Jesus and therefore had no authority to use His name. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” Acts 19:15. This didn’t end well for those pretenders. The demon attacked them and they ran away “naked and wounded”. Without Jesus, you have no protection against evil.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12. Do you know whom you have believed? Is that faith real…heart knowledge and not just head knowledge? Salvation comes when you realize that you’re a sinner and the only way for your sin to be forgiven is through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Him, then it’s time you do.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under Newsletter Archive
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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