Sermons

Summary: To know Him and the power of His resurrection was Paul's ambition, and is the ambition of all who really want the greatest education. It is the greatest for it is more comprehensive than the best liberal arts education if one pursues it.

G. A. Studdert-Kennedy wrote a poem called "Faith," which has

become very widely quoted. Let me share the whole of it with you.

"How do I know that God is good? I don't. I gamble like a man. I bet

my life Upon one side in life's great war. I must. I can't stand out. I

must take sides. The man Who is neutral in this fight is not a man.

He's bulk and body without breath. I want to live, live out, not

wobble through my life somehow, and then into the dark. I must

have God. This life's too dull without-

I know not why the evil, I know not why the good, both mysteries

Remain unsolved, and both insoluble. I know that both are there,

the battle set, And I must fight on this side or on that. I can't stand

shivering on the bank, I plunge Head first. I bet my life on Beauty,

Truth, and Love, not abstract but incarnate Truth,

Not Beauty's passing shadow but its Self. Its very self made flesh,

Love realized.

I bet my life on Christ-Christ crucified. Behold your God! My soul

cried out-Such is my faith, and such my reasons for it, and I find them strong

Enough. And you? You want to argue! Well, I can't. It is a choice.

I choose the Christ."

This is the experience and choice of all believers, and is what Paul

was saying when he wrote, "I count everything as loss because of the

surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord." Christ is

the supreme choice. He is the supreme object of knowledge. The

greatest education is to know Christ. The crown of the curriculum

in the college of life, for the Christian, is Christ. Any alternative is

like offering a candle to replace the Sun. It was Moody who said,

"You may know all there is know about the age of rocks, but if you

do not know the Rock of Ages, your education is in vain."

To know Him and the power of His resurrection was Paul's

ambition, and is the ambition of all who really want the greatest

education. It is the greatest for it is more comprehensive than the

best liberal arts education if one pursues it, for in Christ are hidden

all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Barclay calls the

knowledge of Christ the master science of life.

Knowing Christ does not exclude other knowledge, but rather, it

expands it and lifts it to a new level. All of the values of

philosophers through the centuries are made more precious when

related to the knowledge of God in Christ. To be spiritually minded

does not mean to ignore and scoff at the values of the secular world,

but rather, to exalt them by relating them to God, and His glory and

purpose. Herman Horne in his book Jesus-Our Standard shows

how all of the values of life recognized by all men are made spiritual

values by relating them to the knowledge of God. He writes, "Our

enjoyment of health acquires the spiritual tone when health is

recognized as the result of conformity to the laws of nature which

are the laws of God. Our goodness becomes spiritual when it is

recognized that the laws of morality are the laws of God. Our

appreciation of beauty is spiritualized when beauty is traced to its

origin in the perfection of God manifested in the works of nature

and man. And our knowledge of the truth acquires a spiritual value

when such knowledge is viewed as the rethinking of the thoughts of

God."

To know Christ, therefore, is the greatest education, for only

through Christ can God be known, and only as God is known can all

knowledge acquire its highest significance and value. Therefore,

with Paul and the poet we choose Christ. It is the choice that even a

wise and thoughtful pagan would make. In Plato's Dialogues we see

Simmias speak to Socrates just before he drank the fatal hemlock,

and he said, "I dare say that you, Socrates feel as I do, how very

hard or almost impossible is the attainment of any certainty about

questions such as these in the present life. And yet I should deem

him a coward who did not prove what is said about them to the

uttermost...For he should persevere until he has achieved one of two

things: either he should discover, or be taught the truth about them;

or, if this is impossible, I would have him take the best and most

irrefragable of human theories, and let this be the raft upon which

he sails through life-not without risk, as I admit, if he cannot find

some word of God which will more surely and safely carry him."

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