Summary: Doctrines of the Bible
Intro: Paul spent a lot of time defending his apostleship. He gave his conversion story on several occasions. Paul explained that even though he was a very religious man, a scholar in many ways, he did a lot of things out of ignorance. I Timothy 1: 13 states that he obtained mercy because he had operated ignorantly. Paul uses the words ignorant, ignorance, and ignorantly in several of his writings. In every situation he tells people that they must be on guard to spiritual ignorance or spiritual blindness. Tonight, I would like to look at these verses and give Paul’s warnings against spiritual ignorance.
AVOIDING SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE
Romans 11:25—this mystery—Paul in writing to gentile believers wanted to make sure they had a full understanding of a great mystery. God revealed Himself to the Jewish nation, He had called Israel to Himself, and because of hardness of heart, disobedience, and outright rebellion, God punished Israel. In great mercy and love, He engrafted in the gentiles.
· The first thing Paul doesn’t want any of us to forget is that we are all products of grace and mercy. We are a branches grafted into the vine.
Paul wants gentile believers to be constantly aware of God’s grace in our lives.
· If God can punish the original branches for disobedience, we should walk in reverence and obedience, because if we rebel against Him, we took could be cut off.
· Also, that God isn’t finished with His chosen people. This was also a warning to gentiles not to be conceited or puff up against the Jewish nation. We are to pray for them, bless them, and realize God still has a plan for Israel.
II. I Corinthians 10:1-5 Paul reminds us here that we should not be ignorant that God did great things for the Jewish nation, they saw miracles, they saw powerful moves of God, and still they ended up going in circles in the desert because of unbelief.
· Paul says that Israel is an example to us, not to rebel, not to harden our hearts, don’t to let doubt, fear and unbelief rob us of our victory.
· I think there is another valuable point, the ones that saw the most mighty things in God, were those who still missed God. Every day we must guard our hearts, we must walk in faith not emotions or even great experience. It is God’s Word that will carry you through to the promise land.
I Corinthians 12:1—not ignorant concerning spiritual gifts.
I will not spend a lot of time here, but Paul wants believers to understand the operation of the Spirit of God in their lives, and the manifestations of the Spirit to edify the church.
So many people don’t realize that God has made available His power through the Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 2:11—not ignorant to the devices that Satan will use against the believer.
· Paul reminds us here that Satan has many devices or schemes to cause us to fall. Everyday you must be aware of his plans, you must be on guard to his tactics.
· The Word and Prayer are the places of revelation of the devil’s devices. God will give you wisdom, insight and discernment. You will walk in a spiritual awareness.
I Thessalonians 4:13—not ignorant about death, the rapture of the saints, and eternity.
· Paul wants believers to walk in the victory of the cross and the empty tomb. He says, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
· Paul says, we don’t walk in the same sorrow that the world walks in. There is grief, there is that longing for re-union day, but we aren’t like those who have no hope.
2 Peter 3:8—a day is like a thousand years, a thousand years like a day, to God. Peter uses this phrase also, and I included this verse in our avoiding spiritual ignorance.
· Peter gives us this assurance, that even if things don’t seem to be happening as fast as we want them to, God is working on time, His time. Because of His grace and mercy, He is very patient with the lost.
· Faith is trusting in God’s timetable. He is an on time God, never too early, never too late.
· God is still in control—sometimes people feel that the world is out of control, that no one is in charge. That feeling is so prevalent that the Anti-Christ will capitalize on the need to have someone in charge. But for the Saints of God, we know He is in charge. Nothing happens, not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice.
Close: we don’t need to be spiritually ignorant. As Gentiles grafted in, or that Israel missed God even within the mighty revelations of God. We don’t need to be ignorant about the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We don’t need to be ignorant about the devil’s devices or about the rapture of the saints in the glorious return of Christ. We need to realize God’s timetable and that God is still on the throne.