Summary: Proposition: The knowledge of God is the greatest danger to man, unless it is assimilated (practiced) in our lives to the glory of God.
Foundations of the Christian Faith Series
by Matt Black (Message 3)
Proposition: The knowledge of God is the greatest danger to man, unless it is assimilated (practiced) in our lives to the glory of God.
Key Verse: Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
I believed, therefore have I spoken (Psalms 116:10). How quick we speak that which we do not really believe! There is a great temptation in our lives, as we understand the Bible, to be satisfied with superficial knowledge without a real faith in the doctrine. It is very easy to know something, but it is an entirely different thing to possess it, and to be possessed by it. We must not imagine that we have correctly understood God’s Word, unless through the Holy Spirit, we have had such a taste of it, that we can say that we have experienced it. It is out of that experience of faith that our words must come. The experience of faith leads to words, which in turn lead to actions.
Imagine this building were on fire. Your belief would lead you to a very swift action, and all the while you would be shouting “Fire, fire, fire!!” This is what the Psalmist speaks of here. He believes, therefore he speaks. It is so easy to speak about God, isn’t it? But the one who knows God does not just speak of the truth; he believes the truth and therefore assimilates it in his life.
What is the Assimilation of Truth?
When someone assimilates the truth, or practices what is true, we would call that righteousness, or doing what is right. When a person reads the Bible, he sees it says, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel!” When he goes to his friend and declares Christ to him, then that man is a righteous man. He is practicing the truth and doing what is right. Now if I say I agree with you, and that the Bible is true, and I do not go and tell my neighbour of Christ, my doctrine may be correct, but I am unrighteous because I am not living the truth. We can say that about every doctrine in the Bible. Christ says to us, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). But do we pray?
God says of the righteous man, that “his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2). But do we saturate ourselves in God’s word? Are we practicing the truth?
The Danger of Hearing and Not Doing
The danger in the study of doctrine and of God is that we will be quick to hear the Word of God, and quick to know it, and acknowledge it, but that we fall short in embracing it and doing it. Let us look at some verses.
· James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
· 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
For instance, we say that we believe that God is in control. We agree with it. We believe it, we say. We can tell you of many verses in the Bible where it is found. We say that he would be a fool who did not believe that God is in control. But at the same time, when tragedy comes, we worry. When interruptions come, we fret and get angry. When we are accused falsely, there is bitterness against that person. We say that God is in control, but we do not truly believe it in our lives. Or we say that God is good. We can teach a class on the goodness of God, but when something bad happens, we doubt God’s goodness, and wonder why he would allow it to happen. We say that God answers prayer, but we hardly find ourselves praying at all. We say that we should meditate in God’s Word, but though we know God’s Word, we find ourselves filling ourselves with the media of the world. We know the news each day, and we know all the details of the happenings here, and perhaps around the world, but can we quote the Ten Commandments? Can we say the Beatitudes? And so we say that we love God’s Word, but we do not really love it, we merely know it, and our knowledge of it is superficial. We show ourselves to be “hearers only.”
What all this superficial knowledge does is to inoculate us against the truth. We hear something over and over again without the thrill of being filled with the Spirit, and instead we reject the Spirit’s working in our heart, and we rationalize that it is enough to simply hear the Word. We begin to find that God’s Word is dull and powerless and familiar. It does not shock us any more to read it. It is no longer a thrill and delight, but drudgery and a dry duty. The Spirit is quenched, and we become knowledgeable robots with superficial lives.