Monday, July 15, 2013

Knowing What You Know

EPISTEMOLOGY: the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity. Merriam-Webster

When I'm not on the road and working from the office at home, I listen to talk radio or music or sermons on low volume. Occasionally, something will catch my attention and if I can stop, I'll turn up the volume and listen. Yesterday, I was listening to sermons and David Asscherick was preaching about 1 John. This was too much coincidence not to be the Holy Spirit having me listening in. I have been troubled by the struggles of a friend to believe and understand the Gospel, so much so that I was sending text messages late into the night to her and her husband relating to belief.

Sometimes, it's difficult to convey, what you know. Theories, feelings even beliefs are by comparison, far easier to convey than knowledge. For example, I can tell you how I feel about something and it's very difficult for you to dispute. A personal example of this is because I travel for work and have to eat out often, I prefer to eating a simple meal at home to being offered the chance to eat at the finest restaurant. But how can I prove something I know? I know that I love my wife and children but what unequivocal proof can I offer? What proof I offer, if I were so inclined, could be easily dismissed as an attempt to influence your belief.

Here's the essence of what I wrote my friend last night, just before midnight.

You know the scriptures. "The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LordBut this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NRSV) - Oh, by the way, Hallelujah!

Jesus said in John 10:27, "My sheep know my voice." Paul said in Romans 1:19-21 CEV "They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuseThey know about God, but they don’t honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark." Here's Paul again. "Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ." Then there's: "But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being." (Galatians 1:11-12, 15-16 NLT)

Yesterday, the sermon I heard pastor Asserchick deliver was about the gnostics (know it alls) who were trying to dissuade John's churches from what he taught them; to dissuade them from what he said that they already knew! They knew these things, John said, not because he taught them but because it was given to them by God. You know the gnostics, they're the ones who will tell you the bible says this but... Well yes, Jesus is our righteousness but you gotta.... Sure the bible clearly states that the sanctification part of the salvation spectrum all belongs to God too but Sister White said.... 

This is what the senior pastor John told his flock:

These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26-27 NASB)
Who tells the geese to fly south for the winter or the bears to hibernate? Who tells the spider to spin her web or tells the salmon to swim upstream? Your DNA is programmed to KNOW the Gospel when you hear it and to respond in faith!

Paul, who like John, had snipers trying to pick off his flock, does not mince words nor spare anyone's feelings on this point. 

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? 
I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:1-14 NLT)

Paul went straight thug on the Galatians and Paul knew thug! He was also protecting his flock and he was a righteously angry shepherd here with his flock but more so with the gnostics!

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. 
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. 
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:6-10 NLT)

Get the picture? Know what you know believers not because someone told you but because you know! Oh, and look out gnostics!

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