2 June 2001, Saturday
By Dr. Ken Matto
Well, good evening, everybody, and welcome to another Scion of Zion Internet Classroom Group. Today, we’re going to continue on in our study of the Book of Ephesians, and as we normally do, we’re going verse by verse. We don’t want to jump over or ignore any of God’s Truth. So it’s better that we just continue to go verse by verse. Some verses may not be quite "exciting" as some of the other verses, but yet they’re bridges to Truth, and they teach us, and they are still God’s Word. So whenever we run into passages, like 2 Chronicles, or 1 Chronicles –this one begat that one-- God has put those in the Bible for a purpose. And it’s very important that we realize that all Scripture is God’s Word, and it’s all-important whether we understand it at the very beginning, or whether we EVER come to an understanding of it, it’s still God’s Holy Word.
So if you have your Bibles this evening, you want to turn into Ephesians Chapter 1, and we’re going be starting tonight’s Study in verse 12. Ephesians Chapter, 1, verse 12. So if you have your good, old handy King James Bible --because that’s what we use here, and we go verse by verse with the King James. King James brings continuity to a study. If you have ten different versions, you have eleven opinions.
So, let’s begin and look at Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 11, then we’ll pick up verse 12. Last week, we studied: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:" --or his own purpose, however God deems to do something, he does it according to His Will and according to His knowledge. Now, in verse 12, we read: "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Now, here is a verse which shows that the believer --because of their salvation-- can praise God for all the benefits He has bestowed on us… but only for those who are IN Christ. Now, Paul is saying… remember now, we are talking about the early church, so he’s saying here about first trusting in Christ. Here, Paul is saying that those in Christ FIRST –including himself—will be praising the Lord for this great salvation and for the attributes of God in that salvation. Now, that little phrase "…who first trusted…" --it actually can be translated "who first put hope in." And [in] this particular phrase, it carries the meaning of anticipatory trust.
For example, I remember once when I went to the dentist, and I had to have a double root canal. And I dreaded it. I would rather put up with the pain rather than go to the dentist. And I was anticipating the worst --that I was going to fly through the ceiling with pain and that I wasn’t going to be deadened. Well, you know what? The anticipation was worse than the treatment. The doctor gave me enough Novocain where he had me in the chair for three hours, and I didn’t feel a thing. You see, I was anticipating the worse.
But when we talk about first putting hope, or first trusting in Christ, we are anticipating what God will do in our lives… --How God will protect us, how God will guide us through life, and how God will open up His Word to us. So we anticipate good things whenever we come to God, whenever we read His Word. So, anytime you first trust in Christ, it’s an anticipation of what God is going to do in our lives. And that’s very important because if we anticipate that God is going to throw lightning bolts at us, or if we have a misunderstanding of who God is, and how He works in the lives of His children, we will always anticipate the worse. But if we get into the Word, and we begin to realize that God is a loving God towards His children, we anticipate that God is going to deal with us as children and not as strangers, as the Scriptures teach. So always anticipate the BEST when you deal with the LORD --even though sometimes the LORD sends chastisement our way. But even in the midst of chastisement, or in the midst of adversity, we can always anticipate that God is going to work out that situation to His glory. And that’s very important for the believer to understand that He’s not against us, He’s FOR us. Sometimes we’ve got this idea that we should cringe when we come into the presence of God. The unbeliever cringes when he comes into the presence of God. But His children… His children come to Him as a loving, Heavenly Father. And that’s a dynamic principle to understand, and this is why we’re allowed to come boldly before the throne of grace.
Okay, let’s continue to go on in the next verse: In Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 13, the Bible says: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:… (the Good News of your salvation) …in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Now, we see that in verse 13, the word "trusted" is in italics. That means that it’s not in there. But it’s carrying the meaning: "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." And that’s why they inserted that, because it is carrying the idea from [Ephesians 1] verse 12: "…after that ye heard the word of truth." And the word "ye heard" –let’s take a look at the little phrase, "ye heard." And it is the Greek word "akouo" and we have gone over this little word. And that word does not only necessarily mean "to hear." In other words, I can hear something. I can hear a dog barking. But I cannot understand it. I can hear a bird chirping, but I won’t be able to understand. But the word "akouo" means "to hear" with understanding --and ESPECIALLY with spiritual understanding. And a wonderful verse that points this out very intently is Luke Chapter 24, verse 45. And of course, this is a very common passage, and we’ve read it many, many times. And those of us who are involved in the Doctrines of Grace and teach it, we use this verse to show a mighty principle. Starting in verse 44: "44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures," That’s the essence of "akouo." Anytime you see that word, it has the meaning of hearing with understanding. Now that you and I are Christians, when we listen to the Word being preached, we hear with understanding. An unbeliever may be sitting next to you. They hear, but not with understanding, unless God qualifies them to hear.
So let’s continue on in our verse [Ephesians 1:13]. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth," -- and the LORD says that His people are going to know His voice. [John 10:27 – "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"] And that "word of truth," of course, is the unadulterated Word of God, which is the Good News of your salvation… "the gospel of your salvation…" And that just basically means the Good News. Now, "…in whom also after that ye believed," -- Always keep in mind, anytime we see the word "believe" –on part of a believer, it’s always a qualified belief, because you and I cannot believe on our own. There is no such thing in the Scriptures that says "I can accept the Lord," or "He’s done His part, now I have to do mine." –There’s nothing in there. God qualifies the believer to HEAR the Word of God and BELIEVE. That’s why it says [Romans 10:17] "…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing (through or) by the word of God." And when we HEAR the Word of God, then you and I who are believers are acting and hearing on that understanding that God gives us.
Now, he goes on to say: "…after that ye believed,… (of course, a qualified belief, which means you now have salvation) …ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Now, if you look at history in the times of kings --no matter if it were the biblical kings [or] the Middle Ages. Every time you talk about a seal, we’re talking about the seal of a king. And the letter that is addressed to a person --no matter who that is that has the seal of the king-- that letter is to be delivered PRECISELY to that person. Not to somebody else, or it’s not to be sent in the mail. It’s to be personally delivered. And this is what God does to us as believers. He PERSONALLY seals us, and He gives us the Word. It’s not like a postage stamp or like glue, or anything like that. It is the seal of a king, and that seal cannot be broken. And the only time that seal can be broken is the person receiving the letter. That’s the only time that person can put his finger underneath there and break that seal. But that letter has to go to the person addressed. Now, the Holy Spirit is our eternal seal, whom God places in us to show that we are His. And of course, once we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, we can NEVER lose that salvation. That salvation is in place for eternity.
As a matter of fact, if you go to Ephesians Chapter 4, verse 30, we see this particular principle: "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Now, when I read a passage like that, to me, it’s EXTREMELY CLEAR that we are sealed until the day of redemption. In other words, we can never lose our salvation. How, if I am sealed completely 100% with salvation, sealed with the Holy Spirit who is God Himself… How can I ever lose salvation, if He says I’m sealed unto the day of redemption? That day of redemption can either be the day of our Home going, or the day that the Lord returns. So if we’re sealed, NOTHING you or I can do can break that seal, because it is God’s seal upon our life. And I pity those poor people who believe that you can ACTUALLY lose your salvation. Maybe you can lose YOUR salvation, but you can’t lose God’s salvation. And that’s the great thing about it.
Okay, let’s continue on in Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 14. It’s a continuing thought, so let’s read 13 with 14. He says: "13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Now, an "earnest" means a "down payment" or a "pledge" of something which is to be fulfilled in its entirety at a later time. For example, you put a down payment on a car, a down payment on a house. And for the bank, hopefully, you will make the payments and complete that transaction. But when we talk about the Holy Spirit being the earnest or the down payment of our salvation –or the pledge-- we never have to worry because as we saw in Ephesians 1:3, God blessed us with all spiritual blessings, He has given us eternal life, He has completely sealed us, and we never have to worry that His salvation will not be fulfilled in its entirety either at our Home going or the return of Christ. And this earnest --or this pledge-- of the Holy Spirit is ONLY given to those who are in Christ. --Only to THOSE who are in the Lord Jesus. And of course, that’s one of Paul’s major sayings in His epistles.
Now, he says here, "…unto the praise of His glory." Now, the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of salvation. You see, that’s a guarantee. That’s something that we talk in this world about: "There’s no guarantees, except death and taxes." --Well, that’s not true, because in this world, we may see the Lord return on the last day, so not even death is promised. But anyway, we also see in that verse, he says: "…the redemption of the purchased possession," Now, the purchased possession is the ENTIRE body of believers. Now, while the Holy Spirit indwells the believers INDIVIDUALLY, the purchased possession is the entire body of Christ since it was predestined who was to be saved from the foundations of the world. So it’s the entire purchased possession. He’s talking about the entire body of Christ whom He had saved from the first one, and He’s going to be… until the last one. Now, the word "purchased possession" is the same Greek word as found in 1 Peter, Chapter 2, verse 9. And we’ll look at that verse. It says here: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;…" --that’s the word. In other words, you are a holy nation, a purchased possession, a peculiar people. It doesn’t mean you’re strange or weird --even though the world looks at us like that. But it means that you are different. You are peculiar unto God, because you’re not like the world. You are set apart unto God. "…that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" You see, we didn’t accept the light. The apostle Paul on the road to Demascus did not bow down and say, "I accept the Lord." He just said, "What wilt thou have me to do?" [Acts 9:6 KJV – "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"].
Now, while we’re in 1 Peter, Chapter 2, verse 9, let’s take a look at verse 10, because it’s a very important one little word that dispels the idea that He has two chosen people. First of all, in verse 10: "Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." There he is pointing out specifically that the believers ARE THE people of God.
Now, you notice in this Chapter [Ephesians 1:12] up to this point, it says, "…praise of his glory" and notice this phrase. It appears three times in this Chapter, once for EACH member of the Trinity. Go back to Ephesians, Chapter 1, verse 6. Notice what it says there: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." In verse 6, we see "To the praise of his glory…" --God the Father, who PREDESTINED us. Then in verse 12, we read: "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Verse 12 talks about the praise of his glory of God the Son, who REDEEMED us. Then in verse 14, we read this: "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." --God the Holy Spirit, in which we were SEALED. So we see that this phrase, "praise of his glory" deals one time for EACH member of the Trinity. So it’s interesting when we look at those little phrases like that, and then we go back and we look at these things, and then we see how God has placed everything so strategically in the Word of God.
Okay, let’s go on to Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 15. Now, the apostle Paul says: "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints," And he’s saying here literally, "wherefore for which cause." Paul was praising the LORD after he heard the testimony of faithfulness, and the love or the charity shown toward ALL the saints –whether they be of high or low social status… because the apostle Paul dealt in that area a lot, because there were many, many affluent sections of the cities that he went into. They were concerned only about ministering to the saints. And he says, "…after I heard of your faith…" --after he heard with understanding. Paul realized that these folks were really exhibiting habits in concert with true salvation. Paul is realizing that these folks were really exhibiting the habits in concert with true salvation. And that’s something that I guess each of us, if we’ve ever discipled anybody, or we ever have the opportunity to lead people to the Lord, and to get involved in their lives. It’s good to go out on all these tract trips all over the world to hand out tracts, and things like that, but once you leave –once you leave the area— and somebody becomes saved, what do they do? Where do they go for counseling, or where do they go for discipling? That’s why we need to work in the areas where God has placed us. And I guess that’s why it is good to bloom where you are planted. If you lead someone to the Lord, then disciple them and nurture them according to the Scriptures
Let us go on in Chapter 1, verses 15 and 16: "15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;" Now, the word "cease not" means he does not rest or stop from making mention of the people in their prayers. The testimony of faithfulness needs to be mentioned also, and not only the testimony of faithlessness. You know, one thing all we ever hear is the church is dead and Christians don’t have a good testimony. And we hear all the NEGATIVE, faithless things that can really destroy a person’s Walk. And we have to be very careful when we walk totally in the negative, because if we walk in the negative, then I do not believe we are discipling people correctly or giving the proper attitude that comes in concert with our salvation.
Now, there are many times that we have to be negative, because there are times when we have to judge. We have to make judgments concerning doctrines, concerning teachings --and unfortunately, those teachings are not teachings by themselves. There are teachers associated with those teachings. And this idea that you can’t mention names is going to hurt people. The apostle Paul mentioned names. If a certain teacher is teaching something false, people have to be told that this is what is happening: "This person is teaching (thus and such)… be careful." You see, but sometimes we tend to focus on the negative, but almost NEVER focus on the good things that happen in Christianity. And you know, we’re more apt to talk about somebody who went in the wrong direction, or somebody who fell, or some scandal in the church. But when something GOOD happens in the church, we tend to go "Oh, well, that’s nice" and then go on… because sometimes I think we like the gift of discouragement. Sometimes that’s one of our greatest friends.
Alright, let’s go on to Ephesians, Chapter 1, verse 17, where he says: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,…" --you see, these are the kinds of words here that trip up the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other people that think that Christ is less than God—he says: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:" Now, here is the apostle Paul, he begins a list of desires that he petitions God for on behalf of the Ephesian Christians. Now, if you’re now sure about how to pray for somebody. Somebody says to you, "Would you pray for me?" And you’re not sure how to pray for this person. Well, you know, God gives us a wonderful model prayer, and it’s not "Now I lay me down to sleep." It’s something a little bit more intense. And that’s found in Colossians, Chapter 1, verses 9 to 12. When somebody says to you, "Pray for me," or you want to pray for somebody who you KNOW who’s going through a rough time, or somebody who has problems and you’re NOT sure how to pray for them, well, pray this prayer up to the LORD. He says here in Colossians 1:9-12: "9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;…" --you know, when somebody is searching, and they know that somebody’s praying that they might be filled with the knowledge of His will or His purpose in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, it gives somebody a spiritual boost --a spiritual shot in the arm-- knowing that somebody’s praying for them.
Then pray for their walk: "10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…" And this is what we want to do, we want to increase in the knowledge of God, even as we go through the rough times, [and] as we go through the good times, we want to increase in the knowledge of God. And the LORD allows us to see Him in a new way, especially when we go through these rough times. We see how He supplies for us, how He uses the body of Christ to care for us, and these things give us a new understanding of the body itself. And then we ask to be: "11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet…" --or the word there, made us "sufficient"— "… to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"
Isn’t that a nice prayer? --the way that God lays that out? It covers the whole gamut of somebody who’s going through a rough time, and you’re not knowing how to pray for them. It covers everything: That they will grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding, that through this problem, they might find the Will of God, and then walk worthy of the LORD… walking in concert with our salvation that’s being conformed to the image of God’s Son. We read that, I believe in Romans 8 [Romans 8:29 KJV – "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."]. The word "conform" means "an outward manifestation," which shows the inward transformation that has taken place in our lives.
Then he goes on and says [Colossians 1:10]: "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful…" –-even in rough times, you can be fruitful for the LORD and increase in the knowledge of God, and to be strengthened. It’s a wonderful prayer. And it’s a prayer that you and I can pray for anybody. If somebody says to you, "Pray for me," or if somebody says, "DON’T pray for me, I don’t want you praying for me," --Oh boy, take out Colossians 1:9-12… I’m not going to pray for them, I’m just going to read this back to the LORD for them! (because I knew somebody a long time ago who once said, "Oh, don’t pray, don’t even pray for me." And then he said, "Oh, I prayed and it didn’t work." Oh, well, there’s many people out there like that.
Alright, back to Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 17. And he says: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom…" –now, the spirit of wisdom is very, very important. And he’s basically saying here "spirit of wisdom" is another synonym for one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit who imparts wisdom to us. And of course, when we look at wisdom literature in the Bible --mainly Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms-- and we look at that and we see that the wisdom that God gave Solomon to write Proverbs, He gives us the same wisdom. And let’s take a look at examples of some people in the Scriptures who were filled with the spirit of wisdom.
Alright, let’s go back to Exodus 28, verses 1 to 3. We read this: "1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. 2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. 3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom…" --notice what God is saying here… that Moses is going to speak to Aaron, and only to those who are filled with the spirit of wisdom that-- "…They may make Aaron’s garments , that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." You see, you and I have been given the spirit of wisdom. And that spirit of wisdom means that God can communicate with us through wisdom. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. If somebody drives a car, because they have one, wisdom dictates HOW to use that vehicle. And when we talk about the Word of God and learning what He has for us here, wisdom dictates that we STUDY the Scriptures and make applications to our lives in the proper way.
Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 34:9, you see, because there’s a lot of cults out there who will take a passage of Scripture in the Bible and then what they will do is that they will say, "Oh, my, this is what I want," or "This is what I want to do." And they start their own cult. But that’s not according to the spirit of wisdom. In Deuteronomy 34, verse 9, the Bible says: "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses." You see, Moses was old, 120 years old. And Israel was about ready to go into the Promised Land. But because Moses was a representation of the law, Moses was not allowed to go in to the Promised Land, because it figures that the law cannot save us. Therefore, Moses –who was a type or figure of the law—was not able to go into the Promise Land, because that was a type showing us that we can only go into the Promise Land through Yeshua –which is the name Joshua. So that’s why Moses was not allowed into the Promise Land --not because God was mean to him because he struck the rock twice-- but because he represented the law. And NO person can be justified by the law.
And one more verse…look at Isaiah Chapter 11, verses 1 and 2. And this is a very, very common verse we hear many times. It says there: "1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;" And of course, he’s talking about the stem of Jesse, the Branch. Notice the word "Branch" [is capitalized]. And this is referencing the Lord Jesus Christ. So He has the spirit of wisdom and understanding. And you and I, as Christians, have that spirit of wisdom, because of two reasons: The sealing or indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the completed Word of God. And when you put those two together, we will have the understanding that we need in this life of the things of the LORD.
Now, he also goes into that verse --back to Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 17-- and He says something to the effect of giving "…unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:" And He talks about the spirit of revelation. And of course, the word "revelation" is the word "apokalupsis" We get the word for the Book of Revelation there. It means a disclosure or a manifestation of the knowledge of the Lord. And this only comes, this only comes, when we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who can teach us about the Lord. Now, why do we need revelatory knowledge? Now, I’m not speaking, of course --neither are the Scriptures—about revelation coming directly from God, without the Scriptures being the intermediary, because there are a lot of people out there who believe that God is still giving messages, God is still speaking in tongues, God is giving us all kinds of prophecies, that God is giving us all kinds of different teachings --and He is NOT. We now learn through the Bible. But revelatory knowledge about the Lord is important for our growth.
Let’s take a look at Colossians Chapter 3, verse 10. And to know biblical knowledge is important. In Colossians 3:10, it says: "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" You see, for us to grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD, we have to HAVE the knowledge to grow. And for us to understand the Scriptures, we have to have the knowledge of the Scriptures. It’s very basic, but it’s important. You have people who are trying to grow in the LORD by means of signs and wonders, and tongues, and confessions, and creeds, and theology books, and commentaries, and ALL of this! Unfortunately, they do not engender growth, they only engender more questions. We only grow when we have this revelatory knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ found in the Scriptures.
Turn with me to 2 Peter Chapter 1, verse 3. Here’s another important verse. It says: "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" You see, he’s talking here about through the knowledge of him. You see, knowing God, having the knowledge of God from the Scriptures, will cause us to live our Christian life in a growth pattern. Now, let’s ask the question: "Why is knowledge of the LORD important?" And I think, as Christians, we need to realize that to know our God is to get us through the tight spots. To know our God is to get us through the rough times. To know our God is to be able to stand in the face of adversity. So I want to give you five reasons (and we’ll end our study up with this tonight)-- of WHY it is important that we have the knowledge of the LORD.
The first one is found in Proverbs Chapter 1, verse 7. We read this: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Now, the first principle of why knowledge of the LORD is important is because it gives us a healthy fear of God. Now, when I say a healthy fear of God, I’m talking about a fear of God that is GOOD for us. It is NOT the type of fear that we cringe, that we want to walk around in sackcloth and ashes, [or] that we are viewing God through the eyes of condemned sinners. We view God in the eyes that we are sons and daughters of the living God! --NOT sons and daughters of hell. You see, if you still consider yourself under the wrath of God, you have an unhealthy fear of God, and you can NEVER serve the Lord, because you’ll always be condemned. If your heart condemns you, then you are of no use to the kingdom of God. God has freed us from that condemnation! He’s freed us from that! And that’s why when we begin to know God, and we begin to know how He deals with His children, we have a healthy fear of God –NOT an unhealthy fear of God.
Okay, number two, the second reason we need to know why knowledge of the is important is found in Exodus Chapter 3, verse 12. And the Bible teaches this: "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain." Number two, the second principle is it gives us confidence to go forward in our Christian walk. You see, if Moses would have gone back to Egypt, and God says, ‘Well, you go ahead, and I’ll wait for you here on this mountain,’ Moses would’ve been in fear, and no doubt, would’ve been killed. But because Moses knew –even though he fought God tooth and nail— he KNEW that God was with him. And as a result, He propelled him with confidence to go forth --to go forward in his walk against Egypt. And it propels us into a confidence to go forward in our Christian walk, too, when we know the LORD, and when we know OF Him, and we know ABOUT Him, and we are IN Him.
Okay, the third one is… Why is knowledge of the LORD important? This one is found in Matthew Chapter 5, verse 6. We read this: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The third reason is that the MORE we know of the Lord, it gives us a THIRST for God --a craving for righteousness, a craving to desire to walk in the Spirit, NOT in the flesh. It gives us a thirst and a hunger to know God more and more --as we study the Scriptures, as we see Him work in our life. We want more and more and more of this God. And we want less and less and less of the ways and the thoughts and the desires of the flesh, and the desires of the world –-because they are in OPPOSITION to God, and we cannot grow if we’re going BACKWARDS. You see, a person that goes backwards can’t be going forwards. It’s impossible. You’re either going forwards or backwards. But we have that thirst for God, to know Him better, and to see Him, as He blesses us, as He fulfills His Word in our lives, and as He fulfills His Word in the lives of others as, we see other Christians in their particular walk –especially when we see missionaries, or people that go to countries and LIVE there. These people have a thirst for God.
Okay, number four. Why is knowledge of the LORD important? It gives us an apologetic for Truth. It gives us an apologetic for Truth. And of course, you know, the word "apologetic" does not mean, "Oh, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Oh, I’m so sorry!" --No, that’s not what it means. The word "apologia" simply means "a defense of the Truth." And that’s what we look for: A DEFENSE of the Truth. And the two great places in Scripture: It was Stephen’s homily in, I believe, Acts Chapter 7, and Peter’s homily in Acts Chapter 3 –which caused them to go directly against the leaders of Israel during that time, because even though Pentecost had come, there was still a fear of the Jews in the sense of… they still had authority in power to have people put to death, but you know, like Peter says, we must obey God rather than men. And to have the knowledge of the LORD gives you the strength to have an apologetic. That’s why when I taught a course in homiletics, over here at Zarephath Bible Institute, one thing that I always told the students [was that] it behooves you to use only the Scriptures when you are preaching and when you are studying, when you are giving any type of teaching, because if you are going to be quoting other men --other teachers-- you know what’s going to happen? You’re going to have to defend them and you’re going to have to know them –their books— in and out. You will literally become an apologetic for men. But if you [would] stay on the Word… you preach from the Word. And [if] somebody comes to you and says, "Well, this teacher says that…" --but does the teacher say exactly what the Word says? And if not, then you can turn around and say, the Bible says thus and such, and THAT is it. There’s no more. The FINAL word is God’s Word. --NOT somebody’s theology book.
Okay, the fifth and final point. Why is the knowledge of the LORD important? The fifth one is that it gives us STRENGTH during suffering. And I believe one of the best pictures of that in the Bible is Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Satan goes around in this earth like a roaring lion. We’re all in the Lion’s Den. But you know what, the lion can’t touch us --and the lion WON’T touch us-- because as the hills surround Jerusalem, God surrounds His people. I believe that’s found in Psalm 125. [Psalm 125:2 - "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever."]. But it gives us strength during suffering. When we know God, when we can look up to heaven and say, "LORD, I know you’re going to give me the strength, I know you’re going to guide me during this. You’re going to bring me through." --And just like Daniel did. Daniel knew his God. And as a result, he did not fear that the decree was signed and no one was to make a petition to another god, except the king. Daniel didn’t care. He knew his God, and he knew his God strongly. And he knew his God was stronger than anybody.
So that’s five basic reasons why knowledge of the LORD is important. And where do we get that knowledge of the LORD? --In the Word, in the Bible. --In the Bible. It gives us a healthy fear of God. It gives us confidence to go forward in our Christian walk. It gives us a THIRST for God. It gives us an apologetic, or a defense for Truth. And it gives us STRENGTH during suffering.
Alright, we’re going to end here. And Lord willing, we’re going to pick up Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 18 next week.
Alright, let’s close in a word of prayer: Our Father, we thank You so much this evening that we’re able to open the Word of God to see exactly how You work, and how You operate, and to know You a little bit better is our desire. And that every time we open up this Word that we may know something more about God --one more thing to give us that strength --that LORD, You would reveal things in Your Word to us. And Father, we love You, we praise You. In Jesus’ most precious Name, we thank You, Father, in His Name, Amen.