INTRO: As the apostle Peter came to the close of his second little letter, he admonished his readers to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). In Rom 10:2 the apostle Paul observes that Israel had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. In his sermon to the philosophers and scholars of Athens the apostle Paul said, And the times of this ignorance God winked at... (Acts 17:30). Putting such Biblical texts as these together one must conclude that Christianity cannot exist and flourish in an environment of ignorance! Indeed, relationship with God has always depended, to a marked degree, on enlightenment, knowledge. The plea of the psalmist is very, very practical ... and in keeping with the idea that the more we know the more satisfying our discipleship will be.
I. GOD, THE TEACHER
A. From the beginning of time God has been revealing His will
1. Gen 2:15-17
2. here was instruction for life - and for relationship with Him
B. God did not create ... and leave humanity in ignorance!
1. Jno 6:45 - And they shall be all taught of God
2. fact: if one is taught of God, learns and applies that which he is taught, he will enjoy an abundant life now and eternal life hereafter!
II. THE SUBJECT MATTER - GOOD JUDGMENT AND KNOWLEDGE
A. The knowledge here is apparently very specific...
1. earlier, I mentioned Rom 10:2 - not according to knowledge
2. certainly the Jewish people had knowledge of some sort
3. or, Acts 17:30 - the times of this ignorance
4. the people to whom he said this were the intelligentsia of that day
B. Col 1:9,10 -...the knowledge of his will ... the knowledge of God...
1. fact: people can have heads full of knowledge and be ignorant!
2. that knowledge for which David prayed was of that which God instructed
3. from 1 Tim 2:4 - ...the knowledge of the truth & Jno 17:17
4. this truth is revealed and preserved in the scriptures - the text book which is the source of the knowledge of truth
C. Some specific points of needed knowledge?
1. of ourselves - for example, Rom 3:23 or Mt 26:41
2. of the Savior - for example, Jno 3:16 or 2 Cor 5:21
3. of the way of obedience - for example, Mk 16:15,16 or Rom 6:3-5,17,18
4. of the manner of the Christian life - for example, 1 Cor 6:19,20
D. The good judgment here is practical discernment
1. the word judgment comes from a word meaning taste
2. does this taste good or not - taste is a physical sense of discernment
3. in the text, of course, the discernment relates to life as it is lived in light of the knowledge of the truth ... understanding this is critical to discipleship
4. note Phil 1:9,10 - the point of all of this is that we may approve things that are excellent in the choices we make in every avenue of life
III. BUT ARE WE TEACHABLE?
A. Consider Ps 119:67,71
1. there was a time he admits he was unteachable
2. exactly what the affliction was I do not know - but something happened in his life which brought his attention back to Gods word
3. we need to evaluate our own teachability
4. are we ready to both hear and do that which He teaches?
B. Teachability considered from Psalms 25
1. 25:4 - there must be a desire to learn from God - this is more than just learning about God
2. 25:5 - there must be acceptance of the fact that God wants only what is best for us ... whatever He instructs is for our good
3. 25:9 - there must be humility which permits one to be a learner
4. 25:12,14 - there must be reverence for God if one is ever to learn Gods way, Gods word ... this fear
C. I have believed thy commandments
1. if you believe the commandments of God are important, urgent...
2. then, you really must choose to be taught by God!
3. the only hope you and I have beyond this present life is in the instruction He offers
CLOSE: Iwould like to conclude with this passage from Ps 143:10. I want to my life to be upright ... and it can only be upright if God is my Teacher!
Cecil A. Hutson
February 13, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)