Knowledge

by Mike Ratliff

8 But even more so I consider all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom all things I suffered loss and I consider them dung, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having my own righteousness that is of the law, but the righteousness through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based upon faith, 10 to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being conformed to his death, 11 that if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

In our last post, A Real Jerk, we looked at the true nature of all those who operate in the flesh. They think they have true knowledge, but they do not. That faulty knowledge can even come from Seminary training or years of sitting under the teaching of other theologians, but if the one being trained is in the flesh then it does not matter if they hear and read the truth or not. Of course, a lot of that stuff that passes for Seminary teaching and Christian preaching and teaching in our time really isn’t. True knowledge that comes from God is entirely different. It is not for those who operate in the flesh. It is only for those in Christ, those who abide in him (John 15). This knowledge has a divine purpose. 

In Philippians 3:8-11 (above) “to know” translates τοῦ γνῶναι (tou gnōnai), which literally means, “to know” What Paul is expressing here is his deep desire to be more intimately acquainted with his Lord and Master. Some are comfortable knowing about our Lord and Saviour, but not Paul. He wanted to know the Lord himself.

Those attacking the infrastructure of the Church right now are not very subtle. What do they attack? They say the “Organic Church” as it existed in the 1st Century had none of the “doctrines” or organizational structures with Bishops, Pastors, Elders, with congregations or assemblies under them.  Think of it. These people insist that in the 1st Century Church there was no “Church” at all. There were no doctrines. There was no written Word. There was just this Word of Faith that came to each person from God individually. Those teaching this obviously have not read the New Testament or, if they have, they submit that it is irrelevant. From where then do they get their “dogma” to back up their case against the Church?

They insist that Christian’s knowledge must be obtained through individual spiritual experience. However, what did Paul say in the passage above. Was it about him? He was willing to give up everything and consider all things as dung to possess the righteousness through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based upon faith. Then he states he tells us that his desire to know God is so strong that he is willing to be conformed to Christ in every way, even unto his death.

How do we get to know God this way? It is through the Word of God.

First, we must more and more familiarize ourselves with him in as great a detail as possible by immersing ourselves in the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In those four Gospels we see the real Jesus, the God of the universe, living and moving before us for he revealed the Father. As we do this, we see his thoughts, feelings, actions, attitudes, goals, values, compassions and dealings with men.

Second, we get to know God doctrinally in the New Testament epistles. The epistles contain the direct instruction to the Church and Christians on how to live and minister based upon who Jesus is and what he did in the Gospels. It is impossible for Christians to grow, mature, and be strong without doctrinal emphasis of the epistles. This is why Doctrinal Preaching is vital.

Now let us think again of those bent on destroying and reforming the Church along the lines of a primitive, organic form with no doctrines and no structure, with each person experiencing God spiritually by going his or her own way. That sounds like something our enemy would come up to me. On the other hand, knowing God through his Word and growing in depth and breadth spiritually through that sounds like the fulfillment of Romans 12:1-2.

[A Living Sacrifice]

         [12:1] [z]I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[f1] by the mercies of God, [a]to present your bodies [b]as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[f2] [2] [c]Do not be conformed to this world,[f3] but be transformed by [d]the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may [e]discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[f4]        

(Romans 12:1-2 ESV) 

[Cross References]

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[z] 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 10:1; Eph. 4:1

[a] ch. 6:13, 16, 19; [Ps. 50:13, 14; 1 Cor. 6:20]; See 1 Pet. 2:5

[b] Heb. 10:20

[c] 1 Pet. 1:14; [1 John 2:15]

[d] Titus 3:5; [Ps. 51:10; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10]

[e] Eph. 5:10; 1 Thess. 4:3 

[Footnotes]

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[1] 12:1 Or brothers and sisters

[2] 12:1 Or your rational service

[3] 12:2 Greek age

[4] 12:2 Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God 

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

3 thoughts on “Knowledge

  1. Hi Mike – a timely study for us. (and sorry if this is a bit long!) We visited a local church last night, to hear a highly acclaimed gospel blues singer/piano player at a new pentecostal church that has started in our area 3 weeks ago… As you know, having come out of this type of “church”, we should known what we were in for…
    This singer/author/preacher/songwriter/communicator/ex-head of a HUGE creative ministries college in Sydney took the whole service from behind a keyboard… he sang/spoke the “sermon”…. he totally lost me when he started playing Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the water”… (gave us a ten minute explanation on how and why the song was written – and how it is NOT a “demonic inspired song” – it was an interesting STORY)…then “I heard it through the grapevine”… then we got a lecture on how there is no difference between secular and christian music – music is music (because a “note” on the keyboard can’t be a saved christian!!!!)…

    Then we heard the closest to what was a sermon about how unorthodox Jesus was (eg the woman with the blood issue/the prostitute) – and how Jesus didn’t JUDGE them – he simply healed them, and told them to go… and why he detests the religious churches today that are bound up in order and procedure… and aren’t showing people the LOVE of Jesus – like He did in the NT… then he quickly said “but I won’t get into theology here” !!!!!!! WHAT A STATEMENT…

    Then he praised this C3 church group for starting a NEW church – as they had the ability to do ANYTHING they want without being bound by “religious ideas”… their was wild applause for this idea… then he sang another “secular” song… then he finished by sing “people get ready”..

    This man WAS an amazing communicator/ an INCREDIBLE singer and musician… Jesus WAS mentioned… but to us it didn’t seem like church (we could have been in a club!!!)
    We both said the same thing in the car on the way home – where was God?? These churches that push to be SOOO relevant to today’s “culture”, and doing away with the NT standards of order and structure of the biblical definition of “church”, then all I would say if you go to one of them, is to RUN FOR THE DOOR…. and find a church that has a pastor that preaches the uncompromised Word!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing that Sandra. This is what some of us have been saying for a long time, but so many in the Church have ignored us. We have been saying the Great Apostasy is upon us and so many in the middle of it call themselves Christians and use the name of Jesus liberally, but, as you shared, this isn’t Christianity at all, but a worldly form of doing church that the world loves because there is no call for repentance or obedience. There is no structure or doctrine, not it is all of the world.

    This morning in Church we had six Baptisms and each of those baptized shared their testimonies. After that, our pastor, Rick Holland, shared that there were between 20 and 30 others that were being counseled that were seeking to be baptized as well. Our church would be considered rigid and bound to forms and structures and doctrine and, of course, the preaching of the Word of God. What a contrast. Yes, there is apostasy all around us, but there are still islands of good churches where God’s people can gather and under their under-shepherd and be ministered to. Yes, I know I am blessed, but as you know, it has been awhile for us since we have been part of church like this. God is good, and I am rejoicing knowing that the time is short.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Pingback: Knowledge Part 2 « Possessing the Treasure

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