Let's Be Growing in Knowledge Too!

John Plunkett

February 10th 2018

After my last sermon – on January 6th – in Part 3 of this series – a couple of brethren  mentioned (politely) to me that they thought that it was “a little on the heavy side.” 

My apologies!  Thinking back on it, I guess I probably could’ve shortened it up a bit. 

However, when trying to deal with these fair criticisms (as one should), as I was looking for some biblical guidance on this, I found that some of our early Church of God brethren sometimes found the apostle Paul hard to understand:

II Peter 3:
15:  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you;
16:  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction... 

I'm not, of course, suggesting that any of you are  “unlearned” or “unstable.”  No!  Peter was just saying that there were “unlearned and unstable” folks back then who had been  twisting Paul’s writings – and other scriptures too – trying to make them appear to say things that they did not say.  There are people who still do this today – especially with what Paul wrote about the law – e.g. in book of Galatians. 

But Peter hastened to add that, if the brethren would only persevere with Paul’s writings, their knowledge of Jesus – and the very nature of God – would increase: 

Verse 17:  You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
18:  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ... 

I freely admit that I’m not 100% sure how we’re to grow in grace.  But I think I do know a little about how we can grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour! 

One of the main ways to grow in knowledge, I believe, is to be studying God’s holy written Word on a daily basis.  

Not just reading the words of others – in Church of God magazines, on the Internet, etc.  Not just listening to other’s sermons, etc. (including mine!)  Not just reading a chapter or two of the Bible at bedtime and saying “Oh, that’ll do for today.” 

All these are fine, of course; but they are what we might think of as secondary activities.  But to really grow in the knowledge of God the Father and Jesus, we all need to be really digging into the scriptures ourselves and asking questions, such as: 

It is true that we may not be able to come up with all the right answers right away.  Perhaps never in this life!  But if we persevere and if we continue studying and asking these questions, we will come up with at least some of the right answers.  And in doing so, we’ll be growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus and our Father.

And if some of those questions are more difficult than others, or harder to get our minds around, let's  ask them anyway!  Paul did!  And here’s what he advised: 

I Corinthians 11:1:
Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

That’s what I’ve tried to do in this sermon series and others.  And that's  what I intend to continue trying to do.  I will not intentionally feed you with “the milk of the Word.”  Not for the most part anyway.  Yes, it is true that Peter did write this to some spiritually  immature brethren:

I Peter 2:2:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:

But as far as I am aware, most of you brethren are no longer to be classed as new-born spiritual babies.  Most of you have been in or around God's church for many years.  Let’s read what the author of the book of Hebrews wrote about this:

Hebrews 5:
8:  Though He
{Jesus} were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered...

Not that I want my sermons to be a source of suffering to you, of course! ��

9:  And being made perfect, He {Jesus} became the author of eternal salvation unto all them {including us!} that obey Him {Jesus};
10:  Called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
11a:  Of whom we have many things to say and hard to be uttered
{NKJV: hard to explain}...

These many, hard-to-be-explained things are the kinds of things that I’ve been trying to dig into with you!

11b: ... seeing you are dull of hearing...

Again, by quoting this verse, I’m not suggesting that any of you are "dull of hearing.  But please, brethren, heed this warning from God through this author.  Don’t ever allow yourself to become dull of hearing, as the original recipients of this epistle – evidently long-time members of God's church – had become:

12:  For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13:  For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14:  But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

That’s exactly what we all need to be doing– exercising our senses.  Stretching our minds and our understandings.  In a proper way, “thinking outside the box” – while staying safely within the bounds of what we believe to be “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and never straying from it!