Although I memorized the book titles of the Old Testament, I still did not ‘make the A’. Well, that’s ok-I reasoned, I am learning so much at Moody Bible- by the end of the year, watch out!
This was my actual view of Christian maturity. Upon reading this, many of you knew immediately I was in deep trouble, thank God for your discernment. The Lord also knew better. Sometimes I wonder why He took so long to correct me. Maybe He wanted a little humor in heaven for a while.
Slowly, I began to realize how ignorant I was on so many truths. The wisest Christians were ones who did not even attend church. Wait, don’t stop reading, let me clarify. The Christians closest to the Lord are the ones now suffering in prisons and torture camps. Their walk far outreaches anything I’ve ever experienced. True Christian maturity and understanding comes from reaching up to Him with total humility. I was simply blinded to this. (Phil. 3:10)
At Bible College, for every teaching there seemed to be a handful of opinions or variations on interpretation. During my time teaching at the mission, I discovered while praying for those with drug addictions, we were in total theological agreement. How could this be? Those who were praying were young in the Lord with almost no knowledge of Bible doctrine?
This experience taught me a lesson that I hope to cherish for the rest of my life, until we come to full knowledge-face to face with Him.
I Corinthians 13:12 mentions that we see a poor reflection until we know fully…and are with Him.
There will never be complete understanding (or agreement) until this happens. What concerns me however is a serious lack of doctrinal unity in the Christian church.
Paul teaches in-
Ephesians 4: 13 (the church should) reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Division in knowledge and understanding is a sign that the ‘fullness of Christ’ is not being manifested in the church. In other words, many who have ‘higher learning’ never reach a unity of knowledge because they do not have a ‘fullness of Christ’.
Jesus repeats this idea in-
John 17:23 May they be brought (His church) to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
A complete unity also means a unity of teaching. How can the world know that we have Gods truth if we cannot agree on what that truth is?
and again, Jesus says-
John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
If the Holy Spirit is truly teaching us, how can disagree on soo many vital Biblical teachings?
The simple truth is we may possess great learning but very little ‘fullness’ or Spirit. At Bible College I had it backwards. The more I thought I knew, the more mature I thought I was. Scripture teaches just the opposite.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
This verse should be the foundation for every quest of knowledge. We are led by the spiritual person inside of us, not our minds. 1 Thess. 5:23 teaches us that we have a spirit, soul and body. The soul is the eternal person God created, or our personality. It consist of our mind, emotions and general senses. The spirit comes to life at salvation, and this ‘spiritual awakening’ allows us to hear from the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:10 & 14 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness…Those led by the Spirit of God are sons of God
Romans 8:15-16-but you received the Spirit of son ship, and by him we cry, “Abba, Father. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Note: The mind is important; it should be used as a filter for truth and be fed with the Word of God Romans 12:2. See Listen with Our Hearts.
Jesus explains that the Father has hidden these things from the ‘wise’ and revealed them to His children Luke 10:21. A Christian has a living spiritual man that can hear from God. The person who is not saved, or the Christian that has not learned to hear from God by his spirit (my situation in Bible College) will not understand how to hear from God. When Christians humbly go to God and fear His Name, the Holy Spirit will come and manifest Himself. A unity in the Spirit brings a unity of theology. Without the fear of the Lord, this will never happen in reverse. This is why when we prayed at the mission, young believers had a greater understanding of the Word than many at Bible College. An extreme example would be the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day, compared to those who were looking ‘watching’ for the messiah. The teachers did not fear the Lord, and you know the consequences Mk 8:15-17.
WHY A UNITY OF THE WORD IS IMPORTANT
Their will be a day when the church will enter an incredible difficult time-the tribulations of satan and men (different than the Lords wrath). Many teach we will be gone via the rapture. See Day Lord, Rev. 3:10, Prophecy. Some say we need to prepare because we will have to endure through those difficult times. Roughly two thirds of the prophets in the Old Testament prepared for the Babylonian captivity. How much more will God want the church to prepare for her role before Christ 2nd coming? The church’s teachings in this area varies so dramatically, those who do not know how to hear from Him find it difficult to understand any prophetic truth. Praise God however that His spirit has not left us, and the humble in heart will indeed know which way to turn.
1 Cor. 2:15-16 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, … we have the mind of Christ.
While I believe the genuine church will unite in His Truth before He arrives, today their is great theological confusion within Christianity Eph. 5:27, Eph. 4:13. Throughout the New Testament, the apostles fought false teachings with a vengeance. It affects every aspect of our walk. The young in the Lord are led down paths that are ineffective and sometimes dangerous. Heb. 6:1 plainly teaches that we should move on from the simple teachings and progress in our understanding and walk.
Again, as Jesus mentions in John 14:26, our instruction has to be guided by the Living Holy Spirit. See Calling the Church Off the Fence.
When someone is truly born again, he can start to see the lack of understanding that the lost have in spiritual matters. The same is true for our brothers and sisters who stop seeking the Lord with their ‘spiritual man’. We can see how they are missing the voice of the Lord in so many spiritual areas. See City on a Hill, The Way.
The examples are numerous. I know a brother who has thorough ‘knowledge’ of the Word. Unfortunately, we have disagreed for years on many important Biblical teachings. The Lord has instructed me to stop discussing and start praying. When we both humble ourselves and seek His face, the Holy Spirit will teach us. Once we are humbled, there will be a unity in Spirit that will unify our theology. It is simply tragic that decades will slip by and the body of Christ will miss this truth. Satan is so subtle, he is always trying to take us away from the Holy Spirits leading.
As we enter into the last days, there are completely different viewpoints of the church’s place in prophecy. Questions about how to prepare, where we shall live and what to look for to protect our families need to be addresses.
Jeremiah 50-51 warns a particular county that they will be judged and have losses in the millions! The Lord specifically indicates Christians will be in that country Jeremiah 51:45. We will need accurate information to help them.
The Lord does not teach different viewpoints!
Amos 3:7 declares ‘Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.’
If you desire truth, look for prophets who fear the Lord and who desire your well being, not personal advancement.
Phil. 2:19-21 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon,…I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, some of the ‘most acclaimed’ teachers will have the hardest times being humbled. The root cause for error seems to always be linked with the heart. Our natural strengths many times become our weakness, because we do not lean on the Lord for His fullness. From David to Jesus in the manger, the simplest are given the greatest. Our heart needs to always reflect this attitude. Knowledge of the living God is awesome, knowledge sidestepping His leading puffs up.
1 Cor. 8:1-3… We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.
1 Peter 5:5 tells us ‘to cloth yourselves with humility’. In other words, we should guard ourselves by asking God to ‘cloth us ’with a humble heart daily.
Luke 10:21 Jesus thanks the Father that he hides truth from the ‘wise’ and gives it to (those with hearts like) children.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO
1) Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge
It is worth repeating. Simple and true.
2) Understand that the Holy Spirit communicates by our spirit. Trying to understand with our mind without His leading is ineffective.
Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
Romans 8:15-16-but you received the Spirit of son ship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
3) Understanding Scripture comes first and foremost by developing a relationship with Him. Our praying, service and study of the Word needs to be done ‘in the fear of the Lord’.
2 Chron. 19:9 He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD.
4) The stronger the Holy Spirit is in our lives, the more truth He can reveal to us. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Lords provision for a stronger manifestation of His Spirit. This is why many ‘Pentecostal’ brothers have closer views on Biblical teachings. First, acquire the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then practice what the Lord has given by this spiritual blessing. (See site map-Baptism of the Holy Spirit)
Matt. 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
5) Never take self completely out of the problem. If we are not at the feet of our Lord, humbly seeking His truth, then we may be in error. Do not assume the ‘other guy’ is wrong if we have not put our teachings at the Lords feet.
John 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
A unity in the Spirit will bring a unity of truth (theology or Biblical teachings). When Gods truths are revealed, the lost are in awe and His children are greatly encouraged. (I Cor. 14). Now is the time to put off man’s teaching and go forth in His truth.
God bless you as you search for the truth of the Living Lord.