#19 Knowledge and the Church

5 January 2000

"And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs"- Eccles. 12:9 Ecclesiastes, the book from which our passage is found, means "one who calls people out; a gatherer of the people". The purpose of the calling out, or gathering together, was to impart knowledge, Godly knowledge. This is a church scene. That is why Solomon refers to himself as "the preacher". He taught the people knowledge. The whole book of Ecclesiastes is a sermon. Solomon's God given job was not to give his opinion, nor was it to tell people what they wanted to hear by tickling their ears(II Tim. 4:3). His job was not to devise programs and schemes to pack the house for the sake of money and numbers, nor was it to schedule entertainments to tickle their fancy. His job was the same as the preachers' of 1999. Tell the people what God had revealed to him. Give them Godly knowledge and in doing so the people would prosper in the good hand of their Lord. Knowledge has always been the life-blood of the church. It always has been and it always will be. A church with a zeal for biblical knowledge, willing to conform to its teaching, is a church whose light will shine brightly in a dark world as opposed to becoming like the world. The book of Acts begins with such a people. It was Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and said "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel"(Acts 2:16). Peter had his nose in the book. He had been studying the scriptures. It was by the knowledge he had gained that he was able to stand up on that day and declare what was happening to them on that occasion. About three thousand souls were baptized on that day. Oh, how important knowledge is! The desire for biblical knowledge is an evidence of grace, a token of divine favor. It is one of the first signs of spiritual life. Life, then hunger, that is the order. Saul of Tarsus was quite proud of his worldly accomplishments and his position among his peers. But after his experience with Jesus on the Damascus road his desires changed. He had a hunger for something different, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" -Philip. 3:8a. Saul would say, "Tell me more about Jesus, about the power of his resurrection, about the fellowship of his sufferings(Philip 3:10). He was hungry for knowledge. I am persuaded this has been the experience of God's people throughout the ages. When I meet a person who wants to know more about Jesus, I know I have met a brother or a sister in Christ. There is a mystical union between knowledge and the soul. When a baby is born, it craves the milk of its mother. When one is born from above, they crave the "sincere milk of the word" which is food to the hungry soul. The Lord has made His people in such a way, to crave knowledge from above. This is for their own health. It is by the nutrition of such food, biblical knowledge, the soul grows and prospers. A sickly soul, a diseased soul, is one in which there is a lack of this kind of knowledge. We observe many such poor souls in our society today. Healthy souls are hungry souls fed with manna from on high: biblical knowledge. Before we close we must give you four stumblingblocks to Godly knowledge: (1) Fear. When we are faced with a biblical truth that we have never heard before we are quick to run. We all have our comfort zone. But we must remember: it is by Godly knowledge that we are led only closer to the fount of every blessing. There is a difference between talking about the Bible and learning from the Bible. Let us be noble like the Bereans, who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so"- Acts 17:11. If it is in the book we must believe it. (2) Sloth. The study of God's word was once the joy of every Christian. Have you sharpened your sword today? (3) The wrong kind of knowledge. James writes of a knowledge that descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, develish(James 3:15). Some knowledge is dangerous to the soul. (4) Ignorance. While Peter wrote of those who were "willingly ignorant", they did not want to know (II Peter 3:5), Paul wrote of those who had a zeal, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:1-4). Both are equally dangerous. Yes, Solomon was wise, he taught the people knowledge. Lord teach us knowledge that we may teach others. Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115. Sincerely, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.