Ignorance is often willful and self-imposed. The inspired apostle describes some as being “darkened in their understanding” (Eph. 4:18). Jesus describes them as loving “the darkness rather than the Light” (Jn. 3:19).
Light exposes the nature of our deeds (vss. 19-20). For that reason, many prefer darkness to light – ignorance to the knowledge of the truth. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” is an expression that has been around for centuries, the oldest written version dating back to 1576. Back in the day, it would have read:
“So long as I know it not, it hurteth me not.” The dictionary goes on to comment: “More recent practical experience, as well as empirical research, suggests the opposite.”
What you don’t know can hurt you! While this can be easily illustrated in the natural world, it is also true in the spiritual realm. God lamented the spiritual unfaith fulness of His people, saying, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6).
Correspondingly, Jesus spoke to believing Jews of His day, saying, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). In both instances, life-knowledge is under consideration.
However, we cannot properly apply what we learn to our lives so long as we ignore His teaching or choose to abide in ignorance. Instead, we are to be like newborn babes, longing “for the pure milk of the word” so that we might “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:1:2).
We leave no stone unturned in our effort to properly educate our children so that they will not experience the pain of not knowing things essential to their happiness in this life. But, how have we fared in passing on matters related to their eternal salvation? What they don’t know will hurt them! Before it is too late, we must earnestly teach our children to know God and obey His commandments (2 Th. 1:7-10).
Glen Elliott, Greenbrier Church of Christ
The history of the life of David is recorded in three Old Testament books, but it is in the book of Psalms that we begin to understand the heart of David. His heart is so important because it is so much like the heart of God (1 Sam. 13:14). There is somewhat of a parallel to David in the life and writings of Paul.
It is in the book of Acts we learn so much of the details of the life of the great apostle, but there are historical events revealed in his epistles. In a similar way, the heart of Paul is revealed in his letters, and they often give us insight as to the spiritual depth of his devotion to God and the truths of God showing the nature of his heart in serving God. Consider the following to see some of these truths.
“I AM PERSUADED that neither death nor life…nor things present nor things to come…shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom. 8:38-39). Do you wonder how he could give up so much and endure such suffering? Do you struggle in your trials and seek motivation for all that is around you? Write these words from Paul on your heart. Be fully persuaded that there is nothing on this earth, neither in the demons of hell, which can keep God from loving us.
I AM NOTHING. “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing “(1 Cor. 13:2). Imagine having complete understanding of all things and having all faith. Paul emphasizes something far greater than these and that is love. It was not that he was just persuaded of God’s eternal love. Written deeply on his heart was his
responsibility to place love above all of these. Write these words on the depths of your soul as you seek to imitate Paul as he imitated the Lord (1 Cor. 11:1).
“I…AM PERSUADED that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12). The life of every person on this earth is committed to something. We are investing all of our time and energy to self, to sin or to things much higher. Paul looked at every decision he made as an investment and knew the Lord would never forget them. You may, like Paul, have to turn the other cheek to those around you. You may have to bless those who are cursing you and to make decisions about what you must give up to follow Him. Think about these choices as being registered in a heavenly book which some day will be opened. Trust God to remember it all, even to as small a matter as a cup of
As you read Paul’s doctrinal discussion in his writings, remember to discover
hidden truths which show his heart.
David Sproule, Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ
Immediately after saying that love doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness,
Paul wrote that it does rejoice in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). This
shouldn’t surprise us since our God is “a God of truth and without
injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Paul himself exemplified the love that rejoices in the truth. Though
under house arrest in Rome, he continued proclaiming the gospel even
to his captors, and he knew other brethren were evangelizing also.
Some had corrupt motives, but “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ
is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians
1:18). Christ’s gospel is truth, and Paul rejoiced in it being preached.
John the apostle also rejoiced in the truth. He told the “elect lady,” “I
rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in
truth, as we received commandment from the Father” (2 John 4).
Along the same line he wrote to Gaius, “I rejoiced greatly when
brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk
in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in
the truth” (3 John 3- 4).
Christian parents rejoice when children in their earthly families walk
in the truth (i.e. obey the gospel and serve God faithfully). Let’s
rejoice when others we’ve led to Christ are walking in the truth or, for
that matter, any time we see anyone walking in the truth.
The ungodly “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
That is, they hold it back, hindering it from advancing. We must
promote the truth vigorously and constantly, rejoicing in its progress.
In the closing verses of John, Jesus foretold the nature of the death of
Peter. He reminded Peter of that time when he was young and could dress
himself and was free to go wherever he wanted. He then said, “But when you
are old another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
The Holy Spirit then adds these comments, “This He said to show by what
kind of death he was to glorify God” (John 21:18-19). Tradition says that
Peter was crucified, but, at his request, he was crucified upside down for he
did not feel worthy to die like Jesus.
We are not sure of the details of Peter’s death, but we do have his writings
shortly before he died. “Knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as
the Lord Jesus Christ showed me” (2 Pet. 1:14). They show us how he used
the short time he had.
Note how Peter regarded his own body. It was just a tent. It was not his
eternal dwelling. Some who pay so much attention to keeping the body fit
and healthy, getting proper exercise and eating the proper food, fail to realize
that while bodily exercise profits, godliness is “…profitable for all things,
having promise for the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim.
4:8). Paul speaks of how in this tent we groan, earnestly desiring to be
clothed in heavenly garments (2 Cor. 5:1-2). We must never forget that our
body is simply a tent which we lay aside in death.
With death approaching, what was Peter doing with the time he had left?
He was spending time with those who already knew truth and was not
negligent in reminding the saved of these matters, so that they could continue
to be established in the truth they already knew (2 Pet. 1:12).
He was spending time “as long as I am in this tent” to always remind
them and to stir them up by that reminding (2 Pet. 1:12-13). There is a grave
danger in the lives of Christians today of a vital truth. As they mature, they
reach a point when they think they no longer need Sunday Bible classes,
Sunday evening service and Wednesday classes. Failure to continue to study
the Bible or to think we already know it is so dangerous. Peter knew the
Christians to whom he was writing already knew what he was telling them,
but he also knew that hearing truths again and again strengthens us.
Peter saw that how he spent his life would impact the lives of those after
he brought glory to God in how he died. “I will be careful to ensure that you
always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Pet. 1:15). In
death we leave behind a treasure of eternal truth that will remind others.
Think about it. What are you doing “as long as you are in this tent”?
Dan Jenkins, Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, and joint and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Many of us wonder about our future and question our confidence about the question:
Am I saved?; am I going to heaven?
This lesson addresses that question and seeks to give us scriptural confidence about the answer. The scriptures necessary to have assurance are listed, read and discussed.
This lesson focuses on our Christian Faith. We define it and then discuss its importance to us as Christians. We also talk about its dynamic nature, how it is strengthened and how it is destroyed. The Bible is large and complex in places. It is probably impossible for the lay person to understand it all. Thus in the end we must count on our Faith to sustain us.
A. Scriptures to study
Ken Coon, Sr. - member of School Ave. Church of Christ is the Author of this lesson.
This lesson emphasizes our need as a Christian to strive to grow and mature. Once we have obeyed the gospel and followed the five steps to die to ourselves and be reborn to live in Jesus, it is then our charge to obey God's Commands and strive to be the most Christ-like Christian that we can be. The commands to grow, the components of Christian growth and the methods of growth are discussed and viewed through the relevant scriptures.
A. Scriptures to study
B. Questions to answer
C. Key takeaways from your study
Once saved, our main charge is to grow continuously as a Christian.
D. Personal application
Choose the most important key growth area and set a goal. Examples of key result areas are: giving, praying, volunteering, attendance, etc...
Ken Coon, Sr. - member of School Ave. Church of Christ is the author of this study.