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SCRIPTURE - ST. JOHN 3:16, PHI. 3:10 DEC. 2004
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
SUBJECT - TIME TO GO BEYOND BELIEF!!!
This month's subject, deals with the relationship that all of us have with God, and the different aspects of that relationship.
In our lives, there are times when, after being on one plateau, or holding one position, or acquiring a certain level of knowledge, that we, are called on to, or should, pursue something higher, or better.
If you will glance at the two subject verses, you will see that they both, are key components in the lives of Christians. The first, is known as the 'heart of the gospel.' The second, is, what could be determined as the goal, that all Christians should want to reach.
Let's look at each, individually, and to notice two key words. Those words may seem to be meaning the same thing, and are usually overlooked, as being insignificant. But, after you finish this message, you will see a gigantic difference, one that could determine your overall relationship with God.
Those two words are 'believe' and 'know.'
In the first scripture, we see the word 'believe(th).' This scripture, is telling us, that in order to be 'born again (have everlasting life)', a person must 'believe', the first part of the scripture.
Now, let me give you my definition of what 'believe(th)' means, as pertaining to this scripture.
To believe something, usually means, that a person, takes the position of acknowledging something to be true, without any substantial, physical proof. They have a feeling, or they suspect, that something is factual, but they aren't totally convinced of that position.
Look at it like this, in a crime investigation, investigators, when they come to a crime scene, one of the things they first want to do, is isolate it. They do that, so they can gather evidence, to try to figure out who committed it. They have to isolate it, so that evidence won't get lost, stolen, or contaminated.
Now, let's say, there was a murder, and that there are three
people at the scene when police arrive. And let's say, given the situation presented, one of the three people at the scene, appears to have done it. Well, when one of the investigators is asked who they think did the deed, the investigator will reply, 'I believe, that one of the three individuals at the scene, did it.'
What they are saying, is, 'I don't know which one of the three did it, or if any of them did it, but we are looking at all of the evidence that is available, to find out.' That means, even though there is a belief, there is still some doubt. And, if any, or all three of these individuals were brought to trial, according to our judicial rules, 'if a person is to be found guilty, it has to be when it appears they are, beyond reasonable doubt.' That means no one can make a legitimate argument to the jury, to change their minds about the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Well, in order, as John 3:16 says, to have everlasting life, a person has to 'believe' the first part, primarily, as well as the rest, means that they are doing so, based on faith. And faith like what this scripture calls for, is a precarious position, because the person, doesn't have all of the necessary evidence to support their position, and someone, can come to that person, and if they raise a certain point, the person may doubt that belief, and be led astray.
Look at these passages of scripture, '(Rom 10:9-10) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. There is that word 'believe' again. This scripture, compliments the first subject scripture, because they both essentially say the same thing, even though this passage, goes in to a little more detail, as to how you are to believe.
However, here is something that I believe (now I am using it), will be a revelation to you about these verses. Both of these verses, are not directed to the saints, as much as they are to the sinners.
Why do I say that??? Because if a person is a sinner, they are usually referred to as, what??? Unbelievers!!! Therefore, in order for them to get saved, they must 'believe.'
To put it in the proper perspective, 'believing', is the key, that opens the door, that allows you access to God, where you can obtain all of the evidence you need, so that you can go beyond belief, to, guess what??? Knowing!!
Look at what Paul says in the second subject verse. He is saying, he wants to achieve to position, of 'knowing' Christ, and the power of His resurrection. Meaning he wants to advance, beyond being just a 'believer.'
If we look at the crime scenario, where the investigator 'believes one of the three suspects, committed the crime. After all of the investigation of evidence, the final result is that one certain person, did commit the crime, the investigator can the say, 'I know, this person, committed the crime.' And when they go to trial, the jury is convinced, beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of this individual, and finds them guilty.
In like manner, when we first get saved, we have become, 'believers', yet there is more for us to pursue. We have to get to a point, in our relationship with Jesus Christ, God, and His ways, that we can say, 'This is not something that I believe. It is something that I 'know.'
Look at these scriptures,:
John 7:29 But I 'know' him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do 'know' that we 'know' him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:20 And we 'know' that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may 'know' him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Dan 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do 'know' their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Look at the first scripture, this is Jesus speaking. If anyone 'knows' God, then most certainly Jesus does, because He is His Son. Many of the religious leaders, questioned Him about His claiming to be God's Son. But, let me ask you this, who better to 'know' a parent, but a child of that parent?? Do you 'believe' your parents are your parents, or do you 'know' your parents are your parents?? If you say you 'believe' they are, then you, my friend, have some serious issues.
The second and third scriptures, tell us, that 'believers' advance to 'knowing' when they begin to keep God's commandments. Notice, John did not say they know God, because they physically were walking with Christ, and were witness to His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. No. They say they 'know' God, because they keep His commandments, and the understanding of His nature.
The last scripture, which is found in the old testament, shows us something that proves what 'knowing' God can do. It says they will be strong, and do exploits (unbelievable, remarkable, and supernatural things).
That means they can not be shaken in their knowledge of God
because they 'know' Him. They can stand up and tell you something, that many people will say, is not addressed in the bible, but, because they 'know' God, and His ways, and be right.
Maybe that is why they call us, 'the religious right!'
When I address issues, that are popular in our society, and call them sin, many people will come to me and say, 'That's what you 'believe', but I 'believe' this.' My response to them is, 'No, that is not what I 'believe', that is what I 'know.'
If I 'believe' something, I will say, I 'believe', until I have proof otherwise. And if the proof, says a certain thing, then it is no longer, a 'belief', it is now, a fact.
People don't like people, that 'know' things, as opposed to 'believing' things. For a person to claim they 'know' something,. means that they are unmovable, and unshakable. Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Trees that are planted by rivers of water, have very deep roots, and can withstand enormous storms, and still remain. Mat 7:24-25 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Christ's message here, is clear. When you do what He says for you to do, you will be in a position of being unmovable, irrespective of the storms that come your way. Why?? Because you 'know' the Truth.
Many Christians today, are living lives of 'belief', rather than 'knowledge.' I can tell that, by listening to, and watching them. A lot of them, are walking this life, in a state of "I'm not really sure if this is what God wants me to do, but, I will keep on for right now, unless God shows me a different way.'
What they are saying is, 'If someone, or something, shows me different, then I may change my direction.'
Friend, you need the Holy Spirit to guide you. He is the One, that, will tell you what to do, and where to go, and what to say. That is what He is there for. He, directs you, and then gives witness to you, and empowers you, so that you can 'know' what God wants for you in your life. And with that, there is no room for doubt. The enemy can try to deter you, but, you 'know', and in many instances, you can, as it was said of Abraham, Rom 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
You are fully persuaded of something, because God has shown you all of the evidence, and you have experienced His power, power that is only available to those that have moved, beyond belief, to 'knowing.'
It may sound like you are being arrogant, but that is only because, that is what you 'believe.