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Faith and knowledge

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Faith and knowledge

Know your Bible; know your Saviour

 

Announcements

Call to worship (please be seated)

Bible Verse

The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. (Psalm 11:4)

The Lord’s Prayer (We sing it while remaining seated)
Blessing

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:3-4)

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Declaration of pardoning

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Hymn:                            “We will give thanks to Thee”

Children’s Address:

Hymn No 5:                 “Let us to the God of Salvation”

Offering and Dedication

Chris Bubb and MAF in Papua New Guinea

Prayer for others

Scripture Reading     Luke 24:13-27; 36-49                         

Hymn no 282:              “God has spoken”

Sermon                          “Faith and knowledge”

Introduction

My dear brother and sister in the Lord,

The Word of God spoke to us some weeks ago through the Book of Mark.  After the resurrection the Jewish Council were confronted with the fact of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  From this experience the Lord taught us about acknowledgement, knowledge and the lack of faith.

8 The Jewish leaders had heard the Lord teach in many places – they had the knowledge.  The soldiers, whom the Jewish Council had hired, told them about the fact of the resurrection – they acknowledged the resurrection, thus the bribe to keep them soldiers quite.  But in spite of their knowledge and acknowledgement, they still did not believe in Him as the Son of God.

8 Then there were the women – and more specifically Mary Magdalene.  She had acknowledgment and faith.  But because of the lack of knowledge about who Jesus Christ really was, her faith was not a saving faith, until she met the risen Lord in Person.  At first she was focussed on the person Jesus, the son of the carpenter of Nazareth, but the Lord opened her eyes to believe:  her historic faith in the Jesus of Nazareth became a saving faith in the risen Christ.

Today, the Bible brings us back to the basics of faith.  And the Heidelberg Catechism helps us in this regard when it asks about faith. “What is true faith?”

True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, but also an assured confidence, which the Holy Spirit works by the gospel in my heart; that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.

•                      Faith is a sure knowledge

–         God revealed this knowledge in his Word

•                      8 Faith is an assured confidence

–         Holy Spirit gives it by the Gospel

•                      8 Faith is personal

–         Not only to others, by to me also

Faith is a sure knowledge.  Knowledge about what?  What God has revealed in his Word.  The Holy Spirit now takes this knowledge and applies it in my heart to bring about faith.

Faith without knowledge equals nothing of value as far as salvation is concerned.  Knowledge without faith equals nothing as far as salvation is concerned.  Knowledge and acknowledgement without faith is of no salvational value.  It is only when these things are linked, that the Holy Spirit brings about salvation.  Ordinary faith then becomes saving faith.

Who these people? (Prime Minister)  Do you know him?  How do you know him?  Have you met him?  Have you spoken to him?  Does he know you?

In the passage we read this morning the Bible teaches us the link between faith and knowledge.  Of course this is knowledge of the Bible – as the Bible speaks about Jesus Christ.

Before we proceed any further, let’s state this: many Christians today are weak in their faith purely because they have a poor knowledge of the Scriptures.  I want to go a bit further:  there are many Christians who do not read the Old Testament.  8 The Bible, my dear brother and sister, includes all books of both the Old and New Testaments.  There is a notion that the Old Testament is not valid for the New Testament church.  There is a book in our library with the title:  “The Bible Jesus read”.  It refers to the Old Testament. 

In fact, the New without the Old is meaningless; in the same way is the Old without the New meaningless.  It is a fallacy to even contemplate the possibility that the New is more important than the Old.

8 Knowledge of the Bible nurtures the faith.  In fact, faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).

8 Cleopas and his friend on the day of the resurrection, on the way to Emmaus, were hopelessly confused.  They were there when Jesus was nailed to the Cross.  They were part of the circle of disciples of Jesus.  They had heard the (bad) news of the open grave.  Nothing made sense anymore.  They had faith, but their faith only focussed on Jesus as the redeemer of the national state of Israel.  “We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (verse 21).  Look at the tense of this verb:  it is the past perfect tense.  It speaks of something that existed before something else took place. In other words, they lost their faith which had existed before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  “We lost it; we are confused.  It does not make sense anymore.”

8 Little wonder that Jesus called them foolish.  Why?

 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)

When later that day the Lord appeared to his apostles, while they were still listening to the report of Cleopas and his friend who had run back to Jerusalem to tell about their experience with the risen Lord, 8 they were “startled and frightened.”  The Bible says in verse 41 that they still did not believe after they had seen his hands and feet. 

Then He did the same thing as He did with Cleopas and his friend. Verse 44: 

8 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)

He taught them.  Their acknowledgment became knowledge and their knowledge lead them to faith.  Listen:

Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Our Lord went further, He explained to them the link between the Old and the New Testament.  He explained to them that all the Scriptures, both Old and New, were fulfilled in Him.  Futher, that all of history has its fulfilment in Him.

The message they had to tell to the nations was not only about the water turned into wine; it was not only about the blind who could see again; it was not only about the bread multiplied so that thousands were fed.  It is not only about the Child born in Bethlehem.  And it was not only about the Christ nailed to the cross of Calvary.  Nor was it only about the open grave.

What is wrong about this presentation of the Gospel?  It starts at the wrong place!  And many books on evangelism make this mistake.

8 The Gospel they had to proclaim was about the Christ who was there at the beginning, through whom God created everything. It was about the One who promised to crush the head of the serpent.  It was about Him who is the Second Adam.  It is about Him who is the fulfilment of the sacrificial law to meet God’s righteousness. It is about Him who is the fulfilment of the promises made to the house of David. It is about Him who was the serving Servant of the Lord who took our trespasses upon him.  You get the point?  And of course it then includes the miracles, the fact of the birth of the Messiah and the fact of his crucifixion and his resurrection.  And it includes the fact of his eternal reign now as King of kings and Lord of lords; and the coming of his Kingdom now through the work of the Holy Spirit at work in and through his church.  And it includes the fact of his coming again.

It is only when we see the sum-total of the work of Christ as presented in the whole Bible that our faith starts to blossom.  Only then faith has as its foundation the sure knowledge.  If this is not the case, our faith is purely an idea or theory.  And like the disciples and the women and Cleopas and his friend, when difficult times hit, we are trapped in confusion and unbelief.

The term knowledge, used in the New Testament, refers to a sure and steadfast understanding and comprehension of certain facts.  This word is used 38 times by the apostles in the New Testament.  Paul prayed for the church in Philippi:

8 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

The apostle Peter leaves a command in 2 Peter 1:5

8 “… make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5)

Why?  After he spoke about faith and goodness, and gentleness, self-control, and perseverance, he concludes:

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8)

Conclusion

8 Hear the message then this morning:  faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.  Therefore:  Know your Bible!

Prayer

Hymn No 283:                            “The Spirit breathes upon the Word” (Tune 351)

Benediction

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Threefold “Amen”

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