The Glory of God 9

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

As one thinks of the importance of the knowledge of God, one cannot help but wonder why the knowledge of God is so ignored in the modern day. It is true that some people stress Jesus, but one cannot stress the true Jesus apart from stressing the knowledge of God. Professing churches have Sunday Schools where portions of the Bible are taught and perhaps many things are taught, but people must have the knowledge of God or they are unprepared for the least thing. People are unprepared to stand firm because they don’t understand God and they don’t understand the true nature of Christ, which means that they don’t truly understand the nature of the Gospel of God. How can these people understand the Gospel of God unless they have knowledge of God?

The true Church is the body of Christ and so how can people understand the true Church unless they have knowledge of God since Christ is the perfect image of God? Apart from some knowledge we cannot know God, know Christ, have eternal life, and we don’t have a proper understanding of the true Church. Yet people are satisfied with academics, knowing things about the Bible, demographic studies and so on. How can the hearts of those who have Christ dwelling in them not long to know the living God more and more? This simply cannot be.

People are satisfied with religion and the rituals of religion. People are satisfied with morality and/or taking moral stands. People are satisfied with good works and being nice. People are satisfied with doing what they think is evangelism. People are satisfied with building buildings. But they are blind to what it means to press on to know the Lord. They are blind to the fact that God delights in the knowledge of Himself rather than all the things people think they are sacrificing for. But we need to read Hosea 6:3 and the context: “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” “6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” What is it that God delights in? He delights in the knowledge of Himself rather than all the monetary sacrifices they think they are making. He delights in the knowledge of Himself rather than all the moral sacrifices they think that they are making. He delights in the knowledge of Himself rather than all the things they are doing to build bigger and better buildings and edifices in the name of advancing religion.

What must get through our hard heads and hardened hearts is that God delights in the knowledge of Himself rather than all the religious things that people do. Oh how people think that God is pleased if they “sacrifice” and give money to a nice edifice. Oh how people think that God is pleased if they go to “church” each time the doors are open and give ourselves to duties and activities. Oh how people think that God is pleased if we have beautiful music from choirs and bands and so on, but we never see from Scripture that is pleased with those things. He is pleased when His people know Him. God is pleased when His people “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).

God delights when His people press on to know the Lord and when they know Him. He does not delight when the professing churches have drama and people think that they are in drama ministry or music ministry, but instead He demands that people know Him. He does not delight in wordy prayers or eloquent prayers, but He delights in the prayers of His people in the name of Christ when they know Him. He does not delight in their words that they sing or the tunes of the songs unless they know Him and desire to know Him. No one can love God apart from knowing the God they love and no one can do all to His glory unless they know Him and what that glory consists of and how He glorifies Himself through His people.

Malachi 2:7 teaches something of what is necessary for ministers: “For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” Instead of ministers teaching men the knowledge of God, we get business principles from them, we get moral principles from them, and we get political things from them. We may even get forms of exposition from them. Yet the people are ignorant of God and they worship in ignorance of God. The ministry needs to repent of teaching the Bible without teaching the heart of the Bible. The ministry needs to repent of is exposition of Scripture until it learns to set out the true knowledge of God in the face of Christ. It appears that the ministry of this day has learned the art of hiding God behind learned expositions of the Bible. In that case, it is a violation of the Third Command. It is a vain use of the Holy Scriptures and a vain use of His name to pretend to teach the Bible and ignore the main message of the Bible which is the glory of God shining forth in the face of Christ. When that is missed, all is vain.

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