P. O. BOX 3625 WARRI,
DELTA STATE, NIGERIA.
TOPIC: FOUR BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH EDIFICATION
TEXT: 1Cor 14: 1 – 6. Part 4
WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE? (1)
“Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts …Since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the Church” 1Cor 14:1,12 RSV.
“Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelations or KNOWLEDGE...?” (v.6) RSV
We now move to the next level of the four basic principles of church edification which is KNOWLEDGE. In other words, the word is saying that, for us to build up the body of Christ that is our listeners, as ministers of the Word and Servants of Christ, we should speak either through Revelation or Knowledge.
WHAT THEN IS KNOWLEDGE?
In Eph 4:13 we are told that the function of the fivefold ministry is to bring the body of Christ into “…the oneness in the faith and in comprehension of the full and accurate KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD...”Amp.
The word knowledge here is epignosis from the root that means recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledge, to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge. It actually means full or perfect knowledge to be precise or further knowledge through acquaintance; while the English word is a noun meaning understanding, familiarity gained by experience. In other words the spirit is saying to us that, those who speak or teach from the point of their personal experience with the Lord can edify the church than just merely quoting the scriptures from the standpoint of scriptural analysis of quotations of the Bible you have in your head. It is true that we have more of these with head knowledge of the scriptures in the body of Christ today than with those who truly have had personal encounter with the Lord. Most of our ministers today standing behind the pulpits are either the products of one Bible school or the other, or those who convert their secular academic knowledge to ministry for want of a better Job, whether called or not. People like these do not have personal dealings from and with God, so their knowledge of who God is, how He walks and work with His people, especially the called ones is not known to them. Perhaps we need to know that there is a difference between being called by God into ministry and being appointed by men to serve. Listen to the Testimony of Paul: “Paul, an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from the dead)” Gal 1: 1 KJV. “I was not called to be a missionary by any group or agency – my call is from Jesus Christ Himself...”(TLB). And of Course, it is obvious that He who calls determines what you say or preach. Besides, you must preach to edify the agency that recruited you. Therefore we have more of men pleasers than God pleasers. This is why there is less of the edification of the body of Christ because most of us who are standing are ministers of men not of Christ.
DOES QUOTING SCRIPTURES AND OPERATING GIFTS MEAN KNOWING GOD?
In answer to the above question, we will like to quote two scriptures: In Mark 12: 18 – 26 is the story of how the Religious Sadducees came to tempt Jesus by asking Him who among seven brothers will marry a woman in the resurrection since the seven brothers had her to wife, all because they do not believe in the resurrection. In reply Jesus said “…You do therefore err, because you know not the scriptures neither the power of God” (V. 24).
Yet in Jn 5:39, the Lord still speaking to the Jews said “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are which testify of me.” Now look at the mystery of this: those reading the scriptures do not know who they are pointing to. They could deny Christ, yet the scriptures that they are poring through every day speaks of Christ, yet they do not know Him. Paul, speaking to Timothy concerning people like this, said they are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim3: 7). And don’t forget that Christ is the truth personified. So we find that just quoting the scriptures doesn’t mean you know the Lord on a personal level. What this kind of Knowledge – ministry – does is that you will minister more to the souls of men, I mean their emotions rather than their spirit and so you will end up producing a soulish community of believers. How many of you really wanted to do a thing and you know that there will be result yet the Lord asked you to stop and you really stopped? That is knowing the Lord, for then you have come to know how He speaks, learn obedience, known how to trust Him and above all, becoming a yielded vessel and pliable instrument in His hand.
Again we read of the Sadducees not knowing the power of God. Paul calls them those who are “Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof…” (2 Tim 3: 5) In other words we are talking of a people that though they can quote the scriptures, have all the degrees and Diplomas you can think of, yet the transforming power of the Scriptures is not manifest in their lives. Though the word is in their mouths, they are still dead in sins and trespasses (Eph 2: 1-2). All the works of the flesh are still found within and among them even as a fellowship. They may preach faith, but no iota of faith is found in their lives and living. They could talk healing, but never practice or experience Divine health or healing. Have you ever had a terrible situation once that defied all human and medical solution and as you turn in full force to the Lord, you got through? That is a knowing God and His power to save and deliver. How do you picture a sister who was barren for quite some time and yet stayed through with the Lord and the one in the same fellowship who never had the same experience? Certainly they both cannot have the same faith in and towards the Lord; therefore they both cannot teach or admonish others in similar situation at equal level, for their faith differs based on experience for. For the barren sister, that was a knowing God.
Again in 1 Cor 15: 34 Paul said “Awake to righteousness, and sin not for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame”. But look at the testimony of Paul about this same Church in Corinth: “I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance and in all knowledge (Gnosis) even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift...” (1Cor 1: 4-7). What is the difference in these above scriptures? In 1 Cor 1: 5, Paul uses Gnosis which is more or less knowledge acquired, being aware, understand the act of knowing, through effect. He used this in relation to the fact that the Church could boast of eloquent and great teachers of the word and even the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. But in 1Cor 15: 34 he used a particular word in the Greek, Agnosia, which means to have ignorance. Only Peter used the word again in the entire scriptures when he spoke of “putting to silence the ignorance (agnosia) of foolish men” (I Pet 2: 15). So you can see the implication of what Paul said: the Corinthians with all their gifts were compared to foolish men, those who do not know God, who are ignorant of His ways; yet they know His acts. So you can be a wonderful and eloquent preacher with Gifts manifesting yet you do not know God. But God wants us to speak from the point of a perfect knowledge.
TO BE CONTINUED OGAGA O. DAVID