Breaking the cycle of ignorance
Synopsis Sermon 10/17/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
It is important to understand what it means to be in the know. The word “know or knowledge “occurs over 1600 times in the Bible. There are different meanings for this word. This word Knowledge gives us insight. In the Old Testament and the New Testament, to know really involves our whole being. It is not simply an action of the mind. To know is deeper than mental cognition and deeper than factual information. To know really implies a relationship with God in action. When we have a relationship with God, it means that our knowledge of God involves our will and our emotions. The truth is for a lot of people, if they knew better, they would do better. We look at some actions and you begin to wonder how people manifest certain behaviors. For example when Jesus was on the cross, he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what to do.” You would be surprised and amazed at the people that say they love God, yet really don’t know him. They spend time in church, but they have no comprehension of the basic truths in God’s word. They don’t have a real understanding of God’s word and his will for their life. Many people profess to be Christians, but over 80% of them can’t name the books of the bible. Over 60% of them can’t name half of the 10 commandments or even the 4 gospels. If you know God like you claim you do, then there ought to be some evidence that you know him. You would be surprised to know of the people who think the phrase; “God helps those that help themselves” is a direct quote from the bible. What the profit Hosea receives from God is a strong statement about ignorance. We compare ignorance to knowledge, because when you don’t know, you become ignorant in that area. Hosea 4:6 says 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.– Hosea says my people are destroyed due to the lack of knowledge. In other words, there is a result in not knowing. Think of all the people that ended up putting a razor to their wrist, because they did not know. Think about all the foolish stuff you got involved in simply because you didn’t know. Think of all the games you played and the games you allowed people to play on, just because you didn’t know. There are a lot of people that end up coming to church year after year and they get so consumed with catching things rather than being taught things. As a result we end up taking tradition over truths. We believe stuff just because people tell us it’s true. It becomes a way of existing in church and no one every question it. We just assume that this what the bible says. A lot of things we do in some churches can’t even be found in the bible. Example:
Devotion: Some churches will fight you over the Deacon Devotion. The Deacons would line up in the front of the church and have devotion. The truth is, there is no biblical framework around it this. The Deacons responsibility was to serve tables, serve the widows, and go and visit the sick. This whole idea of Devotion really came out of the African American tradition. Many years ago in the early churches, a Pastor might Pastor 4 or 5 churches at one time. Many of them would go one Sunday a month at each church. They would move by horse and buggy and it would take them a long time to get between churches. They put Devotion in place to buy time for the preacher to show up.
Sheets on communion table: People would almost fight you over putting the sheet over the communion table. Back in the day, this was only used to keep away flies.
Tip up the Finger when going out of church: You will be surprised today to see how people here in the day of 2010 still get up and stick their finger up when going out of church. They don’t understand the historical framework around it. This comes from the days of the slaves where they had to give an account for their entrance and exit. It was to notify the Master that they were going out and coming in. We are far removed from the Emancipation Proclamation and even further removed from Calvary’s blood and yet we still stick up a finger and tip out. There ought to come a time in life where we just want to know for ourselves. We don’t want to come to church out of ritual and routine. We simply want to work this thing out. We want continuity in our lifestyle and what we know. Paul says in Philippians 3:10 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;- Some people press their way to a church service all the time and people want to know why we do this. This is because we want to know God. It don’t matter if the Pastor knows our name, we are trying to get to know God. We come to break the cycle of ignorance over our lives. .
Hosea speaks to the house of Judah. He speaks to them about their idolatry and immorality. He comes and chastens the leaders and priests of that day. These priest and the leaders had been appointed by king Jeroboam. King Jeroboam chose from the lowest of low and put these men over the priestly matters of Judah. What happens when you don’t know is it creates a destructive reality.
I. Destructive reality
Hosea 4:1-3 says 1Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. 3Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. – Everything is going to be out of order and disarray until there is knowledge of God in the house.
1. The enemy wants us to be ignorant, because ignorance will produce a certain lifestyle in our lives.
2. Where there is no truth:
A. There is no Communication – They were swearing at one another in the scripture. This led to fighting or contentions.
B. There is Contentions – This means they couldn’t get along. This led to robbing, stealing, or cheating.
C. There is Cheating. – This means there was no integrity. This led to commotion.
D. There is Commotion – This was total chassis in the community. Remember some of the places that God delivered you from where people were just swearing at one another and no one could get along with each other. Everyone was lying and cheating on one another and there was nothing but commotion. God is not in that. He is not the author of confusion; he is the author of peace. Your relationship with other people is a mirror of how our relationship with God really looks. Ultimately, you got to declare that you move to place where you can position yourself to learn.
3. Some people wouldn’t act the way they act if they only knew. Some people would be better wives knew how to be and they would be better husbands if they knew how to be. It is not that they don’t love God; the issue is they don’t how to apply what they have been taught or they have been taught the wrong stuff. If you have been taught and you learn how to apply it, then you can break this cycle of ignorance.
4. If you are going to break this cycle, you are going to have to move past denominational allegiance, move past cultural comfort zones, and be willing to put yourself in a position to learn as much as you can. We thank God for the shout, the dance, and the high five, but we are at a point where we need somebody to break this down in our life.
5. This is why you have to :
A. Be under the right Pastor – Jeremiah 3:15 says 15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. – What do you learn and what do you gain. After service, you ought to be able to say you know something you didn’t know when you first walked in (if you are under the right Pastor). We need the word made relevant in our life. We don’t have to be under a Pastor that specializes in hooping and we don’t need a lot of theatrics. We just need somebody to break this word down.
B. It has to be Personal. – It has to be personal for you. You can’t depend totally on the Pastor for your spiritual growth. You got to get to a point that you desire this. 2 Timothy 2:15 says 15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – We got to have this desire to get at God’s word.
C. It has to be about Passion – When we have passion, then it is like it is describe in Psalm 122:1 where is says 1I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. – There is no option for getting the word of God. We have to get a relevant word from God. Some people have left people at home on Sunday, because they were slowing around. We have to make sure we get a practical relevant word from God.
6. How do we get knowledge? We get knowledge, because we desire it. 2 Chronicles 1:10-12 says 10Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? 11And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 12Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. – Most people would have asked for wealth, but why would God give wealth to somebody that doesn’t have knowledge. The worst thing you can have is a fool with money. Proverbs 1:7 says 7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Isaiah 28:9 says 9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. Proverbs 2:3-6 says 3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 1 Timothy 2:4 says 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – We need to say, “Lord I want to know.”
II. Divine rejection
Hosea 4:6 says 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. – This verse says if we reject God, he will reject us.
1. Ignorance will jeopardize your relationship with God. There is danger in the life of a person that left God’s word and his precepts. There are many that go through life on their own opinions and attempt discredit the relevancy of God’s word in their life. They do this to justify what they do, like the bible is an outdated book. The truth is, some people would have lost their mind without the word. Try all day long, but eventually you are going to lose. You can’t win without God’s word.
2. There are 2 categories of people
A. Those who have not been taught and genuinely don’t know.
B. Then there are those who have been taught, but act like they don’t know. This is called spiritual amnesia.
3. We’re at a point where we don’t want the Lord to reject us. We’re at a point in life where we have to receive his word whether we like it or not. We got to get to a point where we totally turn away from his word. If we totally turn away from God’s word, then we turn away from his will for our life. When we do this it messes up our witness. Ex- Jesus gave a parable one day. He talks about this Sower who was sowing seeds. He said some seeds would fall by the way side and some would fall on stony ground. He said some would fall among the thorns and some would fall on good ground. In other words some people will get word and it will fall by the way side. This is “whatever spirit”. Some people are hard headed and set in their ways. Some people will be like the seed among the thorns. They will get excited by the word they received at first, but then the cares of the world is going to choke that word out. They going to get a word like we did about poverty and start giving, but then a trial will come and choke that word out. Then you will get some people who will receive that word, it is going to be on good ground, and they will receive a harvest in their life. We want to be like the seed on the good ground. We don’t want to reject God’s word, because his word has made a difference in our life. For some of us, we would be on skid row if it wasn’t for God’s word. If you reject God’s word, he will reject you!
4. Why do we reject God’s word?
A. Because of our past. Some people reject God’s word because of the guilt of their past. The enemy interrogates them and brings up their past and they have deep people who will try to bring your past up and they set up sin hierarchies. They try to make you think one sin is worse than another. Ex – I smoke weed, but I don’t do crake. I fornicate, but I’m not a homosexual. They say this as if one sin is worse than another. Sin is sin. All of us have issues. Don’t let the past keep you from what God has for you. 1 John 1:9 says 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – Next time they bring up your past remind of what Romans 8:1 says. 1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. – It doesn’t matter what you have done, you are forgiven.
B. There is pride. Pride gets in our way. Some people get so prideful that they think God’s work can’t go on without them. We get so big that we think God is going to share his glory with us. Some people think they don’t need God anymore, until the bottom falls out. Then they run to the altar singing they need him every hour. We never want to get so prideful that for forget that what we are, God made us, what we know God taught us, and where we are, God brought us. Proverbs 16:18 says 18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Isaiah 55:8 says 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Proverbs 3:5 says 5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
C. Pain – Pain will cause you to run away from God. Pain will cause you to reject God. Many of you have gone through pain not just from other, but from church people. You begin to wonder why stuff happens and struggling with the sovereignty of God. This is when the Devil comes in and tries to turn us against God. He tries to make you think that if God loved you, then you wouldn’t be going through this. Some of you know what it is like to carry this type of pain. You see folk like this in the mall that is always saying they are going through something. You would think at some point they would get closer to God. The devil tries to use pain to separate us from God. Romans 8:35 says 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? – Let nothing separate you from the love of God. Will be like the trees planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in our season. Be steadfast and unmovable always abounding in their word of God. Though he slay you, yet will you trust him. Be tied up and tangled up in him.
III. Destiny can be redeemed
1. It is never too late to start over. There is something in us that should be tired of trying to find the scripture the whole time the preacher is preaching. There is something in us that ought to be tired of coming to church not knowing why we do what we do.
2. We don’t want to just know the precepts, but we want to live this word out. The lack of knowledge is really about this, you can know a lot of information, but lack the desire to apply it. In otherwords, you have head knowledge, but you are far from God. Ex- This is how some people are discouraged. They look up at people in church that is supposed to be close to God, yet they are in the midst of all the hell going on in the church. How can a person know so much word, and still curse people out in the parking lot.
3. Head knowledge is not enough. You got to not just be hearer of the word, but a doer of the word. Live this stuff out.
4. The cycle can be broken. If you acknowledge him as Lord, give him full control, and say whatever he wants you to do, you will do it, then he will help you break this cycle. Ex- One day Isaiah the prophet said he saw the Lord high and lifted up and a voice came and said who will go for us. Isaiah said Lord here I am, send me and I’ll go. In other words, you are putting the Lord in control and you are no longer in control.
5. We are coming out of the cycle of ignorance. We want to live the life that God wants us to live. We are coming into “the know”. We are going to live the way God wants us to live. We repent for not praising him the way we ought to praise him. We have to do it the way God says do it.
6. We are at a point that we want to know. When you come into the know, you know how to deal with an attack. You know that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. We know when we bring the tithe into the storehouse; he will open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing that we won’t have room enough to receive. We know that when the devil is attacking us, Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities and by his stripes, we are healed. If haters are around us, God is greater than the whole world around us.
7. Remember this scripture. Daniel 11:32 says 32And 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.- People that are in the know, know their God is going to be strong. And they will do great exploits or do greater things. God can trust greater things to people who know. You want God to take you to another level, but he can only take you to a level of what you know.
8. 12 steps to turn around:
A. Revelation-Lord give me revelation, not information. Take the cover off and show me what I didn’t know. Revelation says if we knew then what we know now we would be in better shape. This sparks motivation.
B. Motivation –We are motivated to get up from where we are. Now we have communication.
C. Communication – In my voice, there is victory. We speak like we heard. We speak things that are not like they were. Now we have application.
D. Application – Now we apply what we heard. What is the point of hearing it, if we don’t apply it? Now are crowd changes. We have affiliation.
E. Affiliation – People that used to be around us can’t anymore. We are not the same person and don’t walk and talk like we used to. Now we are in a new situation.
F. Situation -My outlook on life has changed and they way I approach my reality is different. Now I have a new foundation.
G. Foundation– We don’t shout and don’t why any longer. Therefore we have the right to expect something.
H. Expectation– We expecting God to do something in our life. We expect because we have hope.
I. Navigation– We don’t move until God says move. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. He has a destination for us.
J. Destination– There is a God given destination for us. Because God has given us destination, it allows me to move in obligation
K. Obligation-I have to be a good steward over my time talent and treasure. We owe God something now.
L. Celebration – We are one of the redeemed. According to the scripture, let the redeemed of the Lord say so. There is nobody that can come through all of this and sit down and be cute and quit. If you know what you know, you would act like we act. God is been too good and he is worthy to be praised.