I’ve been in school for a long time. In fact, for the first time this year, since I started preschool, I’ve been out of school. From preschool to May of 2007, I went to school, of course with the exception of January 2004-May 2004. Of course, for that time, I was mostly in Peru learning new things and teaching others myself. But this past year was my first year not going to school in a very long time. And when school starts back again this year, I’ll be back in the classroom. I’ll be back getting knowledge, filling my head up with more things that I never knew and corrections of things I thought I knew. I’ll be sitting down, shutting up, opening my ears, and being humbled at all the things I thought I knew and suddenly realize I knew nothing.
Of course, just because you don’t go to school, that does not mean that you can’t learn. You can’t be educated, you can’t get knowledge. I’m going back to Bible school, and speaking about the Bible and knowledge, I want to share some things with you. God’s Word says that, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). You know, for some that might have been a problem back in the day. That might have been a problem for Jews to whom that was written, even to Christians in the beginning of the church age. For Christians before Gutenberg and the printing press, and even after it, that might have been a problem. But for Christians today, for people today, for the majority of people, at least for people in the United States, this is not true.
We have knowledge. In English alone, there are over fifty different translations of the Bible. We have all kinds of ways to teach people-books, tapes & CDs, videos & DVDs, the internet (iworshiphere.com), the human voice-we have all different ways to spread the truth, to teach the truth, to get knowledge. Especially after the teaching revival that took place in the 70’s and 80’s, we have knowledge. And if all else fails, if all those are not enough, then finally, lastly, we have the Holy Spirit. After all, that’s how it has come to be you know, for many. We will go to brother or sister so and so for prayer, for answers, for this and for that, and if all else fails, we’ll go to the Word of God, and we’ll go to the Holy Spirit and ask Him. While we’re going to Him last, we need to see, need to learn, and need to do-to go to Him first and not last.
But we have knowledge. In fact, our generation, the people living now, have more knowledge, and easier access to knowledge than any other generation that has ever existed on the planet. We have the internet at our fingertips, and a vast array of knowledge ready to be accessed at any time, day or not. Of course some of that knowledge is not good for us, but that’s another message. We have no excuse for not having knowledge. In fact, you know this, but when ever person stands before God who did not except Jesus, they will have no excuse. Not just because of God’s promise and everything else, but because all the knowledge has been at their finger tips all this time. Knowledge is not our problem.
The people that are reading this, and not even for that reason, not because of what I assume is such a narrow, specialized audience, but because we have the Word of God, we know how to do things. We know how to get someone saved. They must believe, they must confess, they must receive, and BAM! They’re saved. We know how to get healed. We believe we receive when we pray and we have it. (Mark 11:23) That goes for anything that God has promised us in His Word. We know how to get our financial needs met. We know how to get all of our needs met, spiritually, naturally, financially, materially, whatever it may be, we know. And if we don’t know-we have no excuse. We have the Word of God! We have teachings in books, CDs, DVDs, the internet, etc. We have no excuse. We have knowledge.
Do you see a pattern? We have knowledge. This scripture I quoted earlier does not apply to us. It says that my people perish for lack of knowledge. We have knowledge, yet why are we perishing? We know how to get what we need, we have knowledge. Yet we’re still perishing. We’re still beaten down with sickness, bombarded with lack, attacked by the devil, depressed, felt unloved and lonely, and sit in darkness when we should be in the light. We have a presidential election with candidates even the world doesn’t want, I’m not preaching politics now, I’m preaching God. We’re living in the end times where the glory is to be far better than the former and latter rain, yet it doesn’t seem like it. We’re driving faith-mobiles that take faith to keep together and keep going instead of driving faith-mobiles that took faith just to get, not necessarily to run. We’re wearing ragged clothes not by choice, but lack of options, not knocking anyone now. I’m talking to myself as well. We’re living in barely get along street next to grumble drive instead of overflow way and more than enough drive. Why?
Why? Why? Why? It’s not because of a lack of knowledge. We have knowledge. If you have a Bible handy, I invite you to turn to it. James 1:21-25 says this, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (NKJV)”
I like looking in other translations, another of the 50+ that we have, to glean insight into what the Word is saying. So let’s look at those same verses in the Amplified Bible. “So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). (AMP).”
After hearing this, I present this for your consideration: We are perishing, not due to lack of knowledge, but due to a lack of action upon that knowledge, due to that knowledge going in one ear, ringing around, and then leaving, and not being implanted and rooted in our hearts as we just read. Do you need more? I work for a man that very frequently quotes Brother Hagin. Myself being a RHEMA graduate, I think I’ll quote Him too. There was a time that Brother Hagin had a vision where Jesus stood before him and taught him about How To Write Your Own Ticket With God. In fact, this little story is in that book. But Jesus was standing before Brother Hagin in this vision and telling him How To Write His Own Ticket With God and Brother Hagin told Jesus that He needed scripture to prove what He was saying. Brother Hagin told Jesus Christ Himself that he wanted scripture to back up what the Lord Himself was saying.
That’s the problem with a lot of things today as well, a reason why Christians are perishing. They don’t put the scripture first, they put something else first-feelings, experience, someone else’s opinion. If Brother Hagin needed scripture from Jesus Christ himself, don’t you think we need scripture from our circumstances? Not listening to other opinion that we’re going to fail, but the scriptures that says “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” Scripture that says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” And “I can do all things through Christ Jesus that strengthens me.” But Brother Hagin needed scripture for what Jesus said to him, and he even gave Jesus scripture for needing scripture. Matthew 18:16 says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
So let’s look at the other witnesses. Turn with me, if you went to get a Bible (to see it in your Bible), to Matthew 13. It says starting in verse 3, “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Who knows the best way to interpret scripture? By scripture. It’s not when you have a preacher in the pulpit who reads a scripture and then says, “Now here’s my opinion on this.” Or “I don’t agree with that. Here’s what I think.” No, who cares what you think. That’s problem with the world, we think to much instead of listening to God. We think we’re good people and we don’t need God or a savior, but God says differently. We may think that we’re going under, but God says we can go over. Turn over a few verses to verse 18 of the same chapter for the explanation of the parable.
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (18-23, NKJV) ”
Now this scripture is talking specifically about the Word as it applies to salvation, but it can be taken as anything that the Word says is ours. Jesus divides people up into four different groups here. Three of those groups did not prosper, in the sense of they didn’t produce fruit, while only one did. What set the one apart from the rest of them? Verse 21 tells why they produced no fruit. It says that “yet he has no root.” He might have known it intellectually, but it didn’t get down in his spirit. If you have roots, you can’t be dug out. Anyone here ever try to dig up the stump of a tree that had been there a long time.
I remember when I was younger there was a tree that got hit by lightning or something, I don’t remember what exactly, but we wanted to just get the whole thing out of there-stump and all. So we finally got it up out of the ground it had a ton of roots holding it into the ground. We only got it out of the ground because we forcefully had to break those roots. And it took a while for that. That’s witness number one for what we saw in James.
Let’s look at John 8:31-33. It says, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They [speaking of the Pharisees] answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’? (NKJV)” You hear this first quoted so much. Even the world quotes it. ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ The problem is, they leave a part out. Look at the verse before that. ““If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” There’s a qualifier for knowing the truth here that Jesus is speaking of. First, you must abide in God’s Word. What does abide mean? King James Version says, “If ye continue in my word.” The word abide here means to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy, or to continue, dwell, endure, be present, or remain.
So what Jesus was actually saying here is if you will remain and live in my Word, you will be His disciples, then you shall know the truth and it shall make you free. It’s not a one time thing. It’s not a weekly thing. It’s a consistent, continual thing. We’re talking about why Christians are getting beat down, even after Jesus said He came to give life and give it in abundance (John 10:10). The majority of Christians open there Bibles once, maybe twice a week, and that’s on Sunday’s, if even. And then they expect to live an abundant life. That’s not how it works. Jesus just said here that we are to live in the Word and then we shall know the truth-we shall know it in a way where it is down in our spirit, where it is rooted in us, then we shall be made free. Free of what? Free of poverty. Free of sickness. Free of depression and loneliness. Free of everything that the devil tries to throw at us.
This wasn’t where I was going but look at Joshua 1:8. It says, ”This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (NKJV).” Even in the Old Testament God was adamant about His people constantly being in the Word. He told Joshua if he would continue in it day and night, and meditate on it-that word meditate means to mutter and to study. A way that we could say it today would be to confess and study, or think on. That will root the Word into your spirit. In fact, doing that on anything will root it into your heart, not just the Word, that’s why God warns us about what we put into ourselves.
We’ll couple those two together, Joshua 1:8 and John 8:31 as our second witness. Why do we need two or three witnesses, besides the Word calls on it? Because you can’t build a doctrine or a belief on just one scripture. Our final witness is found back in John, chapter 15, verse 7-8. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (NKJV).” There’s that word abide again-to live, stay, dwell, make your home in the word. Right here Jesus isn’t just saying if you stay and live in the Word, but if the Word abides and lives in you, then you shall ask what you desire-healing, salvation, financial needs met, and then you shall bear fruit and be my disciples. Doesn’t that sound familiar? You will bear fruit, much like the parable of the sower that we read. “You will be my disciples.” That sounds like what we just read in John 8-you abide in the Word and “you are my disciples.”
Living in the Word and the Word living in you is what causes roots to grow, strong roots. It’s what causes you to be a doer of the Word. When the Word is in you so much, it just flows out like rivers of living water. It’s like what a teacher of mine used to say-Fill yourself up with the Word so much that when the devil comes to squeeze you, that’s all that comes out. There’s no “what’s going to happen?” or “oh my,” or “what will I do?” All that comes out is “MY God shall supply all my needs according to His riches and glory that are in Christ Jesus!”
When you abide in the Word and the Word abides in you, it’s no longer that you just know it. It’s that you know it, it knows you, you live it, you live in it, it lives in you, and you do what you know to do when the time comes to do it! Jesus said if you abide in my Word and my Word abides in you then you shall ask whatever you desire, not just whatever you need, but what you desire, and it shall be done for you.“ I remember sitting in prayer class with Miss LeAnn Merrill teaching us and she told us that text has the implication in the original language that if you ask something and God doesn’t have it, He will make it for you! The Lord of Creation is moved by your faith, your obedience, and your action upon His Word. And you only get to that place by living in the Word and the Word living in you.
We started off talking, and I told you that we have knowledge yet we are still perishing. We are perishing by being attacked by the devil in every area and we sit there and allow it to take place, even though we have the knowledge. Well I want you to know if you will get into the Word, if you will live in the Word and let the Word live in you instead of letting TV and the radio live in you, instead of letting Oprah and the newest summer blockbuster live in you and you live in it, then every promise that God gave to you will be yours. The abundant life God told us was ours in John 10:10, you will take hold of and live in Victory. If you will only live in the Word and allow the Word to live in you.