Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: The Need To Know
Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
We all have a need to know. It may be more exaggerated in some of us, but as beings created in the image of God, who is all-knowing, we all have a need to know. Someday, in the presence of God, that need will be fulfilled. The apostle Paul reminds us of that fact in 1 Corinthians 13 when he writes, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
My need to know can become overwhelming sometimes. Recently we upgraded a bunch of software on all of our church computers. We even purchased some new software that we will begin using this Sunday for all our media presentations. Several people have volunteered to learn to use the software so it can be most productive. I have had to fight to stay focused on important ministry activities and study because my need to know distracts me constantly and drives me to also learn the software. Why is it that I think I need to be as proficient as those who are actually going to use it? It’s the need to know overblown by pride.
But pride can also cause us to restrict the need to know. Our need to know can also be controlled by our need for personal benefit. At times, when we have been exposed to something new, we decide not to pursue any additional knowledge of it because we don’t believe it will bring any practical benefit to us. Our need to know is often restricted by our need to experience.
This can cause serious issues when applied to the way we study the Bible. Our desires can dominate our devotions. We pick and choose the things from Scripture that we want to study because they accentuate our current attitudes. We choose not to study those things in God’s Word that bring conviction and change. Our need to know all of God is restricted by our fleshly desire for personal benefit.
Imagine if the Old Testament prophets had allowed their need to know to be so restricted. What if, upon receiving the initial word that the Messiah was for a future generation, they had stopped writing what the Holy Spirit was teaching them? What if, when the going got tough and they were persecuted for their words because their message conflicted with society’s choices, they stopped declaring the truth? What if, because they were told that the message did not directly apply to them, they simply stopped studying and exploring the Scriptures to try to understand the truth? What if they were so selfish that they never considered those of us who would live in the age of grace and stopped preparing the way for it for our benefit?
The prophets of the Old Testament were told that the Messiah, Jesus, would bring salvation to the world by grace through faith. They did not understand it. The angels still don’t. But their need to know drove them to study intently all that God had previously told them so they could understand this magnificent truth. They wanted to know all they could about God’s plan to save sinners and bring about the spiritual fulfillment of His kingdom.
We have become complacent about learning the truths of our salvation. We have taken for granted that we know just enough to be content. This complacent contentment that minimizes knowledge has resulted in weak witnesses. One of our biggest hindrances to sharing our faith is that we don’t believe we know enough. Well, whose fault is that? (How’s that for pointing a convicting finger?) We have suppressed the need to know with fleshly needs for acceptance and approval of the world. Yet the longing of the Holy Spirit in us is to teach us all things. He wants to fulfill our need to know.
In Peter’s second letter he writes, Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are commanded in Scripture to pursue the need to know. In fact, our very spiritual health and effectiveness for Christ depend on it, as Peter reminds us when he says, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. (Emphasis added)
Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop studying. The Holy Spirit in you is producing the need to know. Don’t stifle His work. Get started today, and pursue the need to know God!