Virtue To Knowledge
To really know God is to commit yourself to Him -- to let Him work in your life and the lives of others around you, and to tie yourself to His eternal Word.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Isn’t it wonderful you could be in the world but not of it? You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you live in a dirty world. God can keep you and He does day by day, you who are kept by the power of God through faith and His salvation. Hallelujah for the keeping, and guiding, and blessing power of God every minute of every day. Have you thanked God for that yet? Thanked Him for saving you, and thanked Him for guiding you, and putting up with you, and forgiving you, and leading you up to this very moment? Oh, it’s wonderful to belong to our blessed Lord.
Well, now we’re looking at 2 Peter. We’ve come into the fifth verse. Peter said “Beside all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” That’s what we talked about the last time we got together. Then he said “Add to virtue, by faith.” Now, you do these things by faith. This is something you do as you trust God to make a difference in your life, and in your character, and in your attitude. “Add to your virtue knowledge.” Knowledge has a Greek word “Gnosis” which comes from the verb, that’s a noun that comes from the verb “Gnosko” which means to know. Now, there are different renderings of that word. Ordinarily it means to know mentally. I know that 2+2=4. I know that it’s raining because I’m getting wet.
It also means to know by experience and that I’d take it is what Peter had in mind here. It is parallel with — for instance with John 17:3 “This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” I got you thinking about this, you know, we all believe that this is true because we read it in God’s Word. But how do you know God? Well, there are two or three things that we can think about in this connection. One has to do with your experience of God personally as you commit yourself to Him. And I’m going over to the Old Testament for an illustration of that fact.
Looking now at 1 Kings chapter 17, the story of Elijah’s visit with the widow at Zarephath. Interesting, one of our great radio — Christian radio stations is located in Zarephath, New Jersey. Well, this is a different Zarephath. This is Zarephath over in the Holy Land. And the Word of the Lord came to Elijah and said “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee.” Now, this was the most unlikely set of circumstances because in those days a widow, unless her husband had left her an inheritance of some sort was in difficult straits. She just had nowhere to go, no way to be sustained, her and her family, unless some of her relatives might take her in.
So, I’m sure Elijah had second thoughts when he heard this but then he went on over, and went to Zarephath and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering sticks. And he said “Fetch me a little water, I’m thirsty.” As she was going to do it, he called and said “Bring me a morsel of bread, I’m hungry.” “Well,” she said “I don’t have anything. But a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a container, and I’m gathering a couple of sticks, and I’m going in and dress it for me and my son, and then we’re going to eat it and die.” We’re going to starve to death. This is everything and we’ve gotten to the end of ourselves.
A small thought here. God was taking care and not only of His chosen prophet Elijah but He also was taking care of a dear little family who had gotten to the end of their resources. Oh, how wonderfully God works. Annie Johnson Flint singing, “When we reach the end of our hoarded resources Our Fathers full giving has only begun. He giveth more grace.” Yes, she said “We’re getting ready to die. I haven’t got a thing left. You say you’re hungry, well, we’re hungry and we’re going to die of starvation. It’s all that we got left.” “No,” he said “Make me a little cake first.” He said “Go and do as I said. But make me there a little cake first, and bring it unto me and after make for thee and thy son because God has something to say to you lady. The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.”
“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: And she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.” That’s a way of saying a year. God took care of them. Give me what you have first. “Give me what you have first,” that’s what God was saying to that widow woman. Well, the time went by and her son grew ill, and his sickness was so sore there was no breath left in him, and she said to Elijah, “Have you come to call my sins to remembrance and kill my son?” He said “No,” he said “Give me your son.”
Now, a few verses before this, he said “Give me your substance.” Now, he says “Give me your son.” “And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft,” and he cried unto the Lord and said “O, Lord my God. I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.” The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, the soul of the child came into him again and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down out of the chamber, into the house and delivered him onto his mother and Elijah said “See thy son liveth.” And the woman said — now, this is the point of all this. It took five minutes to get there but it’s going to be worth it, hang on. The woman said “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the Word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.”
What the 365 days of miraculous eating hadn’t done, the restoration of her child, back from death had done. Now, you see the first thing he said “Share your substance with me.” “Give me your substance.” “You’ve got, maybe a cupful of flour left in the barrel, well, share it with me. God’s going to take care of you.” Now, starting to know God, it starts with this commitment of giving to God what you know about and what you are. But it continues, it continues with something far deeper. You want to know God? Oh, he said “Give me thy son.” This one, that was so precious to her. Her husband was dead. She was a widow and now she just got a child and that’s all.
Yes, God was taking care of her and fed her for a year. But now this most precious, precious little person is gone. And so Elijah says “Give me your son. Not just your flour. No, not just your oil, not just what you have that you think is necessary to keep you going but what is nearest and dearest to your heart, I want that too.” God says. And then God gives that back to you. See, this is a part of the way the Lord works. He takes at your — it might be tearful and sad but willing to offer, and you may come with tears, and you may come say “O, God, why do I have to do this?” And he takes what you give Him, and then He gives it back to you with His blessing for you to use. How often that’s happened in people’s lives? Perhaps in your very life as you are thinking about it. How is it that you really know God? You know it by commitment of what you are, what you have, and that which is most precious to you. And then you know it by observing how God works in the lives of other people around you.
Just another illustration this time from the New Testament, John or Luke I would say 7:18-23. John the Baptist was in prison and his disciples came, and reported to him all about these big meetings that our Lord Jesus was having. And he said “Well, if he is having such success, and I’m the one who introduced him. Why does he let me rot in jail?” And so he sent them back, and he said “Go ask him. Are you really the Messiah? Are you really the one that should come or are we still looking for somebody else? Art thou he that should come or do we look for another?” And the Lord Jesus said “You go back and tell John what you see. “The blind see. The lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the Gospel is preached. You tell him what’s happening.”
Now, it doesn’t say what John the Baptist replied when they gave that report but evidently he was satisfied. And so the answer to “How do I really know about my Lord?” is to see him work. John the Baptist had the same response to people who are questioning him as recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 3. He said “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth by and heareth his voice rejoices greatly, this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” I’m watching what Jesus does and I’m listening to what He says and that’s my joy. He must increase, I must decrease.
Well, there you have two illustrations of what it means really to know, to be convinced and to know by personal experience, the God of whom you speak. And then of course we come down to the solid fact that you and I come to know God, in His Word. His Word to the law and to the testimony for they speak not according to this word. It is because there is no light in them. Jesus our Lord said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” “He sent his Word and healed them” is another passage that comes to mind.
And Paul, the Apostle speaks of the washing of water by the Word. You get cleansed as you read and obey the Word of God. “Thy Word have I hidden my heart,” said the Psalmist, “That I might not sin against thee.” Jesus said, “Heaven and Earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away.” It’s the eternal, dependable, absolutely true Word of God. You see the problem with our modern age is that we’ve taken away the absolutes, and everything is relative. It seemed like a good idea at the time, is the regretful comment that many a person has as he views a ruined life.
Whatever seems to be all right at the time is the rule of conduct for millions of people in this relativistic age but God’s Word is an absolute. He is the God who is there and His Word is true forever and forever and you can tie to it. And as you read and absorb it you’ll get to know him. God’s blessed man, as recorded in the 1 Psalm is the one “Whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water bringing forth fruit” and so on.
Well, there you have it. “Add to virtue knowledge.” To really know God is to commit yourself to Him, to let Him work in your life, and the lives of others around you and to tie yourself to His eternal Word.
Dear Father, today, help us to know Thee through Thy Word and through Thy works in our life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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