This is very powerful. There is no wealth that can compare with being loved and knowing it. That is faith’s response to the gospel. (A phrase from the well known song, “Summertime,” comes to mind: “…Your Daddy’s rich and your Ma is good lookin, so hush little baby, don’t you cry…”)
God’s love is not reactive like the kind of love that is only good for friends. God’s love is redemptive. It has the power to change the lives of those who believe it, Romans 1:16.
Another thing about God’s kind of love is that it is not quantifiable for tax purposes. Those who are loved are tax exempt in the most important sense of exemption.
In any case, once I saw this, it was very easy to see that both the kingdom and the economy of God had come to earth at Pentecost. Remember the question of Jesus students/disciples: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Restore at this time the economy of Israel? The financial sovereignty of Israel? Not in the way they were thinking, and, for the most part, not in the way we have been thinking for two thousand years now with our carnally minded, earth bound point of view. God had something better in mind. Much better! But it was only available after the Holy Spirit came upon them.
Information/teaching/(doctrine) is not enough, not even when you get it from the Word of God. Understanding only comes with, and in the Spirit of God.
If we grieve the Spirit, we are bound not to get it!
Around the turn of the century, I had been wrestling with “what came first: the Spirit/chemistry or the body language?” or rather, “the Spirit or the community?” That brought me to the circumstances that positioned the early Church for Pentecost.
Perhaps Jesus hung around for forty days because He knew they would never make it in the upper room for fifty days. (The wonder is that they made it for ten.)
It’s not nearly so important what we know as it is who Jesus knows: “Get away from me, I never knew you,” Matthew 7:23. “Now that you know God or rather are known by God…” Galatians 4:9.
That may have been the last time that the Church ever got into one place in one accord. The thing that keeps us from being in one accord is all the stuff we think we know, and even the stuff we actually know. What is needed is the gift of stupid. We need to become as little children. The problem is that we have been trying to substitute knowledge for the power of the Holy Spirit – (Daniel 12:4) information for affirmation.
In the beginning, they didn’t know anything but Jesus. They came together and wound up in one accord. The Chemistry of God fell on them all. Then they began to get to know things. They especially began to get to know Jesus. Sad to say, it wasn’t long before the chemistry got smothered. It is the same today. Very soon they knew too much to come together again, let alone in one accord, Acts 20:29, 30.
In short, we really do need to know “…nothing, but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” 1 Corinthians 2:2. That looks to me like the only way that we are ever going to return to the upper room. Knowledge not only “puffs up,” 1 Corinthians 8:1. it blows us right out of the Kingdom of God, the Church. “Systematic theology” is an oxymoron.
God is not a system!
It is a matter of doctrine versus life. We could wish it were only “as distinct from life,” but, sad to say, it really is “versus life.” This doesn’t have to be true if our doctrine is Christ, but more often than not, such claims only turn out to be more lectures and letters; and, oh yes, even books.
After three and a half years of being taught the doctrine of Christ, by quite arguably history’s greatest Teacher, they still didn’t understand. Not only that, but after the resurrection there were forty more days of post resurrection teaching focused on the Kingdom of God, taught, not just by history’s Greatest Teacher, but by then, resurrected. (That’s got to be more riveting than a Ph.D., at least, where undivided attention is concerned.)
They flunked the final, Acts 1:1-7. Or, was it only the mid-term?
Continued Reading. See: Addendum to Flunked The Final
That may have been the last time that the Church ever got into one place in one accord. The thing that keeps us from being in one accord is all the stuff we think we know, and even the stuff we actually know. What is needed is the gift of stupid. We need to become as little children. The problem is that we have been trying to substitute knowledge for the power of the Holy Spirit …Amen Jay…Indeed knowledge puffs up (makes proud)..puffed up like a bird showing off for the opposite sex. I often think of this (Proverbs 16:) “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is way that seems RIGHT into a man but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Knowledge is not nor does it lead to pwoer. it is a foundational lie of Western civilization. Knowledge leads to pride which is the sin of altitude originating with Lucifer himself: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
” For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. – this is an apt description of Pride from god’s perspective… I WILL. Knowledge makes proud! But god gives grace to the humble! In Western culture have substituted knowledge ABOUT (heady stuff) for knowledge OF (hearty stuff)…
.The Hebrew word for knowledge is דעת (da’at), a noun derived from the verb ידע (yada) meaning “to know.” The idea of “knowing” in Ancient Hebrew thought is similar to our understanding of knowing but is more personal and intimate. We may say that we “know” someone but simply mean we “know” of his or her existence but, in Hebrew thought one can only “know” someone if they have a personal and intimate relationship. In Genesis 18:19 God says about Abraham “I know him” meaning he has a very close relationship with Abraham. In Genesis 4:1 it says that Adam “knew Eve his wife” implying a very intimate sexual relationship. In a
Western sense knowledge of may mean anatomy but in a biblical sense it implies a deep intimacy!
Knowledge (Gnosis in Greek) also has the same implication Gnosticism, (from gnosis) is a philosophical and religious movement which started in pre-Christian times. It may have had is source in the Jewish community of Alexandria and been later picked up by some Christian groups in Judea and the Galilee.
The name is derived from the Greek word “gnosis” which literally means “knowledge.” However, the English words “Insight” and “enlightenment” capture more of the meaning of “gnosis.” It is pronounced with a silent “G” (NO-sis). Gnosticism is not factual, intellectual, rational knowledge, such as is involved in mathematics and physics science or even theology, that would have been more accurately represented by the Greek world “episteme.” Rather, Gnosticism involves the relational or experiential knowledge of God and of the divine or spiritual nature within us. Not RATIONAL but RELATIONAL knowing!
Intimate , experiential (gnosis) knowledge” of the Holy can only produce humility – a bowing down of the heart…not a lifting up or pride! Indeed pride is the sin of altitude!
Sorry for the long response but this really touched on profound and timely word. thanks Jay! Much love and admiration!
Some years ago now as I was trying to find out what became of Mary Magdalene it became clear to me that a gnostic is a person who has suffered a painful heart wound and moved into their head. Sad to say that is the wrong direction relative to The Spirit of God.
Maybe this belongs more under your post a couple weeks back called, “Make Believe Love“, but I think it was Abraham Lincoln that said something like, “If you want to know what’s in a man’s heart, don’t give him adversity. Give him power”. I feel like adding, “if you want to know what’s in a man’s heart who has no power, make him wait!”. Waiting is the hardest nothing I have ever done. :/
There’s more than one way of seeing a test. Pass or fail, live in jail. But Jesus is Light in everything He does, casting it on our hearts so we become transparent to ourselves and others. I like the mid-term idea! :)
I’m thinking that the final on this occasion was in the flesh – the final in the flesh. The Holy Spirit did not come to them in the new way until days later. The flesh flunked the final. I am trusting that we will do better in The Spirit!
Oh Thank you, that helps me to understand it better!