(3) And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
To know Him... this is what we will be doing for eternity if we have started that process here by becoming born of His Spirit through faith. This is the all important thing. This is our calling... to know Him. He gives us eternal life in order that we may know Him. When we first come to Him by faith and receive that saving grace He so freely gives, we begin a journey of learning to know Him. It is not a self-improvement program so that we can be better husbands and wives and mothers and fathers and gain a better life that is more successful, although those things may happen as a result. In knowing Him, we become more like Him, as our gaze is on His character and faithfulness and love and all He is. We find the more we look at Him the more we partake of that character and allow it to overcome our sinful flesh that is opposed to Him. The more we see Him, the more we desire Him and the more we desire to be like Him. The more we know Him, the more we care about not displeasing Him. We only want to do the thing that pleases Him. We care more about what He cares about, and less about what we care about.
Many today boast in some teacher they follow and call themselves by the name of that teacher or theology, with an "ist" or "ism" at the end, which causes a pride in identifying with their following, as though they are superior to other believers. They seek to know God through another man's knowledge of Him rather than to know Him for themselves. Yes, we were each given the means to know Him in Christ for ourselves, not through any teacher, no matter how good whether he lived a thousand years ago, or today, whether he was from the early church or from today. If we limit our knowledge of God to what another man's is, then we only know another man's knowledge, not God. To know God is to live in communion with His Spirit that indwells every true believer each day, allowing Him to teach you His Word and quicken it to your own heart and mind and experience as you feed on Him. God calls, gifts, and uses teachers, but they were never meant to take His place. I don't mean to say there is no value in godly teachers... it's in what place you give them, and how your regard them.
(3) for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
(4) For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human?
(5) What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
(6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
(7) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
I've seen people defend their favorite teachers, no matter how wrong or off from sound Biblical doctrine they become. Yet we are to test all things by the Word and correct even our teachers for their own sake as well as the body, if they get off. When they are risen up to such a position they cannot take correction, what a danger! And how sad for their followers who excuse them! There is no hierarchy in the body of Christ.
(21) So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,
(22) whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours,
(23) and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
I hear so many believers "boast in men". They become defensive if you point out something that is not in line with the Word. They pull the "do not judge" card, which is a total misuse of what Scripture means by "do not judge". Scripture never tells us not to judge another man's teaching. In fact it orders us to do so.
J, F, & B...
let no man glory in men -- resuming the subject from 1Co_3:4; compare 1Co_1:12, 1Co_1:31, where the true object of glorying is stated: "He that glorieth, let him glory in THE LORD." Also 1Co_4:6, "That no one of you be puffed up for one against another."
For all things -- not only all men. For you to glory thus in men, is lowering yourselves from your high position as heirs of all things. All men (including your teachers) belong to Christ, and therefore to you, by your union with Him; He makes them and all things work together for your good (Rom_8:28). Ye are not for the sake of them, but they for the sake of you (2Co_4:5, 2Co_4:15). They belong to you, not you to them.
(24) Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
(25) And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.
(26) I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
(27) But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie--just as it has taught you, abide in him.
(28) And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
(26) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
(5) For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
A teacher or pastor was never meant to be a "mediator" between us and God. He is only to equip the saints that they would learn to depend on their mediator and abide in Him, that they may learn to walk by faith in Him so that His Spirit works in and through them. If we are not careful we can, without realizing it, give that place that is only meant for the Holy Spirit, to our teachers and leaders. Early in my Christian life I held certain people in such high regard I had them on a pedestal in my mind. I wanted them to be the ones I learned from, to pray for me as though their prayers had more special importance, and I took in every word they said without question. But when we put a person on a pedestal, often God has to take them down for us to see they are only human and not infallible. He showed me the person's failure and human weakness. It shook me to the core. What hope did I have if this person could fail??? It doesn't have to be a big failure! It could be something small but it opens your eyes so that you are able to see they are human and have their errors also and are dependent on the Lord as you and everyone else are. Every time that happened it drove me further to want to know the Word for myself. If the Holy Spirit could be their teacher, He could be mine. In Christ we have all the same Spirit to be our teacher and counselor. I finally, after coming through a huge shaking in the church around me, got on my face and said, "Lord, I want to know You for myself, and not through another person. Take everything I've been taught by man, every experience, and every preconceived idea and start over with me, and just teach me. Be my teacher." I began just eating up God's Word and reading it, weeping through it, and studying it to know Him... the author. I hungered to know His heart. He did teach me. He even changed a lot of what I thought about His Word because I had been taught by men. I started to read the Bible as a whole and to understand the whole message rather than the bits and pieces that had been used out of context by men to get their point across. Besides studying it with my head I began to approach it with an attitude of surrendering my heart to whatever God showed me rather than trying to find something to prove a preconceived idea or denominational teaching. If what I had learned was correct, the Bible would prove itself. If not, I only wanted the truth. Rather than to bring God down to my understanding I wanted Him to bring me up to His.
I find when you go through the fire, only God's true Word can bring you through that -- His Word taken, believed, understood, and made personal in your circumstance. In that you gain an understanding that is deeply rooted, proved, and found true and sure, and it never leaves you. When my son died, I asked Jesus to help me to know Him more through this. He has and still is. Through pain and sorrow in our lives, we need to know Him for ourselves. Nobody else's knowledge of Him will do. He must be our "personal" Savior, not just for eternity but daily. He is a daily Savior. Knowing doctrine, though doctrine is important, and getting it correct is important, is not enough if it is only in our head, concepts taught by a man. When His doctrine becomes something we find we truly grasp by the illumination of His Spirit indwelling our hearts and minds, and we exercise faith and a leaning on Him in it, we either find our doctrine was wrong, or we find it is a sure thing. It now becomes ours. It has been truly learned. Some of my "doctrines" have changed or become much more clear and truly understood through the trials of fire. What was of man, (wood, hay, and stubble), has been burned up in the fire. What was of God was deeply embedded in my heart and my faith in Him made stronger than ever. That process continues as long as we remain teachable and humble our hearts to learn, being submissive to His teaching. If we think we've "got it all down", we soon become unteachable and harden ourselves to His teaching. We can be confident in His truth and what He's taught, but we should never become unteachable, so that we think we have nothing more to learn from Him! Sometimes He takes the same truth and drives it deeper and deeper into our understanding and ability to walk in it.
The testing of our faith is sometimes severe. What is our faith in? Is it in man? A teaching? I've heard of a man cursing God on his deathbed because he claimed his healing and God didn't heal him. How sad! Rather than to see His idea of faith was wrong and seek to know God in that sickness, he cursed God. Is our faith in God true? It will be shown through the fire. We may feel like our faith is shaken to the core. We may feel that we've lost it. If we lose it, it may be a good thing if it was not the right faith in the first place. It means we need to ask God to reveal Himself to us in this fire that our faith might be made the kind of faith that will keep us through any fire. As that faith is tried and purified, we find it keeps us through the worst.
God has a way of shaking our faith, when it has the wrong object. He'll pull the rug out from under us many times, so that we will look to Him and see that object for what it is.
I want the same mind and prayer Paul had...
(7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
(8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
(9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--
(10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
May the Lord reveal Himself more each day as we walk with Him, until we finally see Him as He is and are with Him.
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