“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.” (1Co 2:14-15)
The past December (2011) I shared a study entitled, ‘Never Go With Strangers.’ I felt a need to re-emphasize that study again, but with more insights about what knowing the Lord is really all about.
I do this with regard to what the apostle said -
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” (Php 3:1-3)
There is one question that can only be answered on a personal basis. I don’t ask to entertain doubt about someone’s salvation. I ask so that my readers can decide for themselves if their relation to the Lord God is what it really should be.
The question that needs to be answered is simple – Do you really know the Lord?
An Innate Knowing
All true followers of Jesus Christ are given a unique spiritual ability to recognize those things which are of God. This ‘intrinsic’ knowing is functional to our born-from-above spiritual nature. It is a knowing that becomes even more acute as a believer matures in Christ.
The apostle uses the term ‘spiritual’ with regard to our maturing in Christ. Paul said that the mature spiritual believer ‘knows’ and ‘appraises’ all things.
These words are important. The word ‘know’ is ‘eido’ in Greek. It means ‘to turn the eyes, the mind, or the attention to a thing, that is, to be skilled in knowing the spiritual significance of a thing.
Then we have the word ‘appraises’. The Greek term, anakrino, carries a forensic sense which addresses an investigation to decide either the excellence or the defect of a thing.
In another place the apostle says that all things have to be examined – Listen:
“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1Th 5:19-22)
The term ‘examine’ belongs to the class of ‘knowing.’ Dokimazo simply means to prove whether a thing is worthy or not. There are many false teachings to be found in the realm of Christendom. It is the believer’s personal responsibility to find out if these teachings are worthy of the gospel.
The Crown of a Believer’s Life
The crown of a believer’s walk rests in this ability to truly know if a thing is of God. It is this knowing that protects the believer from error.
The English language doesn’t always carry the fuller meaning of a Hebrew or Greek term. For this reason it is good to know what certain terms really mean in the original languages of the Bible.
For example, Jesus said,
“I am the good shepherd, and I know (ginosko) my own and my own know (ginosko) Me.” (John 10:14)
Ginosko addresses a personal closeness. Jesus said that He addresses each of His sheep by name. He also stated that His sheep know His voice. It is in this secret of knowing the Shepherd personally that compasses our love and loyalty to Him.
Fleeing From Strangers
Let’s continue with Greek terms. Listen carefully:
“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know (oikeios) his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know (oikeios) the voice of strangers.” (Joh 10:4-5)
Now we find a different word. The Greek for ‘know’ here is the word, ‘oikeios’. Oikeios implies, ‘belonging to a household’. Oikeios is a family word. Jesus said that because of His family relationship to the sheep, they would never confuse who is doing the speaking.
Remember how we teach our children not to go with strangers. That is the idea being projected here. Not only will the sheep not go with a stranger, but they will actually flee from the stranger’s voice and beaconing.
Now notice again how the term ginosko is used:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know (ginosko) them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (Joh 10:27-29)
Knowing Jesus Christ is knowing salvation.
It’s All in the Knowing
Did you catch it? Jesus is saying that no one can be saved and not know it. Salvation is a knowing relationship with the Lord.
Listen to how the Lord defines eternal life in His prayer:
“ … and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.’
“’…This is eternal life, that they may know [ginosko] You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’” (Joh 17:1-3)
There it is. Eternal life is all about knowing the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.
A Deepening Knowing
When Jesus said that His ‘sheep’ know His voice, notice that Jesus did not use the term ‘lamb’. Until the lamb becomes better acquainted with the voice of the Shepherd, the lamb will follow other sheep and especially the mother.
Does that mean the lambs have little protection? Not at all. Consider:
“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isa 40:11)
Now let’s talk about why this issue of ‘knowing’ the Lord is so important.
Deception – The Hallmark of Satan’s Work
The ability to know if a thing is of God is important because the supernatural realm makes up more than the things of God. Satan is a spiritual being. The hallmark of Satan’s work is deception. Paul said,
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this spiritual darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph6:12)
We are especially warned that in the last days there will be a great increase of deception in the earth. The Lord said that this deception would be so acute that even the very elect will have to keep up a special guard.
Consider these cautions:
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.“ (Mat 24:24-25)
“But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2Ti 3:13)
“ … there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
“… in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2Pe 2:1-3)
Appealing to the Flesh
The work of demons is closely linked to the prideful flesh of man. And what the prideful fleshly person attributes to God, are actually ‘soulish’ powers at work.
James gives us the basic description of how the soulish person functions. James 3:13-18)
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic..”
The word for ‘natural’ is the word, ‘psuichikos’. This word speaks to the sensual side of our lower nature. Did you take note of how ‘psuchikos’ relates to, ‘demonic’?
And so where you have bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogance, earthy, natural issue at work, these characteristics give place for the demonic.
James goes on to describe what is truly of the Lord;
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
When prideful flesh is at work it glories in itself.
Making Careful Examinations
The way Paul taught believers is to check things was by use of the Scriptures. According to ‘what is written’ is always to be the testing ground for teachings, experiences, and prophecies.
Listen to Paul’s instruction on teachers:
“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1Co 4:5-6)
Again, did you catch it? We are never to exceed, ‘what is written’. If the teaching is truly of the Lord, it will always line up with the Word of God.
We must always check teachings to make certain they are in agreement with the true gospel message. This is where caution is important. It is easy to prove many things in the Scriptures, but are these things in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan does his work through half-truths.
Then we are to look at things that are said to be spiritual operations. Demonic spirits bring a false anointing. These spirits love to prophesy. They love to give information about people. They love to be the center of attention.
Learn Spiritual Balance
The balance comes where God’s people are told to keep a pilgrim attitude about life. We are to hold tightly to Jesus, and loosely to the world. There is a prosperity message making its rounds today that is very much earthly centered. Where is the balance?
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
True Biblical prosperity has a spiritual base. It is an outflow of a proper relationship with the Lord. This proper relationship has a heart attitude in the word ‘humility’. We are to live with humble hearts before the Lord, never striving after things of the world.
The Lord Himself said that if we will seek first God’s kingdom, and His righteousness, then everything else will be provided for us.
What’s the message in all this? It is simple. As a believer you must learn to trust your own spiritual intuition and never ever hearken to the voice of a stranger. The Shepherd is the guardian of your soul. Trust in Jesus with all your heart.
Think about these things.
Here is a song for your meditation … ‘Lead Me to the Cross’
In Christ always,