Monday, November 21, 2011

Godly Wisdom and Wordly Knowledge

Godly Wisdom and Worldly Knowledge

by Heinrich Balzer
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited,” (Romans 12:16).
Without a doubt , if you walk with Christ in a humble way, you will discover peace, no matter how it goes.  And if you have food and clothes, why worry?  Why complain?  This is all we need.

The pursuit of greater wealth would only be harmful to all believers, everywhere.  And more prestigious positions in the world, would do nothing but destroy them.

For this reason, Matthew wrote, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Everything we have that we do not need is a great problem, a hindrance to everlasting salvation.  Neither do any unnecessary possessions fit to the real simplicity of the Gospel or to those who have gone before us in humble faith.

Once we get involved and interested in the world, the more things you have, the more you will need.  This is a faithful observation: The more you think about the world, the more you will love the world, and the world will love you.  Worldly knowledge will make sense to you then.  It will attract you, and finally the love of the world will drag you away from God. 

We need to stay vigilant and careful so that our young people, the tender plants in our community, will not get confused and forget the foundations of true faith.

In the light of this, it is indeed most necessary for us to teach our children in a thorough and effective way, in the light of Godly Wisdom.  Carefully, with diligence, we need to teach our children to read, to write, to sing, to grasp mathematics, and to understand everything that might be of advantage as they live as humble labourers in the country. 

All practical knowledge is useful and we may study it for the glory of God.  But what we call worldly knowledge, studying things we cannot know about for sure, all sorts of philosophies and complicated ideas, is a completely different matter.

“Knowledge puffs up,” according to 1 Corinthians 8:1, while to obtain worldly knowledge takes incredible energy, thought, resources and time.  Everything that causes us to lose the simplicity of Christ.

For this reason I beg all of you — every one of you who belong to the church-community of Christdo not waste your lives to obtain knowledge that will all blow away when you die. 

Do not waste all of your time for supposed benefits that do not last, and certainly do not throw your precious sons and daughters into that quagmire, from which it would be extremely difficult to escape and be saved. 

My council is, keep your children in practical simple pursuits.  Do not mess up their brains with all kinds of senseless and unnecessary information.  Much worthless knowledge that does nothing other but confuse, corrupt, and eventually destroy all spiritual life.  So much damage and loss, so much trouble and fear, and finally everlasting destruction (1 Corinthians 1: 29-27).
Why should you want a prestigious degree for your children?  Would it do them any good, as far as the Church community is concerned, or as far as eternal life?  Much rather, train up your children in real Christian sincerity.  Pay attention to your children. Spend time with them, work with them from their earliest years, as much as possible, so that they are not woven into all sorts of amusements and unwholesome activities among the unconverted.

Many pleasures, things that take place after dark, in weddings and the like, easily lead the young into the disorder and tragedy of the world.  Sadly not only young people have gotten involved in this.  Yet all of what we believe and what we confess comes from another source. 

Innocent pleasures, if the Lord is not in them, quickly slide into all sorts of problems and sin, leading the innocent captive.  But when we will stand before God we will need to give account for everything we did.     

Without hesitation, many Christians in our day support their country through military service, using the oath, suing others if necessary, and taking on political offices.  They think it all fits together with the Gospel.  They write beautiful Christian things.  They talk much about revival, missions and getting born again.  But if you choose to fellowship with them, if you become one with them in heart, you'd better watch out!

If you love these people and become inwardly bound in friendship, many strange things will happen.  Before you catch on what is happening, you will do one thing after the next to please those around you, while becoming more and more like them in the world.

At the same time, without catching on what is happening, you will begin to look down and criticise the brothers and sisters in the Church who hold fast to the early way.  Gradually, step by step, you will becomes just like the rest, while all sorts of new ways of living become acceptable.  What used to be wrong becomes a part of their lives, while personal convictions get weak and worldly knowledge takes charge.

Sure, very large multitudes continue to profess Christianity.  But they all stand together under the enormous umbrella of popular faith, everyone believing in Christ and wanting to be saved.  Not only saved now, but sure of eternal life, no matter what happens.  What a great promise and security!  Everyone living by faith alone.  But do you have any idea of what God thinks about it?

The devil is not at all worried about this kind of faith.  Sure, he is happy if even the whole wide world decides to profess Christ, just as long as the people continue to walk and live in selfish worldly ungodly ways.

A true Christian never separates real faith and works.  No matter how strongly and firmly he has set his salvation on Christ, he always recognises the danger of error.  Every believer, in a careless moment, could easily and tragically fall from grace.  And for this reason, day after day, we need to look to Christ, struggling further and higher, up the steep road of obedience, following the teaching the master left us.

Without thiswithout obedience and humilityour faith is worthless.  Nothing but an empty shell. 

Let no one get tricked or deceived, thinking, “If everyone else is allowed to do it, I may do it too!” Paul said, “What does not come from faith, is sin” (Romans 14:23).
Yes, we need to allow all people everywhere, to live according to their convictions.  Every person stands and falls before God, on his own.  Along with this, we are responsible to God for what we know and believeeverything we have confessed on bended knees.

No matter what anyone else does, we are totally responsible to God.  It is our duty to obey God according to what he gave us, and this is the obligation of our conscience: Faithful to God, faithful to all that we learn and follow in life as long as we live.  Let everyone take heed!

We believe that salvation and eternal blessedness only comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  But judgement, at the end, does not come from grace.  It will come entirely from what we Christian believers have done, or not done, while living here on earth.  The things we do are directly connected with what will finally save or condemn us.

Here is wisdom, and I hope you take it seriously: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike.  Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind,” (Romans 14:5).
It is nothing but hypocrisy if I publicly confess what I believe, but act and speak contrarily in private.  Neither does it stack up if I declare what is right but support what is wrong.  If I act like this, what do you expect?  Nothing will come of this but more confusion, more doubts among the weak, and finally the shipwreck of faith.

One way this can happen is through reading.  Reading books, reading papers, reading all sorts of exciting, colourful and very attractively presented stories.  Do not think this only affects the unconverted.   Any one of us, all of us who know how to read and enjoy it, stand in some danger.  You must know what I mean.

Many stories and books that show up, may be in fact based on true happenings.  But the more captivating it comes, the more subtle and powerfully destructive its influence may be. Unless the authors are really Spiritually in-tune with God, their slant is almost invariably into what is wrong, into the world, and away from eternal Truth.

Especially in our adolescent years, all sorts of literature easily sways our impressions and convictions.  All sorts of accounts and ideas easily twist our simplicity into corruption.  And all of this comes from weaving truth into cleverly twisted impressions in our minds. 

Through reading the newspapers, hearing what the world says, everything gets distorted.  Truth and lies all get entangled until all undiscerning readers get snared, needing more and more false information to satisfy their growing appetite for what God hates.  I sincerely warn all of you.  Watch out!

Worldly knowledge is struggling fiercely for an overall victory.  And the enemy will not rest until the last spark of Christ-like simplicity is extinguished, or at least made totally incapable and worthless.  All of this will become apparent when the wicked one will come, revealed at the end of time. 

The teachers and leaders of the Church stand responsible to keep everything firm and upright, steering the Church like a ship through stormy waters.  In this time, in these situations, it is most desperately necessary that the leaders of the Church direct everything in the right way, in love.

Everyone working one with another, with the leaders and all the members, in unity and respect.  Yes, there will be different opinions.  We all have ideas on how to work things out, within the boundaries of Scriptural Truth.  But everything is possible, everything can be done in the peace of Christ, if we love one another.  

The Grace of God is well capable of awakening and warning the Church, providing the members take heed.  One believer notices this, the other one notices that.  Together, they can help one another to stay on track.

Up on the high wall, one watchman may see danger coming and blows the trumpet.  Down in his house, praying in his closet, listing to God, another one will catch on what is happening.  With both of them working together they may stay alert and awake, so above all, watch out that you do not fall into a lack of love looking down on another, not appreciating one another in the Spirit of Christ.

True love produces unity.  Unity produces strength.  Spiritual strength keeps us from falling into disaster.

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3.13 to 18).

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