Garry spoke this morning from 2 Pet 1:3-7, looking at how we are to add to our faith and goodness knowledge. Making God’s character our character is His aim for us and knowledge is needful. Sincerity in and of itself is not enough. There is a progression in our understanding; we do not yet have ‘full knowledge’. God is above and beyond our understanding, but we should be growing in grace and in a knowledge of Him.

Comparing ourselves to others is a mistake; we need to develop our own understanding and knowledge. Similarly, experience cannot simply be measured in years; we have to be growing in knowledge.

The kind of knowledge that needs to grow includes:

(1) our knowledge of God
Ex 5:1-2 shows us Pharaoh asking the question ‘Who is the Lord?’ We need to have a knowledge of who God is and be able to explain this to us. Knowing God is closely linked to salvation and God wants us to know Him personally (see Jer 31:34). We need to know what God’s ways are like and how He works.

(3) knowing what we believe

What we believe determines how we live; we must not live a life where we believe one thing but act in ways that are contrary to thatbelief. We are hypocrites if we don’t live what we believe and we need to know what we believe so that we can live out our faith.

(3) knowing why we believe

The word of God is our authority and we need to be of more noble character like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures to make sure that what Paul was teaching them had basis in the Word. If our lives cannot withstand crises, then we are just playing at faith. The Word of God is the arbiter in our lives, not emotion. We cannot rely on emotions alone, but need direction from the Word to show us why we believe what we believe.

(4) knowledge about others
Jesus said that we could know people by their fruit. He sent out His disciples to be ‘as sheep among wolves’ and urged them to be ‘shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves’ (Matt 10:16). We need to know what motivates people and to see beyond the surface actions, where sometimes smooth talkers can be deceitful and those who appear unfriendly or brittle may be hurting individuals in need of love and compassion.

(5) knowledge about the times and the seasons
God wants us to be spiritually aware and to know what is happening around us (see 1 Thess 5:1-6). We need to be salt and light accordingly in our environment, not being fooled by every wind of doctrine.

(6) knowing the truth

Jesus said that the truth sets us free (John 8:32). However difficult it may be for us to acquire knowledge of the truth, we should not avoid it but understand that the truth is the path to freedom.

(7) knowledge about ourselves
The heart is deceitful and wicked. We need to know our weaknesses (and refuse to put ourselves in situations where we are vulnerable) and our strengths (understanding that God has given gifts to each one of us.)

There are, however, areas where we should not pursue knowledge. Jesus clearly taught that we will never know the precise time of His second coming. It’s not wise to want to pry too much into how God will work in someone else’s life (see John 21:20-22). Our own futures may not be made clear to us. God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. Pursuing some knowledge (eg through mediums and clairvoyants) is clearly prohibited in Scripture (Lev 19:26,31). Moreover, we must acknowledge that however great our knowledge of God becomes, we will never totally fathom Him! Nonetheless, we should make every effort to add knowledge to the goodness and faith He has given us.