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1719. To Know God is to Love God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
February 29, 2024 6:00 pm

1719. To Know God is to Love God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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February 29, 2024 6:00 pm

Dr. Stephen Hankins concludes the Seminary Chapel series entitled “Loving God,” with a message from Jeremiah 9:23-24.

The post 1719. To Know God is to Love God appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're concluding a study series called Loving God.

Today's speaker is Dr. Stephen Hankins, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University. You know, when people know someone well, they're well acquainted with particularly a person of an influence, they will kind of jump at the opportunity to tell you about that. I remember a friend of mine that was on vacation down at Hilton Head once, and he just was walking along the beach.

And lo and behold, the President of the United States was walking up the beach. This was President Clinton, and he didn't become a personal friend of President Clinton's, but the very fact that he ran into him and Clinton stopped and talked to him was something he wanted to tell me about. That was quite an event for him, and he shared that with me. I had another friend whose uncle had the distinction of being the first Jewish Supreme Court justice. And since it was his uncle, when we were eating dinner together, that became a dominant part of the conversation because he was related to the first Jewish Supreme Court justice. And I listened attentively and thought that was an interesting fact. It was far more interesting to him than it was to me, but it was interesting nonetheless. People we know and people we love are people we're not ashamed to talk about.

I've spent a good bit of time over the last several months in and out. Some of you are aware of this. Thank you for praying, I think, last week in chapel about my dad. I know my father well. My dad's not a famous man. I don't think anybody in the room knows my father, but me, of course.

And in my eyes, by virtue of my knowledge of him and our relationship, he's a great man. When he was just a boy, he endured the difficulty of a family circumstance with an alcoholic father who later abandoned that alcohol. My grandfather was a wonderful man to me. But all of my dad's growing up years, he tolerated that and in some cases, very difficult circumstances and circumstances of real personal shame.

At age 17, my dad convinced my grandmother to let him enlist in the military service in the Coast Guard during the Second World War. And in his service out in the Atlantic, he got pneumonia at one point, almost died in his service, came back, went to college, married his sweetheart, my mother. And 67 years later, they're still married.

They're hanging in there. They're 90 years old and I'm fortunate to have both of them still here with me. My father all his life has been a careful, frugal, good man, gracious father to me, attentive to my concerns, supportive, incredibly of all that I've done throughout my life.

Well, you know what that does to you in your response to a person. For me to know my father is to love my father. It causes me to love him. Do you know your God? Your father?

And do you therefore love him? This is the greatest aim of ministry and the greatest achievement really of life. I'd like to take you to a passage in Jeremiah chapter 9, and it's two verses. Jeremiah was, in a sense, literally chronologically the last great prophet to Judah before their exile into Babylon. They were in trouble. They were tremendously distracted and evil in their national life, in their culture. Individually, people had turned from God. And actually, when you go to verse 17 all the way through verse 26 in this particular passage, this passage indicates for us the tremendous sin.

And at the risk of maybe underscoring this with bold underscoring and taking a little time, I want to read this in the interest of context. Verse 17, thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider ye and call for the mourning women that they may come and send for cunning women that they may come and let them make haste and take up a wailing for us that our eyes may run down with tears and our eyelids gush out with waters. For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion.

How are we spoiled? We are greatly confounded because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out. Yet hear the word of the Lord, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth. And teach your daughters wailing and every one his neighbor lamentation. For death has come up into our windows and is entered into our palaces to cut off the children from without and the young man from the streets. Speak, thus saith the Lord, even the carcasses of men shall fall as dung upon the open field. And as the handful after the harvest men and none shall gather them, thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. Neither let the mighty man in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches, but he that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For these things I delight, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised. Egypt and Judah and Edom and the children of Ammon and Moab and all that are in the utmost corners that dwell in the wilderness.

For all these nations are uncircumcised and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. 23 and 24, thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but he that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises loving kindness, judgment, righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, saith the Lord. And I'd like to turn your attention also please now to 1 Corinthians to get a full biblical context here and what I'm going to stress with you for a few moments this morning. To 1 Corinthians chapter 1, the end of the chapter, remarkable verses, verse 26, For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to not things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written, he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord. And this is quoting from Jeremiah chapter 9. And who we have in Jeremiah chapter 9 is the great I AM, the Lord Jesus Christ. And who we have in 1 Corinthians 1 is the great I AM, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is to be gloried in, to be known, and to be loved.

To know him is to love him. Now back to Jeremiah 9. I don't want to focus our attention in the remaining moments we have on this particular section in 23 and 24. So we see the powerful summation we have here. You know, sometimes men and women, there are sections in the Bible that are like an intense beam of light.

If you've driven, you know, around the front of the campus here recently, you see the crash, and there's this beam of light that's shooting up into the sky. And many passages in the Bible, the Word being the lamp and the light for us, are like that. They tend at times to condense and intensify and focus us concerning truth. And I think Jeremiah 9, 23 and 24, is one of those divinely created, intense beams of light about being proud of and boasting about finding our self-worth and our identity really as human beings and knowing God and therefore loving God above all else. And so there's this magnificent summation that happens, and it begins with a series of warnings about great distractions, the great distractions of human achievement.

I'd like you to look for just a moment at these. Keep in mind now, Judah's on the precipice of exile, terrible destruction. It's a sober context, and the Lord is coming and saying, Look, be careful about what you focus on as the most important thing in life from which you derive your sense of self-worth, these achievements. Think of Proverbs 29, 23, where Solomon said, A man's pride shall bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. What of Matthew 7, 23 that warns that out of the heart comes pride that defiles? And what are those achievements in which human beings typically, the major achievements that cause their hearts to be distracted and focused away from knowing God? Well, he begins with, Let not the wise glory in his wisdom. And this really is a reference to intellectual achievement.

Wisdom is the acquisition of knowledge and the skillful use of it. And Paul, not Paul but Jeremiah in this case, and Paul later in 1 Corinthians, warns about the draw of this for human beings in finding their self-identity, their worth in intellectual acquisition and achievement. You say, Well, Dr. Hankins, what is a seminary for?

What is a university for? This is what we're engaged in and what we do. Yes, but there is a serious warning in every age, in every culture. This has always been a great threat and distraction even for the people of God. And Israel and Judah were a great model for us individually as believers.

As 1 Corinthians 10 tells us that all that happened to Israel is intended for our example. They were distracted and proud and boasting over their intellectual attainments. They gained their sense of self-worth from the wrong thing.

But they were really brilliant. They'd really accumulated knowledge and understanding. And while we urge you and we encourage you and we commend you for the accumulation of knowledge that you're engaged in, this always has to be subordinated as a stewardship in life and kept in subjection to the great thing in which we should glory. There's also another distractor and a human achievement and it's generalized here.

Let not the mighty man glory in his might, the Scriptures say. And this really has the idea of ability, just capacity of an unusual nature in some way. It's moving away from strictly the intellectual attainment of knowledge and the idea of just being able to do things in a remarkable fashion.

You know, endurance in work and stability in it or sheer strength in performance, astounding coordination, athletically and ability to perform in a way no one else can or artistically or musically or communicatively. You know, I'm looking at men and women I know here who are amazingly gifted in many ways. You're called to the ministry, but I know many of you and you have other remarkable capacities and abilities. Well, isn't it natural and isn't it human for us to really take a certain sense of self-worth and identity and pride in those abilities, those capacities? We know we're all inclined to this and the Lord is graciously warning us about this, that this isn't the primary thing. We don't denigrate the giftedness that God has granted us.

We're thankful for it, but we're cautious about it, that it not exalt our spirit and it not distract us. Isn't it interesting in that 1 Corinthians 1, 26 and 27 passage that Paul wrote, God hath not chosen many mighty, a reference, an allusion to this passage. God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And I don't think it means that God has chosen the weak things necessarily in the sense that he doesn't choose people who have gifts and abilities because he clearly does do that. But for the person who is humble in spirit, who is low in his own estimation, who really does understand his human weakness in spite of whatever giftedness he may possess, that's the man, that's the woman who God looks to and God favors with his unusual grace.

Of all people be writing this in 1 Corinthians in that passage that alludes to this Jeremiah 9 passage, it was Paul. This is not exactly a man who lacked ability in many, many ways. And yet, here Paul, in the way he says, he glories in his infirmities, he glories in his weaknesses, he glories in his lack of strength.

What happened to that guy? He got a clear view and a clear understanding of what he really was as a human being. A weak earthen vessel, a man caring about in his body this nature of sin and this desperate need for help and strengthening. Well then he warns also, not only about being distracted away from and prideful about intellectual and physical ability or attainment, but about wealth, about riches. You're going to be ministering to people who have remarkable ability to accumulate to themselves wealth.

Many students here training in areas in medicine, science, engineering, other fields who are getting ready for that. And they're going to head out into American culture and life and even you can be seduced by the desire to accumulate to yourself wealth in other ways other directly than ministry activity and gain pride in that. Maybe you come from a wealthy family. Maybe you're going to be the inheritor of some great wealth and it's going to put you in a very unusual position in life. Again Jeremiah warns and Jesus warned in Luke 16 13 when he said no man can serve two masters.

He will love the one and hate the other. A man cannot serve God and wealth. Isn't it a great mercy of God? That in all the hundreds of commandments, hundreds of emphases in the Bible, the complexity of the scriptures in 66 volumes that we have this focusing of warnings about what in human thinking tends to elevate the human spirit, inflate it, and distract it from really pursuing the knowledge of God and the love of God as a result of that knowledge. Well then Jeremiah shifts gears and he says now I've warned you about what can inflate your spirit and distract you and about what you should not be proud. And then he turns our attention to the words of the Lord himself after these warnings. But let him that gloryeth, verse 24 in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises loving kindness judgment righteousness in the earth for in these things I delight Seth the Lord.

We're to find our worth in knowing God and therefore loving Him in a prioritized way. There's a lot to know about God, isn't there? There's more than a lifetime's worth of things to know about God. Again, the mercy of God, men and women.

Think about it, how merciful God is. God takes our small thinking, our small minds, he demonstrates himself in magnificent in a revelation that's incredibly complex, exposing us to a character and a person himself which in many ways is incomprehensible. And he says, let me help you with this.

Let me help you with this. Here is our great God condescending to our need, to our inabilities to comprehend, and our inabilities really even to properly prioritize, to keep things in order. And he says, I want to help you acquire this knowledge. And we have to ask ourselves the question, how do we acquire this knowledge? Well, we acquire it by exposure to this vast composite of revelation which God in his great mercy has given us to give us light. We acquire it by humble dependence upon the Holy Spirit of God who opens our eyes and gives us illumination, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 teaches us, that we may understand the riches that have been granted to us by God as he reveals those things to us through his Spirit, the deep things of God, 1 Corinthians 2 verse 9 teaches, and 10. And then by the accumulation of our own experience as it intersects with the revelation of God, the light comes on for us as we come to understand God and his ways more fully, as the Word becomes our bread daily, Matthew chapter 4, that we don't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. As we see, as Jesus said in John 663, the words that I give unto you, they are spirit and they are life. As the writer to the Hebrews taught in Hebrews 4-12, that the Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even the dividing asunder of the joints and the marrow and the soul and the spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of our hearts, we are open and naked before him with whom we have to do. He knows us and he's our high priest who understands our infirmities and says, come unto me, I'll give you grace, I'll give you mercy, I will give you light that you can know me, that you can understand me. What mercy, what grace from our God, that in our darkness, in our human infirmity, God says I will speak light into your soul and understanding of who I am and what is that knowledge he would have us focus on. What are those qualities that we're to focus on? Well, there are three major attributes that are presented here.

There it is, that simplicity, that magnificent organization for us. You want to understand me, you want to know. And isn't it interesting that there are two terms coupled together there in Hebrew about understanding and knowing?

And it's difficult to draw a great deal of distinction between those words. There's the sense of perception in that first term, understanding, the knowing may carry also the idea of experience, it's just I think a great emphasis, a comprehensiveness is really give yourself to this in every way possible to understand, to know as you contemplate, this is the understanding, and you think how and in all your experiences in life you seek to know the mind and heart of God and what about him should you want to know? What about him should you want to perceive? His loving kindness, his hesed, you've heard that taught about in your seminary classes. This is that loyal, merciful kindness. Use the word faithfulness if you want to here. As the Lord is compassionate, he has great pity and is constantly condescending, compassionately forgiving and cleansing, comforting, restoring. Now get this, again and again and again and again, he never gives up on you. Proverbs 24 one says, to the righteous man fall seven times and riseth up again.

Why? Because we have a God of hesed, that's why. And then we just need to understand God's judgment, nishpat, his justice, his ability to make just the right decision about what is good and evil and to commend the one and to hate the other, to elevate the one and judge the other. This is our God, a God who calls right right and who calls evil evil.

And we can trust him to be fair, to be fair. There is no evil which will go unrectified. There is evil now, the wrath of God is being revealed even now against all suppression of the truth. Romans chapter 1 verse 18.

There will be evil then at the great white throne as the small and the great stand before him that will be corrected, that will be rectified, that will be judged because he's a God of justice. And then there's his righteousness, his sense of what is always right ethically, morally, legally, and in relationship to him and his standards. We enjoy righteousness imputed to us.

We are justified by faith, Romans 5-1, and we can and do experience God's righteousness through sanctification as we trust in the working of the spirit of us and we conform to the laws of God, righteousness. And that is an ever increasing and abounding righteousness. These are communicable attributes of God. These are things that can be true of us and should be true of us. And men and women, the passage ends this way because it says we are to be those who demonstrate our knowledge of God for his glory.

We're to model. Would you notice in the verse it says, I am the Lord that exercises hesed, mishpat, tzedekah, these qualities of loving kindness, justice, and righteousness. And how is it that God does that, men and women?

Primarily, sometimes directly through circumstance, of course, but he does it through his people. He exercises these things through his people as they are conformed to his image. And we can find great joy and rejoicing as we exercise these qualities and he has pleasure and delight in us because we demonstrate these qualities in the earth. For in these things I delight, the Lord says. And I hear an echo of these words in Philippians 2 when Paul says, For it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Loving kindness and justice and righteousness showing God, magnifying God through our good works. Matthew 5 16 before other people. To know God is to love God and reach the greatest achievement in ministry as we demonstrate what it is of God we know and what it is of God that we love for his glory.

Not many wise, not many mighty, not many rich. God has chosen you. God has set you apart. God has said, You be my vessels through Christ who is your wisdom and your righteousness and your sanctification and your redemption and find your boasting in him and him alone as he works these qualities in you for God's glory. You've been listening to a message preached at Bob Jones University by seminary professor Dr. Stephen Hankins which was the final message in our series, Loving God. Join us again tomorrow for another chapel message on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-29 20:56:03 / 2024-02-29 21:05:12 / 9

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