How can a person KNOW whether or not what he/she does is approved by the Lord? Two things to help us in getting a better understanding. First, in the New Testament, if the Lord revealed His commands (and He did) that we are to obey, then those who obey His commands with the love of Jesus in one’s heart can know he/she is pleasing to the Lord. Second, when one applies the principles of holiness and righteousness to life, even though the Lord did not express precisely something on this point. That which you are considering, will it encourage you to miss meeting with the saints? Does it invite you to compromise the Lord’s righteous way? Does it reflect badly on the Lord’s name or some other name? How would you answer? RT
The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness (Proverbs 15:14, NKJV). Knowledge for its own sake is information that may or may not be beneficial to one’s life in this world. Knowledge that is godly directed toward the soul, however, can be nothing but beneficial. It is quite unfortunate that so many speak of a desire to learn more of (about) God, but fail in the practice of it. In fact, there are some who have identified themselves as Christians, read the Bible regularly (or irregularly), and still elevate their own knowledge above the Lord’s. These people feed on their own foolishness.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does not do so (Proverbs 15:7, NKJV). The word “disperse” is rendered “spread” in the English Standard Version, and it simply means that one who is wise is going to give wisdom to those who seek it. What kind of wisdom will it be? It could be very practical advice, but it is that advice that comes from God that is the best advice. At the outset of Solomon’s words of wisdom, he said this: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth (1:2-4). The fool, on the other hand, what wisdom does he (she) have? The wisdom of this world, and for whatever good may come of that, it is limited in scope and hope!
When Paul wrote his second letter to the church in Thessalonica, he wrote to them to express his encouragement because their faith and love was increasing toward one another (1:3); this was occurring during a time of affliction. He mentions their growing faith, their increasing love, and their steadfastness (RSV). Perhaps as we take note of this we might ask ourselves how the same might result in each of us as we read what Paul wrote. The word “faith” is directly connected to the Lord’s knowledge given to man (Romans 10:17). Since it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6), then it must be that when knowledge is given, (faith) increases, with understanding and application follow (2 Cor. 5:7). The key to this is our response to that which God gave. Is your “faith” lacking? Then consider what you “know” about that information that came from God. Thus, when Paul was thankful to God for their faith, he was thankful to God for their increasing knowledge level and their response to that knowledge.
The Scriptures teach in John 6:44-45 that for one to come to Jesus that one must be taught by the Father. Jesus explained what He meant when He said that through the writings of Scripture one is taught by the Father. Interestingly enough, but just a few words later, the Lord said this with regard to Judas, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who were the ones who did not believe, and who was the one who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Because of this I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father’” (John 6:64-65, EMTV).
Why did Judas betray the Lord? Because he did not allow himself to be taught by the Lord. Though the Lord gave him ample opportunity to learn and apply the words of life that He expected in others, Judas, simply put, was not interested; that is, he did not allow the Lord’s teaching to find a home in his heart, stopping him from his betrayal.
What does this tell us? It tells us many things. First, proximity is not a teacher. Can one get closer to God than Judas did for the amount of time that he was with Jesus, and not learn? What did Judas learn? No doubt, he learned much, but the goal of teaching is more than giving information, it is giving information whereby a person’s life is changed. Second, there should be little doubt that Judas gained much information from Jesus concerning things in life that were (and are) important. This academic knowledge not transferred into one’s heart application is knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and, in the end, of not much value. Third, to be taught by God is not a matter of hearing an audible voice from heaven, and neither is it some silent voice that one believes comes from within. To be taught of God means to read, learn, and apply what the Lord said (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The truth of God applied sets one free from the bondage of sin (John 8:31-22), and this is exactly what Judas would not allow himself to apply. Whereas God granted unto him “repentance unto life,” Judas heard and considered what God said and did not apply it (cf. Acts 13:27).