45:  To Know or Not Know, that is the Question

45: To Know or Not Know, that is the Question

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Key Word for the Higher Christian Life: ginṓskō

When it comes to the Higher Christian Life, one of the most important words in Scripture is ginṓskō.  In fact, I’m not sure we could overstate that fact.  The difference between the lukewarm life with Christ, which He has much to say about in Revelation 3:16-17 and has plagued the church for centuries, and the Higher Christian Life we are striving for, is found not in academic head knowledge, but in firsthand experience with God and His Word.  In other words, it is one thing to know something mentally, and quite another to know something by experience.  One is transitory and untested and can change over time, and the other is what the foundations of life are built upon.  Let me explain.

In Scripture, there are several Greek words that are translated, know, or knowing.  Primarily, in regards to the Higher Christian Life, we need only concern ourselves with two, ginṓskō and eidō.  When it comes to knowing something or acquiring knowledge about someone, we tend to fall into one of two broad categories:  head-knowledge or first-hand experience.  And if you are honest with yourself, experience always trumps what we believe in our head.  Plus, in regards to the Higher Christian Life, God wants us to not just know Him in a mental, doctrinal, sterile, academic way, but wants His children to experience Him in the very core of their being.  Because it is in the arena of experience that faith in Him and His Word grows exponentially.   For example, what kind of knowledge do you think Paul is referring to in the following passage?

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know (ginṓskō) Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead – Philippians 3:8-11.

Do you see the faith experiences being described in this passage?  Paul is not talking about academic, mental knowledge, but the knowledge that only comes from a shared experience, or knowledge that is birthed in the fire of adversity.  Look at what he says, I have “suffered the loss of all things”— which is an experience.  Or, that I may “know (ginṓskō) Him and the power of His resurrection”— which is definitely an experience.  Or, the “fellowship of His suffering”— nothing mental or academic about experiencing sufferings.  Or, “being conformed to His death”— again, an experience and not mental assent, that “I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”— which is another big-time experience.  Do you see the point?

Maybe it would help if I defined our two Greek words, ginṓskō and eidō.  First, ginṓskō means “to know in a full or completed sense, to know by experience, to know fully.”   But it is also used in Scripture as a euphemism for an intimate, sexual relationship between a man and a woman, whereas Joseph did not “know” (ginṓskō) Mary until “she had brought forth her firstborn Son” (Matt. 1:25).  Also, it conveys the idea of “love, approval, favor, with goodwill and care for the object of His knowledge.”  We see this revealed many times in Scripture.  For example, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know (ginṓskō) My sheep, and am known (ginṓskō) by My own.  As the Father knows (ginṓskō) Me, even so I know (ginṓskō) the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).  Here, Jesus is expressing a knowledge of His sheep and His Father that is based on love, care, and a deep, first-hand experience with both.

And this is the type of knowledge (ginṓskō), based on truth and an experience that confirms that truth, the Lord wants us to have with Him and His Word.  Why?  Because faith must be tested to become real and genuine in our lives.  Need proof?  Go and do a quick overview of the heroes of faith found in Hebrews 11.  Every one of them became a faith hero when they experienced something that confirmed their faith.  Every one of them had a seismic shift from mental belief to firm conviction based on an experience, the trusting and testing of their faith, the proving without a doubt that it was true.  And it is to be the same with us today, especially if we desire a deep intimacy with the Lord and embrace the Higher Christian Life.


The Importance of ginṓskō

Let me leave you with just a few verses that show the importance of knowing the fidelity of Him and His Word by experience (ginṓskō) in Scripture.  Consider the following.

Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.  And by this we know (ginṓskō) that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us – 1 John 3:24.

Do I know Christ abides in me by mental assumption or by a doctrinal position I accept?  Or do I know it by the experience I have had with the Holy Spirit who now lives in me?  Exactly.

You shall know (ginṓskō) the truth and the truth shall make you free – John 8:32.

Will I be made free by mentally agreeing with a statement about the truth, or do I become free when I experience the liberating power of the truth found in Christ?  You know the answer.  It’s quite obvious, isn’t it?

The Higher Christian Life grows when we have a first-hand, personal, upfront, life-changing encounter with the Lord.  When we come to believe, not just doctrinal facts about the Holy Spirit, but truly believe Him and His Word by the experience we have shared in the turmoils of life, then our faith is elevated to a personal level, a spiritual high, a mountaintop experience, that can never be shaken.  Never.  And this is the type of knowledge the Lord wants us to have with Him.  A faith that has been tested by fire, yet remains stronger still.

We will develop this a bit more in our next time together.

One last thing, the definition of the other Greek word, eidō, is the same as our common understanding of the English word for know.  It means just the opposite of ginṓskō.  It is not knowledge by experience, but eidō means “to see, to perceive by the senses, to be made aware of, to comprehend,” and it is often translated as see, look, or behold.  For example,

Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know (eidō – are You not aware) that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” – Matthew 15:12.

I hope you will continue to strive for the higher life in Christ, which is yours for the embracing.  It is your birthright as a child of God.  So embrace it with all you have.  And do it today.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


44:  The Higher Christian Life is Found in Small Words

44: The Higher Christian Life is Found in Small Words

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


The Importance of Small Words

Our faith, unfortunately, is often based on head-knowledge or mental assent and only becomes real to us when it is experienced, firsthand, in the midst of a tough time or by a trial by fire.  And the Higher Christian Life is not a life of intellectual assurance only, but of faith based on our experience with the Holy Spirit who now lives in us.  After all, unless our faith is tested by trials and tribulations and we experience its truth, it doesn’t become real to us and remains academic in nature.  This is what James was trying to tell us early in his letter.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (why) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.

But note what James is really saying:

My brethren, count (reckon, consider, live like it was true) it all joy when you fall (to fall into the midst of something as to be totally surrounded by it) into various trials (temptations, putting to the test), (why) knowing (ginṓskō) that the testing of your faith produces (to finish, accomplish, to bring to the desired end) patience (to persevere, to remain under, to endure). But let (or don’t quit or give up early in the process) patience have its perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) work, that you may be perfect (complete, full, wanting in nothing) and complete (whole, having all its parts), lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.

As we strive to grow in our faith in God’s Word and His promises, two Greek words will present themselves before us that are both translated, know or knowing.   The first is ginṓskō (which is used above) and the other is eidō.  One of them means to know something by experience and the other means to know like we pretty much know most things today, by intellectual assent.  And the difference between these two types of knowledge is the key that unlocks the door to the Higher Christian Life, especially regarding your faith in God’s promises.

Today we will simply introduce these two words and show how important the small words in Scripture are to embracing the Higher Christian Life.  And we’ll do this by exploring John 21 together.

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


43:  The Lord’s Supper and the Higher Christian Life

43: The Lord’s Supper and the Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Jesus First Became a Bondservant…

There are many questions Christians have about the Lord’s Supper, and not all of them revolve around the nature of the substance of the bread and wine.  There is the question about timing, how often are we to celebrate it?  And then questions about meaning, is it symbolic, or does it truly transfer some tangible grace to those who partake?

But the biggest question, for me, is in regards to its significance.  After all, there is a judgment attached to the Lord’s Supper.  The Scriptures teach those who partake of it in an “unworthy manner” will bring judgment upon themselves, even to the point of sickness and death.  That’s right.  Read it yourself in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.

That seems a bit heavy-handed to me.  Does it to you?

That is until I began to see a deeper meaning in the Lord’s Supper, something right below the surface.  For years, when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, we focused on “this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), referring almost exclusively to the physical suffering and death of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  And that is true.  But there may be more we have been missing.

And when Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20), again, we usually interpret that to only mean the physical shedding of His blood as His sacrifice for our sins.  And that is also true.  But there could be more to this than meets the eye.

Since we tend to think linearly, we often jump from the Upper Room, with the bread and wine, to the cross, with His broken body and shed blood, and assume we have the point of the Lord’s Supper all wrapped up in a neat package.  But what we miss is what happened between these two, the turmoil in the garden, where Jesus had to determine for Himself if He would fulfill His commitment to His Father that He made long before He came as a Babe in Bethlehem.

Never forget, between the upper room and the cross, was the garden.  And it may be that what happened in the garden is what the Lord wants us to remember every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Let’s look at the commitment Jesus made to His Father.


And Then He Came in the Likeness of Men

In Philippians 2, we have a scene before us that reveals the Lord Jesus making Himself (His action) a “bondservant” (doúlos) of His Father and then, as a bondservant, a voluntary slave, becoming obedient to His Father “to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).  And in this passage, we see the depth of the relationship between the Father and His Son and the reason for the suffering of Jesus in the garden.  Consider the following:

Let this mind (phronéō – to think, to have the mindset) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being (to be or exist in a state or condition) in the form (morphḗ – shape, essence, replica, the expression of something that reflects or manifests fully and truly the essence of what something is) of God, did not consider (hēgéomai – view, regard, esteem, count, reckon) it robbery (taking something by force) to be equal (ísos – alike in quantity, quality, dignity) with God, but (His action) made Himself of no reputation (kenóō – to make empty or void, of no value), (to what degree) taking the form (morphḗ – shape, essence, replica, the expression of something that reflects or manifests fully and truly the essence of what something is) of a bondservant (doúlos – a slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other), and coming in the likeness (homoíōma – similitude, resemblance) of men.

And being found (or recognized) in appearance (schḗma – form, external appearance, mode) as a man, He (Christ’s actions) humbled Himself (tapeinóō – to bring low, to abase, to render oneself to a low condition) and became obedient (hupḗkoo –to submit to) to the point of death, even the death of the cross – Philippians 2:5-8.

Note the order:  First, Jesus voluntarily became a “bondservant” to His Father (not to any man), and then came in the “likeness of men.”   What does this order imply?

Simply this, there may be more to the Lord’s Supper than we have previously recognized.  And the meaning may be more than just remembering the physical suffering and death of our Lord on the cross.  It may also point to our need to reconfirm the promise we made to the Father when we first came to faith in Him— the promise of ourselves and our total surrender and commitment to Him.  Do you remember?

There is much to see in this passage.  So join us as we rediscover the wonder of the Lord’s Supper as we embrace the Higher Christian Life.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE.
The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


42:  To Reckon or Not Reckon, that is the Question

42: To Reckon or Not Reckon, that is the Question

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


The Cross Not Only Paid For Your Sins…

We have been looking at the three key truths that will allow you to experience the surrender that leads to the Higher Christian Life.  Let’s take a moment for a quick review.

Truth One – You are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh (your sinful nature) no matter how hard you try.  It cannot be done, has never been done, will never be done, by anybody, ever.  And you can find the foundation of Truth One in Romans 7:15-25, especially verse 18.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find – Romans 7:18.

So Truth One states you can’t, no matter how hard you try.  But Truth Two reveals He can, beyond all you can imagine.  Truth Two reminds us that God has given you the Holy Spirit to live in you.  And one of His purposes for His Spirit dwelling in you is to work in you “both to will and to do (why) for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  In other words, the Holy Spirit now living in you is able to do in you “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  And, by the way, the power that works “in us” is none other than the Holy Spirit.  (Note:  Did you notice how many times the phrase “in you” was used in this paragraph?  It is not something to gloss over lightly).

This brings us to Truth Three.   But first, a bit of warning.  Truth three is not something to be believed only, but to be experienced, just like the Higher Christian Life.  For without experiencing this truth, firsthand, you will not gain the wonderful benefit of it nor the changed life that comes with it.  Finally, all the benefits of Truth Three are contingent on faith.  And it is in your faith the enemy will attack.  Maybe even today.  So be forewarned.

Let’s look at Truth Three.


You Are Also to “Reckon” Yourself Dead to Sin

Truth Three states that when Christ was crucified, He took with Him to the cross not only your sins, but also your sinful nature (the “old man”).  Let that truth sink in for a moment.

Remember, your “old man” refers to your unregenerate human spirit consisting of the Adamic life prior to salvation.  And the “new man” refers to the regenerate human spirit, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Basically, the “old man” is all that you were before salvation, and the “new man” is all that you have become after salvation.  You can find these terms used in Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22 and 24, and Colossians 3:9-10, among other places.  It should be a familiar concept to you.  But one not usually carried to its logical conclusion.

Watch how this plays out so clearly in Romans 6.  First, the foundation:

For if (since, because) we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be (united together) in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that (what) our old man was crucified with Him, (why) that the body of sin might be done away with, (why) that we should no longer be slaves of sin – Romans 6:5-6.

Next, the logical progression based on the foundation:

For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if (since, because) we died (how) with Christ, we believe (our choice, see below) that we shall also live (how) with Him, (how) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. (why) Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died (past tense), He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives (present tense), He lives to God – Romans 6:7-10.

And finally, the conclusion about our old man and his death on the cross.  But remember, this truth only becomes real to you by experience.  Or, as Romans says, when you “reckon yourself” to this truth.

Likewise (in the same manner) you (personal) also (like others who have experienced what you now seek), reckon (to impute, consider, count, reason, think, to be of the conviction) yourselves (personal) to be (present tense, currently, at this very moment, right now) dead indeed (truly, on the one hand) to sin, but (on the other hand) alive to God (how) in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:11.

Note the obvious, if you “reckon yourself” to this truth, its power becomes real to you.  But if by doubt or disbelief you refuse to believe what the Scriptures say about you and your old nature, you will still struggle with failure because, per Truth One, “you are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh (your sinful nature) no matter how hard you try.”  The choice of either being an overcomer or one who lives in constant defeat is based on the content of your faith.  You will either “reckon yourself” to be what the Scriptures say you are, or you will choose to take your eyes off Jesus and focus on the waves and sink like Peter (Matt. 14:30).

The choice is always yours.  Always.

The following is the sermon that goes into much greater detail about Truth Three than I can present in a short blog post.  I know it is much longer than the usual podcasts, but I would encourage you to listen and let your mind embrace the possibilities of Truth Three.  And remember, Satan cannot attack the truth.  He cannot make Truth Three not be true.  But he can, and he will attack your faith and belief in Truth Three.  And if he succeeds, the power found in Truth Three will be lost to you, and you will languish in defeat with your life of holiness and most likely fail to experience all of the Higher Christian Life.  Or, if you simply trust Him and “reckon” (to impute, consider, count, reason, think, to be of the conviction) yourself to be what the Scriptures say, then watch out, for the best is yet to come.

So choose wisely.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE
The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


41:  Holy Men Spoke as They Were Moved by the Spirit

41: Holy Men Spoke as They Were Moved by the Spirit

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


We Need Holy Men of God to be Moved by the Spirit

When we begin to seek God’s wisdom through a deep study of His Word, it is good to remind ourselves of exactly what we are doing and how the Bible is unique from all other literature.  It is more than the words of man, it is the very words of God.  I know, for the skeptics, that statement seems presumptuous, maybe even arrogant.  But it is nonetheless, true.

Let’s look at just two truths about the Scriptures that will begin to reveal to you the depth and character of His Word and the blessings that come from studying and applying it authoritatively to our lives.  First, the nature of His Word.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

This statement about Scripture seems clear enough.  But as you dig a bit deeper into the meaning of these words, you will find a treasure of truth hidden just beneath the surface.  Let’s begin by defining a few Greek words.

All (pás – each, every, any, the whole, in totality without exception) Scripture is given by inspiration of God (theópneustos – to breathe or blow, to be divinely inspired), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Note, “all” (pás) means every bit of Scripture, from the list of names in Numbers to the judgments found in the Revelation.  But at the time this was written, all primarily referred to the Old Testament.

Note also, the word translated “inspiration of God” (theópneustos) only occurs in this passage and gives the idea of God breathing His Word into human men who were moved or inspired to record what God said.  It (theópneustos) is a compound word combining “God” and “to breathe.”  That is why some translators use “God-breathed” (NIV) or “breathed out” (ESV).  But in the end, the message is clear.  All Scripture (the Old Testament in this passage and the New Testament in 1 Cor. 2:9-16) is breathed by God and divinely inspired according to His will.  And, as such, it is flawless, perfect, infallible, unchangeable, true, and of immeasurable value, because it reflects the nature of its Author.  It is the Word of God.

All Scripture, “is given” to us, as a gift from God, “by” or through the “inspiration of God.”  Not the inspiration of man, but of God.  But some may ask how this process takes place?  What differentiates this inspiration from God from the inspiration Beethoven experienced, for example, when he composed his inspired symphonies?


What Does it Mean to be “Moved” by God?

Let’s see what Peter has to say about this important question.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is (gínomai – to begin to be, comes into being or existence, originates, happens) of any private interpretation (or, it doesn’t originate in the mind of man), for prophecy never came by the will of man (or, it doesn’t originate in the volition of man), but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (phérō – to bring or carry along, to be continually carried) by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:20-21.

Look at the word, moved.  In Acts, this word is used to describe how the wind blows a ship across the water from one place to another (Acts 27:15, 17).  The imagery should not be lost on us.  Peter is describing how the Holy Spirit fills the sails of men with the breath of His Word and gives them divine inspiration and revelation to record what He wanted them to write down.  Sometimes God “breathed” His words into human writers in much the same way dictation is taken down.  For example, to Jeremiah God said, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9).  But we will look more into this at a later time.

Remember, the only One who knows the mind of God is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26).  Therefore, only the Holy Spirit could have inspired the Scriptures.  As the verse says, “but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by (who) the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).  The Scriptures did not come from the inspiration or the mind of gifted, even spiritual, men.  No, the inspiration came from the Holy Spirit and was given to “holy men” who were moved or continually carried along as they wrote what was given to them to write.

This is the value of the Scriptures we hold in our hands.  But there is more.  There is a great benefit that comes to us by a study of God’s inspired Word.

And is profitable (ōphélimos – advantageous, helpful, useful, beneficial) for (1) doctrine, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, for (4) instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:17.

Note the four-fold blessings:  Doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.  This is the path of sanctification, of living the Higher Christian Life.  But there is one last blessing we want to uncover in this verse, and it is found in the word, complete.  One of the goals of Scripture is that the “man of God may be complete, (how) thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The word translated “complete” (ártios) means “qualified, proficient, fitted, capable, furnished or equipped with every necessary component for a task or purpose.”  Let that sink in for a moment.  God has supplied all we need to be all He wants us to be, right in His Word.  The key to experiencing intimacy with Him, to becoming His light among the darkness, to understanding the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:6), to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29), to realizing we are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10)— everything imaginable, is found in His Word.  And it is given to us as a great blessing.  One that only needs to be read to be received.

So let’s begin this journey together, shall we?  Let’s look into God’s Word and see what of His wisdom we can claim for ourselves, what we can learn from Him as dearly beloved children, and how our faith in Him might grow as we see the day of His return approaching (Heb. 10:25).

The Higher Christian Life

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most