Paul taught the churches the principles of proper fellowship. It must have the quality that comes with wisdom and discernment in righteousness. It also must be tough and ready to correct those who are wrong. The Corinthians were sentimental toward a fornicating brother and Paul instructed them to not company with him or other believers living like him. The salt of our convictions is the flavor of real, true love in the Spirit of Christ. (Philippians 1:8-11; 1 Corinthians 5:5-9)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Eugene Davis
11:00 AM on 12/1/2019
P. Schaller –
The rain, the storms, the trials of this life are his mercies in disguise. Good line, isn’t it? The rain, the
storms, the trials of this life are his mercies in disguise. Wow. The knowledge of God, that’s our
subject today. The knowledge of God. Dennis Shean is here. I wonder how many people know
you. In Lenox how many years? How many know Dennis Shean? There’s one hand. Two, three,
four, five, six. There he is. Good too have you.
Many years ago. Thanks for coming and being with us. The knowledge of God. What a good subject. Philippians 1. This morning we used Colossians1. There is a verse here that is better for us to use, Philippians 1. P. Scibelli shared in the communion this morning this Acts. 2 verse which was also in my mind through the long weekend. Acts 2:38. People in Jerusalem realizing they had crucified Christ and that now the disciples are saying,
Peter is preaching that he’s been raised from the dead. Vs. 39. This is what has happened to us.
We have been saved by his grace. Vs. 40.
Untoward generation or vile or filthy, unclean generation. Save yourself from the culture you are in the midst of. That was in Israel. We have ours today. To be saved from this influence of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot is a good example.
When he lifted up his eyes, he saw that part of the country was well watered and it was like the
Eden of God. He went there and found out in time it wasn’t what it was all cranked up to be.
Has that ever happened to you? Lot went there and found he is under the influence of Sodom
and Gomorrah. The Bible says he was a righteous man, but he was disturbed, vexed day and
night by that which contradicted what was in him.
What was in him was Christ. He was a righteous man. But he didn’t have the authority. He didn’t have the message. He didn’t have the influence to effect Sodom and Gomorrah. But Sodom and Gomorrah affected him, vexed
him, troubled him. We feel it to with our families. We feel it with our friends. We see it with our
neighbors. We see it everywhere. Politics. Everywhere. You see it in entertainment industry.
You see it in money, in contracts, at the university, high schools. You see it everywhere there is
a culture that is without God.
We want to speak this morning about the knowledge of God. It’s going to be good. We want to say something about knowing God. What a great subject. If we know God, if we can know God and if we are influenced by God in our hearts and minds, this will save us from the influence of this generation. We will be different. We will be different. We
will. There will be something different about us. That’s good. It’s good to be different. It is. For
the right reason. It’s a good thing. Some people say I don’t want to be different. Moo, moo. I
can get the Hungarians to laugh (He’s speaking in Hungarian). It’s the cattle trail. This is all the
cows are going. Herd instinct. Philippians 1.
First let me make another subpoint here. I have something to read from Martin Luther about the craziness of the human heart. He said, “he that is now a prince, wants to be a king or an emperor. A man in love with a girl is ever casting about how he may come to marry her and in his eyes, there is none fairer than she. When he
has got her, he is soon tired of her and thinks another more fair whom he easily might have
had. The poor man thinks had I but twenty pounds I would be rich enough, but when he’s got
that he would have more.
The heart is inconsistent in all things.” In the world, the world is
always talking and moving buying and selling and our hearts are also changing a lot. When we
get what we want, we may not be satisfied because of our hearts. Jeremiah. 17 we read about that in
vs. 5-9. We see that Esau is a great example of a man in this world without the knowledge of God. Esau is a hunter. Which means he has skill. He’s a hunter.
He’s strong. Esau is intuitively smart. He’s a hunter. Very capable man. When he had a birthright his brother Jacob offered to buy it from him. Esau said I don’t need it. He sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil
soup. When we are in Azerbaijan, we always order lentil soup and talk about that story. I’ll give
this to you if! What a rip off but not if you don’t believe. If your birthright is not important, I’ll
take the soup. That’s the natural man. There is a lot of that and even in our Christianity we have
people without the knowledge of God. I’ll show you one example.
I Corhianans 15, the Corinthians doubted the resurrection of the dead, so Paul wrote the whole chapter on the resurrection of the dead. Vs. 34. Look at that. We don’t believe in the resurrection. Isn’t that strange a
Christian wouldn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead? The whole message of Christianity is
the resurrection of the dead, the resurrection of Christ. But they didn’t believe it, so he wrote
to them. As he gets into the subject, he’s already been in it all those verses prior and after. He
says some have not the knowledge of God.
I speak this to your shame. What does that mean? Shame on you if you don’t know God. Shame on you if you don’t have the knowledge of God. It’s a shame you would not know God personally. You are born of the Spirit and the Spirit cries out Abba, Father, but it doesn’t seem like you have the knowledge of God. You’re in Sodom and
Gomorrah and you live like those people. You are there with them and there isn’t much
difference between you and them when we talk with you or be with you. It doesn’t seem like
there is anything there in you, Lot. You don’t have the knowledge of God and I speak this to
your shame. In our message this morning, I’m going to hit a couple hot points and you might
have some reaction to it.
Like, I don’t know if I really believe that. Does the Bible really say that? I’m not sure about that. This happens actually. This is a good thing because we all in a way are like Esau, maybe strong and capable. God is not that important. He’s not a priority for me in Esau’s case. No evidence of believing in the covenant with his grandfather. His grandfather was Abraham. He married Canaanite women. That was a grief to his parents. Many other things can
be said about the profile of Esau. It’s an example to us of someone who lives here but there is
nothing really going on in a spiritual way in their understanding, in their worship, in their faith.
They don’t have it.
But they do have something, and this is where we will go now. Philippians. 1:8-11,
The subject in the Philippian epistle is about fellowship, quality fellowship. It’s in my heart that
we as a church would have fellowship, quality fellowship. Our ministry has a big responsibility.
We are in parts of the world. Churches are looking to the church in Baltimore as a home base.
Because we are training people to be discipled, we are praying that people will bring the
message. We are wanting to be a joyful church.
A church where God is speaking, where fellowship is a real thing. We had family time in our family on Thanksgiving Day and I’m so thankful for it because it’s not only our family but it’s also fellowship. We’re in the same church
and hearing the same things. We also have trials and learning and some of us have the
knowledge of God. I hope all but I don’t know. In a way it’s not my business because it’s hard to
know. I would like to have it myself like it says here in Philippians 1. Our church has hundreds of
affiliated – we have churches in Africa and India. Hundreds and hundreds of churches and we
have fellowship. An important word. What does it characterize. Joy. Fellowship of joy,
Wisdom.The Bible. I don’t learn just one page of the Bible my whole Christian life or two pages. Or I know three messages. I’d like the whole Bible to be talking to me all my life. That would take
wisdom. But God said ask of me and I’ll give you wisdom. It’s not a natural thing. It comes to
you from God. James 3 the wisdom from above. There is wisdom from below, Esau. And there’s
wisdom from above, Jacob. Wisdom from below, the Pharisees. And the wisdom from above,
Jesus Christ. There is an also love from below and that’s man.
Man has love from below. Natural loves. Loves his dog. Loves his country. Loves his girlfriend. Loves his wife. Loves his job. Loves coffee. Loves many things in life. He has love but is it sentimental? Is it a love without
God? When God loves, look at the cross. When God loves he deals with us in truth. That’s love.
Basically the cross is saying, all of you are wrong and I am right. But I will become wrong so you
could be right. I’ll become sin so you can become righteous. But before you ever become
righteous, you need to understand that you are wrong, and I am right. I am Christ. You are
sinners. You’re like Esau and I am the Son of God.
Let’s draw a diagram about this. You can follow it with me. I drew this yesterday in my office at home last night as I was thinking about the message, how to communicate it. This is like a high cliff with sharp drops on both sides. A
Christian is walking on this path of knowing God. Wow. He’s walking on the path of knowing
God, but he can fall off on either side. This is the side of love. He falls off on the side of love. I
love you. I love you. Thank you. Appreciate it. How much do you love me? Will you love me in
August? Will you love me in a good day, a bad day?
Can you love me unconditionally? Can you love me when I disappoint you? Can you love me when I’m guilty? Can you love me when I’m in prison and throw my name out, throw it under the bus and hate me? Can you love me? This is human love largely is sentimental. The other thing we fall off on is we can call it knowledge. But
it’s knowledge without God. It could be also law, Pharisees as an example of people that are
right. They have knowledge of the law. They are right. But it can be other kinds of knowledge.
I’m a scientist. I have a lot of knowledge. I’m a psychologist. I’m a pastor. I have a lot of
knowledge. Knowledge is awesome, but it doesn’t mean I know God.
If you talk to Esau, he could say I know how to hunt. We could say to Esau, but do you have the knowledge of God. I
don’t know what you’re talking about. My grandfather supposedly I heard, Abraham, he
believed that, but it’s not interesting to me. I could teach you something. You could teach me
something? Yes, I could teach you something. Okay, thank you. Php 1:8-11, unfortunately that
word “bowel’s trips us up and we don’t know what it means. It would be much better if we
would say the feeling, the compassion.
God is my witness how much I feel for you. Like I love you. I know you. Anselm is here. We love Anselm and his family. He’s in South Carolina. I love this word what Paul is saying. I love. I feel. I care about you. You are important to me like a father and his child in Psalm 103, 1 Thessalonians 2. Like a nurse and the patient, the baby, particularly the baby. The nursing mother or the nurse caring for the child. This is the idea. Like P. Scibelli loves
the folks in Africa that he knows so well. Like many of us know people in different places and
we have that in our hearts. Vs. 9. There it is.
Put those together. Your love may abound, really
increase and be multiplying. You love is growing. It’s growing more and more in knowledge. If
we put on our sketch here, knowing God is a combination of love and knowledge. Not them
separated. Let’s separate them. I have love but I’m not doctrinal. I love but love sentimentally. I
don’t have doctrine. I don’t have the mind of the word of God. It’s the word of God that gives us insight into God’s mind. He said your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not
my ways so I need you to learn this book so that your love would abound in knowledge. We can
say it the other way.
You have the knowledge of the Bible but not love. You could have
knowledge of the Bible like the Pharisees but not have love. Paul said my hope is your love will
abound in knowledge and in judgment. Now I’m going to give you a huge test on that and I
don’t know if you will survive it. This is where it comes to this. I think we made the point. I think
you got this. Let’s finish this text. Vs. 9. Do you know that you have to make judgments in life?
Do you know that? You have to make judgments. Don’t you? I mean do you have to make
judgments. You got to make judgments.
You have to have something in your heart and mind. You can’t be just going with the herd, conforming to the world. Everybody does so we do it. I’m just part of that. I wasn’t thinking. I don’t know why that happened to me. Sometimes I read these tragic stories. A guy very wealthy millionaire guy was in a bar in New Orleans at 2 in the
morning, 3 in the morning and he walked out of the bar and disappeared. He fell in the river
drunk. His life is over. His little four-year-old and 2-year-old and other kids that he had they
don’t see their dad anymore. He’s gone.
It was stupid. Stupid decision. It was stupid. Could you look at one another and say that sounds like something I could do. I don’t know if you want to do that. I see myself messing up my life many years ago, many ways, and God delivered me and saved me from those kinds of things. I’m not kidding you. You have to abound and grow in love
and a certain kind of love and knowledge and judgment. You have to make judgments about
things. It has to happen. This is the knowledge of God influencing you. You’re going to be
changed. It’s going to happen. You’re going to not agree with that. Here you are in Sodom and
Gomorrah and you walk home and say, that’s crazy.
That’s not my world. I don’t want to be different. Get used to it. If you want to know God, it’s going to make a difference. It’s going to be different. I’m going to be different. I don’t do that. It’s your business. I don’t do that. I’m not
doing that. Thank you very much. I’m not doing that. Or I don’t even want to talk about it. I you
want to know more about it, come and sit with me and I can talk to you. I’m not down your
throat but I am here as a presence saying I am different. By the way, in the 19 th century, the
United States had an alcohol problem.
That problem was all over Kentucky, Tennessee, mid- Atlantic states. No social security. Husbands were drunk in the streets. The town drunk. Kids were without a dad. The WMCA started 1860 or so for young men because their dads dropped off the radar. Abraham Lincoln, my favorite, did not drink and he did not smoke. It was very
popular at that tie. Robert E. Lee to the confederates that are present here with us! I’m joking.
Robert E. Lee did not drink, and he did not smoke. Stonewall Jackson another general did not
smoke or drink but he evangelized his troops and handed out tracts to his troops as a born-
again Christian. Fighting for the wrong thing.
I know that. I totally have issue with that. I agree. Slavery is horrible, abominable, wicked, evil institution. It was here for a couple hundred years, but it was dealt with and it’s over and gone. I want to say there have been men in society who have been different, and they benefited from it. They could say I don’t do that. I’m different. I
don’t need to talk about it. I don’t do it. I’m different. It’s a beautiful thing if it’s connected with
God and his mind and what’s in his heart and decision we make. The greatest thing we could do
is know this Book like this. Philippians 1:10. Say that with me. That you may approve the things that are excellent. Say it excellent. Is that Spanish or what?
Excellent. You may approve the things. Have you found anything in your life that you approve of that is excellent? Have you found it? What have we found that is excellent? Jesus. We’ve found Jesus. We found the walk of faith.
Excellent. The walk of faith. Getting up in the morning and coming on a dark, cold, morning like
this one and coming here. It is excellent. If you don’t think it’s excellent, it will grow on you. Just
keep coming and you’ll find friendships. In that way that is in the middle, the love is not
sentimental but it’s God’s love for you and it’s from the Spirit.
It is excellent. Quiet mornings in prayer or love or faith in simplicity is excellent. Learning to forgive other people is excellent. Learning to live by faith and have prayer. A mission. Having a mission in our heart to do
something good for people is excellent. The knowledge of God grows. It’s kind of like a big, solid
oak tree, 200 years old and how did it get there. How did it happen? It was a very small acorn
and it got buried in the ground by a squirrel. A squirrel forgot it and it became this massive
living thing. That’s like us. We grow in the knowledge of God. We make decisions. We’re not
perfect but we get up and keep going like Jacob.
I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect man but I have something going on in the back of my mind and my heart and that is to know God and pay a price for it and do the right thing. Believe him and trust him and go for it and believe him and
trust him. Do the right thing and keep on doing the right thing and keep on doing the right thing
and do it by faith in the knowledge of God. And the knowledge of God and the love of God
abounds in our hearts. We get really relaxed and really edified and real words of wisdom and
divine purpose and it’s going, it’s working like that.
We are filled with the fruits of righteousness. vs. 10-11. Good, uh? I’m saying I don’t think we could have a ministry like this with the kind of quality that is needed for us to have people on the field and churches in India
having as an example. I don’t think we could be supporting 130 staff members in varying
degrees, teachers, and pastors and administrators and workers in this church unless we have
people like you who said in their heart that I believe God for this thing that we are doing and
we are assembling and believing God to reach the world with the gospel.
I don’t think it could be happening if we are over on that side loving, but we are sentimental. I love you we say on
the phone. Okay, see you later. You don’t see them until six months later. Where did that
person go? They love me but do they? And the knowledge. We have a lot of knowledge but
where is the love. It couldn’t be happening. A great missionary church that has been produced
by God’s grace with a lot of the word, a lot of faith obedience, a lot of love abounding keeps our
life flowing and the flow keeps moving and God keeps working. Then there is some young guy
over here. He’s got the acorn planted in that soil.
He’s got something going on that God is doing and 42 years later he is standing up here behind the pulpit. I’m long gone but God raised up a young man. It was many years ago when the seed was planted. He was in a fellowship where it wasn’t sentimental, and it wasn’t just knowledge. But it was love and knowledge abounding in
us and there was some fellowship where righteousness was happening. Now comes a little test
for all of us. 1 Corinthians. 5 and we’ll finish with this. I wonder how many Christians could stomach
what I want to say right now to you?
How many Christians across our country could handle what I’m going to say now. The Corinthians were kind of messed up. They were on this side, 1 Corinthians 8:2, knowledge puffs up. On that side they were sentimental as we see in this story. This man was living with his father’s wife in fornication. Sexually active with his father’s wife. Not his mother but his father probably had another woman, his father’s wife. Such things the pagans
don’t even do Paul says in vs. 1. Even the pagans don’t but he’s in your fellowship. He’s a
brother and you don’t pay any attention to it. He’s part of the team. He’s part of the church.
There is no rebuke.
There is no evaluation of that. There is no sense that that’s wrong. The Corinthians another strike against them. They don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. They let this guy be in the fellowship. Paul is saying you are carnal, 1 Corinthians 3. How many believers, how many churches in the U.S. where we could let things go by the board because I don’t have the guts, the fire, the truth, the discernment to say anything about it or deal with it.
Paul is saying that’s wrong in this case. 1 Corinthians 5:7 another way of saying it is the guy’s got to be
removed. Vs. 5. Satan? Yeah, Satan. Satan? Yeah, Satan. You believe in Satan? I don’t know.
Satan. Knowledge. Do you know about Satan?
Do you know who he is? Do you know he’s the god of this world? Do you know what he’s doing in Sodom and Gomorrah? Did Sodom and Gomorrah come from Satan or is that from God? Is that lifestyle from Satan or is it from God? Could a Christian be delivered up to Satan for his body to be destroyed but his spirit saved in
the day of the Lord Jesus? The Scripture says so. That sounds too violent to me. That’s because
you are sentimental. That you love. You love everybody. I know, I do too. I’m the kind of guy
not looking for the conflict. I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t want to have a conflict. I’m the kind
of guy by nature, I’m very laid back.
You can tell that maybe but there are times there is something that I recognize cannot happen. I’m not part of that. I don’t want it. I learn to say no. Can’t happen. No. I don’t agree with that. That cannot happen. I do not believe in that. That is not of God. I might say it that way. That is not scriptural. That is not of God. This guy has to be
corrected if we love him. If we love him, he needs help. He’s my brother. Vs. 9. The guy is
sleeping around. You are at a university campus. Guys are sleeping around. Ladies are sleeping
around and I can’t company with them. Paul wrote this. Then I won’t have any friends. Vs. 10.
Don’t withdraw from them altogether because you’d have to leave the world.
That’ s how common it is. Wait a minute? Is this like Sodom and Gomorrah in Corinth? It is. How about in
our country? Sexual promiscuity is very popular. It’s in our world. What is Paul saying? You guys
are different. You have the knowledge of God. Not altogether withdraw from them the
fornicators or covetous or extortioners for then you must go out of the world if that was the
case. Vs. 11 Brother. There is the key. If he is a brother. If he is living like that and a brother.
He’s my brother. Then I can’t eat with him. He’s my brother. He’s a believer. Why wouldn’t I eat
with him? To shame him.
To say I don’t agree. It’s one way of saying I don’t agree. I think before I got to that point, I could have a talk with him and explain my conviction and tell him what I think. This is what Paul is counseling the church to do. If any man is called a brother and be a fornicator or covetous, idolatry or railer or drunkard or extortioner, with such a one not to eat. There is someone I know that is a gossip and I stay away from them. I don’t have any respect
for people that traffic in gossip. I don’t have any interest. They are not getting any information
from me and I’m not getting any information from them.
I don’t care what they know. I am the most dumb, blind pastor you will ever meet. I know nothing. I’m not interested. I don’t traffic in that stuff. I don’t talk about it. Anyone that knows me I am not a gossiper. I keep confidences best I can. I’m not perfect. I do a pretty good job at it. That’s the way I live, and I love it. I’ve
been doing this for 44 years as a pastor and I survived. Halleluiah! I got a way that I want to live
and in a big church there can be politics. I’m not intested in church politics. If there’s gossip,
you can keep it to yourself. I could care less.
You can come and talk to me in person, but you got to have all the evidences and sit the presence of the other person and bring the person with you please. If you are going to talk about them, bring them with you. I’m not listening to anybody say anything about anybody unless they are present. If you do do it because there is
an issue of importance, we’ll get that person on the phone right away the minute you mention
their name. We’ll say we’re talking about you right now. Get down here and we’ll have a talk if
that’s what they wanted. Those kinds of things.
Why are we saying this? It’s tough. That’s tough love. I can’t eat with you. You’re a brother. I can’t eat with you. Here’s the bombshell. You better put your seat belts on. Come on. Do we love these people? Do we love them? Were supposed to but not sentimentally. We are supposed to love them the way Jesus loves us with
an edge of truth and say I love you, but I have somewhat against you, Rev. 3. And put in that
word “homosexual” in that list. Or railer or a drunkard or extortioner or a Christian who is a
practicing homosexual – with such a one no not to eat. We are homophobic, right? We are evil,
negative, narrow minded, not in the times.
I just explained the whole thing. If I have knowledge without love, I’m a Pharisee. If I have love without truth, I’m sentimental. If I’m like Jesus and have the knowledge of God, then I have some conviction about these things. I’ll be able to say listen brother. I love you. I have to have a talk with you. He might say thank you, pastor. I’m in
trouble. I got this as a lifestyle. And all my life I’ve been wrestling with this thing. I need
someone to talk to me. We say I’m so happy to talk to you. We can have our talk. There you go.
That’s beautiful. We are not saying it to provoke people to anger. We are saying it because the
world will never say that to them.
This is Sodom and Gomorrah. They will never say it. They will heap on the whole message of what it is while they suffer and get diseases and hurt and have guilt and unfortunately maybe even pass into eternity without Christ. There it is. We’ll finish with that. We’ll say Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners. He’s a friend of these people
but not when they are believers and they live in that. He would be very quick to say to them in
a loving way. Oh ye of little faith? How long must I be with you? Don’t you know if you have the
faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this tree be plucked up and cast into the sea. He’s saying
I didn’t make you so your life could be wasted on your flesh.
I made you so you could know me and my Heavenly Father. I love you and if churches were and we’re all working on it and wanting this too, I believe if there is a blessing from God on our lives when we have not only
the Bible but the love and the Bible. We can do very awesome all of our lives with a blessing of
God. We say where did that blessing come from? It’s because you are following God. Not just in
your heart in an abstract way but in the truth of the Scripture where it hurts, where it costs you
something, where you have to disagree with Sodom and Gomorrah. You have to say I can’t. I’m
sorry. I’m walking to the beat of another drummer.
I got something else going on in my life that is very important to me and I’m honoring Jesus Christ with all my heart. God is going to help me and lead me and guide me. Maybe one day I will be the answer for your problem. The problem with Christianity can be that we are just like the world and the people that have trouble say they can’t help me. They are just like me. They are as messed up as I am. They’ve got the name
that they live but they are dead while they live. That cannot be. It must be we are unique. It
must be there is something else going on. It must be the presence of God is here in our hearts
and in our lives. This is a good message for the month of December. We are speaking about
fellowship this month. We’ll have a good time at it.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.