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To the elect of the Holy Spirit set aside from the four corners of the Earth for this hour:  It is your privilege, our privilege, to not only worship the God whom we believe like the Samaritans did, and also to worship the God whom we know like the Jews did, but above all else, the privilege of an elect is to be able to understand the God he worships.

To believe in the God you worship is what all religions encourage, regardless of their names, and at the juvenile level of Christianity, we see massive gatherings and conferences for the believers, all of them themed to encourage the believers to hold onto their faith and deepen their walk of faith, regardless of the denominational brand.

Another way of describing discipleship is the process by which you come to know the God you worship.  That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow Me,” then taught them personally and lived before them openly so that they may come to know Him.  In the times that Jesus was teaching, there were and are three key words in His vocabulary that reveal to you the purpose of His mission.  They are “believe,” “know,” and “understand.”  The goodness of salvation for all sinners was “Repent and believe,” and Jesus spent much time speaking of the role of faith, the presence and absence of faith, and even teaching His disciples the Law of Faith.  For through faith one believes, and whoever believes will be saved. 

Then He also spoke to the disciples and taught them to know Him and the Father who sent Him, showing the Pharisees and Sadducees that the source of their error was not their faith, but rather, their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and the power of God.  And to those He discipled, He made known to them the Father and taught them the purpose of eternal life; that they would come to know God, the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, now.  And when He taught, He taught and encouraged His listeners not only to hear but to understand what He was teaching, saying, “Listen to Me, everyone, and understand this.”  And, “But understand this,” or, “Do you still not understand?”

Three years or so, as tradition puts it, Jesus walked amongst the twelve, talked to them, taught them and did great miracles, even showing them that they too could do the same.  They saw Him, heard Him and even questioned Him, but yet at the end of their time with Him, this is what Jesus had to say about them, “Don’t you know Me, (Philip), even after I have been among you such a long time?”  Shock and horror!  They still did not really know who He was!  So Jesus had to move the conversation down one level, since they still did not know Him.  He then said, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me?”  Since Philip confessed his ignorance, Jesus had to go from speaking about knowing Him to just believing in Him, and so He said, “believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”  And now, just in case they did not believe His words, He said, “Or at least, believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”  When Jesus began this conversation in John 13:38 in response to Peter’s question, “Lord, why can’t I follow You now?  I will lay down my life for You,” it is almost as if Jesus assumed, not that He assumes, but you get this impression because He spoke to them about knowing the way to the place where He was going, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas’ question must have set off alarm bells in Jesus when he said, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus responded, reassuring them that because they knew Jesus they also knew the Father, but Philip’s question really dropped the ball when he said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Imagine what the Lord was thinking, no, do not imagine, see, know and understand what went through the Lord’s mind.  Three years of discipleship, three years of teaching, training and miracles, and they still didn’t know.  That was the horrible truth, oh, truth most horrible!  “Don’t you know Me …even after I have been among you such a long time?”  They still didn’t know, so He could no longer carry on the stream of conversation that ended in John 14:7, for Philip’s question had diverted Jesus from speaking about knowing the Father to reiterating the need to believe in Jesus.  Now the conversation had shifted from knowing to believing, and all Jesus could tell them was, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth,” and what this new Counsellor would do to help them.  Help them do what?  Help them to remember His teachings and continue to teach them where Jesus had to leave off.  “The Holy Spirit… will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you,” hopefully bringing them more into the knowledge of the Father and Jesus, as Jesus then said to them, “That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.”

The conversation ended in John 15:29 with the disciples saying, “Now You are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.  Now we can see that You know all things and that You do not even need to have anyone ask You questions.  This makes us believe that You came from God.”   After three years they finally said, “This makes us believe that You came from God.”  After three years that is all they could say!!  The gospel writer wrote:  Jesus answered, “You believe at last!”  See the exclamation mark and hear the emotions of these four words.  After three years of teaching them, showing them so that they would know and not just believe, all He got was, “This makes us believe that You come from God.”  Oh, give me Nathanael who said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel,” within a few minutes and just one display of knowledge from Jesus.  And these eleven could only say, “This makes us believe…”??

What would have been the emotion of these four words?  What do you think?  Joy?  The joy and exuberance of success or relief, for at least they believed… finally?  Or frustration in capital letters, “YOU BELIEVE AT LAST!” …and under your breath, “Thank God!”  At least they came to the level of faith before the crucifixion, so after the crucifixion with the forty days, which had been set aside for the meeting on the Mount of Transfiguration, they would rise to the level of knowing. 

But it would have been much better if they had been able to say, “Lord, we know You are from the Father, showing us the Father,” or, “Lord, thanks to You we do know the Father.”  These words were never spoken, but hey, at least they believed at last, and after the resurrection they could catch up on the knowing.  So Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.”  Can’t you hear Jesus thinking, “It will be alright… they will know when they join Me in Galilee”??

Oops!  But we didn’t join Him in Galilee.  The angels told the women to tell them to go to Galilee and Jesus came back and told the women to tell them to go them to Galilee, but they never went to Galilee that morning.  They went to the tomb then went back home and stayed home!

Sure, they got to see Jesus resurrected in the room and even Thomas got to put his hand into the wounds, but what Jesus wanted to say after, “you do know Him and have seen Him,” we never got to hear.  He could not continue the line of His conversation and thought with Philip’s alarming request, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  The forty days after the resurrection was wasted with Jesus having to go around finding them and rounding them up so that the Holy Spirit could be poured out while He was still with them.  It never happened and the Holy Spirit arrived on Pentecost Day.

What did the Holy Spirit find on that day gathered in that upper room?  Acts 1:15 tells us the answer:  In those days Peter stood up among the believers… Even the eleven were back to the stage of being believers who barely knew because they did not know who should take over from Judas but cast the lot to see whom God would choose from their choice, of the two they proposed, Joseph and Matthias.  They believed and knew someone should take Judas’ place, but they didn’t know who, so they voted (proposed) two and then asked the Lord to make a choice.  Had they prayed, “Lord, show us Your choice,” perhaps, just perhaps, the Holy Spirit would have come upon God’s choice first that day, and there would be no doubt as to whom God had chosen to replace Judas, without a need to practise what belonged to the old Mosaic way of casting the lot for God’s decision.  You see, Matthias was chosen in the same way as the high priests of old were chosen by the casting of the lot, and not by the new way with the Holy Spirit coming down out of Heaven in the form of a Dove, as Jesus was confirmed the Great High Priest of the New Covenant.

Do you see that the Holy Spirit arrived only to find believers and disciples who barely knew, and not disciples who knew already without a doubt about the Oneness of the Father and Son, disciples who knew enough to know that they needed to understand.

The one thing Jesus has never been quoted as saying in all four gospels are these words that take a person from the realm of a believer and even a knower into the confidence of God.  Jesus could never say to the eleven, “Now you understand—at last!”

You see, He could only say, “You believe at last!” but not, “You understand at last!”  The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of Wisdom and of Knowledge, but He is also the Spirit of Understanding.  His real role was not just to babysit us and play nurse maid to us, and not to men who had been discipled by Christ Himself personally for three years.  That would be an insult to Jesus, as Jesus said to Simon Peter, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  His real role was to come and help the eleven and also Judas’ replacement to understand God.  Through the Holy Spirit, all who have received the eternal life by their faith can bring the knowledge of God acquired by that life to the place where they not only believe God, not only know God, but understand God.

And what does it take for a person to understand another person?  When they know what the other is thinking about what they are saying and doing.  God who makes known His thoughts to man doesn’t want men to just believe Him or know Him, no, God wants men to understand Him as He understands men.  This is the only reason a person makes known their thoughts to another.  And when two people share the understanding then the oneness extends into their thinking.  If you remember Genesis 11 about Babel, God said, “Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they will not understand each other.”  Without a common speech those people could not get others to understand what they were saying and doing, much less thinking.

So, the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus could not outline to the eleven in John 14-16, but wanted the churches to come to know and appreciate, is that the Holy Spirit was to raise up sons of God to the point where they understood their Father God and their Brother, the Lord Jesus, in all that They have said and done and will say and do.  Sons of God who also understand their Father just like Jesus understands His Father.  Jesus doesn’t just believe, know, watch or listen to His Father, He understands His Father. 

His two parables of the two sons, the so-called prodigal and his stay-at-home brother, and the pair of yes and no brothers, were designed to show us what happens when the sons do not understand their father.   In the Parable of the Lost Son, do you understand why the father divided the property at the request of the younger?  Do you understand the father’s hope for the older son?  In the Parable of the Two Sons, do you understand the father’s disappointment with both sons?

The truth is, most do not believe what they profess of their faith, and those who do believe are ignorant and do not know.  If that is the case, how many even care to understand?  Jesus said to the Jews, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.”  Searching the Scriptures will let you know what was said and done, but unless the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Understanding, gives you understanding, you will never understand what you have read, seen or heard.  And no one understands unless you know the thoughts behind the words and actions.

In this, the final phase of preliminary teaching, come to understand now, add this to what you believe and know, that the ultimate aim of the Holy Spirit is to raise up sons and daughters of God who not only believe and know their Father, but understand their Father like He understands them.  And who better to help us than the Spirit of Truth who is also the Spirit of Understanding.

As Paul wrote:  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  The same can be said of ourselves—none of us understood it, for if we had, we would have been at Galilee, we would have waited and not chosen Matthias, and above all else, we would never ever have listened to James the Younger and his judgements.  However, better late than never, so our repentance goes beyond our lack of faith and ignorance, but rather it must strike into the core of the problem that we never understood. 

That was my repentance in the Abyss that night when I was thrown into it after my judgement.  I can remember these words that I kept crying out, “I never understood, I am sorry.”  You see, I never repented of my sins.  It was too late, for then I was already judged.  I could not repent of my ignorance, because I never knew, and it was too late anyway.  I was on my knees in the bottom of the Abyss.  But one thing I could repent of, one thing I could cry out was that I never understood.  Proverbs says:  Cry aloud for understanding, and because of that I received my opportunity to understand.  Look at what Paul wrote:  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.  Even the use of faith commended by Hebrews is so that we understand and not just receive whatever we ask for in prayer without a doubt.

But how can you fully understand someone until you know his thoughts?  Yes, you may understand something of a person by what he says and does, but that understanding is subject to doubt, speculation and correction, and as such, does not have peace.

Paul wrote:  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  What is this peace of God other than the peace Jesus gave us when He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.”  What is this peace that Jesus gave us really?  It is not freedom from war or persecution or hardship or trials or tests.  It is not every prayer answered and every whim met when you want it or need it.  It is not confidence of success at every turn.  It is more than all of those, as Paul wrote, it is even more than understanding.

David said to Solomon, “All this I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and He gave me understanding in all the details of the plan,” when David gave Solomon the plans for the temple.  Likewise, the Lord will give us understanding in all the details of the coming days, yet knowing and understanding these details may cause absolute terror.  Isaiah wrote:  The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror, when Isaiah commented on what the Lord said in verses 16-19, as He began to describe Jesus, “See I lay a Stone in Zion, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone for a sure foundation…” 

If Solomon is right, and as he wrote:  the more knowledge, the more grief, then surely the more understanding, the more terror!  Unless your understanding is not based only on your conclusions of what you have heard and seen and even practised, no, but your understanding is based on what forms the foundation of the peace of the Lord.  For He knows, that is, Jesus knows the thoughts of the Father and the plans of the Father, and it is this knowledge that is the basis of His understanding and it is from this understanding comes His peace.  Hence, it is the peace that surpasses all understanding— because it is peace built on a foundation of understanding that springs from knowing the thoughts of the One who said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So then, when you come to know the thoughts of He who knows God and He permits you to read His thoughts like Jesus could read the thoughts of others, the knowledge of His thoughts will give you the understanding of His plans that will bring neither grief nor terror, but overwhelming joy and peace, joy that will be your strength and peace that will be your guard in the days of distress unequalled since the beginning of this world.

So then, that is your privilege not just to worship the God you believe or know, but to worship the God whom you understand.  You see, elect, although the Lord called me out from the Abyss to “Get up, follow Me, and sin no more,” I am no beast.  For beasts have no understanding, as it is written:  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding… but I was released so that I might be granted my one cry that I might understand.  Sheep and goats have no understanding, like the horse and mule.  But from sons and daughters, does not a good Father have the right to hope for, wish for and dream of ones who not only believe and know Him, but also understand Him?  So that, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on Earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

Consider carefully then your ways and give careful consideration to your thoughts, elect, for from this day the Lord has blessed you, and the understanding of this message will bring you joy and peace unspeakable, but sheer terror to the enemies of God, for He comes.

Consider without false humility or pride, but in the reality of the truth, what a privilege you have been given to be elected by the One who knows the thoughts of the Ones who chose and called you to Their Family and service.  Amen

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