(Warning…this is a sermon.  Read at your own risk!)


A few of you know that I’ve been reading a book entitled “Forgotten God,” by Francis Chan.

I am nearly finished with the book and have found it interesting that his experience sounds so much like mine.  I grew up in a Christian tradition that basically teaches that Holy Spirit gave us the written word and is now finished with His work.  And He has now left the planet and left us to figure it all out on our own.  (Not everyone in that tradition believes that way, but that is the concept I came away with in my early years and having spoken with many from that tradition, that is the concept they came away with.)

From all the divisions within just that particular denomination it would seem apparent we are incapable of understanding the written word on our own!  We need help…divine help, not human help.  And we need to get over ourselves!

I have over 15 different English translations, a Greek NT, literally hundreds of volumes of Theology Books, Reference Books and Devotionals.  I have one bible that has 26 different English translations in it.  (Yep..it is a pretty big.  I don’t carry it to Sunday School.)  Yet, gaining that knowledge could indeed be sinful!  How?  Read on…

About thirty (30) years ago I was going to go into full time ministry to teach all the other denominationalists what they were all doing wrong.  Yes sir, I was going to go to school to learn more about leading others to the “right church.”  Do you see the fallacy in that?  I was going to lead them to the “right church,” not the Savior!  How arrogant on my part!  No wonder God blocked me from entering full-time ministry.

He doesn’t need my help to lead His people to Him, they are already His:

31£ £ The Lord said: The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah.
32It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement.
33£ Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:      “I will write my laws      on their hearts and minds.      I will be their God,       and they will be my people.
34£No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”

—– Jeremiah 31:31-34

Now a passage from Francis Chan’s book:

“Our scriptures teach that if you know what you are supposed to do and you don’t do it, then you sin.  (Jas 4:17)  In other words, when we stock up on knowledge without applying it to our lives, we are actually sinning.  You would think that learning more about God would be a good thing…and it can be.  But when we gain knowledge about God without responding to Him or assimilating His truth into our lives, then it is not a good thing.  According to the Bible, it’s sin.”  Francis Chan “Forgotten God” page 156-157.

What are you doing with the knowledge of Jesus that you have gained?  Are you keeping it to yourself?  Are you trying to tell other disciples what they are doing wrong?  Or are you “doing good?”  Are you bearing good fruit in your own life?  If you have not seen any growth in your own spiritual life, perhaps it is time to take a new approach.

Perhaps it is time to quit gaining knowledge and start putting that knowledge into practice.  Get out into the trenches and seek the lost.

In His loving grip of truly amazing grace,


P.S.  Please buy, borrow or check the book out at your library. 



3 thoughts on “Can gaining Knowledge Be Sinful?

  1. The more we understand what God wants in our lives, the more we are responsible for following his will for our lives. He does not will the same path for everyone, just the same destination.

  2. I would like to know where you learned that the word of God is not understandable w/o the Holy Spirit? How do you answer the division among the religious groups that make the same claims of having the Holy Spirit helping them understand? Secondly, how can anyone, who claims the Holy Spirit helps them “understand” ever be proven wrong? So, are they all teaching the truth? If So, why the division? And, if we admit that some people are wrong when they say the Holy Spirit revealed a certain thing to them, how would you prove that?

    1. Keith..I apologize for not responding before now. I somehow missed three responses recently. Not sure how that happened.

      You make some excellent points and they are similar to the way I was taught and similar to how I would have responded many years ago.

      Isn’t it obvious that we cannot possibly understand it on our own? Look at all the divisions among Christians…and let’s limit it to just the “conservative Church of Christ” groups. Look at all the divisions just in that group. And when you boil it down most of the divisions are caused by those who wish to force their understanding of things on their brothers and sisters.

      It seems that Romans 14 is a passage that many Christians have either missed or have chosen to ignore. It is an inspired passage that basically teaches that we will not all understand it alike and that this is OK. Dennis just isn’t to force or attempt to force my brothers and sisters to see things my way and likewise others aren’t supposed to try to force their understanding on me. But it goes further, we are not to look down on others who don’t see things the same way we do.

      The “unity” we are to strive for doesn’t mean “unified.” It means unity of spirit. We should all be teaching about Jesus in love and humility.

      The great commission says nothing about trying to make all disciples understand everything exactly alike. It simply says to preach the word and make disciples of everyone.

      With regard to how do we know when someone who claims the Spirit gave them some message is speaking truth? If it does not conflict with direct statements made in scripture, then who are we to say it didn’t happen?

      Holy Spirit is indeed a mysterious thing, but that doesn’t negate all that the scriptures teach about Him.

      In His loving grip, Dennis

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