30 December 2013

IGNORANCE IS BLISS


John 7:25-36

A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmist practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dyhydrogen monoxide.”
  • It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
  • It is a major component in acid rain.
  • It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
  • Accidental inhalation can kill you.
  • It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was H20 (water). The title of his prize winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?” He feels the conclusion is obvious. I agree!

“Ignorance is bliss!” Have you ever heard that statement expressed before? I’ve heard this more than I care to hear it. Do you realize what that statement is saying? It means, that if you don't know something, then it can't affect your view of the world. Not knowing is better than knowing and worrying. But as Herbert Agar said “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” It’s lack knowledge because of willful ignorance! Like this story I came across by Ray Comfort. He said “Let me tell you a true but tragic story: A woman was once walking along a riverbank with her child. Suddenly the child slipped into the river. The mother screamed in terror. She couldn’t swim, and besides, she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Finally, somebody heard her screaming and rushed down to the riverbank. The utter tragedy was, when they stepped into those murky waters to retrieve that now dead child, they found that the water was only waist deep! That mother could have easily saved her child but didn’t because of a lack of knowledge.”

Today we live in a society that will go to great lengths to deny or ignore many things, especially the Lordship and the deity of the Jesus. As one writer said “men’s memories are often sadly dependent on their will.” And what is the natural will of man? To sin. The Apostle Peter penned these words “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,” 2 Peter 3:5. What is Peter saying? For this they are willingly ignorant of or they do not care to know or to consider the truth found in the almighty word of God. We call this “spiritual disease or bankruptcy” which is most common moving our culture today.

FOR EXAMPLE:
  • We live in a culture that shuts their eyes against the plainest facts that are before them.
  • We live in a culture that will deny even the simplest of doctrines found in the bible.
  • We live in a culture that pretends to say that they do not understand and cannot therefore believe the things that we press on their attention when it comes to salvation and sin.

This attitude can be summed up with this one statement by J C Ryle of the 1800’s “they do not believe what they did not like to believe.” We live in a society of “know it all’s” a society filled with people who have no time or room in their lives to …….Read, Listen, Search or Inquire honestly about truth! Let’s go back some 2000 years ago and see the same kind of ignorance or disbelief as the crowd and the religious elite are face to face with TRUTH.

IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE FOR LAZINESS (V25-V27)

See “ignorance is bliss” to these people because they said we don’t know where the Messiah will come from. The sad reality is that if they did some searching for themselves they would have known where the Christ came from and again the Jewish Nation would have carefully kept important documents about genealogies and family history. All they had to do was seek the truth for themselves! They would have found passages like Micah 5:2, as we read "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." They would have overheard the Pharisee's say “So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet” Matt 2:5. It’s sad that they found it inconvenient to remember this truth on this occasion! But as one writer said “Men’s memories are sadly dependent on their wills.” because ignorance is lazy and they only see what we want to see….and what we believe goes in the same line of thinking. It’s too much work to study this big book!

IGNORANCE RECEIVES HER RESPONSE (V28-V29)

Jesus rebukes their remarks by calling them out with their remarks! You know Me! You know where I came from! But Jesus cuts to the heart issue! (v28) “I have come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.” This is their problem! They don’t truly Him, because they’re so ignorant they don’t really want to know Him. Jesus said these words in John 5:38-40 “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” Which means they were spiritual ignorant and bankrupt to the truth! Our culture today is no different! We are so pre-occupied with equal rights and protection gay marriage and so on we forget to search the truth. We have a culture that speaks of tolerance, but are the most intolerant people on the planet. We have a culture that wants what they want and we do whatever it takes without the concern or care of who gets hurt in the process. We have governments around the globe wanting to Lord their power over the people they are to protect and govern.

Truth has fallen in the streets and the ignorance of this culture has thrown it underneath the bus. Just as they did here! Instead of listening to the warning they got what? They became raged with anger wanting to seize Him (v30). So sad but speaks volumes about our culture today……….doesn’t it? There are thousands today just as blind as the Jews where then! They close their eyes to truth, they turn of their ears to the warning signs! It reminds me of a story I’ve told before! “In 1984 an Avianca Airlines jet crashed in Spain. Accident investigators found the cockpit voice recorders and discovered that several minutes before impact a shrill, computer-generated voice from the plane's automatic warning system had told the crew repeatedly in English, "Pull up!  Pull up!" The pilot, evidently thinking the system was malfunctioning, snapped, "Shut up, Gringo!" and switched the system off. Minutes later the plane plowed into the side of a mountain. Everyone on board died.” That tragic story strikes me as a perfect parable of the way many people treat the warning messages of their consciences.

IGNORANCE RESULTS IN SEPARATION (V32-V36)

Are there some hard realities to swallow in the Bible? Absolutely. Are there something’s will never figure out why, this side of heaven? Absolutely.....But one thing for sure is that we should never stop studying God’s truth. Ignorance does not excuse us from the reality that there is a holy God who sent His holy Son to pay our sin debt. And if anyone does not submit to this truth out of adoration and praise they are destined to eternal judgement and fire according to the scriptures. Sadly many ignore the warning signs today and chose ignorance or truth! As Paul wrote “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Eph 4:8. We see the hardness of the heart found in this portion of John’s letter. The ignorance of the religious leaders is overwhelming as they cannot see or understand the beauty that stands before them. Jesus said…….. "I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come." John 7:33-34. What does Jesus mean? Those who reject Jesus will never come to where He is going when He ascends in the His rightful position as Lord. As John wrote “Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come." John 8:12. See instead of heeding the Lord’s warning their unbelief turned with contempt and mockery. Look how they responded! “Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What is this thing that He said, 'You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come'?” John 7:35-36. This is what they are saying "Who does he think He is?" This is no different today! Telling someone they need Christ and if they don’t they will end up in Hell. See, there are some things in this short life that I do not want to hear because I’m too late!
  • “You fool”
  • “Depart from Me”
  • “I do not know you”
  • “You will seek Me and not find Me”

How tragic are those statements by a holy God? Absolutely devastating! Why? They have eternal implications. Sadly many ….maybe people we love and hold dear to our hearts will hear these words proclaimed to them one day! And it’s all because of their ignorance to truth! J C Ryle penned these words about this portion of scripture! Which I believe speaks volumes to a great majority of people today! He wrote “it is possible by continually resisting light and warnings…..to sin away our own souls. It sounds terrible but it is true.”

Remember! Ignorance is no excuse and it will not help anyone enter the Kingdom of God. Our lack of understanding and knowledge of scripture is no excuse for our lifestyle and sin issue. We are to be Berean’s like the ones found in Berea. In Act 17:11 we read “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” They listened attentively and respectfully to the gospel. They did not reject and reject it as unworthy of examination. Why? Any person with half a brain will search or study to see if these things are true. A lot of mistakes in life can be avoided if people today would only read the Bible. But sadly ignorance usually finds the truth when it’s too late. Like the 5 virgins that went knocking on the door and said “let us in” but all they got in response was………and the Lord said “I don’t know you” What can we do so that we are not like the virgins who missed the boat! Seek the truth with eagerness and study His word to see if these things are so. Don’t rely on your neighbor or the next best-selling book. Rely upon the words breathed out by God! Seek His truth and His truth will set you free….indeed! As the Apostle Paul wrote “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thess 5:21. Ignorance is not bliss…………….. It’s destructive and devastating for the soul!

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