Growing in Grace and Knowledge

Although I have been observing the Sabbath and Holy Days for almost 37 years now, I came into the knowledge of Yahweh's and Yahshua's Names, only about 12-1/2 years ago (in 1985). In the beginning, the leader of my former Church association was fond of saying, "Don't believe me, don't believe what I say, unless you see it proven in your own Bible."
But later on, he stopped saying that. Instead, he said that once we were members of his church, and had proved that it was "God's church," we didn't need to keep proving over and over again that he was right. We were to accept what he said without question. If he said one thing, and the Bible said another, woe to the "trouble?maker" who called it to his attention. He was the Almighty's apostle, and if we questioned the apostle's interpretation of scripture, or any of his capricious decrees, we were rebelling against the Almighty.
So, as a result, we all thought pretty much alike; which is to say, we didn't think much at all. We were stultified, and any growth was stifled. You can't grow, if you have to check your brains at the door and become a "yes?man or woman."
Then, after leaving that organization, and realizing I had been breaking the 3rd Commandment, I began to come into contact with so?called "Sacred Name" people. And ever since, I've been amazed at the diversity of belief and practice among these groups.
For instance, some will not meet with anyone but Sacred Name users and Sabbath keepers; some will meet with Sabbath keepers, whether or not they know the name; others will attend Sunday services, if nothing else is available. Some proclaim that they were converted while attending a Sunday church, and that they saw signs of the Holy Spirit working there.
One lady, in particular, told me that she had no Names people to meet with, so she goes to the local SDA church on Sabbath. But they are dead, she said, so on Sunday, she goes to a Pentecostal church, for, as she put it, "the signs, and wonders, and miracles." I've heard others speak of being "saved" at the age of 8 or 10. They bring along much of their previous baggage, which is obvious in many of their doctrines. And you cannot convince them, either by reason, or by the scriptures, that they could possibly be wrong. Their minds are made up, they seem to say, so "don't confuse us with the facts."
And then there are others who are quick to adopt almost any new doctrine that comes down the pike. They are like sponges, absorbing everything they hear and read. They may get an article in the mail from someone expounding a particularly far-out, wild?eyed doctrine, and then just accept it at face value without question. Yet, they seem like converted brothers or sisters in many ways.
For a long time, I wondered why this was so. Could the Holy Spirit, which we are all supposed to have, be leading different people in different directions? How, if two people both have the Spirit of truth, can they read the same scripture, and come up with totally opposite meanings? I meet with people like this all the time. Sometimes it gets frustrating. You can see their error (or so we think), but they can't. What is the answer?
After considering this matter for a long time, I have come to the conclusion that it is mainly because many believers simply did not get a good foundation in the basics. Their instruction lacked something. Maybe they were putting too much of themselves and too little of the Spirit into their studies. Or, they were simply taught wrong to begin with, and can't give it up. Their minds are set. Or, in the case of the sponges, maybe they didn't get enough proper instruction to start with, and are therefore open to erroneous suggestion and unproved allegation.
Well, what about you? How do you feel about these things? Do you accept or reject new doctrine without checking it out by the scriptures? You shouldn't. Proverbs 18:13 reminds us, "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Do you receive instruction with all readiness of mind, as did the Bereans, Acts 17:11? , And then check it against the Scriptures, as they did, whether or not it is true?
We are told:
To prove all things, 1 Thes. 5:21.
To search the Scriptures, John 5:39.
We must overcome, Rev. 2:26.
To repent and be converted, Acts 3:19.
To grow in grace and knowledge, 2 Pet. 3:18.
How do we react to "new truth?" Have you encountered a new doctrine, and proved it right or wrong, by the Scriptures, since last Feast of Tabernacles? Or within the past year?
Have you grown in grace and knowledge, since last Feast? What does this mean, anyhow? How do we "grow in grace and knowledge?" "Grace" means "undeserved pardon," among other things, and Yahweh's grace is His forgiveness of our sins. We don't deserve pardon, or forgiveness. We deserve to die for breaking Yahweh's law. That is the "curse of the law." But Yahshua died for us, so we don't have to.. That's grace. And to grow in grace, simply means to root hidden sins out of our lives, and repent of them.
How do we find these hidden sins in our lives? Why, by increasing our knowledge of Yahweh's word. By growing in knowledge. By comparing our lives and actions with the Word of Yahweh. In short, by studying, as the apostle Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto Yahweh, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And if we do this, we can grow. But growth means change. How do we balance II Peter 3:18, which says, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Master and Saviour Yahshua the Messiah. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.", with Ephesians 4:14 which says "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;", and with I Corinthians 15:58 which says "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Master, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Master.?"
How can you be stedfast and unmoveable, and at the same time, be subject to change? Peter was saying, Change if you need to, when you look into that perfect word of Yahweh. Paul was saying, once you prove a point from that perfect word of Yahweh, stick with it. Don't let cunning men deceive you with slick words and charismatic speech.
If you find a conflict between what you believe, or what some man tells you, and what the Bible says, you or the man are the one who is wrong, every time. Yahshua said "The scripture cannot be broken." The New Testament does not contradict the Old; Paul does not contradict Paul, as some say. Paul does not contradict Peter, as some also say.
Knowledge, instruction, proper scriptural instruction, is the answer to all these problems.
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of YAHWEH: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
How do we try the spirits? Isaiah 8:20: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
We must let the Bible instruct us. The Bible has much to say about instruction. Here are a few selected scriptures:
Proverbs 1:7?8 The fear of YHWH is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Proverbs 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
Proverbs 15:32?33 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of YAHWEH is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Here is an example of the wrong kind of instruction: Proverbs 19:27 Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of YAHWEH, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I've used the faults and misconceptions of others to illustrate a point. We should help our brothers and sisters when we can, and as we can.
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
But we can't force ourselves unwanted on others. We can't compel others to believe and see everything the way we do. Our first obligation is to save ourselves.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We need to get ourselves right with Yahweh before we start trying to help others. Remember that although salvation is a free gift, and we can do nothing to earn it, we still have our part to do. Yahweh will only save those who are willing to obey Him (Acts 5:32).
We must repent, accept Yahshua as our Lord and Savior, and then keep the Commandments ("If thou will enter into life, keep the Commandments." Mat. 19:17). He also said "Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." ~FB

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