Vol. 15 No. 20
Eph 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (GNOSIS), that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
Doctrine of the “Life Beyond GNOSIS.”
For the believer in Jesus Christ, there is a fantastic Life Beyond GNOSIS, which is having EPIGNOSIS doctrine in the right lobe of the soul. EPIGNOSIS means full or completed knowledge. EPIGNOSIS doctrine is having a well-developed understanding of the Scriptures through faith, and how to apply them within your life. EPIGNOSIS doctrine is then converted into motivation, decision making, and action. It is the basis for the manufacturing of the invisible heroes.
Illustrations of Life Beyond GNOSIS: Matthew 8, (continued).
The Impressed and Intellect Factor: The Scribe.
Then we have our first individual example, vs. 19-20. He was a Scribe from the Jewish Sanhedrin, (the leadership council of the Israelite religion). As a scribe, he was an expert in the Law of Moses. Jesus, just having given the Sermon on the Mount that applied the Law but with the view towards how it will be applied in the Millennial reign, impressed this Scribe with His knowledge of the Law.
He proclaimed that He would, “follow Jesus wherever he would go.” That sounds like a person with a great heart and love for Christ. However, there is something missing in our translation. Between “wherever” and “you go,” should be the word “if.” It is there in the Greek with the Particle EAN and in the Subjunctive mood of APERCHOMAI for “you go.” Rather than saying, “I’ll follow wherever you go,” he actually said, “I’ll follow, IF you go anywhere.” In the Greek it is a third class conditional “if” that states a hypothetical situation that probably will not be fulfilled. The disciple, who is ready to follow Jesus, does not have any conditions on his discipleship. He will follow Jesus anywhere at any time. If this were the case, the Scribe would have made this statement in the Indicative mood rather that the Subjunctive, and would have not used the Particle EAN. But this Scribe was impressed by Jesus’s knowledge of the Law and the large crowds. He really doubts that Jesus would ever leave such a crowd. He doubts His departure, for that would be leaving behind a large audience and much approbation. The scribe thinks of success in terms of having a large following. Therefore, he would never think of leaving the place of popularity and approbation.
Further, a Scribe is a “one trick pony”, that is, a one-subject person, a student of the Mosaic Law only and of nothing else. All scribes were intellectuals. They were the most brilliant people in the land. They were way ahead of the Pharisees and Sadducees who were politically minded. But the scribes were oriented to the Mosaic Law. All he was interested in was the Mosaic Law. Therefore, like all Scribes, he was very legalistic and very smart. This scribe had a high I.Q. and had been impressed with our Lord’s dissertation of the Law, as interpreted by the Sermon on the Mount. It was new and different to him, for it went beyond the overt act to motivation. Therefore, he was following to learn more. And why not? The Sermon on the Mount will be the mode of operation during the Millennium. However, he was not ready for the Sermon on the Mount at the moment. So the scribe represents the believer who is only interested in one subject; the subject he is interested in. When that subject is dropped, he loses interest. Ask yourself: are you interested in only subject? Many people are only interested in romance and marriage, and others only of end-times prophecy.
The Scribe will never go beyond GNOSIS; he is intellectual. The scribe represents a large segment of Christianity today, where we have the philosophical approach to Scripture. They try to reconcile the Word of God with philosophical concepts, not realizing what Heb 4:12 states.
Heb 4:12, “For the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit and of the joints and the marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents (motivations) of the heart.”
The Scribe is very arrogant and self-righteous, guilty of crusader arrogance. He ascribes to Jesus, in his arrogance, his own motivation. After all, Jesus would never leave such a large crowd. So the scribe recognizes Jesus as being intellectually on a par with himself. He assumes that He has exactly the same arrogant motivation. The scribe will not ever leave a large crowd; that is important to him. Therefore, he thinks he is safe in saying “I will follow you anywhere – if you go.” For he assumes our Lord was not going.
Actually, the scribe probably followed Jesus all the way to the ship, maybe 100 yards away. But when he discovers there are no hotel reservations on the other side of the sea, he will remain behind.
As a student of the Mosaic Law, he has no interest in departing into the unknown. He may have been sincere in his offer to follow Jesus, but he has no intention of being inconvenienced. He is definitely not prepared to go beyond GNOSIS. Therefore, the scribe possesses what can be classified as spurious enthusiasm; i.e., enthusiasm without Bible doctrine, enthusiasm based upon the excitement and irrationality of a large mob. But he has no enthusiasm for doctrine or for Problem Solving Devices. Therefore, his spurious enthusiasm is artificial, emotional, and useless. The scribe has been enthusiastic about the Sermon on the Mount. But our Lord changed the subject, and the Scribe is no longer interested.
The scribe represents the arrogance of the ignorant believer. He is impressed with the large crowds. He is impressed with our Lord’s popularity and he wants to take advantage of it. For he wants to become popular in identification with Christ, not as in the baptism of the Spirit, but by being associated with the Lord while He is popular. So the scribe represents the arrogance of the believer who never goes beyond GNOSIS. He is impressed with large crowds and popularity. Therefore, the importance of Bible doctrine being converted into EPIGNOSIS has totally eluded him.
The superficialities of life crowd out Bible doctrine, (pun intended). They cause the loser to establish the wrong priorities in life. Momentary emotion and temporary impulse distract from post-salvation renewing, so that the objectives of the plan of God become obscure and fleeting. This describes the believer who never goes beyond GNOSIS.
This is why believers forget the doctrine, because it is not EPIGNOSIS in the right lobe of their soul. It is not in their frame of reference or memory center, and therefore, cannot be recalled.
1) Enthusiasm without doctrine destroys momentum in the Plan of God.
2) Sincerity has no carrying power, and is no substitute for the Problem Solving Devices of the plan of God.
3) Emotion has no reasoning power, no perception or application of doctrine, no function in the Problem Solving Devices, no replacement of Divine viewpoint thought in the right lobe of the soul.
I recently received a proverb from a fortune cookie that read, “If you do not run your subconscious mind yourself, someone else will.” Marcus Aurelius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Prov 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart / right lobe, so he is.” The scribe failed in his thinking, because he was overcome with lust for approbation.
That is why we see such an odd, but simplistic response from our Lord to weed out the GNOSIS believer in Mat 8:20, “Then Jesus replied to him, `The foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.’”
This simply says that there are no hotel reservations on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. It is a very rugged land and there are no hotels. Therefore, our Lord states that even the animals have a better deal with their dens and nests than He does. He does not even have that. And that is the end of the line for the Scribe. Little does he realize that he has just established for himself a life of insecurity by being security-conscious. He does not understand the principle of Rom 8:31, “If God be for us, who shall be against us?”
Principles as to why some do not get beyond GNOSIS:
1) Where there is a conflict between human comfort and security on the one hand, and the plan of God on the other hand, legalism has no staying power and no Problem Solving Devices.
2) There are believers who will not go beyond GNOSIS. They have no staying power. Their priorities are just as mixed up as they have always been. They are social animals, people emphasizing people, and therefore, they have never nor will ever, learn about God.
3) The greatest insecurity results from being security-conscious. The only real security in life is contained in the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age and the Problem Solving Devices.
4) The person who clings to convention and conventional accessories of security is never prepared for historical crisis and disaster. This is what happens when the believer does not enter the Life Beyond GNOSIS.
5) The believer minus doctrine is defeated by uncertainty in normal times, and therefore cannot cope with disaster in abnormal times.
The Wrong Priorities Factor: Details of Life.
The next disciple in Mat 8:21-22, fears disapprobation. He too does not move beyond GNOSIS.
At least this disciple first uses a different vocative in addressing our Lord, which is better than that of the scribe, signifying he knows a little more doctrine. He uses KURIOS. He at least recognizes Jesus as his “Lord” rather than just being a mere “teacher,” DIDASKALOS, although that too was an appropriate title for Jesus. Nevertheless, he is a failure because it is all GNOSIS.
Mat 8:21, “And another of the disciples said to him, `Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’”
Here we note the wrong priorities of the disciple because he says, “permit me first….” “First” is the Greek adverb of time PROTON that means he has a set of priorities, but they are strictly conventional priorities, i.e., based on human viewpoint.
Remember the mechanics of the priority solution to the problems in life: Your #1 priority determines your concentration, around which you organize your life and your thinking, and it becomes the basis for your concentration and motivation in life.
This disciple’s request is certainly a legitimate one and a legitimate function. There is no sin or evil connected with attending a funeral. However, whether his father was a believer or unbeliever, he cannot help his father in any way. He can grieve for his father right where he is, and by getting into the boat with our Lord. But this believer has a serious priority problem, which is not being solved because he has never gone beyond GNOSIS. This believer has given #1 priority to the conventional function of society, rather than to the function of God’s plan.
This is analogous today to a believer who gives #1 priority to the conventional function of society rather than to God’s Plan. This believer thinks more of approbation from people than approbation from God. As such, he has people emphasis over God emphasis.
As long as there is no conflict, which up to this moment there has not been, it was convenient to follow the Lord. He is conventional in following the Lord up to this moment. But now there is a conflict that shows that he has not gone beyond GNOSIS. He has no Problem Solving Device to handle the situation. The father has died, the funeral is pending, and the son can do nothing more for him now. It would be desirable to go to the funeral, but the Lord has established a mandate: to get into the boat and cross the sea, analogous to going beyond GNOSIS in our study.
No matter how much the son loves the father and grieves for him, there is nothing he can do for him now. He has a right to grieve and sorrow, but our Lord has given a mandate, which conflicts with him attending a funeral. There is a good possibility that this father has departed to be with the Lord. The only thing the son can do by attending his father’s funeral is to satisfy the protocol of society and express his own love. Yet, there comes a time when you have to express your love for God over your love for people with whom you are intimate. In this passage, our Lord’s challenge is to give #1 priority to the Lord Himself. By analogy, we should give #1 priority to Bible doctrine related to God’s Plan for our lives.
Public opinion and the approbation of society is often much more important to believers than the execution of God’s plan, will, and purpose. This believer’s priority problem will frustrate his ever going beyond GNOSIS. It can only be solved by the utilization of Problem Solving Devices as they existed then.
So we see another seemingly odd and terse response by our Lord. But it was a test and challenge to the disciple.
Mat 8:22, “But Jesus said to him, `Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’”
This does not mean you cannot attend funerals. That is not even the issue. Yet, for those who can only think in terms of GNOSIS that is all they can extrapolate from this message. In fact, Christ is teaching about people emphasis taking precedence over God emphasis. He is saying that people are more influenced by what society thinks than by what God thinks. You can never understand what God thinks until you move into EPIGNOSIS.
This man’s priority problem will only be solved by the utilization of the Problem Solving Devices, which include a Personal Sense of Destiny and Occupation with the Person of Christ.
“Let the dead,” refers to society. Once you go beyond GNOSIS, society is dead. Society is located under culture and spiritual death. Even the best of cultures do not bring you into contact with God; it takes the Gospel to do that. This man is involved in a culture that places tremendous emphasis on that funeral. Because he has his eyes on people and on self, he has lost his focus on the person of Jesus Christ.
The funeral represents the legitimate function of society: the protocol and conventionality of society. There is nothing wrong with attending funerals. The funeral represents normal functions in life that are placed beyond or above the intake of Bible doctrine. When you must choose between something pleasant and Bible class, which do you choose? It is not a matter of wrong versus right. It is a matter of which right has priority in your life? Things are very simple when it is wrong versus right, but that is not the issue here; the issue is priority.
Our Lord is about to provide suffering for blessing testing. We see the failure in the disciples in the ship below. But we must remember that those who are on the ship in the storm will eventually go beyond GNOSIS. Even though they fail and are losers at that moment, they will recover. They use the first Problem Solving Device, rebound. Failure does not make a loser. Yet, even if it does, the loser is still alive and has the chance of rebound. But this subject deals with those who did not go beyond GNOSIS, who did not get into the ship and the storm, who did not have the opportunity of reward from underserved suffering.
Society says that this believer has a duty to attend his father’s funeral. However, our Lord has given a command, which supersedes the protocol and conventionality of society. Therefore, here is a conflict between two legitimate functions in life. This conflict can only be resolved by the priority solution of Occupation with Christ and the experience of a Personal Sense of Destiny.
Also, note that there are two kinds of death in this verse. The first “dead” are people who are spiritually dead. Though physically alive, they have no relationship with God. The second “dead” is the physical death of this believer’s father. The spiritually dead unbeliever can fulfil the conventions of society, but they have no meaning as far as the spiritual life is concerned. Only the believer in Jesus Christ can execute God’s plan, will, and purpose for his life. Do not allow the entanglements of the protocol of society to hinder you from executing the protocol Plan of God!
This is a priority problem; it demands a priority solution. Because this disciple has the wrong priorities, he has been eliminated from one of the greatest opportunities in life. He has been eliminated from suffering for blessing testing, which is primarily designed for the believer who has gone beyond GNOSIS. Only in spiritual adulthood does the believer have enough command of the Problem Solving Devices to pass the test.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 16-059 through 16-060
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!