1 (10). Head Knowledge VS. Heart Experience Have you ever seen how fans react whenever their favorite celebrity is around? Some people have done some pretty crazy things to show their loyalty to a celebrity. For example, I ve seen people who are practically in love with the famous pop artist Michael Jackson. Some of them have ALL of his albums, dress like him, and have been to ALL of his many concerts. They even know his past and present family back round. Yet despite how much information they have about Michael Jackson, do they truly know him? No! The truth is we can research all we want about anyone we want and learn everything about the person, but yet never know the person personally. In other words, never get to experience some degree of relationship with that person. Despite how much head knowledge we know or information we have about a person, we will never experience an emotional or heart experience WITH that person until we personally get to know them. When you know a person personally, there are emotions that are experienced in the heart. You may meet a person and experience happiness, anger, sadness, or hurt. They are also experiencing similar or the same things, based on the same meeting you had with them. So, building a relationship with someone versus just knowing about them are two completely different things, as we have just seen. In lesson 8, we learned about the 2 Covenants. We saw how the Israelites seemed to know about God, but didn t want to have a heart experience or true relationship with Him. They were just interested in the minimum requirements to be saved and didn t sincerely care to know God and experience His love (Look at how they treated God in their story recorded in Ex.) Which of these 2 does God want from us? Does He want us to just have head knowledge about Him, or does He desire a heart experience through a real relationship with Him? 1. How does Jesus define life eternal? John 17:3 Notice that Jesus says that knowing God = life eternal. The Greek word for know is Ginosko, which means to experience and fully understand. So Jesus is actually saying that, Experiencing/fully understanding God = Eternal life. Can you experience/ FULLY understand a celebrity if you don t personally know them? No. Knowing about them is NOT the same as experiencing a relationship with them. So if we have a head knowledge about God but don t personally know Him in a heart experience (1 on 1 relationship) are we TRULY experiencing God? No. The story of the rich young ruler -> Mark 10:17-31: And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. "You know the commandments, `Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But at these words his face fell, and he went
2 away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! (Then Jesus says later in this passage) Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. "But many who are first, will be last; and the last, first." As we read, this man knew the commandments, (which are characteristics ABOUT God as we learned in lesson 8) but he was still lacking ONE thing. He came to Jesus proud and confident of what he knew about Him, but didn t realize that Jesus wanted more than just his mind, He wanted his heart. This is evident since Jesus asked the man to sell everything you have, give it to the poor and then follow Me. This man s heart was with his wealth, yet he must of thought that this wouldn t interfere with what Jesus would want for him. He thought that a mere head knowledge (knowing about Jesus) would be all Jesus would care about, but Jesus felt a love for him as He explained how God wants more than your head, He wants your HEART! When this man realized that God wanted an actual heart experience relationship with him, his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And then Jesus stated to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! This man s worldly possessions had a strong hold of his heart, to the point that He rejected a relationship with Jesus. But aren t there many worldly possessions that can be our idols also? And don t most of them take control of our hearts in a very deceiving and almost unnoticeable way? Is Jesus wanting us to use our strength and will power to remove these idols so that we too may follow Him? If so, than the gospel would be only for the strong willed and for highly determined people. But God tells us in Ezekiel 36:25-27, Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from ALL your filthiness and from ALL your idols. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Notice how God recognizes that there may be idols that have our heart s attention, but that HE is willing to cleanse us from ALL our filthiness and ALL our idols. Was Jesus asking the rich young ruler to do the impossible? No. Scripture shows us that God is NOT just telling us to put away all your idols BEFORE following me but instead, By getting to KNOW Me, I can cleanse you from ALL your idols and filthiness. So it is really up to us whether we rather cherish our idols (though they keep us from a heart experience with God), or give God a chance to cleanse us from all our idols, and as a result behold the power of God in a personal relationship that is uniquely between you and God. Joshua 24:15 says, And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The rich young ruler lacked one thing which was, making the choice to begin a heart experience with Jesus by following Him. The Israelites also had that same choice, and
3 for most of their story, they rejected this heart experience just like this rich young ruler (1 Cor. 10). Let s look into why this seems to be a common bad choice amongst human beings. Genesis 2:16,17 says, And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." They must have had 100 s of trees to eat from, and God said, You can eat from ANY tree except one. That is a positive ratio isn t it? Most of us would say no problem God! But notice how the devil makes this positive situation look very negative in 3:1, Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" Did you catch that? God had said they could eat from EVERY tree except 1, BUT the devil says, Wow, has God said you should not eat from ANY tree in the garden. So the devil paints a misperception of what God said, and then after Eve corrects him he says, "You surely shall not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (verses 4-5) So then he leads Eve to doubt God s word ( you shall not surely die ) and character by portraying God as selfish and a liar. Then in verse 6 it says, When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. So that doubt which Satan influenced on Eve, led her and her husband to disobedience. Verse 8 says, And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. For the first time in their life Adam and Eve were experiencing guilt and out of fear ran and hid from God. These were things they had NEVER experienced before this serpent invaded their joyous atmosphere. Vs. 9- Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat all the days of your life. Why did God ask those questions? Was He trying to find out information or give information? Does God know everything? Yes! So did He know where they were and why they were hiding? Yes. It must have been heartbreaking to see the 2 beings He created and loved, run and hide from Him. Adam had told God, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself. So God responds, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Why would God ask what He already knows? Adam needed to realize that all of these guilty and scared feelings he was feeling, didn t come from God but from the serpent. Sin had
4 deceived the couple into believing that God was the one they should fear. Yet out of His love He helped them realize Satan had just deceived them. All throughout our history God has wanted to unveil our eyes to these same deceptions and cunning tricks of the devil. Some have allowed Him to open their eyes, while others have rejected the light. Our world and our human nature has become marred by the effects of sin to where we now have many misperceptions about God. Like Adam and Eve many are running away from the wrong person and seeking refuge in the arms of the devil that deceives them! Jesus says in Jn. 8:12, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jesus came on this earth so that through His birth, life, death, and resurrection He could redeem mankind and also remind us that GOD IS LOVE and quite different then what sin wants us to believe! Heb. 1:1-3 says, God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His (God) nature; Our world being so dark was lightened by the true Light which coming into the world, enlightens every man! (Jn. 1:9) I thank God that the gospel has already come into this world. Through every miracle, healing, parable, and act of Jesus life, He presented to us a clear perception of God s love, which lit up this dark world. This clearer perception drew many people to trust/have faith in Jesus as you can see throughout the N.T. However many rejected this light and it is said that many still will, because they rather remain in darkness! (Jn. 1:11 ; 3:19) 2 Cor. 4:3,4 says, And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. The devil has had an impact on ALL of us. We ve grown up in different homes, churches, communities, and have had different positive and negative experiences in our lifetime. Compiled from many different sources we each have a picture or perception of what God is like. However we must ask ourselves, Does God want to enlighten me in newer and clearer ways to better understand what He s like? Could I possibly have a lot of misperceptions that are causing me to fall into the same trap that gets most humans today? A trap that will eventually lead you to believe that Christianity is dry, boring, unrealistic, fake, stagnant, and just head knowledge like everything else in the world? Many say, Well If you want me to be honest, I do NOT feel excited about Christianity and even Jesus! I know so much about Jesus, the Bible, and church but I m still not on fire with the gospel. Why? Because the gospel calls for a human response. It doesn t just call for your head but rather for your heart. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. My biggest fear is that you will continue going through all these studies with a guarded heart, and NOT experience ALL of the wonderful blessings of the gospel. Romans 1:16 says, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it (the gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Notice how an individual can EXPERIENCE the power of God s gospel, ONLY IF they believe, and believing involves your heart. For example: In my testimony (intro to studies) I was one of those sad Christians for a while. I knew a lot about Jesus and the gospel, but didn t know Him personally and in a real way. I found things like reading the Bible so hard and tedious to my attention span.
5 I felt like I had something blocking my heart from allowing Jesus to perform the power of the gospel in my heart. Since my experience was head knowledge about Jesus, it was easy to push it aside when I wanted to. This pushing aside led me into the many bad compromises that followed. My pride wouldn t admit that I needed Jesus to change my heart s views of His character. I had spiritual pride and felt what I did know was sure, and it was the minimum I needed to do to be saved. (an old covenant/head knowledge mentality). By me choosing to hang on to these things in my heart, I limited the power of Jesus in my heart. The most that would happen is an emotional high after a really good sermon from a preacher, and then I d put God back in His box (my head). But on that night I came home from smoking, and prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and change ALL HE wanted, I felt a barrier removed. The next day when I opened up my Bible I was able to read page after page with clearer understanding than ever before! I began seeing God reveal Himself to me in a REAL way. The Bible has the message of a clear perception of God that every human needs. The Holy Spirit also tries to convict us of what things to pray, to help us give our barriers up for God to remove. (Jn.16:14) Barriers such as: Drugs, Alcohol, Cigarettes, uncontrollable anger, spiritual pride, (E.g. I ve been a church member and church school teacher all my life, and my perception of God needs no change! or I ve grown up believing this way and my parents did too so I don t want a change. ) Barriers like these limit our spiritual experience of the gospel/the Bible, to just head knowledge instead of the heart experience we can have with a God of love. Even if you have gone through these studies and have learned a lot of interesting things, it will have little effect in your life, IF you haven t truly invited Jesus into your heart. Mat. 7:21-23 says, Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. "Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. Some people haven t learned the true gospel, and therefore they haven t allowed Jesus into their hearts because they don t know who He is. But in this passage Jesus is speaking to people who have prophesied in His name and cast out demons, they knew ABOUT Him but didn t truly know Him in their heart. You have been exposed to the one true gospel according to scripture, and have seen a clear picture painted of a loving God. You ve seen many misperceptions circulating the church unveiled, and have seen the correct perception of the gospel, from the Bible. You may have found areas in your personal picture of God that needed correction, and you may have found other areas that were confirmed. But the gospel is calling for you to make a decision: Am I willing to allow Jesus into my heart to change ANY views I have about Him, even if everyone I know believes different? Am I willing to stand on truth, even if the majority chooses to stand on error? Am I willing to yield to the word of God rather than the traditions of men? (Mat. 15:1-3,9) If you want Jesus to enter into your whole heart to begin a Heart Experience instead of a Head knowledge kneel down and pray as you would talk to a friend, and ask Jesus to give you the courage and faith to accept Him for who He really is, instead of imagining Him the way you may want Him to be. God will enter your heart as you continue to invite Him daily. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you FREE! (Jn. 8:32)