Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

The subject of ignorance can be as broad as the sky, and as all-encompassing as life itself. Therefore, it is my intention that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this short article will be useful in examining the life before God in all openness and honesty.

The Holy Scriptures have much to say about the subject of ignorance. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy these words about himself: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul’s ignorance was a direct result of unbelief, but once he met the truth in the person of Jesus Christ, belief consumed him and ignorance departed, as he sought to obey the Lord for as long as he lived.

The Apostle Paul’s ignorance was innocent ignorance, and thus he received mercy from God. There is another type of ignorance, however, that will incur the wrath of God. This ignorance is not the kind of ignorance that results from being unlearned, but, on the contrary, is willful ignorance. Sadly, there are many people who call themselves Christians, and who are educated in the Bible, but who are still willfully ignorant of God, His ways and His will for their lives. The Bible tells us that such people are, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” 2 Timothy 3:7. The key to this “educated ignorance” comes down to the unregenerate, rebellious, prideful, wicked heart. Such people have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” verse 5.

We read in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” It is amazing to consider that if a person had gifts, insight and understanding, all knowledge about everything, and great faith, it is still “nothing” without benevolent love. Yet, within Christendom today, we see people chasing after prophets (falsely so-called) and personal “prophecies,” delving into mysteries (the occult), clamoring after knowledge (most of which is man’s ungodly, vain philosophies), worshipping worship, and placing faith in their faith.

Such people, in their ignorance, are unaware that the fruit of charitable love, or the love of God, is missing in their life, and when this love is missing, it goes without saying that Jesus is also missing. It’s “all smoke and no fire,” as the old saying goes.

I am old enough to remember back to a time when usually upon first meeting another Christian, there would be an instant bond of love and camaraderie because of the oneness of the Spirit.  The sad truth is, this sort of experience is very rare nowadays. We have met many people who, while claiming to be Christians, lack love, and who are untrustworthy and downright treacherous. Some have set out to do us harm, while in complete ignorance of their ungodly attitudes and actions, which some day God will judge.

Concerning ignorance where Satan is concerned, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” 2 Corinthians 2:11. Ignorance is an open door for Satan to enter with his devious, deceptive devices. Contrary to some popular teachings that Satan is under our feet, and that all we have to do is “go up to the enemy’s camp and take back what he stole,” this is not only unscriptural, but dangerous and downright ridiculous. Nowhere in Scripture is there a command for God’s people to make a frontal attack on Satan, yet many today ignorantly practice making “war in the heavenlies” and consider it their “ministry.”

Scripture gives us our position. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” Ephesians 6:13. Withstanding and standing mean to maintain your position, to not give in or give way to Satan’s attacks and devices, which all boil down to our faith and whom we will bow down to or obey. Satan desires to be worshipped above all else, and any ignorance of the truth on our part is to his advantage.

Worshipping Satan does not necessarily mean consciously bowing down to him in the literal sense, but coming into agreement with Satan’s mockery of the Lord every time we disagree with God in our hearts and actions through pride and unbelief, neglect of Christian duty, self exaltation and self-satisfaction, rebellion, resentment of what is holy and right, hardness of heart, dependency upon self, and lack of faith, among other things.

Concerning our faith, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare: Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” 1 Timothy1:18, 19. He also wrote in 2 Timothy 2:3, 4: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

   The Bible calls Christians to be soldiers of Jesus Christ, but you will notice that the title of “warrior” is not to be found in the New Testament. According to Webster’s Dictionary, warrior means to make war, whereas soldier is defined as one in military service, to serve as a soldier, to behave in a soldierly manner, an enlisted man or woman. Even though part of the definition of a soldier is skilled warrior, a soldier is under authority, disciplined and part of a unit or squadron of soldiers who are under authority, whereas the concept of warrior brings to mind undisciplined, warlike individuals who are accountable to no one. The terminology within the Church today has subtly perverted the Scriptural intent (spirit) and principles behind the verses involving warfare and soldiery from a position, stance and responsibility in humility and dependence upon God, to militant aggressiveness that has produced fanaticism that borders on paganism.

Christians need not be ignorant concerning spiritual armor and warfare because all we need to know about this subject is in the Bible, and it is abundantly clear that we are to stand (on the Rock, Jesus), resist (temptation), contend for the faith (Truth), and through faith and obedience overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. James wrote: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:6, 7.

   God has not commissioned us to defeat Satan’s rule over this world, in spite of what the Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now, Latter Rain hireling shepherds and false prophets which have infiltrated the Church and perverted its mission would have us believe. On the contrary, our commission, straight from the lips of Jesus, is: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” Matthew 28:18-20.

Whole movements within Christendom today are based on unscriptural and dangerous ideas, agendas and whims of false brethren who grow rich by making merchandise of men’s souls, who truly should know better if they own an authorized version of the Holy Bible and know how to read. On the other hand, however, the ignorance we see today in regard to salvation, consecration, sanctification, obedience, holiness, righteousness, and all that goes with the victorious, overcoming Christian life is basically due to the fact that the traditional Church has failed to make disciples as commanded by Jesus. She has made converts to her own ideas, agendas, dogmas, doctrines, and theology, but not disciples to Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, the saints are not equipped for the ministry—ministry meaning serving Christ according to His commandments, which translates into practical service to others. Instead of being properly instructed that the Christian life is not about self and what self can gain, people today ignorantly allow themselves to be seduced by a pseudo-Christianity that promises worldly success, happiness, popularity, fun, and entertainment. As long as they are not required to pay a price (beyond tithing to the institution to which they belong), nothing else is required. The concept of sacrifice as outlined in the Scriptures is wholly missing.

This brings us to another area where the devices of Satan have overshadowed truth with error, causing gullible souls to sin through ignorance. This area is in the realm of giving, which is another study in itself. Peoples’ frame of reference concerning giving has been reinforced through the centuries by carefully contrived systematic brainwashing. Thankfully, there has always been a remnant of Spirit-led believers who know how to think outside of the box, and gain God’s perspective and will. These people know how to seek God’s face as to where their tithes, alms, and sacrificial gifts should go. They faithfully support those who invest in their lives through godly teaching, preaching, wise counsel, and who fight for their souls. This wise remnant understands the deceitfulness of riches, as well as the devices Satan uses to financially oppress God’s servants.

Few in number are those wise souls who know that God’s blessings to His people are for the purpose of blessing others, not building bigger buildings or making the super star leader rich. God’s financial blessings are to be used primarily for the furtherance of the Gospel whether that means support for real missionaries (usually native missionaries, including homeland missionaries), funding for Bibles and discipleship materials, and for first assisting the local brethren who are in need, and then others. I truly believe that if the great wealth that God has bestowed upon America for decades had been used to spread the Gospel, instead of poured into self-indulgent pursuits of the “Great American Dream,” that most, if not all, of the world could have been exposed to the Gospel.

For the Christian, there is no excuse to remain ignorant because we have the Word of God. What excuse can we offer the Lord if we have been slothful servants, unfaithful stewards, deliberately blinded to our sins of commission and omission, unholy in lifestyle, and obstinately ignorant of the Lord’s admonitions concerning everyday life—including our work habits, marriage, child rearing, relationships, and conduct towards others?

May we wisely ponder Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:37-39: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the son of man be.”