The Way to Increase Knowledge and Understanding

June 3, 2019

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Philemon 1:4-6

When we are enthusiastic Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we typically want to grow, become wise in our spiritual lives, gain knowledge, and become reliable resources for truth. We typically join Bible studies, read, listen to speakers, memorize Scripture, get in small groups, and even go to wonderful places like NewPointe Institute, etc. We love when we acquire a new bit of knowledge that makes us feel more mature.

Nothing is wrong with any of that. It can help us. But none of it is the main thing. All the way through Jesus’ words and the words of the disciples who truly got it, there’s a much more primary way of gaining understanding. Paul explained it to Philemon, an educated and wealthy man in the early church. Philemon had a slave (part of the culture at that time) who had run away, but in his flight had met Paul and become a Christian. He made the courageous decision to return to his master and take whatever cruelty would likely be showered on him, up to death.

Paul believed in both of these Christian brothers and wrote a letter to express his hopes and desires. Paul tells Philemon how he can effectively grow and deepen his understanding of the gospel. He asks Philemon to step up to the plate and serve his slave, Onesimus, in the Spirit of Christ. He says, “I am praying that you will serve, which makes you partner with us. If you do, your partnership of service in the faith will be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” He knew that if Philemon served Onesimus in this way, it would grow his faith more than anything else.

The same is true for you and me. Serving will provide us with knowledge of God and His ways more than any class we can ever take. Try it. Trust God and do the work.

  • Where is God asking you to serve today? Think about it. Whatever knowledge you desire, this may be the path. When you do what God asks you to do, you will know Jesus better.