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The Arrogance of Knowledge

Steven Grabiner


Our biblical knowledge can lead to arrogance without God's motivating love


Steven Grabiner

President, Outpost Centers International



  • October 5, 2019
    12:00 PM
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My. Message this morning my thoughts I'd like to share the title clearly is the arrogance of knowledge and it comes from this passage 1st Corinthians which we just read together was talking with David in last night about the sermon. She gave me tremendous insights and I thought well maybe I'll just read the whole chapter and sit down. As somebody is supposed to say a minute that point. The passage is powerful isn't it and we are encouraged to read that chapter every day. It's really what our whole Christian experience is about which is learning how much God loves us and then learning how to reflect that love to other people and that's really what I want to share with you this morning both in a Broadway how we interact with people outside of our sphere people that may not know Jesus and His love and how we interact one with another so again if you have your Bibles turn with me to 1st Corinthians 13 not going to read the entire chapter just in the end but in verse one this very powerful thought that Paul tells us that if I speak with the tongue of men and of angels if I have tremendous eloquence if. If I was like John Chrysostom the Golden Mouth preacher was really able to communicate the Gospel but don't have love then what. Just like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal and then Paul goes on in verses 2 and 3 and he tells us even if we do all sorts of things you know if I have great faith and I can move mountains or if I give all that I have to feed the poor or if I give my very life in martyrdom but if I don't have love it profits me nothing which indicates that we could do all those things without what without love which right away should set us on the edge of our chairs thinking really is there somebody that would really give their life or give all their goods for the poor work or preach the gospel but not really have love will yes the answer's yes far too often that is our experience but then in verse 4 he says this love is patient and love is kind and love does not brag and this is from the New American Standard where it says and is not what arrogant the King James in the New King James is a different word says puffed up same kind of a thought and this thought of being puffed up or being arrogant runs throughout the book of 1st Corinthians and if you know anything about the 1st the church in Corinth it it was a pastor's nightmare all sorts of things taking place in that church. Immorality people fighting with one another due to her and this congregation and yet as we read carefully 1st Corinthians they were pretty proud because they're missing something where they missing. Love and if you're missing love you can become proud about lots of different things and so I want to as I said I want to address this in relation to how we relate to other people and how we relate to one another and I want to tell you about a new friend that I met a couple of weeks ago last week and his name is not really John but I'm going to call him John just for privacy sake so John grew up in a minority family. Not anywhere in this part of the world. Lower income and against sexual orientation as he was growing up and all 3 of these combined to give John a very typical life growing up you know how did he fit in and the schools that he went to were majority Caucasian majority white and so how did he fit into this society was a lot of issues that he was facing and as he grew up a number of interactions they came into his life helped him become more comfortable with. Not feeling like he needed to fit in recognizing his ethnicity and becoming proud of it and not really were worrying about his economic status but something that happened as we were talking to one another he found out I was a 7th Day Adventist and so he asked me this question What do you add that is believe Have you ever had anyone ask you that question so I used to answer this question much easier than I do now. It was easier for me to answer it so if somebody were to ask you what do you have a display what would you say John and I are walking we're going to lunch together I just met and he's telling me his whole story and then he says to what happens believe. Oh Jesus loves you and might I wish you had been with me. You know it and actually then he asked Would you believe in what's different from other Christians and I was like well why Korea always different. So but I began talking about that we really try to follow the Bible carefully where it reveals Jesus' love and that every person is created in the image of God and because of that everybody has value in God's sight and then I started sharing about some of our early Adventist founders like Joseph Bates in the 18 hundreds and how they fought against slavery and they were very interested in making a difference in society and goes well I know about you guys is that you're really interested in health they said well yes we are interested in health but that's because we believe in the whole person mentally physically and spiritually and we started sharing about things like that and then he started sharing about his experience with me how in his journey he met a group of Quakers and he decided to start worshipping with the Quakers he doesn't any longer but he did and he found that the Quakers were very helpful for him I don't know if you know anything about Quaker worship service there you sit in a circle and you don't say anything or there's more to it than that but that's my understanding and then afterwards there's fellowship but it's being quiet in God's presence but he enjoyed that but the thing that really made the difference for him is this he said that every Quaker he met were so loving and so accepting that's what was communicated to him. That he had value created in the image of God and so of course the question for us is so if John came to church how would we relate to him How do we relate to people. And we have this kind of a really awkward thing as simply as it is and those of you that might not be a simply have been is you're welcome a little brief in-house conversation but 7th Day Adventists have a lot of information about health right tremendous information that's very beneficial to people and we can see that lots of different ways are education and Bible understanding there's a lot of good Bible truth that we understand but all of that is knowledge and the title of the sermon is what the arrogance of knowledge Now if you think I'm making that up turn back with me to chapter 8 in the book of 1st Corinthians Chapter 8 is a very long section in which Paul deals with idols and we're not going to do that this morning just one of kind of pull out one thought that Paul says here 1st Corinthians Chapter 8 and verse one now concerning things sacrificed to idols we know that we all have no knowledge knowledge does what pops up as the King James says in the New King James but love edifies or as the New American Standard says love knowledge makes arrogant but love edify us and say here's our attention here's our danger is to have knowledge but not have love and when we have a lot of knowledge unfortunately Well Scripture tells us here at least that it has the tendency to make us arrogant we think we know everything and then if we of course we know everything there is we're not very curious because. Because we know everything why be curious if you know everything right and so we have this tension and it's a real tension how do you keep curiosity about scriptures when you're studying it if you feel like you know it all how do you be curious about another person's life and story if you think you have all no. Knowledge makes us air again but love edifies Now some of you are sitting there thinking yeah just hold on a 2nd education is important and and it's sure I agree I'm not saying education is not important but education without love can be dangerous I'm not saying let's not have the education I'm saying let's have what's really important which is love and so just follow with me as we continue our time together this morning as I mentioned he said there were so loving so accepting Here's a quotation believe it it's from the book of vandalism Ellen White writes this If we wish to convince unbelievers that we have the truth that sanctifies the soul and transforms the character there's a way we shouldn't act how is that we must not believe in it leads charge them with their errors in other words if we really want to show somebody that we understand truth or have knowledge that's got to change us and the way we live and simply pointing out somebody else is error is really not going to be very helpful and then it continues thus we force them notice we force them to the conclusion that the truth does not make us kind and courteous but coarse and rough. So here we have this un enviable position we find ourselves in as Christians or as Seventh-Day Adventist Christians believing that Jesus is going to come and wealth of information it's a huge blessing to people transform people's lives transform my life transform many of yours yet how do we communicate it in a gracious way and that's really what I want to share. This morning again both extremely and interrelated by externally I mean with people that we might meet and internally how do we relate to one another here as a group of believers so it's important for us that to begin with the conviction that every single person bears the image of God and we talked about this a few weeks ago when we were looking at our responsibility in to those that the quartet of the vulnerable you might remember that I mentioned the the widows the poor the ins and the orphans quartette of the vulnerable in the Old Testament and we start with the position that everybody bears the image of God we recognize also that that image is marred in people and there are people that do bad things in this world we recognize that but we also need to recognize that each person has a measure of the image of God still in them and because of that they deserve respect honor now they could act in ways that don't continue deserve respect and that's not what I'm saying not saying that we should gloss over things that people do but I am saying as we interact with people our default position should be you are a bearer of the image of God rather than the default position being what you're ignorant you're an enemy you're you're something different. Rather we should come with this beautiful point you bear the image of God So. I'm putting this up here because I'm in the position of pastor ing occasionally it says especially should our ministers be aware of indolence and pride which are apt to grow out of a consciousness that what now if you think this is only for ministers you're mistaken. We should be weary of indolence and pride which has a tendency to grow out of the knowledge that we have the truth. I've got it she continues to say there is danger of feeling that they we are rich and increased with goods while they lack the essential qualifications of Christians and what is the essential qualification of being a Christian. Love and so knowledge by itself leads to arrogance knowledge is knowledge is power knowledge can be helpful to people but knowledge separated from Love is a dangerous thing and how do we navigate believing certain things believing what the Bible says when a person dies or what day to worship or or you what kind of foods to eat or Also how to exercise believing all these wonderful things how do we keep that knowledge from making us arrogant healthy dose of realizing that we're in need of God's grace all the time and that we don't understand everything and that we are individually not the fount of all wisdom nor are any of us I would assume somebody might challenge me on this nor are any of us fully living up to everything we know and that as Romans 3 tells us we continually fall short of the glory of God and are continually need of His grace and his transforming law. So let's continue this together said I want to try to make this practical and some levels and I said that we begin with the conviction that every person we meet bears the image of God and I want to share that every in the way we interact with people is a demonstration of the Gospel that we preach so our interactions our social interactions how we meet people reveals a lot about the Gospel we believe and so let me try to illustrate this if I can in a couple of different ways. And I'm going to ask for let's see I think there's a wedding tomorrow is that right some of you are here for a wedding right so there are some people in this room that have been married a while right Mike and Cindy Paul and Paul Paul. Never mind. Sorry it's a private conversation. I want to give an illustration and then I want to make it practical and maybe some of you would like to share and if not I have some things to share from my marriage that I got permission to so in every circumstance we we climb it's called this ladder of inference let me just kind of describe it something happens those are objective facts that there's a circumstance that takes place whatever it is and then from those selected some of those objective facts we pull other facts out that we want to focus on to those facts we give particular meanings based on our background or our culture or our training or education to those meanings we add assumptions those assumptions form beliefs those beliefs form what actions so just kind of illustration I was driving the other day I put my blinker on I put my blinker on and I polled over into another lane and the gentleman I saw him and he was far enough behind but. He got right on my tail and he started honking people in Tennessee don't honk very much but he was honking and he was right on my tail and so we were driving and then we drove into Publix and we parked and he came right into Publix behind me and Junior was right behind me and then he pulled a little past in then he made a hand motion and then he pulled over and he parked in front of the liquor store and what happened well I pulled in front of him right and that's the objective fact his I'm assuming his selective fact was you cut me off and then he tried tributed meaning to that and the meaning is. You're a lousy driver and then he's assuming things about my character and now he has this belief that I'm a flaming idiot and I'm probably from New York and. Then. Yeah. And then he does an action right you with me. And so we're in the car and he pulls up to the liquor store what are you assuming. What do you think he's drunk Ok so I thought you know maybe his wife worked in the liquor store and she was having a baby and he needed a rush to get her and take her to the hospital I have no idea what's going on I wanted to get out and apologize Vivian said no he was he was big she was afraid I would use my karate skills on him. Tell tell the truth. You see the trajectory this happens something happens we choose to focus on a certain part of it he didn't focus on the path that I put my blinker on he focused on how close we were whatever and then he had a ongoing thing now the problem with this is in relationships once we've made our assumptions and our conclusions we look for evidence that confirms what we already think you're with me on this so husbands and wives. Anybody want to give an illustration. Oh Mark and no shot no no you were saying don't sorry she hit him and I thought it was like. All right. All right let me give you one. So I check this out so I use most of you know I travel a lot and it and all of you know and I know that my wife loves me very much and so when I travel a lot you know one of the things that really says that she loves me I come home and there's grapefruit juice and fruit in the refrigerator Ok simple. Most of the time when I come home there isn't grapefruit juice or fruit in the refrigerator and so I think like like what's going on. And then I come home from a trip and it's not there and I focus on what it's not being there and now after this whenever I leave the house there's going to be great for juice and fruit in the fridge and I'm sure but you know we were talking about it last night she was like really I never knew that she said and then she said Aren't you being kind of narrow Aren't you missing all the other things I do for you which is the point of the illustration we focus on certain things and then we try to make meaning out of those things and we lose the larger picture knowledge makes us arrogant but what love edify us and love would try to step back instead of walking up this ladder love would walk down the ladder and think What am I selectively choosing to focus on and maybe there's something broader that I can look at here which in this case would be. The my whole life with my wife who is tremendously loving and giving and so a point here is when we relate to people outside of our little community of believers and I'm not saying the Eastridge church saying the same badness journey when we relate to people outside and we want to communicate love how do we interact we too frequently pick something out focus on that make conclusions make assumptions and then it informs our belief and then it informs our actions and then we go back to try to cherry pick information so that we can keep reinforcing love makes knowledge makes us arrogant but love edifies and as the Scripture also says love covers a multitude of sins because if I start from the point of view that every person is in the image of God and Piers that image then I'm going to be starting with a different foundation that's going to be my foundational data is no you are a child of God whether you recognise it whether you know it or not God cares for every person in this universe you've been formed in his image and that should be the basis for everything else that comes up and any other activity or action that comes into it I need to take it back down and think Ok maybe there's something else at play here I have a question for you though Chris a group of lions is called Day. Pride very good 100 percent good lines is called the pride and the title pride of lions goes back to like the 1400s it's very low old you know lions a king of the Be King of the jungle they're not really jungle but you know it's a kingly animal surprise of lions and so we have all these titles for collective nouns which are actually some of them are very funny bear with me there's a point a group of rhinos is call. A crush who said that oh crush that's right group of rhinos is called a crush because that's a lion rhinos do right they. Stamp out fires and they don't stand out fires but they crush they they run and they do different things group of rhinos is called a crush group of ravens or crows murder why because black bird is connected with murder smart smart group of people group of alligators is called a. Group of alligators is called a congregation. I wonder why. There's 2 ways to take this. You can look at these smiling alligators and notice how they're just loving one another and they're laying next to each other and they just enjoy being in one those presidents. You know are you could think of the nature of alligators which would be to eat one another at times or into fight with one another and you're fine alligators with short tails or one eyes because they're very aggressive and when I learned that I thought you know that. As insightful. Group of alligators is called the congregation do we ever act like that well if we're acting like this just kind of loving one another that's fantastic but too often we generically however broad you want to make that circle we act like alligators and I'm not sure whether the person that did this had been a pastor when he named alligators a congregation I don't feel that this congregation is like alligators but there are times where our interactions are like that. Would you agree where somebody will say something and we will just get ticked off or we will respond in the wrong way or we will become offended for some reason knowledge does what knowledge makes us arrogant but love at a 5 Love build up. And the way we interact with 2 with one another is really the revelation of the Gospel that we preach so I want to do something with you mental picture here again along the lines of how do we communicate love how do we interact with people how do we have this body of knowledge and yet not come across arrogant I gave you the old straight of the ladder of influence inference climbing up and down of it wanting want to give you different illustration now and this comes from highlight magazine Oh you're all familiar with highlight magazine kid you get those pictures and you have 2 pictures and what would you have to do with the 2 pictures you'd have to find the differences in the pictures and you would spend time looking at the pictures and he find these little details that are different. When you and I interact with one another we inhabit one or the other of those 2 pictures and we tend to think that our picture is the whole reality and the other person that we're interacting with spouse friend has a slightly different picture and things have changed and a Muslim begin to understand this then will act like a congregation of alligators and really begin to attack one another so let me let me try to give you an illustration here. In every interaction every conversation every board meeting every sharing every you know family disagreement every spatter around the dinner table. Every interaction there's 3 different conversations and there are 3 aspects of each car conversation what are they 1st of all there is what happened right that's the facts what happened but then in every situation like there there is how I respond to that my emotional response Those are my feelings and then there is the 3rd level which is what that does to me as a person now every one of us has that So if we disagree if have this people get married people been married and there's an argument in every room argument there's the same kind of a thing there's what happened the facts there's no grapefruit juice new refrigerator there is the emotional response Oh I'm feeling left out and then there's She doesn't care that I'm your husband Ok that I don't I'm using that as an illustration please. Ok. So. Right now is a perfect teaching moment. So there is what's happening I'm sharing an illustration. I'm giving an example all she's feeling what I tacked I'm not a good wife you need to let them know that she's a good wife she is a good wife and I'm so but this is a perfect illustration of what happens when we have arguments with one another there's no way I view it there's the way you view it and then there's the way an outsider would view it Love helps us come to the 3rd Way 3rd conversation to begin to look at the the whole yes Ok I see that it's hurting you and I see that it's hurting me but let's look at it this way so that we can all learn together so that we can be a congregation of alligators that really love to hang out with one another is that illustration. Love brings us from a place of certainty to a place of curiosity again this is very difficult for us because we have the truth and be we're right or I'm right in a relationship I mean it's clear there's no grapefruit juice What's this is gushing it's objectively true it's not there or whatever it is in your family that you don't want to share with me here now. But in all of these things if we're only focusing on no it. That brings tension and arrogance where if we begin to move to a different position of love of fear Yasi of help me to understand how you're seeing it that way. That can enhance our entire experience so let's go back to 1st Corinthians. 13 for well 1st Corinthians 13. And start in verse 4. Love is patient love is kind and his non jealous love does not brag and is not arrogant not puffed up Love does not act unbecomingly it does not seek its own is not provoked does not take into account or wrong suffered that we can say always puts the best construction on the motives of others does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth bears all things believe all things hopes all things endure is all things love never fails and then Paul goes on and tells us about all the things that will fail gift of prophecy speak in different languages know all ij that's really going to be something verse 9 For we know in part and we prophesied in part but when the perfect comes the partial will be done away when we see eternity I guarantee you there are going to be surprises and if we think we have it figured out we will be very surprised because we know in part that when the perfect comes the partial is done away and then he goes on and talks about when he was a child verse 13 but now faith hope love abide these 3 and of course the greatest of these is is love if we love we actually fulfil the law if we don't love it really doesn't matter what law we fulfil knowledge alone makes us arrogant the law builds up. And that's what God wants us to do he wants us to be individuals that are full of grace that build up other people our friends our spouses our spouses to be our extended families the strangers we meet John whom I met talked about earlier love builds up do you want to be building for God's kingdom. The way to that is the path of love realizing the love that God has for us and the tremendous. Self. Self-denial loss of self that you bring to us the words skate me there but when we truly see God's love it's not trading ourselves it's focusing back on the one that gives that love and then seeing every other person in the image of God and thinking how can I build this person up love edified father make us whole labors with you in this tremendous work we thank you in Jesus' name amen. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio overs or if you would like to listen to more service leader visit w.w.w. audio or.


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