"PROFESSION VS POSSESSION"
I. "THEY PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD."
A. There are many people today who profess to know God.
1. I had an uncle who was one of the most profane persons I have ever met. He also was an alcoholic, and whenever I would begin to witness to him, he professed to know God. He would say, "I believe in God and I say my prayers every night."
2. The tragic thing is that many of those who profess to know God really believe that they know Him.
a. Many of them have a form of godliness.
b. There are certain religious acts that they perform.
c. This was very true of the Jews in the days of Jesus. They went through so many rites and rituals thinking that they were of God and pleasing God.
d. John in his gospel tells of one day when Jesus was talking to the Jews and said, "If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying."
3. I wonder if Jesus might be saying to some of you today, "You say that I am your Lord, yet you do not know Me, nor do you do the things that I command you."
4. It is one thing to know of God and quite another to know God. So many of those who profess to know God only know of God.
B. The case of the prophet Balaam should be a warning to all of us.
1. He could say the right things.
2. He could prophesy great things.
3. Yet he did such evil things, and advocated an evil doctrine.
4. In the New Testament Balaam is always spoken of in an evil light.
>a. 2 PE 2:15
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
b. Jude 11
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.
c. REV 2:14
Jesus said to the church of Pergemus I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
5. Balaam spoke in such spiritual terms about God.
And he took up this parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, the man whose eyes are open, he which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, [which] saw the vision of the Almighty, who falling [into a trance], but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
a. He claimed to know God, but in practice, he denied Him.
b. Though he claimed to know God he did such evil things. There is an inconsistency here. The proverb says, "Be not wise in your own eyes, but fear the Lord and depart from evil." 3:7
6. Hosea prophesied of the coming judgment of God against Israel because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law, Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Israel hath cast off [the thing that is] good: the enemy shall pursue him. They had set up kings, but not by God: they made they made idols out of their silver and gold.
a. The professed to know God, their cry was, "My God we know Thee."
b. In practice they denied Him, as they worshipped their idols of gold and silver that represented their desire for money, and pleasure.
C. What do you think that God is most interested in, your profession or your works?
1. When you stand before Him in judgment what do you think will be accepted by Him, your profession or your works?
2. John the Baptist said to the crowds who came to hear him preach, "Bring forth fruit that demonstrates repentance."
3. Jesus warned, "Not all that say Lord, Lord, are going to enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of the Father."
4. James said, "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves."
a. Many people are deceived, because they can talk the right talk, they think that they are ok.
b. Again James said,
If a brother or sister be naked, and in need of food,
And you say to him, "Go in peace, be warmed and full, yet you do not give to him some food or clothes, what does profit him?"
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
A man may say, "You have faith, and I have works: well you show my your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You say that you believe that there is one God? The devils believe that and they tremble before Him.
5. John said,
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
II. IN WORKS YOU DENY HIM.
A. A total inconsistency in their lives. They say one thing and do another.
1. Many people today deny God by the lives that they live.
2. I knew a man that was an officer in the church that carried a big Bible, in fact he carried about three Bibles so he could compare the translations. Yet this man outside of the church was known as a dishonest businessman, and would provide girls for his clients.
B. How did they deny God by their works?
1. They were abominable. The word is usually used to describe people who worshipped false gods.
a. People who worshipped Ashtoreth, the godess of sex. Whose minds were filled with pornography.
b. God said to the prophet Ezekiel, I will show you the great abominations of the people.
And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, I saw a hole in the wall. Then He said unto me, Son of man, dig in the wall: and when I had dug in the wall, I saw a door, and he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that are going on here. So I went in and saw all kinds of filthy pictures and trash portrayed on the walls. I saw the leaders of the people gathered there beholding the filth. God then said to him, "I have taken you into the minds of the leaders that you might see what is going on in their minds, you have seen what is going on in their imaginations.
3. They denied God by their disobedience.
a. God was not really the god of their lives. Jesus was not lord. Jesus asked, "Why do you call Me lord, and yet you do not the things that I command you?"
4. As far as their works, they are reprobate.
a. They had become useless to God.
b. The Greek word is used to describe a counterfeit coin.
c. That is exactly what Paul is talking about a person who is a counterfeit. One who may look to be genuine, say the right things, yet has made a counterfeit profession.