Someone has said that "What you don't know won't hurt you". We all know that is incorrect and yet it seems that many people have adopted that philosophy toward spiritual matters. Nothing could be further from the truth! Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". Spiritual ignorance is a very serious matter.
Read: Eph. 4:17-19.
In this passage Paul is speaking of people who are without Christ. He said that they were "alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them. Too often we equate ignorance with one who is simple-minded or backward. But some of the most talented people in the world, some of the greatest minds in science, are spiritually ignorant. That is a greater deficiency that someone who may be intellectually slow.
People who do not have a personal relationship with Christ are not the only ones who are spiritually ignorant! Unfortunately, it is also true of those who claim to be Christians. Ever ask yourself, how can a Christian behave this way or that way? Often it is because they choose to be ignorant of God's Word. Of all the choices they can make, to choose to be ignorant of God's principles will result in a Christian life that is stunted in its growth.
The Bible says that many are "willingly ignorant" of the Word of God. He has revealed Himself and His will in and through His Word, but many are simply refuse to accept and receive it.
(2 Peter 3:3-5) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
I. Ignorant Of What God Thinks About Sin
A. Making excuses for man's sins.
1. They say it is a social problem that can be corrected.
2. They fail miserably at their feeble attempts of rehabilitation
3. They do not want to accept personal responsibility for sin.
a. I am not a drunkard; I am an alcoholic
b. I am not a sodomite; I am simply living an alternate lifestyle
c. I can't help it…it's just the way I am!
d. It's not my fault…I am sick.
4. They try to camouflage sin and call it by other names but it remains sin…and God has an answer to sin!
B. Attempting to "humanize" God.
1. They formulate an opinion of what they want God to be and how they want God to react to sin.
2. They reject the Biblical view of an Holy and Righteous God
3. They have their own standards rather than accepting God's written Word!
4. For many their 'god is created in the image of man'.
C. God's Word is clear:
1. "Thou art inexcusable, O man…"
Ro. 2:1 2. "For all that do such things and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God."
De. 25:16 3. "The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."
Ps. 11:5 4. "Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord."
Zech. 8:17 5. God loves the sinner, but He hates sin - no matter what men may call it!
D. God will judge sin.
1. Ps. 7:11b-12, "God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turned not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready."
2. God's judgment upon this sinful world will come and nothing will stop it!
a. Likened to a woman who is about to give birth…
b. Once that process begins…there is no turning back…no stopping it!
3. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" Ps. 9:17
II Ignorant Of What Jesus Did On Calvary
A. To many it's no more than an event in history.
1. They recognize that Jesus lived and was put to death on the cross.
2. But they fail to see the importance of what took place on Calvary.
3. "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness" I Co. 1:18
B. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" 2 Co. 5:19
1. It was more than just an execution by the state.
2. It was reconciliation for sinful man and God in His holiness.
3. Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth to make it possible for sinful man to be reconciled with a holy God.
4. On the cross, Jesus was doing what man could never do; He was providing the answer to the problem of sin.
C. At the cross God was revealing His great love for mankind.
1. Unsaved men speak often of God's love and yet they are ignorant of His greatest expression.
2. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Ro. 5:8
3. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends."
III. Ignorant Of What Salvation Means
A. To them it means being religious.
1. Often the unsaved man views salvation as being synonymous with reformation.
2. "Turning over a new leaf" again, and again.
3. But reformation only deals with the outward.
4. It is change but it isn't salvation.
B. Salvation is a new beginning
1. 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
2. Born again into the family of God.
3. Salvation does what religion could never do - it brings us eternal life!
4. "...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Ro. 6:23b
C. Ignorance is no excuse
(Acts 17:29-31) Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
1. Repentance: a change in the way we think that always results in a change of behavior.
2. God will no longer overlook spiritual ignorance.
3. God commands all men everywhere to repent! Repent means to turn!
4. Jesus said we must either repent or perish.
5. How is this done? By faith turn from our sin and self and turn to Jesus Christ.
In this day of intellectual enlightenment we are appalled when we read of individuals who have been exposed to our educational system and yet remain ignorant. We quickly look for someone to blame; the school, the parents, the child. Where does the blame lie?
What about those who remain spiritually ignorant? Where do we place the responsibility? Nothing is accomplished by pointing the finger of blame. People are dying daily who are spiritually ignorant of what God thinks of sin, of what Jesus did on Calvary, and of what salvation will do for a person. What we do - we must do quickly. Perhaps there is one here this morning who doesn't know Christ? Maybe there are those here who have not been doing all they should to reach those who need the Gospel? Has God spoken to your hearts this morning - if so would you come?