Thursday, May 30, 2013

Don't Take My Word For It

                Yesterday, I had a conversation with a sister in the Lord about church and reading our bibles. It was a nice conversation, and as we talked, the conversation turned to churches that do not teach the word of God. This to me is an issue that we face more and more in America today and perhaps around the world in which we live. As we talked, I thought about a scripture that I learned as a baby Christian, and still hold fast to today.
                “These {the Bereans} were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11
                 Paul and Silas had left Thessalonica by night and found their way to Berea. The scriptures tell us that Paul and Silas went to the synagogues and began teaching about Jesus Christ to the Jews that were there. These Bereans listened to Paul, but they would not take his word for it. They had to find out for themselves if what he was teaching was correct.
                It tells us that these Bereans were more “fair-minded” than the Thessalonians. The King James Version reads “noble”, which means that they were admirable, they were worthy of honor and respect. Why? Why were these Bereans thought of so highly by Paul and Silas and the others? Because they searched the scriptures daily and did not just take Paul’s word for it.
                So many times I listen to women and men talk about how great their pastor teaches. They are so “filled” when they leave service. I know of some pretty great teachers and preachers and have been in some pretty filling services myself. But, something I learned a very long time ago is to not take their word for it. I need to find out for myself what the Bible says to me. I need to make sure what I just heard lines up with what God says.
                The Bible is the Word of God; it is His spoken truth to His people. It is God’s revelation of who He is to each and every one of us. If we take our bibles into church with us, open them, listen to the pastor teach, close our bibles and leave them in the car until the next Sunday, how then are we to know if what we just heard was right and truth from God? The Bereans listened to Paul, heard his words and received them with all readiness. They did not reject what he was saying, they received it with an open heart and open mind, but then they did something that I believe we have failed to do today as a church, as children of God. They went to their homes, opened their bibles and searched God’s word for His confirmation of truth, daily.

                They examined the scriptures; they looked through ever resource they had to make sure that Paul was not teaching something that went against what God said. They discerned the preaching and teaching of Paul, they separated out what was truth and what was not. They did not take his word for it. They would not accept Paul’s teaching at face value, they wanted to know if “these things were so.” I once had a pastor tell me, “Don’t take my word for it. Go and search the scriptures for yourself.” Anyone who teaches or preaches the word of God is human, and their interpretation is based off of their own experience and study. You do not know where they are coming from, this does not mean that we should reject what they say, but we should be willing to diligently study the word of God for ourselves, and not just take their word for it.
                Too many bibles are left in a car or on a coffee table and never looked at except on a Sunday. What if your pastor is wrong? What if God does not say the things that you are being taught on a Sunday? I believe (and this is merely my opinion) that we have to discern the things we hear and shine the light of the Word of God upon it, before we take it and run with it. I do not desire anyone to take my word for it, please, after you read my blog, go and search the scriptures for yourself. I can only speak what is spoken to me; God has something particular for you.
                It is good to go to church and to sit under the word of God, listening and receiving, but we must study for ourselves. We need to ask ourselves, “Is this man/woman teaching us the truth? Are these things so? Does God Word say this?” The Bereans searched the scriptures daily, not once on a Sunday, but daily. This searching of the scriptures not only applies to our church life, but in the books we read, as well. Does the Christian book you are reading line up with the Word of God? Search and study and see if what it says is truth or not, discern and compare it to the Word of God, then digest it and apply it.

                Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we are to “be diligent to present {ourselves} approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” To present ourselves approved to God means that we are given to study, and we desire to know the scriptures for ourselves. When we do as the Bereans do and search and study the scriptures for ourselves, we will not be deceived, we will not be ashamed and we will be able to discern what is truth and what is not. My friend was misled and hurt by a church, because they did not teach the word of God in truth, and because she failed to search the scriptures for herself. But once she did start to search the scriptures, the Lord God opened her eyes and she was able to find a church that did teach God’s word, and encouraged her to search it all out for herself.

            
    “When we hear a preacher, be those who search the scriptures daily to find out whether these things are so. If the great apostle Paul was worthy of this kind of close examination, how much more should teachers and preachers today be carefully compared with scriptures.” (David Guziak) My sisters, we must learn to study and desire the word of God for ourselves. We cannot take some else’s word for it. It was worth it to the Bereans to work hard at investigating what the Word of God said, is it worth it to us? Don’t just leave your bible closed after Sunday, open it daily and search the scriptures to see if these things are so. If we do this, we too will be approved of God and workers that have nothing to be ashamed of, because we will be noble, just like the Bereans. Don’t take my word for it, go and find out for yourselves. Amen.