Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just an Appetizer?

                I enjoy my Pastor’s teachings. He has such a passion and love for Jesus Christ that comes through his every word. His desire to make disciples and to feed his flock the Word of God makes my heart glad. It is one of the reasons why I am so thankful that the Lord led us to attend this fellowship. But, I also know that if I do not feed myself I will eventually end up in a state of spiritual malnutrition.  For me, personally, Sunday is my appetizer to start my week. It is the beginning of the meal that I am about to partake in Monday through Saturday. Unfortunately, I think that many of us Christians think that Sunday is our meal and should hold us over until the next one rolls around.
               As I study through the book of Acts one of the things that I see most frequently in the people is a desire to know the Word of God. Paul spent years teaching and preaching in the cities that he went to. But he seemed to also plant a desire in the people to seek and to search out God for themselves. One of the things that I think has made our country so lacking in spiritual nutrition is that we have allowed man to feed us and we have not wanted to feed ourselves.  Take for example the Bereans. They were called noble. Why? Because they did not take anyone’s word for it, they wouldn’t even take Paul at his word. They had to search out for themselves what was truth.    
                “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded (noble- KJV) 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 17:10-11
                These Bereans did not just take Paul at his word because he said he was an Apostle. They listened to him, received what he had to say but then they went and searched the Scriptures for themselves. And did you notice that is said they did this daily? How many of us go to church on Sunday, listen to our pastor teach, then just walk out with a feel good attitude, instead of going home and searching through those scriptures ourselves? I believe that one of the reasons why we lack spiritually in our walks is because we too often take what man gives us from the pulpit and never take any time to find out what God has for us daily. We just eat on Sunday and forget to eat the rest of the week.

                I enjoy my Pastor’s teaching. Like I said he is one of the most passionate, Jesus loving pastors I have ever met. His love and compassion for his flock shows not only in his teaching but in the way he interacts with his flock. However, just because he says it doesn’t mean it is truth. We get so caught up in the preaching that we forget to go to the One who does the teaching. How different would our lives look if we too were like the Bereans? How would our walks look if we were to take the scriptures that our Pastor gives us on Sunday and search them out to find out if these things are so?
                The enemy is crafty. I think we forget that. Many men are standing in the pulpits today that have all the right words, but their walks are lacking. If they do not walk what they teach, then should we not question their teaching? I think we have begun a downward spiral into deception because we think that just because someone has the title of “pastor” then he must automatically be anointed and called by God. But, as you read through the book of Acts, you will see that just because someone teaches good, doesn’t mean they have the Holy Spirit backing them up.
                Take Apollos for example. Acts 18 tells us that he was an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, fervent in spirit, and he spoke and taught accurately. (Acts 18:24-26) But there was something missing in his teaching. Apollos was from Alexandria. He had access to just about everything and anything he could get his hands on. Alexandria, we know, was known for its extensive library. Apollos basically had been taught how to teach, and taught what to teach, but he lacked the one thing that qualifies all men and women to stand before others and proclaim the Word of God. He lacked the Holy Spirit. He was right in all that he was saying, but the power and the passion was lacking. It was not until the Holy Spirit was in him that he became a true teacher and preacher of God’s Word.
               
We need to be mindful, my brothers and sisters. We need to be on guard and not so ready to accept what comes from the pulpit. We need to take our eyes off the man that is standing in front of us and get back to studying and searching the Scriptures for ourselves. Just because a man says its truth, doesn’t mean that it is. I tell the women in our study group all the time to not take my word for it. They need to go and search the Scriptures for themselves. Sunday should be the appetizer to a week full of the Word of God. Sunday is not meant to be the main meal.

                The Bereans were noble, fair-minded, ready and willing to hear and to learn the Word of God, but they didn’t just take Paul’s word for it. They searched; they sought out daily the truth from God Himself. Shouldn’t we be doing the same? My eyes are to be on Jesus, yet so many times I think we focus on man. We allow the man behind the pulpit to feed us, and expect to be filled. But, we must remember that even Jesus said that man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Luke 4:4) Maybe we should start seeking what He has to say instead of just taking someone else’s word for it? What do you think?