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Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. – Acts 17:11 In modern evangelical circles the Bereans are esteemed as model believers that all should follow, and yes there are great attributes to them but also there are implications taken from them that are untrue. Firstly they were jews, meaning they were religious jews but not believing Christians. Yet Paul the Apostle states they had “noble character” meaning they had a sense of them that they were deep thinkers before coming to quick conclusions on a matter. They were willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Secondly, we see that they gladly received the message, meaning they were teachable, willing to learn and adjust their own beliefs. They were not so dogmatic to think that they were perfect or not needing correction or perfecting of their thinking of the Scriptures. When they heard reasonable words shared from the truth of Scriptures they eagerly sought these out to see if they really were Scriptural and true. They were not defensive but rather looking to learn and grow in their relationship and walk with God. They were also diligent in that every day they looked to see if the things Paul was sharing was true. They did not just give up or judge Paul but were willing to listen to the other side of the story and not come to quick conclusions. What a wonderful picture of a people who in the end mostly “embraced” the gospel message, they certainly were “noble” and the Lord honoured that. The Bereans did not spend hours looking for gaps and mistakes in Paul’s and Silas’s teachings but looked to see what was true of what they were saying. Modern believers who esteem Bereans think of these things in a different way. They look to diligently check things with the Bible so they can accuse and criticize another person or ministry. Most people are usually have their mind made up someone is wrong and therefore go ahead and simply look for ways to attack another’s character, calling and ministry. Such ministries are known as discernment ministries or even heresy hunters. Most of those who follow the ways of these “type” of Bereans are joyless, critical in spirit, bitter or even angry. Many believe they can take down the ministry they are accusing and feel they are doing God’s work just like the early Bereans. If you desire to have life and peace, stay with the Word of God and stay away from those who make it their life’s work to criticize and accuse others. Follow the example of the true Bereans who were happy and joyfully to rejoice in truth when it was shared and be willing to grow in our understanding of the Lord.
There are so many life lessons in these passages today you could spend a week marinating on the info! I’ll try to condense my thoughts/questions to a minimum, as this triggers so much in my brain. MATTHEW 7 · One observation is in Matthew 7:1 it starts out by saying, “Do not judge.” Then however in verses 16 and 21 of the same chapter it says that by their fruit you will recognize them. You have to be inspecting the fruit or making a judgment of sorts to know if the fruit is good or bad. Verse 2 says how we judge others is how we will be judged, so I think this is warning us not to judge harshly for if we are unmerciful to others we may not have mercy extended to us. This is where I think looking at the whole Word of God comes in especially handy. 1 Corinthians 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? Although their actions may make us sad, I don’t think it’s our place to make harsh judgments on those outside of the body, for God will judge them. I expect lost people to act lost because they have not pledged their lives to Christ. · Verses 3-5 of Chapter 7 I think is clear that we need to work on ourselves first. It reminds me of what my dad used to always say to us as kids, “Tend to your own.” We shouldn’t be concerned about little problems with others if we have big problems of our own. I also like in verse 5 where is says “first take the plank out of your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly how to remove the speck from your brother’s.” So first work on ourselves, and then God will be able to better use us to help others. · Verse 8 is a reminder to me that we have to read the context of a Scripture, otherwise we could make it say something it doesn’t mean. The first part of 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you.” If you took that out of context you could see God as a genie that just grants your wishes. But, it’s talking about salvation, and those that truly seek Him will not be turned away. · Verse 12 of chapter 7 just reminded me of one of the Golden Rules in secular school growing up. My teacher would say, “Do unto others as you want done to you,” to our class. She didn’t quote it as a Scripture and might not have known it was in the Bible, but it is a very biblical principle. The Word of God is powerful, it’s good, and it can influence people without them even knowing it sometimes. · In Matthew 7: 22 where it says many will call out to the Lord and tell Him what they have done, but He tells them to depart from Him and calls them evildoers. My question is, do you think they really had deceived themselves into thinking they were going to heaven since they cried out Lord, Lord, or do you think deep down inside they knew they were just pretending to be a Christian? · Just a random thought on verses 24-27 of chapter 7, this reminds me of the 3 Pigs & the Big, Bad Wolf children’s story. The wolf blows down the first two pigs' houses made of straw and sticks. He can’t destroy the 3rd pig’s house because it’s made of bricks. With Christ as our rock and God on our side we are like the 3rd house made out of a bricks, a firm foundation. EXODUS 37 & 38 · Just wanted to encourage anyone who has not been to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY to visit. It has a full size replica of Noah’s Ark. There’s lots of exhibits and Scripture throughout showing from creation to Christ’s resurrection. Ken Ham is the creator of this place, and he is a creationist and apologist, defending the faith.
Daily Reading 58 If you prefer, you can look up the following verses in your own Bible, of by whatever means and in whichever version you choose. Matthew 7 Exodus 37:1-38:31 Proverbs 17 Audio 3:31 Audio 3:14 Audio 2:58 The above addresses are linked to Bible Gateway. That is an easy way to read (or listen to) the Bible verses, and choose your version. Personally, I prefer written, that way I can go at my own pace, on think about it, before moving on. Nothing wrong with doing either or both. The Bible says faith comes by hearing. See the picture below to get an idea of what to expect if you follow the above links. Note: The audio will not play the exact verses, it will play the whole chapters, in which the verses exist. Thank you Lord for making the your word so accessible for us in these times. Amen