Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
Have you ever heard “chimney corner Scriptures”–those things that sound like or we think that are in the Bible but are not (“Let your conscience be your guide” or “confession is good for the soul” or “God works in a mysterious way”). It is not as funny when our hearts and minds are not adequately protected from a teacher or preacher who promotes something as biblical that is not. It may be someone who touts a thing as acceptable to God which the Bible teaches is not. It may be someone who asserts that something must be believed or done, though the Bible does not bind it. Either way, God holds each of us accountable for knowing His will. We are cheating ourselves and our souls who allow a teacher or preacher to dictate to us how we should feel or think about a given matter. I am not saying we should be suspicious or distrusting. Instead, I am saying we should be like the Bereans. One of the most powerful, positive statements made about any group of people is said of them in Acts 17:11: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” You have likely read that passage before, but what is the Holy Spirit saying about them?
They Were Characterized By EXCELLENCE. They were noble-minded. Notice that it began here. All else positive that is said about them began with their mindset. Jesus praises people who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt. 5:6). These people were predisposed to accept God’s Word. What higher praise can be lavished on anyone?
They Were Characterized By EAGERNESS. The antithesis of this would be apathy and indifference. These were “word-receivers.” They were sponges, anxious to know God’s Word. The Bible, from cover to cover, touts itself as the message of salvation. Doesn’t it deserve our greatest enthusiasm?
They Were Characterized By EXAMINING. But, they were not uncritical, undiscerning students. They were listening to one of history’s greatest Christians, borne along by the Holy Spirit, but they still checked after him. Every man who purports to be God’s proclaimer deserves that same level of scrutiny.
They Were Characterized By EVERYDAYNESS. They were not content to wait for the next Bible class or sermon. They were daily devourers of these Divine dictates! Aren’t there things you feel compelled to do on a daily basis (eat, sleep, brush your teeth, check social media)? We prove to God we are serious about the blessing of having a relationship with Him by constant, consistent consultation of His revealed mind and desires–we only find that in His Word!
How can we tell whether something is just a man’s conviction or is God’s command? How do we know that some strange, new doctrine is true or false? Do not be content to let somebody be your sole source of gauging that! Be a Berean!