Sunday, February 5, 2017

ARE YOU A BEREAN? (NOT THE ONE IN KENTUCKY)

Are you a man or woman of the Spirit? Are you a man or woman of the Truth? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ, the Creator and Savior of the World? We are not speaking of the current age run by those who are worldly, with their untested theories and notions? We speak of that which each individual, who is saved and born again with the indwelling Spirit alive inside,  knows as Truth.

The "world" we speak of, the "cosmos" is the entire package. We know that God Himself said in His revealed Word of Truth - the Bible, just WHO He is, WHO we are, WHAT we did and HOW we come back to a right relationship with Him. The Bereans were a different breed of Christian believers. They didn't have powerpoints, never-used smartphone bible apps and dusty multiple bibles on the shelf at home. They probably had one scroll which their two or three teachers could read, rolled up in receptacle as found in any Judean synagogue, and the Rabbi or newly converted Christian leader would read for them.


What distinguished them from everyone else was their Passion for the Truth, the Word of God. Their passion for rightly dividing the Word caused them to double-check every teacher with what God says to see if they were actually telling the Truth. Oh, that we would have such Christians in the West today. Oh that people would be so passionate about accuracy and the Word of God, in context, and would then seek Him out even more through prayer and supplication.


Scripture tells us thus, about these amazing small band of believers. Contrary to some of the Hebrews under persecution (in the Book of Hebrews) who were about to bolt, the Bereans studied and were encouraged. We read here in Acts 17:10-11: The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 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.

As we embark on an expository overview of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, let us look at the attributes of a Berean, then let us look at ourselves to see if we come close to matching up to these, because these are the characteristics of a bold and knowledgeable child of God. These are the characteristics which the Lord loves to see in His children.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A BEREAN (verse 11, Acts 17):
- The Bereans were Noble-minded. This literally means, in the original language, one who has a spiritual heart and mind which was lovingly taught to think beyond the natural, and look into the higher calling and meaning of something or somebody. A high view of God equals a proper view of His Teachings and His Word. A low view of God, except of mouthing words at politically correct times, makes you and I like the lost world around us.

- The Bereans were receptive. On Judgment Day, most people outside of communist or islamic or other countries, cannot say they never heard the Gospel of Christ. There is no excuse which says "we didn't know". The Gospel has been saturating most of this world for over 300 years now. It is a free gift of Salvation to ALL who believe and receive. The Bereans not only believed, they gladly grasped the lifeline and made it their own. They accepted, with an understanding heart, that which was offered and, as the original word means, warmly welcomed it daily.

- The Bereans were eager (prothumia). In modern terms, they were "on fire for Christ" like you and I.The Bereans were not just high-minded about Yahweh, the God of Heaven and Earth AND receptive to hearing what He said, (while checking it all out for themselves), but they were eager and gung-ho about it. What the original word used in the Bible means is a complete passionate longing for the Truth. 
This spanned the spectrum from first, being prepared in their spirit to learn about God. Secondly, they had the willingness to listen and verify, to promptly acting on the preaching/teaching of the Gospel. Third, they were then ready to proclaim it with eagerness once it was heard - in their own community AND on mission! All of this is what this ONE original word "prothumia" means!

If we were on a Gospel teaching missionary trip anywhere, it would be more advantageous to have a Berean-minded person alongside us in the team. Here is someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, eager, willing and able to share the Truth, from their OWN life experience and would be more effective than just another guy or lady from your Sunday school class, who happens to be the one with the finances to pay for the trip. This is what the Apostle Paul did intentionally when he was called and sent by the Holy Spirit to Macedonia (around Greece). He brought in a Berean to travel with him: (Acts 20: And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians). Sopater continued to assist but Paul and Timothy after this trip, as he did during it.

The Bereans are the premier example of a wonderful Truth-loving Christian and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. So therefore, let us resolve to be thought of, in the same way, as we journey along the highway of Life together.
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