Books. CD’s. DVD’s. Satellite TV. The Internet. All these media channels have made it possible for thousand of individuals claiming to speak for God to have access to people all over the world. While there are some very good and godly ministries to glean from, there are others that appear to be good on the surface but should be avoided at all costs. How should we respond to all these voices?
When the apostle Paul came to the synagogue in Berea, he brought a teaching the Berean Jews had never heard before. He claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was the long awaited Messiah of Israel. Look at how the Bereans responded:
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 ESV
Notice that after listening to Paul they didn’t go grab their CD’s, DVD’s, or books to compare his teaching with what they had been taught by others. It says they examined the Scriptures daily to discover if what he was saying was true. What a novel idea! They went to the source of truth to see if there was truth in Paul’s teaching.
I also want you to notice the attitude behind their search of the Scriptures. They did not go to the Bible in order to prove Paul wrong. Neither did they turn to the Word to try and prove him right. With an open mind they took what Paul taught and examined it in the light of Scripture “to see if these things were so.” The result of their examination led many of them to believe on the Lord Jesus (v 12).
Beloved, just because someone refers to the Bible in their message does not mean they are speaking the truth. The devil quoted Scripture to Jesus to try and deceive Him (Luke 4:9 – 12). At some point we have to close the books, turn off the computer, lay aside the CD’s, and find out for ourselves what the Bible really says. Having been badly burned in the past myself, I cannot stress this strongly enough. This is one of the reasons I insist that every Christian should be a consistent Bible reader (you can find my posts on Bible reading here). We need to grow up and take responsibility for our own spiritual lives. It is a sign of spiritual infancy to simply lay back and be spoon fed by someone else claiming to speak for God.
Are you one of these, like the Bereans, who will eagerly examine what you are being taught in light of the Scriptures? Or are you like a hungry baby bird with its mouth open that will simply swallow anything it is fed? Examining the Scriptures for ourselves is one of the sure fire ways to avoid deception and continue living in the Reign.