“Are you ready?” is a common question asked in Christianity today, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being an “end times” prep question, let’s start asking it on Sunday mornings? We should ask it pre-Wednesday night bible study question or in fact just before we open up the Word type of question. Our readiness to receive what God has for us in His Word plays a huge role in the success of our spiritual journey. The bible tells us of a “noble people”. They were the church at Berea and they were ready to discover what God had for them.
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. Acts 17:11(NASB)
We often bring up the Bereans as a great example of how Christians should approach their studies. In the Book of Acts, they are compared to the Thessalonians and said to be “more noble-minded” because of their commitment to the truth. The Apostle Paul would teach and they would immediately set out to see whether his lessons were consistent with the scriptures.
We need more of this in the Body of Christ. God inspired the Words of the Bible for each of us to take our own journey of seeking the truth. We are not to just rely on clergy to pass along the fruits of their studies because you have the same Holy Spirit inside of you. That said, the covering of a spiritual leader is important. Paul was a great teacher because equipped Timothy but also instructed him to seek truth for himself. He instructed,
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15
A church prepared to study for themselves is a strong church. Why? Because….
1) We are a people more reliant on God than man.
2) A church committed to studying is not easily swayed by unsound doctrine.
3) Deeper understanding makes us better representatives of God
The Bereans weren’t afraid to test what they were taught. That is admirable, but it is just as important to look at a characteristic of these noble folks, which I believe created the atmosphere for them to excel in their pursuit of the truth. Scripture tells us that they “received the word with great eagerness“
Eagerness here is the Greek Word prothymia, which means zeal, readiness or willingness of mind.
They heard the word with passion and were prepared to uncover new truths. The Bereans were hungry to understand the things of God. In other words, they were not simply “going through the motions” of Sunday service. They knew that discovering a newfound truth would be life-changing. This type of expectation needs to return to the church.
We claim to desperately want “more of God” in many of the worship songs we sing, but when we open our bibles or listen to the word being delivered are we eager or even willing to hear something that will change the course of our lives? An eager heart is like fertile soil which is prepared to receive the seed of something new. It doesn’t matter how long you have been a Christian. When it comes to the Kingdom of God, there is no-one who has “Been there. Done that. Gotten the t-shirt.” There is always deeper revelation. No matter your experience, be eager to grow.
An eager heart is like fertile soil which is prepared to receive the seed of something new.
The preparedness of the Bereans took humility and the realization that they did not have all the answers. Sometimes we can paint them as healthy skeptics, but I want to challenge this notion. A skeptic believes that the knowledge that they possess is the absolute truth and views everything first with the intention to refute it. I would present that their nobility was best represented in their humble optimism and excitement that there was more knowledge for them to gain. They then trusted God that He would provide the discernment to test what they had heard. They were excited to learn, which created an atmosphere for nobility, maturity, and growth.
Definition of Noble – having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.
I chose to write this blog because I believe that in this modern age, we are not short on the desire to find and pass along information. This does not, however, automatically make us like the Bereans. The Pharisees also took part in listening to the Gospel but were quick to try and tear it down through the cloudy lens of their religious traditions. Are we open to uncovering new, life-changing, information or are we simply looking for scriptures and arguments to solidify the beliefs we currently hold? That does not promote an atmosphere of spiritual growth and maturity.
We must mimic the Bereans by first having the humility and eagerness to pursue the truth, even at the expense of uncovering our own errors. Without this key characteristic, our nature will be to close our minds and defend of our traditions over truth. This closes the door to deeper understanding. There are doctrines that I held to strongly and even taught early in my ministry that today I know I misinterpreted. Praise God that He gave me an open mind to hear something new. The truth sets you free, and with new understanding comes the ability to discover a greater purpose.
When it comes to the Kingdom of God, there is no-one who has “Been there. Done that. Gotten the t-shirt.” There is always deeper revelation
One word from God can change your whole life. None of us have arrived. Fortunately, the knowledge of God is endless and His promise to us is that those who eagerly seek Him will uncover unimaginable, life-changing, treasures. My encouragement to you is to get a true hunger for a deeper connection with the truth of God. Here are some suggestions on approaching your studies like the Bereans.
An honest look at ourselves will help come to terms with the fact we don’t have all the answers. Examining your life and confronting the shortcomings is never easy. Thank God that He has given us every answer we could ever need through the in context understanding of His Word. Humility is the first step to a shift from our current state to something greater.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Commit to setting aside distractions. Studying God’s Word is more than a lifestyle… it is a lifeline. It is not an errand to be counted amongst things like laundry, food shopping, brushing your teeth, etc. Make it a priority to take the time to embrace opportunities to study the Word.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt 6:33
Develop an expectation (readiness of mind) that at any given moment learning the truth of God can enhance your life beyond anything you could ever imagine. If I handed you 1000 envelopes and told you one of them had a $1M check in it, what level of anticipation would you feel as you began to open them? Now compare this to your eagerness in approaching the study of God’s Word. For most of us…Ouch! Get inspired and readiness of mind for the knowledge that makes all things possible.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16,17
Whether it’s beyond Sunday morning, after bible study, small group, or your own reading of the bible… Keep going. God’s Word is alive and full of endless revelation because He speaks directly to YOU through it. There are scriptures I’ve read 100 times and then, all of a sudden, at #101 a lightbulb went off and I received the understanding that changed my life. You have a destiny and God wants to equip you, but it will take an eager commitment to pursue the things you do not know to unlock a life that goes beyond anything you could imagine.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matt 7:7,8
At Sound of Heaven, we aim to create the Berean atmosphere. The church is not a destination because we as individuals are “the Church”. The building is just a place to get prepared. When we gather, it is to honor God and come to a place where we can be equipped to change this world.
ARE YOU READY? Join us at service or on Live Stream with readiness and expectation that the life-changing power of God’s Word is available for you if you are just willing to seek it.