Sunday, March 11, 2012

Check the Preacher

Check the Preacher
March 12, 2012
Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

The Apostle Paul was a missionary, preacher, and a pastor. He would travel to where the Holy Spirit led him, to unreached people who needed to hear the Word of the Lord. He would preach the Good News of Jesus and set up a church with the new believers. And when he left for another missionary trip, Paul would write letters to his new churches, continually pastoring and mentoring them in the way of the Lord. Paul was an amazing man of God who was clearly used by the Lord. He lived his life in honor to the Lord and preached the Scriptures. But Paul was not above failure; he was still human, prone to mistakes. In fact, Paul made some huge mistakes in his lifetime. Recall that his previous name was Saul and he was so zealous for the Lord that he had some of the first Christians executed. He was clearly an influential person in a lot of people's lives.

Despite Paul's influence over the early church, he still considered himself a wretched sinner, not above anyone else. But this didn't stop him from trying. Paul preached the Word of the Lord with great fervency, great intent, and great conviction. You and I might be tempted to have even put Paul on a pedestal within our church walls, believing everything he said, trusting that he was leading with perfect integrity and trueness of thought. But one of his own churches were not quite as willing to take him at face value, trusting that everything he said was congruent with Scriptures. They were the Bereans. Not a whole lot is known about the Bereans as they didn't get their own personalized epistle from Paul included in the Bible. What we do know is that they were Jews and that they were possibly familiar with Paul's previous life before Christ.

We also know something else about the Bereans. The Bible says they were of noble character because they double checked the Scriptures. Having a noble character, in this context, is defined as wanting to do the right thing and working intently to ensure that happened. The Bereans did this was Paul's teachings. They listened to Paul, examined what he had to say, and then double checked him for accountability's sake. They were not willing to trust him blindly; they wanted to do the research for themselves. They wanted to make sure their faith in the Lord was based upon solid understanding. It wasn't that they didn't trust Paul; they wanted to be diligent believers of the Truth.

You and I should take precedent from the Bereans. I've been in a lot of churches where the parishioners have blind eyes to the pastor's teachings, being led as deaf and dumb sheep . And I've been in a similar amount of churches where the pastor is not quite right in his interpretations of the Scriptures. If you couple these two scenarios, you end up with unhealthy churches and Christians who are not living up to their full potential. It is recommended, no matter how perfect your pastor seems, to double check him on his teachings. He is human and is prone to mistakes. I know I am only human, too. Examine the Scriptures and look it up for yourself. If you find possible discrepancies, approach your pastor with the intent of seeking clarity. If he is a true man of God, he will welcome the meeting. If he cannot explain or clarify it to your satisfaction, more investigation should be completed. If the two of you cannot come to the same understanding after Berean-like research, it might be a sign to look for a different pastor.

Don' take my word for it; look it up: Acts 17:1-15, Col 2:21-3, 2 Thess 2:15, 1 Tim 1:15, 1 Tim 4

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