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Blessing at Berea

Acts 17:10-14; I Thess. 2:13

 

In Thessalonica the apostles were Resisted, but in Berea they were Received.  Next time we’ll look at Athens where they were Ridiculed.

 

We can learn a lot here about Bible Study.  God called these people “noble” which means “excellent.  God gave them a star, a smiley face, an A+ for their Bible Study.

 

Notice 3 key words:

1.     Received

We need to approach the Word of God with faith. 

1 Thess. 2:13

    For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

 

This sounds like double-talk.  “When you received it you received it.”  But it’s not double-talk.  It’s actually 2 different words in the original language.

 

Paralambano=to casually taste something, or to hear it with only your ears

Decomai=to hear it with your heart, to embrace or welcome

 

Paul was thankful that they didn’t just hear it with their ears, but received it into their hearts.  [be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only]

 

Ill.—young man at home is watching a movie/dad yells for him to take out the garbage/ “ok”/sits there for another hour

        Did he hear it with his ears?  Yes.

        Did he embrace it with his heart?  No!

 

Ill.—couple has dated for months/she wonders if ever he’ll pop the question/one night they went out to eat at a romantic restaurant, w/ candles and violins/he looks at her and says, “Matilda?”/ “Yes, Throckmorten”/ “Can I ask you a question?”/ “sure” [getting excited]/ “pass me that ketchup”/ “oh, ok, here it is” / “one more thing…will you marry me?”/ “oh, yes, Throckmorten, yes, I’ll marry you!” and throws her arms around his neck!

        Did she hear it with her ears?  Yes.

        Did she embrace it with her heart?   Oh yes!

 

Guess which word is used in 17:11?  The latter!  They received the word w/ their hearts!

        Did you know that many people hear the Word w/ their ears and don’t allow it into their heart?  Some can come for years on end and it never changes their hearts, their lifestyle, their world-view.  How can this be?

 

We need to approach the Word of God with faith.  We must believe that this is not the words of mere mortals, but of God!  We must always approach His Word w/ the attitude:  God has a personal message suited just to me!

 

Hebrews 4:2

    For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

We believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God.  For several reasons:

 

  • It’s drawing power—I had to take World Literature in college and read Shakespeare and all that.  For some reason it’s all highly acclaimed and I cannot figure out why or get much out of it myself!  Was there a crowd?  Yes, we HAD to attend, because they knew we wouldn’t if not by force!  But the Word of God draws a crowd, week after week…we talk about this one book, and it never gets old, and we can always walk away with so much!  Just keep bringing your Bible to church, it’s all we need and all we’ll use!
  • It’s universal appeal—to young and old, white collar and blue collar, all ages, all races, all classes.  All, that is, who are looking and searching for something…who want to learn the truth…who have a humble, teachable spirit!

 

A question for you tonite:  Can you take it when the Word is rough with you?  How do you fare when God’s Word deals w/ you about an area that needs to be changed?  Some people don’t like what they hear sometimes.  But really what they don’t like is what they see in the mirror.  James tells us that the Word is a mirror, which doesn’t lie.

        Ever looked in a mirror and got mad?  Ever looked in a mirror and seen a pimple that didn’t use to be there?/a wrinkle that didn’t use to be there?/a chin that didn’t use to be there?  It doesn’t do any good to get mad at the mirror, or the one holding the mirror!

        But oftentimes people come to church and the mirror of the Word shows them something they don’t like, but they get mad at the mirror, or at the church, or at the one holding the mirror.  I’ve been accused before of “preaching at” somebody.  They say, you were talking to me.  You aimed that at me…and what they’re talking about came right out of the expository text as we go thru the Bible verse by verse…only God can do what they were crediting me for!  They think I’ve been reading their mail, but I haven’t, and yet God has been, so He sends them a message!

 

Don’t kill the messenger…get mad at the pimple, the wrinkle, etc. and do radical spiritual surgery as needed!

 

Many don’t want to be confronted w/ their sin/lack of obedience…just keep that mirror of the Word away from me…ignorance is bliss…if I don’t look into the mirror I don’t have to worry about what I look like!

 

Joke—mountain man from TN/never seen civilization, or a mirror/came upon a vacated campsite/people had left some food, supplies…and a mirror!/looked into it, and it scared him…I’ll be, a picture of my old pappy!/sentimental, wanted to keep it/tho’t wife wasn’t looking, hid it under the mattress/wife HAD seen!/when he was gone, she wondered what picture he was looking at secretly/went and got it, looked into it!/startled her, too, for she had never seen a mirror/said, so, that’s the old hag he’s been running around with!

 

I hope you’re here to see yourself as you really are…not playing church [a hospital for sinners, not display case for saints!]

 

If so, you’ll be at the altar sometimes here at church/you’ll be on your knees privately sometimes/your life will show a difference in both public and private!

 

Forgive me for being honest in my preaching…but don’t we pay the doctor to be honest?  Or is it so he’ll say what we want him to?

 

“Doc, look me over, but if you find anything, DON’T tell me!”

 

joke—man went to Dr./said he was obese/what?/you’re fat!/I want a 2nd opinion/ok, you’re ugly too!

        Then he paid him 80 bucks!

 

We have surgery and they cut on us, we “come to” and we’re in pain, and we pay them thousands…so why approach the Word differently?  Pay me thousands!  

 

Received…

 

2.     Readiness

v. 11        This means “eagerness”.  These folks looked forward to it on a daily basis like we look forward to Sunday dinner!  But the Word is spiritual food, and it’s really good!  Our bellies tell us when we’ve gone too long from eating…doesn’t your spirit do the same?  Do you hear it?

 

My wife is easy about food, never a big deal.  She’s more concerned about me and the kids usually, so when we’re driving down the road and she says she’s hungry, she doesn’t mean find the next exit, she means pull over now and kill a rabbit!

 

Would to God we were eager for spiritual food!  You see, there’s two people sitting in your seat right now [you wondered why it seemed so crowded!] … your physical person and your spiritual person, and whichever one we feed will thrive and prosper!

 

This makes our services more exciting and electric.  There’s something in the air around here oftentimes when our people come in really looking forward to what God has for them!

 

Ill.—Basketball coach Al McGuire used to refer to the crowd as the “6th man”.  He realized the crowd took his players to the next level.

 

Ill.—just watch teenage boys play basketball/they’re having fun/then some girls walk up and start watching/the game goes to a whole new level!

 

Our crowd is moving in that direction and I like it…when you’re listening, when you’re smiling, clapping, laughing, amenning, it’s like saying “sic-em” to this bull-dog, and to everyone else around as well…it’s contagious…as is a dead spirit!

 

If you wonder why I preach so long now you know…it’s your fault!

 

When you come to church, do this:  pretend you’re the only one here, it’s just you and me.  Listen the way you would if the two of us talked in the lobby…and anything that would be rude then is rude now!

Read bulletin/look at phone/stare at floor/look at other scriptures, cross references, read ahead in passage/look at that baby/walk out/sleep!

 

I’m sharing this for your benefit…and mine!

 

MY PASTOR'S SERMONS

  My pastor shapes his sermons

From A to final Z

In clear and forthright language,

And aims them straight at me.

  And when he gets to preaching,

I look around to see

If there might be another

Deserving more than me.

  But every soul looks saintly --

Their hearts to Heaven turn --

While I, in my conviction,

Can only sit and squirm.

  You know, I often wonder,

If I should miss a day;

Would he, without his target,

Have anything to say?

  • Author Unknown
  •  

received…in faith, readiness…eagerly

 

3.     Daily

v. 11        acc’d to medical science, some species of birds can go 9 days w/out food.  Some dogs can go 20 days.  Some turtles can go 500 days.  Some fish can go 1,000 days. 

 

        What you get here even if you attend every service IS NOT ENOUGH!  You’re not a bird, don’t go days in-between! 

        Let’s get an A+ when it comes to our Bible study!

Grace Notes Sermon Ministry


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pastor@jerry.shirley.com

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