11 Now these [Berean] 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. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds.
Acts 17:11-13, English Standard Version
Instead of becoming dull of hearing God’s Word, we should follow the example of the “noble-minded Bereans” who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the gospel is true and worthy to be believed. Luke told us because of their positive approach to discover the truth for themselves, many individuals and prominent figures became believers.
It is interesting the meaning of “Berea” is “heavy or weighty”. Unlike the Pharisees who pervert Scriptures for their own ends, the Bereans put weight on God’s Word by searching and studying Scriptures in a way to establish an authentic faith and share it with others.
Luke, however, also highlighted the trouble caused by the unbelieving Thessalonians who ferociously opposed and resisted the gospel. They stirred up the city against Paul and Silas in an attempt to diminish the gospel and the great work of bringing lives to Christ. We see a similar phenomenon today where some people attack the preaching of grace over the works of the law. While it is important to use Scriptures to expose the dangers of some so-called Christian teachings, it is quite a different thing to use God’s Word to defend a biased version of Christianity (which contradicts scripture revelation).
For instance, Paul’s revelation of justification by grace through faith was “lost” for almost 1500 years until Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation. It was through the preaching of the gospel and opening the Scriptures that Luther countered against some of the abuses and fallacies that the Church of his time had zealously advocated and practised. In spite of severe persecutions and threats of death, Luther brought many to true faith in Jesus Christ.
Grace will expose the foolish lie and the heavy burden of trying to be good enough to earn God’s favour. None of your efforts to save yourself can satisfy God. It is only by resting fully on the finished work of Christ that you can experience and enjoy the satisfaction of God’s unfailing love.
The preaching of grace will always produce two possible outcomes: it either agitates or motivates the hearers. My prayer is that you are more likely to be the latter than the former.
Can I think of one positive outcome after hearing the message of God’s grace?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.