“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”—–1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
“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
Question everything. Basically we must each ask ourselves, why I believe what I believe?? As well as, why do I do what I do??
As we once again begin our yearly Bible Reading Plan next week as a church, it has provided the opportunity to challenge each of us to examine absolutely everything of what we believe, are being taught, and how we are live those things out. With the exponential increase of false teaching happening today, we each must take the call to Truth seriously…even to the point of re-examining all that we believe to be true. I say this not as to shame, but rather encourage each us so that we might not be swept away by the clever and deceptive things being taught as true Christianity.
It constantly amazes me how little is challenged by the things that have been taught and practiced in churches. In the name of “tolerance” and “love”, we have learned that it is offensive to question and challenge anything inside and, for that matter, outside of the Church. Many have willingly given their blind trust to those in leadership to tell them the Truth, but are unwilling to do the work to hold those accountable to remain faithful to God’s Word.
Not only have the things being taught and practiced gone unchallenged, but even the methods and models of churches and ministries have also gone unquestioned. Many believe that the ends justify the means as long as they are able to get people to “pray-a-prayer” and get into churches. But the means don’t justify the ends when the end really isn’t salvation and faith according to Scripture, but rather a blatant compromise in order to fulfill man-made goals or man’s perceived idea of success; at best a bait-and-switch.
So what makes us so confident that we so eagerly give up critical thinking to anyone when our eternal life is at stake?? Why when we have the Bible so readily available do we neglect searching it out to see if what we believe and live out is really according to the Bible as a whole??
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I have it all figured out by any means, but what I am saying is that the more time I spend reading through and studying all of the the Bible, it seems that many are destructively missing the mark today. The Bible ends up being only one of the “tools” that helps us to understand who God is and what we are to make of the world. God’s Word has become a way to justify our beliefs rather than coming to the Bible as a blank slate to learn and grow in what it means to be a true follower of Jesus and ditch each and every misconception we have picked up along the way.
Maybe that is where it all has gone wrong. Maybe it is because people have such a low view of Scripture that instead of seeing the Bible as the authority of all faith and practice, many have turned to their personal experiences. Experience, therefore, becomes the teacher and the Word as only one of the means to justify those experiences.
This, however, isn’t what we see in Scripture. From Acts, 1 Thessalonians, and many other places in Scripture, is a call to test and question each and every thing that is being taught and practiced through our reading and study of the Bible. It basically goes against the prevailing thought today of tolerance, love, and unity above all else to boldly question if those things are true.
Along with the rise of social media, it has now become even more of a trap of false teaching because of the short posts (160 characters…a simple text message size) that sound nice, but are no where near the Truth. Leaders and pastors have taken advantage of these services not as a way to encourage people in their faith according to the Truth of the Bible, but as a shameless self promotion of themselves, their books, and their churches. They often draw more from men than from the Bible and often focus on whatever witty catch phrase they can come up with to seduce their unsuspecting followers.
Unless each of us boldly question what we believe, why we believe, and how we live those things out, we are living in a dangerous place of thinking we are followers of Jesus, but may actually be far from the Truth. We must ask ourselves if what if what I have been taught and am currently being taught fits the true context of Scripture?? We must ask ourselves if what I believe about Church and what I am a part of is really according to what is defined as a follower of the Lord in the Bible?? Nothing is off limits when it comes to making sure that we are walking in the Truth. But sadly, many will continue on week after week, year after year, in the same routine of their traditions of going to church, participating in various ministries, and following after those that seek their own kingdoms rather than being transformed into truly devoted followers of the Lord according to God’s Word.
Let’s not become complacent and give our trust to fallen men, but be diligent to search out the Scriptures and question everything we believe about Christianity and the Church to make sure that it is according to the Bible. For some, it may be very difficult to find out what they have believed and have followed to be untrue and a major compromise from Scripture. For others, it may mean completely rethinking what it really means to believe in Jesus and what the Church is suppose to be. In the end, we each are responsible for what we believe and how we live those things out…let’s know for certain that we have done all we can to walk according to the Word and may the Lord be glorified as we stand for Truth in this age of deception.