Summary: The most basic essential for any healthy church is a commitment to hearing, learning, and applying God’s Word.
Making an Impact:
Instructing in God’s Word
Since Bible is our “middle” name, I thought it would be a good idea to begin this morning with a little Bible quiz. You guys should do really well on this.
Let’s start with an easy one from the Old Testament.
1. Where is the first tennis match mentioned in the Bible?
When Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court.
2. Which Bible character had no parents?
Joshua, son of Nun.
3. What kind of man was Boaz before he got married?
4. What is one of the first things that Adam and Eve did after getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden?
They really raised Cain.
5. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why they no longer lived in Eden?
Our mother ate us out of house and home.
Some of us do well on Bible quizzes…others of us not so well. Did anyone get all 5 of these right? I didn’t think so.
As we continue in our series called “Making an Impact,” this morning we’re focusing on the first part of Acts 2:42, where we read that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”
As we learned last week, these first Christ-followers were 100% devoted to Christ and to His cause. They were sold-out, completely committed and ready to make an impact. As we’ve already established, the most important commitment they made was to Christ. In addition, however, they were intently devoted to 6 other lifestyle practices. Let’s take a look at the first one they were devoted to instruction in God’s word.
The most basic essential for any healthy church is a commitment to hearing, learning, and applying God’s Word. At the time of the first church, this meant listening to the apostles’ teachings and reading the Scriptures they had at that point.
But notice also the words, “they continued steadfastly.” This means two things the apostles were faithful in their responsibility to preach and teach and, the believers were faithful to “continue in” to learn and keep growing in what was taught. They were convinced that the depth of their devotion to the Word would determine their impact.
In our text today, we see an illustration of what can happen when people correctly respond to the Word of God. Here we will find several principles which can enable us, not only to discover the truth, but also to apply it to our lives. Turn in your Bibles to Acts 17:11-12.
1 -- They Received The Word
Let’s look at verse 11: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness…” What does it mean, that they were of more noble character? Originally the word noble meant well-born and spoke of nobility. Later on this word also came to mean people of generous spirit, those who are open-minded toward truth, not prejudiced, hostile or suspicious of others, but who give others a fair hearing. The Bereans, therefore, were called noble because they listened to the preaching of the gospel with open hearts as they pursued God and his truth.
The people in Berea were more noble because first of all, they received the message. Our text says that they received the Word with eagerness. There was an openness to the Word preached to them. They had an anticipation, an expectancy, that God might be speaking specifically to them. And this is what set them apart. There was a readiness and receptivity to the Word of God. These are the characteristics which made them a cut above those who had just rejected the truth in Thessalonica.
I wonder how many of us came to church today with the expectation that God was going to speak to us? Perhaps coming to church has become merely a habit, and so, little thought is given to why we are here. We need to come into this place with the expectation that God will speak to us. Every Sunday we need to come with an eagerness of mind, with an openness of heart to hear what God will say. If these qualities are cultivated by us, they will place us in a position where we can hear the voice of God.
[ Stop and Pray ]
When we pray for God to speak to us, that sense of anticipation and expectancy will come alive in our hearts, so that, like the Bereans, we will receive the Word with eagerness.
But, here’s the rub. If you and I are not reading the Bible on a regular basis, we will never know its truth. According to a Barna Research Group survey, less than 50% of Americans open the Bible in a given week. 82% think that “God helps those who help themselves” is directly from the Bible; 63% cannot name the four Gospels; 58% do not know that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount; 52% do not know the book of Jonah is in the Bible.