“These were more-fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:1
WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT:
In case you didn’t catch the beginning message, “Christianity with a Closed Book” I ended it with a question mark. To call someone a Christian who has never opened a bible is an oxymoron. It would be like calling someone a mountain climber who has never climbed a mountain. Then read the Bible reference, “The Bereans” of that day were extremely religious and never took anything as truth unless they could back it up with scripture. The American people of today are very misleading with what the Word of God truly teaches. Sure, we say we go to church or take part in some other form of fellowship, but if there is no Bible reading or opening of Bibles, the message is just a bunch of words concocted by a so-called pastor or priest that had interpreted the Bible in the way that fits their belief system. Saying that you are a Christian without ever opening a Bible makes the same sense as a scuba diver diving under the sea without an air tank. He will definitely drown. You may say, well of course he will drown, he needs air to breathe. Well, if you say you’re a Christian without reading the Bible, you will drown in a sea of false doctrine where the consequences are much more severe than drowning in the sea. There are so many questions that I have to ask where people can only come up with only one answer. First of all, if you say that you are a believing Christian and you never open a Bible, what basis can you go on to make that claim. You may say, well I go to church every week and listen to my pastor. Are you kidding me, your eternal salvation is at stake, and you are going to trust another person for your salvation? There is a word for that, but I’ll let you come up with it yourself.
Let me ask you another question, when you pray to the Father through Jesus Christ, how do you expect to receive an answer. God reveals His truth and all His answers through the scriptures of the Bible. I hear so many people say that they pray, and they don’t get an answer, well, how do you think God is going to answer you? If you ask someone a question about a certain topic, such as cancer, are you going to accept what they say or are you going to do some research to verify what they told you is true? Of course, you will do some research, your life is at stake. You will want all the right answers that there are, not a bunch of answers from people who think they know what they are talking about. We, as a society have fallen deep into the lies and false doctrine that has been taught from the pulpits of America for a quite a few decades now. God even warned us about this in the following verse, but because most people do not read the Bible, they will never hear this taught from their priest or pastor. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” We are living these days in full force. This has been slowing infiltrating our churches for the last seventy years or so, but as of the last ten to twenty years it has taken on new meaning. The word is “unprecedented” that is the level in which we have finally come to. There is one verse in the scriptures that always get my attention, but as of lately, I get it. That verse is Matthew 7:14; “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Very seldom, if ever will you hear this verse taught in the church that you attend. You will most likely hear someone say, we are all going to a better place. When God says, “few” He means, “few”. In Noah’s day, God saved eight people from perishing during the forty-day flood. I would say that is very few. In the days of Lot, God saved even less that that from certain annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, I do not believe that only eight or less people will be saved, but none the less, “few is few.” Do not assume that you are good enough to go to heaven as most of the denominational churches teach, because you aren’t. Nobody is! There is a very narrow way and even Jesus said that in the verse above. You may say that you take Gods Word seriously, but still, you do not believe what the scriptures teach. I would call that hypocrisy at the highest level.
I believe the main reason that people do not want to read the Bible is because it convicts them of their sins, and we don’t want to be told that we are sinners. Well, let me be the first to tell you, you are a sinner and the only way to be saved is by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. But see, if you are not taught that, you will parish in your state of sin never knowing how you could have become saved, and let me tell you this, ignorance of the law will be no excuse. How sad, since the Bible is available to everyone. God gave us His Word through the scriptures of the Bible, and everyone will be judged based on understanding God's plan of salvation which is clearly taught in the Bible. We read in Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” If you are taught that you are saved by good works and never hear the Bible verse above, guess what? You will parish in your sins because you never knew the truth of God’s Word. The only place to get real truth is in the Bible, outside of that, there is no absolute truth. If you take away the Bible, then everybody is right in what they believe, think and act. If there is no absolute truth, then how can you tell me that murder is wrong? It is only wrong to those that believe it is wrong. We read in Isaiah 5:21; “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” We were originally created with a perfect sinless nature, but, unfortunately, after the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, we lost all that knowledge of right and wrong and went on living with a sinful nature where the consequences are eternal death.
From that time on God had to put together a plan that would ultimately bring mankind back to Him. The only way for that to happen was by bringing man to a justified state of being, which means without sin. You can’t pay for your own sins because you, yourself are sinful. Let me give you an example as I usually like to do. If you are in debt one hundred thousand dollars, can someone who is also in debt by one hundred thousand dollars pay off your debt? Of course not, in the same way, a person that is in sin, cannot pay for someone else sins, nor can he pay for his own. Are you getting the message? Only a person without sin can do that for you. There was one, and only one who lived a sinless life, His name is “Jesus Christ”, not Buddha, not Mohammed, not Confucius nor any other religious prophet who claimed to be the one. You are saved by Jesus Christ who took your sins upon Himself. He willingly nailed them to the cross to pay a debt that He did not owe for those of us who have a debt that we cannot pay. Now for the easy part, it is a free gift offered to all who would believe. It is called “grace” unmerited favor. We read this very important verse in Matthew 10:33; “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Once again, sounds pretty simple. Then the question that I have to ask is this, why do the majority of people today deny the only propitiation made for sin offered by Jesus Christ? God has a very simple plan of salvation for those that truly believe, however, with that being said, nowhere does the Bible say that it would be an easy ride through life once you become a believer. Becoming saved is easy, staying faithful to the Word of God can be a challenge as most born-again believers will tell you. Your faith will be tested from time to time without a doubt. But keep this in mind, we hear this message from the Apostle Paul, Romans 8:18; “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” We may think some of the things that we are put through are horrible, but remeber what is at the end of the road for us. Paul got a glimpse into the third heaven as we read in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man (Paul) in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Paul is saying that it was so incredible that words could not describe it. Now, if you are like me, you can imagine some pretty nice things about heaven, but even God Himself said, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” It certainly sounds like a place that I want to go to, and I am not going to trust in any human being to make sure that I get there, only the Holy Spirit can give me total confidence in my salvation, and He has!
I’m going to ask you this question, and you better think hard and long about your answer. Are you going to trust in some religious system that doesn’t take you through the Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse or will you submit your life to Jesus Christ today and let the Holy Spirit guide you through His Word? Get into the Word of God today and find a church that does, indeed teach through the scriptures as I indicated above. I don’t know how much time we have left in this dispensation of time that we call grace, but I believe it could end very soon and then it will be too late to make a choice, the choice will have already been made.