Acts 17:1-15: Noble
February 4, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Exodus 10-12, Psalm 27, Matthew 12:1-21, Acts 17:1-15
Two cities with different responses to the gospel, and lessons for us to learn from both. In Thessalonica we learn:
- Paul’s ongoing custom of going first to the synagogue. Paul began with God’s people and moved on only once the message was rejected. There is a great need today for ongoing witness to the Jewish community for the sake of Christ.
- He reasons from the Scriptures. We sometimes think of reason as a different category from Scriptural study. But Paul reasoned from the Scriptures. Let us employ our reason when we study the Bible.
- Some were persuaded but some were not. We can expect that some will believe but not everyone. The results are in God’s hands. It is our job to tell; it is God’s job to convert.
- Some violently resisted Paul and his message. In some countries, violent resistance to the gospel is unlikely because of the laws of the land. But if it were possible, such violence would happen in those countries too from time to time. Christians should not be surprised when persecution comes, but grateful when it does not.
- The gospel has world-changing impact. Many people want to change the world. But it is the gospel that has this true world-changing impact. Jason’s charge that Paul and his friends had “caused trouble all over the world” is both unjust, and yet also compelling. The gospel does truly “turn the world upside down” (as the old King James Version of this text put it). If we want to have an impact for Christ in our world, then let our strategy be Paul’s: the gospel.
In Berea we learn:
- The right way to receive biblical teaching. The Bereans examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Let us be like that: study the Bible carefully.
- The Bereans, Luke tells us, were of more noble character. A fair-minded and open-hearted response to the teaching of the Bible is to receive it and look into it for yourself.
- But nonetheless the opponents from Thessalonica come and stir up trouble again. Christian preachers are opposed by troublemakers.
Let us not be like the Thessalonian troublemakers but like the noble Bereans!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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