Our text for this sermon comes from Acts 17:10-15.
vs 10 The brothers/church had to send Paul and Silas away by night. It had started to get bad there in Thessalonica so it was best for them to leave. They are doing exactly what Jesus said do, “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.” Matthew 10:23 ESV
This is not for their own safety as much as it is for them to continue the work that God has given them to accomplish. As much as the devil wants to persecute the messenger, he can’t stop the message of the gospel.
When Paul and Silas get to Berea, they head straight for the Jewish synagogue. They don’t even stop long enough to find a place to sleep or get something to eat. Why? They figure they will worry about that later. God will provide for their needs.
vs 11 These Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica. What can we learn from the Jews in Berea:
- They were not as prejudiced against the gospel.
- They were open to hearing the gospel even though it was different from their former way of thinking.
- They did not have pre-conceived notions about the gospel or the messengers bringing the message to them.
- They received the word with all eagerness. They were ready to hear it. Their souls were hungry to hear the word. When they heard it, they did not argue against it or seek to find fault with the preacher.
- They examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Let’s park here and hang out for a bit.
Their eagerness to hear the word did not lead them to swallow any pill that was placed in front of them. They were not going to blindly believe just any person that said they had a word from the Lord. We too easily believe anything and everything. We will believe anything as truth as long as it comes from a semi-reputable authority; boss, professor, author, writer, book, magazine, video, movie, church. Should you? No.
Just because a preacher stands in the pulpit and holds a Bible does not mean that you should take everything at face value. Some preachers preach a happy, feel good, it is all about you gospel and say that God blesses you for you. They go on to say that if you are poor it is because you are out of the will of God. Problem.
Jesus says, to love the poor and if you do not care for, have mercy and compassion for the poor then you are not saved.
Paul preached from the Old Testament and referred, encouraged the people to search the Scriptures to see if what he said was true. Take notes. Go home and read the verses, get a concordance, search the Bible and make sure that what you hear is the truth.
Luke encourages this searching of the Scriptures as a pattern for all believers and also gives support to the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, the idea that the Bible can be understood rightly, not only by scholars but also by ordinary people who read it eagerly and diligently, with conscious dependence on God for help. In other words, you do not have to have a seminary class or a Master’s degree in Theology for the Holy Spirit to lead you in understanding the Bible.
Too many people are led astray from the truth of Scripture because they are blind and they hold on to a false belief that the only person that can tell them what the Bible says is the pastor. This devalues the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is responsible for helping you to understand the Bible. The Holy Spirit reveals truth. The Holy Spirit will guide you in all truth.
It is the privilege of every disciple to be able to search the Scriptures daily. You must study them and think upon them diligently so that you may find the truth and not rest on some sort of superficial knowledge. Studying the Bible gives you a more intimate acquaintance with the mind of God.
If you study the Bible week after week, it improves what you have heard on one Sunday and prepares you for what God wants to say through the pastor on the next Sunday.
vs 12. So, as is true when the Holy Spirit shows up, people are getting saved. Jews and Greeks.
vs 13. But…the Jews from Thessalonica…why can’t they just leave people alone? Why do they have to cause trouble and dissension.
vs. 14-15 Before the conflict gets too out of hand, the brothers send Paul off but Silas and Timothy stay. It was not Silas and Timothy they were after. It was Paul. Now that Paul is gone, there is good reason to believe that Silas and Timothy can continue to share and preach the gospel without altercation.
Paul gets acquainted with the city and it is not too long before he sends for Silas and Timothy.