Monday, April 27, 2015

Be A Disciple - Be A Berean

There are a lot of things going on in the world right now - crazy, scary things - but one of the most disturbing things that I see happening is what's going on in the church. Over the last almost thirty years I have seen the proliferation of many errant teachings in the church. When you couple those teachings with an insanely high Biblical illiteracy rate in the church bad things will happen – and they are.

Eastern religious practices such as yoga, centering prayer, and eastern healing techniques are embraces and promoted. New Age philosophies abound. And perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that pastors and ministry leaders are justifying what's going on by using the Bible to suit their own needs. All of this has lead to church-goers and ministry supporters being left in a bad situation, believing that if they do the right things, if they say the right prayers, or just have enough faith then they will be richly blessed by God as evidenced by worldly wealth and happiness. Because after all, God wants us to be rich and happy, right?

God does care about us. In fact, he cares for us and loves us so very much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him could be saved from eternal separation from God. That's love. But the Bible never states that God ultimate desire for us is to be rich or happy. Don't get me wrong. I don't believe that God wants us to be unhappy. I'm just saying that His Word, the Bible, isn't a manual on how to live a prosperous, happy life. But if we have accepted the sacrifice that Messiah has made on the cross on our behalf, and if we allow Him to be our Lord and we become true disciples, we will indeed experience a peace and joy that can only come from that relationship. How do we get there? It may not be how you think.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Yeshua (Jesus) says, “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I don't know about you, but when I see the words “hard road” I don't tend to get all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Let's look at another verse.

In Matthew 10:24, Yeshua says, “A talmid (disciple) is not greater than his rabbi, a slave is not greater than his master.” On the surface this seems reasonable and I think that most people would agree with this statement. But if we stop and think about it, and look at it coupled with the earlier verses from Matthew 7, I think we get an excellent idea of what a true disciple of Messiah can expect in their walk with the Lord.

If we look at the road that Yeshua walked when He was on the earth 2,000 years ago, if we look at the discipline He had to exercise and the hardships He had to endure – including His death on the cross – we see that He indeed traveled a narrow, hard road. If we are truly His disciple, if we are allowing Him to lead us and teach us, we will also be traveling a narrow, hard road. And if Yeshua is truly our Lord, who are we, as his disciples, to expect that our life would exceed that which He had. We need to get our eyes off of everyone but Messiah and allow Him to lead us down the narrow, hard road. We need to stop taking for granted that pastors and ministry leaders are speaking the truth of the Bible and learn how to study the Bible for ourselves. In return I believe that we will begin to experience intimacy with God much like Yeshua did. That is wealth beyond measure.

If we know God's truth, we won't be led astray or chase empty promises that leave us unfulfilled and hurting. I would challenge you to make a commitment to learn what the Bible really says and teaches. An excellent place to start would be at Ariel Ministries with their Come and See teachings.

Now the Bereans were of nobler character than the ones in Thessalonica; they eagerly welcomed the message, checking the Scriptures every day to see if the things Paul was saying were true. - Acts 17:11


Kelly B. said...

As one of my favorite FORMER teachers said, "If there are too many people at the gate; you're at the wrong gate." Too bad he's not listening to his own advice.

But, one thing to really remember is that Jesus himself mentioned one sign of His coming more than anything. Deception. There's something in Hebrew Midrash that is called kal vachomer. It basically says what is true in a light situation is MORE true in a heavy situation. We're in an period of time where there's not just a chance for deception, but if we are not discerning, we are already deceived.

A sobering thought, and one I'm not taking lightly.

L. A. Krueger said...

Kelly, that's so true. I was just talking with my son last night about the wide and narrow. I think it's just another way we can be discerning about some of these large ministries and churches. Are they wildly popular? Then perhaps they're on the wide path.