As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving at Berea, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now, the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians for they received the word with great eagerness and (Pay close attention to these words) “examined the scriptures” every day to see if what Paul said was true.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in “knowledge (accurate) and depth of insight”, 10 so that you may be able discern what is best. (Underscore this in your Bibles), and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.
“We ought to look for opportunities to respectfully or tactfully demonstrate that there is a better way. One which is more conducive to the spiritual growth of God’s people for the function of the New Testament church is best carried out by the New Testament form of the church.”
What does it mean to examine the Scriptures?
For us, the reality is a majority of us as believers have become fat, lazy, and comfortable when it comes to the scriptures and their application in our lives. It should mean more than “just reading the Bible”. In my opinion, It involves knowing the context of the books of the Bible, understanding Greek language word meanings, and church history.
The Importance of a Solid Foundation: Greek Word Meanings of Discernment, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.Discernment – Aisthesis – to apprehend by the senses, to perceive. In the New Testament Context, it speaks primarily of spiritual perception of the believer and the necessity of it being fine-tuned. ( not judgemental, but also not gullible.) (My opinion) I sincerely believe that a majority of Christians are discerning in some ways, however, many do not know “how” to be discerning and need someone to teach them.
Here’s a little story that I came across while doing my research and it might give you a picture of what discernment should be.
Years ago a man came to a church looking for a place to stay. They told him that they supported the Union Mission and that they would be glad to take him down to the mission. He responded by telling them that he couldn't stay at the mission because he needed a private room. They told him that they would take him to the mission but that was the best they could do. He said to me, "I thought that Christians were supposed to love?" One of the men said, "We are, but we're not supposed to be suckers." That, my friends, is an excellent paraphrase for discernment.
· Everything that we read, hear from other Christians and pastors, think, believe, see on T.V., papers, movies, internet, etc., etc., needs to be discerned through the question, “does it line up with what’s in the word of God?”
Greek Language Word Meanings:Knowledge – Epignosis – refers to exact, complete, thorough, accurate, experiential knowledge. In the New Testament, knowledge is always described as full/comprehensive, moral/religious knowledge (accurate) in God’s word.
Understand – Epiginosko – To perceive with the mind, to come to know well, reflective thought. It means to be fully acquainted in a discerning, recognizing manner. To recognize a thing to be what it really is.
Godly Wisdom - involves knowledge (accurate) and understanding coming from what’s revealed in God’s word. It’s using this Godly wisdom in choosing the best course of action in living one’s life.
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge (accurate).
Destroy – Apollumi – as it relates to men/women/things. It means to ruin so that the person or thing ruined can no longer serve the use for which it was designed, or “rendered useless for his or her intended purpose.”
Jesus used Apollumi to describe to his apostles what happened when men “put new wine into old wineskins. They knew that this would make the wineskins burst and then they would be ruined and rendered useless. The point that Jesus was making was that his teachings could not fit into the old wineskins of the Pharisees. Grace could not be brought under the law. Also, Jesus teaching’s do not fit into the old wineskin of the Institutional Church traditions/organizational system.
1st John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but “test the spirits” to see whether they are from God, because “many false prophets” have gone out into the world.
My friends, my firmest desire is to set a door of truth and freedom open before all of you that has been closed for many centuries. I want to help you discover the Father’s best so you can enter in and be blessed. It is my hope that you will be like the Bereans, and,I thoroughly expect that you will examine what I bring to you from the scriptures and other church history resource material. I truly hold on to the hope that you as well as other believers will come to see that the leadership pattern and meeting in the home was the original intent of the Apostles and others throughout history. I believe that if Paul were alive today, he would agree and encourage every believer to be like a Berean, “identifying”, “examining”, and “exposing” the current false basis of leadership as it is structured today as well as believer’s meetings in church buildings even though God’s work is being done through them.
(Pay close attention to these words) DO YOUR HOMEWORK! DO NOT TAKE MY WORDS AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH! MY FRIENDS, INVESTIGATE FOR YOURSELF!
I’d like to share some quotes with you that I believe are very relevant to our discussion. As I read them, listen closely and think about them while I am speaking. I think that most of you have heard a couple of these quotes many, many, times.
· “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana.
· How many of you remember the movie the Matrix. In one of the opening scenes Morpheus says to Neo, “You take the blue pill, the story ends and you wake up and continue to believe a lie. In other words, you can keep on going the way of the traditional church like you always do. You can let one man lead you, meeting in a “Sacred Building” or House of the Lord (as some say), and attending a “formal service” and keep on believing that this is the truth and everything will be fine, or You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. In other words, I can show you the original way in which you can break free from the traditions of men and enjoy meeting where every member participates and is historically and biblically accurate.
There is another quote by Morpheus to Neo. I’m going to take a little poetic license and paraphrase this one. I’m inserting some words that I feel are appropriate for our understanding of the truth about the deception that has infiltrated the body of believers up to the present day.
· Morpheus says to Neo:
“The traditional Bible-Based churches/Denominations, whether large, medium, or small, are a system, Neo. “The system is our problem”, not the believers. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Pastors, Businessmen, Teachers, Lawyers, Carpenters, etc. They are the minds that you are trying to set free from the deception of “other believers” and the “Early Church Fathers”. But until we do, these people are still part of that system, and that continues to make the traditional system our problem. You have to understand, most of these people have been fed “the error of human tradition” over their lifetimes and are not ready to leave. They are “hopelessly dependent” on the “current system.” They are “ignorant” of the facts” from the Bible and church history, so they will go to the “extreme” to “fight to protect” the “very system” that deceives them.” (Think closely about this last sentence in relation to your traditional church experience)
Have you ever found yourself defending yourself about your traditional church experience?
Many believers (myself in the past and sometimes today) argue, debate, or try to reason out these issues solely on their opinions or their favorite scriptures. In reality, they lack a foundational understanding of what they are speaking about.
Take the time when you are alone to think about these quotes. Then, reflect on your Christian experience in the traditional body of believers in relationship to leadership structure, believer’s meetings, and church buildings. MY FRIENDS, DO SOME RESEARCH, PLEASE!