10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 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. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12)
How do you decide what is true and acceptable to God? Do you rely on family tradition? Do you depend on what your friends say? Does a creed make your decision for you? Does the word of your preacher or priest end the matter for you? This passage teaches the God-approved way of determining truth. The Berean Jews were fair-minded. When they heard the gospel they compared it to the Scriptures to “find out whether these things were so”. By doing so, “many of them believed” . We must follow their example. Spend time examining the Scriptures. What they say is truth – regardless of family, friends, creeds, preachers, priests or any other source. Do you really believe the Bible when you will not do what it says? The answer to that question is clear: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. (Proverbs 12:1-2)
Some people get mad when you lovingly try to correct them from God’s word. They are not concerned with knowing the way of righteousness, so they refuse to “love instruction”. Displaying such hatred toward correction is an exercise in stupidity. The Lord’s favor is obtained when we love to know His word and are corrected by it. Are your intentions to please God, or do your intentions exclude God? Those who hate the correction of God and refuse His instruction fall under His condemnation. Do not hate God’s correction of your sins. If you do, only condemnation remains. Do not be “stupid”. Love to be taught from God’s word and follow its instruction. By doing so you will have favor from the Lord.
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Marriage was instituted by God, not people. Divine sovereignty, not human society, determines its moral rights, responsibilities and restrictions. Jesus defines marriage the same way God did when He created it; between “male and female” (verse 4). Furthermore, God ordained marriage to be for life, joining together the “male and female”. God hates divorce because it tears apart what He has joined together (Malachi 2:16). So, Jesus commands against separating “what God has joined together” (verse 6). Commit yourself completely and permanently to the person to whom God joined you. Let us return to honoring marriage the way God arranged it. God-approved marriage is between a man and a woman for a lifetime. Be sure your attitudes and actions honor the permanency of marriage.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
The temptation to “get even” when someone wrongs us is strong, and many yield to its attraction. Yet, our goal must be to live peaceably and not be motivated by pride’s revenge. Faith in God’s justice to right every wrong will help you remember your place and also give place to God’s just wrath against sin. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). Therefore, when someone sins against you, do them good in return. They will not be expecting that! Overcoming evil with good requires seeing situations in live with eyes of faith rather than flesh.
21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:21-22)
It is not at all uncommon for people to compare themselves to others when it comes to spiritual expectations and responsibilities. Jesus had just told Peter he would die for Him (Jno. 21:18-19). A difficult road of painful sacrifice was ahead of him. But he was to trust the Lord and walk that path, regardless of what happened to others. When the Lord commands you to do His will, do not complain. Trust and obey the Lord without comparing yourself to others. The Lord expects each of us to follow Him. Let us do so wholeheartedly.
In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6)
The purging of sins is provided by God “in mercy and truth”. We need God’s mercy, and it is obtained according to God’s truth. We will not have God’s mercy if we reject God’s truth. In other words, mercy is received on God’s terms, not ours. One must fear God in order to put away evil. Today, to be purged of your sins you must first believe the truth of the gospel and confess your faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-10). You must fear God and depart from evil by repenting of your sins (Acts 2:38). Then, you must follow the counsel of Ananias when he told Saul, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Your sins will be purged by God’s mercy as you fearfully obey His truth and depart from evil.
29 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (Luke 12:29-31)
Jesus is not telling us to be unconcern for our livelihood. But, he is telling us not to be distracted by such things. The “anxious mind” is consumed and diverted from what is really and finally important. Do not make material pursuits your first priority. God knows your needs and he promises to provide them. What God wants from you is to have first place in your heart, your motives and your goals. Putting your faith in God puts this material life into perspective. What is really important is your spiritual life. The first thing to do is seek the kingdom of God. God will supply you with what you need to live for heaven.