From Ryan Denison who is filling in for Dr. Jim Denison this week:
Be like the Bereans
In a time when podcasts, online videos, and a number of additional outlets make it possible to listen to the sermons of essentially anyone who stands behind a pulpit on Sunday, it can be easy to base our faith on the teachings of other people rather than on the teachings of Scripture.
Ideally, it shouldn’t be necessary to make that distinction. One would hope that those who claim to speak from the Bible are doing so faithfully. But we do not live in an ideal world, and I have yet to meet a pastor, Sunday School teacher, or anyone else who has publicly taught Scripture who didn’t have at least one lesson they wish they could take back.
If our relationship with God is based primarily on the relationship with our favorite pastor, speaker, or teacher, then it’s eventually going to lead to trouble.
All of us would do well to follow the example of the Bereans, who received Paul’s “message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV).
The day we take for granted that those who teach us are doing so in a manner that’s faithful to the Scriptures is the day we open ourselves to deception and a faith built upon sand rather than the firm rock of God’s word.
Own your relationship with God
Ultimately, you are the only one who bears the responsibility for the quality of your relationship with God.
When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, you cannot blame poor preaching, misguided teaching, or the decision to question his faith by someone like Joshua Harris for any deficiencies in yours.
God has given us everything we need to know him and trust him as our Lord and Savior. And while the missteps of public figures and doubts of famous Christians can absolutely make that process more difficult, if they cause us to question the very foundations of our relationship with the Lord, then perhaps that faith was not built on the most solid of rocks to begin with.
Fortunately, God would love nothing more than to help you reexamine your walk with him and come to a better understanding of who he is and just how much he cares for you.
My prayer for Joshua Harris is that his decision to walk away from his faith as he previously understood it will eventually lead him right back into the arms of his heavenly Father.
My prayer for each of you (and for myself) is that our faith will remain so firmly rooted in God that the same will never need to be said for us.
What are you doing to make sure that’s the case today?
NOTE: Without a doubt, we live in complex times.
Our culture would have us think that absolute truth is no longer absolute or true. Consequently, we’re led to believe that whatever answers make us feel best or seem the most popular are the right answers.
But how can any answer be “right” without a foundation of absolute truth?
God’s inspired, authoritative word is that foundation, and we can and should glean insight into today’s toughest questions from its pages.
That’s one reason I wrote the series, Biblical Insight to Tough Questions. Volume 3 is now available, and it covers ten of today’s challenging questions, like “Should we expect our culture or government to observe Christian values?”