A Lesson From the Bereans
Pastor Albert Almore
For some reason the words that Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:8 have been ringing out strongly in my heart and in my mind. In 1 Peter 5:8 Peter writes,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your GREAT ENEMY, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
This scripture holds great significance to us because it clearly lets us know that we have a real enemy out there, A GREAT ENEMY, by way of THE DEVIL. Paul writes to us in 2 Corinthians 2:11,
“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
In order that Satan might not outwit us…
One may be thinking to themselves in this moment, "How would Satan attempt to outwit us?” I want to attempt to answer that question this morning. If I were the enemy I would do everythingin my power to keep you from the Word of God.
I would interject subtle thoughts into your mind such as, "Did God really say that the word of God is that important?
What’s the big deal about the Bible? It’s just another boring old book with hard words that you can’t pronounce or understand.”
If I were the enemy, I would do all I could to keep you away from your weapon, the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. I would do this because I would be well aware of Hebrews 4:12 where it says,
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
If I were the enemy, I would put good stuff in front of you. I would keep fun stuff around you. It doesn’t even have to be sinful things, as long as they aren’t spiritual things that’ll give you spiritual substance, power and strength to move forward.
If I were the enemy I would do all that I could to disconnect you from the living bread, true fulfillment, and I would try my best to fill you with emotional and spiritual junk food, leaving you hungry, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, looking for more, but never satisfied. I would do everything I could to curve your spiritual hunger, to dry up your spiritual thirst. In short, I would do everything in my power to keep you from being like The Bereans. Acts 17:10 says,
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.”
“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.”
They were more fair minded. Their hearts and their minds were open to the word of God. They didn’t come in with pre-conceived notions. They didn’t come in with bias opinions. They didn’t come in guarded as if Paul had something to prove to them. They were fair minded.
If I were the enemy, before you ever set foot in a church, I would plant ideas in your mind about God’s church, and about God’s people. I would whisper in your ear that this person is fake, and that this person isn’t right, and that the church doesn’t care about you, and all the church wants is your money, and it never does anything for anybody, or for the community, BUT WE ARE NOT UNAWARE OF HIS SCHEMES. The first lesson that we can learn from the Bereans is this…
📝 REMOVE THE BARRIERS.
Any barrier that the enemy pre-planted before you stepped foot in church. Any barrier that the enemy pre-planted before you got serious about God, you have to recognize those barriers and remove the barriers.
Barriers close off opportunities for an open mind.
Barrows close off possibilities to receive from an open heaven.
Jesus said in Matthew 13:23,
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.””
This where we want to be. We want to be in a good place, with no barriers, ready for the Word to take root in our hearts and minds. This is where we want to be, and exactly where the enemy is trying to keep us from.
Prior to this Jesus spoke about seed falling by the wayside, stony places, and by the thorns. These are all barriers and experiences that hinder the word of God from taking root in our lives.
Only God can remove the barriers from our hearts.
“Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart;You will cause Your ear to hear,”
Only God can remove the barriers from our hearts, this is why David cried out in Psalm 51:10,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
After God creates in us a clean heart, and removes the barriers, then we’ll be able to do what Hebrews 10:22 instructs us. It reads,
“let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Then and only then will we be able to say…
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”
The next lesson that we learn from the BEREANS is this…
📝 RECEIVE THE WORD WITH GREAT READINESS.
The Bible says in Acts 17:11,
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that THEY RECEIVED THE WORD WITH ALL READINESS… ACTS 17:11
They came in not just to check off the box, but they came in with a readiness to hear God’s Word. They came in with an eagerness to hear God’s Word. They came in with a willingness to be provoked to change.
📝 Stay READY to HEAR.
📝 Stay EAGER to GROW.
📝 Stay WILLING to CHANGE.
There was a hunger. There was a thirst. There was a desperation for the Word of God. All throughout the Word of God, the Word of God encourages us to crave the Word of God.
📝 All throughout The Word, THE WORD points to more WORD.
Why is this???
📝 The Word WORKS when you WORKthe Word.
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’””
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus cries out, don’t you get it…
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Jeremiah said it like this in Jeremiah 15:16,
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
Job 23:12 says
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. Job 23:12
Like newborn infants, LONG for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation. 1 Peter 2:2
How long has it been since you’ve longed for the Word of God?
How long has it been since you felt like the Psalmist in Psalm 42 where he says,
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I LONG FOR YOU, O God.”
“I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”
How long has it been since you cried out like David in Psalm 63:1 when he said,
“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; MY WHOLE BODY LONGS FOR YOU in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”
“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.”
Why are we so quick to surrender our hunger? Why are we so quick to surrender our thirst??
Why are we ok with being lulled to sleep?
Why are we ok with saying, "I know I’m not in the Word like I’m supposed to be.”
No! God told Joshua in Joshua 1:8,
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
This Book of the Law shall not departfrom your mouth…
If I were the enemy, I would do all that I could to lethargically cause you to depart from the Word of God. I would tell you it’s ok. I would tell you it’s not that big of a deal. I would tell you that God loves you, and that God understands. The truth of the matter is that God does love you and that’s why He wants you in His Word, because He understands that His Word contains everything that you need in it to prosper.
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
“He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
The enemy doesn’t want you to get to Psalm 1:3. He doesn’t want you to get to that place of being planted. He doesn’t want you getting to that place of being fruitful. He doesn’t want you getting to that place of prospering for God’s glory. Part of my assignment and other servant leaders is to lead you to this living water. Ephesians 4:11 says,
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”
The end result being verse 14….
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
After you receive the Word from God’s servants, you must do what the BEREANS did in verse 11. It says,
“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.”
After servant leaders lead you to the living water, you must pick up from where we left off, and go for yourself deeper into the Word of God. In other words…
📝 REVIEW IT LIKE A TRUE DISCIPLE.
…they received the word with all readiness, AND SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY to find out whether these things were so.”
“That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.”
For the next five verses they asked Jesus this long question about marriage and the resurrection. Jesus’s answer to their question, is where we DON’T WANT TO BE. Jesus said in Matthew 22:29,
“Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that YOU DON’T KNOW THE SCRIPTURES, and you don’t know the power of God.”
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
As you begin to study the Word of God for yourself, as you begin to review it like a true disciple, you’ll be able to embrace truths such as Matthew 6:25 where Jesus says,
““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
📝 For every UNSETTLED area of your life, God has a SETTLED Word for your life.
Your peace may seem unsettled here, but God’s settled Word declares that He’ll give you perfect peace over there.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Your joy may seem unsettled here, but God’s settled Word declares that joy will come over there.
“….Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”
Your faith may seem unsettled here, but God’s settled Word declares your planted over there.
“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.””
This is why Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:33,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
📝 Your HEAVENLY Father, will take care of your EARTHLY needs.
Therefore we cry out to our Heavenly Father, Matthew 6:11.
“Give us today our daily bread.”
We cry out to our Heavenly Father Proverbs 30:8,
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only MY DAILY BREAD.”
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Reflection Question: WHAT’S BEEN KEEPING YOU FROM YOUR DAILY BREAD?
And this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth….
What’s been causing you to depart from the living bread?