For several months at Progress Baptist we’ve been studying the spiritual gifts outlined in Romans 12. For the first several weeks, we studied the foundation needed to properly exercise our spiritual gifts. We then moved on to the framework necessary to give structure and guidance for the most effective use of those gifts. A few weeks ago, we actually began studying the individual gifts and their use in edifying the Body of Christ, the Church, as well as in the spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While studying the gift of teaching (Romans 12:7), I was once again reminded, but in a more powerful way than ever before, of the responsibility of responding properly to the teaching of the Word of God. Praise God for those who have the gift of teaching and use it well. But what responsibility do we have as hearers?
The answer is clear. When it is plain to see that the teacher/preacher of God’s Word has rightly divided the Scripture, we must obey! Certainly, we have a responsibility to search the Scriptures ourselves, not with a critical spirit, but with a heart’s desire to see if these things are so. (Acts 17:11) As hearers, our clearest command, however, as described in James 1:22-25, is to be doers of the Word. There is a great amount of good, solid, Bible preaching and teaching in our day. There is not, however, an equal proportion of obedience.
It is interesting to note that the same chapter in Acts (17) that commends the believers at Berea for searching the Scriptures daily also describes the three primary responses you will see any time the Word of God is declared. In verses 32 – 34, we see that some mocked, while others waited to make a decision (remember – slow obedience is disobedience!), and finally there were those who believed and cleaved to the Word and to those who had taught them.
Each time you have the privilege of receiving the Word, be sure to respond properly. Only in the past few hundred years have we had such free access to the Scripture. By failing to respond properly to His revelation of Himself, we can limit the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, homes, and churches. Luke 12:48 tells us that we will give account for the great truth and teaching we have received. Let’s search our hearts and be sure we are responding properly.