Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 6 March 2023:
Esther 5:11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.
A person can have all the appearances of success while being a failure in God’s eyes and while heading to calamity.
Esther 5:12 – Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king.”
Haman interpreted circumstances from a selfish, self-centered perspective.
Esther 5:13 – Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.
Haman could not be content. Pride and Jealousy consumed Haman and ruined is appreciation of everything else. What is needlessly robbing you of your joy? Don’t let one negative thing consume you. Focus on how much God has blessed you. Remain joyfully obedient, one day at a time, and watch God work.
Acts 18:2, 3 – And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Paul worked to finance his ministry. His job was not his identity or life aim but merely a way to resource his real mission of spreading the Gospel.
Acts 18:4 – And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.
Paul was diligently faithful to his calling to reach all with the Gospel. Paul did use his work as an excuse for not fulfilling the Great Commission, nor did he use his ministry as an excuse for not working – he worked hard both in industry and ministry.
Acts 18:5, 6 — When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Paul dedicated himself to relentlessly testifying about Jesus from the word of God to anyone who would listen. He understood that he was responsible for preaching the Gospel, not for how others chose to respond to God’s word. Preach the truth of Jesus to anyone who will listen. Don’t worry about how they will respond – God knows. When someone comes to see you, hopefully they will find you “occupied with the word, testifying… that the Christ was Jesus.
Acts 18:9, 10 — Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you.
Are you afraid to proclaim the Gospel? Do not be afraid or silent. If your message does not start and end with the person of Jesus Christ, your message is NOT the Gospel. It is impossible to reconcile others to Jesus if you don’t tell them about Jesus, not just vague notions of goodness or sentimental thoughts of God – Jesus Christ! When Jesus gave us the Great Commission, he did so under all authority and promised that He would be with us always and that we would be empowered by the Holy Spirit. He has appointed us as His Ambassadors. Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent. God is with you; what else matters?
Acts 18:24-28 – Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
Have you ever worried about sharing or teaching God’s word inaccurately? Hopefully you have. I have met many Christians who would not participate in small group Bible studies for fear that they or someone else would mislead others with Bible misinterpretation. To that point, if you have been in many Bible study groups, you have undoubtedly heard someone communicate some pretty crazy stuff about God’s word, perhaps even heresy. But, on the other hand, if perfect understanding were required to share God’s word, no one would.
Apollos was a gifted speaker, well-versed in God’s word, and passionate about sharing the truth of Jesus, but his teaching wasn’t perfect. So, Priscilla and Aquila took him aside privately and straighten him out. Then, encouraged by the brothers, Apollos returned to preaching and helped many.
So, was Apollos a false teacher? When you share your imperfect knowledge of the Bible with others, are you a false teacher? Take a look at this 2-minute video of a discussion between John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, and R.C. Sproul on the difference between false teachers and false teaching — https://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/how-to-define-a-false-teacher/
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Since Christians are called to share God’s truth, but since no one understands the Bible perfectly, it’s important to maintain a humble, correctable spirit and to continually question both our understanding and the teachings of others, no matter how respected the teacher. Always test what others say against the inerrant, unchanging word of God, and encourage other to test your teachings and convictions as well. Referring to Acts 17, we strive and encourage others to be like noble Bereans, constantly validating teaching from the plumb line of God’s word.
- Proverbs 1:7 — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- Psalm 1:1-6 — Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
- Proverbs 28:26 — Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom [The Logos, the Spirit] will be delivered.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 — Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- Proverbs 19:20 — Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
- Proverbs 4:13 — Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
- James 1:5 — If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
- James 3:17 — But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. [Judge the tree (teacher) by its fruit.
- 2 Timothy 2:15 — Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- Romans 12:3 — For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
- Proverbs 27:17 — Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
- James 3:1 — Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
- 1 John 4:1 — Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.
- Acts 17:11 — Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 March 2023: Share God’s word honestly and humbly to the best of your knowledge, being as careful as you can not to exceed the limits of your understanding. Always validate the teachings of others with your own careful, prayerful Bible study, like a good Berean. The Holy Spirit is your teacher.