by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Acts 17:1-12
I. Paul came to Thessalonica, a city on the coast in Macedonia, to preach the gospel
A. He started out in the synagogues as was his custom.
1. After three weeks of effort he convinced a few of the Jews, but large number of Greeks who had worshiped with the Jews and even some leading women of the city were also persuaded.
B. Those Jews not persuaded did not take lightly the fact that Paul had led many out of their midst.
1. They caused a riot in the city.
2. Unable to find Paul or his companions, they dragged a Christian named Jason from his home, where Paul and his companions were staying, to bring him to trial.
C. Jason was let go after posting bond, but the brethren did not want to risk Paul and Silas, so they sent them out that night to the nearby town of Berea.
D. Paul again did as he always did. He went to the synagogue to begin teaching them about Jesus.
1. The people in this synagogue were described as being more noble-minded or fair-minded than those in the synagogue in Thessalonica
E. It was the same message, delivered in a similar circumstance, but it had a different impact - Acts 17:12
1. The difference wasn’t in the speaker or his message
2. The difference was in the audience.
F. What made them more noble than the people in their neighboring city?
II. They had a freedom from prejudice
A. They received the teachings with readiness or eagerness - Proverbs 2:1-5
1. It did matter to them who was doing the teaching, what excited them was opportunity to hear truth taught.
2. There was a love for truth that makes the distinct from the wicked - II Thessalonians 2:10
3. They had no pre-judgement, instead they saved their judgment for later.
B. Prejudice is a form of laziness
1. You don’t have to think if your mind is firmly made up.
a. You don’t have to look anything up or compare it to what is found in the Bible because you can just say it isn’t what we’ve always believed.
b. Like the Thessalonians, a prejudice person refuses to give either time or consideration to anything with which he is not already in agreement.
2. Prejudice then becomes a barrier to learning
C. The gospel is God’s power for salvation - Romans 1:16
1. But it can’t affect a heart whose mind has been made up
2. It means examining another person’s arguments
3. Discussing the differences calmly - II Timothy 2:23-26
4. And when shortfalls are found, making the change needed to be more inline with God’s word
III. They weren’t gullible
A. The Bereans weren’t called noble because they followed after every wind of doctrine that blew their way - Ephesians 4:14
1. A gullible man is easily duped. A noble-minded man is not a gullible man. There is nothing noble about being gullible
2. The Bereans were willing to listen without prejudice, but it did mean no judgment was brought to bear on what they heard.
3. As Isaiah cried out - Isaiah 8:20
4. They personally investigated the teachings, comparing them to the Scriptures - Psalm 1:2
B. No one has the right to teach whatever they want on their own authority - II Peter 1:19-21
1. A person ought to expect, and should want his teachings examined.
2. God invited examination - Isaiah 34:16
3. Again there is a need for calm, though firm discussion - II Timothy 2:23-26
4. Differences from the truth are to be rooted out and condemned - Galatians 1:6-10; II John 9-11
C. Those of even Thessalonica were even praised for their judgment - I Thessalonians 2:13
IV. They made the changes necessary
A. They put the teachings into practice - Psalm 119:110; James 1:21-25
B. Sometimes that is the hardest point, admitting that we weren’t right before
1. Cannot put anything or anyone else first - Luke 14:26
C. Heard and believed - Ephesians 1:13
D. Saved if we hold fast to the word - I Corinthians 15:1-2
V. Are you noble-minded?