Would We Have Believed Them?
How many of us living today, had we been living in the first century, would have been receptive to the preaching of men like, John the Baptist, Peter, or Paul?
Most of us would probably say, "Of course we would". But maybe that is because what they taught has become socially acceptable, and more often than not, their teaching is presented to us in a non-offensive manner. But how was the truth originally presented, and what manner of men presented it. Perhaps we need to think seriously about this.
Would we have believed John the Baptist?
He preached in the wilderness, people had to travel to hear him. Mt 3:1-2 Do we take advantage of opportunities to hear Gods word even when we have to travel to do it?
He dressed himself in camel’s hair and a leather girdle. Do we pay more attention to the preacher’s clothes than to his message?
He called religious people a brood of vipers. Do we get upset when our toes are stepped on?
Would we have believed Peter?
He did not have a formal education. Does our preacher have to be educated with a degree? He denied Jesus three times. Are we willing to give others a second chance when they repent even if he is the preacher? His hypocrisy caused division among the brethren. Ga 2:11-13 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Could we believe a man like that?
Would we have believed Paul?
He had been a blasphemer and a persecutor of the church. 1Ti 1:13. He was not a fluent speaker. 1 Cor 2:3-4. His physical appearance was described as weak 2Co 10:10. Would we have believed a man like that?
While we would like to think we would have been quick to listen and believe their message, perhaps we might have acted differently!
How about today, we should look at the message and not the messenger. If a preacher is teaching the truth it does not matter how educated he is, how polished his delivery is, how he dresses or how he looks. We should prove from the scriptures the things he is teaching and if they are the truth we should support him in his efforts.
There is another way to determine if we would have believed them back then. Do we believe and obey their words today? It may be speculation on our part to say we would have believed these men back in the first century but one thing is sure if we are unwilling to obey them today, we certainly would not have done it then!
Something to think about.
- Dewey Stidham, Jr.