Attitudes Toward Preaching
"Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him" (Lk. 8: 18).
The Savior used these words to instruct His disciples concerning their reception of the truth. In order to accept His words and conform their lives to His teaching, His followers would have to possess the proper attitude. Moses had prophesied of Christ: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22,23). With respect to the seriousness of that statement, each person should re-examine his attitude toward the preaching of the gospel.
The book of Acts contains examples of various attitudes men manifest toward the truth of God. As these attitudes are examined, let each reader conduct an honest self-examination to determine his own attitude.
Many people display the outward appearance of indifference. Gallio, a Grecian deputy, is an example of such a deplorable attitude (Acts 18). When the Jews had kidnaped Paul, forced him to court against his wishes and made false accusations against him, Gallio refused to sit in judgment over the case. Then the Greeks brought the chief ruler of the synagogue and physically beat him in the presence of Gallio. The inspired record says: "And Gallio cared for none of those things" (v. 17).
All too often we come in contact with this type of individual -- too busy, too important, or too bored to be bothered with religion. Indifference is a most unfortunate response to the word of God.
Almost every Christian has run into this attitude. "Religion is just for children and old ladies." "Only a sissie would be a Christian." There are numerous manifestations of ridicule. As Paul was preaching to King Agrippa and Bernice (Acts 26), Festus interrupted to inform the inspired apostle that he was crazy. "Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!" (v. 24) Many believe that when Agrippa said, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (v. 28), the words were not spoken from a sincere heart, but rather with ridicule or sarcasm. Such may have been the case.
Ridicule is often used as a coverup for ignorance. Rather than admit a lack of knowledge, a sarcastic remark seems a convenient response.
The Jews constantly exhibited this attitude, The envious Jews of Thessalonica are an excellent example (Acts 17). Rather than hear simple truths of God's word, they started a riot and attempted to kill Paul and Silas. Not even willing to listen to the apostle's doctrine, they closed their minds. Jesus expressed the situation this way: "For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their heart and turn, So that I should heal them" (Mt. 13:15).
In contrast to those mentioned above, there are some honest and sincere people who will receive the gospel, examine it, and then obey it. The Jews of Berea were such people (Acts 17). "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" (v. 11). All should manifest this attitude. This is the person that Christians must always be looking for.
How is your attitude?
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 21, p. 648