I was recently reading Luke 5:17 where it says that the Pharisees and doctors of the law were seen “sitting by” while Jesus was teaching. Then I read a commentary by Matthew Henry where he wrote, “How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the Word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent to them; they are willing that we should preach before them, but not we should preach to them.” Ouch!
Then A.W. Tozer said something even plainer when he wrote: “For a long time I have believed that truth, to be understood, must be lived; that Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life.”
I’ve been in many Bible studies, or even church services, for that matter, where a few people were profoundly affected by the teaching or worship–yet others were completely unmoved. Like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, sometimes the unaffected can be the most “religious” people in the room. Maybe the problem is that they were sitting by instead of sittng under God’s Word!
One man wrote:
I know I am really only moved to tears or action by the Truths which I experience, rather than the many text books on theology I possess.
The greatest challenge and pleasure lies in the willing sacrifice of my will to God’s life changing truth…
I admit that I have often settled for the un-lit flame of Elijah’s neatly laid-out altar, but that has been because I lacked the courage to allow God to come down and light the fire, because I was not willing that my life and will become the sacrifice upon that altar.
We need to continually examine the attitude of our hearts. Are we open to learn from even the most unlikely sources?
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