What To Do When Listening To Religious Teaching
It is not just the teacher or preacher who has an important responsibility when God's word is taught, each listener does also. Whether you are listening to a religious teacher in person, on the television, or over the radio, you have some serious obligations.
Listen with a searching attitude. The Bereans in Acts 17:11 serve as a great model as to the kind of listeners we all should be. When they heard Paul preach, the Bible says, “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” They were eager and open-minded. They believed the Scriptures to be from God and they examined them to see if Paul’s message was in harmony with it. They were not lazy listeners, but active ones. It is possible their search took place even outside the time of the synagogue assembly. Like them, we should search the Bible carefully as we examine what we hear. The public message should even prompt us to continue to study the Scriptures on our own.
Test what you are hearing. The Bereans did not assume Paul’s message was from God. They proved it with the Scriptures. Neither should we take the word of a religious teacher without first testing it. 1 John 4:1 teaches us to do this and why: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” False teachers have always existed. The way to separate the false teachers from the true ones is to test their message with the Bible. Galatians 1:8 teaches, “But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”Don’t be deceived by external kindness (Matthew 7:15). Test the message always with God’s word.
Listen with a willingness to do. There are some who listen to God’s word and appreciate hearing it. Yet, the word has no impact on their lives. To them, listening to the teaching of the Bible is like a spectator sport in which they find some amusement. Yet, no change is made to align their lives with what is taught. James 1:22 teaches, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”The word of God is a living message (Hebrews 4:12).It is not merely a philosophy to intellectually embrace. It is a life-changing message that is to invade every facet of a person’s life. Your marriage, family, and job are to be governed by it (Ephesians 5:22-6:9).
The next time you hear religious teaching, remember your responsibilities. Your response to Christ’s word will determine your eternal destiny (John 12:47-48).