THE ACTS 36
MOST PEOPLE DO NOT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
I want to pause here, in our study of Paul’s Missionary Journeys, to note a very important point. As you read the history, you will find that it is not the Romans, or the other pagan peoples, who are opposing Paul. It is the Jews, who are supposed to be the people of God. Of all the ones who should have welcomed him, as he unfolded the scriptures and gave them further insights into God’s will, it was those who had read and studied the scriptures all their lives. But they angrily and violently opposed him. Answering the why of this question is very important in viewing the Christian world today.
Such resistance to the quest for truth is not limited to the Jews, nor is it only a product of past history. It is the single most common error among those who claim to be Christians today. But why is this so? Why are people not searching for the truth? Here are some of the reasons I have encountered in my years of ministry.
First, there are many who trust their own infallibility. They have found the truth, and there is no reason to search further. In fact to do so is heresy and the result of unsound thinking. They never realize that man is fallible and God is infinite. We will never completely comprehend the majestic reality of God. We are all ignorant, and the finding of truth is a constant quest. As Paul told the Athenians, God placed man here so that he might search for God, but that he would find that God is not far from any of us. However, we only come to know Him better by realizing His mind is beyond ours and His ways not our ways.
I do not see God the same way I did 30 years ago. It is not that I was wrong then. It is simply that, through study and really searching for the truth, I know Him much better today than I did then. It is my desire to know Him better day by day, for I know that my knowledge and understanding of the truth is never complete. The search for truth is a constant experience of discovery. Every time we discard one concept for a greater truth, we grow. Admitting our mistakes and making changes is a growth process. Those who refuse to change simply refrigerate their ignorance and stagnate.
Then, there are a great many who have a loyalty to their group, and cannot admit that any concept they teach could be wrong. Many preachers I have known are afraid of losing their popularity if they question anything the orthodox leaders of the group believe. Wanting to be a part of the group, and feeling a sense of belonging there, stands in the way of any search for more and deeper truth. Added to this is the sense of competitiveness, which sadly exists in Christendom today. The pride in “my church” being right, as opposed to others, who are wrong, destroys not only the unity of Christ’s family, but locks in error and stifles the search for truth. In that case, we are not truth seekers. We are defenders of the status quo.
The Jews thought they were the only people of God. They were unwilling to accept anyone who would suggest that the Gentiles were now accepted by God. I, personally, have known many people who believe only their church group is right, and no others could be acceptable to God. This myth is not limited to the old Jews.
A great many people are just comfortable with the religion that they practice and do not want to be challenged or disturbed. No demands are made of them where they are, and they don’t want anyone rocking their peaceful religious boat. Such people are more interested in their own comfort than they are in any real relationship with Jesus Christ.
There are other reasons, but these are the main ones I have found.
All of them cause people to ignore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore forsake the Savior, who alone can forgive our sins, and who is the only One we should worship. Next to worshipping men, the worship of a church and its teaching is blasphemy and an insult to the excellence and omniscience of God.
These things were characteristic of the Jews, who hated Paul’s preaching, and they are true of too many church-going people in
Christendom today. Take a moment to honestly check yourself, and see if you fit into any of these categories today.