24 August 2016


By John Ollis

We are all the product of our church denomination’s “Articles of Faith” which we heard and learned over the years  taught in our  local church. Some of us who have had the privilege of attending Bible College or Seminary have had our thinking and understanding deepened generally in the areas of the truths that are the mainstay of our denomination.
What has normally been our reaction when we heard teaching that was contrary to the position we have always held? Human nature is not easily open to change, and frustratingly, we find the Word of God can be interpreted in a different way to what we have always believed. We must learn to be flexible and open to change and be willing to lay aside our pre-conceived ideas.
I have said previously, that we are doing a series of sermons from the Book of Acts, and the various portions of Scripture that have been allocated to me recently, have all been related to various churches as recorded in Acts.
Firstly, I was asked to preach on Acts 9:31  regarding the churches throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, which were clearly built on the pattern of the Word of God, Jesus had shared the Keys of the Kingdom to the Apostles and they in turn laid the foundation in the church in Jerusalem, and then onto the churches as recorded in this verse.
This Sunday, I am preaching on Acts 11:9-30 which tells of the birth of the church in Antioch which became the mighty missionary sending church, all these churches fulfilling Acts 1: 8, witnessing in Jerusalem (our local area) Judea & Samaria (similar culture and language) and then then the uttermost parts of the earth. (different languages and cultures) but still using the same pattern and keys that Jesus shared with the Apostles.
In Acts 13 the Antioch church sent out Paul and Barnabas to take the message to the known world of their day.You may say what does the above have to do with pre-conceived ideas ?
In a few weeks time I have been given Acts 17 to preach fro, I want to highlight a particular town and a particular group of people namely those from Berea we find these verses in Acts 17: 10-12.
Although Paul was known as the Apostle to the Gentiles, it was his practice to first go to the synagogue when he arrived at a new town, he wanted his own people to know the glorious truth that the Messiah had come. verse 10 tells us he did this in Berea,
Verse eleven tells us these Jews were:
More fair minded, or open minded
Better disposed, more noble.
These are the words the various translations use regarding the Berean  Jews.


They readily accepted enthusiastically what Paul told them,

They searched and examined the Scriptures.

We must never be gullible when we hear new teaching that is different to what we have previously believed, but,


In the past (for example) what has been your attitude when it comes to new teaching? Have you been open minded, disposed to listen,  and be ready to accept, after you have searched and examined the Scriptures. Sadly, we often have been so entrenched in our particular denomination’s teaching we are CLOSED MINDED !!!!! And consequently reject teaching that could liberate us, and bless us, and take us to a new level of blessing and relationship with the Lord. That has been my attitude at times in the past, and I regret it today.

This was not a mind trip for the Berean Jews they saw the truth in the Word of God, and they believed and were transformed, then Paul and the others went to the Gentiles and many of them also believed. praise the Lord.

I was brought up in a church that did not believe in the sacraments (water baptism (by immersion) & and holy communion)and for years I rejected any suggestion that these were valid for today. I am so thankful “the Word of the Lord came a second (and more) time” and I embraced them.

I was taught that the Gifts of the Spirit (as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12) we only for the Apostolic age) and were not available today, again “the Word of the Lord came a second time” and I responded, and thank God for all these gifts including being able to pray in unknown tongues.

In the early 1970’s I was told to my face by an Elder of a non Charismatic church that I was “of the devil” because I prayed in tongues. Sadly, a man who was not fair minded and disposed to accept truth. It is interesting that today, the largest section of the Christian church around the world, is considered “Charismatic and/or Pentecostal.

I am so thankful to God, that He has gently led me out of my closed minded, inflexible attitudes, and by His grace is leading me into more truth.

Every time God has restored truth to His church from the Reformation, there has been extremes, and sadly we look at the extremes, and reject what God is trying to say to us.

It was Martin Luther that said “Don’t throw out the baby with the (dirty) bathwater”.

God is still speaking to His Church, and wanting to restore truth (which is in the Word of God) Peter prayed that we would be “established in PRESENT TRUTH”( that is what God is saying and doing TODAY. Often it is not rejecting past truth, but letting the Lord add to, and enlarge truth to us.

Didn’t Jesus Himself say the Holy Spirit wants to lead us into ALL TRUTH? But we need to reject our pre-conceived ideas, and stubbornness and like the Bereans  (not be gullible) but be fair and open minded, better disposed, more noble to hear teaching, and then study and examine the Scriptures whether it is so or not.

“Lord help us to be flexible, and open minded, and let your Holy Spirit “turn the light on”  in your Word. Help us to embrace truth, that will take us to a new  and deeper relationship with you Amen.