OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            We live in a world of almost constantly perfect television reception.  Cables, fiber optics, and satellites have spoiled us.  We turn on our sets and the picture is so clear we almost feel as if we are in the scene.  However, it was not always this way.  Many of us can remember when televisions received signals through antennas that were mounted on the house.  Sometimes, the pick-up was reliable.  At others times, the reception was fuzzy.   Sometimes the screen rolled and rolled and rolled.  There were times when two stations could be seen on the same screen.  There were also days when there would no reception, just a black screen.  When the reception was bad, someone climbed on the house and twisted and turned the antenna trying to get better reception.  Someone from inside the house would holler out the door:  “That’s better.  Just a little more.  That’s good!”

            The Bible exhorts all men to hear and to receive the Word of God into their hearts.  In Proverbs 8:32-33, the wise man wrote:  “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children:  for blessed are they that keep my ways.  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”  Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, exhorted his readers with these words:  “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools:  for they consider not that they do evil” (Eccl. 5:1).  On Pentecost Day, Peter began his exhortation, saying:  “Ye men of Israel, hear these words…”  The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard (Heb. 2:1).  And, James tells us to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” (Jms. 1:19).

            Our reception of the Word of God is much like the reception of the televisions of long ago.  There are times when our reception is as clear as a bell.  We hear what is declared unto us with perfect understanding and with complete obedience.  The apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians for this type of reception of his message.  “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13).  This is the kind of reception that should be desired all of the time.  When perfect reception takes place, one receives the full benefits of God’s Word.  Paul said it effectually works within us.

            Perfect reception does not always take place, however.  Sometimes the reception is poor.  There seems to be a faint image on the screen of our minds, but the sight and sound are not fully comprehendible.  This was the reception the Ethiopian eunuch demonstrated as he read from the book of Isaiah.  Philip the evangelist drew near the chariot, and asked:  “Understandest what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30).  The nobleman was reading from Isaiah 53.  After reading about the suffering servant of God, he asked:  “I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this?  Of himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34).  The eunuch did not have a clear picture of the person being revealed to him by the prophet.  He saw and image of a man who was suffering, but he could not tell who it was.  It took Philip to help adjust the image.  “The Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).  When we have a fuzzy picture of God’s Word, we may need some assistance.  Teachers, preachers, elders, and commentaries might assist in making the picture clearer.  We might find some adjustments to our understanding at good websies on the internet.  The key is to not get discouraged.  Keep turning the antenna until the picture is bright.  “That’s better.  Just a little more.  That’s good!”

            Some people do not have a hazy picture.  They have a picture that has two or three stations trying to broadcast through it.  In their study of the Word of God, these individuals have talked to several people about various issues and texts.  In their search, they have been told two or three different things about the Bible.  In their minds, they can see a little “truth” in each view, but there is not an accurate picture in their mind.  The churches of Galatia had this happen to them.  Paul had preached the pure gospel of Christ unto them, and they received it.  False teachers, however, came in and presented another picture.  In Galatians 3:1, Paul asks them:  “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”  The Judaizing teachers messed up their picture of truth.  Paul had to help them regain the true image of the Christ of the gospel.  Paul urged them to “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).  In Galatians 6:16, he encouraged them to “walk according to this rule,” that is, the rule of the gospel of Christ, not the rule of the Law of Moses.  The gospel is a clear message.  Man can pervert and warp the message, however (Gal. 1:6-7).  Those who cloud the picture are to be rejected (I Thess. 5:19-20).

            Sadly, there are some who get no reception of God’s Word at all.  They may not have a television (Bible).  They may not be interested in the programs offered on the television and keep it turned off.  They may turn the TV on, but the picture is completely black.  These individual need some major repairs to their hearing.  If they do not, they will never accept the message of truth.  The Jews of the first century were much like this.  They continued to reject the word of life.  Paul did all he could to assist them, but to no avail many times.  In Antioch, Paul finally had to leave the Jews to themselves.  “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken unto you:  but seeing ye put if from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46).

            As we close this article, we ask:  “How’s your TV’s reception?”  Do you have a clear, vivid understanding of God’s Word?  Is the picture in your mind fuzzy?  Do you have several images of what God’s Word means on the screen of your mind?  Maybe you have no reception at all.  Only a clear picture is worthwhile and valuable.  We hope yours is perfect.  If not, we encourage you to seek a repairman.  Find someone who can help you to make the message of God’s Word clear in your mind!