Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
Just what constitutes Christian Nobility? Well, obviously, it is first of all – Christian! For there is a nobility of the flesh that the Lord omits from his choice. 1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. Therefore we are not speaking of those who are royal born. We are addressing those who are Spirit born.
So just what is the criteria for Christian Nobility? There seems to be three recorded for us in our above listed passage. Two are more obviously set forth than the third, but by the Lord’s mercy, it can be brought forth.
The first two are listed in verse eleven. They are brought forth after the words, “in that.” 1.) they received the word with all readiness of mind, and 2.) and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
You must remember that these noble believers were Jews who were attenders of the synagogue in Berea. But they are not just formal, traditional religionists! They were quite unlike those who attend services and never really hear inwardly the message of the scriptures. Here is a description of some who were just like that. Acts 13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
These are those to whom our Lord called attention. They sit in ‘religious seats,’ but have no spiritual observance of scriptural matters! Matt. 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. Consider also this verse: Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
For these kinds of religious attenders actually turn out to be implements in the hands of evil! 1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. One must have revealed to him, (for true christian knowledge comes not by illumination, nor education, but solely by revelation!), the hidden wisdom of the mystery of God!
Religion established upon the letter of the law is a cruel and damaging matter! 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
But these noble believers are included in those classified by our Lord as “good ground hearers.” Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. For because they are the elect sheep of our Lord, he has given to them both hearing ears and following feet. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And when these who are implanted in the good ground are presented with the gospel, they always exercise their God-given ears by faith in a beneficial hearing of God’s word! Luke 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
They are those whose wisdom is Christ! Therefore they glory in God, not as the fleshly noble who glory only in the flesh! 1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
These noble christians are those also with those God-given following feet, who therefore obey their Lord in his commands. One of which is to search the scriptures in order to find Him – the Person of the Word! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
They obey him in living the word, which more deeply ingrains the scriptures into their characters! John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. For he provided the scriptures to them, not just by teaching, but by doing and teaching! Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, For Christ is not just their example, but also their enablement! He teaches righteousness for their instruction. He lives righteously for their example. Then he, by the indwelling of the Spirit, enables them to fulfill his commands for their own personal godliness!
And they do not simply memorize, as an actor playing a part, the bare letter and word of the Holy Writ, but have it incorporated into their beings by daily acting it forth in faith! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
This goes in total agreement with the very definition of the words, more noble. For these two English words are derived from two Greek words as we shall see in the following verses. In Acts 19:10 we see that our phrase is partly derived from the Greek word there translated, continued. And then in Acts 15:29 we also find a second word needed to fulfill our meaning. It is simply translated, well. Therefore we understand that to be a Noble Christian is to be one who ‘continues well’ in the spiritual matters of our Lord! For these alone are the truly ‘saved!’ Matt. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Here are some recorded testimonies of those who are of Christian Nobility: Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Also in Cornelius’ own words to the Apostle Peter: Acts 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 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.
And we also spoke of a third proof that these Berean Jews were more noble than those Jews of Thessalonica. It is found in verses fourteen and fifteen of our above listed passage. For there we see just how much care they took in the protecting of their gospel minister! For we read that they immediately, not only sent away Paul, as did the Thessalonians, as shown in verse ten, but these did it BEFORE the fight broke out! They thus spared their gospel minister of another trying and stressful ordeal, and possibly more bodily harm as he suffered in Philippi.
But we then we also read, they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens, not leaving him until he was settled there. And not leaving him until they had received his instruction as to a message for Silas and Timothy, who had remained behind. Only after these things does it state that they departed.
This is a rare and very noble thing! For even in the ministry of our Lord there was not the courage and faith among his followers to abide with him in his most trying hour. He even made this known to them before hand. Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
And it was so noteworthy to the Apostle Paul that he wrote about it to Timothy, as to who did, and who did not, abide faithful to him. 2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Dear soul, If you have ever been under satanic attack, you learned one thing. The demonic forces cannot be distracted from their onslaught against you! They are determined and relentless! Do you remember how David, in the midst of the Philistines, having been run out of Israel by Saul, was so horrified in demonic fear that he acted like a crazy man, seeking to distract attention from himself? 1 Samuel 21:12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
But nothing other than the absolute sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ can handle them! 1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
It is stated that these jealous hearted preachers moved with envy (17:5) in their persecution against these gospel ministers. Proverbs 6:34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
Song 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Also notice in verse thirteen of our above passage that the Jews who assaulted the gospel witness in their city did not even mind traveling approximately sixty miles to continue to do so here in Berea. And seeing these tormentors enter into their city, these more noble believers, like our president’s Secret Service, hovered around Paul and whisk him away from all danger. What a more noble thing to do!
1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
May our Lord be pleased to return true, spiritual christianity to christendom!
Pastor Gene Breed