40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
41 I receive not honour from men.
42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Search the Scriptures for they testify of Jesus.
Actually when I memorized this chapter many years ago, there were a couple of favorite verses that I found. One is verse 18, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” But the other is part of today’s text, verse 39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” The first I love because it teaches that Jesus was claiming equality with His Father; the second I love because here is defined the whole of what I am to know and believe.
Make no mistake for I do enjoy reading spiritual works by other authors, but I believe that those works must be put under the prism of the Word of God, checking everything against the Scripture to see whether these things be so. The church is full of men who are full of mistakes. I think the history of the church shows ghastly mistakes on the part of many of our Christian fathers, but nowhere do those mistakes become more serious when something is allowed to supersede the Scripture.
I think that many mainline denominations should be checked against the rigor of Scripture—to see whether these things be so. The traditions of men have a way of growing in importance until they begin to do the opposite of their initial design, and pull the believer away from truth. Infant baptism? Where is it in Scripture? Why are we engaging in a doctrine that cannot be found in the Scripture? Many mainline denominations (and even Catholics) have erred by stepping into this doctrine without Scripture backing.
Homosexuality is something being embraced by many of our mainline denominations today, not only approving its practice, but also even beginning to ordain gays. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? If this was the essential question driving churches today, they would not be nearly so tolerant of behavior that is soundly condemned by God. These modernists are all alike—their unspoken thesis is that they know more than God, and their new doctrines set about to correct the record. And the church suffers.
I could go on with about a dozen different issues of the modern church—but they all need to be faced with the same question: Where in the Scripture can I hold to such a practice? I would suggest that if it is not in Scripture, then we need to sharply criticize ourselves for such practice.
In church history, churches have been slow to change for this very reason. And I think that is a good thing. When Moody and Sankey went on their famous tour with an organ along side of them, there were many churches that rejected the instrument out of hand. It was not according to their traditions, and the newness of it frightened parishioners. But as the revival swept the country, many in the pulpit had to go back in the Scriptures to find out why they objected to the organ. Guess what? As they did so, most came to the realization that it was their own traditions which were responsible for keeping musical instruments away from, and things began to change. And, yes, being slow to change is often a good thing!
Today the modern church does the opposite; sometimes with it having devastating effects. The modern pastor may take great pride in being flexible, or in being “out in front” with the changing issues of the time. Unfortunately, at times this leads to putting more sin into the church. Churches so pride themselves in being flexible that no two services are alike, but often what is missed is the time for the individual to really interact corporately with God. And some of those are the better churches. In the worst that our brothers have to offer, God and Christ, sin and salvation, and the basic holy walk before God suffer enormously.
Tozer reminds us what corporate worship should be: “So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole Church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.”
The essence of what Tozer is saying is that the private walk with God, purified, allows great social worship to also take place. Or in other words, revival begins with me. It begins with you. And our focus needs to be where Jesus commanded: “Search the Scriptures for in them ye think that ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.” I do not leave it to our leaders to purify the church. Instead I need to focus on me, the inner man, and test everything in my life, to see whether it fits with the harmony of Scripture. If but a few of us will do that—well, look at what our Lord did through the twelve that walked circumspectly before the Word. And that is exciting news! Revival in me can result in revival in my church and throughout my community. But it begins with examining ourselves in the Word of God.
Tozer, A.W.; Tozer, Aidan; Tozer, Aidan Wilson; Foundation Press, Christian Miracle (2011-01-31). The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (Special Kindle Enabled Edition with Interactive Table of Contents and Built in Text to Speech Features) (Illustrated) ... | The Writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer of) (Kindle Locations 1023-1026). Christian Miracle Foundation Press. Kindle Edition.
Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart
1. Thy Word is a lamp to my feet,
A light to my path alway,
To guide and to save me from sin,
And show me the heav'nly way.
2. Forever, O Lord, is Thy Word
Established and fixed on high;
Thy faithfulness unto all men
Abideth forever nigh.
3. At morning, at noon, and at night
I ever will give Thee praise;
For Thou art my portion, O Lord,
And shall be through all my days!
4. Thro' Him Whom Thy Word hath foretold,
The Savior and Morning Star,
Salvation and peace have been brought
To those who have strayed afar.
Thy Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee;
That I might not sin, that I might not sin,
Thy Word have I hid in my heart.
Lyrics: Ernest Orlando Sellers