1 Thessalonians 5:21
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
I. TWO THINGS TO BE DONE.
1. Prove, i.e., inquire into and decide upon after examination. Prove as gold and silver are tried, and as the strength of building materials are tested. Haste in reception or rejection are forbidden. The standards of proof are —
(1) The Holy Scriptures. The Bereans were "more noble," etc. — there is something contemptible in a man refusing to look at statements put before him as though it were impossible for him to make a mistake; teachableness is noble.
(2) Experience: "What fruit had ye," etc. "Unto you that believe He is precious."(3) Observation: "Ye shall know them by their fruits."(4) The spiritual and religious faculty sanctified by the Holy Ghost: "He that is spiritual judgeth all things." "Ye have an unction," etc.
2. Hold fast against indolence, prejudice, pride, perplexity, evil inclinations, influence of irreligious men, winds of doctrine, false teaching and the fallible teaching of Christ's best friends.
II. THE SPHERE FOR THIS PARTICULAR ACTION.
1. Prove all things — opinions, doctrines, requirements, customs, professions, characters, modes of working.
(1) All ancient things. Things are not better for being old. Sin is old.
(2) New things. A thing is not wise or adapted to the times because new. It may be a new folly.
(3) Common things. Things are not right because generally acceptable.
(4) Singular things.
(5) Attractive things which have too often misled our fallen nature — specious doctrines which have pandered to our pride.
(6) Repulsive things — Christ, e.g., may put in our path a cross, which it is better for me to bear than to wear a crown.
2. Hold fast the good. Not, of course, what is evil. If what is doubtful comes into your hand let it lie there, but do not close your fingers over it until you have proved it; then hold it fast, whether it be opinion and doctrine, custom and practise, communion and friendship, that which your mind, faith, love, hope embraces — anything that is good.
3. The giving heed to this requirement is of great importance. Here it is in the statute Book, and in vain do we call Christ Master unless we do what He bids us.
(1) If we receive error we cumber our minds with what is profitless, deceive ourselves, impair bur spiritual life, and reject the truth.
(2) If we admit an evil custom, or have fellowship with evil-doers, we expose ourselves to corruption; and by rejecting Christian ordinances and fellowships, we deprive ourselves of means of grace.
4. These are times when the text is likely to be overlooked. In days of church slumber, nothing is proved; in days of morbid wakefulness, nothing is held fast. And what is true of the Church is true of the individual.
5. In cherishing obedience to the text, we must —
(1) In proving all things avoid —
(a) seeking for a kind of evidence God does not give.
(b) Encouraging a restless and captious spirit.
(c) Entertaining foolish questions which gender strifes.
(d) Misplacing the tests with which God has favoured us. The Bible is the supreme standard.
(2) In holding fast the good, we must avoid prejudice, obstinacy, and pertinacity upon doubtful matters. Conclusion: Take this yoke of Christ on you. No one can bear it for you, neither Church nor individual, and for this you will be held responsible at the Judgment seat of Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.