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Kick-Starting a Plan to Reach the World, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2021 7:05 am

Kick-Starting a Plan to Reach the World, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Sometimes, when we feel motivated to talk to others about Jesus, we tend to default to collateral subjects, such as our church and all the great programs available to the community.

Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll reminds us that skirting the issue rarely advances the cause of Christ. And this is just one of the practical applications coming from our study in Acts chapter 1 about the power of the gospel and our role in spreading the good news today. Chuck titled today's message Kickstarting a Plan to Reach the World. We begin with prayer. Thank you, Father, for the truth that is unfolded and recorded for us in language we can understand, in a book we can carry, and in verses we can read. Thank you for the hope there is in knowing just as you kept your promise before, you will keep it again.

And we need that promise. That you will return in the person of your Son. He will come for us just as sure as he left the earth while the disciples stood and stared into heaven.

Because of that hope, we can go on, even though these days are horrendous and evil. We thank you, Father, for the mission that is ours, thanks to the mandate that was given when Jesus left this earth, that we are to go to our Jerusalem, our Judea, and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth. And that we go in your strength, fueled by the Holy Spirit, with a passion to reach those who have never heard. Thank you, dear Father, for the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. And now will you join me in the repeating of the Lord's Prayer. Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. And everyone said, Amen.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To search the scriptures with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, Kickstarting a Plan to Reach the World. Now when we get to Acts chapter 1, Jesus has not yet left the earth. He's about to leave, and when we get to verse 9, that's exactly what occurs. But until then, he has a few last words to say to his men who are now beginning to fill the role of Apostle.

You will read the word three or four times right here in this first chapter, and you'll read it frequently as you read through the book of Acts. Now observe verse 6. So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom? They are still hung up on that kingdom rule of Christ. You know why? Because they wanted to reign with him.

They wanted to be a part of his rulership. They will be in the future when he returns to this earth, but not now. And in fact, the Lord is going to tell them, will you please get past the concern about the time of the kingdom? Look at what he says. The father alone, verse 7, the father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. See it? I'm not making it up. It's right there at the end of verse 7, Acts 1.

Please hear my warning. If you are under the teaching of an individual who sets dates, you're under a false teacher. If you are reading books by those who are setting dates and telling you the era in which Christ will return, you are reading the book written by a false teacher. He will never tell you that, or she will never tell you that, but they are. Because Jesus says it's not for you to know. It's always been remarkable to me that we get so interested in the very things Jesus tells us is none of our business. Isn't that amazing?

It's not for you to know. But I live today thinking He's coming at any moment. Every morning when I awake and I think, not every, but most, I think today's the day. Today's the day. And it drives me.

It motivates me. I never have it far from my mind that Jesus said He would return, as we're going to read in a moment, and He's going to keep His word. He will.

I believe He is going to return just as He said, and I think we are. I've got to be careful here. I'm not sure how close, but we're close. And every evil day that passes, we're getting closer. Because He said in the last days, savage times will come. And men and women, we are in savage times. We are witnessing savages at work in our world. People who will cut off heads if you name the name of Christ.

People who will wipe out communities if they find out you're a Christian. So we're living in times like this, but it is not for us to know the dates, the hour for those things. Now let's press on. But He says, by way of contrast, see the first word of verse 8?

But you're not to know those things, so don't spend your time trying to find them out. Here's what you can look forward to. You will receive power. The word is dunamis. We get a word dunamite from it.

It has nothing to do with dunamite. But dunamis in this case means functioning with might, strength, and capability. You will receive the ability to function with might, strength, and capability. You will have the capacity to understand truth and declare it, because I'm going to give you the secret of that who is the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. See, He's not yet come. Remember, Acts is in transition.

So it begins before the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2, as we will see next time, the Spirit came and filled those who were awaiting His arrival. We'll get to that later. But you'll receive power.

Please observe what else would happen. I've marked it in my Bible. You will be my witnesses.

You see it? You will receive power, verse 8, and you will be my witnesses. The word is marcheris. We get a word martyr from it. It has in mind to confirm, to attest to something on the basis of personal knowledge or belief, to affirm in a supportive manner, to testify favorably.

That's what the word means. So you will do all of the above. You will make my name known. You will declare my message.

Can I clarify that even better? You will be my mouthpiece. You will be my throat, my tongue, my voice. You're going to receive the Holy Spirit who will empower you with capacities you do not normally possess, capabilities you have never exercised before, phenomenal things will be done not by you but through you.

There's a difference. Through you. And when that occurs, your mouth will open and I will bless the declaration of the truth through your lips, tongue, throat as the message of salvation goes out. You will be my witnesses. You will tell people about me. Notice my witnesses. That's important. Every word is important.

You will witness of Christ telling people everywhere about me. Way back in 1961, I was in the middle of my seminary years, and thanks be to God, I was chosen to be an intern out in Palo Alto, California, to learn from a man named Ray Stedman, who pastored Peninsula Bible Church in that city. I was there among his very first interns. Give Martin was with us, now deceased. Dave Roper was with us as well.

He stayed on the staff. But we went to be with Ray and to learn from Ray. Ray was one of those unique vessels that God was using in wonderful ways, and I thought, what a privilege to learn from him. So I went as a disciple to sit in his presence and to watch him study, to learn how he did it, and to pick up some techniques on leadership and on developing a church.

And I certainly did that. Cynthia was carrying our first child, and she was getting close to term by the time we left, which is another story. Anyway, we were there with great anticipation, about to begin our family. We'd been married six and a half years and looking forward to what ministry God might have.

Had no idea what it would be. So I learned to trust Ray because I was with him personally hours on end. I came across the Book of Acts volume that Ray wrote, and in it I found these words, quote, Christians are not salesmen and women going out to peddle, nor are we recruiters going around trying to get people to join our religious club. One of the marks of a false church is that it loves to talk about itself.

These early Christians never witnessed about the church at all. They witnessed about the Lord, what he could do, how he would work, what a fantastic person he was, end of quote. Right on page one of his book on Acts. You know, what he says is true because a church never changed anybody's life. Christ does. A church building is where we meet. When we gather together, we are the church, the body of Christ, but you and I can't change anyone. Christ does the changing through the impact, power, and influence of the Holy Spirit. So we share Christ with others.

We witness of him. If I have a chance tomorrow afternoon when I'm at a grocery store and I am going through the line and pick up a conversation with a fellow shopper and I sense the time is right and the moment is good and I sense interest in that moment in spiritual things, I may pause and push aside the shopping cart and lean on one of the counters and talk to that person, not about the church. He or she will never know I represent a church. I'll talk about Jesus. I'll talk only about Jesus because he's the one that can change a life. I'll talk about how he's changed my life and what a difference he's made and how he can make a difference in that life. And by the grace of God, all they have to do is trust in him, believe in him, which is always surprising to people. They think they have to do something or pay something or earn something, but the gift of salvation is a free gift. You are going to be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere, but it doesn't stop there.

This eighth verse is wonderful in that it gives an outline of the book of Acts. You'll testify of me. You'll be my witnesses first in Jerusalem.

That's where they were. Right here in the city, start where you are. Great principle of evangelism. You don't have to go to a mission field to begin to be an evangelist. You start right where you are, right in the very city where you live, very town or village. Right in Jerusalem.

And then look at the next. Then you take the message to Judea. It was in those days a province. We would call it a county. Jerusalem is located in the greater Judean province.

It goes down to Beersheba, way down south, includes in Getty, the Dead Sea and places along the Judean wilderness, and goes up above it a little until you get to Galilee, it's another province up in that area. But the Judean province would be like a county. And then look, you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, and Samaria.

Ah! Now the hair doesn't stick up on the back of your neck because you're Gentiles. And I'm a Gentile.

And this isn't the first century. And we weren't raised to be prejudiced against the Samaritans. But let me tell you, if you'd been a Jew in the first century, few people you hated more than Samaritans hated them. You don't talk to them. You don't go through their country. You don't get the dust of Samaria on your sandals. You don't spend any time with a Samaritan.

And look at this mandate. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria. You can't hear it, but down inside, some of the men who were listening went, ah, ah. I was speaking several years ago to a large group of people at a friendship banquet for Dallas Seminary, and I was talking about God's working in various places. And I got on Acts 1-8, was illustrating it, and I thought, how do I make this geographically understood? Because nobody was at the banquet with their Bible and a map. And so I said, let me tell you, it's like you're in Texas and you want to get to Kansas in order to get to Galilee, you got to go through Oklahoma to get to Kansas, right? They all go, right.

And I say, okay, Samaria would be like Oklahoma. Well, I want you to know when the little gathering was over, I was cornered by the offensive line of the University of Oklahoma football team, 6 feet 8, 6 feet 7, 320 pounds or whatever, looking down on me saying, hey, Chuck, we just want you to know it ain't no Samaritans up in Oklahoma, okay? Relax, relax. Just think of your own prejudice. Suddenly nobody's laughing. Because we're all raised to be prejudiced against someone. Every one of us. Unless you are very unusual. So you've had to learn to deal with your prejudice.

I hope you have. Few things are worse than the bitterness of a prejudiced heart. These men needed to learn that a part of God's heart breaks over the people of Samaria, just as it does over the Judeans and the Galileans and the Edomians and the people of Lebanon and on around them and over into Egypt and I can name them all. His heart is on the world. You are to be my witnesses in every part of the world, even, look at the last part, I love this, even to the ends of the earth.

Esketu, I didn't sneeze. The word is esketos, it means last. We get our word eschatology from it, the study of last things, but this means in English, to the last part of the earth. To the end of the earth. Ever been to a place in your travels when you felt like you had reached the, if it wasn't the end of the world you said you felt like you could see it from there?

I had a friend who went to the very, very, very base of the continent of Africa and he stood with his feet getting wet on the waters as they washed up on the shores and he said, I realized I had never ever been so far from home in all my life. And he wrote, it was like being at the end of the earth. To him that would be there. To someone else it would be in the depth of a country that's dark. Or a remote island whose name you can hardly pronounce. The end of the earth, meaning you take the message everywhere.

Everywhere. You're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll and this is Insight for Living. Chuck titled his message, Kickstarting a Plan to Reach the World. And to learn more about the ministry of Insight for Living, please visit us online at Now before we hear a closing illustration from Chuck, we'll take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who support Insight for Living through prayer and generous gifts. We couldn't possibly accomplish our mission without the partnership of friends like you. So thanks for standing with us in an all-out effort to carry God's message of grace to all 195 countries of the world. And your generosity has made a huge impact.

During a season of isolation for many people, sequestered from friends and colleagues due to the pandemic, we've experienced a surge of interest from those who want to learn more about the Bible. Chuck, over the past year, you've often reminded us about the power of God's grace. In our study of Matthew's Gospel, you also showed us the antithesis of grace, and that's legalism.

Over and over again, the Pharisees and other religious extremists provided a living example of the damage caused by graceless living. Well, just a few years ago, a fresh wind of God's grace swept through an unlikely setting. It happened in a courtroom near your home in Dallas, Texas. Those who saw the news clips would agree it was an amazing expression of grace.

Yes, it was, Dave. Let me summarize what happened. The defendant testified that after returning from her shift as a Dallas police officer, she mistakenly went to the wrong floor of her apartment building, and she entered what she assumed was her place of residence. According to her testimony, she opened the door, saw the apartment's rightful resident, believed he was an intruder, and shot and killed him.

The jury later found her guilty of murder. Before she was ushered off in handcuffs, the victim's 18-year-old brother took the stand. Face to face with the woman who took his brother's life, this courageous young man told the former officer that he loved her and he forgave her, and he didn't even want her to go to jail. He wanted the best for her, that the best would be for her to give her life to Christ, and that God would forgive her if she went to him. When the young man finished his words, he asked the judge if he could hug his brother's killer. The judge said, yes.

The former officer ran into the young man's embrace with tears streaming down her face. Wow, I'll tell you that was a demonstration of grace. God's amazing grace is our overarching theme every day on Insight for Living. In fact, it's quite possible that God has used our daily program to extend his grace to you. And I know, as your Bible teacher, I have been a grace recipient as well.

Now it's time to respond. In these final days of the year, would you join me in helping one more soul unwrap God's priceless gift of grace? These sacred moments of discovery are orchestrated by God's Spirit and brought about through the generosity of people like you.

Our world is filled with brokenhearted people who are burdened by guilt and confusion and shame. I can't think of a better way to celebrate our Savior's birth than to give generously so others might hear about God's grace and run into his forgiving embrace. Thank you for being generous with your gift today.

And by responding today, you can be the one who delivers this gift of grace to a listener in need. Please jot down this contact information and get in touch today. It might be quickest to give online at slash donate. Or call us if you're listening in the U.S. Dial 1-800-772-8888.

Again, that's 1-800-772-8888. Once again, if you prefer to send your year-end gift today, you can go online to Join us again when Chuck Swindoll talks about Kickstarting a Plan to Reach the World. That's tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message Kickstarting a Plan to Reach the World and the sound recording were copyrighted in 2018 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 08:49:24 / 2023-07-16 08:57:48 / 8

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