Welcome to In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. Many of you, who are long-time listeners to this program, feel like you knew Dr. Stanley and may have experienced a great sense of loss at his recent passing. It's one thing to know him from afar as pastor and teacher, but today we'll hear the thoughts of someone much closer to him.
And in today's program, you'll hear his reflections on Dr. Stanley's life of faithfulness. In these eight verses, there's a contrast between good and godly leadership and poor leadership. And that passage is summarized in the very last verse of this section in verse eight. And I think this verse speaks well to the person that we're remembering, honoring, giving thanks for today.
And this is what it says. I'll just come to the end of the passage to verse eight. It says, But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands. Isn't that a great verse?
Isn't that something amazing to have said about your life? You know, nobility is a great word. And nobility is a word that we don't use a lot in our current vocabulary, but noble speaks to the character of a person's heart. And as Isaiah comes down, he's talking about people who are not noble. If you read a few verses before in verse six, it says the fool speaks folly.
His mind is busy with evil. He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the Lord. So there's two kinds of leaders.
There's two kinds of teachers. There might even be two kinds of preachers and two kinds of pastors, because he says specifically, this person spreads error concerning the Lord. And therefore, when he does that, here's the result. The hungry, they leave empty, and from the thirsty, he withholds water. He describes them further. Verse seven, The scoundrel's methods are wicked.
He makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. But in contrast, there is a man in verse eight, this noble man. And this noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands. And I believe that's a description of Dr. Charles Stanley, a noble man who's made noble plans and by noble deeds, standing on the faithfulness of God all the way to the end. So I want to lift up a few things that I've learned about God and about ministry and about life from Charles Stanley today.
And I want to encourage us in those because I think there's a takeaway for each one of those in our lives today. And the first one is this, and this is something I've learned from the very first moment that Dr. Stanley came to our church in 1969 to begin leading this church. I learned, number one, that the Word of God does not return void. This Word of God will do everything God intends for it to do. And if we trust it and depend on it, if we just put it forth as it is in the power of the Holy Spirit, it will never return void. That means it will not come back to God without accomplishing everything God set it out to do. We see that in Isaiah chapter 55.
Do you know what that means? The number one goal of a pastor and a preacher is preach the Word of God. Let God speak to his people. Try the best you can to not get in the way of God's Word doing what God has intended for God's Word to do. Because when you do that, you can be assured that the Word of God is going to go forward and it is going to accomplish the specific assignment that God has given it for every single hearer's life. And I remember being 11 years old, Charles Stanley coming to our church.
I want to take you back a little bit and just peel back some of history. But when we were going strong as a church, honestly, when Dr. Stanley came to our church, the place was packed out on a Sunday. But being packed out isn't necessarily the goal. The goal is to be filled up with the power of the Spirit of God. That's the goal.
So packed out can be great, but packed out isn't the goal. The goal is to be filled up with the power of God to live in the purposes of God on planet Earth. And when Dr. Stanley came to our church, it was a big church. It was a going church. We were on television, but when Dr. Stanley came, something changed. And the something that changed was that the unchanging Word of God started getting preached every single Sunday.
Every single Sunday. And when that happened, it became the worst and the best day in the history of First Baptist Church in my lifetime. Because some people weren't ready for the unchanging Word of God. They kind of wanted to look over the Word of God and let the Word of God be what they needed it to be. And what they didn't know that Dr. Stanley did know is that what we needed was to let the Word of God be over us and let it do in us what God had assigned it to do so that we could become fully the people that God had designed us to be. And I love that I sat and watched that the Word of God will not return void. And to this day, I know one thing, ministries grow when people proclaim unashamedly the Word of God.
What's the secret to success? The Word of God. How do churches grow? The Word of God. How does a Bible study grow? The Word of God.
How do things bloom and blossom? By proclaiming simply and straightforwardly the Word of God. And I'm telling you, in those days, we got a lot of the Word of God from Charles Stanley. Back then, and please back me up if you were around back then and some of you lived this in other churches.
We went to church back then on Sunday morning and Sunday night and Wednesday night. Now, one person's clapping. Just one. There's a reason for that. There's a reason why just one person clapped right there. But that was amazing. And it wasn't an option, by the way.
It wasn't an option in my household. Well, you got up and I mean, it's like you woke up on Sunday. There's only one thing happened in your life. Well, I don't feel good today.
Well, that's great. Why don't you get in the car and maybe you'll start feeling better on the way to church. And sure enough, on the way to church, you started feeling better because you figured you're going to be there all day.
You better as well may as well get with the program, right? So we go in the morning. Dr. Stanley would preach for an hour, which I loved. I like to preach for an hour.
I'm not going to do that today, but I could do that any time. And I love that because I watched him do it and I never got tired of him preaching. I cannot remember the message that Charles Stanley preached that I went, man, he's just losing me right here. You know what? You've already said enough.
Why don't you wrap it on up right at this point? When he got to preaching and opening the word of God and proclaiming the truth of God, the riches of God, we just started writing stuff down. I loved coming in here today and on the program, the bulletin today on the back, it says sermon notes. Do you see that? That's a very large space for sermon notes.
Do you know why? Because you get very large messages here from the word of God. And we didn't have something this big back in the day. We had offering envelopes back then and we used them to give into the work of God, but we also would use them to start taking notes. And when you were new to First Baptist, like some of you are, you didn't know how to adjust your handwriting for what was going to come. But you're learning if you've been here a while because you started out thinking this is going to be normal. So number one, and you were using your sort of, you know, midterm exam handwriting, you know, that little big loopy stuff you do like, Lord, I don't know the answer to this.
I want to write as big as I can and fill this page up. So you started writing and then he's like, point two. And you're like, OK, point two. And then you're like, great. And I've got room for point three.
So I'm all good. And then he goes, no, number four. And then he goes, no, number five. And you're like, OK, I didn't know there was a number five. And so you're starting to write down the side and he says, number six.
And you're like, OK, great. Oh, can I write on that? Yeah, all right. I can write a little bit on that.
Well, number seven. And you're like, OK, we were supposed to tear this off and put it in the offering, but I'm going to actually tear it off and write on that a little bit. And then you. So, I mean, by the end of the message, there are no offering envelopes left in the back of the pews. And when you when you went home, you had in your Bible just envelopes just stuffed in there from days and days and days of of the word of God. That was the morning message.
And it was a little bit different back then because Dr. Stanley, I mean, it was no messing around. Good morning. Take your Bibles and turn to Second Timothy, chapter four. We're going to read the whole chapter. If you have a pen and a piece of paper, I want you to take these notes.
I've got 19 points. And they all back then, they all started with R. Every one of them. So we've got to remember the faithfulness of God. We've got to be ready when Christ appears. And then he would just go off. You'd leave and you would think, I'm not hungry.
I'm not hungry and I'm not thirsty. I have received from the word of God. You'd go home and you'd have a very brief lunch before you had to return to youth choir. And then the evening sermon where he had another series going. If you have your Bibles, please turn with me to Daniel, chapter 10. If you have a pen and a piece of paper, we have 75 points tonight.
Nobody's leaving. They all start with C. There's a conviction of God, it falls on your life. The cares of this world disappear in light of God's glory. We contend for the faith.
Count the cost. And you're like, get me some offering envelopes. And then we would come to church on Wednesday night for Bible study. If you have your Bibles, please turn to Kings. What, Kings?
What is Kings? Chapter 12. I think we've restocked the offering envelopes and tonight I've got 11 points and they all start with S. I graduated from Georgia State University in 1985 and went to Southwestern Seminary where Dr. Stanley had encouraged me to go to further my education as a young man called into ministry at First Baptist Church. And I arrived and started sitting in classes. And I love seminary, by the way.
Learning Greek, Hebrew, systematic theology, philosophy of religion. But I started sitting in class with men and women from all over the country. There were several thousand students at Southwestern Seminary at the time.
And I wasn't proud about it outwardly, but inwardly I'm just looking around the room like I am so far ahead of all of these people. I've already received like four seminary educations before I got here because I had Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night from when I was 11 years old until I graduated from college and went to seminary. And what I got and what we got was the Word of God and it lit my heart up for Jesus and it shapes my heart even to this day in the simple ways he could say it.
Trust and obey and leave the consequences to God. And that seed just went in week after week, day after day after day. Our church ended up dwindling when Dr. Stanley became the pastor from a full house on live TV to no live TV to 300 people in the center section of the sanctuary.
And I will thank God in heaven that my mom was one of the people who stayed so that this little teenage boy could see everything shrink to that. And then watch the proclamation of the word, the faithfulness of prayer and the power of God take that 300 people and literally change the world in this generation. And it is because the Word of God does not return void, but it accomplishes what God has set it out to accomplish. The second thing I wanted to mention that I learned being around Dr. Stanley as a teenager and a young person and I've learned from God now, but I saw it in his life, that I want to be the kind of person who attempts something great for God.
I want to be the kind of person who doesn't settle for ordinary, status quo, middle of the road, safe, secure, normal life. And we had a mission statement when I was early teenage years at First Baptist and we would say it every Sunday, every single Sunday. And now let's say our mission statement together. And I wish I could remember it word for word, but the line I remember that we said every Sunday, because I'd never thought like this before as a 13 or 14 or 15, 16 year old young person.
It said, and we want to reach metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. And sitting in those pews at downtown First Baptist, I began to understand that God isn't about the easy road. God is about the whole world hearing the gospel. And our mission isn't to have a tidy little life with church on Sunday. Our mission is to be a church on mission every single day to attempt great things for God.
Why wouldn't we? We have a great and awesome God. The third thing that I learned from Dr. Stanley was that when you attempt great things for God, it requires a great price.
Amen. Everything great requires a great price. If you want a great business, guess what? It's going to cost you. If you want to be a great student, guess what? It's going to cost you.
If you want to stand out in this generation, guess what? It's going to cost you. Every great thing requires a great price. And we're living in a generation now where we somehow have sort of gotten ourselves around the idea that there are shortcuts to great things. There are no shortcuts to great things. Great things require a great price. And I couldn't tell us today. I'm not able to fully speak of the sacrifice that Dr. Stanley has made. But I want us to think about this. Who else do you know who has proclaimed the word of God more faithfully to more people on earth than Charles Stanley?
Who's being listened to in countries around the world right now proclaiming the true gospel of Jesus and the whole counsel of the word of God from the front to the back and everything in between? More than Charles Stanley. And how do you think that happened? Do you think that happened by happenstance? Do you think that happened because he took the easy route?
No. I grew up around him and saw into the inside of his life. And I know some of that price, but no one fully knows the days that he felt alone, the times he wanted to quit, the times he thought, I'm driving out today and I'm never driving back again. In our church, when Dr. Stanley became the pastor, there was a lot of contention and Jesus won out in those days.
And we see the fruit of all of that. But there was a struggle when he became the pastor of this church. And some of you don't know this, but there was a business meeting and I was a little kid in the balcony on a Wednesday night business meeting. And Dr. Stanley is at the pulpit, this big giant pulpit we had there, and this man comes up and he's just so angry. He comes up and he says, that's just not true.
And he slugs Dr. Stanley in the pulpit, in the mouth. Not a, I mean, full on, bam. And I mean, I'm in the back and I'm a little kid.
I may be only 12 years old, but I'm like, hey, I may be 12, but I'm coming down there. I mean, it was a crazy moment. Dr. Stanley, as you can well imagine, just full of grace, just stepped back from the man. Didn't hit him back, didn't push back, just stepped back. Now, fortunately, a few other men in the church came and gave that guy some business pretty fast and he was out of there quick. But Dr. Stanley, all he did was just say, you know what, I'm just going to let the Spirit lead me right now. And we're just going to get right back to what we were talking about. And I'm sitting there with my eyes as big as plates.
And I'm thinking, a, it takes me a few years to process this one. If you want to accomplish something great, you're going to get some headwind. And b, I want to be the kind of person who can stand in the power of the Spirit of God when the headwind comes. And that doesn't happen just because people show up. It's amazing. It doesn't just happen because people show up. It happens because people sacrifice.
And I know a lot of you do that. The church is never built on the talents or the gifts of a few, but on the sacrifice of many. But I want you to know that Charles Stanley is the front of the line of the sacrifices of paying the price to not only say we're going to attempt something great for God, but I'm willing to pay the price it takes to actually be a part of something great for God. Father, thank you for heroes of the faith. Thank you that you put an entire chapter in scripture about heroes of our spiritual journey.
People that you have said they've gone before you and lived the kind of life that you should emulate and model, admire, and seek to follow. And I thank you that one of those people, one of those such heroes of faith is Charles Stanley. And we want to thank you for him today. And so, Jesus, we lift our eyes up to you today and each one of us needs to hear from you, from your word speaking into our lives today to bring us to life and bring us into that place that you have for us today. And I just trust and pray that by the power of your spirit, you'll open our hearts to receive what you have for us. And I thank you for that in Jesus' name. Thanks for joining us on In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley.
Louie Giglio has been our guest speaker today. The Bible tells us that this world is passing away and the only way to make an impact that lasts is to do as Dr. Stanley did. And that is pay the price it takes to be part of something that advances the kingdom of God. To find help learning how to align your life with the word of God, take some time to visit us at intouch.org.
And if Dr. Stanley's Bible teaching has touched your life, you can share a brief story. Post your thoughts on our commemorative page at intouch.org. And that's where you can take a look at how we're celebrating his life and ministry and listen to this radio program again. To order a copy of today's complete message by Louie Giglio, Lessons from a Life of Faithfulness, visit our online bookstore. Again, log on to intouch.org or call 1-800-IN-TOUCH.
To write to us, address your letter to Intouch, Post Office Box 7900, Atlanta, Georgia 30357. Dr. Stanley always clearly stated how he felt about obeying God. His thoughts on that are coming up in today's Moment with Charles Stanley. The Christian life is an exciting journey with great joys and challenges. We don't always know the right questions to ask or the best way to approach Scripture in search of answers. Dr. Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living is an easy-to-use help system that will bring Scripture to life so you can see God moving powerfully in your life.
To order, call 1-800-IN-TOUCH or go to intouch.org slash store. We'll hear Dr. Stanley describe what he considered the greatest lesson in his life in A Moment with Charles Stanley. Obey God and leave all the consequences of your obedience to Him. I do believe that is the most important lesson that I've ever learned. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. And in order to be obedient to God and leave the consequences to Him, it requires two things.
Number one, it requires that you and I first of all learn how to listen to God. If I do not know how to listen to God, then I will not know how to be obedient to God. That's why you cannot separate learning to listen to Him and obeying Him. And oftentimes people will say, well, I just don't know what God is saying. Listen, it is our responsibility to learn how to listen to Him. If I'm going to be obedient, I must know what it is God wants me to do. If I'm going to know what He wants me to do, I must learn how to listen to Him to be sure I'm hearing from Him and not making up my own mind. And the person who has God's help to live obediently is the person who receives his gift of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
Find out about becoming a Christian at InTouch.org. You may be wondering, but rest assured, we'll continue bringing you Dr. Stanley's messages on this program. But next time, we'll hear again from Louie Giglio with more reflections on the impact of Dr. Stanley's life on In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. This program is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia and remains on this station through the grace of God and your faithful prayers and gifts.
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