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Sheep among Wolves: What to Expect, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2021 7:05 am

Sheep among Wolves: What to Expect, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 13, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Kingdom: A Study of Matthew 8–13

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Today, an important reminder from Chuck Swindoll. Second Timothy 3.12, you will be persecuted. Don't be surprised when it happens. Be surprised when it doesn't. Don't be surprised when you're rejected.

Be thrilled when you're accepted. More and more in public gatherings, an individual is not free to use the name Jesus Christ or even refer to the Creator God. Why should we be surprised when Christians are persecuted for their faith in God? After all, Jesus warned us that a day was coming when those who speak in His name would be ridiculed, if not outright rejected. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapter 10. In this passage, Jesus explained that the road ahead would not be easy for those who invoked His name.

And his warning certainly has obvious implications for followers of Jesus today. Chuck titled today's message, Sheep Among Wolves, What to Expect. You and I as believers live among wolves. We live among them. And they are growing in number.

Their savagery is making more and more of the headlines. Be aware. At the same time, don't be afraid. Now the warnings that follow or for you to read and analyze, I haven't the time to do much in depth.

I will simply give the overview. First, you can expect, as he speaks to his disciples, religious persecution. Look at this. You will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogue.

And you didn't misread it. This is religious persecution. When you encounter fellow Jews, and they are all Jews, these disciples, when you encounter fellow Jews, they will hate you because of me. Next, you can expect national punishment or governmental punishment. Verse 18, you'll stand trial before governors. You will be standing trial before kings because you are my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.

When you're arrested, what? Look at the words. Don't worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. No reason to prepare your speech or put it together in a very carefully worded manner. It will be the spirit of your father speaking through you.

How about this next one? Family persecution. Brother will betray brother. Father will betray his own child. Children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.

All nations will hate you. Look at the next statement. Because you are my followers. Reminds me of a line out of John 15.

Would you take your time to turn there? Turn ahead to the fourth gospel. John 15 beginning at verse 18.

Look at what Jesus says in another setting. If the world hates you, remember it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belong to it. But you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world so it hates you.

You remember what I told you? Slave is not greater than his master since they persecuted me. Naturally, they will persecute you. If they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

They will do all this because of me for they have rejected the one who sent me. We are living to see the fulfillment of this right now. It will be increasingly more fulfilled in the days yet future and it was fulfilled in the days of the apostles. So there are various fulfillments along the way.

Now look at the next one. Here's some wisdom. Verse 23. When you're persecuted in one town, flee to the next.

I tell you the truth, the son of man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. This tells us of the initial calling of the apostles. Shooters are not greater than their teacher and the slaves are not greater than their master. You are to be like your teacher and slaves are to be like your master. Since I, the master of the household have been called the prince of demons, the members of the household will be called by even worse names.

There will be those who will hate you in the realm of your culture. The great temptation is to be afraid of what's ahead. Back to the passage. Verse 26. Don't be afraid of those who threaten you. Verse 28. Don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. Verse 31. Don't be afraid. Are you not more valuable to God than a flock of sparrows?

Do not fear. Turn from here and hold your place, but go to the letters to Timothy. Go first to 1 Timothy chapter 4. Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last time, some will turn away from the true faith.

They will follow deceptive spirits, teachings that come from demons. Look at 2 Timothy chapter 3. Verse 1.

You should know this, Timothy. In the last days, there will be very difficult times. That word difficult is a rather soft rendering of a term that could be handled violent, savage times. You know, when I read the passage, I'm often tempted to read that in these last days, difficult times have come. We are in them.

What is it like? Verse 2. People will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to parents, ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. Look at this. This is the newspaper of yesterday morning or evening.

This is the newscast of last night unfolding in print right here in our eyes. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving, unforgiving.

They will slander others. They will have no self control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray friends. They will be reckless, puffed up with pride and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.

Stay away from people like that. Look at verse 12. Talk about a statement for today. Yes, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. It happened before too many years in the days of the New Testament. Paul said to the elders at Ephesus, Acts 20, verse 29, after my departure, he was leaving them and would not return to be among the people of Ephesus. Get this, after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And from among your own selves, men will arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.

Watch out, men. Be on guard, you people of Ephesus. What times are coming when you get to the end of the New Testament and you read of the church at Ephesus, what do you read?

It has already left its first love. The savage wolves came in and they took their toll. Those who were responsible to guard the flock failed to guard the flock.

And the wolves came in packs. There will be a final great persecution of God's people, a worldwide religious system called Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots. The abominations of the earth who will become drunk with the blood of the saints, the witness and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus, Revelation 17, 5 and 6. It is coming. It has come. It will intensify and will become a worldwide sweep of persecution. Now back to Matthew 10. It may sound like mockery to say do not fear or it may sound like I'm not taking it seriously.

I'm simply repeating what is said three times in the passage. The Lord promises his presence and his power. And I will tell you without hesitation, the greatest equipment you can carry with you in days like this would be the truth from this book. Become a serious student, a careful and faithful reader of the book of God.

It will equip you for whatever. I've spoken to those who have gone through horrible, horrible concentration camp experiences. And they say virtually without exception, those people who were raised to pray or to study and learn the Bible, especially those who could quote from the scriptures were the ones who remained stable in the midst of what we were enduring.

Almost without exception. The greatest preparation is to remain students of, lovers of the word of God. I know you hear that a lot from this pulpit. You will continue to hear that a lot. You cannot have better ammunition than the pages from this great book.

On occasion it may not hurt to have a loaded weapon. But that's another subject I won't get into. I'm not going to go there.

Let me give you a couple of principles before I'm finished. What can we expect? As we hear this written to the Apostles and the Twelve and we imagine what they went through and then we see what they went through, interestingly virtually every one of them died a martyr's death. Most of them were crucified. John lived on to old age, but the future of most of these twelve rather bleak. Judas of course took his own life. He wasn't one of the called. He was called, but he wasn't one of the elect. The other eleven suffered terribly as a result of their faithful witness.

But in the process they turned the world upside down. What can we expect? The very same treatment. Second Timothy 3.12, you will be persecuted. Don't be surprised when it happens. Be surprised when it doesn't. Don't be surprised when you're rejected. Be thrilled when you're accepted.

More and more in public gatherings an individual is not free to use the name Jesus Christ or even refer to the creator God. Expect the same treatment. Here's the second I want to mention. What must we remember? Don't be afraid.

The very same promises that they were given are ours to claim by application. Let me close with a quick story that's a true story. Charlie Costa is one of my favorite guys. He's on the front lines. He's an Arabic speaking citizen of Beirut.

He's a magistrate as well as a missionary. He has a study that's most interesting. It has bullet holes in it. He's been shot at. He finds that exciting.

Reminds me of Churchill's words, few things in life are more exhilarating than being shot at without result. Charlie has lived and he cannot make his identity known every place he goes. He understands the real world. We had him with us in our all staff meeting several months ago. We brought with him some video clips of the summer camp that we gave money to and helped put together and Charlie did a wonderful job of bringing the Iraqi kids over that would know nothing of a summer sports or fun time together and provided them with a camp that they enjoyed and showed pictures of them and the time of life they were having. Then Charlie got real serious and he said, you folks sitting here today cannot imagine what these kids will face because a number of them came to Christ as a result of the camp, of course. But he said what they go back to would make you shudder.

And the room was as quiet as our room right now. So I thought this is my moment. I'm going to ask the question, can we expect this to come into our own land? He did not even hesitate. I don't believe I got those words out of my mouth completely before he immediately answered absolutely. Absolutely. And then he mentioned several occasions which told me he knew our news as well as we do.

And it's easy to think it's always over there or up there or in that school or in this neighborhood. But mine? Ours? I'm no prophet. I'm not making a prediction here. I'm simply reading what you've just read with me from the scriptures. Savage times have come. We are facing an incredibly difficult era that will not, from a human point of view, end well.

Sometimes Cynthia and I get real quiet as we think about the future of our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. These are treacherous times, men and women. Can't imagine going into them without a deep abiding faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Don't do that.

Don't take that risk. It'll be difficult enough for the believer but to go without faith? To stand up against those who live for your demise? This is a moment to take care of that. Please bow with me.

Please close your eyes. If you know the Lord, please pray right now for those sitting around you. For all you know, that person has never trusted in Christ. It's easy to think because we all sit together and sing together and participate in a service like this. We're all together in the faith.

In a gathering this large, there are some who are not. And if you were one of them, please pause and imagine facing this kind of future without any divine assistance. This is your moment to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior. In your own words, a simple prayer will do it.

Lord, I don't understand a lot of the things related to the Christian life, but I know this. I'm not ready to step into eternity on my own. And I need your Son, Jesus, as my Savior. I take Him now. I trust in Him.

I believe in Him. Take me just as I am. Forgive me. Begin to prepare me for what is ahead. Give me the life I need to deal with the times that I will face. Thank you for coming into my life.

Pause. Let this sink in. No one else can believe in Christ for you. No heritage will be great enough for it to flow over into your life. Your own parents may have loved Jesus deeply. That has nothing to do with your Christian life as far as coming into the family of God. As each of us must be born individually, so each of us must be born again individually. If we can help you following this service, that is why we are here. If you need help in making this journey to Christ, we're here for that reason.

Thank you, Father, that we sit in this room in a majority, one of the few places on earth where believers can be together, outnumbering the unbelievers. That gives us a sense of hope, but it can create a false security because we leave as sheep to live among wolves. How greatly we need this message, dear Father, and I pray that it will seep into our souls and we'll not soon forget it.

Give us snake-like thinking, but dove-like attitude and responses. Make us discerning without being paranoid, conscious of our surroundings without being suspicious of everyone. Make us courageous, but not belligerent, strong but still gracious. That we might be the answer for some who are searching for hope and a way to find relief from their fears. Hear the prayers of those today who have called on you for salvation.

May they begin a growth in you that will stabilize them for the life ahead. Now unto Him who is able to guard us from stumbling and present us faultless before the presence of your glory with exceeding great joy to the only wise God, our Savior. Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, now and forever, ever through Christ our Lord. All God's people said, Amen.

It's becoming more and more apparent that persecution is encroached on our own land. And wise are those who heed the counsel from Jesus to be fully aware His followers are vulnerable to attack like sheep among wolves. You're listening to the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll, and this is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at In addition to providing these daily programs, we're inviting you to add the Swindoll Study Bible to your personal library. This Bible is integrated with Chuck's pastoral insight, practical application, and inspiration.

And it's laid out in a format that's simple to navigate. Plus, Chuck's conversational style brings a warmth that's rarely found in study Bibles. To purchase the Swindoll Study Bible, go to slash store. Or if you prefer, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Insight for Living Ministries is a nonprofit organization made possible not by the provision of study Bibles and other resources, but through the voluntary financial gifts of faithful supporters. And we're grateful for the loyal friends who've come alongside us with their generous financial gifts, especially during this complicated season when the pandemic has collided with a variety of cultural issues that are pressing us into unfamiliar territory.

There's never been a season quite like this one, and we're intent on walking alongside you every step of the way. To provide the means necessary to broadcast Chuck Swindoll's messages on radio and the internet, you can send a donation right now by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888. Or give online at Thank you for your generous support of Insight for Living Ministries. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land, using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the Old City. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life-changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 6th through 17th, 2022. With special sights along the way, I will teach from God's Word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's Table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together, and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 6th through 17th, 2022. And make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444.

Or go to slash events. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll presents a severe checklist for disciples of Jesus. Be sure to listen Friday to Insight for Living. The preceding message, Sheep Among Wolves, What to Expect, was copyrighted in 2016 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 06:01:28 / 2023-11-19 06:09:27 / 8

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