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December 10, 2021 7:05 am
When you reflect on your personal experiences a regular attender. Can you honestly say that the local churches ignited your passion, you feel a sense of excitement about the church you attend or have you begun on your way through. Chuck Swindoll believes that getting back to the basics will fire up your passion church today on Insight for living he's teaching from acts chapter 2 where we read about the birth of the first church in the dynamic growth that followed the title this message and E ticket reaching the lost your answer if I asked what in your opinion, is the most powerful force for good on the earth.
The most powerful force for good on the year I struggled with a number of questions in the middle of my years at Dell seminary and it was just perfectly time that I would be one of the interns that would serve at Peninsula Bible church while Ray Steadman was the pastor there that kind of question on a thousand others were racing through my mind.
Back when I was 27 years old and Cynthia was 25 and we were yet to have children and to be involved in ministry as a vocational work, and I remember thinking when I met Ray, this is the kind of man I want to be around.
Not only is he engaged in a pastoral role, but he's a he's a thinker and not only is he a thinker. He is willing to have you ask questions that are outside the box outside the expected. That was back in 1961, and I recall at that time the early phases of the whole hippie movement was coming up in Northern California. Matter of fact, it wasn't long before our whole nation.
It seemed was in an up evil like a storm at sea. Ray was one of those North stars that you could navigate your life by not the kind that was closed to change or never really willing to admit areas of weakness. Not that it all, but Ray never doubted the importance of the value of the church back in the day when the whole establishment of our country was being questioned, as well as authority was being resisted. Ray never doubted the importance the value the good that could come from the church. The problem you understand is that centuries of time have passed since it was first begun from the first of the 21st think of the wars and the arguments that have sprung up call religious wars and religious argument. Think of the numerous denominations that have evolved some of them antagonistic to others of the think of the legalism that has been inserted and the traditionalism that has been added. I didn't say tradition, Jaroslav Pollock and Gail put it this way and it's a wonderful quote tradition is the living faith of those now dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of those still living traditionalism and legalism have a way of strangling strangling the church and making it ineffective and over the years that has happened as well and public failures in public scandals of phony leaders and carnal leaders has hurt the image of the church, causing some to say who needs it. Why in the world. Is anybody excited about something like a church there's another factor that is, differing opinions about the church ask one person you get one answer, ask another you get another answer sometime those people. Members of the same family. Ray himself writes in his book body life. These words the word church conjures up many widely differing images to some, the church is nothing but a snooty religious country club with traditional rituals as sacred as those of a fox hunt to others.
The church is a political action group. A pressure block of do-gooders waging battle against social ills to others. The church is kind of nonsegregated waiting room for people expecting to take the next bus for heaven. Some view it as a kind of low-calorie dessert for any who want something nice and hurt their public image. Others think of it as a regular meeting of religious potheads enjoying their weekend religious J to many, the church is a kind of water boy to the game of life or religious democracy trying to legislate morals for the rest of the world. He continues, let us be perfectly honest and admit that the church is often been all these things at many times and places it has amply justified every bitter charge leveled against. Nevertheless, despite its many weaknesses and its tragic sins.
The church has been in every century since its inception, the most powerful force for good. On the face of the earth. It has been light in the midst of a darkness so dense it could be felt.
It has been salt in a society retarding the spread of moral corruption adding existent flavor to human life reminds me of those days when I would sit with Ray and we would talk about the church. I remember his infectious enthusiasm for what the church is about why it will continue to meet needs. As long as it is authentically biblical and its purpose.
Now I would ask you, where would you look to find the authentic biblical model.
I think you would probably know by now, the answer is at the end of the book of acts chapter 2 verses 41 to 47. This is the earliest snapshot of a local church. The earliest shot. The Holy Spirit has just come on the day of Pentecost.
The people who were once afraid and intimidated and hiding in secret Malibu through the doors and come down the stairs from the upper room and spread into the streets of Jerusalem and began to proclaim Christ.
The resurrected Christ who has died in this come back to life and is offering eternal life to all who will believe Peter of all people is one of the spokesman and after he finishes his talk, urging them to repent as they believe in Christ. Verse 41 gives us the result.
So then, those who had received his word were baptized in that day there were added about 3000 souls pause and imagine it. 3000 people baptized. That is a classic sheep dip that is the earliest occasion when a large gathering of believers are saying publicly to the world around them. Even at the risk of knowing.
It may mean their business could even mean their life. I have turned my life over to Christ. I believe in him with all my heart.
I will follow him now.
From this day forward.
They are better.
They are now the early church. Admittedly, they didn't all meet in one place had the head many of them would've been put to death.
Given the government of that day, then what did they do when they met from house to house what they do when these people left and went back to their own people because many of them have come according to the early part of chapter 2 that come from all over the known world to Jerusalem for this occasion called pentacles. This festive occasion. Well we read what they did in verse 42 they didn't do it. Occasionally they did it continuously, and they didn't do it halfheartedly. They did it devotedly. They were continually devoting themselves to for essentials worship instruction fellowship and the expression of their faith.
Read it for yourself. They continually devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. They were a learning body of people to fellowship.
They were a caring flock reaching out to one another in need. They broke bread together.
There were baptisms verses 41 and 42.
Both Telus there was meaningful worship, so much so verse 43 everyone kept feeling a sense of all wonders and signs were taking place through the apostle and it change the way they looked at life. Those who believed were together, they were really in harmony.
They were in unity not uniformity. Many different personalities. Many different cultures different languages represented in this group. Different colors but they were together in the heart and they had things in common.
And with the all and the wonder and the intermingling of their lives. In the absence of selfishness. There were, love and forgiveness and acceptance and joy in the magnetism of Christ. That's what Steadman writes like he does about the most powerful influence or the most powerful force for good in the world when the church is doing what it ought to be doing the world discovers what it's missing and when the world sees what it does not have it wants to know what it is that makes the Christian so different, so unique, so full of zest and life and enthusiasm and purpose, so much so that he or she doesn't even fear when Devcon will were not surprised in read what happened.
World found out about it and couldn't stay away 47 tells us these people were praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being say, I love to read that a lot to think about that. I noticed three things in the last part of verse 47. First of all, I noticed the Lord did it now. The people were sitting inside keeping her trap shut. Only paying attention to their own little clan of their own little group know they were sharing the news they were making Christ known but none of us is able to change a person's heart were not able to reach in and through the switches that will cause a person to move from unbelief to faith, we can't do that how much we wish we could but the Lord steps in as they are living their lives in harmony and joy and learning and growing and fellow shipping together and expressing their faith in their worship and in their sharing of their lives, and he adds to their number day by day. So the Lord's doing it.
Second is doing two things. First, he's saving them and then he's leaving them to be a part of this sweeping group. This movement, if you will. This church that has just now been formed and I noticed, thirdly, he's doing it day by day.
Love that he doesn't wait till Sunday when people go to a church service in order to hear about Jesus. I don't find in the Bible people coming to church to find out about Jesus so they can be saved.
I find in the Bible. People are saved and it's the life of the church that draws them in so they can grow in their faith. We are missing it. We think the church is the evangelistic center of the community. The church is the life of Christ being lived out in the community and when it is lived out, the community hears of Jesus from people who are being instructed in the church. Another thing I learned from Ray that everything I learned. I see my learned from Ray on this subject. It's a wonderful concept. So it wasn't about waiting for revival meetings. It wasn't about carrying placards or having big signs or letting people know if you come here you could be saved. No, it's people who went there, who went to the prisons who went to the places where people were sick and went to the public square, who were in the courtrooms who were at places of martyrdom, and they spoke openly of their faith in Christ and people were transformed by this they didn't keep the truth to themselves.
They were open zealous in their reaching out and I noticed they made room for more. He kept adding that that particular term was adding his in attendance. That means it kept going on he kept on adding to their number. There was a growing number of people and you know we realize it because the record tells us to take a quick Safari through accident shows a look at chapter 4 and verse four go-ahead turn will hurt just turn over to verse four. Chapter 4 many of those who had heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to be about 5000. We went but before there were 3000 now. Luke tells us there are about 5000 men. So this thing is growing exponentially. Look at 514 same church still on the move. People with missionary hearts making Christ known 514 all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women were constantly added to their number loop no longer mentions thousands he just uses multitudes. It's the preacher renting. I love it. There are no multitudes of men and women who are constantly added to their number. I think by now it's 10, 12, 15,000 there's a multitude of people look at 61 now at this time. While the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose. They dealt with that problem but please don't miss the disciples are increasing in number, so it's no more than the what it was before.
Look at verse seven. Chapter 6 the word of God kept on spreading the number of the disciples continue to increase greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests we've got religious officials who have been doing religious things all through their adult life coming to Jesus. They got religion down but they didn't know about Jesus Christ.
So some of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. You think that and says people in parts look at chapter 9 verse 31, 931 of the book of acts tells us, so the church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria that hated section of the land of Palestine that Jews didn't even want to have anything to do with. Please observe the gospel spreads to Judea, Galilee, Samaria.
There, enjoying peace, being built up and going on in the fear the Lord and the comfortable Holy Spirit. It continued to increase. Chapter 9 verse 31 tells us Chapter 11 were going even beyond the familiar territory out into the hinterland that now her over to Antioch. Verse 21 of Chapter 11 in the hand of the Lord was with them in a large number who believed turned to the Lord. These are people who never knew the name of Jesus.
They haven't been raised even in religious homes, but these people are hearing about Christ from these individuals who are making it known in the news about them reach the ears of the church in Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas to Antioch and when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God. He rejoiced and began to encourage them all. With resolute heart to remain true to the Lord. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. Please notice in verse 24 considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. Now Barnabas if if I may insert this realizes I'm over my head. There's people here and they need to be taught and I know who can do that.
Verse 25 he left for Tarsus to look for Saul and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch and for an entire year. They met with the church.
This is the body of believers. This is an evangelistic meetings. This is the body of believers who are growing in their faith. An entire year he taught considerable numbers and the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch 14 chapter 1 of 14 verse one and I Coni him. They entered the synagogue of the Jews and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believe both Jews and Greeks 16 five I'm about through with this, but not you. You're thinking were to go to Revelation. But that were going to stop with one more chapter here. 16.
Five. The churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number daily. It's like a spreading flame by now. It is probably in the hundreds of thousands of people who are coming to Christ and hearing of Christ through the through the visionary missionary efforts of these people. What was their reputation by the end look at 17 verse six when they did not find in the began dragging the sun J of the Dragon Jason and some brethren before the city authorities shall hang these man have upset the world who have upset the world have come here also. That's the reputation you have the old King James says these are the ones who turn the world upside down.
Not a bad rendering by the way, the word for world is not because this is a Greek term that means the inhabited earth.
These are the people who have who are turning upside down. The whole inhabited earth who have come to live among us, and they're very nervous about the verse 12. Therefore, many of them believed along with a number of prominent Greek women and men back to check to got the picture.
This is a courageous when some determined visionary group of Christians who are engaged in a missionary vision there just learning to walk as Christians and their already like Jesus told him to do. Taking the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and even the remotest part earth.
It's the great commission on the March on the move opposition didn't silence them.
The obstacles didn't discourage them. The odds against them didn't intimidate them.
They were pressing on balance, they were held when some realize growth is going to happen because as we are making Christ known God against ad to the church. Those who were being say.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time listening to Insight for living in a message from Chuck Swindoll titled an E ticket for reaching the lost and will hear a closing comment from Chuck in just a moment.
So please keep listening. To learn more about the ministry of insight for living.
Please visit us online at Insight world.or. Now I remind you Insight for living produces a wide variety of resources perfectly suited for any giftgiving occasion, and our resources are designed to give your loved ones of fun and meaningful way to deepen their walk with God. So please take a few minutes to browse through the online store, you find a vast assortment of books such as the Swindoll study Bible in several different colors and styles and the complete New Testament commentary series called Swindoll's living insights.
In addition to live access to the beautiful pictorial coffee table books on topics such as Christmas, Easter and even the journeys of Paul for more unique gift idea, you might consider a selection of whole being coffees from around the world. All of this and more is founded Insight.org/store. Many people have been asking about the year-long study in Matthew that concluded a short time ago. While Chuck has written a commentary on Matthew comes into hardbound volumes and to find all the firstname.lastname@example.org/store will check this year.
You presented a brand-new study through the entire book of Matthew. It was called the King of Kings. That's right. Dave is a radio family. We spent the last 11 months January through November. Walking through every single chapter in the gospel according to Matthew. It was an emotion filled journey alongside Jesus and now I'm devoting the better part of December to applying what we built during the grand crescendo that swelled in the last chapter.
Remember the parting words from Jesus. Of course you do. He said therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I've given you, and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. That's Matthew 2817 through 20. No way. We don't dismiss this command of Jesus as though he was singling out the professional Christian whatever that means. This command was directed to you and to me people that love the Lord Jesus Christ. So let me ask how is God moving you right at this moment to live out the great commission of Jesus with your family with your friends and even with your neighbors and what is your part in making disciples in all the countries of the world as we come to the conclusion of another ministry year.
This is the perfect time for you to invest in things eternal you play a significant role in making disciples. Your contribution to Insight for living ministries will be used by God to reach broken hearted, discouraged people who are burdened down by guilt and confusion and shame. In fact, I can't think of a better way to exercise our God-given assignment that you give generously. So these dear people might hear about God's grace and then rubbed into his forgiving embrace, let's do this together. Let's get involved in this wonderful opportunity to make disciples together. Remember, we don't have to do it alone.
Jesus said I'm with you always, even to the end of the age so it's you and me and our Lord Jesus Christ teaming up together.
How exciting is all. Here's how to respond.
Chuck Swindoll give us a call right now listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8880 phone number again 1-800-772-8888 or for may be quicker and more efficient to get online insight.org/thank you for generously supporting nonprofit ministry insight for the again. Chuck Swindoll opens the Bible to present insight for living. The preceding message and E ticket for reaching the loans was copyrighted in 2003 and 2019 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2019 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide.
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