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The Integrity of Righteous Resistance, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 8, 2022 7:05 am

The Integrity of Righteous Resistance, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 8, 2022 7:05 am

Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity

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When adversarial critics get into a showdown with Christians attempting to sabotage the faith we cherish, Scripture teaches us to be prepared with an answer.

So how do we get ready for those awkward moments of confrontation? How do we stand up for our beliefs and do so in a grace-filled way? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll believes the answer is found in a standoff between Peter, John, and the religious leaders who are out to get them.

Teaching from Acts Chapter 4, Chuck titled today's message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. What a sweet moment it is, our Father, when we pause and turn to You to release the burden on our hearts. For some, the burden is heavy today. Some have recently lost someone they loved deeply and dearly for decades.

They grieve. And so in prayer, we call upon You to strengthen them, to comfort them, to give them grace in this time of need. Some are standing alongside those who are sick. Then there are those in the bed sick, some fearing the possibility of death in their sickness.

The sickness is serious. And no man or woman has the power or the ability to simply say, be healed. For that is Your work. And we stand back and we wait upon You to do what You please. Perhaps it is to wait longer. Perhaps it is to heal today.

Perhaps it is to take them to be with Yourself. Give those who stand alongside a special amount of strength and wisdom, encouragement and hope. Some are burdened in their families because there is conflict that hasn't ended. It's going on and on.

It's so distracting, nerve-wracking, draining, hard to continue on. I pray for those families that You would somehow, by Your wonderful presence and grace, reach in, perhaps through a friend, a counselor, someone who cares, minister to them. We've already been reminded today that there are many in need. Our tables are full of food and our refrigerators overstuffed, but there are many who haven't enough. We pray that You will use our gifts, our boxes and bags filled with not only food but love and prayers, to bring hope and encouragement to them. To meet their need.

To touch their hearts. The seasons before us bring joy to many, but extra loneliness to those who are alone. So we pray for Your presence to be for them a companionship. And in prayer we bring them before You as well. It's a sweet hour, this hour of prayer, and we wait upon You for Your answers. Speak to us through these pages of the Scriptures. May a statement stand out, may a word meet a need. May the confidence of these two men strike a note of special courage to the hearts of those who are in threatening places, in need of standing alone but a bit fearful of doing so.

Use Your word to transfer strength to them. Thank you for the privilege of prayer, for sustaining us as a church, for meeting our needs individually. In the name of Jesus, our powerful Savior, we pray. 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 insightworld.org slash studies. Chuck titled his message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. Let's not be impressed with Peter and John. They're just ordinary men. And now they're standing trial. But the problem is the people who have them on trial are at a loss to know what to do about them.

How could they really do more than threaten them without a riot? So they march them in front of them and and they ask, By what power and in whose name have you done this? Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed? I mean, did you notice? This man, he's healed.

I mean, is that wrong? Jesus is alive, whether you want to believe it or not. And they're looking in the faces of theologically trained, official people. In fact, Peter goes on to say there is salvation and no one else. God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Great statement of salvation.

Only Jesus. The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John. Because they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures. Verse 13 tells us they they noticed they were men who had been with Jesus. And they ask among themselves, verse 16, what what are we going to do with these? We can't deny that they have performed miraculous sign.

And everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. To keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak anymore in that name again. Stop it. Sometimes parents do that with their kids, as if it's going to really stop it. So they go, just stop it. It's just about as effective as standing knee deep in the surf and a 25 foot wave is coming toward you and you go, just stop it. Just stop right there.

That baby's coming in and it's going to wash all over you. How futile. But we're going to threaten them. You don't threaten people who know the words of Jesus better than they know the laws of Israel.

At least these laws. Take this to heart, folks. No offense, but I think I'm talking to ordinary people. I'm one.

I think you are. We're just like they would be. That's us. The difference between them and us is they lived way back then and we live now.

And they faced a Sanhedrin and we don't. We face people who pull rank on us. Who try to put us down because we're followers of Jesus. Who want to cancel us because we're we're numbered among those who believe in eternal things. And we love the Bible and we're convinced that there is an eternity and there's a God we'll answer to and there's a creator who made us. And there's right and there's wrong.

Just ordinary folks. So there's a lot of similarity in all of this. I don't want you to miss that. So they decide they're going to tell you stop it. So they bring them back in verse 18. They call the apostles back and they command them. You men listen to this. Don't speak again in the name of Jesus. Stop. So Peter and John.

They're not intimidated. Listen. The answer to the living God. So what do they take our lives? We've got five thousand already that are going to carry out the message. So let me respond to this threat. Peter and John say.

Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? Isn't that a great question? Get a life. What are you thinking?

We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard. Took courage to say that. But they they weren't ready to sit for a portrait of courage. They just did what you do when you've been with Jesus. They saw Jesus do this dozens of times. When he was threatened. When he stood before this. The Sadducees and the Pharisees and those who told him.

You're wrong. We know who our father is. As they insulted him as if he's an illegitimate. He knew when to answer, when not to answer. They were right there for all of that. They were trained by him. So we cannot stop telling everything we've seen and heard. So what the council do?

Well, look for yourself. Verse 21. Just what they did before. They threatened them. They finally let them go because they didn't they didn't know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God.

You know, I told you that the public was allowed to be in there. Well, there are people in there already singing their songs and praising their savior. They they looked upon this as an opportunity for the Lord to work. And on top of all of this, there is this man that can't keep stop smiling, who is still just.

Having the greatest time being able to walk. The silence must have been deafening. These men, having been.

Instructed and threatened, told to button it up. They observed the confidence of Peter and John. They realized they were dealing with those. Who spoke from another authority greater than their own.

And talk about effective. There's a miracle standing among them. And these men are yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit. May I remind every one of us, the same Holy Spirit. Is the one who fills every believer today. Same kind of power. And how greatly he has worked down through the years.

What more can I say? The time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah and David. Also in Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms and wrought righteousness. And stopped the mouths of lions and quenched the violence of fire. Out of weakness were made strong and escaped the edge of the sword. Women received their dead raised to life and others were tortured not accepting deliverance. Some were sawed in two. And they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins being destitute, afflicted, tormented. They were people of whom the world was not worthy. I love that statement. The end of Hebrews 11. Talk about great men and women. These people are like that. Ordinary men who knew Jesus.

How contagious they must have been. Now before I finish, I have to drive this home. We live in a decadent era. I have no plans to start a rebellion. I have no interest in marching on someone or something. I'm speaking to individuals today. Yes, you. You.

Each one. You're in a place where you have an opportunity to stand for Christ. It will boil down on occasion to your doing so at the risk of being singled out. As one man said to me not too long ago, if I were to do that, I would lose my job. Lose your job.

These men to do that would have lost their life. You that concerned about your job? You see what I'm saying? And I'm not trying to be foolish here. I'm trying to be faithful to the scriptures.

This kind of independent thinking, this kind of courageous integrity, this kind of righteous resistance needs to be seen, known, quoted, witnessed. You say, well, I'm not in a powerful place of authority. Oh, wait a minute. Yes, you are. Your sphere of influence is no one else's. It's yours.

God has you there for a reason. The specifics of that look this way to you and some other way to someone else. The person sitting just behind you. That's not his or her situation. That's yours. I'm talking to you and to that person and to myself.

Why are we reluctant? I came across a marvelous old book by Johan Weiss, W-E-I-S-S, titled Earliest Christianity. In volume one, pages 42 and 43, came across a beautiful reading. He writes, early Christians had, listen to these characteristics, a tempestuous enthusiasm, an overwhelming intensity of feeling, an immediate awareness of the presence of God, an incomparable sense of power, an irresistible control over the will and inner spirit, even their physical conditions.

These are the ineradicable features of historic early Christianity. When did that stop? Why did it stop?

Who silenced us? Every one of us has been in situations where we are marked out. Don't run from that. Run with it. Don't be afraid of that. Stand in the strength of Christ through it.

Fear nothing. Now, I can just feel some of you wanted me to get real specific. I'm not going to. I'm not going to go there because it will leave out another area that needs to be mentioned also and another area and yet another and yet another. Whatever may be the area, you know your situation. You know where you can stand up and be counted. You know where you are not doing that. And your compromise has weakened your relationship with Christ in the eyes of those you're with because of fear.

What are you afraid of? If these men stand for nothing else, they stand as ordinary men who had been with Jesus and simply told the truth. That's what I'm asking of all of us. And those who cannot do that simply reveal they don't know the Lord. The others will not do that and that's a matter of the will. If you cannot, you have a Savior. But if you have the Savior at work within you, He longs to stand alongside you in this world that has lost its way.

I could tell you stories from my own past where I failed at this and where I succeeded at this. I'll not go to either one. This isn't about me. I want to leave this with you. Especially with you who've never met the Savior.

See, you've not been with Jesus so you can't imagine standing like Jesus stood. That's first. That's the initial step you take. I want you to do some thinking about this. This is a message that has homework. I don't want you to just simply get into your car and drive to wherever you're going next and let this pass as another sermon.

I want you to turn it over in your mind. Where do you work? Or where are you in school? Or what team are you on?

Or what group do you run with? Isn't there an opportunity for Christ to be made known? Of course there is. Don't opportunities open up?

Of course they do. Step in. Step up. Step into it.

And if you say, I don't know how to do that, let's start there for you. You come to Christ and you tell Him who you are and where you are in life and you leave it all with Him and let Him empower you in a way you've never known before. Not only will you receive Him, you'll receive His Spirit. And when you receive His Spirit, you receive His power. It's amazing what that does to us. You won't even be afraid when death comes.

Amazing. Because you see, well Paul put it best, I'm persuaded neither death nor life nor angels, principalities nor powers nor things present, things to come, height, depth, any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is right there. And he's urging you to think seriously about your walk and your courage. Your carrying out integrity when you're in the minority. He will honor that.

Just as he did with these two ordinary men named Pete and John. Bow your head with me, will you? Just for a few moments.

Just close your eyes. You'll be at work tomorrow or you'll be engaged in some particular event that will probably include other people. Quite likely, there will be an opportunity, maybe not tomorrow but before too long, when you will know this is a time when I can stand, if necessary, stand alone. And I want to do it. I don't want to be afraid to do that. I want my faith to shine forth and I want Christ to be glorified. So Lord, I'm going to commit to you these next several days that you will give me the courage to add to my integrity that I might be the Peter or John for the moment.

And I'll leave the results with you. Keep me from fearing when I should aspire. From faltering when I should climb higher. And if you've never known Christ, simple prayer. Lord, you and I are not on speaking terms.

I'm lost. You're holy and I'm not. So I come to you as a sinner and I place myself before you. Thank you for the gift of eternal life in Christ. I take that gift now. Empower me to live above the drag of my old nature.

Use me in a unique way for the rest of my life that I might count for you. Dear Father, I pray that there might come from this message several very encouraging signs of courageous integrity. Now, you would free the mouths and tongues of those who have been silent long enough, and you will enable them to step up, to step into, and to be your emissary, your representative, your servant.

Thank you in advance for the strength you will give. And for those you're speaking to right now, for those without Christ, I pray especially for them. Give them the willingness to come and the humility to receive the gift of eternal life. It's in the name of the Savior Jesus, we pray. All God's people said, amen. Our prayer is that God will use today's message to ignite a renewed passion for telling others about Jesus and seizing opportunities to represent Him.

Chuck Swindoll titled today's message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance. And if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. And then if you're prepared to dig deeper into this topic, I'll remind you Insight for Living provides interactive study notes for every message. Please take a few moments to review this popular resource.

You'll find all the details for the Searching the Scripture studies by going to insight.org slash studies. In addition, Insight for Living offers a newly updated daily devotional for you called Wisdom for the Way. Start or end each day of the year with inspirational writings from Chuck when you purchase this leather soft devotional.

It's available when you call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash offer. Insight for Living is made possible not through the purchase of books and other resources, but through the voluntary donations of friends like you. We rely on your support to make these daily Bible studies with Chuck possible.

Those who give to Insight for Living are truly making a difference. Listen to this encouraging note that was left for us. I've been watching and listening to Pastor Chuck during the hardship of the pandemic. I live alone.

I've had no one. Pastor Chuck's messages became my companion and drew me closer and closer to God and His Word. My relationship with my Lord Jesus has become intimate. Thank you, Insight for Living. God's blessings upon you and His remnant. Well, if you're among those who give, thanks for making it possible to bring Insight for Living to people who are hungry for the truth and those who are longing for companionship. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888 or give online at insight.org slash donate. I'm Dave Spiker inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll describes the integrity of pressing on, Wednesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Integrity of Righteous Resistance, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-08 16:13:54 / 2023-06-08 16:22:27 / 9

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