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A Brief Checklist for Believers, Part 2

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

A Brief Checklist for Believers, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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April 8, 2022 7:05 am

Jesus Christ, Our All in All: A Study of Colossians

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Most of us will never know how to understand the context of this passage and the many ways we can apply Paul's insight to our lives today. Chuck titled his message, We thank you as a church for the privilege of putting our arms around those who are taking the message where we will never go. Thank you for each one doing so. We pray that our church may continue to be a lighthouse of hope and assurance and mercy and grace and healing. We give our gifts that that message will never ever stop. In the name of Jesus, 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 slash studies. And now the message from Chuck called A Brief Checklist for Believers. When it comes to prayer, get with it. Don't mumble the prayer.

Don't come half-heartedly, but come with vigilance, with a mission in mind. A memorized prayer is not answered. It doesn't mean a blessed thing but going through the motions. You begin to pray when you use original words, when you do it spontaneously, when you don't care what someone else may be thinking because you're often doing it alone. By the way, you pray when you drive. I remember years ago when I first became acquainted with that, I was involved with a little organization called The Navigators. I was in Okinawa in civilian clothes with the navigator representative, Bob Newkirk, and he said, Why don't we pray as we go back to the base?

I said, Sure. I started to pray, and he said, Dear Father, today, and he's driving, and I'm like, Can you do that with your eyes open? He's talking with his eyes open, and he looks at me as he's praying, and he looks ahead, and thankfully he doesn't close his eyes because he's driving, and it had never dawned on me in my life that you could pray while you're driving.

Your eyes open. It still works. It works. It's like at a former church, I decided we would no longer sing the doxology before every single worship service. We would do something different. We would try something different.

We would maybe sing it at the end, and the first time we moved it to the end, I had a fellow meet me after the church service. He said, You know, Chuck, you changed things. Yeah, I did. I didn't know it would work at the end.

Work? It's a doxology, for goodness sake. Leave it out if you like. Maybe your prayer is, Lord, help.

That's enough. Lord, right now I'm on my way to a very difficult situation, and I pray that you will give me just the right words. Help me with my time. I've never rehearsed this, by the way.

This is very spontaneous. Help me with my timing. Help me read the situation carefully. Don't let me say too much. Guard me against wrong expressions or things that are insulting.

I want to do this well, and without your help, I can't. So help me, Lord. I ask this in Jesus' name. I remember coming home from the hospital after our firstborn had been brought into our home and family, since he was still there, having just born our little boy. And I got home.

I was a student at Dallas Seminary, and I knelt down by our bed. I just poured out my heart. I said, Lord, I don't know what I'm doing, and I'm a dad now. And you have given us this precious little boy.

I don't know what you're going to do with him, but keep me from fouling it up. Help me be a good dad. Help me know how to do what I ought to do as a daddy. And then a couple of years later, we have a little girl.

And I remember a similar prayer. Lord, I've never raised a little girl. I don't know how to be a daddy to a little girl. So help me to know how to be a father to my daughter, like I ought to be. Help me know when I ought to talk to her about things that dads ought to say to daughters, because I don't know how to do that. And then we went to New England, got pregnant again.

It snows a lot up there. So we had another little girl. First prayer was, Lord, stop. You know, it's enough. I thought we already had our full family, Alpha, Omega.

That'll work. And then they got another little girl. Then we moved back to Texas, another little boy. And I'm still praying.

Paul is praying that, in this case, that he had proclaimed the message clearly. Listen to me. He doesn't even pray that they'll take the chains off.

Isn't that great? Lord, the chain is galling. I've been here for months. Not one prayer. Don't pray about obstacles like that. Pray, Lord, may I make the most of the chains, the things that have hindered me. May they become a way through. May I learn that the obstacles are the way. It's all part of your plan. God could have broken a chain any time he wanted to. So Paul says, may I make it clear.

May I do it well. And he's the theologian. And sometimes that can be your worst enemy when you're connecting with outsiders. You can know too much. Do you realize you hear more and you learn more in one session in our assembly than most people will learn in a lifetime?

Do you know that? It's easy when you're around them to dump the truck. You know, the redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, and on and on you go. And they're like, when is this guy going to quit? They don't know about propitiation. They don't know about redemption. Stop using those words.

Use words that they can get. That's what he's praying about. Pray that I'll make it clear as I should.

Now, naturally, he turns to the lost person. In fact, look at verse five. Walk in wisdom to those who are on the outside. My version reads, live wisely among those who are not believers. He's now talking about our walk. And interestingly, the Greek uses the word those on the outside.

Isn't that interesting? Help me walk wisely among those on the outside. Think about outside. They don't hear anything we're doing in here. They don't know any of the hymns we sing in here. Those on the outside may be great people, good people, well-meaning people, but they're lost. They don't know our vocabulary.

So have a heart. Had a fellow stop me after the first service and he says to me, described his particular career, and he said, those around me curse on purpose because they want to see if I'll break. He said it really gets to me sometime. And he said, I just want to know how far is too far for me to put up with it. I said, and you're with the lost?

And he said, yeah. I said, hey, it's like my daddy used to say, when a mule kicks you, consider the source. He's a mule.

Mules kick. Lost people cuss. Don't try to clean up their talk. Why am I yelling? Don't try to clean up their talk. Better than that.

They're lost for goodness sake. Now, I know it's irritating that they will use words that you find very offensive and they when they find that you see that they're offensive, they'll use them even more. Hey, I went through the Marine Corps. I know what I'm talking about. I never heard such filthy language in all my life. But you know what I learned?

I learned if I look beyond the filthy language, I can reach a filthy heart because out of the heart, the mouth speaks. And God's put us in. He's put us in a fishbowl and we're not supposed to clean up the fishbowl. We're to fish.

So don't scrub up the fishbowl. Don't get on people because they cuss. They're supposed to cuss. They got a cussing heart. They're lost, for goodness sake.

They're on the outside. So don't put them down because they don't know what you know. Love them. Put your arms around them. They get cancer. Tell them you're sorry. Be there for them. Their wife walks out.

Tell them you care. Your heart breaks that their home is broken up. I can't believe the homes of any of the lost stay together.

So I'm not shocked. We got our own broken homes in the family of God. But if the lost are broken. They're broken. Maybe that avenue the Lord will use. Who knows? Now look at this.

That's part of living wisely among those on the outside. The Greek word, interestingly, is Sophia. We have the lady's name, the girl's name, Sophia. You may have named your daughter Sophia. You named her Wisdom.

What a great name. The Greek word means, and I quote, the capacity to understand and function accordingly. So you have Wisdom when you understand. And you put that to use.

Someone around you goes through such and such. You understand. You're wise to understand. You don't put them down. You don't preach.

You care. You understand. I went to Webster's Dictionary.

You could do that. I look up the word Wisdom. It says the ability to discern what is right, true, or lasting.

Any one of us can understand that. When you do what is right, you're walking in wisdom. When you speak the truth, you're wise. You don't lie to people, so they learn to trust you. That's Wisdom.

They gave synonyms, or Webster did, insight, good judgment, common sense. Isn't that helpful? Eugene Peterson, in his work The Message, renders this verse, and I love this, Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Isn't that good? Soon as you leave this church, you are moving into the mission field. I've heard of churches that put signs up as you leave the parking lot. It says you're now entering the mission field.

Isn't that a good thing to remember? You're now leaving the insiders. You're now moving among the outsiders. So expect road rage. Expect somebody to curse you or to yell out the window of a car. Expect people to speed.

Don't be surprised. It's the world of the lost, the lawless. So when you walk in wisdom, you don't forget that. It includes saying what we ought to say and not saying anything more. It's akin to being tactful, insightful.

It means we don't come across as opinionated or dogmatic or rude. Walk that way. Conduct your life in such a way that people can't ignore you. You become contagious.

Let me give you a tip. I learned this from my good friend Howie Stevenson. Howie used to say, we need to remember that people are charmed into righteousness.

Isn't that good? People are charmed into righteousness. You're in a situation where people are losing their patience and their temper and you remain calm. They're going to look at you like, how come you're not throwing a fit?

How come you're different? You're not letting it get to you. You're walking in wisdom. People need to be charmed into righteousness. You see, wisdom wears well. It's winsome.

It's convincing. You know, your wise walk can lead to someone's conversion. Warren Wiersbe writes of Dr. Will Houghton, who pastored Calvary Baptist Church in New York City for a number of years, later served as president of the Moody Bible Institute until his death in 1946. Years earlier, when Dr. Houghton became the pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia, a man in that city heard of his coming and hired a detective to follow Dr. Houghton and to report later on his conduct. He wanted to know if he was really the man he appeared to be in the pulpit. The detective reported later that his life matched his preaching. As a result, the man became a Christian. Isn't that a wonderful story? Will Houghton is the one who prayed when he was at Moody Bible Institute, according to one of my mentors who told me this story. Lord, keep me from becoming a cranky old man. Isn't that a great prayer?

Try that one on. Some of you white haired, some of us white haired. Keep us from becoming a cranky old person that has to rehearse all of our aches and pains. No one cares. Walk in wisdom among those who are not believers. Look at this. Make the most of every opportunity.

He goes further. Let me talk about your talk. Talk about little things meaning a lot.

Look at this. Let your words, let your conversation, watch this, be marked by grace and salted. Salted. Let your words be gracious and full of salt. Salt has a preserving agent, so let your words preserve. Salt also contained the idea of being thoughtful and kind.

Salt conveys the idea of being lively and zestful, even humorous and attractive. Those without Christ pay attention to people like that. They expect us to be boring and offensive. And they are amazed that they find us to be nice and kind. It's a good time for me to toss in something for no extra charge. When you eat out and it comes time for a tip, will you please be generous?

Everybody? I don't know how many servers have told me they dread Sundays because Christians show up and they're the biggest tightwads in the country and they just don't tip. Or they'll leave a tract.

The riches of Christ. That's insulting. Leave a big, fat, nice, big, multiple dollar bill and they'll read your tract.

Otherwise, keep your tract to yourself. Why? Because you're to tip the servers. And I know they're not perfect. You ever waited tables? Haven't, have you? That's why you tip a little bit.

You think there's nothing to it. Those dear people are working with folks like us. They deserve generosity. Okay, I told you it was extra.

No extra charge for that, okay? Gracious and attractive so you will have the right response for everyone. One man put it this way, it is all too true that Christianity in the minds of many is connected with a kind of sanctimonious dullness and an outlook in which laughter is almost a heresy. The Christian must commend his or her message with the charm and the wit which were in Jesus himself. Wouldn't you love to have known Christ? Wouldn't you love to have seen him laugh? Wouldn't you love to know an artist that would paint him laughing? The most winsome, contagious, and attractive person who ever lived is Jesus of Nazareth.

And that's why the Pharisees hated him. I mean, this is no laughing matter. This is serious. I know that.

But it can be serious. I mean, it's like the Norwegian. He was going to be a missionary. The Swede told him, you know, where are you going? It's 110 degrees in the shade. And the Norwegian said, well, they don't always have to stand in the shade, do they? I don't know why. I just think that's a funny line. I just think that's hilarious.

Some of us look like you've been standing in the sun all your life. Come on, relax. Let me wrap it up with four words of application before everybody walks out.

OK, here we go. One, two, three and four. Number one, strengthen your commitment to pray. That's the first application, and I get it from verse two. Strengthen your commitment to pray. Remember the words devoted, visionary, specific. That'll keep you from mumbling, rehearse prayers or memorize prayers. Strengthen your commitment to pray. Number two, ask for greater wisdom in your walk. Lord, help me know how to be more charming.

In your case, you may say my mother wasn't or my dad wasn't or Christian friends I used to run around with weren't or the church I used to attend wasn't. Lord, help me to be wise in my walk. Use common sense. Cultivate tact. Help me to think before I respond.

Help me to have wisdom in my walk. Number three, pay closer attention to outsiders. When you're with outsiders, don't expect them to be living a good life. Some may be, even if they're not saved. But don't expect them to be living a pure life. Don't be surprised when they have affairs. Lost people have affairs. Unfortunately, some Christians do, too. And that's where the shame is. But when lost people live their lives as lost people, don't give them a list to follow.

They don't need a list. They need the Savior. By the way, they're watching you and they're listening, so let's do the same. Let's watch them and let's listen and let's win them.

Number four, it's a simple one. Work on becoming more winsome and charming. Work on becoming more winsome and charming.

You want to know a place to begin? It's very simple. Start with a smile. It works. It's wonderful. A smile.

You know, I've never known of anyone respond to the message of the gospel where we begin with, you wouldn't want to know Jesus, would you? But rather, you know, something's happened that's just changed everything. You know what? I love my kids.

I want to be true to my wife or my husband. You know, my life's been changed. And when that begins, it's amazing how they'll be interested. Speaking of simple, you know how simple it is to know Jesus? Believe in him. Isn't that great?

You don't have to push a peanut to Washington, D.C. You don't have to hang from the rafters for three hours. You don't have to pay a lot of money so he'll be impressed. You have to do a blessed thing. Just believe in Jesus.

Just trust him. It's called grace. It's called grace. How else could any of us have ever become a Christian?

Please bow your heads. Thank you, Father, for the pleasure of your company today. Thank you for being the best listener we've ever known. Thank you for knowing all the ugly, bad things about us and not telling anybody else. Thank you for forgiving us, even though we come time and again with the same sin. Thank you for grace. Thank you for instruction. In Jesus' name, we pray.

Everybody sit. Amen. Concluding his ninth message in a brand new ten-part study in Colossians, you're listening to the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. And this is Insight for Living. To learn more about this nonprofit ministry, visit us online at In addition to these daily programs, we've developed a wide variety of resources designed to help you learn more. For example, Chuck has written a commentary on Colossians. This hardbound book includes his commentary on Philippians and Philemon as well. As you'd expect, the commentary is theologically sound. But equally important, it's designed to help you integrate what you learn into every aspect of your life.

And that makes sense, because Christ is our all in all. To purchase a copy of Chuck's Living Insights commentary, go to slash offer. Or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, as the international news focuses on the intense conflicts in Eastern Europe, we'll remind you that for many years, Insight for Living has been speaking into this part of the world. We've done so through Chuck's Bible teaching, translated into languages such as Polish and Romanian. These ministries are part of our long-range strategic plan to make disciples for Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world.

We call it Vision 195. When you give a gift, you're helping us provide Chuck's teaching in your own country. And a portion is applied to going beyond our borders, where clear Bible teaching is desperately needed. So thank you for supporting the ministry of Insight for Living. One last thing, did you know that Chuck has a daily email devotional? It's sent to your inbox each morning to help you start your day with God. The email devotional is absolutely free. To sign up, go to slash devotional. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next week at this same time when Chuck Swindoll concludes his brand new study in Colossians on Insight for Living. The preceding message, A Brief Checklist for Believers, was copyrighted in 2014 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 / 2023-05-10 07:44:19 / 2023-05-10 07:53:21 / 9

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