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The Church: Let's Start Here, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2022 7:05 am

The Church: Let's Start Here, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Chuck Swindoll delivers a wake-up call to the church.

Christ alone is the church congregation not majority vote, not any man or woman or family not a pastor or board.

Christ remains the water will emphasize this because everybody's tendency is to fall back on everything and every other one but Christ in his word will often hear our Bible teacher reinforce the eminence of Christ in all things.

This belief comes not from his own convictions from the Bible itself, yes Christ alone is the head of the church and today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll begins our next teaching series. This time were addressing God's design for his church family and how this divine plan impacts our local church families today. It also lets you see how Chuck shepherds the flock of believers who gather at Stone briar Community Church in our study is called the church a God's word is alive and active and sharper than a double-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit of the joints and marrow, and is is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart were discerner is an interesting term. It's the Greek term credit costs.

We are word critic from and when you think of the Scriptures. Think of the Scriptures as constructive criticism. The word of God will tell you what you need to hear not necessarily what you want to hear. And that's always good for us. We all need to hear what we need to hear Yogi Berra comment, does that we need to hear what we need to hear what often when you come to church are told what you want to hear. That's a waste of time. So we hear from God's word to speak to us and to instruct us in the way we ought to go want to do that today from two separate passages in the New Testament.

One is from the first book of the New Testament.

That's the gospel by Matthew. If you put your finger in chapter 16, then locate the second chapter in the fifth book of the New Testament which is the book of acts. Acts chapter 2 began reading there in verse 41, down to the end of verse 47 were going to address some things that probably some things you've never heard before survey I've never said them here and they have to do with where we been where we are and where were going Matthew 16 verse 13 down through 18 then asked to 41 now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he was asking his disciples people say that the Son of Man is, they said, some say John the Baptist and others, Elijah, but still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets, he said to them, but who do you say that I am Simon Peter answered.

You are the Christ, the son of the living God and Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah see that word, it means son of John Blessed are you, Simon son of John because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my father was in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower acts chapter 2, verse 41 so then, those who had received his word were baptized in that day there were added about 3000 souls.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of all, and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostle and all those who had believed were together and had all things in common.

They began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being say, by going to inside and now the message from Chuck called the church. Let's start here anniversaries are great occasions for reflection and evaluation. They are like cyclical milestones that give us an opportunity to look back where we been and to look within the see where we are and then to look ahead and think about where were going such keen at disciplining thinking stops erosion. Webster defines a road like this to diminish or destroyed by degrees to eat into or away by slow destruction of substance to cause to deteriorate or disappear rather than occurring rapidly. Erosion is always slow instead of making a lot of noise erosion is silent and in place of being obvious erosion is always subtle. You hardly know it's happening as it's happening this slow and silent and subtle wearing away is not only of concern to us physically. It's of greater concern to us spiritually.

It can happen even in the finest of Christian organizations believe it or not it can happen at a seminary that once stood strong and firm on the teaching of the word of God and the exposition of the Scriptures teaching people how to do that.

It can even happen in the church before our first of three morning worship services started today. I talked with a friend about he and his wife as they visited last Sunday in a church that was a part of a denomination. It is long, deep century-old routes. It was once known as one of the conservative denominations.

In fact, those who originated it were made fun of by classmates at the University where they attended because they were just so well narrow that they love the Scriptures and the they believe that the word of God and without even planning to start a movement. Their lives began a movement that swept across England and then made it across the Atlantic into America. Said while he was sitting there. He and his wife noticed that just the two of them and one other person in the group of maybe 800 even it brought the Bible that morning. That didn't happen two weeks ago for two years ago. It's happened over the long, slow, subtle path of erosion. FB Meyer put it this way no one suddenly becomes base CS Lewis in his cleverly written work. The Screwtape letters rights of this erosion, the safest, the safest road to hell is the gradual one. The gentle slope soft underfoot, without sudden turnings without milestones without signposts. The low told monotonous years of middle-age prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil erosion as well: anniversary cyclical milestones. Remember his words without milestones. No time to really stop and look back at what was it that started us in an end to look within, or we like that. Still, those objectives still hours and the deceiver were going in light of where we are and where we wanted to be young church but you can't tell by looking because our numerical size surprises people we are now numbering in the thousands. But but real it reminds me of of a couple that has been married, not quite 10 years and they have 15 children, 15 which I got a good work year after marriage they have a set of twins. Two years later they have triplets for who knows whatever reason. The following year they adopt for children from other countries out of compassion. Two weeks later she finds she's pregnant with triplets again. She locks about the bedroom tells him to get a vasectomy or not.

Come back in.

He does it doesn't work she's not pregnant once again with triplets. So that's 50 however got to tell you she's homeschooling and they're also living in the same house they were when they first got married that Stonebrook Community Church is where we are, as would be true of any couple in that situation there would be time to have been able to give to each child's need wouldn't have been the attention provided or the training.

No one couple can do all of that in the brief. Some things you will they erode another one of them wants the family to eroded just just goes with the rapid size is a good time to pause from where we are right now in go back 20 centuries. As we do that, turn to Matthew chapter 16. Remember, we've gone back 20 centuries. Listen carefully.

Having gone back 20 centuries.

Obviously there is no United States of America. Obviously there is no American culture. Obviously there is no corporate mentality. There is no tradition except Jewish and that's been brought over through the synagogue there is. There are a few calls, if any, there is no denominational gathering there. There really is little liturgy.

This is first century. There are no churches that never heard of a church church is mentioned 17 and 17 books and/or letters of the New Testament. This is the first place. When you do research. You want to go back to the passage of primary reference. If you can hear we go back to the section of primary reference first mention of the word church in the New Testament is Matthew 1618. These words follow a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples versus 13 to 16. He's asking them the public opinion of his identity with the folks out there say I have some say you're John the baptizer.

Others say you're Elijah.

Some say Jeremiah or one of the prophets they're getting it wrong.

So Jesus looks at the group his followers and says who do y'all say I am plural. Who do you men say.

I am Peter speaks for the group.

You are the Christ, the son of the living God, Peter was never more right, never more accurate you are Messiah. You are the anointed one, the anointed one, the son of the living God. Jesus at that moment changes the dialogue to a monologue and he commends Peter Blessed are you, son of John flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my father who is in heaven may have pause and say there are rare moments in our lives when we get instruction directly from heaven. Those are called original thoughts, and there are few of the closest we can get to original thoughts is the word of God, Peter Pierce, your thought comes directly from my heavenly father. The convention in fact it is like a rock statement on this rock like statement five words follow I will build my church.

The gates of Hades will not erode it will not prevail against it. I'm taken by those five model syllable word.

Let's take them apart. First, I make no mistake about it, the church has Christ as its architect. He is the originator. It's his original idea will obviously looks to the future not have built not even am building I will build so it's future is not yet happened when East makes the statement build is a word that is a progress.

It is a project, it is something that goes on I will build my church.

If you love music is a crescendo mark that looks like a long arrowhead where the musicians sing or play louder and louder and louder as the as the line separate from one another. That's the church begins at a certain point and it grows and grows and grows.

That's because Christ is building his church is adding to it is enlarging I will build my church. Not only is he the originator. He is the head of it.

It's his his church my church. Forgive me if this is too elementary, but sometime we need to go back and put our finger on essentials. This is essential. Christ originated it. It had not yet happened when he gave the prediction, it would be an ongoing project. It belongs to him. Colossians 1 says he is its head and did everything he is to have first place. Never forget that. Never forget that. Always ask yourself is Christ, the head of this is he got first place in this is this all about him because that's the way it is in this church that has an eroded, and finally the word church. Interesting term when Matthew wrote he use the word lease seal EK K LES I a check from out from among out from among Clay CR from a verb that means to call to call out from among a church is a body of people called out from among the world for the distinct and unique purpose of glorifying their head and Savior and Master, Christ, it's a universal church. This is not the church on the corner is not a church on a piece of real estate. This is not a building.

This is a body.

It is invisible. Listen closely. This body is without political roots. It is without cultural boundaries. It is without linguistic restrictions. It is apart from racial barriers. It has no denominational ties. It is not a business establishment with a cross stuck into it. It is a spiritual entity, it is not a corporation. The church that Jesus Christ predicted would begin would be a spiritual entity, the state cannot and the state does not dictate our weights. We do not listen to the state to get our message. We do not wait for the state to give us our our approval. We stand separate from, and apart from the state, the nation, the church is a spiritual entity. Christ remains the head. Colossians 115 to 18 not the congregation not majority vote, not any man or woman.

Our family not a pastor or a board. Are you ready for the first major shock. The word board never appears in the New Testament is just the first of several shocking statements you may want to know Christ alone is the head of the church what it will emphasize this because every body's tendency is to fall back on everything and every other one, but Christ and his word now. A brief history. It was back in the middle 1990s that the Lord began to move on my part, but I came to Dallas seminary is a part of its leadership team came as a shepherd. I've never let a school and I didn't see myself as a president of of really anything and I was a pastor I've been with the sheep. So long I smell like a sheet I I came in was convinced the seminary had missed it on this one but I sensed God's hand in it and I came.

I told the board then. By the way boards fit in schools.

In case you wonder why would answer to a board. The board of the school is is the governing body inside.

They asked me would you be sure and give us your best.

Here's the 1st to 3 years without starting a church. I said absolutely I didn't for one half years, but I still had burning within me the desire to start a church.

As you can see this is a deeply personal subject for our teacher. This series called the church awakening embodies the essence of God's design for the local church and these timeless principles should steer anyone who leads or loves a local church family. You're listening to Insight for living in the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll to learn more about Chuck Swindoll in this ministry. Visit us right now I'd like to remind you about an excellent resource that will help you make the most of this study Paul the apostle was one of the spiritual giants that God used pioneer the church in its infancy and his personal story is quite compelling. Chuck wrote a biography on Paul. It's called Paul a man of grace and grit despite rejection, distress, attacks, hunger, solitude, and suffering. The apostle Paul pushed through it all he clung to the overwhelming sufficiency of God's grace so that others would have a two to add the study tool to your collection. Give us a call if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 ask for a copy of Chuck's biography on Paul a man of grace and grit. You can also purchase a copy online by going to in recent days, most of us have heard the desperate cries that are prevalent in Ukraine and surrounding regions will be encouraged to hear that our regional offices in Poland and Romania have worked tirelessly to care for the needs of the refugees pouring into their cities, our office in the United States, along with our other international offices are allocating funds as able to our Polish and Romanian offices to help ease what physical suffering we can and to help offer spiritual comfort in the love and power of Christ and these ministries are made possible in part, when you give a much needed donation to Insight for living to give a gift today. Call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or give and now these closing thoughts from our teacher Chuck Swindoll, a church that's contagious is strong in grace and is led by people who were strong in grace. Paul could write it because he modeled grace, he calls himself in one place, the apostle of grace is amazing that this legalist, this Pharaoh see this man who earlier in life is is making sure the Christians are wiped out his stop on the road to Damascus and is made blind by a light from heaven is the Lord Jesus speaks to him and calls him, of all people into his work and Paul becomes the spokesman for grace and he gives the message of the gospel to all people. The dogs, the Gentiles, not just to his own people, the Jews, so he says to us modeled grace proclaim grace. Remind people of grace.

Salvation is by grace through faith.

Peace with God comes because of his grace, demonstrated to us at the cross, the grace of the Christian life.

Remember our Lord Jesus, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we might have his riches. That's grace receiving what we don't deserve John Newton put it best to his grace have brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home churches of grace are attractive places, people who come out of toxic religion will always tell you of the rigors of the regulations and rules of that former place where they managed to survive lists of requirements and demands judgment placed against them if they didn't measure up to some preachers requirement them, not a biblical requirement but his own list, you must look like this. You must dress like this, you must observe things like this, you must say it like this in your structured and strapped by the rule. I call it religious bondage. That's it is not a contagious plains. It's a frightening place folk sometime wind up at Stone Breyer church coming out of that context in the arrive here with some tell them often.

You just need time to heal. Just need time and you be given room to grow and to heal. Occasionally, they will share their scars right toxic religious places have no acceptance of other graceless church like a graceless pastor is a frightening thought. When Chuck Swindoll continues series called the church awakening on Insight for living.

The preceding message the church. Let's start here was copyrighted in 2008 2010 and 2011 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R.

Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited

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