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April 19, 2022 7:05 am
Over 2000 years ago Jesus said upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overpower but what does that body of believers look like today. And when you think about your own experience, how would you describe the condition of your church family today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll continues the teaching series called the church awaken in, which will gain a whole new appreciation for the divine institution that God established centuries ago, Chuck titled his first message the church. Let's start. Truth be told, Lord. There are times in our lives when we are just as stubborn as mules we just resist you and we fight your way and we want to go our own path and monopole our own plowman and were determined to make it work. A lot of us of live long enough to remember and even have the scars to prove those foolish decisions when like mules.
We went her own way and then we came to realize we are we are really goats were not a part of the sheepfold and we found ourselves on the outside looking in, and we didn't know the songs and we didn't know the truth and we didn't know the way we did know how to walk in it.
So we sort of butted our way through life until we finally realized what a waste that you want us to be sheep.
And so we come today like little lambs. We can't protect ourselves so we need you to do that we don't know where there's good food, so we need you to guide us to those pastures that are green, we can find quiet waters so we rely on you is like a sheep on the shepherd guidance and once we are there. Father, we become like dear panting for the water brooks ourselves thirst for you Lord and out of the overflow of our lives we give to you like a deer in the forest. We trust your father in the name of Jesus praying. Everybody said a man inside for living to search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll.
Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight world.org/studies and now the message from Chuck called the church.
Let's start here rather than occurring rapidly. Erosion is always slow 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 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. This is first century. There are no churches that never heard of a church 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 folks out there say I am. 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 squirrel. 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. Change is a 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, Peter Pierce, your thought comes directly from my heavenly father to convince you.
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. It begins 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 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 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 a building. This is a body. 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. 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. Christ alone is the head of the church. Why don't I 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, I 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 but I sensed God's hand in it and I came 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 distorting the church. I said absolutely I didn't for one half years, but I still had burning within me the desire to start a church. I just did nowhere and I didn't know how the Lord began to work on me. I looked at a couple of other well-established churches didn't feel a fit. I knew if I stepped into their I have long-standing traditions to keep up with and I was up to here with long-standing traditions and I was just old enough not to care. So I said I'd I'd I'd I don't want to go there and I don't want to fit into what you see with all of the expectations you have for your seventh or eighth or 10th or 12 pastor that's just not me. Not now. If I ever get into a church, a minister I'd never done it before. I will never do it again anyway in starting the church.
I did ice I said to the Lord. One thing is for sure. Lord, you and I are going to do this together.
I don't mean that I don't mean that to sound like anything more than just a simple statement of faith.
I don't want my point is I don't want to be like any other church. If there is another church like that people can go there and so I'm not going to concern myself with that this ministry or that one were brothers and were friends and with many of them were colleagues in ministry, but there's no reason to duplicate what they're doing.
I want you to guide me, leave me under fresh thoughts and so Lord I'm going to trust you if you're promising to build your church. I I I want to be a part of that. I'm excited about that now I'm I just have to tell you I didn't hear a voice from heaven. I've never seen sky writing.
I've I don't believe in that I didn't.
I wasn't awake in the middle the night but the urging Going on so I said to Cynthia one day you want to be be great to just get start, maybe a Bible class. Let's do that. Just a little gathering of people be fine.
And so, word got out through our radio ministry inside for living and we didn't do a big a demographic study we did canvassed the neighborhood. We didn't even know where we should meet.
We just said let's let's let's get going with a group of people we need.
We need that and I love to be preaching again. That's great. So we wound up at Stone Breyer country club and the first meeting 300 people showed up and I member single one God do we know what were doing. He said I don't.
But you're here, so let's go.
What he did know is I didn't know either, so middle number people. I guess some of the people to each other. I did also.
We got started didn't have a church in mind. Just start with a Bible class. Problem is, the next time we met we doubled in size and by now the country club is getting nervous because we pushed out all of the accordion walls and within every war room to meet and they said to me by the third meeting which by then we were having in larger, they said we just can't keep doing that. It was it was a October 1998 and I also realize that this is getting past when I expected the limit. Let me let me be very candid with you here as if I haven't already been me just tell you what's happened I'm involved in running inside for living along with Cynthia and we are commuting. Then 9899. We haven't moved the ministry here we are. The traveling Southern California back here. We've built a little place down in Dallas where we would live, and I was present. Seminary and we were involved in a major fundraising campaign.
There, my hands are full. My arms were full.
My heart is full of loving it all with the church is growing growing by now. We are located at Collin County community college and our number is now 2000 are but a little over thousand one. Exaggerate the thousand seem like it was million, but it was at the gym was full and I will all of us will remember those white chairs and in the rain on the roof.
Remember that the fun of that than the challenge of that what you didn't know, is the behind-the-scenes like a mother with too many kids. I was a pastor with too many people and I couldn't keep up with a lot of things.
So I delegated a lot of things. Things were delegated to good men individuals but not men who had my heart not men who had my vision not individuals who they weren't trying to hurt anything or are destroy anything but little did I realize that when I delegated and released.
I was in training I wasn't meant I wasn't shaping the thinking I wasn't carrying out the vision got a given. The back in the mid-90s was unable to and I when I realized it had gotten too far along staff had been hired probably should've never been hired and I'm grateful to say that we never lost our integrity financially. There were fistfights in the back room is not like that is just we realized, I realized especially here in the last 2 to 3 years. How far we have drifted from the original dream and vision. That's a tough place to find yourself because the church is now the size it is a were all excited about that and I mean that genuinely seem to be a good time for us to pull back and look directly at where we've been, where we are really going to stop the erosion wherever it may be, is not been easy and difficult times in tears and hurt feelings been hard moment but remember Sunday comes every seven days, so I never brought the struggle to the pulpit. I simply announced from week to week were building a building work going ahead were moving on, trust in God but I finally had to come to realize it's time to stop weight. Let's look again. Let's see input it is God is doing in let's examine what it is, God would have us do, and let's do that. That meant some changes that met moving in a direction that had not been moving in that met certain staff didn't remain that met some elders didn't stay. And all the way through. My hope was to keep it on on vision on stream. Some of you will remember that in the message I brought last time we announce that we want to have Dr. to see Dr. Hendrickson, Dr. Mark Young help us with the remaining elders with some senior staff think through where we are who we are. Where were going as been of inestimable value to have them. The meetings are now fun again and the ideas are coming again in the freshness of this is all happening now were going to skip from Matthew 16 to asked to because I want you to see as the Lord began to build his church. What it looked like take a look here.
Acts chapter 2 verse 14 through verse 36 Peter preaches a message that is 120 people that have been in the room where the spirit of God is come. It seems clear that it was there. The church began member the number hundred and 20 as a result of a number of these people come down in the streets and they began to preach to people from all over the world there declaring the good news of the Savior. Versus 38 to 40, Peter.
Peter ends this message and then there's a response.
Look at the response of the people. So then, those who have received his word were baptized.
Don't go any further.
The people's response was.
They received the word. That term means that they showed approval by accepting it FO upload Deco my.
They showed approval by accepting the word as the gospel was given they received it. So what you do when you hear of Christ, you receive him you believe in him, so they are believers. Watch what happens.
They are then baptized.
Can you imagine this that day there were added 3000 souls and got some people that don't believe in big churches, but the very first one got going was 3000 strong. Admittedly they met in homes in caves and dams in hidden places rarely in public but look at the science.
John Stott is correct. He writes the body of Christ in Jerusalem multiplied 26 times from 120 to 3120.
Suddenly, there are 3000 brand-new Christians mean that baptism is a sheep dip huge number of people whose number and you think I felt uneasy with the growth.
Imagine Peter it's it's amazing there's no corruption there's no tradition. There are no bylaws. There's no building is no senior pastor. There's no leadership structure is no splinter group just 3000 people living our lives now the Christ is living within them. So what did they do watch closely next verse they continually devoted themselves in your pencil ready mark the word teaching Fellowship breaking bread in prayer that the lowest common denominator of a church, you can't have a church if you take away any of the four active teaching. Teaching and preaching you got have fellowship does not dinner on the grounds that closeness cornea that's sharing in life.
That's close relationships.
That's harmony that sharing in one another's life teaching fellowship. Third, had worship breaking of bread that means not only meals but following the meal. They took time for the Lord's table, an image of baptism so they had the elements reserved as well as these ordinances baptism in the table and then there was prayer you can have more than for you cannot have less than four and be a church.
These are the defining components of a healthy local church teaching, fellowship, worship and prayer, and there's much more teaching ahead so please stay with us.
This is inside for living Chuck Swindoll was present in the first message in this teaching series called the church awakening and to learn more about Chuck Swindoll and this ministry.
Visit us email@example.com. Did you know that every single sermon in this series is paired with an interactive study tool that chuckles searching the Scriptures. It's interactive because you can jot down your personal notes online or print out the PDF for safekeeping is designed to help you truly engage with the Bible and its application.
Take a look and discover what's available to you by going to Insight.org/studies. In addition, Chuck is written a biography on the apostle Paul. That's helpful as well. In this book, you'll discover the character traits that cause Paul to become so effective in ministry. The biography is titled Paul a man of grace and grit. It's a story of strength and determination, and it's dripping with mercy and grace to purchase a copy go to Insight.org/offer or call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 we rely on your support to make these daily Bible studies with Chuck possible that if it's been a while since you responded to the need for you've never stepped forward with the contribution we invite you to give a donation today. Just call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or give a donation firstname.lastname@example.org/donate. That was several minutes remaining. Let's enjoy these closing comments from our teacher Chuck reminds us that the Bible rises above any other book stand firm on the inspired word of God. We now come to the watershed issue of every generation. All Scripture is inspired of God.
It may be familiar territory for many of you, but believe me today. My words come as strange words in the years of the majority.
Most people have never been taught about the inspired word of God and many who have been taught have been taught to disbelieve it for his Scripture states it is inspired of God where little information that might seem over your head, but it isn't at all. It may sound strange when you get it quickly fail if use cost is the word trends translated inspired of God fail us is the word for God use cost is the word for spirit or breath God-breed. The Scriptures are the God breed message from God to mankind. That means God superintended the human authors so that using their individual personalities. They composed and recorded without error. Holy Scripture right down to the very words themselves. This was not mechanical dictation. But the writing of various authors who were carried along the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to give you three words that will help you Revelation is God's giving his word to mankind that has ceased.
There is no longer inspired Scripture being given to mankind that was done when the Bible was being written. The Bible has now been written. The second word is inspiration. That's human beings recording without error. The very word in mind of God.
The third is illumination Revelation deceased inspiration has ceased, but illumination goes on.
It's happening right now you are learning things that you did not know 30 minutes ago. You are discovering things from the Scriptures that are sort of lightning you opening your eyes to call the doctrine of illumination.
God is revealed his word that's miraculous God is inspiring his word has inspired his word miraculous transfer of information so that humans wrote it down without error, and now we have his word and it inspires us, it it it illumines us, guides us, gives us direction and I'm not sure where to go. I seek the Scriptures and I go to prayer. I asked the Lord for guidance and I asked him to use some part of his word.
I may have learned or I may now read and opened my eyes to see how I can best respond to the situation in which I find myself by that we are standing firm on the inspired word of God Chuck Swindoll's teaching series called the church awakening continues tomorrow. Right here on Insight for living.
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