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April 21, 2022 7:05 am
Today on inside for living. Chuck Swindoll continues to describe what he calls the church awakening being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry.
The mentality of the professional is not the mentality is not the mentality of a slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be the more spiritual we believe in our way. The church was never designed to be a slick institution, led by a team of highly polished professionals. In fact, when we read the biblical record about the first century church discover an organism that acts in surprising ways. Pioneered by a ragtag team of disciples that don't seem qualified today on inside for living. Chuck Swindoll continues his teaching series called the church awakening were looking at the book of acts we read about a grassroots movement that was flourishing with God's blessing. Chuck titled today's message challenges and struggles, solutions, priorities, all Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God or the woman of God may be brought to maturity and be equipped for every good work.
Just as we would starve without food on our tables to eat and digest from which we get energy we could not survive spiritually without the word of God. So, not surprisingly, it is the word of God and especially the inerrancy of the Scriptures that continues to be the issue of every generation.
It is really the watershed issue weaken the word and you have begun to erode the church we give God our praise for his word and we while we do not worship obviously the print on the page. This print leads us to a knowledge of the one we worship who is Jesus our master Savior. If you are new with us and you haven't a Bible I'm sure there's someone nearby would be happy to share one with you when you come back. We invite you to do so. Be sure and bring a Bible and that way you can follow along. See where we are and where were going, we want to read from random selections of chapters for five and six of the fifth book of the New Testament book of acts will begin a chapter for verse one as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead and the laying hands on them and put them in jail until the next day or it was already evening, but many of those who had heard the message believed in the number of the men came to be about 5000 verse eight then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, rulers and elders of the people we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man is or how this man is been made. Well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by this name. This man stands here before you in good health. Verse 12 and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved now as they observe the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
Chapter 5 verse one, but a man named Ananias and his wife Safari sold a piece of property and cut back some of the price for himself with his wife's full knowledge and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles feet. But Peter said Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land while it remained unsold and did not remain your own and after it was sold, was it not under your control. Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart you have not lied to men but to God and as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came over all who heard of it. Verse 14 and all the more believers in the Lord multitude of men and women were constantly added to their number verse one of chapter 6 now at this time of the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose in the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food so the 12 summoned the congregation of the disciples and said it is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the spirit, and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task, but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Verse seven the word of God kept on spreading the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient and got out of the reading of and the living out of the truth of his word Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll.
Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to inside world.org/studies and now the message from Chuck called challenges, struggles, solutions, priorities, one of the worst things a church can do is take its cues from the world, but it's a great temptation to do that because there are so many of them out there and they look like they know what they're doing and they often say their stuff in such a convincing way that we think well maybe they're right and were beginning to miss it but I world has lost its way and so is not surprising when the church takes its cues from the world it's lost its way that the church begins to lose its way.
It doesn't happen quickly.
It's a matter of erosion, as we learned last time we were together. It's silent, it's slow, it's subtle. I thought of how this disintegration can happen when I some time ago read an article from the Smithsonian magazine were a fascinating experiment was carried out. Dr. John Calhoun, a research psychologist at the national Institute of mental health built a 9 ft.² cage for selected mice and observe them as their population grew from 8 to 2200. The cage was designed to contain comfortably a population of 160 food, water and other resources were always abundant. All the mortality factors except aging were eliminated as the population reached its peak at 2200. After about 2 1/2 years. The colony of mice began to disintegrate.
There was no physical escape from their closed environment adult mice for natural groups of about a dozen individual mites in the groups. Each mouse performed a particular social role, but there were no rules in which to place the healthy young mites. This totally disrupted the whole society. The male's who have protected their territory withdrew from leadership. The females became aggressive and forced out the young and the young grew to be only self indulgent, they ate, drank, slipped grooming themselves but showed no normal aggression and failed to reproduce.
Dr. Calhoun observed that courtship and meeting the most complex activities for mice were the first activities to cease after five years all of the mice had died despite the fact that they had plenty of water, food, and no disease what result would such overcrowding have on humanity. Calhoun suggests that we would first of all cease to reproduce our ideas and along with ideas, our goals and ideals. In other words, our values would be lost. Experiment is more than fascinating. It's very revealing.
I'm especially troubled by the last five words of the report are values would be loss. What did happen in overpopulated world can happen also in a fast-growing church values, purpose, objectives, reason for existence. All of these are of primary importance when it comes to being up distinct body of people altogether different from the world it's lost its way. As I said before, and you will hear me say again when the church is doing what it is been called to do, we will become the most attractive and contagious body of people in the community, not when we mimic what is around us, but when we revealed a life marked by values and purpose and meaning and definition. Last time we were together, I concluded with three valuable statements. I called them and you may have misplaced them or not even notice at the end of the message. The importance of them until later. And so today I thought we would begin where we left off last time and simply recall the statements I would be pedantic enough to say find a pen or pencil and and write down the statements.
I would even be bold enough to add memorize them. They will help you in days to come retain your values. The first is this clear biblical thinking must override secular planning and a corporate mentality.
Repeat clear biblical thinking must override secular thinking or planning secular planning at a corporate mentality. I added to that statement. Think spiritual when you think of the work of God. When you consider your life in light of being a servant of the living God. Spirituality is of paramount importance not not the secular world, not the corporate mindset but a spiritual mentality. Think spiritual second studied accurate decisions must originate from God's word, not human opinions studied accurate decisions must originate from God's word, not human, opinion, and we added to that statements the biblical say biblical live with your with your Bible open just as I was taught when I learned how to preach. Always have your finger on the text and as you look away to make a point or whatever, you'll be able to return to the very place that you have left. Stay in the text stay in the Scriptures make the Scriptures your guide. You will never be led astray. If you guide your life according to statements and or principles from the written word of God. So we we form our studied and accurate decisions because they are originating from the word of God, not human opinion is the third why is essential. Changes must occur. To counteract any sign of erosion. Why is essential. Changes must occur. To counteract any sign of erosion. I added to that statement.
Be flexible, be flexible.
Think spiritual state biblical be flexible changes are often an essential part of the course certainly of any course correction. I spent some time this past week with the pastor who serves a church that's over 100 years old.
He has been there for a number of years.
I asked him to describe the church to meet because he seemed a little burden when we sat down together for lunch.
He said I can do it all in one word dysfunctional dysfunctional. He said the roots that had been formed.
The ruts that have been formed are so deep and long is hard to imagine that I could be the one to pull the church out of those ruts and I said to him, as I say to you how tragic how tragic. Remember the words of Ray Stedman when he crossed into Alaska. He said I saw side of the side of the road that was hand-painted. It read, choose your what carefully you will be entered for the next 200 miles same can be said in many of church.
My answer to that is, stay out of the rut.
Let the Scriptures keep you on the proper plane of living. Now let's go from today's church back to the first century is not a perfect setting, but it is certainly more pristine than ours today. These were people who understood persecution and martyrdom was commonplace, the fear of God was regular experience. The hand of God in their lives was palpable and they began to grow in the grew rapidly.
The end of chapter 2 tells us that their number was being added to day by day as the Lord bless them, so they were growing.
Chapter 4 verse four picks up where that leaves all many of those who had heard the message believed in the number of the men came to be about 5000 began it over 3000, and now it's 5000 that if we were to go on through the book of acts. As Bruce calls it does the video. The spreading flaming just increases the spreading flame of the church grows nothing wrong with rapid growth. But as we learn from the 9 ft.² cage for mice. If things are handled correctly begin to disintegrate.
I made a list of some things that are work that can occur as a result of growth that's that's rapid uncertain. The uncertainty of purpose, blurred vision, fuzzy and compromised priorities. The tendency away from volunteerism and toward professionalism.
That's a big one, the church can get slick it's ministers can become perfunctory in their tasks. I guess that's why love John Piper's book titled brothers. We are not professionals listen to his writing. We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be the more spiritual death. We believe in our week. There is no professional childlikeness not track with Piper as he continues with that thought, there is no professional tender heartedness. There is no professional panting after God we are to deny ourselves and take up the blood spattered across daily how do you carry across professionally.
We have been crucified with Christ and yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave himself for what is professional faith.
We are not to be filled with wine but with the spirit we are to be God besotted lovers of Christ.
How can you be drunk with Jesus professionally, then wonder of wonders, we were given the gospel treasure to carrion clay pots to show that the transcendent power belongs to God. Is there a way to be a professional clay pot brothers and sisters were not running a professional organization will let the world do that. This isn't building with a cross stuck on top is a ministry, we do not look to the government of the state to guide us.
This is a ministry. Now you can expect as the first church experience. There will be strong resistance that, but that's always true that we just read a bit earlier chapter, forget verse one after the man is healed in chapter 3 as Peter and John are speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the guard in the side to see these are all the professionals they came up to them and they were greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead deer you do that, we just nailed him to across how dare you tell people that is been raised from the dead. We put them in a great somebody stole the body by the way, they've never been able to produce the skeleton and never found the body, but that's beside the point.
These men are trying to silence the spokesman for Christ. So they laid their hands on them. Verse three they put them in jail until the next day for it was already evening, but the list you think that Peter was intimidated. I want you to see his response. Verse eight. He's in jail. These men have the power to make his life pretty miserable.
Certainly to torture him and he's filled with the spirit. Verse eight he said to them, rulers and elders of the people we are on trial today for a benefit down to a sick man as to how this man is been made well let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene who you crucified has ever being politically incorrect, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by this name. This man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, and which became the chief cornerstone. There is salvation and no other. There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. He is in intimidated. You have to love it. Now these professionals are watching this blinking, not knowing whether to spit or wander watch and they are thinking, what worked were told what they were thinking. 13 as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men. They were made just to me the began to recognize them as having been love. Look at the courage of these two. They not realize we can make their lives. When you are filled with the Spirit and speaking Christ your invincible.
Peter and John had remarkable tenacity resisting the temptation to keel under pressure through their courage. These disciples shape the trajectory of the church and much of what we practice today was forged from this model you're listening to Insight for living in the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. He's just begin a series called the church awakening. In addition to Peter and John Paul was another man who pioneered the early church movement in his story is told in a helpful biography. The check is written.
It's from the great lives series and it's called Paul a man of grace and grit to purchase a copy of Chuck's biography on Paul, give us a call if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go directly to Insight.org/offer then as the international news continues to focus on the intense conflicts in Eastern Europe remind you that for many years Insight for living has been speaking into this part of the world we 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 get a gift you're helping us provide Chuck's teaching in your own country, and a portion is applied to going beyond our borders were clear.
Bible teaching is desperately needed. So thank you for supporting the ministry of insight for living. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8880. Forget your donation email@example.com/donate one more thing. Did you know that Chuck has a daily email devotional.
It sent to your inbox each morning to help you start your day with God. Thousands are taking advantage of these daily inspirations that come from some of Chuck's best writing and you can to the email devotional is absolutely free to sign up, go to insight.org/devotional inviting you to join us. When Chuck Swindoll continues series called the church awakening Friday on insight for living. The preceding message challenges, struggles, solutions priorities was copyrighted in 2008 2010 and 2022 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R.
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