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What Must the Church Realize?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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May 5, 2022 7:05 am

What Must the Church Realize?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 5, 2022 7:05 am

The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal

Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
A New Beginning
Greg Laurie
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Grace To You
John MacArthur

Today, on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. All of us who are parents would be the first to say we are fallen people. We have made bad mistakes. Good parents, when they find out bad mistakes they've made, make it right. You can never fully recover all of the harm you've caused, but you can do your best to say what needs to be said. I was wrong when.

I am sorry for. In churches all across the country, pastors and leaders have intentionally abandoned what they consider traditional methods, hoping to attract a larger audience. In doing so, they've strayed from teaching the scriptures alone, relying solely on clever communications and creativity at the expense of presenting unfiltered biblical truth to their congregations. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will sound the alarm with a proverbial wake-up call for anyone who loves the church.

To introduce his message, Chuck will read a passage of scripture that clearly identifies the obvious danger signs. Well we have a serious passage of scripture before us in 2 Timothy chapter 3. We're in a series on the church. Last time we dealt at length with the whole idea of worship, which is a pretty much a misnomer, like silence or stillness. And it seems appropriate that in the process of our thinking about church for this era in this generation, a word of warning is in order.

That's today. And then a proper response to the warning is in order, and that's next time. We'll look at the first five verses of chapter 3 of 2 Timothy today. We'll look at the last five as we think about responding to what we hear today in this same chapter next time. 2 Timothy 3, beginning at verse 1. But realize this, that in the last days, difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, angry, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power, and avoid such men as these. May God give us the ears to hear and then the courage to do what we're told in this section of scripture. You're listening to Insight for Living.

For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to And now the message Chuck titled with a question, What Must the Church Realize? Sometime the most responsible thing we can do is warn someone else of impending danger. If you're living near a river and the river is rising because the rain doesn't stop falling and you know that a flood is on its way, the most responsible thing you can do is to tell your neighbor a flood is coming. If you're in a part of the third world and you know the water's contaminated and a friend of yours comes to visit and doesn't know that, it's only right to say don't drink the water. It'll hurt you.

It could make you sick. If you're going through the checkpoint at the airport and you make it through and nothing buzzes, the person behind you makes it through and nothing buzzes. And both of you step to the side to get redressed. And while that person is putting his shoes on, you notice he has a weapon that somehow didn't get detected in the checkpoint.

You don't dare go on. You stop and tell an authority. You warn him that there is a weapon here this individual's carrying. You do that because someone could be hurt, because there could be danger, there could be death.

Very responsible thing to do when you know that danger lurks is to warn someone. You're not being crotchety. You're not a naysayer. You're not a doom and gloom person.

You're realistic. When we come to this section of the scriptures in 2 Timothy 3, it's helpful for me to remember and perhaps for you as well that this is dungeon talk. Paul is in a dungeon that once out of it, he will lose his head literally. He's only hours from death.

So it's no time to be quaint and cute. He, as in the words of one man, is a wiry experienced apostle writing a slightly timid young pastor. Paul is in his mid 60s. Timothy is probably in his early to mid 40s, and he is timid. Paul is scarred with the years of ministry behind him, and Timothy is to take the baton and continue to run the race. Paul wants him to succeed. Timothy right now is a pastor of a church in the city of Ephesus. Paul sees danger lurking. It's not the first time he's leveled warnings.

He told the elders in Ephesus or shortly, or not too far from Ephesus, that there would be those who would crop up in their own church who would deceive many. Watch out. Paul has said words to Timothy of warning. Peter gives us warnings. Be sober, be vigilant. Your adversary, the devil, walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Wake up. Be alert. That enemy is powerful and to make it even more complicated, he's invisible.

And so are his forces. So these are strong warnings along the way, just as you would give to your son or daughter going into a high school that's dangerous. A high school I attended back when the earth's crust was cooling was a dangerous place. My folks didn't even realize how dangerous. It wasn't uncommon to see stabbings.

Fistfights were daily occurrences. I walked into the boy's room on one occasion and the fellow was lying in his own blood with a knife in his chest, not an exaggeration. I was so scared I didn't know what to do. And the fellow who had stabbed him said, get out. I set a new record on getting out.

Why? A dangerous place to be. Had my folks known how dangerous they would have leveled many warnings, many warnings. Today I want to tell you the church can be a dangerous place. And those who are most dangerous are those you will often think are most pious.

They will not look like the devil, the old caricature of the devil. And because we tend not to think like this, and because Timothy had to be reminded to think like this, Paul writes realistic words of warning. He sort of sets the stage in the first verse of this chapter, and I want to go there to begin with. He begins by saying, there's something I want you to know. In fact, literally be keep on knowing this. Keep on knowing this. Be aware of this. Realize this.

Stay alert to this. In the last days, which began with the coming of Christ and is only intensifying in these later days before Christ's return, difficult times will come. Let your eyes graze over the word difficult.

I don't want to be pedantic here and dull, but I do want to take time over words to help you see the color in them that you may miss. Kallipas is the word used only here and over in Matthew 828. Kallipas is an interesting word. It means harsh, hard to deal with.

In fact, when you look at Matthew 28, Matthew 828, you'll see it refers to two men who have demons, and they're described as Kallipas. And it's translated exceedingly violent. It helps me sometime to read those words into this text. Timothy, and my brothers and sisters living in the 21st century, realize this. Exceedingly violent times are upon us. Believe that.

Be aware of that. Because all seems peaceful and in no way means all is peaceful. Because you cannot witness the presence of the invisible evil forces in no way means they're not present. When you enter into the Christian life, you enter into a battleground, not a playground. Some of you have come from churches where you were intimidated and abused, and you are a victim of toxic religion, and you need time to heal.

That's why we don't just instantly put you to work when you come to Stonebriar. Some of you need simply to be quiet, to listen, to grow and learn and heal, to get beyond the lacerations, the manipulations, the intimidation of a dictatorial pastor, perhaps, or a body of people that would captivate you and not let you think, and not encourage you to learn and grow, give you room to fail. We've come upon difficult, harsh, hard to deal with, exceedingly violent times. Now the responsible thing is for this man who is experienced and aging, close to death, to give warnings to one who will carry on when he's gone. And the answer is not to lie low and wait till the evil passes. This isn't Cinderella.

This isn't the Wizard of Oz. This is real life living, folks. If it was hard in Paul's day, how much more intense it is today. I have witnessed in these later years harsh and violent things that I never saw early in my ministry, and I was never that much aware of them if they were there. I am ever aware of them now. And Paul is aware of them, far more important than mine are Paul's words. And I love Eugene Peterson's rendering of this section of scripture.

Listen to it. Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money hungry, self-promoting, stuck up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags. It's my favorite line in the whole group. Bloated windbags addicted to lust and allergic to God.

They'll make a show of religion but behind the scenes, they are animals. Stay clear of these people. I'd call that a strong warning. I want nothing that I say today to take away from the impact of these words. And so we work our way through 19 vices.

I'll do my best to keep it interesting, but you must do your best to concentrate. It all starts with self-lovers. Self-lovers.

First thing listed. This is a self-love that is overwhelming and compulsive and tyrannical. We have the discipline of psychology to thank for the introduction of the word narcissism. This is the narcissistic individual at her or his worst. This is a self-lover who is, of course, a money lover. And along with that, verse 4, a pleasure lover.

But tragically, end of verse 4, not a God lover. Self-lover leads to money lover. It's the picture of greed. The things money will buy. Materialism to the max, we would say today. This is an individual who is caught up in the bumper sticker, he who dies with the most toys wins.

Every time I see that, I go, how stupid can you get? He who dies with the most toys dies most disillusioned. These individuals love the things that money can get.

And as he unfolds, he goes to the very first that you would expect. These individuals are boastful. It's the word for braggart. They bluster their way through people unconcerned that anyone might notice that it's pride on display.

That's what they do. What they are is arrogant. See the next word?

Arrogant. This wants you to think of it as not really as bad as it is, but it's just raw conceit. Then the next term could be rendered abusive.

It isn't long before you get there when you spend enough time with a self-lover who is a money lover, boastful, arrogant, there's abuse there. As they work their way out, these terms become uglier the deeper you dig. Now the next five words, let me pause here and just give you a little quick lesson that might help. The next five words, if you were to read it as Paul originally wrote it, begin with the letter A, alpha. It's called the alpha privative. And when a letter in Greek, when a word in Greek begins with that letter A, it negates the action of what follows. We have the prefix un-u-n. Holy is changed completely when we add unholy. Godly means the opposite when we say ungodly.

Greek would say a-godly, a-holy. These next five words begin with that letter A, so the opposite of what would normally be there is emphasized. And each, I think, falls into a family kind of context. The first circle to be impacted by the self-lover who becomes a money lover, boastful and arrogant is the family. The first to be impacted is the family.

And would you notice these abusive individuals are disobedient to parents. There's the word. We have the word obedient. When you add dis, you go to the opposite side.

It's the flip side of it. Our world is an insolent and disrespectful world. Now pause and say a word for parents. First of all, all of us who are parents would be the first to say we are fallen people.

So give us a break. We have made bad mistakes. Good parents, when they find out bad mistakes they've made, make it right. They do whatever they can to make it right. You can never fully recover all of the harm you've caused, but you can do your best to say what needs to be said.

I was wrong when. I am sorry for. When you respect your parents, you forgive them.

I'll get to that in a moment. Disobedient to parents suggests the idea of surly and insolent. I've never known a time in my years on this earth when I've seen more disrespect for parents than now. It's sometimes shocking. Please, as a believer in Jesus Christ, learn to honor those who birthed you and reared you.

Warts and all. They're your parents. Disobedient to parents is followed by ungrateful. Just one of those words, ungrateful. This would mean devoid of even elementary appreciation, failure to see the value of another's sacrifice and what they owe them.

This individual wants what he or she wants now. If you doubt that, show up at the time when the will of the deceased is read and the siblings have a chance to juggle what's available. Call me if you ever find sisters and brothers.

I can't think of the word now. Siblings, that's it. Siblings. When you find siblings saying, oh, I want you to have my part. I don't deserve it. I want you to have my part.

I don't expect a call anytime soon. They fight over the last dime. They want it exactly equal. It's called a spirit of entitlement and it doesn't wait until the parents have died. How great it is to come across individuals who have been great in life but they realize they have their parents to thank for much of it. Marian Anderson was one of those individuals. She had a magnificent contralto voice that gave her ultimately worldwide acclaim and fame, but she never forgot her roots. On one occasion, a reporter interviewed Marian Anderson and asked her to name the greatest moment in her life.

Those who were also in the room hearing the question wondered which one she would choose. She had a difficult pulse. Like tonight, Arturo Toscanini said publicly, a voice like hers comes once in the century. Or there was that time back in 1955 when she became the first African American to sing with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York. Or she could have named the time that following year when her autobiography, My Lord, What a Morning, made the New York Times bestseller list. Or when she was selected by our president to be a delegate to the United Nations in 1958. Before all of that, she had been invited to the White House to sing for the president and the Queen of England and her royal husband. In 1963, she was awarded the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom. And she would never forget the day she stood in the shadow of the Lincoln statue, sang before 75,000 Washington, D.C. in front of cabinet members and all of the Supreme Court justices and most of the members of Congress.

But she named none of the above. Her answer was, after she smiled and looked at the reporter, the greatest moment of my life came when I could go back home and tell my mama she wouldn't have to take in washing anymore. How great is that? I don't care how high you rise in life, how significant and all-important you may begin to believe you are or however much you make. Isaiah puts it this way in chapter 51, remember the hole from which you were dug.

Isn't that good? Remember the pit from which you came. Every once in a while it's good to go back to the pit and just walk around the old homestead. It's amazing what happens when you do that. I had to go back to El Campo, Texas. I'm not going to go any further with that. I'm going to leave it right where it is.

Wherever your place is, every once in a while, just drift back. And remember those who sacrificed for you so you can become who you are now. Those who know you and probably love you more than anyone ever has on this earth. Ungrateful, followed by unholy. It's a term that describes those who fail to possess even the basic decencies of life. To the Jew that would be not burying the dead, it would be called an act of anosios, which is the Greek word. It was anosios for a brother to marry a sister, for a son to marry his mother.

Doing that is unnatural, inhuman. That's the word translated here unholy. Unloving is lacking the basic affection for one's siblings, parents and children.

And then this fifth one in the list of the familial terms is irreconcilable, rendered in some versions as implacable. It's the idea of being unforgiving. It's a good time for me to pause and ask you directly, is there anyone you need to forgive?

Because I don't know, I can ask all of you the same question. If there is, don't go to your grave with that grudge. If someone has asked you, please forgive them, be big enough to accept the grace of their confession. But these individuals are implacable. There is no place in their life for a covenant of agreement.

There's no negotiable middle ground. We're in a passage in 2 Timothy where the author Paul exposes a number of character flaws that often show up in our churches. And there's much more that Chuck Swindoll wants to say on this topic. You're listening to Insight for Living, and this nine-part series is called The Church Awakening. To learn more about Chuck Swindoll and this ministry, visit us online at To dig deeper on your own and to take notes along the way, remember you can access the online resource called Searching the Scriptures. This is a free Bible study tool, and we encourage you to interact with Chuck's sermon notes online or to print out the PDF and share it with friends. This series on The Church Awakening is perfectly suited for small group discussions with your friends at church as well.

It's free when you go to slash studies. Then, as the international news continues to focus 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. To give your donation today, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. One more 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. Thousands are taking advantage of these daily inspirations that come from some of Chuck's best writing, and you can too. The email devotional is free. To sign up, go to slash devotional. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his wake-up call to the church, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, What Must the Church Realize?, was copyrighted in 2008 and 2010, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 09:06:28 / 2023-04-23 09:15:10 / 9

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