It was the Apostle Paul who sounded the alarm centuries ago with this statement, but realized this, that in the last days, difficult times will come. And then he outlined an alarming list of character flaws that are common among spiritual charlatans. It's a timely message for anyone who knows and loves the Church.
Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues his series called The Church Awakening. And during the next half hour, we'll hear the second half of a message introduced yesterday that's titled with the question, what must the Church realize? And we begin with prayer. These are hard and harsh days in which we live.
It's easy to lose heart, our Father. Rather, we would turn our thoughts in your direction and ask you to speak to us and minister to us in ways that no other human being can. Meet the deepest needs that cannot even be put into words.
It may be a need for healing, a need to find rest and refreshment and reassurance, a place to recover from toxic religion, a place to rediscover who you are and what you're about. Give us a sense of comfort in silence and solitude. Remind us we have this freedom because there are those in uniform who fight the fight in hard places. Watch over them, Lord. Guide our country. Give courage to those who give counsel.
May they speak truth in the ears of high-profile people. May their warnings and words be heeded and heard and followed. Thank you for your Word that brings light to darkened areas of our minds and provides a path in the morass of a culture that's lost its way. Thank you, Father, for loving us just as we are.
And we have learned from that to love you in return. In the Savior's name we give and we pray. Ever once said, amen. You're listening to Insight for Living.
For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to insight.org. And now the message Chuck titled with a question, What Must the Church Realize? When you enter into the Christian life, you enter into a battleground, not a playground. 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.
Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money hungry. This is a self-love that is overwhelming and compulsive and tyrannical. This is a self-lover who is, of course, a money lover.
And along with that, verse 4, a pleasure lover. These individuals love the things that money can get. These individuals are boastful. What they are is arrogant. See the next word? Arrogant. It's just raw conceit. And 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. 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 primitive. And when a letter in Greek, when a word in Greek begins with that letter A, it negates the action of what follows. 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. And would you notice these abusive individuals are disobedient to parents. Disobedient to parents is followed by ungrateful. This would mean devoid of even elementary appreciation. Failure to see the value of another's sacrifice and what they owe them.
It's called a spirit of entitlement and it doesn't wait until the parents have died. 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. Remember the pit from which you came.
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. Filled 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, and 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. This is 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. The next seven are broader than the family, obviously, and the first one right out of the chute is clearly understood by people in the church. Malicious gossips. You're going to be a little shocked to hear the original term that is translated malicious gossips. Diaboloi. It means devils.
Devils. I think women have gotten a bad rap when it comes to gossip. The old traditional ideas of women are the gossip.
I know more men gossips than I have ever known women gossips. The point is we can all be guilty of it. Giving information we don't have the guts to say in the presence of another person.
Part of the reason is we've exaggerated it. Second is that it's confidential. But if we're the people of character we need to be, we won't say it behind their back.
It makes it malicious to do so. Malicious gossips and he continues without self-control that goes with gossip. Unable to govern or restrain oneself. The next word is a tough term. Brutal.
Now the picture gets darker. This is a savagery which is neither sensitive nor sympathetic. It's a term used for untamed beasts that would attack you. Translated fierce in some renderings.
Ruthless would be a synonym. This past winter I read an interesting book. It was subtitled Psychopaths in the Workplace. The title was Snakes in Suits.
I wasn't boning up for life here with the staff at the church. I can assure you our relationship is magnificent. But I live in a world where there are many snakes looking awfully slick in suits. Watch out for them. Don't marry one of them.
Some of you have and have learned the hard lesson of what it's like to live with someone like that. Snakes in suits. Brutal. Haters of good. This person's ethical and moral palate has lost its taste.
Finds it a turn off even to be around the truly godly individuals. This is a word for cynicism. Everything is viewed with a cynical smear. The next term is treacherous. Used only one other place in the New Testament attached to the name of Judas where he's called a traitor. This is the word for betrayal. There are individuals in the church who will betray you. That's a sign of an individual you want to avoid. Stay away from a person that does that. And the next two go together, reckless and conceited.
We're back where we started. They press right on, hell-bent on carrying out his or her own agenda. Now look at the end of the fourth verse. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Thomas Oden writes this, it is sobering when faith recognizes that persons may be deliberately unholy and still go to church. Covetous and still say morning prayers and still repeat perfectly the Apostles Creed. They may be treacherous, that is betrayers and still remain on the church board. Haters of good and still give lip service to God. This creates a spiritual schizophrenia and children who are raised in that context have a hard time figuring out where truth stops and falsehood starts, especially if the parents defend that kind of lifestyle.
John Stott. Paul is describing those who preserve the outward form of religion but were denying the power of it. They evidently attended the worship services of the church, they sang the hymns, they said the amen to the prayers, they put their money in the offering plate, they looked and sounded egregiously pious but it was form without power. An outward show without inward reality, religion without morals, faith without works. True religion, he adds, combines form and power.
It is not external form without power. It fosters a worship which is essentially spiritual arising from the heart which expresses itself through public corporate services and which also issues in moral behavior otherwise it is not only valueless, it is actually an abomination to the Lord. Folks, this is serious. That's why when you come to the end of this, he says avoid them. Now he's not talking about sinners in the big wide world around us. Jesus himself sat with publicans and sinners.
His problem wasn't with the lost person. His problem was with the religious phony. It's the religious phony that will drive you nuts.
It's the religious phony that takes advantage of his or her position. And that's why they're to be avoided. They will do you no good.
They're scorpions in your sleeping bag. They'll hurt you. Stand against them. Now notice I've not used once in this message the word easy and Timothy being timid would find this awfully hard to obey.
So what now? I mean you get through reading a list like this we all feel like walking out. And who hasn't been guilty of some of these things? The difference is we're concerned that we have been. It bothers us. We have a conscience.
Spirit of God works on us and brings healthy conviction and says in so many ways come to terms with this. And so we say for now hear the warning. Realize it.
Be aware. Just as you would say to your son going off to the military, be aware. Some go in and their lives are changed and they're better for it forever. Others go in and become hopeless alcoholics or drug addicts. Some go to one school and they are ultimately the vibrant presence of Christ on the campus. Others go to the same school and they tube out. Not the school.
It's how they responded to it. Folks we're never going to clean up the culture. But we must be aware of what the culture is about. And it has lost its way.
We don't take our cues from our culture although we live in a world like this. So what do we need? Well for a moment listen.
Just listen. Years ago when the ancient book of first chronicles was written there was a careful accounting of the tribes of the nation. The nation is Israel. By the time the chronicler gets to chapter 12 of this ancient book of records, he lands at verse 32 on a small group of leaders in a tribe. They're called the sons of Issachar. First chronicles 1232 and he tells us two things about the sons of Issachar. One, they knew their times. Two, they knew what Israel should do. One is discernment, the other is decisiveness. One is awareness, the other is responsibility. Only 200 of them.
But they're listed because apparently they made a major impact on their times and on the years to follow. My prayer for Stonebriar Community Church is that we will birth sons and daughters of Issachar. You will understand your times, that your time with God will be so meaningful and deep and at times marked by solitude and silence that he gets through to you and communicates to you his plan, his will, which will become far more eloquent than anything you read or any current event or any newscast. He'll give you discernment to see through all of the garbage of this political climate in which we now find ourselves. And then you will have the courage with decisiveness to act appropriately. No one will need to tell you.
There were only 200 of those sons of Issachar, but they're called the leaders who knew their times and they knew what Israel ought to do. I never do this, but today I'm going to make an exception. This is the most political you will ever hear me. Wake up, please. I'm not going to tell you what that means. You have a brain. You have eyes. You have ears to hear. Don't be caught up in the rhetoric, the pizazz of whoever may be the individual. Think. Understand your times. Ask God for wisdom to see through, to get beyond what is so loud and impressive and then do what's right.
That's it. That's my political counsel for a lifetime. That's the most political you'll get. We're not here to become a precinct.
We never will do that, but I am here to warn you that whether or not it is political, it will impact your life if wrong decisions and wrong people get into power. May God guide us as a people first, as a family next, as a church beyond that, as a country, because our world has lost its way. Serious message, ladies and gentlemen, young men and women. Serious message. Let's bow together.
Just close your eyes, if you don't mind, just for a moment. We determined a long time ago that rather than having people walk down an aisle or stand in front of a church or in some way feel the need to publicly display their decision, that it was our style, it's our approach, to offer an invitation that gives folks an opportunity to come to terms with things when they are in a little quieter context, a little more personal place. We have people who are involved in our soul care ministry. That's what they do.
That's who they are. Carefully trained, well equipped, intelligent, balanced, reasonable believers who will help you find your way. If it's a need to get out of a morass, of a mess you've made of your life, they won't shame you, they won't preach to you. They'll help you. If you're addicted and you can't break the addiction, you're struggling with some massive, massive issue of guilt, they'll care. They'll listen. If it's a spiritual need, such as a need for the Savior, oh my. That's part of the reason they're there.
They have information, they have literature. If you want to take it, you're free to. If you want to leave, you can walk out any time, but that's why they're there. Some of you need that time. It's more important than any lunch or anything in the afternoon or anything this week, for some of you the rest of your life.
Take time. Please come. Grateful our Father for your presence among us and thank you for the reminder today that we sing of the power of God. Thank you for the presence of your people and our many friends who visit who are learning and growing and discovering. Thank you for your grace, meeting us at a time that we weren't necessarily looking for you and helping to turn our attention to things that we hadn't thought about in a long time. I pray that as a result of our time together, we will take seriously your counsel to avoid people who are harming us or would do so and to protect the ministry from the impact they would have on it. Watch over us, Lord, like you would a little baby.
Take care of us in the crib as we learn to walk and later learn to talk. And especially for those today who are troubled, I pray that you would give them the courage to say so and to seek help for those who are empty that they might be filled. I ask this in the name of our Savior, Jesus, whom we love.
Everyone said, Amen. This message from Chuck Swindoll was originally presented to the congregation in Frisco, Texas, where he serves as senior pastor. And the practical instruction from passages like 2 Timothy 3 apply to any church in any part of the world. This is Insight for Living, and we've just completed message number six in a nine-part teaching series called The Church Awakening. To learn more about this nonprofit ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Before we conclude another week of Bible teaching, I'll take a moment to encourage you with a recent note from one of your fellow listeners in Colorado.
It said, I've been lost many times and my life has taken me to places I never would have imagined. But our loving God has always been there for me. And even when I felt all alone, I had the teachings of Insight for Living to help me during some of the toughest moments of my life.
Thank you. Well, moments like these are made possible because loyal friends like you support Insight for Living. And if God is prompting you to give a contribution, give us a call.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Today, we're especially mindful of the millions of people in Ukraine who are suffering. As they do, I'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. As one of our financial partners, your gifts are truly making a difference in this part of the world. And one more thing, remember you can supplement your Sunday morning church attendance by joining us online for the live worship service at Stonebriar Community Church. You'll find all the instructions for viewing Chuck's Sunday morning sermon at insight.org slash Sundays.
I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues his thought provoking series called The Church Awakening on Insight for Living. Take it from Chuck Swindoll, there's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingled within them towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
God is awesome. Come with us on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to Alaska, July 1 through July 8, 2023. When I'm in Alaska, I feel like I'm in an amazing painting created by God. Let yourself get lost in the majestic beauty. Spend quality time with those you love. Allow God to refresh your soul as you reflect on his word and his goodness in your life. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his thought provoking series called The Church Awakening, Monday 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. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 00:39:49 / 2023-04-23 00:48:16 / 8