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How Should the Church React?, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2022 7:05 am

How Should the Church React?, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 10, 2022 7:05 am

The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal

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Think about the place where you worship. Is it a church where God's Word is openly taught with boldness and without apology?

If it is, you should be very grateful. In so many houses of worship today, leaders have begun to rely solely on creative communication techniques, marginalizing the Bible as an accent rather than a focus. Our study continues his series called The Church Awakening, sounding a wake-up call to the contemporary church.

Our study is focused on 2 Timothy chapter 3, and we begin with prayer. We can do nothing without your Son, Christ. We acknowledge that. We've tried and failed, only to try again and fail again. And we're learning little by little that it's true without Him. We can do nothing of eternal significance.

We can do nothing of lasting importance. And those without Christ, bring them, Father, to your Son. We're dependent on you to do that, and we trust you to do that, even during this time. For we pray and we give in the name of Jesus.

Everyone said, Amen. And now let's continue Chuck Swindoll's message titled, How Should the Church React? We need warnings regularly, men and women. We need warnings about our culture and about our times and about the church in general. We need warnings. We need to be aware. But I need to say a couple of things to begin with here. First of all, hearing of danger is important, but it's incomplete.

What's missing? What's missing is the right response. Responding to warnings is each person's responsibility. You need quietness and solitude and time alone with God and a development of your walk so that whatever happens, you can stand on your own. And so for this reason, I've asked the question, what must the church realize?

Last time we were together, I want to go to the other side and answer, how should the church react? And remember, difficult times have come. And that brings us to our first of four guidelines.

Verse 13, evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. First guideline, stay realistic in the appraisal of your world. One of the greatest things you can do is just remain realistic. Don't drift. Don't pull the covers up over your head thinking by tomorrow morning things will be better. Stay realistic in the appraisal of your world, evil men. And the next word is impostors.

An imposter is one who veers from correct instruction in order to lead others into error. Now Paul exhorts Timothy to fall back on their own long-standing bond together. He says, remember your roots as well.

See the next verse? And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which were able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. Paul says to Timothy, continue in the things you learned and became convinced of. Be convinced of the long-standing truths that you've been taught. It'll help you when all hell breaks loose in your life. It'll help you when you get the report from the doctor and your eyes filled with tears.

This will help you. This will hold you close to him. This will deepen you.

Faith becomes refracted through the personal experience you've had with those people in your life. It meant something to you. John Stott writes this, to be sure the church of every generation must seek to translate the faith into the contemporary idiom, to relate the unchanging word to a changing world. But a translation is a rendering of the same message into another language.

It is not a fresh composition, yet this is what some modern radicals are doing. Setting forth concepts of God and of Christ, which Jesus and his apostles would not have recognized as their own. The apostles themselves constantly warned their readers of newfangled ideas and called them back to the original apostolic message. Here Paul enjoins Timothy to abide in what he has learned.

And I do the same with you. Don't question it because it's long-standing. Don't see it as out of date because it goes back to your childhood. Truth then is truth now. Reliable information is reliable information that's timeless.

Which brings us to our third in the four guidelines. Stand firm on the inspired word of God. Verse 16.

We've 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 ears 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 as scripture states, it is inspired of God. Learn a little information that might seem over your head, but it isn't at all.

It may sound strange, but you'll get it quickly. Theopneustos is the word translated inspired of God. Theos is the word for God.

Pneustos is the word for spirit or breath. God hyphen breathed. The scriptures are the God-breathed 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 by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

Let me 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 and mind of God.

The third is illumination. Revelation has ceased. Inspiration has ceased, but illumination goes on.

It's happening right now. You are learning things that you did not know 30 minutes ago, perhaps. You are discovering things from the scriptures that are sort of enlightening you or opening your eyes to them. It's called the doctrine of illumination. God has 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 illumines us. It guides us. It gives us direction. When I'm not sure where to go, I seek the scriptures and I go to prayer.

I ask the Lord for guidance and I ask him to use some part of his word I may have learned or I may now read and open 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. Now notice the second statement right here in verse 16. All scripture is profitable.

See the word? All scripture is inspired by God and all scripture is profitable. The same source I quoted earlier tells us that this term profitable could mean to be successful in accomplishing its objective. God's word is as successful in accomplishing its objective. And what is that? It's right here in the text.

Profitable for teaching. That's the word for doctrine. Giving you information to believe. This is the foundation of our faith. The Bible gives us that information. For reproof.

That word means to find fault. So the Bible gives us a discerning ability. It's able to discern truth from error. We're able to reject this and accept that because scripture is profitable, enabling us to do that. And notice also, this is our fourth of the four guidelines, that the marvelous way we were able to take in the scriptures, we allow the scriptures to impact our daily lives. We are not simply reading the Bible for what it says. We are allowing the truth to fulfill its purpose in our lives. And that's the end of verse 16 into verse 17. For correction, it means to set straight.

I love the living translation. It straightens us out. Isn't that a good way to put it? When I read the Bible, I get straightened out.

I wasn't thinking correctly. The Bible states it this way. I adjust my thinking to the way it fits scripture rather than the other way around. And for training in righteousness. When we are saved, we are declared righteous by God. And as we begin to grow, the righteousness develops within us a righteous life and we become mature believers. And that's part of the profitable work of the Holy Spirit.

It takes training. We get our word pedagogy from the term training in righteousness. When we're young in the faith, we're just babies. We have to learn skills and good spiritual manners.

And what is and is not appropriate, how to relate, how to forgive, the importance of accepting others and extending grace and showing mercy, being compassionate, being people of prayer, those who share our faith. All of that comes from the script. Can you see the value?

Can you see how subtle it is that individuals would want to question the scriptures? That's like questioning the inch. That takes 12 of them to make a foot. But let's say I'm going to build your house and I'm going to tell you actually for me an inch is four of those.

So a foot looks like this. But your house is going to be great. It's going to be a little larger than we planned on. But when I get to that part, I'm going to make the inch a half an inch because I want to fit it to where I like it.

And so that's going to be smaller. You go, wait, don't build my house. Don't. Leave the inch alone. It takes 12 to make a foot. But it takes three of those to make a yard. Let's stay with that. Why? Because it's the standard.

If you fuss around and change the standard, you got a weird result, something you're not going to live in. The word of God is our standard and our guide, and it gives us enough training to equip us to be adequate and ready for every good work. A couple of practical things, if I can say so here at the end. Number one, without the Bible, you and I would never find our way. Without the Bible, without the Spirit of God using his word, we would be hopelessly lost.

Let me give you an illustration. Let's say you and I are exploring the jungles. And we get into a deep, dense area of the jungle, so deep it's almost dark. And we have lost our way. If our life depended on it, we couldn't tell you where north is or west.

There's no river to follow. We are hopelessly lost. In the middle of our situation, we hear footsteps.

That's fun. But what's good is you hear your name being called. Someone is looking for you and for me. And they walk out of the forest and there they stand and they say, I'm so glad we found you. I want to help you out of here.

How can you get out? You know your way? Actually, I've got a map and I've got a compass, so we'll make it.

I don't think anybody hearing me right now would say, oh, no, thanks. That map's old. Good night. Who can trust that map?

Look how wrinkled and torn it is. And compass, that may not be north. I think I'll stay on my own. You're stupid if you do that. You're also going to die in the jungle.

You're not going to get out. The Bible is God's map and the Holy Spirit is his GPS. Maybe that's the way to put it. So everybody will get it. And it works.

GPSs are terrific things. They even talk to you. I expect them to say sometime, you dummy. I've told you four times not to go that far. But they say recalculating. That's what they tell you.

Isn't that nice? Every once in a while, the Lord does that to you, doesn't he? I'm trying to get your attention here. I'm trying to turn your direction to the place that you ought to go. You'll never get lost if you've got a map and you've got a compass. The word of God with the Holy Spirit, you'll find your way out. Second, with the Bible, you really won't ever lose your way. The better you get to know the scriptures, the closer you get to know the Lord of the scriptures, the more intimate you are in that relationship. Those aren't just words.

Those are carefully chosen terms. The better you'll know your way through life. And let me warn you, the more in the minority you'll become. Chances are good you'll feel lonely at times when others around you aren't lonely. Chances are very good that you'll experience attacks from the enemy that others aren't experiencing.

This is not paranoia. This is truth. There are times you will know the enemy is working against you because you're following what is the principle from the scriptures. And you know that to be true.

But others around you don't want that. So let me urge you to value God's Word and to learn all of it, to see it as all of it equally important, equally inspired. By that I mean, if you carry a red letter edition, that part isn't more inspired than the black print. Some of you laugh at that, but there are people who think that.

You know, that's the red section, so that's more important. No, those are just the words of Jesus, but they're no more inspired than the words of the prophet or the Psalms or Genesis. Kent Hughes tells a great story in his book To Guard the Deposit. Dr. William Evans pastored the college church in Wheaton, Illinois, 1906 to 1909, and was an accomplished, unusually accomplished man. He had the entire King James Version of the Bible memorized, as well as the New Testament of the American Standard Version. Dr. Evans also authored over 50 books. His son, Louis Evans, became one of the best known preachers in America, and for many years pastored the eminent First Presbyterian Church, Hollywood, California.

When Dr. William Evans retired, he moved to Hollywood to be near his son, and when Louis would be away, he would substitute for him in the pulpit. One unforgettable Sunday, Dr. William, as he was affectionately called, spoke on the virgin birth. All were amazed when he raised his Bible and tore the pages out that narrate the birth of the Lord. As the tattered scraps floated down toward the congregation, he shouted, If we can't believe in the virgin birth, let's tear it out of the Bible. And then as he drove home his point, he tore out the resurrection chapters, one by one, then the miracle at narratives, and then anything conveying the supernatural.

The floor was literally littered with mutilated pages, finally with immense drama. He held up the only remaining portion and said, And this is all we have left, the Sermon on the Mount. And that has no authority for me if a divine Christ didn't preach it. After a few more words, he asked his listeners to bow for the benediction.

But before he could pray, a man in the vast and sedate congregation stood up and cried, No, no. Go on. We want more. Several others joined in, so Dr. Evans preached another 50 minutes.

Love guys like that. Dr. Evans was right, says Kent Hughes. You cannot pick and choose from the Bible what you want to believe is inspired. The Bible does not present itself that way even more. The Bible will have no sustaining power for life if you make yourself the arbiter of what you will and will not believe about it.

Let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen. This is the most magnificent, most magnificent book on the planet, most valuable source of information in the world. You need it to survive. And you need a church that teaches it, speaks on its behalf and holds you accountable to the truths within it. Otherwise, we're playing religious games and we're back to nonsense like this. And what he represents will shout for joy. He'll be delighted because he knows when you do that, you'll go to hell. Let's bow our heads together.

Just sit there quietly for a moment. I want to talk with you about what you've heard. You've heard about the Bible. You've even heard the name of Christ. You've heard the statement about salvation related to Christ. Explained to you during our time of offering was the clear statement that giving something to God does not in any way ingratiate you to him. You don't win his favor because you drop a five dollar bill on the plate or a twenty dollar bill or a million dollar check. That's only confusing. You know God through faith in Jesus, and that's a decision you have to make on your own in the quietness of your own life.

If you've never done that, that explains why life isn't working for you. Now, believing in Jesus won't suddenly take away all the struggles or make all the bad stuff go away. But you'll have a map and you'll have a compass. So today I invite you who've never trusted in Jesus to take him as your savior now. Now, if we can help you, our prayer room is open to all who seek information and direction and assistance. That's why the ministry goes on to help people find their way.

We can help you connect with us. Now, Lord, thank you for truth to live by. Erase from our minds anything that might be any in any way misleading and direct us to those areas that need attention. And may we find greater delight in pleasing you and serving you and following your directions than we do in any other relationship. And begin with me, Lord. I ask you to begin in my own heart.

Show me again the value of time spent in your word. Hold me accountable, Lord, to be a good, faithful, accurate spokesman for you. And may that flow out into others lives so that they become that for other people, just as people have been that for me. We worship you.

We love you. And now I want to him who is able to guard you from stumbling and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy. To the only wise God, our savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power now and forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

And all God's people said, Amen. Originally delivered to the congregation that Chuck Swindoll serves as senior pastor, you're listening to a message titled How Should the Church React? It's message number seven in the nine part series called The Church Awakening.

This is insight for living. To learn more about Chuck Swindoll and this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. And if you're serious about applying these principles to your life and if you're inspired to find a church that exercises these biblical values, then we highly recommend reading Chuck's book called The Church Awakening. It's painful when local churches prioritize entertainment, teach feel good theology or cave to political and cultural pressures.

God never designed the church to do such things. And Chuck's book addresses these issues head on while offering help in finding the right church for your family to purchase a copy of Chuck's book called The Church Awakening. Go to insight.org slash offer or call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. You often hear us say that insight for living relies on your personal support to make these daily programs, not only on your local radio station, but on a variety of channels that make learning more about the Bible easily accessed by people everywhere. For instance, did you know that Chuck provides a daily devotional? It's sent to your inbox each morning to help you start your day with God. The email devotional is free when you sign up at insight.org slash devotional. And because people around the world own personal smartphones, we filled our mobile app with free resources as well.

We provide these resources because it's our goal, our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world. And if it's been a while since you've responded to the need or you've never stepped forward with a contribution, we invite you to do that today. To give a donation today, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or give online at insight.org slash donate. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the insight for living ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun. And without a doubt, the stunning views took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska.

In fact, I guarantee this. You'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for his majestic creation. Yeah, at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins.

They were playing and spinning in the waves. It was amazing. You'll have plenty of time for adventures on shore, lingering conversations around mealtime and strolling through the idyllic ports of call. You'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day.

Laughing, singing and celebrating our God. Plan to come with us, won't you? The dates are July 1st through July 8th, 2023. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444 or visit insight.org slash events.

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 helps us identify the danger signs for any church that's tempted to drift away. Tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message, How Should the Church React?, 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 / 2023-04-21 14:55:31 / 2023-04-21 15:04:41 / 9

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