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August 16, 2022 7:05 am
As we try to wrap our minds around the growing turmoil world, it's tempting to think where the first generation to face such chaos, but is King Solomon said long ago. There's nothing new under the sun.
So then how do we remain calm when our world is falling apart.
Today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll continues his teaching series called flying closer to the flame. The answer Chuck says is found in the third person of the Trinity.
He titled this next message in the series. The main agenda of God spirit transformation you put yourself in the place of the original disciples of Christ were not careful.
I fear that most of us would think of them as is sort of pious looking monks much like the statues that now grace the great cathedrals and churches around the world of whether it is St. Peter or St. John or St. Matthew or St. Thomas. Most of these images in our minds are our images of rather holy and and on on moving that is unmovable, venerated Saints of God when I was a little boy are of during the second world war. My father works seven days a week. We didn't have a car out when Sunday rolled around, and so we chose a church just down the end of the street where we lived, and it happened to have been St. Andrews Methodist Church and in the East Houston and I remember as a as a lead standing in front of a marble statue of what represented St. Andrew and I just to ice to stare at that statue and study the lines in that face and I remember thinking how could anybody that sacred be. That said, or could he have ever been real.
In fact, I didn't know until I was. I was almost groaned that St. Andrew represented one of the original one of the original disciples.
Now, with all due respect for these fine men of God. Those mental pictures we have of them are a far cry from who they were originally.
In fact, I am now convinced that if it had not been for the intimate spirit of God, they would have left no impact whatsoever on this earth, they would have passed into oblivion as the many multitudes whose names we will never know passed into oblivion from the first century. These were mere men who ate that last meal with Jesus. Even though they had spent 3 1/2 years in the finest of training from the best of all teachers. Jesus himself. I don't say that as a put down on the contrary, I am trying to build and I think you will see from the Scriptures in our study today. I'm trying to build a case for accuracy and the biblical portraits that are painted for us regarding the original apostles before the work of the Holy Spirit within them as he transformed them the original apostles were really not that impressive. Just as we are not apart from the work of the Spirit of God. Now let me show you why I say that open your new Testaments to John chapter 14 and when you do you know you have arrived at the Last Supper seen in fact it begins in John 13 and it goes through. John 16 so we are right in the heart of the Last Supper or what is commonly called the upper room discourse. Jesus has been reclining with his men at the table.
Judas has been dismissed into the night to carry out his awful deed and while he is meeting with the with the Pharisees and scribes and making their plans for that mob arrest in the garden, Jesus is alone in this second story room with his 11 faithful, and he is on the verge of unveiling to them. The, the details of life as it will be lived following his departure, and they are not ready for that now were familiar with what Jesus endured, but most are not familiar with that with the true emotional feelings of these 11 men who are about to face the most awful hours of their lives as all of their dreams were shattered in all of their hopes are dashed, and they run for their lives. In fact, one of the Gospels rights gospel writers states they all forsook him and fled. In fact, not only did one betray him. The spokesman of the group denied even knowing him to give you an idea of what they were like now who were these men when he says in verse one of the of chapter 85 verse 36 chapter 13 Simon Peter says to him, Lord, where are you going Jesus answered where I go you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow later. Not remember we had centuries to think through that in the history of the church.
Peter's hearing it for the first time and he's confused and any says Lord, why can I not calling you right now I will lay down my life for you and we applaud Peter for that that statement of loyalty he meant that he really believed that many people would you say that to I will I will follow you wherever you go. I laid on my life for you.
This is a this is a trusted friend. Jesus puts it in perspective when he asked when you lay down your life for me. The caulk shall not accrue until you denied me three times. Mr. Payne, Peter, who were these men well Robert Coleman, in his fine little work. The master plan of evangelism does a pretty good job with the pen portrait of these of these disciples. What is more revealing about these men is that at first, they do not impress us as being key men none of them occupied prominent places in the synagogue, nor did any of them belong to the Levitical priesthood. For the most part they were common laboring men probably having no professional training beyond the rudiments of knowledge necessary for their vocation.
Perhaps a few of them came from families of some considerable means such as the sons of Zebedee, but none of them could have been considered wealthy. They had no academic degrees in the arts and philosophies of their day like their master, their formal education likely consisted only of the synagogue schools most of them were raised in the poor section of the country around Galilee. Apparently the only one of the 12 who came from the more refined region of Judea was Judas Iscariot by any standard of sophisticated culture rights. Coleman by any standard of sophisticated culture then and now they would surely be considered as a rather ragged aggregation of souls. One might wonder how Jesus could ever use them. They were impulsive, temperamental, easily offended and had all the prejudices of their environment.
In short, these men selected the Lord to be his assistance represented an average cross-section of the lot of society in their day.
Not the kind of group one would expect to win the world for Christ. You might sense.
That's pretty, that's a pretty raw statement regarding the, the apostles, that's I'm not sure I agree with that will let me help you see how they felt and maybe that will help you know what kind of men they were. Remember, now they been traveling 3 1/2 years they've been hearing and teach watching him heal. They been witnessing miracle after miracle they slept with him, touched him, eaten with him. They know him better than anybody on earth knows him.
That is, they know Jesus but when it came to the final deadline. These are only hours. This moment is only hours before he is nailed to a cross by the next morning he will be on the cross, you will see that they really were not strong within.
In fact, look at the first verse of chapter 14 you want to make a list of how they felt right down the word troubled. Let not your heart be troubled to believe in God believe also in me.
If he if he had not seen that they were troubled, he would not have mentioned it, they were troubled, anxious men, they were uneasy. The more they were listening to him at this last meal, the more they realized he meant what he said he had told him about it earlier. Now the bills are coming due now they know it's for real in their trouble. Second there, confused look at verse five Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way we love verse six I am the way the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father but through me. We don't think about verse five verse six is an answer to verse five, Thomas says Lord I'm at a loss to figure this out. I'm confused look at 16 verses 16 and 17 talk about confusion.
Jesus is saying to his men same discourse 1616. A little while, and you will no longer be hold me and again a little while, and you will see me that you and I know that he's talking about.
First his death and then is talking about his resurrection a little while I'll be gone to great in a little while I'll be back from the dead, you will see me but look at the disciples were 17 or confused some of his disciples said to one another.
What is this thing he's telling us a little while, and you will not be home in again a little while, and you will see me and because I go to the father is all about cousins all fit together and only troubled their confused a verse 18 of chapter 14 they feel abandoned as 1/3 word to write down their abandoned and so he says to them in verse 18 I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you that a descriptive way to put it. You may be young and an orphan. You may know what it feels like to not have father or mother and you.
You may still remember those early early years of your life when when along came this couple that said as they looked into your little cherub like face and said we want you and you felt for the first time owned or or our loved and you felt you belong these men feel the opposite.
They feel like they have given themselves, throw themselves in with him and now he's leaving them and he says to them I'm not going to leave you orphan.
Though they feel that right now.
Furthermore, their fearful verse 27 peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful there afraid what to do when he is in here what's the morning to be like when we wake up and he's not around how we go along when he is not the one who can do these miracles.
What will be our our MO with these when he's out of sight and were left all to ourselves. Their fearful look at 18 of the of John the buffering discourses over the the great prayer of our Lord has been uttered to the father and now of the moment of truth comes, it's a terrible see when Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden into which he himself entered and his disciples not Judas who was betraying him knew the place for Jesus had often met there with his disciples using Judas, not having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priest of the screw and the Pharisees came with lanterns and torches and weapons is a chaotic scene. It is for a very frightening moment and Jesus walks up to these who were coming after him, he says. Whom do you see the answer Jesus the Nazarene, and he said to them, I am he, Judas, who was betraying him was standing with him and he said to them, I am he. They drew back and and and fell to the ground again. He asked if you seek they said, Jesus the Nazarene edges. I told you that I'm here. If therefore you seek me, let let these go their way. Let these 11 friends of mine be on their way.
You don't want them you want me that the word might be fulfilled which is, of which he spoke of whom those of those who love us given me. I lost not one Simon Peter.
Therefore, look at this.
Having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest slave and cut off his right ear slave's name was Malcolm is an interesting little moment is to just see Peter charge around here and so he comes down on this soldier.
What you don't know is that the Roman helmet was shakes of the ears were not that protected he was trying to split his skull into any comes down its comes off the helmet just takes off any year's school there and it's off. And Jesus said to Peter. Look at verse 11.
I love this put the sword in the sheath, Peter. The cup which the father is given me. Shall I not drink what I want to point out is that these men were very human.
Peter is the one who said I will die for you.
I lay down my life for you. 1337 and he proves it right here while you go after Roman soldier your history. Peter doesn't care and in a very human moment of defense of his Lord. He cuts off that ear, that slave of that soldier very human response. Verse 17 this is the same one now who just said I'll die for you and is pull the sword and cut off the ear of the soldier not look at it. Verse 16 Peter was standing at the door outside. The other disciple, who was known as a high priest. When I spoke to the doorkeeper and brought in Peter and the slave girl who kept the door said to Peter, you are not also one of this man's disciples, are you and he said he, not me. Verse 25. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him you are not also one of his disciples, are you he denied it and said I am not one of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, what goes around comes around said did I not see you in the garden with him.
Then she got off Bubba's ear. I remember seeing you out there you had a sword you wanted that sort out there that that last night. You look awful familiar Peter denied it again and immediately a Cochrane accrued vacillating shifting very weak, very human. Chapter 20 verse 19 were still building a case on how these men really were what you get it very clear as you can appreciate the transforming power of the Holy Spirit verse 19 chapter 20. This is okay. Get it now after the crucifixion. This is after the resurrection they are. They are scared because they are convinced that the officials will say one of the disciples stole his body.
In fact, that's the word that was traveling around and so they get alone in a room and they lock the door so nobody can find them.
This is a scene that seldom mentioned because we don't like to think of these up up disciples in in such are and intimidated moment, but they were 2019 away and therefore it was evening on that day. That is the day of resurrection first day of the week, the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Remember, intimidated, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, peace be with you.
He passes through the locked door is pulled molecular structure of his body is changed.
He is in a glorified state. Having been raised from the dead. No longer is limited by matter. He is able to move quickly from one place to another without friction, without the limitations, but he meets with men who are intimidated as well as unsure. Verse 24. Thomas, one of the 12 called the twin was not with them when Jesus came in the other disciples were saying to him. We seen the Lord and he said unless I shall see in his hands. The imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side. I will not believe what kind of men were the they were intimidated.
They were unsure they were lacking in understanding one more if you will ask one verse four through verse six.
Time has passed. It is time for him to ascend to the father.
The last few minutes. He spends with his with his close friends. These very human individuals gathering them together ask one for he commanded them not to Judy not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the father had promised which he said you have heard from me, meaning what the coming of the Holy Spirit you wait. You wait in the city of Jerusalem God to keep his word. John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking and saying, Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the king of Israel, they still can't get it straight. They lack understanding I would say these things to be unfair or or to be needlessly critical.
I say them so that you can get a an accurate picture in your mind. And I say them because those same characteristics are ours. How many people listening right now to my voice or troubled or confused or feeling abandoned, fearful, very human, vacillating between loyalty and lying between devotion and denial. How many of us feel intimidated, unsure, lacking in understanding these are these are all characteristics of human nature and all of this.
Don't forget, was a part of their experience before the spirit of God visited them and change their lives. Now when he came he brought a dynamic that transformed verse eight he told him it is not for them to know the times or the epics which the father has fixed by his authority. Verse seven but you shall receive power, there's that word we've looked at earlier. Do not miss DU in a MIS dynamic, you will receive a transforming dynamic when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses.
One of my friends in the in the years past preyed on one occasion and made a statement in his prayer that I will never forget. He said the Lord will me never to forget what it was like outside of Christ think it's a very insightful prayer. I believe the disciples must have thought after the fact. Lord help us to never forget what we were like before you transformed us because they were changed. Chuck's window always just getting started in this message.
He's talking about the main agenda of God spirit and the main agenda. Of course, is transformation at Insight for living. We make it our mission to walk alongside you in your transformational process.
Make no mistake, the spirit of God is the one who transforms us, but we take great delight in equipping you with resources that will guide you.
For instance, every message in the study of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by online study notes.
We call this free resource searching the Scriptures. It's an interactive document that allows you to keep personal notes online or you can print out the PDF so you can keep a permanent record of your progress. All the details firstname.lastname@example.org/studies. In addition to the study notes. Chuck is written a book about the third person of the Trinity. It's called embraced by the spirit. Let's face it, most of us are intrigued by the Holy Spirit, but we might hold back because were afraid of getting this relationship wrong or being misunderstood by family and friends will in his book Chuck steps away from the theological battle in order to help us enjoy the one that God said is our companion to purchase a copy. Call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or visit us email@example.com/store and look for the book entitled embraced by the spirit of this daily program relies on the generosity of supportive friends like you. So thanks so much for doing your part in helping others engage with the Bible, just as you did. The very first time you heard Insight for living to give a donation with one of our friendly ministry reps on the phone. Call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 and for online giving, you can simply go to insight.org taken from Chuck's window.
There is nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier wide open sky pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingle with the towering pine tree all manner while Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation have been to a lot of places and seen a lot of but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
God is awesome. Come with us on the inside for living ministries cruise to Alaska July 1 through July 8, 2023. When I'm me, created by God, let yourself get lost in the majestic 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/events or call this number 1-880-447-0444. The tort of Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I Bill Meyer inviting you to join us. When Chuck Swindoll continues his study called flying closer to the flame tomorrow on Insight for living. The preceding message.
The main agenda of God spirit transformation was copyrighted in 1990 to 1993 and 2003 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2003 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide.
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