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Hope Beyond Division: Reasons for Pulling Together, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2023 7:05 am

Hope Beyond Division: Reasons for Pulling Together, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. God so much more enjoyable. When you attend your local church, sometimes you can feel the irresistible love and affection between brothers and sisters in Christ. It's a result of Christians working together in unity. But tragically, sometimes we can attend church and sense a subtle undercurrent of resistance that drives people apart.

So how do we cultivate relationships at church that are compelled by God's love? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will answer this question and more as our study in 1 Peter 1 continues. He titled today's message, Hope Beyond Division. In the letter Peter wrote, the first letter, there is a never to be forgotten command that sort of oozes out of the page of the first chapter and on into the second. It's the command to love one another.

Verse 22, what makes it possible? I find three things at the beginning of this verse. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren. First, there is obedience to the truth. Second, there is purity of soul. Third, there is a lack of hypocrisy.

That's what makes possible pulling together. I want to obey the truth. I don't want to go with my inner urges. I don't want to go according to the counsel of other people who will turn me against someone. I want to obey the truth. So in obedience to the truth and with purity of soul, a down deep purity of motive and for a sincere love of the brethren. If you see the word sincere, look in the margin and trace that it's the word un-hypocritical. So an absence of hypocrisy. You'll be on the team and you'll pull with the team if you get rid of hypocrisy. Pride and pulling together never mix well, never builds a team. A mutual friendship cannot grow in a context of hypocrisy.

What keeps all this strong? See the end of verse 22, fervently love one another. Now you cannot tell from the English, but if you could read this in the original, you see love of the brethren and then later love one another. Love of the brethren and then fervently love one another from the heart.

The first love is a philosophy of love. In fact, love of the brethren is Philadelphia. That's exactly what that word means, love of the brethren. Brother love, a sincere love of brother and sister. But now what keeps it strong? There's a fervent love, agape.

He changes words on us. There's an agape from the heart for one another. That is the kind of love which God says one Christian should have for another. Maybe it's time to pause and take a look inside your heart because that's what he does.

Fervently loving one another from the heart. I find in my life when I am snipey and negative and ugly toward a brother or a sister, I find that my heart's not right. And often in an honest moment of analysis, I discover I am in worse inner condition than he ever could be in his situation.

I lack in my heart his welfare or her welfare. So let me say in conclusion some things about support and I find verses 23 chapter 1 through 3 of chapter 2, I find four very needed reminders. What is it that pulls me with others in the family of God?

Well, let me give you the first one. We are children of the same father. That's verse 23. We are children of the same father. You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable. That is through the living and abiding word of God. In the Christian family when you meet a brother or you meet a sister, you met a family member. We've all been born anew. The second reason we pull together is because we take our instruction from the same source. We take our instruction from the same source.

Do you see what it is? It is through the living and abiding word of God. All flesh is like grass, all its glory like the flower of grass, the grass withers, the flower falls off but the word of the Lord abides forever.

You talk about a reliable source of truth. This is the same book I've been reading from throughout the history of the church. This wonderful book was chained to a pulpit in the dark ages.

It was in Latin which was the language of the clergy but now it has been freed for all of us to read. We all read the same book. We get our instruction from the same source.

And it abides forever. In fact, verse 25 concludes, it's the same word which was preached to you. Now let me say something here because there's nothing automatic about being exposed to the same source of truth. You can sit and listen to truth being delivered and it can change your life in a moment's time.

It's remarkable. Someone can be sitting right next to you hearing the same thing and go right on living against the will of God. So what I want to say is that you have a responsibility in hearing the truth to apply it.

Just being exposed to the truth will not change you. You can put me in a room with many beautiful Steinway pianos, leave one of the benches empty, and put very trained keyboard people on six or eight of these pianos and they can play beautiful music all day. And they nod in my direction and I sit down. I'm sorry, I just can't do it. In order for me to stay up and to do it like they do it, what? I got to go to work. I got to take lessons. I got to get serious about piano. I have to work at it like they work at it. And then we can play in beautiful harmony.

Just being in a place where there's beautiful truth being delivered regularly in no way makes you a biblically oriented Christian. It just means you have great responsibility to go to work. Apply it. Get at it. By not applying it, you hurt the family.

You hurt the family. We're children of the same father. We take our instruction from the same source. Here's a third one.

We have our struggles in the same realm. You wonder what they are? Verse one, chapter two. Therefore putting aside, look closely, there are five things mentioned and how significant they are. Putting aside malice, all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, slander. You want to know what breaks down the fellowship?

What keeps us from pulling together? There's your list. Now here is a list we want to acknowledge. This isn't a list given from some Christian to another. This is a list from God to his children. And he says to us, not just put off, the word is strip off as you would strip off your clothing for a shower or for a bath. Strip off, pull aside, take away, get rid of. What are they? First, malice.

Let me go through each one rather quickly. This is a general word for wickedness. A wickedness that characterizes the life of unbelievers in all the world system. Sins that hurt and injure other people.

Set aside all such wickedness. The second word is guile. We seldom use that word. It is a word for two-facedness or trickery. Deception to attain one's own end. We call it having a hidden agenda. Being set up. Interesting, in its earliest form it meant to catch with a bait.

It was a fishing term. Strip off your tendency to set people up or to relate to them with a hidden agenda. Don't speak with forked tongue. Don't wear two faces. The third word, akin to that one, is hypocrisy.

We've looked at that before. It means acting apart, being unreal. Hiding behind a mask.

It is the word for impersonation, appearing to be someone you are not. You will get along well in the family of God if you will just be what you are. Take the risk, take your lumps, but don't fake it.

Don't fake it. Cast aside the tendency to wear a mask. Now the last two are very significant. In every family relationship there will be times of promotion and there will be times of demotion. There will be times of high level delight and times of low level depression. During times of great delight for some family members it is a tendency on the part of others to be filled with envy. During times of lack of production it is the tendency on the part of some in the family to slander.

He talks about both. Look at the two words. Putting aside envy. Envy is hidden resentment. According to Webster it is painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. Someone has something you don't have. Peter's positive statement is be great hearted enough to enjoy their benefit. You will not pull with each other if you envy your brother or sister who has been given an advancement you do not have.

One individual calls this the constant plague of all voluntary organizations, not the least of which religious organizations. Cranfield said we do not have to be engaged in what is called church work very long to discover what a perennial source of trouble envy is. Sheridan says there is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.

May I give you a little tip? Develop the skill of enjoying others delights. Applaud the blessing of God on their lives. The word for slander which is the last in the list of five is the word literally that means evil speaking. Evil speaking. It most often occurs when the victim is not there to set the record straight or otherwise defend herself or himself. It is especially prevalent when rumor or bad news is being passed around regarding a person. Slander says one person is disparaging gossip.

It destroys the confidence in an individual and it bruises the reputation. Why don't we all take an invisible and silent pact or why don't we make a covenant right now to attack full bore our own tendency toward envy and our temptation to slander. We will make living in the family of God so much more enjoyable if we strip off malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy and slander.

There's one more. You with me now? We have the same father. We read the same source of truth or instruction. We all struggle with the same area of weakness and the fourth. We focus our attention on the same objective. Like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word that you may grow in respect to salvation. Notice that you may grow. Peter concludes the last part of his second letter by telling us grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

So our objective is to grow. It is to mature that you may grow in respect to salvation if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. I love that. Here is a man who walked with Jesus and when he recalls the one virtue having walked with Christ, he recalls kindness.

What do people think of after you've walked away from a relationship with them or a conversation? Do they think how kind he is? What a kind person.

Peter remembers years later it was the kindness of the Lord that we tasted and oh it was so good. You know there's nothing here that profound. I realize that. In fact it is so basic.

It reminds me of a little piece I read that came originally from the Kansas City Times entitled All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Okay? Now just listen.

Don't look for your keys and wonder when we're going to get through. Just sit there and listen to this. This is great. By a man named Robert Faughm. Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned. Share everything.

Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic.

Hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup?

The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup, they all die, so do we. And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all, look.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere, the golden rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living. Think of what a better world it would be if all of us, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. I love that.

Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes and it is still true no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together. Come on. Come on, family members. Let's pull together. I'll give you a little assignment tonight.

Think of somebody in the family of God, anybody, just one person that you know could really, really use a word of support. Give it. Give it this week. Okay? Don't just think it.

Don't write it in your journal. Do it. Do it. Behold how we need to love one another. I'd like us to bow for prayer. Why don't you right now pray for that individual that you were thinking about a moment ago. Ask God to give you just the right word or just the right time this week. Just the right technique. Maybe you need to write it.

Maybe you need to make a phone call. If it's possible, you need to tell them eyeball to eyeball. How much you love them and believe in them.

How much you need them. It's very possible that we've got a couple of three listening right now who just don't even know the Lord himself. This sounds like the best way in the world to live and you just don't know how to do it. Well, come on in the family.

We've all been born the same way. You just need to be born again. Just turn your heart over to Jesus Christ. Tell him what a mess you made of your life, the emptiness of your soul, the end of the trail that you've come to. Put your hand in his. It's been scarred with a nail, by the way, because he died out of love for you. And take him as your own savior and Lord.

Don't put that off any longer. Forgive us, oh, forgive us, our Father. Forgive us for the hours we have spent in the wasteland of these five things we just read about.

Malice and guile and hypocrisy and envy and slander. Show us again the joy of kindness, the long-lasting benefits of pulling together. Take away the loneliness of some soul right now who's been the victim of evil talk and wrong information. And Father, make us anew.

Start a work within us so that the love flows from a pure heart, not from a desire to win a lot of friends or make people feel good. Most of all, Lord, we invite you to make us like your son, Jesus Christ, who was known for his kindness, his meekness, his humility. We're so glad to be in the family, so grateful for your grace. Now use us this week to help another person to feel grateful that he or she too is a part of this family. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

In conjunction with this study, Insight for Living has prepared a number of resources designed to help you learn more. For instance, Chuck wrote a book that parallels his teaching series. It's called Hope Again. When your world gets rocked by calamity and when people around you are second-guessing God's role in it, it's tempting to sink into despair. In his book, Chuck will remind you that God is not surprised by the chaos of our times. God is sovereign, and he's in complete control. Again, Chuck's book is called Hope Again, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to slash store or by calling us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. When you also include a donation to support the Ministry of Insight for Living, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping others as well. I saw a note that said, Chuck, I was provoked by your recent study. I was bitter and angry with church folks and the whole church culture. I grew up going to church, and I've always maintained a heart to follow God's will.

Even so, I disassociated myself with people. In essence, I was running from God, but now my eyes are opened. Thank you. Well, it's your gifts that allow us to reach people like this one, so thank you so much for giving generously.

Here's Chuck. One of the delights of shepherding a local congregation over many decades is the joy of walking alongside dear friends through the peaks and the valleys of their lives. The same applies to our radio family. Many of you who hear my voice right now have been listening to Insight for Living for 5, 10, 20, maybe even 30-plus years.

We've been through a lot together, haven't we? Well, what started back in 1979 with One Man's Voice has truly grown to be far more than that. No one other than God could have written the script that has unfolded over this period of time. Today, our program is heard literally around the world.

It's translated by voices other than my own into languages I don't even speak. Now, the dream God has laid on our hearts is to proclaim God's Word and train God's servants in all 195 countries of the world. We're calling it Vision 195. In order to succeed, Insight for Living Ministries needs loyal ministry partners who will carry out the Great Commission with us. And so today, I'm appealing to you.

We have an enormous financial goal to reach by the 30th of June. And when everyone steps up by giving something, I'm confident we will meet the operational needs here at home with plenty remaining to take Insight for Living to all the countries of the world. Can I count on you to give today? Please follow these instructions and let us know that you're standing with us.

And by the way, thanks very much. Well, this season marks a major deadline here at Insight for Living, and we're asking God to help us close the books on solid ground so we can step forward into the next fiscal year with boldness. Your support today will make all the difference in reaching this goal. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll describes what he calls Hope Beyond Guilt on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Hope Beyond Division, Reasons for Pulling Together, was copyrighted in 1988, 1990, 1996, 2005, 2010, and 2023. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-01 15:17:28 / 2023-06-01 15:26:10 / 9

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