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How to Live in Troubled Times, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 14, 2023 7:05 am

How to Live in Troubled Times, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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August 14, 2023 7:05 am

Conquering Through Conflict


Today, on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. You will discover that one of the ways of living happily through life in the pain that is your calling is to do it with rejoicing.

What an absolute pleasure it is to meet a few folks along the journey of life who have learned to smile through the blasting, devastating events of their lives. No one would argue that we're living in troubled times. Whether it's political tension, moral chaos, or the threat of economic collapse, the signs that point to the return of the Lord are obvious. Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll introduces his final message in the series called Conquering Through Conflict. How do we survive the harsh realities of the end times, and how do we do that with a measure of joy?

Chuck points to 2 Peter chapter 3, where the apostle describes how to live in troubled times. I love that GPS in my car. I've come to depend on it. I just punch in the address where I want to go, and presto! The whole route is laid out for me to see and to follow. As I drive along, the system even talks to me. It says, at the next corner, turn right. Sometimes I expect it to say, you're lost, you dummy.

I've told you four times you need to turn right. But instead of that, it responds with a kind but clear recalculating, and then determines another route for me to go. Well, the Bible is our spiritual GPS. We could call it God's positioning system. You'll be going along in life, and a passage of Scripture will come to mind that just stops you right there in your tracks.

It's almost as if God is saying, hey there, I'm trying to get your attention. Turn here. Change your direction. I want you to follow my lead.

Turn around. Truth be told, God has done a lot of recalculating in my life, and probably in yours. But I found it true that I've never gotten lost when I have followed His Word.

Now, I may have felt lost, but I've never actually been lost, not even once. As we come to the end of Peter's second and final letter, he challenges his readers, as well as all of us, to be good students of God's Word. We live in troubled times, that's for sure. Peter challenges us to filter today's troubled times through the grid of Scripture. The better we know the Word of God, the better we will recognize the best way to go. Otherwise, we'll wander off and follow the latest fad, or we'll go our own way.

Our lives will continually be recalculating. I'm reading the Apostle Peter's own words from 2 Peter chapter 3, verses 14 through 18. Peter concludes his letter on a practical note. He writes, Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard, so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men, and fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into 2 Peter with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled How to Live in Troubled Times. Whenever anyone mentions the name Peter, as in the Apostle Peter, the disciple of Jesus, I would imagine most of us do not think of the one who wrote a letter or two in the New Testament. We think more of the man who was once a fisherman, who became a disciple, who ultimately became the spokesman for the Twelve, and of course went through the tragedy of a failed experience before the crucifixion, and then was restored, and later by the grace of God became one of the major leaders of the early church.

Most people don't think to include in that quick biography the man who wrote two very important letters. Peter was obviously not a well-educated man, many from Galilee were not, those from Judea were more than from up in Galilee, and so we don't think of him as a man who made that sense of contribution in the New Testament, but indeed he did. And we have been for some time working our way through the letters of Peter. Most recently, the letter of second Peter, and it occurred to me before we wrap up our study in this wonderful three chapter letter, the last few verses of chapter three, that might be helpful to go back and take sort of a cursory look at both letters, and maybe even see them in contrast to one another.

So if you will, open your New Testament or Bible to the first chapter of the first letter of Peter, and for a few moments think with me about this entire letter as a whole rather than some particular part of it. You may recall from former studies that this man wrote to people who were scattered. In fact the first verse tells us where they were scattered into Pontius and Galatian, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, those names mean very little to people who live in America or who live in England or who live in some other part of the world beside this realm where these places are found in the first century.

This would be like saying I'm writing to people who live in Kentucky, who live in Florida, who live in Washington State, who live in North Dakota, who live in Texas and Arizona. In other words, these were people who were scattered all about an empire, and none of these places represented their home. They were, in the words of Peter, aliens.

Did you miss that in the first verse? They were aliens. And if you have never been an alien away from home, displaced apart from your will, but rather displaced because of the governmental intervention, then you can't fully appreciate what it means to be a recipient of a letter like this. They were in places that were unfamiliar and places that were hostile to them, not only because they were aliens but because they were Christians.

And they were living in a world that was non-christian, owned and operated by an emperor who in fact hated the name of any god other than Caesar himself. And so in a world like that, they needed the reminder that God would meet them in their pain. In fact, if I were asked to give a simple theme for the whole five chapter letter of 1 Peter, I would say it is a letter of hope for the hurting.

Now that strikes a familiar note. You may not have ever been an alien, and you may never have been or may never be in your lifetime scattered apart from your own will away from home, but you have hurt. I've said for years that that is the one emotion that all of us can identify with because you don't have to be alive but just a few minutes before you know pain. And pain is a familiar experience for every person who is in the human race.

We all know what it is to hurt. So Peter writes words of hope for those who are hurting emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. Some had seen members of their own family taken from them. Now if I were to give you an overview of these five chapters, I think I would do it with regard to four attitudes that Peter emphasizes through the letter itself. First is the attitude, rejoice rather than resent. Rejoice rather than resent, certainly rather than retaliate. Verse 6 chapter 1, in this, in this situation, in this place you find yourself, in this circumstance, you greatly rejoice even though now for a little while you have been distressed by various trials. So he says to them, rejoice rather than resent, certainly rather than retaliate. It's a good time for me to pause right here at the beginning of this brief talk and to give a word of encouragement to all of you who hurt. And you may hurt because of someone else, you may hurt because of an illness you did not know you would have to live with, you may hurt because you have lost something very special and precious and important to you, not the least of which would be your occupation or your reputation or your image, prestige, and significance.

You may hurt and the natural thing to do is to resent that or to retaliate against someone who caused the hurt. The Apostle writes, rejoice. In fact he says, greatly rejoice and that isn't the only time. Down in verse 8 he says, but you believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. You will discover that one of the ways of living happily through life, in the pain that is your calling, one of the ways to do it is to do it with rejoicing. And what an absolute pleasure it is to meet a few folks along the journey of life who have learned to smile through the blasting, devastating events of their lives.

And I meet them rather regularly in the family and it's a beautiful thing. Chapter 2 verse 18 is a second attitude and that is submit rather than fight. Fight and fume I suppose we could say.

Submit rather than fight and fume. Chapter 2 verse 18, servants submit to your masters with all respect. Verse 19, for this finds favor. I don't want to leave the rest of verse 18 it all ties together.

I was going to save some time but it's not worth it. Servants be submissive to your masters with all respect not only to those who are good and gentle but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if when you sin and are harshly treated you endure it with patience.

That's no big thing. But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it. Ah, this finds favor with God. This honors God. If you have attended one of the Gary Smalley and John Trent seminars you you know how how Gary has acted out on so many occasions in that wonderful seminar how he speaks of giving honor to to someone and he says you can even do it with your expression like that.

Isn't that great? We do it I think that'll be our first sound in heaven. When we stand before our saint when we are before someone we greatly respect we we have very little respect for nobility in America. It is a it is a popular pastime to put down our heroes and to find fault and to write about it in a newspaper or to print it in a book in the in the the kiss and tell books that are spread all across the marketplace. How wonderful it is to come to a land that still respects nobility.

A place like the land of Great Britain where when royalty passes by they still stand on tiptoe. Now this this causes you before God to go oh when you suffer unjustly and you bear it patiently when you submit rather than fight and fume you say no one can do that wrong your Savior has done that. Verse 21 tells you you've been called for that since Christ suffered for you leaving an example that you follow in his steps. Rejoice rather than resent and retaliate submit rather than fight and fume there's a third one in the letter glorify God verse 14 of chapter 4 glorify God not the pain you're going through 4-14 if you are reviled for the name of Christ you are blessed because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you by no means let any of you suffer as a murderer or thief or evildoer or a troublesome meddler. Aren't those good words? I'm a wordsmith and I come to words like this and I want to analyze each one of them. Interesting in the same sentence that he uses murderer and thief and evildoer he includes a troublesome meddler don't be so nosy stay out of other people's business let them be if anyone suffers as a Christian let him not feel ashamed but in that name let him glorify God glorify God says the Apostle not the pain you're in focus on your Lord not your circumstances and finally chapter 5 one of the great themes of the letter verse 6 humble yourself don't defend yourself I'm still learning not to defend myself just humble yourself before God verse 6 humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may defend you that he may exalt you at the proper time casting this is how you do it casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you very familiar words from a wonderful letter of comfort now when you get to second Peter even though it is shorter in length it is more difficult to understand and this is not a letter that offers a great deal of hope for the hurting this is a letter that points a long index finger and bumps against your sternum and says beware be on the lookout watch out troubles coming be ready the theme of second Peter is beware be ready hard times are upon you this is also a letter that's a little strange not once does it mention Christ's sufferings which first Peter seems to continually return to never once does it mention the resurrection never mentions the church is the body of Christ in fact there's never one call in the letter of second Peter to follow Christ as our example maybe the Apostle thought I've said it in the first chapter in the first letter I don't need to repeat myself this is a letter of continued warnings in fact I thought about this in the first letter Peter represents a pastor a caring Shepherd and he brings comfort and encouragement but in the second letter he takes the role of a critic and a prophet and he warns and predicts in the first letter there is an emphasis on helping people in the second letter there was an emphasis on exposing the conditions in which we live chapter one of second Peter the exposing of moral corruption and he says all the way through the chapter beware beware it's bad now it's gonna get worse cheer up things are gonna get worse so you cheer up and things get worse that's second Peter chapter one it's exactly what he said what happened chapter two false teachers and you remember when we worked our way through these tough words and difficult descriptions of times in which we will we are now living not when we will live but we're now living and he says be be ready be discerning don't fall into their traps they're clever they've been at it for centuries they've been on the earth since Christ was on the earth beware be ready in chapter three in which we find ourselves now he emphasizes the scoffers and the mockers he even mentions those verse three of chapter three know this that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking following their own lusts and saying now where is the promise of his coming things continue on like they have continued ever since the beginning of time wrong says the Apostle they forget about the flood and if God intervened and brought a destructive watery grave to all those who were not in the ark he can do the same again indeed he will but next time when he comes he will come in fire not with water and with that in mind he even goes into the subject of the passing of this earth into a ball of smoke and fire verse eight chapter three don't let this one fact escape your notice that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and vice versa the Lord is not slow about his promise as some counts slowness but is patient toward you why because he's indifferent or because he's negligent not on your life he is patient because he doesn't wish for any to perish and every day he delays his coming every era he waits for his arrival he is giving people further opportunity to believe what if the Lord had come four months before the wall in Berlin fell or the day before you know remember back then I remember wishing he would thinking this is the day this is the time and then the wall fell and with the falling of the wall came open doors that we never had heard of in our generation it was incredible fact in our lifetime there has not been such open doors and now they're there the barriers are falling not wishing that any should perish and how patiently he waits and waits I think second Peter is saying tough times call for strong-minded Saints don't let any of this catch you unawares and don't miss an opportunity to take advantage of the Lord's patience now this little section we're looking at is the last paragraph of his of his second and his final statement his final letter let me read the verses for you second Peter 3 14 to 18 therefore beloved since you look for these things be diligent to be found by him in peace spotless and blameless and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation just as also our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him wrote to you as also in all his letters speaking in him in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand which the untaught and unstable distort as they do also the rest of the scriptures to their own destruction you therefore beloved knowing this beforehand be on your guard lest you fall from your own steadfastness but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity amen first off to whom is this written well if I were sitting at my kitchen table and I were looking at this passage for the first time to make a study of these verses and I were trying to ask our answer the question to whom is it is it written I would probably find the repeated references that are woven through this chapter for example chapter 3 verse 10 he is writing to chapter 1 verse 10 excuse me he's writing to brethren therefore brethren be all the more diligent chapter 3 now verse 1 this is now beloved the second letter I am writing chapter 3 verse 8 do not let this one fact escape your notice beloved he says again and again verse 11 and 12 since all these things are to be destroyed in this way what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness so he's writing to people who ought to be holy in conduct and godliness verse 14 he says it again therefore beloved verse 17 therefore beloved I mean it sounds like a broken record over and over brethren beloved beloved beloved now you answer to whom is he writing he's writing to Christians and then when you get to chapter 3 verse 9 take that personally and put your name in the place of any and all god is not willing or wishing that and put your name there but he is desirous of you coming to repentance we're in the final stretch of our study in second peter it's a message that chuck swindoll titled how to live in troubled times if you'd like to learn more about this ministry visit us online at insight in the event that you missed any portion of this 10-part study and if you're ready to learn more you'll be glad to learn that insight for living has produced a variety of resources for you first you'll be pleased to hear that our study on second peter is available right now it's called conquering through conflict and the complete set is in stock and available for purchase when you visit us at slash store or give us a call if you're listening in the united states call 800-772-8888 in addition to listening to these sermons in their entirety chuck has written a complete study bible to guide you in fact every book in the bible begins with historical context so you understand when the book was written who wrote it and how the book fits into the complete story of the bible it's called the swindoll study bible it comes in a variety of formats and font sizes plus you can choose the cover you prefer to purchase a copy of the swindoll study bible go to slash store and then bear in mind it's your voluntary financial gifts that make it possible for us to provide chuck's teaching on the radio the internet and a variety of outlets that feature insight for living all that to say your gift will be channeled directly into providing chuck's teaching for someone who's searching for answers about life to give a donation today visit by the way we want to let you know we've received hundreds of comments on our website and we read every single submission the outpouring of love and support is so greatly appreciated so connect with us today by calling us if you're listening in the united states call 800-772-8888 or you can connect online at i'm bill meyer there's much more teaching ahead from chuck swindoll on how to live in troubled times next time on insight for living the preceding message how to live in troubled times was copyrighted in 1990 and 2011 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by charles r swindoll inc all rights are reserved worldwide duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-13 14:18:05 / 2023-08-13 14:26:44 / 9

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