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April 26, 2022 7:05 am
Today on Insight for living together about rebirthing the church we need to think about what it is. The cause is a community to take notice. There's a passion there's a spirit directed energy, there is the work of God, engaging the lives of one another in a way that there was meaningful direction going on there is genuine compassion reaching out when you drive domains anytime in the country. It's not unusual to find a wide variety of churches from which to choose. So how do you know which is the right one for you today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll presents another message in a series titled the church awakening during the next half-hour will begin looking at the essential elements of a healthy church as we review these factors be thinking about their prominence in the church you've chosen to attend. Chuck titled his message distinctives of a contagious church today on distinctives of dangerous as we continue our series on the church. The basis of it is second Timothy chapter 2, second Timothy two verse one you, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses. These and crossed to faithful men who will be able to teach others also suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Verse eight.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendent of David according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of God is not imprisoned.
For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who were chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, and with it eternal glory you're listening to Insight for living to search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll. Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight world.org/studies and now the message from Chuck called distinctives of a contagious church. There are some movies that so when you just mention the name of the movie you remember the line that lingers in your mind.
And when you think of the movie you think of that line field of dreams. One of those fantasy movies of yesteryear.
There is a line in it that lives on even past the scenes that we will someday forget that line is if you build it, what there you are, you they will come when I graduated was Dallas seminary. I thought that would be true in the church.
If you preach it they will come. I have lived to realize that while it does take strong and good and consistently interesting preaching.
It also requires the context of other things. You certainly cannot have a contagious church without a strong pulpit but there must be more than that, there must be more than conviction from one person or the gift of one person at work, a contagious church is made up of a context of things in order for people to stop and realize this is a place worth coming to and being a part of.
Speaking of context, I was reminded of it when I read this story recently. True story in a banal setting and at an inconvenient time. Would people pause to observe transcendent beauty. This is the question. The Washington Post sought to answer when the commission Joshua Bell, one of the foremost violin players of our generation to play in the Washington subway during morning rush hour, dressed in nondescript manner, jeans, T-shirt, baseball, Joshua Bell opened up his case took out his violin called the Gibson ex Cooperman handcrafted 1713 by Antonio Estrada very and began to play magnificent music he started with Chacon from box partita number two in D minor.
Some call it the greatest piece of music ever written. Others consider it one of the greatest achievements of any man in history for 45 minutes. One of the greatest musicians alive, playing one of the greatest instruments ever made. Played some of the greatest music ever written. Did anyone stop to listen. It was all videotape on camera 1100 people walk by seven stopped to listen 27 through money into the open case for a total of $32.
The night before. Bill had sold out Boston's Symphony Hall for the cheapest seat goes for $100. He regularly earns $1000 per minute for concerts context matters know what else I learned from this. I should've stayed with the violin was I thinking don't misunderstand, in no way am I trying to diminish the importance of the preaching of the word of God, but trust me there are preachers all around the world who faithfully declare the truth, but their place of service is not contagious. As a matter fact I was a part of the church at one time where that was true, and I preached just as passionately there as I do here but there wasn't growth wasn't contagious. There weren't the marks of a contagious church present back. I remember one Fourth of July weekend seven people in the entire place for were Swindoll's that is not a contagious place.
As were thinking together about rebirthing the church we need to think about what it is that causes a community to take notice. It isn't just the building if it is the building at all the people, but it isn't just numbers of people. There's a passion there's a spirit directed energy, there is the work of God, engaging the lives of one another in a way that there was meaningful direction going on there is genuine compassion reaching out to there certainly is a sense of electric excitement about where we go together's body. There are distinctives make a church contagious. I was letting my thinking to this last piece of literature that Paul ever wrote in second Timothy that final letter. The second chapter of this simple four chapter book by simple I mean brief, not simple and content. I've said for years that the thing that makes second Timothy come alive is what I remember, it is dungeon talk. The man doesn't write it sitting in a rocking chair watching the. The surf of the Mediterranean. He isn't sitting in Somerville, sipping warm TV and relaxing in the afternoon sunshine is alone in the dungeon. Chances are good most of you have never even seen a dungeon, so allow me John Pollock, author of the man who shook the world gives this brief description. Paul was once more seized shackled and this time placed in rigorous confinement in Rome, not as an honorable citizen, but chained like a criminal. He was among the felons in the member, time, and obnoxious dungeon reached only by rope or letter let down through a hole in the floor above his weary body must lie on rough stone.
The air was followed sanitation nonexistent.
The trial was to follow would be a trial where he would stand shackled in chains bearing the marks of age and torturing's before August God bless Caesar name Nero James Stocker does a good job describing the irony on the judgment seat, clad in Imperial purple set Nero a man staying with every crime a man whose whole being was steeped in every name of Boland unnameable vice nothing but a compound of mud and blood of the prisoners docs to the best man, the world contained his hair whitened with labors for the good of man and the glory of God.
Such was the occupant of the seed of justice. Such was the man who stood in the place of the criminal TR Glover, the English classicist of Cambridge made an unforgettable comment about the contrast when he wrote the day was to come when men would call their dogs Nero and their sons Paul love that your sister Paul under the flickering torch of the flame riding on manuscript his closing word dungeon talk is cold.
He's lonely. He's come to the end. It's time for him to pass along to a younger man in his 40s, some insights guidelines for ministry and he does that in this last letter, especially if there is a Paul is handing Timothy through the pen, the baton in a relay saying run with it. Run with it now. Paul, having served so faithfully in long is now handing Timothy and Timothy, in turn, as we will see.
Esther handed to others.
So the letter is insightful because it is so relevant to let anyone ever tell you the Bible is out of touch the one who tells you that is out of touch. What an ignorant statement. It is ever relevant not only inspired timeless in its truths.
Paul says at the end.
I've a good flight.
I fought the course I have.
I have finished in the faith I have Timothy you be like that you live like that you minister in the church like that and we find today the first century writing is apropos with the 21st which we find ourselves today and so with that in mind I suggested we look at for timeless characteristics of a contagious church. You have a pen handy.
I'm going to have you_for verbs. How's that for a little pedantic beginning of this message for verbs. The first one is in verse 1B strong. The second is in verse two and trust Mark that the third is in verse three suffer hardship and the fourth is in verse 10 endure to get them be strong and trust suffer hardship and/or from the for verbs and by the way always pay attention to the verbs as you are trying to interpret the Scriptures. They are the there the bony structure of literature. They hold thoughts together and you put the flesh of the other words around them. But you see the you see the merging of the truth by observing the verb, so to begin with would stay with the first verb distinctive number one. It is always necessary to be strong in Greece. Verse one my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. A church that's contagious is strong in grace and is led by people who were strong in grace. Paul could write it because he modeled grace, he calls himself in one place, the apostle of grace is amazing that this legalist this Pharisee, this man who earlier in life is is making sure the Christians are wiped out his stop on the road to Damascus and is made blind by a light from heaven is the Lord Jesus speaks to him and calls him, of all people into his work and Paul becomes the spokesman for grace and to give the message of the gospel to all people. The dogs, the Gentiles, not just to his own people, the Jews, so he says to us modeled grace proclaim grace.
Remind people of great salvation is by grace through faith. Peace with God comes because of his grace, demonstrated to us at the cross, the grace of the Christian life. Remember our Lord Jesus, who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we might have his riches.
That's grace receiving what we don't deserve John Newton put it best just grace have brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home churches of grace are attractive places, people who come out of toxic religion will always tell you of the rigors of the regulations and rules of that former place where they managed to survive lists of requirements and demands judgment placed against them if they didn't measure up to some preachers requirement them, not a biblical requirement but his own list, you must look like this. You must dress like this, you must observe things like this, you must say it like this in your structured and strapped by the rules it's called I call it religious bondage. That's and it is not a contagious place. It's a frightening place folk sometime wind up at stone briar church coming out of that context in the arrive here with a sigh, tell them often. You just need time to heal. You just need time and you be given room to grow and to heal here. Occasionally, they will share their scars.
It's frightening, toxic, religious places have no acceptance of others.
A graceless church like a graceless pastor is a frightening thought. Spurgeon writes of this what he calls a graceless pastor when a preacher is poor and grace any lasting good which may be the result of his ministry would usually be feeble and utterly out of proportion with what might have been expected, the graceless pastor is a blind man elected to a professorship of optics philosophizing upon like to envision discoursing upon and distinguishing to others than my shades and delicate blending of the prison prose, the prismatic colors but he himself is absolutely in the dark. He's a speechless man elected to the chair of music. He's a deaf man fluent upon symphonies and harmonies. He's a mole professing to educate piglets like that line Steve Brown is a great line. As he says some people sleep legalistic churches are a lot like Grace Church and he said there won't be more, no more alike than saying a taxidermist is like a veterinary.
What is a way to get the dog back. Well yeah what collects dust never moves. The other was busy and barking and slobbering and pooping and eating and jumping around and he's alive, is a real thing was the veterinarian's otherwise we become a museum of memories. The place were dust settles in our favorite offertory is the way we were it's all about what once was at the frightening place church of grace is alive, anticipating willing to risk free of judgmental-ism, but not free of holiness is a vast difference would get to that. The second distinctive, I find in the second verse those involved are faithful to mentor the young churches that are contagious faithfully mentor those who are coming along in the Christian life. I love that thought. Don't you we we don't see people as folks to serve so much as counting heads and you know the money we see people as opportunities to build into their lives.
Know what I get that look at the verse he's writing to Timothy says the things that you have heard the word you refers to Timothy, you have heard from me that refers to Paul and the presence of many witnesses. These in trust. Look at that term it means to deposit as a trust deposit in there in the lives of faithful man those same things, and they these men and women will be able to deposit that in others. When we ask you to turn your turn your outline over the backside of a give you a simple little chart but I want you to write down the far left margin.
Just write the name Paul just put Paul draw a little arrow to the right, but an inch long and then put Timothy in another error run and after that arrow right faithful men and women and one more arrow right others also going with and former president of Wheaton College calls this the endless chain of Christian discipleship show you hard work.
Look at your chart. Paul the apostle poured his life hard soul truths confrontations encouragements affirmations important techniques of the Christian life in the Timothy Timothy is a recipient just as the second runner in the relay baton from the first runner and he will be is now running with that baton running the second leg of the relay. He's got the baton out and Timothy is entrusted to send that baton to faithful men and women that he comes in contact with get this Paul would not even know some of those people. That's the way it works one touches the life of another, who then touches the lives of people in his or her sphere of influence that the originator wouldn't have even known and to make it even more exciting. Those people in turn send it on to others. Also, that is a contagious ministry of multiplication a church is not a gathering of people that sit, listen to one person for each. It's not just that as important as the message sermon would be. This is just the start of the baton. This is where information and techniques and words of encouragement and words of challenge level, communicate, and you take that baton and you then built into the life of someone you you will touch in the week, the months ahead as a prof Kendrick used to say to most everyone needs a Barnabas. That's the one who handed the baton to Paul and every Paulding to Timothy to someone before us meant toward us. We need someone beyond this, who were mentoring otherwise were a stagnant lake with little life just a pool of information for people sit, take notes, walk out next week to sit and take notes and walk out window next week to sit take more notes and walk out what's wrong with that picture. There's no contagion that the only reason the apostle makes that deposit that is that there might be change in the lives of those being mentor. That's our goal as a church.
Otherwise we're just a dusty old museum relics just as the home is a place for transferring family techniques church is a place for passing along spiritual technique.
It's remarkable to picture Paul sitting in a dungeon writing these words to his protégé Timothy though bound in chains. He wanted Timothy to exercise his grace muscle to establish a community of believers that was safe, attractive and filled with affection you're listening to Insight for living in the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. He titled today's message distinctives of a contagious church to learn more about this ministry.
Visit us firstname.lastname@example.org well if you like to gain a better understanding about the man who wrote this letter to Timothy you'll be pleased to learn that Chuck is written a book about his life in this biography, you'll discover the character traits that Paul developed along the way. The biography is titled Paul a man of grace and grit. It's a story of strength and determination, and it's chock full of compassion and conviction to purchase a copy go to Insight.org/offer or call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.
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Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited