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May 13, 2022 7:05 am
Today Chuck Swindoll overlays an important warning to those who lead our churches will be on guard for yourselves for all of which only spirit is made you overseers know after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock that would be close heretics smooth talking. Teachers be on guard for a moment to think about what are the dangers that threaten its future what will keep you from remaining focused on the Bible and the mission of the church will according to Scripture, the enemy of any church is so slow and silent. He's lurking in the darkness, waiting to pounce on well-meaning people today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll continues to describe a church that's become weak.
It's a warning to his home congregation in Texas and the church families everywhere. Chuck titled today's message the church on a long, it is a proven fact that things go from pristine and pure were too strong and good to weak and poor.
Too bad and worse erosion. So so silent never with a lot of announcement and often without many people, even knowing it's happened. If you turn in your Bible to acts chapter 19. There was a classic case in point right from the New Testament where we can watch erosion taking place. In verses 23 to 41. There is an all citywide that is targeting this ministry. The ministry at Ephesus when you read part of it for you. Verse 23 about the time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the way for a man named Demetrius the silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis was bringing no little business to the craftsman and explain Artemis the large idol of Ephesus, and back mold all over the world, certainly of the region was the Temple of Diana, called here.
The Temple of Artemis. The city is known for that.
And this dude is making his money from making low shrines of that look just like the temple and he's selling them and he's a exporting them and they're going all over Asia with these little shrines and and he's got all these tradesman's craftsmen who are in the business with him and so verse 25 gathers them together with the workmen of similar trades is that man you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that, not only in Ephesus but in almost all age. This Paul has persuaded and turned away. A considerable number of people saying the gods made with hands or no gods at all well.
Not only is there danger that this trade of ours will fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be regarded as worthless and and and and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship little exaggeration there but all the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificent so what's he doing stirring the pot wherever you have conflict from people. There's always stuff you secure the pot, watch closely. Verse 28 when they heard this, they were filled with rage and they began crying out, saying, great is Artemis of the Ephesians, Paul wanted to go verse 30 into the assembly and the disciples would not let him some of the AZ arks who were friends who had sent to him. These words repeatedly urging him not to venture into the theater wise counsel the application of that. If I may enter into the story a bit is that it's not wise for the senior pastor to get all involved in all the skirmishes. It is wise for there to be some sense of protection unless one loses his direction and vision and energy Paul could have not only lost party could have lost his life in that threatening situation. So there are those around him signal. Paul don't go there. In fact there were people from outside their sending word. Don't let Paul in that mob don't let them in there. You might think that they probably after a while got settled down wrong. Look at 33 some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander. Since the Jews that put him forward and having motion with his hand.
Alexander was intended to make a defense to the assembly. But when they recognize he was a Jew little somatic and some Semitism and that they recognize he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for two hours. Great is Artemis of the Ephesians calls and let that sink in its loud enough for all people in Ephesus to hear that scream, including the little body of people in the church at Ephesus. What you do when the church's reputation begins to be smeared when people rise up in mass God steps in love verse 35. This is so like God. Verse 35.
After quieting the crowd.
The town clerk saw Town Clerk what's up and says so sit move Ephesus what man is. Thereafter all he doesn't know that the city of the visions as guardian of the temple of the great Artemis of the image which fell down from heaven say they believe all that nonsense. So, since these are undeniable facts you want to keep calm and do nothing right. You can't change the fact Diana is from heaven, do as the temple is eternal. All these fools that are run around naming Jesus is Savior and Lord. They mean nothing to us what else he does.
He speaks as an advocate.
You have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples or blasphemers around God it's true. By the way a church occasionally needs an advocate from someone who is in a part of the church. There's a case in point. Paul over here that will let them in the crowd.
The church is over here and they're not a part of it.
Here's a Town Clerk's name never appears here or elsewhere in the Bible quiets the crowd, reasons with the Mensa so that verse 38 of Demetrius and the craftsmen who were with him have a complaint against any man. The courts are in session. There's a proper way to deal with this proconsul's are available and bring charges against one another.
But if you want anything beyond this to be settled in a lawful assembly. The problem with all of this is a relation of the church. It becomes a distraction.
Seems like a little thing, but believe me it is those little foxes that eat at your time over the sheep need to be shepherded but we don't need to fight every little tiny fire and by the way, don't waste your time trying to distract us Stone Breyer were on the move were moving in a direction that is becoming for us remarkable as we watch God do it. It's remarkable.
So what happens will pull leaves verse 1B takes his leave from them.
The church is still there. Remember someone else in leadership was there.
Paul returns to the elders to visit briefly. He comes to Miletus. Interesting place. Miletus is about 30 miles south of Ephesus at the harbor of the meander River and there he stood with the elders to talk about their future and he warns them about erosion sink chapter across the page.
Look at verse 25. Always talking to the Ephesian elders now behold I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will no longer see my face so he's gone for good. Shortly therefore I testified to you am innocent of the blood of all men. I did not threaten a shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. That's Paul's watch on my watch. I did my job.
However, time will the one so in my absence.
I have a word of warning.
I have it marked in red in my Bible. The on guard, I say to all of the elders. Be on guard house all congregational members of Stone Breyer be on guard. Pay attention.
This church that my friend attended somebody then what's the stuff somebody didn't pay attention.
Somebody let the leaders get away with things that were un-biblical closest to them. Be on guard for yourselves for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit is made you overseers, why verse 29 because I know after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock that would be close. Heretics smooth talking, false lead teachers. People who are driven by secular goals, not spiritual goals. Those who have their own agenda, not the agenda of the living God.
Be on guard. Be on guard. Not only will there be savage coming among you look at verse 30 even some from your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. CS Lewis once made the statement in his book letters to Malcolm the true Christians nostril is to be continually attentive to the inner cesspool.
Be on guard for yourself. You may be eroding. You may be drifting. I don't know you well enough, but if you drift you drift with this church as it drifts. I think it's another way of saying we need to smell our own stink were all depraved, were all given to selfishness were all wanting what the world is teaching us to want were all want to bring that stuff in the on guard what I warn you look at verse 31 therefore be on the alert. Remember my mother night and day for a period of three years. I didn't cease to admonish each one with tears and now I commend you to God is on his way leaving is like a mama leaving her kids when they're on their way to college or the kids leave in the mama is like dad to think about her sons when they go off to the military's son be on your guard, pay attention to face things you never faced before you're on your own son.
Paul is leaving on their own their own fears the church. What happened what happened in Ephesus when Paul waved goodbye Miletus will look at first Timothy chapter 4 turnover the first Timothy four. Some your thinking. I thought you were through turn to first Timothy chapter 4. Look at verse 12 and I'll introduce you to their new pastor's name is Timothy great guy. However, Timothy is not Paul. Of course Timothy is his own man, which means he's different in three ways from Paul what were the first of all these younger first Timothy four verse 12. Nothing wrong with being younger. Paul says to Timothy, let no one look down on your youthfulness is. You wonder he was about 35 or 40 years old nice complement to hear your youth and 40 good Timothy's younger, which means what is a nipples experience. He doesn't have Paul seasoning. He doesn't have Paul's guts.
He doesn't oppose wisdom. Nothing wrong with you younger man. Just be sure they got those things in place. So choose them carefully in one of our elder meetings that we had while standing and know how you were were sitting with us, it was great time. I said to the men of the Ramona said that the tell us what stands out in your mind regarding elders.
Dr. Toussaint made a marvelous statement. It may not sound profound right now until you read it through here. He said I've learned that an elder needs to be older.
Dr. Toussaint is a great grasp for the obvious know as a matter of fact, a lot of folks don't see that is obvious they think what we need is you younger relatives. Where's that barley called elders amazing. Now you can be you can be wise and 40 your rare but you can be wise and 40 Timothy Dolan a bottle of donor youthfulness sensor Timothy filled identities living in the shadow all these following Paul in this ministry and some user passing day something else about Timothy verse 23 of chapter 5 across the page. No longer drink water exclusively use a little wine for the sake of your so Macbeth the alcoholics favorite verse in all the Bible right there. First Timothy 523 has nothing to do with alcoholism. Come on. He says to Timothy because her sickly you need to take a little wine and will help you with your stomach ailment that he says your frequent ailment support. Timothy is different from Paul he sickly when you're younger and your sickly, I might add one more second Timothy one verse six and your timid you don't have a good mix for being the senior pastor second Timothy 16 for this reason I remind you kindle a phrase the gift of God which is in you more than once. Paul says that Timothy get with it with it.
Timothy stirred up Timothy get the gift going step up stand up Timothy step in their don't be hesitant that you says in verse seven God hasn't given a spirit of timidity, so we got in Timothy a good man but is younger is more sickly, and unlike Paul is timid. He's hesitant I like the way John Stott puts it, if you live in our generation.
I think we would've described him as an introvert, he evidently shrank from difficult tasks. Timothy was disposed to lean rather than to lead this then was Timothy young in years, frail and physique retiring in disposition that has the makings of erosion that kind of temperament opens the erosion gate. I don't want to say anything that will do the hard thing organizing and younger. Maybe one of you older sorry friend, senior pastor step into it. Your job, you guard this flock's like I have for 9 1/2 years and I will to the last day of my time here on no great shakes, I just got a tough calling. I don't have the leisure of kicking back to somebody else to do the hard thing. Younger men may be able to do that I can't do that I will do that.
He's telling Timothy not to do that. By the way, whatever happened that little church… Wonder sounded 60, 65, maybe wrong.
There are at least as many rights Timothy been there a little longer but Timothy's there.
What would happen around 95 Revelation chapter 2. This gets so good I want to forget about lunch. Look at Revelation 2 Revelation 2 look to the church in Ephesus write, so we have a declaration written by John the apostle on Patmos getting an appraisal of the church at Ephesus.
They were busy they were impressive, they were orthodox, one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks with the seven golden lampstands is this, I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, but you put to test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not in you are found to be in there found to be false, you have perseverance and have endured for my namesake and you have not grown weary but but that's a very emphatic negative particle to turn the tide, but it's like your doctor says well you did pretty good on the treadmill.
You know you got a fairly good heartbeat.
Blood pressure is okay but just that part, the kind grabs you, you know I can't describe and the angel says but I have this against you, you have left your first love enemy gets you every time. In fact, it's a restrictive attributive in the syntax, which is a big way of saying the emphasis is on the adjective your your love, your first one you have left your first love.
When you were first married, don't answer out loud and when you set close together can keep hands off each other me every evening was made for romance. Every song was a love song every drive was a drive back home. Everything was about joy in intimacy and Fontan, passion and love to you, leave your first what happens when you fill your life with a lot of busyness not to vulnerable. Before long you don't have an intimate relationship like Earl Palmer's appraisal. The first love is been abandoned and in its place is the starchy high cholesterol diet of activity and church work that will never nourish the human so trust me, trust churches that he rode keep you busy stay busy.
Look got lots of stuff you gotta do, do it. Let more things to do churches occur about your soul. Encourage reflection depth growth analysis. I don't know maybe Paul's portrait hung in one of the galleries.
Maybe that had a room of sweet memories and had a few of his writings maybe a few white-haired man in stooping. Older ladies talked lovingly of Paul, but they didn't love Christ like that used erosion is happening and strong churches want strong churches. Erosion can hurt can happen in the church without the people realizing erosion will happen in churches that failed to heed the warnings and erosion could happen right here in our own church away.
Churches don't erode people do. Are you eroding loving like he used to. To really make a difference in how you live your life down with me, please straight preaching you listen well remembered when I'm gone.
Keep it in mind when we replace this role of mine guard. This testimony think very clearly. Watch for signs of erosion.
Be on guard even in my life.
I need to be on guard Lord without your presence in the presence of the messenger Angels would leave our own stuff we would weaken would compromise complacency would replace once strong courage, and before long we would be in long run, along with so many other gardeners from the we continue to be a lighthouse that shines a bright beacon in a world filled with where there are many going under. Use us in a significant way. In the years ahead. Her father, including this one for your greater glory.
We ask everyone sit aiming your listening to Insight for living a daily program that features the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll and we just completed. Message number eight in the nine part series called the church awakening to learn more about Chuck Swindoll in this ministry. Visit us firstname.lastname@example.org before we conclude Chuck's Bible teaching today.
Let me point you to a couple of resources that will help you.
The first is a classic book, Chuck wrote that was inspired by this teaching series in the church.
Awakening Chuck unpacks the contemporary pitfalls of the local church and how to rekindle the flame that burns brightly. You can purchase a copy of the church awakening right now. When you go to Insight.org/offer or give us a call if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 second.
Did you know that stone briar Community Church provides a live video stream of their Sunday morning worship service. It's become a model for many people around the world and a wonderful way to complement your Sunday church attendance as well to find all the email@example.com/Sundays finally let me relay a message that one of your fellow listener sent to our website. It said during a very dark time in my life. I couldn't sleep very well and took to listening to Christian radio. Every morning where I live in New Zealand inside for living comes on at sunrise. The messages seem to be tailored to my deepest need at that very difficult time in my life. My dark night of the soul had a tiny pinprick of light. It was Jesus himself revealed to insightfully while moments like these are made possible because loyal friends like use inside for living and if God is prompting you to give a contribution is a call if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to Insight.org/yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the inside for living ministry screws to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun without a doubt stunning views, took my breath away God's artistic genius is on full display in the last impact on parenting. You come home refreshed and filled with all for his shift to create one point I simply think he thanked often playing in the way. It was amazing that plenty of time for pictures on shore lingering conversations around meal and strolling through the idyllic ports of call you meal part of some of the best part of our day laughing, singing and celebrating our God plan to come with the dates are July 1 through July 8, 2023.
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When Chuck Swindoll presents his final message in the church awakening series next time on insight for living. The preceding message church on a long drift was copyrighted in 2008 and 2010 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2010 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide.
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