COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"Chuck Swindoll" Tagged Sermons

FOR I AM SURE…..

Ryan Holiday is the author of a book titled: “The Obstacle Is The Way”
“There is an old Zen story about a king whose people had grown soft and entitled. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, he hoped to teach them a lesson. His plan was simple; He would place a large boulder in the middle of the main road, completely blocking entry into the city. He would then hide nearby and observe their reactions.
How would they respond? Would they band together to remove it? Or would they get discouraged, quit, and return home?
With growing disappointment, the king watched as subject after subject came to this impediment and turned away. Or, at best, tried halfheartedly before giving up. Many openly complained or cursed the king or bemoaned the inconvenience, but none managed to do anything about it.
After several days, a lone peasant came along on his way into town. He did not turn away. Instead he strained and strained, trying to push it out of the way. Then an idea came to him; He scrambled into the nearby woods to find something he could use for leverage. Finally, he returned with a large branch he had crafted into a lever and deployed it to dislodge the massive rock from the road.
Beneath the rock were a purse of gold coins and a note from the king, which said:
“The Obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”

As Susan Perlman in an article she wrote for “Jews for Jesus” publication said:
“One might ask, “What do we need pain for? Couldn’t we accomplish the same things with pleasure?”
The answer has to be that in pleasure we focus on ourselves and our feelings and our perceptions, which makes us to be mindful of ourselves and our will to be pleased; whereas pain helps us to focus outside of ourselves, to reach beside ourselves, to find out what’s there. Pleasure tends to make one self-centered, whereas pain tends to make a more noble person, other-centered and, hopefully God-centered.
A crisis becomes an occasion for declension or advance. A self-centered person in a crisis can become more self-centered and wallow in self-pity. God-centered or God-seeking persons can be propelled forward in their quest for meaning.
It is important to know that we are not helpless and we are not hopeless. We can choose to decide how we will deal with pain. We cannot choose whether or not we will have pain, but we can decide whether or not we will ALLOW PROBLEMS TO AFFECT US.
To live is to endure the pressures of life. But we can decide if we are going to let these things press us down or if we are going to let them lift us up.”

David Aikman wrote a book titled” GREAT SOULS” and in it he writes:
“I have always personally been inspired by the lives of great people. It is hard not to be energized by the stories of how individuals have risen above adversity or suffering or have maintained a purity in the face of great temptation. Our age, with its habit of instantly judging a man or woman’s life based on the fragmentary and proverbial sound bite, is often impatient with detail, nuances, depth.”

Chuck Swindoll writes about Joseph:
“Here is one on the list of God’s “greats”…….a life lived for His glory and, equally significant, though he was terribly mistreated, lived high above the all-too-common reactions of rage, resentment, and revenge. Here is one who deliberately chose to overlook unfair offenses, to overcome enormous obstacles, and model a virtue that is fast becoming lost in our hostile age – forgiveness.”
At the outset, Joseph’s life showed little promise – a simple shepherd, twelfth of thirteen children, a dreamer hated by his brothers. So how did he become a man so extraordinary that Moses spent almost fourteen chapters in the Book of Genesis telling his story? Where did Joseph get the qualities of integrity, leadership, and godliness in such measure that they took him from the pit of slavery to prime minister of Egypt?”

Through Joseph
• God explained dreams
• Revealed the future
• Saved Egypt and Israel from starvation
• Demonstrates the depth of love God has for all of us.

Paul is right:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, not height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

IS IT REALLY THAT HOPELESS?

The historian Will Durant made this comment:
“There is not greater drama in human record then the sight of a few Christians, scorned and oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trials with a fearless tenacity, multiplying quietly, but building order, while the enemy generated chaos. Fighting the sword with the Word of God, brutality with hope and at last defeating the strongest empire that history has ever known.
Caesar and Christ had met in the arena, and Christ had won.”

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on these verses writes:
“During the interval of time between our Lord’s departure from the earth and His return, He is involved in two projects. One; to prepare a place for His children. Two; to prepare His children for a place. He is engaged right now in preparing heaven for His own. That’s what’s happening away from our sight. But on this earth, He is also engaged in preparing us for the life we will live in eternity with Him.”

POWER TO ENDURE

Journalist Kylee Zempel
“Christians have for months been separated from one another thanks to state lockdown orders. The overwhelming majority of congregations have honored the coronavirus regulations imposed by authorities who would sooner dispense with communion than lottery tickets. To love their neighbors, protect the vulnerable, and remain above reproach, Christians stayed home, resorting to virtual meetings, sermon archives, and other poor substitutes for fellowship. In the process, we sacrificed our spiritual vitality.
As anti-religious leaders and malicious media predictably shamed communities of faith, believers rolled over, our good intentions of meek compliance manifesting in cowardice. When the media employed scare tactics — “gathering will kill Grandma” — Christians fearfully relented. When detractors peddled bogus rhetoric masquerading as science — shopping is fine, but singing is way too “dangerous” — believers capitulated.
We were told groups of more than 10 people were simply not doable. Outdoor services were deemed unsafe. Even parking too closely in a lot or having too many people in a vehicle during drive-in services was prohibited. Police surveilled churchgoers, recording the license plate numbers of service attendees as “the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else.” The message from the media and oppressive leaders has been clear: Church gatherings are deadly.
But now the game has changed. As brutal anarchists take to the streets alongside masses of peaceful protesters, all the media’s cards are on the table. Progressive governors have shown their hand. The coronavirus scare tactics have largely ceased.
Believing fast food is essential while the Lord’s Supper is nonessential has always been ridiculous. But believing worshiping is lethal while looting is warranted is downright infuriating.
Of course, states have kicked off their reopening plans, including, at the behest of the president, allowing churches to reopen with largely arbitrary regulations. But these rules are stifling. We cancel our song services, worship in shifts, and fracture our bonds by congregating in coteries at six-foot intervals.
Religious leaders have bent over backward to ensure public safety and care for their congregations, taking full precautions, but to what end? When will we say enough is enough? Scripture commands submission to government authority, but at some point, believers “must obey God rather than men.”
When have Christians ever regarded physical health above spiritual health? When has enduring persecution ever entailed abandoning firmly held belief? How can Christians expect spiritual revival, racial harmony, and peace, while neglecting our assembly together?
It’s time for believers to sing from the tops of our lungs in one, full accord — not sit silently in countless rotational services that undermine the unified body of Christ. It’s time to gather around the table, contemplating with holy reverence Christ’s body broken and blood shed for us. It’s time to confess our sacred doctrine and call upon our great Redeemer in corporate praise. No longer can we afford to live in fear.”

G.K. Chesterton said:
“When men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing! THEY BELIEVE IN ANYTHING.”

Chuck Swindoll in his daily devotional writes:
“When trouble comes we have two options. We can view it as an intrusion, an outrage, or we can see it as an opportunity to respond in specific obedience to God’s will – that rugged virtue James calls “Endurance”. Endurance is not jaw-clenching resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It’s a long obedience in the same direction. It’s staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It’s a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It’s a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. As Oswald Chambers wrote: “To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to chose God’s will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.”
These words are directly related to what James is telling us:
James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (endurance). And let your steadfastness (endurance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Ravi Zacharias once commented
“When you start a train of thought, it’s important to check the ticket to see where it is going to let you off.”

George Mueller, who cared for 2,500 orphans a day by faith alone, said.
“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”

Greg Hinnant in his book “Spiritual Truths for overcoming Adversity” writes:
“The power to endure is the ability to bear stress with ease, to be in distress without distress being in you. It’s God’s supernatural grace manifested in us. Situations that wear out others don’t bother us. We go through the fire, but are not burned. We walk calmly and steadily through the midst of the most dreaded difficulties conceivable without mental, physical, or emotional damage. In fearful circumstances, we’re calm and unafraid; in offensive situations, we’re not offended; when faced with a deadline, we’re not at our wits’ end. Where does this grace come from, this power to endure? Not merely from Bible study, not merely from prayer, not merely from fellowship with other disciples, but from PERSONAL VICTORIES GAINED IN PERSONAL TESTS.”

A PLACE OF BECOMING

Chuck Swindoll in his book “The Church Awakening” wrote:
“It is precisely these four areas the adversary will attack so he can disrupt and, if possible, destroy the church. That’s why it’s important to keep our priorities straight. It’s essential that we do not get distracted by all that we CAN do as a church…and stay focused on only what we MUST do as a church. Otherwise we may be attracting a crowd for the wrong reasons.”

Genuine authentic fellowship with other followers of Jesus is the soil for becoming contagious. There are way too many Christians that sit in church every Sunday, they take notes, walk out, and come back next week, to sit, take notes, walk out, and return again next week…
…….UNTIL JESUS COMES BACK. Such Christians will grow stagnant. They come, sit, soak and sour.
Fellowship is much more than coming to church to hear a sermon every Sunday, or engaging in weekly Bible studies, or subscribe to 5 daily devotionals, or to read 5 books a week. Fellowship is physical getting together to share LIVE WITH ONE ANOTHER.

Warren Wiersbe in his book “On Being a Servant of God” writes:
Christian service means invading a battleground, not a playground; and you and I are the weapons God uses to attack and defeat the enemy. When God used Moses’ rod, He needed Moses’ hand to lift it. When God used David’s sling, He needed David’s hand to swing it. When God builds a ministry, He needs somebody’s surrendered body to get the job done.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book “Life Together” wrote:
“The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we ARE sinners! But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says:
You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He wants you alone. “My son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner.”

ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?

Chuck Swindoll in his book “The Church Awakening” wrote:
“It is precisely these four areas the adversary will attack so he can disrupt and, if possible, destroy the church. That’s why it’s important to keep our priorities straight. It’s essential that we do not get distracted by all that we CAN do as a church…and stay focused on only what we MUST do as a church. Otherwise we may be attracting a crowd for the wrong reasons.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book “Life Together” wrote:
“The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we ARE sinners! But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says:
You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He wants you alone. “My son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner.”

Warren Wiersbe in his book “On Being a Servant of God” writes:
Christian service means invading a battleground, not a playground; and you and I are the weapons God uses to attack and defeat the enemy. When God used Moses’ rod, He needed Moses’ hand to lift it. When God used David’s sling, He needed David’s hand to swing it. When God builds a ministry, He needs somebody’s surrendered body to get the job done.”

THERE ARE TWO PLANS

JESUS CAME TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM.

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on this text writes:
“For many years, faulty information had been taught by the religious aristocracy. With unquestioned authority, these religious leaders twisted the meaning of Holy Scripture, offered interpretations that were simply wrong, and demanded applications that were frankly impossible. Not content to let God’s Word speak for itself, they added to the commandments of God and required that everyone obey their additions without hesitation.
When Jesus sat down and delivered His illustrious Sermon on the Mount, jaws must have dropped as His audience heard an entirely different interpretation, delivered in an entirely different mode of communication.”

Dr. Michael Heiser in his book “Supernatural” writes:
“Though Eden was lost, God intends that it be restored. Ultimately, his rule – his kingdom – will return in its full scope when Jesus comes back and God creates a new heaven and earth (one that, in Revelation 21 and 22 looks a lot like Eden.)
In the meantime, we can spread the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus everywhere. We can also represent God to everyone we meet and in every place. We are God’s agents to restore Eden in the here and now, looking forward to the day when Jesus brings that plan to a climax.”

John Stott says it this way in his commentary on Matthew:
“Christian righteousness is greater than pharisaic righteousness because it is deeper, being a righteousness of the heart.
The righteousness which is pleasing to him is an inward righteousness of MIND AND MOTIVE.”

THE GREAT CHALLENGE

Chuck Swindoll in his Study Bible says:
“Jonah’s prophetic ministry to the Assyrians is an example of God’s care for all the nations of the earth to turn from their sin and idol worship and to recognize Him as the one true God.”
The book of Jonah stands as an important link in the prophetic chain,
giving readers a picture of Christ’s death and resurrection hundreds of years before these events occurred.”

Nineveh is the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.
Ashur-Dan III (772-754) sat on the throne of Assyria.

In 1912, Lewis Spence published the book titled:
MYTH & LEGENDS OF BABYLONIA & ASSYRIA. According to Lewis Spence,
“The entire faith in and dependence on their beloved deity on the part of these early Assyrian rulers is touching. The monarchs of Assyria retained the right to call themselves ‘priests of the god Asshur’.

Archeologists found a tablet where the prayer to Asshur was engraved:
“A prayer TO ASSHUR, the king of the gods,
ruler over heaven and earth,
the father who has created the gods,
the supreme first-born of heaven and earth,
the supreme muttallu who inclines to counsel,
the giver of the scepter and the throne.
TO NIL-LIL, the wife of Asshur,
The begetter, the creatress of heaven and earth,
TO SIN, the lord of command, the uplifter of horns,
The spectacle of heaven,
TO THE SUN-GOD, the great judge of the gods,
Who causes the lightning to issue forth,
TO ANU, the lord and prince, possessing the life of Asshur,
The father of the great gods.
TO RAMMON, the minister of heaven and earth,
The lord of the wind and the lightning of heaven.
TO ISHTAR, the queen of heaven and the stars, whose seat is exalted.
TO MERODACH, the prince of the gods,
The interpreter of the spirits of heaven and earth.
TO ADAR, the son of MUL-LIL the giant, the first born.
TO NEBO, the messenger of Asshur,
TO NERGAL, the lord of might and strength
TO THE GOD who marches in front, the first born
TO THE SEVEN GODS, the warrior deities,
TO THE GREAT GODS, the lords of heaven and earth.

GOD SEEKS OUR WORSHIP

Worship has its focus on what we do with our lives.

John R.W. Stott
“Christians believe that true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which man, by the grace of God, is capable.”

Chuck Swindoll in his study Bible writes:
“It is attributing supreme worth to God, who alone is worthy of it. When we worship, that’s what we’re doing.
The purpose of the church is to cultivate worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business contacts or to go to check something off the weekly list or to bring your kids so they get something out of it. No, it’s a place to learn about our God so that our worship and understanding of Him become increasingly deeper and more meaningful. It’s a place where we give Him our praise and our gratitude.
Why is worship so important? Because it turns our full attention to the only One worthy of it.”

Jesus was using the element of water as a metaphor to describe a spiritual reality, something that would meet not just a need of the moment but a need for all eternity.

Chuck Swindoll has a wonderful commentary on verses 19-20
“Oh, you’ve been to seminary. You must be extremely smart. Let me ask you something I’ve always wondered about. How do you reconcile the great existential problem of God’s sovereignty and the free will of man?”
Only in her culture, the great debate revolved around the most appropriate place to worship an omnipresent God.

John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

THE COVENANT-KEEPING GOD

A few important questions:
• Who initiated the Covenant Idea? (6:18)
• Why did God pick Noah as a covenant partner? (6:8-9)
• What did Noah do after the promise of God? (6:22-7:1-5)
• Who made sure Noah was safe? (7:16)
• What was Noah’s response to God? (8:20)
• What was God’s response to Noah? (8:21-22)
• Was Noah fully convinced? (9:8-17)

Chuck Swindoll has this to say about Genesis 11:1-9
“One of the greatest enemies of the Christian life is the religious life. Religion is the broad way that most people take, thinking that somehow, they can do something to please God. Christianity is the narrow way that helps us understand what God has done for us.
Religion is what I do for God. Christianity is what God has already done for me. Religion is an EFFORT. Christianity is a GIFT.
The reason religion is so appealing to us is that we like feeling as if we are giving God a boost. We enjoy talking about all we’re doing for God rather than emphasizing what He has done for us. It makes us feel important. At first, religion might sound like it’s focused on God. But in the end, it’s all about us – our achievements, our glory, and our pride.”