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Whatever Happened to Fidelity and Honesty?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2021 7:05 am

Whatever Happened to Fidelity and Honesty?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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March 9, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Arrival: A Study of Matthew 1‑7: A Signature Series

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Right in the middle of his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivered a shocking lecture on the importance of moral purity, marital fidelity, and personal honesty. It was shocking not because of the subject matter, but because of the consequences that fall on those who fail. Today on Insight for a Living, Chuck Swindoll guides us through this portion of Jesus' message and helps us understand its relevance to our times. Let's allow the words of Jesus to sink in as we open our Bibles to Matthew chapter 5.

Chuck titled today's message, Whatever Happened to Fidelity and Honesty? It takes a certain kind of person to blaze a new trail. Anybody can go along with the crowd. Anybody can listen to the drumbeat of the majority, fall in line, become a part of the status quo existence, make no difference now or later. But if you're a trailblazer, that kind of thought turns you off.

You're interested in making a difference, which begins with thinking differently and leads to decisions and acting differently from those around you. I just finished reading a fascinating book by Martin Dugard who has written what he calls The Explorers. It's a book not that long, but packed with stories of adventure, remarkable adventures. The kind of trailblazing adventures you only imagine of people who went deep into jungles and were there sometime for years. Others who took on the wild seas and were in 100 to 120 foot waves, some who went to the depth of the sea, others who went to the heights of the Himalayas, some who walked across continents, some who faced savages. And on and on the stories go and you find yourself trying to imagine what they thought as they conquered one of the poles north or south, or how they stayed in the canoe for weeks at a time, or how they faced insuperable odds without losing heart.

They're trailblazers. At a particular part of the book, Dugard stops and says there are seven qualities every explorer has. And that caught my eye. I marked it in the book and immediately memorized the seven. I'm determined through the balance of this year to work on one a month because I want to be like that. Not literally an explorer but an explorer in heart. I want to be a person of vast adventures, not fearing the risk, thinking outside the box, determined to make a difference.

Here are the seven. It all begins with curiosity. No explorer ever set out without first being curious. And then there's hope. Hope builds up behind curiosity and leads you with a fresh momentum into what may be your pursuit at that time. Then comes passion. Always passion. The excitement, the enthusiasm that stays at it.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote on one occasion, it's doubtful anything great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. Passion. And then courage, of course. Passion will run its course but you will find yourself up against the odds and you'll need the courage to stand fast or to press on. To go on beyond the disease that tries to conquer you or the fever from which you suffer. That determination that is always a part of it. And then there's independence. You discover with explorers there is that independent spirit, a willingness to think in such a way that no one else has thought like that. That mountain may be enormously high above the proper oxygen level but I can scale it.

I can do that. And then there's self-discipline. Otherwise it's just a nice dream, a good idea, may be impressive to others but you need the self-discipline to stay at it. Longer I live, one of my favorite words continues to be discipline. I know of no one I respect who isn't disciplined. And some of them disciplined in such a way that you feel almost like a sloth around them.

They care little about the time, they worry little about what others may say or think, that's self-discipline. And finally perseverance. Going on, going on. One of the real tests among explorers is after the exploration is finished, you reach your destination.

And then what? Well it takes perseverance to hang in there, to find a new trail or to seek the benefits of where you have been these last number of months or years. I've never studied a better model of a trailblazer than Jesus Christ. Think of it, in 33 years he accomplished the mission. Never lost sight of it, really didn't engage in it directly until about the last three, three and a half years of his life. And then brought along with him those who would carry on once he's out of the picture, hoping to build into them this trailblazing mentality. How different he was when he preached. What an unusual lifestyle, leaving the comforts of Nazareth where everyone knows him and mother is still alive and siblings are around and he strikes out on his own.

Do you hear them? Curiosity, hope, passion, and on and on through the process. So when he taught, you are not surprised that he broke a mold. Understand this, the people he taught in this Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6 and 7, were people who all their lives had heard the rabbis teach.

What they had been taught and what those mentors had been taught in years earlier and they had all fallen in the same sing-song, the same easy way through, the same self-serving plan, the same focus on hypocrisy and nothing about self-denial. Along comes Jesus who begins his sermon with, you're blessed if you do this, if you do that, if you think like this, if you're willing to go there, you're blessed, blessed are you, blessed are you, blessed are you, one, two, three, four, time and again he says that. So we learned we're blessed and lest you think it's all automatic when you get to these 13th and 14th verses of chapter 5, as the sermon has just gotten underway, he says your salt and your light.

You don't shake the salt, you are the salt and when you're involved in the world around you, you are the salt shaker. You give taste to the bland, you give preservation to that which is compromised by wrong and your light, surrounded by darkness, you're the torch. Remember when I was a kid, we were in Carlsbad Caverns, farthest I'd ever been away from home and we're in there and my mom and dad are there and sister and I think our older brother is there and we go down deep into this chasm and then they turn out all the lights and my first thought is I hope my mother gets lost down in here somewhere, but I was young and stupid and thankfully she didn't get lost. She probably is thinking the same thing about me come to think of, but anyway in the darkness the Ranger says now I want all of you to see the power of light and he lit a match.

Suddenly one match and the cave, you could see the corners, the lag tights, the lag mites, I don't know which one is which, but they were both there and you hear the rippling water, you see chasms down below and one match. That's you, that's me when we're out among the world system if we're trailblazers. If we follow his instructions we learn that salt and light is the way to be. We want to carry that out, we're not afraid of that.

Oh others mock it, others think that's stupid, silly, what's wrong with you, that's par for the course, what do you care? If trailblazers listen to the majority, they'd never get in the boat, they'd never get up on the mountain. And then Jesus says something in chapter 6 verse 8, I want you to look at it.

I think it's the key to understanding the sermon. Do not be like them. Who's them? Pharisees and scribes, the officials who promoted the sing-song religion. Fall in line, do what we say, follow us.

This is the way you live your life, which led to a bland and deceitful lifestyle full of hypocrisy. Do not be like them. So, he takes on them without hesitation. This is where I think their hatred for him began, as the fringes were surrounded with no doubt Pharisees and scribes listening to this young itinerant preacher from Nazareth teaching these people as he sat among them. Jesus talked about murder. Scribes and Pharisees said, don't murder. They stopped there. They left it at that. You could hate somebody all you wanted.

You didn't have any problem, at least according to them. You could refuse to forgive and carry revenge and grudges the rest of your life. In fact, many of them encouraged that, not Jesus. So, when he talked about murder, he said, let me go further, because I don't want you to be like them.

Watch out for what grows in your heart. So, forgive people. Get rid of the grudge. Some of you would discover that your life is transformed virtually overnight if you just got rid of the thoughts of revenge. Some of you live your life carrying a grudge, and I'm sorry.

You're missing so much. Jesus never carried a grudge. So, the last day he said, Father, forgive them.

They don't know what they're doing, as his hands and feet are nailed to the cross. Murder starts in the heart, so you've got to watch that. And when it does begin to emerge, this hatred, you've got to forgive. He carries that through. Now, you get down to verse 27, you get in the nuts and bolts of life. That's where we are today, where he talks about marital fidelity, and then when you get over to verse 33, verbal integrity.

Those two subjects he took on full force without hesitation. Look at this pattern. I want you to mark it if you haven't already. Verse 27, you have heard. That's what the Pharisees taught them all their lives. That's what the rabbis had said because they learned from the Pharisees. Verse 28, but I say. So, now he's a trailblazer.

Now he's breaking the mold. What you have heard did not go far enough. So, I'm going to tell you more about this matter of adultery, and he sure does. Look at verse 31. It was said, and he addresses the subject of divorce, verse 32, but I say.

So, he talks about the way they've been taught, which didn't go far enough, and now he says, there's more you need to know. And so, he goes there, verse 32. 33, again, you have heard, and 33. 33 says that, and then 34, but I say to you.

You get the pattern? You have heard, but I say. You have heard, I say.

It has been said, but I say. So, when he adds the but I say part, he is now breaking the mold. And men and women, listen to me this morning. You must pay close attention to what Jesus taught, or you'll fall in line with the general population. You'll start thinking like they think. You'll start allowing yourself certain liberties like they do. You'll start fearing what they may say if you're not like them. You got to get past all of that. I think one of the reasons Jesus waited until he was 30, aside from God's perfect will for him, is that he was now mature enough to take whatever was thrown at him. About the time you get to age 30 and beyond, you ought to be able to live your life where you're like Flint.

It just flashes off of you. Beware when all people say good things about you. Now, Jesus takes it on in verse 27. Let's do our best with the time we have with marital fidelity, and along with that, the subject of divorce, and then verbal integrity, the whole issue of honesty and oaths. You've heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery. Every adult in this room knows what that means.

Jesus goes further. But I say to you, long before something happens in the bed, something has begun to happen in your head. And the next verse describes that. I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So, you got to come to terms with your eyes. Your eyes feed your mind, which builds imagination, especially in sexual areas, and you're off and running.

As lust runs its course, and you're only a matter of time before you're in bed with another partner. Look at the next verse. Your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you. Better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than your whole body be thrown into a hellish existence.

Look at verse 30. Your right hand makes you stumble. Cut it off.

Throw it away. Now, hold on. Some read this, and they took it literally. So, some men had themselves castrated. One man I read castrated himself.

That must have been a full afternoon, huh? I mean, that is not what Jesus is saying. When you read, think. He's being ruthless with lust.

And the only way to be ruthless is to use language that is extreme. That gets your attention. The plucking out of the eye is his way of saying, stop staring at another woman. You will not lust if you do not stare. It's like Job says in 31.1, I made a covenant with my eyes. I will not stare at a virgin. Like the old King James, I will not ogle a maid. Every man in this room knows exactly what that means.

Every one of us. You look, and in the process of staring, you undress her. In the process of undressing her, you imagine yourself with her. This is what he's getting at here.

Let's not kid ourselves. And we all know that the man's source of temptation, at least the initial source, is the eye. For the woman, it's touch. By the way, what's said about the man is equally true of the woman.

Women can lust just like men, and they do. Now keep your hands where they belong. Keep them off of the other person. Watch out about putting your hands all over someone else.

I don't care if you are Italian. Just put your hands in your pocket. Don't touch her. Don't touch him. Some people just crave a hug.

And there are times I want to say, actually, really, no. I don't want to hug you. But then they're all over you. As if that's going to help. Really, that's pretty needy.

You don't have to do that. You don't know what happens in me when you hug me, nor I you. You say, well, gosh, Chuck, you're getting kind of ruthless. What else is plucking out your eye or cutting off your hand? You know what?

I've never been with another woman intimately because I've never put my hands on another woman where I shouldn't. It works. It works.

Every time it works. Jesus is so wise. Now you got to understand, there are people in our day who are of the Victorian mentality that sex is nasty. It's shameful. It's degrading.

It's distasteful. It's all those things outside of marriage. But inside of marriage, it's none of those things.

Who created it? God himself made the man and made the woman. And he gave us a drive for each other. And after the marriage vows were taken and marriage has begun, there is a wonderful outlet for the stimulation of sexual desire and the fulfillment of it, not just for the bearing of children. So we have the Song of Solomon in the Bible.

It's a great story of romance. And how about Proverbs 5? Listen, drink water from your own sister and fresh water from your own well. What's that mean? Enjoy your own partner in life, your married partner.

Should your springs be dispersed to broad streams of water in the streets? What does that mean? That means you're intimate with someone who's not your married partner.

It's very clear. Let them be yours alone, not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth as a loving hind and a graceful doe. Let her breast satisfy you at all times.

Be exhilarated always with her love. And on and on it goes. That's pretty intimate writing, of course, because it's beautiful, unless you find your interest on the internet.

And that changes everything. You're not putting your hands where they belong. So stop going there. Nothing good happens in a sex site on the internet. There are more of those websites than any other category on the internet. You'll never be in problems with it if you don't go there.

You will be as soon as you do. Then there's a hedonistic mentality, which was true then and true now. Sex, hey, it's a free for all, no holds barred. We're sexual beings.

Don't hold back. Participate, enjoy it, do whatever you wish, whenever you wish, however you wish to do it, with whomever, if it feels good, do it. And I will add to that, since I deal with those who fall into that trap, that it leads to personal pain and boredom and shame and guilt and disease and thoughts of suicide and sometimes acts of suicide. It isn't fun. It's an addiction.

Marital intimacy is not an addiction. It's fun. It's delightful. It's delectable, filled with curiosity and joy, discovery, pleasure, shared with no one else throughout life.

How good is that? That's what Jesus is talking about. He gets to the subject of divorce and, you know, I don't have time to track all of the possibilities of this happened or that happened in your life or how did it. All I can do is tell you what he said in this passage, and there are other passages I'll give you in a minute.

You can study on your own, but look at what he says here. It was said, verse 31, whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce. That's what the rabbis taught. So Jesus gets down to brass tacks when he addresses it here, and he deals with one of the reasons there can be a divorce.

But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. We're midway through a message from Chuck Swendoll titled with a question, Whatever Happened to Fidelity and Honesty? And I'll urge you to join us again tomorrow when we have another half hour to pursue this relevant topic. You're listening to Insight for Living, and if you'd like to learn more about this ministry or these messages, please visit us online at insightworld.org. And then I'll remind you Chuck has written an in-depth book about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. To learn more about this timeless message from Jesus, we highly recommend that you secure a copy.

It's called Simple Faith. You know, when we sit down to read Matthew chapters five, six, and seven, we're quick to realize Jesus' famous sermon was just 15 minutes or so in length. But his radical words stand as the most influential in history. From his opening Beatitudes through his story about building our house on solid rock, the Sermon on the Mount contains a wealth of wisdom for our times. Among other issues, Jesus urged us to replace hypocritical performance-based religion with the joy and faith of kingdom living. These are the topics Chuck explores in his classic book Simple Faith, Discovering What Really Matters. To purchase a copy right now, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888 or go directly to insight.org slash store. In addition, you might like to add the message called Finding Healing Through Forgiveness.

It's available on CD or MP3. This is a complete unabridged recording of the message Chuck delivered, including a stirring personal testimony from his wife, Cynthia. In this message, Chuck helps us understand what it means to face our deepest insecurities that are often expressed in fear, anger, and resentment.

Cynthia describes how she found healing from these damaging emotions through a humbling process of seeking forgiveness. So two resources at your disposal today. First, Chuck's book on Jesus' Sermon of All Sermons called Simple Faith, and second, a message on CD and MP3 called Finding Healing Through Forgiveness. To purchase either resource or both, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash store. I'm Dave Spiker. Tomorrow, Chuck Swindoll continues to tackle the question, What ever happened to fidelity and honesty? Listen Wednesday to Insight for Living. The preceding message, Whatever Happened to Fidelity and Honesty, was copyrighted in 2015 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-17 15:57:10 / 2023-12-17 16:06:05 / 9

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