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Shocking Advice to the Selfish and Strong-Willed, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2021 7:05 am

Shocking Advice to the Selfish and Strong-Willed, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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March 11, 2021 7:05 am

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

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Today from Chuck Swindoll, a lesson on dealing with depravity.

Depravity doesn't get better because some of us come to Christ, but there is one change. His power begins to work within us, and he's willing to overcome those things in our old nature. And when we release them to him, he does that.

And it's a supernatural transformation. When someone violates our trust, our natural instinct is to lash out and even the score. After all, retaliation is the right of those who are victims. Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapter 5. In this passage, Jesus lays down the law against those who take vengeance into their own hands. And in addition, he provides a surprising alternative. Jesus said, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Does it sound like an impossible standard? Chuck titled today's message, Shocking Advice to the Selfish and Strong Will. When you received your worship folder, you found an outline tucked away inside. If you'd take a moment to place that at 2 Timothy chapter 3 and leave it there, begin the message at that point, and then come back to Matthew 5. 2 Timothy 3, where you'll place the marker, and then my reading will be Matthew 5, 38 to 48. I believe some of the most challenging words in all the Bible appear in these verses we'll be considering today. Jesus' teaching in his Sermon on the Mount must have shocked those who heard him, just as they could today some of you who hear these words.

You locate Matthew 5, 38. You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you, do not resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven, for he causes his son to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?

Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect. See what I mean? Our desire is that the Lord will open our eyes to what he is saying and what it means and what it does not mean. Both are important. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now Chuck's message titled, Shocking Advice to the Selfish and Strong-willed. Assumptions are shaky things, especially since situations are not always as they appear. Some time ago I heard about a traveler who, between flights, found herself at a busy airport and decided to buy a little packet of cookies that she would munch on while she was sitting at a busy little shop and enjoy her newspaper. So she opens her paper and begins to read, and while reading she hears the rustling noise of cellophane on the table in front of her, and she peeks down over the paper and she notices the man, a well-dressed gentleman, sitting across from her opening the packet of cookies and taking out one and beginning to eat it. And she frowns and doesn't say anything and reaches around from the paper and very deliberately moves the cookies back over and takes one and begins to eat it herself. He doesn't say anything.

She doesn't say anything. Before long she hears more tearing of the cellophane and she notices he has pulled the cookies back toward him and is staring at her and takes one out and he said, by now there's only one left. And of all things he breaks it in two and takes that half and gives her the other half. Well, doesn't say a word, he just gets up and walks away. She is somewhere between angry and appalled that that man would do that. She hears her flight called and and reaches in her purse to find her ticket and finds her unopened packet of cookies in her purse.

She realizes that somewhere in that airport is a man wondering what kind of woman sitting across the table would eat the cookies I got to munch on myself. Assumptions are shaky things, especially when things don't turn out as we would appear, as we would think they would turn out. It's easy to assume when you live in a country that was founded by godly women and men who wrote a constitution that they felt would be based on timeless principles, some of them from the Bible, that the nation would look like it does today. You wouldn't assume that. If a person went to sleep in 1780 and woke up this year, this month, this day, that person would be shocked because he or she might very well assume it would be a world like they had in mind then, but it is not like that at all.

Not at all like that. After all, we read the biographies of those great men and women and and we could easily think that those lives have so marked us as a country we would continue to model the way they lived and the way they fought, the way they obeyed rules, the way they defended the country, the way they stood for what was right and against what was wrong. Few assumptions could be further from the truth. I hardly need to do it, but to set the stage, I want to expose our selfish, strong-willed world.

But before I do that, let me let me make a disclaimer, a very important one. There are exceptions to the kind of people we're going to read about in 2 Timothy chapter 3. You've known of exceptions and I have too. Those exceptional people may have been the ones who taught you. They certainly were those who taught me. Not one of them sinless, of course not, they're humans, but wise, thoughtful, often compassionate and caring people.

Sacrificial, I think of my own parents and my grandparents and you may think of yours. These are people in the words of Hebrews 11 38, people of whom the world was not worthy, because they were so different from the others who lived around them. So before I get into what we are really like as a people and as a majority, let me say there's always a remnant who represents an alternative lifestyle, a life of integrity, commitment to righteousness, a desire to obey the laws of the land, an interest in being free of prejudice and racism and sexism, people who are fair and balanced and compassionate and caring.

But that's not the majority. Paul warned his friend Timothy, who was younger and would be out living Paul, Timothy you need to be aware of what the last days will look like. Look at verse 1 of chapter 3 and 2 Timothy. Difficult times will come.

One of my Greek teachers taught me that the word could be rendered savage. Hard to deal with, harsh, savage times will come. And then he amplifies that statement with the word for men and women will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving.

He continues, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power, avoid such people as this. You're going to run into folks like that Timothy and I would say to every young person growing up in this world, you're going to run into people like that. In fact, they'll be the majority on the campus. They'll be in the majority in the business world.

They'll be in your neighborhood in the majority. Now why? Why on earth do so many who live not only here but in all parts of the world live like that? Why is there such disobedience to parents? Why is there such a vast number of people who are irreconcilable, who hold grudges, who look for reasons to get even if not get back at others?

Why is that true? Why are we like this? One word will describe it and then I'll explain that. It's the word depravity. Depravity. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden through one man, sin entered into the world and death through sin, so death passed upon all men and women for all have sinned.

We have the same disease. We got it from our parents. Our parents' parents and they from theirs traced all the way back to the very beginning of humanity when the first family had a murderer among their children. It goes all the way back to depravity. Someone has said if depravity were blue we'd be blue all over. We are by nature liars and cheaters and deceivers. People who curse and resist authority not only rebel against it, we ignore it.

We fight it because I want to lead my own life as I please. Where's that come from? An old sin nature and I have tough news for all of us who are Christians. The old nature doesn't change when we come to Christ. It's disillusioning for new believers because often we think when we hear about Christ and how he can change our lives we forget that that's an internal change but nothing is done to change the old nature. Do you realize Christians can be just as vile, just as violent, just as brutal, just as disobedient, have just as miserable a marriage and turn on one another just as those without Christ.

It's called carnality. So we've got a tough road to hoe here. Depravity doesn't get better because some of us come to Christ but there is one change. His power begins to work within us and he's willing to overcome those things in our old nature and when we release them to him he does that and it's a supernatural transformation. The fact is while I may be just as guilty of the things read here I have to tell you the difference Christ has made in my life and you would say the same as a believer. How grateful we are that because of Christ our arrogance can be restrained, our ingratitude can be curbed, our irreconcilable nature can be made to reconcile. The power of Christ at work within us what a difference that can make. Now all of that helps explain the words of Jesus when we get over to Matthew chapter 5. These words in Matthew 5 38 to 48 in my opinion are the most challenging words that appear in all the sermon. This is tough information to hear and to heed. There's not a person listening to me right now who if your heart is really open to the truth does not feel conviction.

When you read of what Jesus says and how we have fallen short of this again and again. So again let me make an important disclaimer just as I did earlier. This is important. This is truth for believers not unbelievers.

I'll go further. This is for individuals who wish to relate to others who are individuals whether the others are saved people or lost people. This is not counsel for national defense. These are not words to be read to the people in the Pentagon who plan to defend us as a nation through the military and other means. Jesus is giving instructions to those not engaged in fighting a war or dealing with terrorism. This is advice for those of us who wish to live in harmony with others as much as possible through the power of Christ. This is not advice to help us become a nation of pacifists. This is not telling us what to do when we're attacked by those who would take our freedom from us. Remember that or you will misapply as many have the teachings of Jesus.

Please remember the disclaimer. See if I can bring it all into balance as we deal with two different groups. You see them both named in these verses. If your Bible is open to Matthew 5 look at verse 39. I say to you do not resist an evil person.

I've underlined that in red. Verses 38 to 42 are dealing with an evil individual. The disclaimer notwithstanding we are dealing often with people who have evil motives, who would hurt us, who would do us wrong. That's verses 38 to 42. When you get to 43 down through 47 notice the last word in verse 43, your enemy.

I've marked that in red. Again in verse 44 pray for those he says I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, the enemy. So we have enemies mentioned in 43 to 47. We have the evil person mentioned in 38 to 42. So with evil people in the context let's see what Jesus teaches and I suggest there are four segments in these verses 38 through 42. First he's telling believers who wish to operate under the power of Christ in a lost world release your right to personal dignity and respect. Release your right to personal dignity and respect.

Give it up. Look at verse 38 with verse 39. You have heard it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Now Jesus describes the spirit of the law but I say to you do not resist an evil person whoever slaps you on your right cheek turn the other to him also. The old expression turn the other cheek comes from that 39th verse.

What does it mean? In the days of Jesus being slapped on the cheek was an insult. Later in days that passed sometime a person would put a glove off and with with the glove slap you across the face that would come on into our own times.

It's the whole idea of being insulted. Where ugly things are said to you often to your face. Now what do you do? Do you retaliate?

If you're operating under the power of the spirit no you don't answer back. Charles Spurgeon taught we are to be the anvil when bad men are the hammers. Let me take that a step further. We're to take the insult. Let it glance off of us. Overlook it. Ignore it.

Look past it. You turn the other cheek when you refuse to take it personally. When you refuse to retaliate. Now for the sake of clarification let me read the words of a keen student of the New Testament. John Stott writes, Christ's illustrations are not to be taken as the charter for every unscrupulous tyrant beggar or thug. His purpose was to forbid revenge not to encourage injustice dishonesty or vice.

True love takes action to deter evil and to promote good. He teaches not the irresponsibility which encourages evil but get this but the forbearance which renounces revenge authentic Christian non-resistance is non retaliation. Remember my disclaimer we're not referring to national defense. We're not referring to criminal acts done against us or attempted against us. We're dealing with individuals who insult us.

In response to Spurgeon's example of being the anvil that's one thing being a person's doormat is another. Be assured and hear me well in this nowhere in Old or New Testament is anyone instructed to be submissive to a rape. Nowhere in the scriptures are we to be silent victims of sexual or physical abuse. We are not to be helpless pawns in the hands of brutal terrorists or murderers or psychopaths. You could take this to such an extreme that you can make evil out of anything. Martin Luther described a pacifist in his day as quote the crazy saint who let lice nibble at his scalp and refused to kill any of them on account of this text saying he should not resist evil please. Whether it's an egregious act of violence or a hurtful act of evil that's undeserved no one is expected to become as Chuck Swindoll said helpless pawns in the hands of brutal psychopaths. You're listening to Insight for Living and we're just getting started in an emotion-filled message Chuck titled shocking advice to the selfish and strong-willed.

To learn more about this ministry or these messages please visit us online at InsightWorld.org. It's possible you've been listening to Chuck today and your mind has drifted back to a relationship in need of repair. You weren't the victim but perhaps the perpetrator. Well nothing will erase what you said that caused damage.

On the other hand maybe it was an offense that someone inflicted on you. Well whatever the case I'll draw your attention to a helpful message Chuck presented along with his wife Cynthia. The CD or mp3 is called finding healing through forgiveness. In this message Chuck presents a compelling case for restoration followed by a stirring testimony from Cynthia in which she tells the touching story of restoring a broken relationship risking everything to make an apology. This is the most highly requested CD in the 42 year collection at Insight for Living and to purchase a copy of finding healing through forgiveness call us.

If you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to Insight.org slash store. In addition to purchasing the CD or mp3 we invite you to join us in this mission to bring the hope of Christ to all 195 countries of the world. Your donations are needed and deeply appreciated. We couldn't possibly provide Chuck's daily teaching without the financial support of listeners like you. To give a donation today call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 and then know that many are choosing to automate their giving by becoming a monthly companion. This growing family of supporters is allowing Insight for Living to advance its mission with boldness. To become a monthly companion today call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 or you can easily sign up online at Insight.org slash monthly companion. Join us again Friday when Chuck Swindoll continues shocking advice to the selfish and strong-willed. That's right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message shocking advice to the selfish and strong-willed 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 00:52:02 / 2023-12-17 01:00:06 / 8

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