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The Lure of a Lesser Loyalty, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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March 24, 2021 7:05 am

The Lure of a Lesser Loyalty, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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March 24, 2021 7:05 am

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Today on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. If you have been raised up with Christ and as a believer you have, keep seeking the things above.

There you go. Set those treasures above. Keep understanding life through the light of eternity.

Keep evaluating things on the basis of your final home. Walking with Jesus is not without distraction. In fact, most of us could identify a couple of nagging issues that continue to interfere with our devotion to Christ. And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will remind us that this problem with split loyalties is nothing new. Jesus warned us that no one can serve two masters, for you will hate one and love the other. During the next half hour we'll examine these words from Jesus found in Matthew chapter 6 and talk about the remedy against the lure of a lesser loyalty.

Chuck begins his message with prayer. Our dear Father, we are very, very grateful for your immutability. You never change. You're the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. We're grateful, our Father, for your compassion.

It is new every morning. And with the rising of the sun, we're reminded that your faithfulness is great. Thank you for your mercy that ministers to us in our misery, some in the misery of deep depression, distraught and disturbed about life, unable to see beyond the next few moments in a dark pit, feeling hopeless and despairing. Your mercy is there, ready to lift us up and put our feet on a rock and establish our going and to put a song in our mouth, even praise to our God.

But now, today, praise seems only a distant memory for many. Thank you for your love, which is not fickle. Thank you that it reaches us, though we are all unworthy to receive it. Thank you, Father, that your love proves how you really feel toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How we love your Son in return. How merciful we feel toward those who struggle. How compassionate is our heart as we reach to those who are in that pit of discouragement. But most of all, our Father, we revel in your grace.

It's like a warm blanket on a cold night, surrounds us, comforts us, keeps us, forgives us, relieves us of guilt and shame, and establishes us as a fellow heir with Christ, though we certainly do not deserve that position. Amazing is that grace and how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Once was lost, but now found.

Was blind, but now I see. We have our offerings today, Father, that they might reach out to those we may never see, touching the lives in a culture we're unfamiliar with, in places we will never go. Thank you for those who faithfully declare your truth in difficult and dangerous places. Uphold them, we pray, with the word of righteousness. Reassure them this very day that they are in the nucleus of your will. Use our gifts to sustain this ministry here and beyond and abroad for the greater glory of Christ, our Savior of grace, we pray. Everyone said amen. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scripture studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled The Lure of a Lesser Loyalty. Erosion is subtle and it's slow and it's silent. It can happen, of course, in a life. Candidly, it could be happening right now in your life. Could be the best kept secret. Even among your friends.

But deep down within, there is this shift, this drift taking place. Let me make something very clear to all of us. No one is immune. No one.

No one. In fact, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 12, Let him who thinks he stand take heed, lest he fall. I don't want to ever try to convince myself that I can live in a bit of secrecy and no one will know.

I can hide in this allurement toward another loyalty. And so it's with that in mind that I began, not in Matthew chapter 6, but in Psalm 139. I want to show you that there is the very real fact that you live your life like an open book before God.

There are no secrets to him. The psalm is a prayer. Through the psalm you read words like, oh Lord.

In fact, it begins with those words. And oh God. And he prays for this and he prays for that.

He comes to the very end and it's another prayer. Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any way of hurt, literally from the Hebrew. See if there is any hurtful way within me. And then lead me in the everlasting way. Search me, oh God.

He can say that because of what he has written in the psalm. Look how it begins. Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. Then he gets specific. You know when I sit down. You know when I rise up.

You understand my thought from afar. Meaning, long before I have the thought, you know it's coming. He continues, you scrutinize my path and my lying down and you are intimately acquainted with A-L-L, my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, oh Lord, you know it, A-L-L. You know it, A-L-L. Every word spoken, every thought pictured in the mind. Your life is like an open book, read clearly by the one who made you, known at all times, day or night. And when you get to Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is careful to say, not once, not twice, but three times, that our God is a God who sees in secret.

You may have forgotten, we saw that last time. Verse 4 ends, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Verse 6 ends, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Verse 18 ends, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

This is when the life is lived before God with purpose and meaning and purity. In the power of the Holy Spirit, your God who sees it all, is never, ever surprised or shocked, knows that your heart is right, and whether you're giving or praying or fasting, which are the three subjects of verses 1 through 18, the Lord sees and the Lord will reward you for doing it. The Lord sees and the Lord will reward you for doing it.

Not as a hypocrite, not to be seen, not to make a good impression, but as a servant of the living God, he will reward you. That's on the heels of all of that, verses 19 to 24 appear in the sermon. Understand, this is a sermon. Jesus begins with a warning, do not, and it ends with a fact, you cannot.

Did you see that? They're like bookends. The warning, do not, and the ending, you cannot. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. And verse 20, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. There's a contrast. There's a difference between possessions on earth and possessions that are in heaven.

And the contrast is even seen in how they can be destroyed or preserved. Treasures on earth are where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But when you have treasures in heaven, none of the three occurs. None of the three occurs. There are no moths. There is no rust.

There will be no thieves. So that contrast stands. Look at verse 22, the eye is the lamp of the body if your eye is clear.

Well, that's one thing, but look at the contrast. If your eye is bad, that's the next verse. In verse 22, a clear eye is full of light. A bad eye is full of darkness. Jesus loved contrasts and used word pictures to convey a truth that would otherwise be missed.

He's warning his followers about being caught up in a lesser loyalty. In this case, the last word of the passage, verse 24, is wealth. Wealth. Possessions. Stuff. Tangible things we can purchase and own and must maintain.

Now understand the difference. Some people read these words and they warn about Jesus prohibiting against having any possessions. So they encourage living like a hermit, out in the middle of nowhere, owning nothing.

Just to close on your back, and that's enough. Nowhere in the Bible are we forbidden from owning something. That's not what Jesus is teaching.

Others teach this and say it's wrong to plan for the future. You're foolish to buy insurance. After all, when you have your treasures that are in heaven, there will not be moth or rust. There won't be thieves that break in.

I can assure you on this earth there are thieves and they break in every day. He's not telling you not to buy insurance or not to lock your doors or not to set your alarms. That's foolish teaching.

That's extreme teaching that's reading only half of a verse. The Bible again and again encourages wise planning and being careful with possessions. He's not even warning against enjoying possessions.

My mind flashes to 1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 17, where the apostle writes that God has given us all things richly to enjoy. Enjoy them. You have nice things, enjoy them.

Just make sure that they don't have you. You have a particular salary that allows you to buy a nicer car than someone else, enjoy it. If you need a car and you buy a nice car, don't hide it. Former secretary of mine in another church many years ago told a funny story about her husband who was a pastor of the church at the time and she said they needed a car and he was looking for the best deal. The best deal he found was a very nice Lincoln and he thought, well, do I want to drive a Lincoln and he decided, yes, I will. That's the best deal and nothing wrong with it. But he said to his wife, we're not going to park it at the church.

Why? Because there are people at the church that will judge you for what you're driving. How stupid is that?

You not only don't know what the person makes, you don't know how much the person gives. How legalistic we can get taking half verses here and foolish warnings there and then turning them on the other side of the road. Foolish warnings there and then turning them on their head and teaching what isn't true. What's he warning against? He's denouncing the accumulation of more and more and more stuff. He's warning against selfishness. He's concerned about an extravagant lifestyle that keeps you from being generous and unselfish.

In fact, he's warning some of you today. Truth be told, you find yourself making more than you've ever made. Able to buy what your parents could never have bought.

Living in a home nicer than you ever grew up in. Nothing wrong with any of that until or if those things begin to grip and hold on to you and turn you into a tight-fisted, selfish, uncaring individual who doesn't know the meaning of the word enough. Jesus' warning is to those who don't know to say that's enough. Someone asked Rockefeller, how much does it take to satisfy a person?

His answer was wise, a little bit more than he has. Are you satisfied with where you are? It's called contentment. It's one of the greatest joys of life, is to live a contented life. It may be with little, it may be with more, it may be with much.

You're contented. It doesn't own you. You use it, you share it, and when it's appropriate, you give it. Jesus is saying, don't store it up. Don't cling to it, but remember what's valuable. Verse 21, where your treasure is, there your heart is. So where's your heart? Oh, you know what's interesting? I can't answer for you.

I can't even tell by looking. If I were a writer, I would be a writer, I would be a writer, I would be a writer. If I were around you for a while, I might be able to discern a little bit, but honestly, only you know where your heart is, which gives me a good moment to pause for some application here. A few questions just to help you probe and let the word of God dig deeply. Are you living your life unselfishly? Do you demonstrate generosity and care when you have an opportunity to do so? Have you determined what is enough for you? Are you teaching your children how to live within their means?

Or are you still grasping for more? Constantly dissatisfied, envious, looking over the top of your glasses at someone who can own something nicer than you. You know what I've found? That enviable people are often those who don't have a lot, and they live to find fault with those who do.

What a terrible way to live your life. Are you allowing things to lure you from what is invaluable? You can't put a price tag on things that are really valuable, and you have to always guard against greed. I like the way Martin Luther put it. He wrote, whenever the gospel is taught and people seek to live according to it, there are two terrible plagues that always arise. First, false preachers who corrupt the teaching, and then second, sir greed.

Isn't that interesting? He calls greed as if it were a proper name. Then there's sir greed who obstructs right living.

Only you can know if your heart is greedy. Jesus' teaching is designed to help us analyze that. And while we're on the subject, look at 22. The eye is the lamp of the body. See, it's from the eye gate that you're able to view life, and if the eye is clear, your whole body is full of light. If you're seeing things as they really are, which means you place just as much emphasis on the invisible as the visible, and you acknowledge the presence of that which cannot be purchased but is a treasure, your eye is clear. Now, if your eye is bad, then everything is full of darkness, and how great is the darkness.

How blind we can be, which leads him to that last statement. Before we go there, look at Colossians chapter 3. Look at Colossians chapter 3. Paul wrote to the Colossians words of great wisdom in the first couple of three verses of that chapter. Now, there it is. Therefore, Colossians 3 verse 1, if you have been raised up with Christ and as a believer you have, keep seeking the things above.

There you go. Set those treasures above. Keep understanding life through the light of eternity. Keep evaluating things on the basis of your final home. Keep seeking the things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Look at this. Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth, for you've died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you'll also be revealed with him in glory.

But if your eye is bad, back to Matthew 6, there's a darkness that overwhelms you, and you are unable to gauge when enough is enough, or when enough is sometimes too much. Now, look at the last verse. No one. Now, that includes you. That includes me.

It means no one. Not a person alive on the planet can serve two masters. Now, we're used to bosses. We're not familiar with masters because slavery is gone. Thank God.

It's no longer a part of our culture, nor should it ever have been. But in the days of the Romans, slavery was everywhere. Over half the population of Rome itself was in the category of a slave. They knew what master meant. You didn't just work for a master. You were owned by a master, and you never had two at the same time. You can work for two bosses. You can hold down three jobs, and you have three bosses. But when it comes to masters, those who own you, only one.

That's the point. No one can serve two masters, and then there's a contrast. Either you'll hate one of them and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be owned by two, only one.

And I want to warn you in case you have gotten a little bit disillusioned. Wealth is a wicked master. Nothing wrong with wealth. Some of the greatest people in the Bible were wealthy.

Job is one. No one better known in the community or perhaps in the whole region. And probably no one with greater wealth, had more animals, had more land, had more servants than anyone.

He's never criticized for that. He's called a righteous man. He never lost sight of what's valuable. But when you make wealth your master, you will soon be lured to that loyalty, and it'll change you. You'll be different. You'll become greedy. You become competitive, envious. Don't think you have to be wealthy to be envious.

It works for any strata economically. But when you and I allow the truth to guide us, by that I would say the teachings of Jesus He helps us take control of our lives. Envy and greed are sins that torment people from all walks of life and at every level of success.

Rich or poor, with or without, the love of money can ruin us all. You're listening to Insight for Living, and there's much more on this topic Chuck Swindoll wants to explore. He's teaching from Matthew chapter 6, and he titled today's message, The Lure of a Lesser Loyalty. To learn more about this ministry or these messages, please visit us online at It's fascinating to see how the issues Jesus addressed in the first century continue to plague us too.

Envy, pride, greed, legalism, performance-based religion, these are all sins that enslave us in 2021 as well. And if you're ready to shed yourself of legalistic tendencies and begin serving our God who offers you peace, freedom, and rest, then let me point you to a helpful resource. Chuck has written a classic book that's squarely founded on the principles Jesus taught us in his Sermon on the Mount, it's called Simple Faith. To purchase a copy, give us a phone call. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888, or using your computer, go directly to slash store. Insight for Living Ministries is a nonprofit organization made possible not by the purchase of books and other study tools, but by the voluntary gifts of grateful friends. To help us continue providing these daily programs and all the related resources, you can give a donation today by calling us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. When you give a donation, your gift is channeled directly to us via email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email, or by email. Your gift is channeled directly into supplying this daily program, so people here at home and around the world will know the power of Simple Faith. And we have ample evidence, through thousands of phone calls, emails, and comments, that your gifts are truly making a difference. Again, give today by calling us. style 1-800-772-8888, or give online at Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll concludes his three-day message about the lure of a lesser loyalty. Join us Thursday to hear Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Lure of a Lesser Loyalty, 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 / 2023-12-12 09:36:25 / 2023-12-12 09:46:19 / 10

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