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Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2021 7:05 am

Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 6, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Kingdom: A Study of Matthew 8–13

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Today, Chuck Swindoll recounts the call of Jesus to pray. The Lord our God is the Lord our God over this whole world.

He made it. He is not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance. So he says to his twelve, you see how great the harvest is, you see how few the workers are, pray.

Pray that there would be more who would work in his harvest field. Jesus was age thirty when his earthly ministry began in earnest. With just three years to launch his global mission, it was essential for Jesus to prepare qualified leaders to finish what he started.

Those leaders turned out to be an unlikely group, a dozen scrappy fishers of man. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapters 9 and 10. In this section of scripture, the twelve disciples emerge as part of the story, and Chuck will point out the correlation between the disciples' mission and ours today.

Chuck titled today's message, Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light. There isn't a day I live that I don't give God thanks for his word. It is the banquet feast of my life to feed on, to study. I read it often aloud in my study and in other rooms of our home. I say that not to parade any kind of piety, but to let you know that these are words that I live by, and my whole life is spent hoping to encourage others to do the same. I don't always do that very well, and yet the word remains here in print for me to return to.

So much better than relying on my emotions or even my relationships as valuable as they are. When we have his word, we have the very voice of God. You and I do not need to seek visions or pray for dreams to guide us. We have his word. And my hope is that over the passing of time, you will sense the passion that we in this church have for God's word.

We don't worship the print on the page. We worship the living one of whom the word speaks, and that's Christ himself. So when we go through the Gospel, as in the case of the Gospel by Matthew, it is Christ who is our model. We worship him as our Lord, as our Savior. And in his word, he has spoken truth, and we have it recorded for us to guide our lives by. I just want you to know that we frequently turn to it, but we never take it for granted. How grateful we are for a Bible in our language, which becomes for us food for our souls.

From it, we gain hope to go on and strength for each day. Today we're looking at Matthew 9 35 through 10 verse 10. I'll be reading from the New Living Translation. Your Bible may be another version.

That's fine. I use this because often we have people who come who don't even bring a Bible and are not familiar with it. This is more easily grasped than some of the other versions from which I study and read and for which I'm grateful. But we're reading today beginning at Matthew 9 verse 35. Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the good news about the kingdom, and he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest.

Ask him to send more workers into his fields. Jesus called his 12 disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits, to heal every kind of disease and illness. Here are the names of the 12 disciples.

Simon, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed him. Jesus sent out the 12 with these instructions, don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel, God's lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, cast out demons, give as freely as you have received. Don't take any money in your money belts, no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick.

Don't hesitate to accept hospitality because those who work deserve to be fed. 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 slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light. Jesus had his work cut out for him. He only had three or so years to convey his message, to accomplish his mission, and to pay the price for the sins of the world. Three short years and a few months, and it would all be over. On top of that, he had a group of twelve men to train.

Think of it. He would be here for only a short period and then would be gone physically, removed from this earth, and his mission would be carried on by very human individuals, people like you and me. I realize in the passing of time we have immortalized these individuals, and I'll say more about that later, but how inappropriate. They were mere men selected among the ranks mainly of Galileans, one Judean, and they were to carry on in his place, given all of their own faults and failures. They were the ones he wanted to carry out his work.

Now, they are found throughout the Gospels, but they emerge on a few occasions in a very significant way. Usually they're behind the scenes. I was thinking this week they remind me of the medical interns who are in training at a hospital who work in the shadow of a master physician, if I may call the person that.

And when they come to your room and you're there as a patient, they are as close as his elbow or her elbow. They watch what is being done. They listen to what is being said.

They usually say nothing. They are there to observe and to learn. You'd be interested to know that the word disciple means learner. And just as interns learn in a medical establishment by watching, listening, on occasion questioning, being tested, so these men in Jesus' day learned by doing the same. They were to listen well. They were to think right. When they ultimately preached and taught, they were to talk straight.

And when they traveled, they were to travel light. The words for this message are not just haphazardly chosen. They are precisely the marching orders of the disciples.

I always find it interesting when they come out of the shadows and they're suddenly in the spotlight of the writer's attention. And that happens in the passage we're looking at today. All of it begins with Jesus engaged in his ministry. He's working with the public, if you will, and you read in verse 35, he's traveling through all the towns and the villages.

This would be up around Capernaum in the Galilean region around the Sea of Galilee. And he is teaching in the synagogue. They heard him teach. He is announcing the good news about the kingdom. They listened to the announcement.

He healed every kind of disease and illness. They saw it all. Often their observations were with mouths wide open. Some of them, it took seeing it again and again to believe it. Even to the end when he said, I'm going to leave you, but I'm going to take care of you, they were in a quandary. They were confused. Often they were more confused than they were clear in their thinking.

Just ordinary men. Robert Coleman has written an outstanding book titled The Master Plan of Evangelism. In it, he writes about the disciples. Jesus expected the men he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal. This became the distinguishing mark by which they were known.

The simplicity of this approach is marvelous, if not astounding. None of the disciples were asked at first to make a statement of faith or accept a well-defined creed, although they doubtless recognized Jesus to be the Messiah. For the moment, all they were asked to do was to follow Jesus.

So they're doing that. As he traveled, they traveled with him. As he rested, they rested beside him. As he ate, they ate with him often. As he healed, they stood and stared. Now, something happens in this narrative that I find very interesting. I want you to think clearly now as we read these next words. When he saw the crowds, the he is Jesus, look at what he felt. He felt compassion on them. Before we go any further, Matthew uses a word that is colorful, maybe a little indelicate. The word literally means entrails and vowels. I told you it was a little delicate.

We call it generally the gut. He felt deeply, and that's where we have deep feelings. When you were a child, remember saying, I hate her with all my guts. Don't look at me like that. You all said things like that.

So did I. When we refer to telling everything, we say, I'm going to spill my guts, referring to the deepest level of our emotions. Sometime when we discern something that isn't quite right, we say, I have this feeling in my gut.

My gut feeling is, see how we do it? So it fits. Deep within the realm of his body, he felt sympathy, pity, sadness, concern.

All of that wraps around the meaning compassion. The Greek word is splakna. Sounds like guts, doesn't it? Splakna.

Splaknizumai. He had this deep feeling for the crowds. Why?

Look at what it says. Because they were confused and helpless. The word means harassed, distressed, and the other word means burdened even on occasion down and out. You know what I think?

I think he saw people who had been taught only by Pharisees and religious officials who learned from the Pharisees. They were under the load of shame and guilt. The constant demands. You must do this.

You must not do that. The judgmentalism of those in authority. They were beaten down. They were burdened. They were like sheep without a merciful, loving, gracious shepherd. They were lost.

Now keep reading. He said, here they are stepping out of the shadows. He said to the disciples, isn't that interesting?

He doesn't speak to the general public and tell those people who have an interest in others what he has on his heart. He looks at the 12. He says, man, man, the harvest is great and the workers are few. Stop there. That's the message of every mission, organization that's ever been in existence. That's the statement that every church could give. The needs are enormous.

They're overwhelming. The numbers of people who are harassed and beaten, those who were lost far outnumber those who are saved. Man, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Then he gives them a command. Pray.

Look at who was in charge. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send more workers into his harvest fields. The Lord our God is the Lord our God over this whole world.

He made it. He is not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance. So he says to his 12, you see how great the harvest is? You see how few the workers are? Pray. Pray that there would be more who would work in his harvest field.

Let me pause and add a few words here. How seldom we pray for there to be more workers in the field of the general public. When's the last time you prayed for one of your own sons or daughters to be engaged as a worker in God's harvest field?

What vision do you have for your own offspring or your own grandchildren or perhaps a close friend whom you know as a real heart for spiritual things? Ever pause and say, Lord, I pray that you will send her. Interesting word it means to thrust out or to impel the idea of calling them.

Calling them out. I had a great experience rather recently one of my grandsons and I went to have a meal together one evening. And his favorite place is Pappado's. It's hard to get a bad meal there and you certainly get a lot. Usually he orders a trough of seafood which I'm thinking is going to take some home to his family.

Are you kidding? He eats that and wants to know if I want all of my shrimp. So we're there enjoying a great meal together. I'm having a wonderful time with him.

He's so easy to be with. He talked to me about being concerned regarding those on his campus where he's at the school. It's a school out of state and I'll not mention it but his heart is concerned for those without Christ.

He's working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a wonderful organization and he's really taken by the leader of that group and he's giving thought perhaps this summer of working at a Christian camp. And then he asked me, he said, do you have any books that would help me really get to know God better? I thought I got about 10,000, son. He said, would you pick out one or two?

And I said, you bet. So we went by the house and I got it and notice he didn't go buy one. He borrowed one that I have.

Remember, he's a college student. And as I hugged him and said goodbye and told how much I loved him, he drove away and I was walking back into my home and I just paused and said, Lord, what a great messenger he could be. And I prayed that the Lord would send him. And I didn't just keep that to myself.

I told him, said, I really wonder if the Lord may have his hand on you. And when you finish your undergraduate work, you just go right on to seminary, get your training to serve Christ. Not everybody has to go to seminary and most don't.

I understand that. But those of us who have been privileged to do realize what great training there is, the advanced learning, the deeper things of theology, the broader sense of vision, the awareness of what God's done down through the history of the church and on and on. And I just thought he would just, he would be a great worker in this vast harvest. And then I thought of others, began to pray for them. So the Lord's moving on my heart to do what he asked those disciples to do, to pray to the Lord who is in charge, that he'd thrust forth these laborers. Now, unfortunately, there's a chapter break at the end of verse 38 and the beginning of verse 1, chapter 10.

Now, don't stone me. Chapters are not inspired. A chapter could start a little later. They'd been placed there arbitrarily and carefully by scholars of the past.

I'm not getting into any of that. It's a very helpful way of finding our way through the Bible, chapters and then verses. But on occasion, a chapter break is unfortunate because I want you to observe the obvious. The very ones he asked to pray, he wound up sending. And isn't that often the way it is? Jesus called his 12 disciples together. Notice what he did. He enabled them for that particular era to be one of his workmen. He gave them authority to cast out evil spirits. He gave them authority to heal every kind of disease. He gave them authority over the illnesses. And here are the names of the 12.

I know, I know. Centuries have passed since this occurred. And we've had enough time to put them all in plaster of Paris or stone and give them the name saint.

Please. They were none of the above. They were just ordinary men. At Insight for Living Ministries, we're asking God to bring more workers to the harvest. People from all walks of life that, like the disciples, are willing to drop their nets and follow Jesus. Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapters 9 and 10, and he titled today's message, Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light. To learn more about Chuck Swindoll or this ministry, please visit us online at And then we're inviting you to add the Swindoll Study Bible to your personal library. This Bible is integrated with Chuck's pastoral insight, practical application, and inspiration.

And it's laid out in a format that's simple to navigate. Plus, Chuck's conversational style brings a warmth that's rarely found in study Bibles. To purchase the Swindoll Study Bible, go to slash store. Or if you prefer, call us. If you're listening in the US, dial 1-800-772-8888. Insight for Living Ministries is a nonprofit organization made possible not by the purchase of study Bibles and other resources, but through the voluntary donations of grateful supporters. And we're thankful for the loyal friends who've come alongside us with their generous donations, especially during this complicated season when the pandemic has collided with a variety of cultural issues that are pressing us into unfamiliar territory.

There's never been a season quite like this one, and we're intent on walking alongside you every step of the way. To provide the means necessary to broadcast Chuck Swindoll's messages on radio and the internet, you can send a donation right now by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. Or give online at Thank you for your generous support of Insight for Living Ministries. Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll draws a correlation between the 12 disciples and becoming fishers of men today. Listen Friday to Insight for Living. The preceding message, Listen Well, Think Right, Talk Straight, Travel Light, was copyrighted in 2016 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 / 2023-11-21 22:41:04 / 2023-11-21 22:49:08 / 8

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