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A Severe Checklist for Disciples, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2021 7:05 am

A Severe Checklist for Disciples, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 17, 2021 7:05 am

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

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When Jesus recruited the disciples to follow Him, His list of requirements was shocking. He talked about denying self, giving up your life, and parting ways with those you love. In light of these tough standards, it raises the obvious question, how do these standards identified by Jesus apply to His followers in 2021?

How can we expect to attain such lofty values? Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapter 10. And during the next half hour, he'll bring perspective on what he calls a severe checklist for disciples. We were truly sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Deeply stained within, we were sinking, sinking to rise no more. Those of us who know you, Father, as our Father, identified with those words, and we pause now to thank you that your love lifted us. Thank you for a place, Lord, where we can be who we are, with nothing to fear and no one to shame us. Thank you for your grace that meets us far more than halfway and then escorts us to where we long to be, in harmony with you and in a relationship with others who mean much to us. Thank you for shepherding us along the journey.

We are like sheep who've gone astray. Thank you, Father, for never giving up on us, for your patience, your mercy knew every morning the hope you give us to replace our desperate feelings of lostness. We pray that we will be given courage to speak for you, to forget ourselves, to remember our calling, our commitment. In the process of life, Father, use our life and our lips to bring hope to those who've lost their way. And finally, Lord, I pray that we will have a special place in our hearts for the least of us, those who can't keep up, those now in wheelchairs, now walking with the assistance of others on their arm, a cane or crutches, those who are slower. May we value them and realize how much they mean to us. Give those who minister to them and help them great strength and patience. And open our hearts, Lord, to a world that is awash in pursuits that are a waste. And deliver us from pride and indifference.

May we find lasting joy in things that matter. That's why we give, Lord. We don't give because you've ever had a need. We give because we are the ones who need to know the pleasure of generosity. Show us the value of giving, not unlike your son who gave himself that we might live. We know the grace of our Lord Jesus, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor.

That we through that poverty might be rich. In the name of Christ, we pray these things. And in the name of Christ, we give our gifts. 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 insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck about a severe checklist for disciples. Jesus had quite an assignment on his hands when he called the twelve, and then sometime after demonstrating to them what ministry was about, released them to go on their own. They went out among their own people, the Jews, no longer able to stand in the shadow and watch the master work. They were now before the public. They were the ones to take the criticism. They were the ones to feel the difficult questions. They were the ones to minister as they had seen him do.

It's safe when you're beside the mentor and you can stay quiet as the mentor does the hard part. But then it comes a time when the finger points at your chest and says, it's your turn. That happens in Chapter 10 of Matthew. Before Jesus had finished and then sent them out, he gave them what I'm calling a severe checklist. Keep in mind that he's preparing the twelve for spiritual combat with this checklist. I've given you a place to write down for in the passage we're looking at, drawn from the passage we're looking at 32 through 42 of this passage before us.

Let me give you the first one, then we'll read the words. Loyal disciples openly acknowledge Christ before the world. Disciples openly acknowledge Christ before the world.

They don't keep it secret. Without being ashamed or hesitant, true disciples acknowledge him as Lord. Look at how it reads, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father. Your Bible probably reads confess, he who confesses me. A better rendering is acknowledge. We might see it as they're identifying with Christ by their acknowledgement. If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe that God raised him from the dead, we are saved. Confess with the mouth, acknowledge with the mouth. Back to Matthew 10 here, it is a public acknowledgement, please observe we acknowledge him publicly here on earth. We make him known.

How do we do that? Obviously, we do it with our lives to start with. I love the way one person put it rather cleverly, always preach the gospel when necessary, use words.

Isn't that good? When your life is what it should be, your words will not surprise them. They may not agree, they may not even like to hear it, but they can't say you don't live what you're saying.

Ideally, your life gets the attention and then words follow. So that's another way we acknowledge him. I do not hesitate to say that I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, I need to remind you in case you have forgotten for a moment that it's not politically correct. That's why it's the right thing to do. When you do that, you make it known that you are a follower of Jesus.

It's so easy for us to forget the value of simply living the life. It speaks volumes. And the opposite is also true, deny him here, he denies you there. It's evidence that you don't belong to him. Another way you may deny him, if I might add, is your silence. You're in a gathering, subjects arise that are appropriate for you to mention it or to become known as a Christian, and you let it go by. Why do we do that? Oh, there are a number of reasons we do, but that's a denial.

In fact, you say, well, you know, if I do this, as you describe where to do, you realize there will be problems. Look at verse 34. Don't imagine I came to bring peace on the earth, I came not to bring peace, but a sword. In his first coming, he came with a sword. In his second coming, he comes with peace. He's the prince of peace. He sets up a kingdom of peace. But when he first came, he and those who followed him presented a sword, often a very sharp sword, that causes others to feel uneasy. You don't do it to make them feel uneasy, but you're just a loyal disciple willing to acknowledge Christ without hesitation and without feeling ashamed. So we start there.

Here's number two. Loyal disciples willingly accept rejection, even from their own family members. Loyal disciples willingly accept rejection, even from their own family members. Look at verse 35.

I told you the list was severe. I've come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother. Or a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Her enemies will be right in your own household.

If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you're not worthy of being mine. Before we go there, let's pause at this place and think about moms and dads that turn against kids because the kids get so serious about spiritual things. Maybe you're one of those moms or dads.

Maybe you're one of the kids. Family members can make ugly statements about Christians that have come to be known as such in the family. And family gathering statements are sometimes made snide remarks.

Perhaps relatives and those who were once friends turn on you. You see, Christ sets at variance these relationships. I work some with seminary students, young men and women who have been called to do God's work and go into vocational Christian service. And I don't know how many times I've heard them make the comment, you know, everything was great until I got real serious about my faith.

And then my dad was disappointed because I didn't go into his work or his kind of work. Or my mother felt embarrassed when she told people that I was at a seminary. And I try to encourage them with the fact that that's part of the responsibility of being a disciple.

You go right on. Just sharing the fact that you have given your heart to Christ causes certain family members to bristle. Jesus said that would happen. When it does, you just simply know you're on the right track.

Now, again, we don't do what we do to be obnoxious about it. I realized when I first dropped my sea bag on, you know, in that little Quonset hut on Okinawa in 3rd Marine Division, and I was surrounded by 47 other Marines. It wasn't long before I realized I'm going to either go the way they're going or I'll have to go the way Christ would have me go. And I need to do this without looking like a preacher. One of the sergeants loved to call me Friar Swindle. That was my name, Friar Swindle. Hey, Friar! I didn't know what it was until I went in the ministry and I looked at what Friar meant.

Friar Swindle. I realized that over 90% of them had venereal disease because they slept with prostitutes. And they had sores on their bodies. And they had heavy hearts after the fact.

Many of them became alcoholics. Interestingly, as a result of building a relationship with them and trying every way I knew to tell them how much I loved being with them and proud to be in an outfit where they would fight for their country, I realized they would never get it until they came to Christ. Then I thought of all ways to make him known that that would work.

I even had the guy that slept below me help me with my scripture verses I was memorizing. Because he had told me early when he got there, he said, Hey, Swindle, I want you to know that I don't want you to lay your Jesus trip on me. They've already warned me.

You're one of those. I said, OK, I won't do that, Eddie. But then I decided to witness by deception. And I would give him my verse pack and he would say, I don't want that stuff. I said, no, no, no.

I just want you to help me. And I carefully put the gospel verses on the front end. And I would fake that I forgot a word. For God so loved the world that he gave his only signs. All while Eddie's repeating the verses without my laying my trip on him. I've told some of you this.

Twenty five, 30 years later, my phone rang and I remember the voice. Hey, Swindle. I said, yeah, this is Eddie. Oh, Eddie, how are you? Hey, I just want to tell you, it worked.

You know, when you tricked me into reading all those verses and. Yeah. You've got to live with the fact that you're going to get rejected. You've got to learn ways to work around that. Without always being the.

The prod, the prude. They'll see you as that, but. How valuable it is for you to remember that. Your enemies are right under your own roof. That's hard to deal with.

I know. By the way, if you're one of those moms or dads. Just do a little soul searching right now. You've got a child more interested in Christ than you are. Give God thanks.

Or you got a parent or a relative that doesn't quite agree with the commitment you have. Understand why. Remember, that's what Jesus said would happen.

This leads us to our third in the checklist. Loyal disciples sacrificially choose their essential priorities. Loyal disciples sacrificially choose their essential priorities.

Life always boils down to priorities. Let's see what Jesus teaches. If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you're not worthy of being mine. If you love your son or daughter more than me, you're not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you're not worthy of being mine.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give your life up for me, you'll find it. What on earth does that mean? What it does not mean is that you don't love your mother or father. It's not teaching that. Or that you don't just truly love your sons and daughters. It's not teaching that. Jesus says, more than me.

More than me. And a little later, give up your life for me. It's comparative. My love for Christ is to be greater than my love for my wife. Her love for Christ is to be greater than her love for her husband. Her love for the Lord Jesus is greater than our love for our four adult kids and how we love them. But it isn't a love greater than our highest love.

How does it work its way out? Well, a loyal disciple acknowledges that there is a commitment that supersedes all other commitments. Choices are made based on that. Bunyan was told if he didn't stop preaching, he would be thrown in prison. He knew if he was thrown in prison, it would bring hardship to his wife and their children. He kept preaching out of commitment to Christ, trusting the Lord would take care of his wife and children.

They threw him in prison. While there, by the way, he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress, which has guided and blessed lives ever since he wrote it. But be that as it may, he loved Christ more than he loved his own wife or children. I have a good friend who became, after his years at seminary, became an army chaplain. Was an officer in the Green Beret, outstanding outfit, happened to be during the Vietnam War and they were in combat. And I'll tell you, the presence of a godly chaplain in the military can hardly be exaggerated in its importance.

Incredible ministry as a chaplain pours himself into the battle weary troops and those in the military that often have time on their hands or struggling with issues in their lives. He was there his full term. In fact, he was wounded. Got over the wound and stayed in battle. He was a medal winning officer and it came time for him to go home.

He didn't have peace about it. In the war, you're free to stay longer even if your term is over and he wrote his wife and he said to her, sweetheart, I got to tell you, I really don't have peace about just leaving the guys. I don't know what kind of chaplain will follow me. I don't even know if they'll get a chaplain as thin as the ranks are. And the guys are just telling me again and again how much the ministry is meaning to them and how much I've left several to Christ and there are others right on the verge. I think I'm going to stay if you're comfortable with that. She talked it over with the kids.

He stayed another full, as I recall, about 16 months. That's loving Christ more than you love your wife and children. Look at this last one here that he mentions as he talks about clinging to your life. You lose it and if you give up your life, you'll find it, which ties in with taking up your cross. That's colloquialism for the first century.

What does it mean, the 21st? It means self-denial. It means being willing to die to yourself for the purposes of Christ. Not carrying out your will, but His. Not walking your way, but His way.

Not deciding on what pleases you, but what pleases Him. Jesus said, if you love your father or mother more than you love Me, you're not worthy of being Mine. That's a startling statement. We urge you to be listening when Chuck Swindoll continues to examine the meaning of this passage in Matthew's Gospel. You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck titled today's message, A Severe Checklist for Disciples. To learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org.

When you're reading your Bible and you come across disconcerting passages like this one, it's imperative to understand the historical context in which it was written. And I'll remind you about the Swindoll Study Bible. This is a wonderful resource for cross-referencing difficult passages and gaining insight from a man who spent a lifetime digging into God's Word. The Swindoll Study Bible lays open in your lap and includes decades of personal study and insight laid side by side with the Scriptures.

And it's written, of course, in the approachable style you've come to expect from Chuck. To purchase a copy of the Swindoll Study Bible, go to insight.org slash store. Or call us.

If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. In closing, we'd like to send out a resounding word of thanks to all those who support Insight for Living financially. Even during this challenging year of multiple distractions, our listening family has demonstrated their faithful commitment to this Bible teaching ministry.

And we're profoundly grateful. And as God prompts you to give today, just follow the simple instructions at insight.org slash donate. You can also give a contribution in the mail by becoming a monthly giver, someone we call a monthly companion. You can easily register online at insight.org slash monthly companion. And there's no better way to leverage and simplify your support of Insight for Living than this method. Or become a monthly companion today when you call us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. In March 2022, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel. Carefully plan to deepen your understanding of the Bible and draw you closer to God.

Chuck Swindoll. For thousands of years, no place has been more meaningful to God's children than the land of Israel. The rugged landscape reminds us to find refuge in God alone. The fertile valleys invite us to follow our shepherd. Jerusalem's position at the very center of the world announces the good news of Christ to every nation. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6 through 17, 2022. Every time I visited the Holy Land, I returned home with a refreshed heart for God and a renewed vision for the world.

Really, I mean it every time. And so I want you to have the same life-changing experience. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. Tomorrow, Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the severe requirements for following Jesus. Be sure to listen again Tuesday to Insight for Living. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-18 08:57:52 / 2023-11-18 09:06:27 / 9

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