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A Severe Checklist for Disciples, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2021 7:05 am

A Severe Checklist for Disciples, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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May 18, 2021 7:05 am

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

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Today on Insight for Living, from Chuck Swindoll. Every deed done for the glory of God, every righteous act, every self-denial he notices, he remembers, he will reward. And one of the best ways for it to be revealed is how you treat the least of those around you.

Even a cup of cold water to someone who isn't able to keep up, God is not unjust to forget. When hunting for a new job, there's a natural tension between the employer and candidate. Both are looking after their own interests while trying to satisfy the expectations of the other party.

Things like vacation time, compensation, and other benefits are on the table. Well, when Jesus recruited his disciples, it sounded far more one-sided. Jesus called his followers into a life of sacrificial service. He talked about denying self and taking up their cross. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll points us to Matthew chapter 10 and what he calls a severe checklist for disciples. Jesus prepared them for combat, if you will, with this checklist. I've given you a place to write down for in the passage we're looking, 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. It is a public acknowledgment. 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. 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. 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.

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. You 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? Well, 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. Look at what it 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. Our 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 that 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. 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. Jim Elliott put it better than anyone else I've ever read outside the Bible. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Easy to be caught up in the stuff that really pleases us. I've never known such narcissism as I witness now around me. It's everywhere.

It's even in presidential candidates. It's all about them. Who cares about them? I care about their being a servant.

They're having character. Being willing to stand alone on things that are right, regardless how rare that is. How difficult it is in a day when you can make lots of money to know how to restrain yourself and not get lost in your own toys. One man puts it better than I could. If you're doing everything in your power to make it, to get the perfect spouse, the lucrative job, the big house, the sleek car, and all the right connections, guess what? You lose.

The biggest gainers are the biggest losers, but if you're willing to come to Jesus Christ as your king and give him your life, here's my life, Lord. It's all yours. I go wherever you want me to go. I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'll give whatever you want me to give.

I'll suffer whatever you'd have me suffer. And this is a beautiful irony of the kingdom life. Then you will find life, true life in this life, and true life and reward in the life to come. So writes Douglas O'Donnell in his book on Matthew.

So where are you right now in this whole thing? You see, when you follow Christ's line of thinking and living, in the end you win. You really win. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Never forget that. Never forget to teach that to your children and your grandchildren. Do your best to live it.

A little quick review and we'll go to one more in the checklist and we're through. Number one, openly acknowledge Christ before the world without hesitation and without shame. Willingly accept rejection, even from your own family.

Sacrificially choose the essential priorities as much as possible to say no to yourself. And number four, a loyal disciple, this is the most positive and invisible of all, a loyal disciple humbly anticipates and accepts eternal rewards. Humbly anticipates eternal rewards. This will motivate you in these other areas.

Look at what it reads, 40. Anyone who receives you receives me. Anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you'll be given the same reward as a prophet. If you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you'll be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you'll surely be rewarded. What great words. But the grace of God, rewards await us. They'll be ours by His grace to claim. Let me give you a verse to write in the margin of your Bible. You ready? Hebrews 6, 10.

You get home, look it up. It's worth some time. God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you minister to the saints and you keep on ministering. God is not unjust to forget.

Every deed done for the glory of God, every righteous act, every self-denial He notices, He remembers, He will reward. And one of the best ways for it to be revealed is how you treat the least of those around you. Even a cup of cold water to someone a little slower than you are, someone bound to a wheelchair, someone who needs another in order to stand, someone who isn't able to keep up, one of the special needs individuals and they're all around us by the millions. Ever sat in a wheelchair? Probably you haven't. I did.

I did one time just to know what it felt like. I was in San Diego airport. We were on a flight, several fellows and I.

We were going through San Diego to the next leg of our flight and we were there for about three and a half hours, I recall. We were sitting in the public waiting area and there was a stack of wheelchairs off to the side that were to be used to help people who needed them. And I walked over and sat down in one. And I wheeled out a little further, didn't make a show of anything. I just sat there. The guys were over here staring at me like, what's he up to now?

And I'm sitting there and it's the most interesting experience. Most people totally ignore you. Some walk by and pat you on the head.

I never could figure that one out. Several leaned over and said, I'm sorry, and they walked on. Maybe one or two in the passing of an hour or more stopped to visit. In a former church I served, we had one of our very faithful couples. He had been injured and was paralyzed from the waist down, so he was in a chair. His wife often would be the one who would assist him getting him into the church service. One occasion they came in, he was in the chair and she was buying him. One of the ushers said, would he like one of the worship holders? And she goes, why don't you ask him?

He'll be able to hear you and answer you. It's funny, isn't it, we feel like there. Do you have five people in your life who are special need?

How about three? It's amazing what happens when you take time for the least. Something wonderful. Jesus said in another place, and as much as you've done it unto the least of these my brothers, you've done it unto me. It's a great thing when you who are so successful and capable take time for those who will never be either.

It's just invaluable. I love it that our church has a place for them. Since the very first day we worship, we have a place for them. I love it that we have a service for them, just for them, where we honor them.

One of my favorite stories comes out of that. They are the ones who usher. They're the ones sometimes who bring the music. They're often the ones who take the offering. And we have a special offering that we take at the end for their summer camp and Johnny Erickson taught a summer camp. And one time we had one of our young men there who was taking the offering and a gentleman walked up with a $1,000 check. He was going to put the check in the offering plate. The young man said to him, No, we want cash. We don't want paper. Cash. Isn't that good?

Well, the great thing about special needs, they just say what needs to be said. Okay, fellow disciples, let's press on. Let's do this together. We can make it. It's going to get harder. We learned that last time. It's not going to get easier to make Christ known. You may lose a friend or two.

You may lose your job. Let's go at it together. Time for some questions only you can answer. I won't linger here. Had you been one of the 12, would you have walked away that day? Another question. Do you deliberately keep others from knowing that you're a Christian?

Here's a third. Are you still offended because a family member turned on you? Rejected you because of your faith? Would others say that you're a model of self-denial?

Or would they see you as selfish? You knew I'd ask this one. When was the last time you took time for the least of these?

Can you remember the last time? Finally, are you a true believer in Jesus Christ? Are you really a believer in Jesus Christ? Please bow with me.

It was Isaac Watts who wrote, Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb? Shall I fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name? Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood? Is this vile world a friend of grace to help me on to God? You've never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh, you don't know what you're missing. You have no idea what this kind of self-denial can mean to your walk and your maturity. How much your family will appreciate it. What a difference you will make in the groups you run with. What a change it will bring in the decisions that right now are just one selfish decision after another. How much fun you'll begin to have with a clear conscience. How much better a mom or dad you'll be because Christ is enthroned in your life. Don't wait.

Come to Him now. Simple prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, take my life, let it be. What you would have it be, I freely and immediately give it to you. I take your forgiveness and grace as my own.

Thank you. Dear Father, help us in this battleground journey to walk it with caution and care, but free of worry, not easily offended, forgetful of self and interested in others. Start here at this pulpit. Teach me the things I need to know to be a far better witness for you. Then give me the grace to go there. And the same for my brothers and sisters, and for those who've just come to Christ. Guide them into the truth. For Jesus' sake, we pray.

Everyone said, Amen. At the outset of this message, Chuck Swindoll warned us today's passage is difficult to understand, and yet it sets the standard for our commitment as followers of Jesus. This is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. As your radio Bible teacher, Chuck makes it his personal mission to preach the whole counsel of God's word, even the challenging passages like the one we've studied today in Matthew chapter 10. These requirements from Jesus, though presented 2,000 years ago, have immediate application for our times. And to help you apply these principles to your daily life, you'll be glad to know Chuck wrote a helpful commentary on this first book of the New Testament. Actually, because of its depth, the commentary for Matthew comes in two volumes. This isn't a stereotypical commentary that sometimes feels dry and academic. The format of Swindoll's Living Insights commentary on Matthew is clear and easy to navigate, and it's integrated with articles, practical application, and a variety of helpful pictures.

So whether you're a serious student of the Bible or you're just beginning to learn what it means to follow Jesus, we believe Swindoll's Living Insights commentary on Matthew will help you. To purchase both volumes, go to insight.org slash store. Or call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. In addition to the commentary, each of the messages you hear on this program is complemented by an interactive online lesson.

We call them Searching the Scriptures. These study notes are absolutely free. You can even print out the PDF files and share them with your friends. To access these documents, go to insight.org slash studies. As God prompts you to contribute to this nonprofit ministry, we invite you to participate financially. To give a gift of support today, call us.

If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Or go online to insight.org. Thank you for your generous support of Insight for Living Ministries. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.

Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6-17, 2022. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides. And we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors, to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444.

Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Dave Spiker. Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll describes how to survive confusing moments when disappointment leads to doubt. Tune in for Insight for Living. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-17 23:01:09 / 2023-11-17 23:09:33 / 8

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