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Sabbath Lord vs. Religious Nitpickers, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
June 1, 2021 7:05 am

Sabbath Lord vs. Religious Nitpickers, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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June 1, 2021 7:05 am

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

Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
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J.D. Greear
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Pastor Rick Gaston
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Alistair Begg

In March 2022, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel carefully planned to deepen your understanding of the Bible and draw you closer to God. Chuck Swindoll. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6 through 17, 2022.

Really, I mean it every time. And so I want you to have the same life-changing experience. To learn more, go to 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. The laws of God serve a purpose. They expose our sinfulness. But in Jesus' day, the Pharisees took the laws of Moses to a whole new level.

They obsessed over following the rules and even created additional regulations God never intended. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapter 12. In this passage, we read about a lively encounter between Jesus and the legalistic Pharisees.

It not only exposes the folly of their pride, but has serious implications for us today as well. Chuck titled today's message Sabbath Lord versus Religious Nitpickers. Turn back to Matthew 12 and let me show you an example of legalism in action. At about that time, Jesus was walking through some grain fields on the Sabbath.

Don't miss that. It's all about the Sabbath. They're walking through some grain fields and the disciples are starving. They're hungry. His disciples are hungry so they decided or they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. So they're enjoying the grain until the Pharisees come and they saw it and they protested. They said, look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath. Stop. It's not the law they're breaking.

It's your tradition. It's your teachings about the law. They were perfectly within their rights. Now, they are Pharisees. They are the ones who really knew the scripture.

They were the conservatives among religious circles of that day. But look at Jesus' question. It's a little insulting. He says, haven't you read in the scriptures?

Whoa. Haven't you even read what the scriptures teach about David? David did when he and his companions were hungry.

He went into the house of God. He and his companions really broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. Again, that was allowed. That was provided because mercy trumps the rigid requirements.

And in this case, there's a need that's great. And haven't you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the temple may work on the Sabbath? But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of the scripture. Whoa.

Feel the twisting of the knife? If you knew the meaning, the real meaning of the scriptures, you wouldn't be questioning my innocent disciples. I want to show you mercy, not offer sacrifices, for the Son of Man is Lord even over the Sabbath. Whoa.

Don't think they missed that. You know what he's saying? I'm Lord over the Sabbath. Matter of fact, if you check it out, you'll realize Jesus authored the law as a part of the Godhead. Before he came to this earth, he's engaged in these things. And he says to them, I will tell you, I'm the Lord of the Sabbath.

That did it. At that point, their hostility grew by leaps and bounds. But he doesn't stop. Look at what happens. Then Jesus went over to their synagogue where he noticed a man with a deformed... Remember, it's still the Sabbath. And he goes into the synagogue and he finds a man with a deformed hand.

Look at this. The Pharisees asked Jesus, does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath? That is not a question without a hook. It's a question designed to nail him.

In fact, Matthew says, they were hoping he would say yes so they could bring charges against him. They never examined their own motives. Pharisees are like that.

They're so busy condemning and putting people on the spot, they don't stop to realize how hypocritical their words are, how deceptive. In many ways, how unfair. But by the way, he didn't fall for it. Look at this. He answered it like a good prof at a school. He answers their question with a question.

Now look at this. If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you work to pull it out? He knew that to them the economy was very important and their having their sheep was extremely important. If your sheep falls into a well, would you attempt to pull it out of the well if it's on the Sabbath? And look at his response. Of course you would.

I love that. Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep? I want to read that to every tree hugger in the country. How much more valuable is a person than the environment?

How much more valuable is a person than earth? A person has an eternal soul, not a sheep. But you place higher priority on a sheep's life than you are than you would on a man's hand being healed.

Yeah, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath. The little space at the end of that statement at verse 12. What you're hearing is jaws falling onto chests as they are standing without an answer.

He's got them. Then he said to the man, look at this act of compassion. He said to the man, hold out your hand.

The man held out his hand. It was restored just like the other one and not one Pharisee applauded. Not one thought how great of God to heal that hand. They all thought he broke our rule about the Sabbath. How dare you do that? You say, well, maybe you're going a little far. Well, maybe you've not read the next verse. The man held out his hand.

It was restored like the other. Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus. I don't know what you do with a verse like that, but I pause and realize the evil that can lurk in every heart.

When you are so determined to control others that somebody gets in your way, you plan to do away with them, you've got some real homework to take care of. They have a meeting and plan, a conspiracy for his death. This is the turning point in Matthew's Gospel.

At this point, everything changes. Jesus goes more underground, they get more hostile, and it climaxes when you get to chapter 27 and they nail him to a cross. But notice what Jesus' response is in verse 15. Jesus knew what they were planning. Of course he did. He's God. He realized there was that conspiracy meeting held in secrecy, and he left the area and many people followed him.

He healed all the sick among them. There are times when the wisest thing to be done is to walk away. He does so in this case because his time has not yet come.

It will. And when it does come in the Garden of Gethsemane and they arrest him, he doesn't fight them. He gives himself up and allows himself to be crucified. But this is not the hour. This is not the time. So he slips away and many follow, and he warns them not to reveal who he was. That's the reason. Let's keep it between us. I want to ask you three questions as I close this message today, and they are designed to make you think.

And maybe because they are such, it may make you squirm. I don't know. But there are honest questions that came to me when I finished studying this passage. Three probing questions.

Here's the first. Do you allow legalists to control you? Maybe you're thinking, often I do, or sometimes I've done that. You may be among those who could say in all honesty, never.

I've learned better than that. Part of the reason is you can never please a legalist fully, and second, you have no reason to. A legalist doesn't speak for God.

He follows his own list of rules and regulations. My heart goes out to you if you were raised in a legalistic home. Most people in my generation, I've learned in talking with them, maybe I should say many, were raised in a home filled with rules and requirements. Your parents may have been legalists.

They meant well, I'm sure. But that's the way they were raised, because you control conduct by giving out rules, which really is a rather immature plan. You see, when you are self-governed, you restrict yourself. One of the marks of maturity is knowing you're going too far, or you shouldn't do this, it's not appropriate.

You shouldn't go there. As you grow up in the Lord, you develop that sense of knowing what's best without needing to be told. So my question stays, if it is true that you are still allowing a legalist to control you, you will not grow until you break that habit. Growing spiritually requires that you start thinking on your own, which brings me to the second, kind of helps you answer the first. Can you discern between God's instructions and others' expectations? Jesus lived his ministry doing that.

We just saw an example of it right here on the Sabbath. Question again, can you discern between God's instructions and others' expectations? You realize that in this book there are some lists, and they are important. They're part of the Word of God. Are you aware of those lists that God has given us? When you bring a charge to those who are being ordained into ministry, you lay on them the responsibilities of the ministry. Drawing the principles from the Word of God, you really give them a list. But it's a list that is worth following because it's a part of the Scriptures, the application of such. But then there are other instructions that come from those who are not basing it on the Scriptures.

They have expectations, and they give them to you one, two, three at a time, three or four in a list, and you're going to learn them and you're going to follow them. As you grow in the Lord, you will discern. You'll not need to give concern to that. If you do, you will live under constant battle with guilt and shame. The Lord did not come to pile up the guilt and shame against us. He came truly to set us free. You will know the truth, and the truth will what? Set you free.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. And you are free then to obey Christ. You're not free to do whatever you please. That's not freedom. That's self-serving.

That's narcissism. But you're freed now by the power of Christ to follow his instructions and how great it is when you come to that place that you can live like that. Here's a third question. Are you becoming an agent of grace? You're spreading grace messages as often as you can, especially when you're around those that you see are living under the thumb of others.

Here's a way to tell. Are you resisting the tendency to control others? Start with your own older children. Are you still trying to control them, or do you release them?

They're on their own now. Are you releasing others off of probation, or do you hold people for a period of time until they prove themselves? Do you look for opportunities to affirm others? One of my questions I like to ask is, do you offer encouragement to at least one person every day? Are you breaking the habits of shame and blame? If so, you're an agent of grace.

Years ago, I came across a wonderful piece that I've carried with me and will sometimes use. It's called Letting Go. Listen carefully. These are words of grace. To let go doesn't mean to stop caring. It means I cannot do it for someone else. To let go is not to cut myself off. It's the realization that I cannot control another. To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

There's more. To let go is not to try to change or blame another. I can only change myself. To let go is not to care for, but to care about. To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

It's not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. To let go is not to be in the middle of arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes. To let go is not to be protective, but to permit another to face reality.

It is not to deny, but to accept. To let go is not to nag or scold or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them. To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes. To let go is to fear less and love more. If I've learned anything in these many years in the ministry, I've learned the value of letting things go. I used to not do that.

Cynthia could tell you. When people didn't change, I thought there's something I need to do or I need to say. When there wasn't a real healthy affirming response to my preaching, I thought, I've got to fix my preaching so they'll respond positively.

When people didn't correct their paths, I would think, I'm obviously not doing something I should be. See, I am the fixer. I'm a professional fixer if I don't watch it.

And I've got to live long enough to stop sweating all that fixing stuff. You know what? When this sermon ends, you're on your own. I ain't following your car. I ain't looking through your keyhole.

You know why? I got too much stuff in my own life that takes my time to deal with. My job is to declare the truth and get out of the way.

Hi. You're on your own or you'll never grow up. You see, if I don't believe that, I'll keep counting how many are coming to church to listen to me when it isn't about that at all. We come together to learn principles that help us grow up and become spiritually self-sustaining for the glory of Christ.

Actually, as you grow up, you become easier to live with rather than harder to live with. Some of your wives have written me. No, I'm kidding. I haven't heard from anybody.

And letters like that I don't give much attention to. Because my job is not to fix you. It's to be a faithful teacher of the truth so that you take the truth and apply it. If you need Jesus, I don't follow you around telling you that 24 hours a day. I tell you that as often as I can, and then I get out of the way and let Jesus take over. He's very able to handle you.

He's never met his match. And if you get out of line, he has ways of bringing you back in line. He doesn't need me to help him. It's part of being mature. It's part of a reason you love Stonebriar Church. Because you can feel the freedom to fail and you won't be thrown out.

Because failure is a part of growth. You really know Christ? Are you sure you know the Lord? It all starts with him. You'll never fall in line with Christ if you've not released yourself to him and taken his gift of salvation.

Let's deal with that. Let's bow together. Right where you're sitting, alone with your own thoughts, I invite you to see yourself when you step into eternity and now ask today, where will that be? If you want it to be heaven with the Lord your God, you'll have to come through Christ. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. Whether you believe that or not is yours to deal with.

I can't make you believe it, but I can tell you it's the truth. If you trust in Christ, you will have the gift of eternal life. If you don't, you won't. And your eternity is as dreadful as I can possibly describe. So turn to him now.

Trust him now. Father, remind us again and again how amazing your grace is and how relieving, how freeing, and what a source of joy and what a sense of satisfaction to know that we before you can come to terms with things that are good for us and to also acknowledge things that aren't so we won't do them. Help us all in the journey from earth to heaven to make right choices.

The best is to come to know your son. Be especially near to those who are right there. And may they this very day trust him. Now, Lord, dismiss us with the relief that we have heard the truth and realizing we have the responsibility of applying it. For your glory and in the power of your spirit through Christ we all pray.

Everybody sit. Amen. Today I'd like to point you to a resource that's been helpful to thousands of readers. I'm referring to Chuck's insightful book called Finding God When the World's on Fire. We're living in extraordinary times of uncertainty. In our lifetime we've never witnessed this level of tension, not only in regard to the culture wars but a global pandemic that's changed the course of history. This convergence of tragedies has caused many people to live in fear. But Chuck reminds us God knows about our stress. And not only that, God has provided a way to conquer fear with courage and hope. That's the theme of this inspirational book from our Bible teacher called Finding God When the World's on Fire.

And you can purchase a copy right now by going to slash offer by calling us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888. And I'll repeat our contact information in just a moment. And now as promised these closing comments from our teacher.

Chuck? If you're in the business world you likely have some idea what it means to close the books on a financial year. Well, at Insight for Living our nonprofit organization will close the financial year on June 30.

The day is coming soon, fiscal year end we call it. Yes, it's an accounting term, a mile marker, an annual turning point for bookkeepers and accountants and ministries like ours. And Insight for Living is far more than any of those business terms.

We've set financial goals for June 30 that need to be met. That's the business part. But this is not a business.

You know this. It's a ministry. And so when I hear the deadline on June 30 I think about people, men and women like you.

Folks who rely on us to dispense and declare the truth of God's word day in and day out. Sure, we run Insight for Living like an efficient business behind the scenes because we know that's prudent and that's wise. We have a wonderful staff to help us do that. But we have never lost sight of those we reach and the one we serve. So now can I count on you to help us? Your generous donation today will not only care for the business side of this ministry but far more important. Your donation will help us reach more people with Insight for Living. Today's the day.

I'm counting on you. Thank you Chuck. Let me explain how you can respond today. The quickest and most convenient way to give is to click on the donate tab at Some find it easy to give through our mobile app.

As Chuck mentioned a moment ago, June 30th is far more than an accounting deadline. Your donation will bring spiritual restoration to someone desperately searching for rest. So please call us if you're listening in the U.S. Dial 1-800-772-8888 or give online by going to

How do you tell the difference between a servant of God and a pawn of Satan? Hear Chuck Swindoll's message tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Sabbath Lord vs Religious Nitpickers, 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 / 2023-11-11 18:47:35 / 2023-11-11 18:56:31 / 9

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