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Spiritual Blind Spots, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2021 7:05 am

Spiritual Blind Spots, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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July 9, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Ministry: A Study of Matthew 14–20

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Today on Insight for Living, from Chuck Swindoll. When's the last time anybody called a Pharisee a hypocrite? They need to be told what they are. They need to be offended. They're walking along in their self-righteousness.

There's not a vulnerable boat in their body. They are forever dictating, condemning, judging, shaming the classic legalistic approach. He calls them what they are. No wonder they nailed him to a cross. He called out the Pharisees for their legalistic ways.

He withheld nothing from his scathing attack against their arrogance and their hypocrisy. Jesus made it very clear that twisting the gospel with legalism is lethal. Chuck titled his study in Matthew chapters 14 and 15, Spiritual Blind Spots. And we begin with prayer. We come today, our Father, from all over, some from across the city, some from across the state, others from another state, others from another country. And we are here together as one. We come with our needs. We come in our brokenness. We come acknowledging our own failures, inadequacies, personal struggles, those things that qualify us as humans. And we're grateful that we're not rejected, but we're welcomed. Thank you for the reminder that we can come to you because we find through your Son, Jesus, one who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.

How grateful we are for that. Not a person in this room is even near perfect, but we worship the one who is. Not one person in this room knows what this week holds, but as we turn to you, we realize you know the complete end from the very beginning. Knowing it all, knowing us that well, you love us like no one else could ever love us. And we bow with gratitude.

Thank you for that. And our Father, as we have the joy of looking to you to meet our needs, we certainly pray for our country. We need your guidance, Lord.

We are in great need as a nation. And so we bow before you knowing that you care about that. And we lay these needs before you. I pray that you would prompt each one of us to do what we could do and should do and can do. By your grace, see us through and pray. Bring wise counselors and those who know you near those who will represent us. And may they who give them counsel be heard and respected and followed.

Thank you now for the privilege of giving. We do so with gratitude and great joy. In the name of Jesus, we pray we give our gifts. Everyone say, Amen. This is Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck called Spiritual Blindspots. We're building to a climax here. One miracle after another miracle. All of this is following Jesus and the crowds are enlarging.

The numbers are increasing. Word reaches Jerusalem, where the official teachers reside, and they make their way all the way to Galilee, to Gennesaret, and there they want to see Jesus. He wasn't a Pharisee, he wasn't a scribe, so naturally he's called into question because he's been breaking a lot of their man-made rules and they're sick of it. Now I want to point out three major blind spots among the spiritually blind.

The first is this, and I get it from verse two. They asked him, Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat. So the first blind spot among the spiritually blind is they ask the wrong questions.

That's the wrong question. And believe me, these Pharisees and scribes had a way they're supposed to wash, and these disciples hadn't done that. Furthermore, Jesus had broken a lot of other rules. Remember, he'd been handling the lepers, he'd been spending time with the sinners, he had worked with those that had hemorrhages of blood, he had touched the dead. They had rules against all of that, and now of all things his disciples are coming along eating without washing like they should.

I think it's gracious of Jesus, at least to begin with, for him to address them. These are man-made rules, and the truth is, men, your man-made rules are so powerful in your eyes that they cancel out the written word of God. He gives them an example.

Look, he replies to their question with another question, great pedagogical principle. Why do you by your traditions violate the direct commandments of God? Your traditionalism is such that your rules override the very commandments of God.

God must have made them frown, and he tells them how that worked. For instance, God says, honor your father and your mother. Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death, but you say, look at this, here's your rule. You say it's all right for people to say to their parents, sorry, I can't help you for I vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.

And in this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents, and so, look at this, you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own traditions. Second blind spot. The first one is, they ask the wrong questions. The second is, the spiritually blind trust in unscriptural traditions. There are many legalists who hold more tightly to their list than they do to the truth of the scriptures. You question that, then you've been away from it too long.

These people had rules on top of rules on top of rules, and they were so binding. It doesn't matter what scripture actually says that God wrote with his own finger in the tablets, honor father and mother, no, no, no, we've got a plan that will keep you from doing that. All you've got to do is make this statement, I've really given this to God.

And so you look at verse 6, in this way, you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. And then, as if that isn't enough, he decides to take the gloves off and land a haymaker, you hypocrites. Whoa, stop right there. Good place to pause, let you take a deep breath. When's the last time you called anybody to his face a hypocrite? It's been a long time, hasn't it? I can't remember the last time I've done it. Have I ever done that?

Maybe I have. I was probably a little more tactful, but that's because Jesus is honest to the core, and I tend to be a little nicer when I shouldn't be at times like this. You think that didn't get their attention? When's the last time anybody called a Pharisee a hypocrite?

It's been a long time. By the way, you don't read anything about the disciples here. You know where they are?

They're over in the shadows, because they're watching something happen, they couldn't imagine whatever happened. And then he lands the full blow when he quotes from their own prophet Isaiah, these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commandments from God. I love it, because I'm not there saying it. I love it that he says it, and I'm learning from him.

You get older, you care less about what folks think, so watch out. You may hear things like that. Look at this, Jesus called the crowd to come and hear, listen he said, try to understand it's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, you're defiled by the words that come out of your mouth, and then the disciples finally come back. They say, Jesus, you realize you've offended the Pharisees by what you said, one of my favorite verses. Can you see Jesus? Oh, really?

Really? They need to be offended. They need to be told what they are. They're walking along in their self-righteousness, there's not a vulnerable boat in their body, they are forever telling, telling, telling, dictating, dictating, dictating, condemning, judging, shaming the classic legalistic approach.

He calls them what they are. No wonder they nailed him to a cross. No wonder they would not forgive, ever, anything.

What's there to forgive? He told them the truth. You realize, Lord, that they're offended. I love Jesus' response. Oh, Jesus replied, every plant not planted by my Heavenly Father will be uprooted.

Look at the next command. Ignore them. You know what the Greek says?

Leave. Get away from that kind of unbiblical authority. Years ago, Cynthia and I made a very important decision. Many years ago, early on in our marriage, we realized we were going to the wrong church. It was a long-standing tradition that we attend a particular denomination. We realized the longer we were there, the more legalism was being stuffed into every message, the more we were around people who were frightened because they weren't keeping all the rules that the pastor laid down. Not biblical rules, legalistic requirements, taboos, shouldn't do this, you can't do that, you weren't supposed to do these things.

You do these things, you're going to answer for it. A lot of intimidation, a lot of power playing, and we made a decision. We would leave. We made a few right decisions in our lives. That's one of the best decisions we ever made. Literally pulled up roots, went to a place where we didn't know many people, left those we had known for years.

We're still friends with some, but most of them looked at us over the top of their glasses and warned us. The Lord gets blamed for a lot of things he has nothing to do with, as we told him that the Lord was leading us elsewhere. Yeah, right. Jesus says leave them. If you say under the authority of a legalist, you will suffer the consequences.

You will live in shame, you will be rejected, you will be shunned, you will forever find yourself juggling man-made rules trying to square it with the scriptures. And you can't do it because they're not there. Jesus says leave them. Get away from that. This translation says ignore them.

The Greek is even stronger, leave. Here's the third blind spot and it's the reason he tells them to leave them. The spiritually blind fail to realize that spiritual defilement is a matter of the heart, the inner person.

Defilement is what comes from within out. It's not based on what you eat going in. I know friends who were on the mission field where it was impossible on that particular mission field to get peanut butter. They loved peanut butter in their family. But they are kind of young missionaries there in the group and they didn't know that the rule was it's a sign of spirituality not to eat peanut butter. That's hard to find in the gospel.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, where is peanut butter mentioned? But that's the rule. That's the rule. Don't you forget it. Well, they forgot it. They had a special order from home and they would get them in cases. They put the bottle of peanut butter on a table and they'd eat from it regularly enjoying the peanut butter and then they became the object of the ire of the leader among the missionaries. And then other missionaries turned on them because they weren't eating peanut butter and these people were. They were the peanut butter eaters. Don't get near them.

They were eating peanut butter. And ultimately they left the mission field broken because of the stringent rules of that legalistic body of people. Some of the most stubborn people on the planet are legalists.

They will control you to the last day of your life. But they didn't, Jesus. They don't realize that their own heart is where the problem is.

It's an inside job. It isn't putting peanut butter in your mouth. It's judging people who are eating the peanut butter.

It's making it an issue and it's not an issue at all. So Peter said to Jesus, explain to us the parable that says people aren't defiled by what they eat. Jesus response because he's talked about this before.

Don't you understand? Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from. Look at it. Your inner being, your heart, down deep within where decisions are made, your soul, your spirit. They come from your heart. That's what defiles you. For look at the next verse. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, slander. These are what defile you. Eating without washing like they tell you to wash doesn't defile you. He says it right in front of the Pharisees. I love it. You ready for a tough statement?

I wrote it down so I wouldn't mess it up. The filth of the sewer is not as great as the defilement of the human heart not yet cleansed by the blood of Christ. The filth of a sewer is not as great as the defilement of the human heart not yet cleansed by the blood of Christ.

Let that one land on us. Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful above all things, desperately wicked. It's filthy. And the blind person is guided by it, those without Christ. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

How precious is the flow that makes it white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus. You need to acknowledge where you are. You're in this story. You're one of the disciples who have spiritual sight, maybe intimidated by legalists or those who want to control you. You need to get into the Word for yourself and gain stability from the Scriptures. This is what Cynthia and I decided we would do when we left that place.

We've never once regretted leaving. Some are flying people. They're just under the gun of this legalistic, demanding kind of religion. And I promise the Lord, if I'm ever involved in any kind of his work, I'd spend my days setting people free with truth. You need to know you are free. You are free to obey Christ as he leads you.

Wherever he may lead you, you're free to go there. You may be like the disciples, a little afraid, a little intimidated. It's the traditionalism of the legalists that's so wrong. Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale said it best. Tradition is the living faith of those now dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of those still living.

Great statement. As a disciple of Christ, become a student of the traditions of the Scriptures. Set aside the man-made rules that maybe your own parents tried to force upon you or someone else along your journey of faith. On the other hand, you may be like the scribes and Pharisees.

You have your eyesight, but you're asking the wrong questions. You're trusting in unscriptural traditions. You fail to realize that spiritual defilement is a thing of your heart. That's where the sewer is.

That's where the moral sewer finds its source. Let's turn to Christ. Bow with me, will you? I invite you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Savior. Without having all of your questions answered, and they never will all be answered, I'm asking you to trust in Him, to invite Him to become for you your Master, your Savior, your enthroned Lord.

Really, I'm asking you to accept a gift. God holds it out in the person of His Son. God so loves you that He gave His one and only Son that if you would believe in Him, you would never perish. Listen to that.

Never perish, but you would have everlasting life. Join the ranks. Come on board. Become a disciple.

Join the following. People who are still sinners, but with the grace of God, have found that that blood of Christ has washed them free from that which contaminated them eternally. Trust in Christ now. Father, I pray that you will use these words and drill them home to our hearts. I ask that by your Spirit that the blindness will be lifted among those who find themselves enshrouded in the veil. Their hearts are hardened.

Soften those hearts. Reach into their lives. Break through and penetrate by your power and grace. And lead us as followers of yours to take your word most seriously as we find those instructions for our life and guard us from ever following blind guides. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. This is Insight for Living.

If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. It's possible you grew up in a home where man-made rules were forced upon you. Maybe you were taught certain traditions that now in your adult years you've discovered to be more damaging to your soul than healing to your soul. Well, Chuck Swindoll wrote a classic book that's liberated millions of readers through the years. It's called The Grace Awakening. And if you're prepared to shed the legalistic ways that were pioneered by religious extremists, like the Pharisees, in exchange for freedom in Christ, then we highly recommend this book from Chuck. Again, it's called The Grace Awakening. And you can purchase a copy right now by going to the Insight for Living website at insight.org slash offer. Or call us.

If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Well, Chuck titled today's message Spiritual Blind Spots. And as we close out another week of Bible teaching together, Chuck and the entire team at Insight for Living would like to thank those who responded to Chuck last month. Your comments and donations have been a tremendous encouragement to all of us. It's amazing to receive feedback from places all over the world. In fact, when I last looked, we had received comments from your fellow listeners in places like Nigeria, Australia, and Guam.

And, of course, points all across this country. In addition, when Chuck's sermons are streamed on Sundays, we have people viewing the worship service from 85 countries around the world. This is such an encouragement as we continue to ask God to help us reach all 195 countries. Well, in the event you missed connecting with us, please know it's never too late to support nonprofit Bible teaching ministries. If you're listening in the United States, just call 1-800-772-8888 or give online at insight.org.

That's insight.org. 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 than one place. In March 2022, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel. 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. Join us again Monday when our study in Matthew's Gospel continues on Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll. The preceding message, Spiritual Blindspots, 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 / 2023-09-23 21:34:53 / 2023-09-23 21:43:32 / 9

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