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A Roadside Reminder and Reproof, Part 3

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

A Roadside Reminder and Reproof, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 7, 2021 7:05 am

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

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When Chuck Swindoll introduced the message that continues today on Insight for Living he told us about his seminary professor Bruce Waltke. Dr. Waltke was a brilliant scholar who trained young seminarians how to read and interpret the ancient language of Hebrew. Chuck described the arduous journey under his tutelage.

At times Chuck said he and his classmates were not on the same page with Bruce. Well Chuck presented this illustration to set the stage for a first century conversation between Jesus and his disciples. Let's resume our study now, picking up in Matthew chapter 20.

They've been kept away from lucrative businesses and financial security. They've spent more time with Jesus than they have with their own wives and children, so there's been sacrifice. They've heard Jesus talk about a kingdom a number of different times and in different ways where he would rule and if he rules they would help in the reign of that kingdom. And they were on their way to Jerusalem which is the seat of power among the Jews.

So they're thinking about their position in that kingdom. And that's the change of subject when you get to verse 20. I mean you're reading along and it is really in the depths of seriousness when you read the verses that I just read 17 to 19. You get to verse 20 and suddenly the attention turns.

Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. What's your request? He asked. Remember what he's just told him?

You remember. He just talked about his own death, his own suffering, his own resurrection. It's been all about that and he said, well, what is it you request?

It's that kind of response. And she replied, in your kingdom, see what they're thinking about? See what she's thinking about? Not on the same page. In your kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you. One on your right and the other on your left. Stop. What in the world are we doing thinking about who sits on the right or left of Jesus in the midst of a conversation about his death and resurrection?

You do that when you are focused not on what is being said, but on what is on your mind. Jesus said, you do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering that I'm about to drink? Do you realize what is ahead? Do you know what following me will include?

Do you have any idea the heaviness of what I'm facing? They not only had missed his point, they misunderstood the whole issue of kingdom promotion in his kingdom lifestyle, in kingdom greatness in Jesus lifestyle. It's not about who sits on the right and who sits on the left. It's not about title. It's not about who's on top. What they didn't get is there must be suffering before there can be significance.

There must be brokenness before there is usefulness. There must be humility before there is authority granted. There must be the bitter cup of pain to endure before there is promotion. Don't get that.

So he asks them, do you realize what it is you're asking? Are you ready to take this bitter cup of suffering? And look at their answer.

Look at how shallow. Oh, yes, we're able. Oh, sure, we're in.

Yeah, whatever. Just make sure we're on the right and left. That's the idea. And then Jesus comes back with a very firm, you will indeed drink from this bitter cup.

You have no idea what your future holds. By the way, in case you wonder if the other disciples are thinking how noble of them to think like that. Look at the next verse. They were indignant.

The other 10 probably were thinking, why didn't we think of that? You know, who do they think they are? So Jesus again calls them together. He begins by describing the ethmos, the gentile world. Look at it. He called them together.

Verse 25. And he said, you know, you know this, that the rulers of the world system lorded over their people and their officials flaunt their authority over those under them. Stop right there.

Right there at that period. That's the way it is. That's the way it is in the corporate world. Why don't we become, when we get more and more educated, more servant-hearted? Who gives us the right to become more arrogant?

More know-it-all? Look at the next sentence. If you see nothing else this day, look at verse 26. But among you, it will be different.

There are five words in the Greek language that are translated like this. Not thus is it among you. And the emphasis is on the not.

It's placed out of order for emphasis. Not so among you, disciples. Not so among you who follow Christ.

That's not the way it works in the family of God. Among you, it will be different. There will be no brash lording it over. There will be no flaunting of authority. On Jesus' team, there is no place for self-serving ambition, personal promotion, shameless narcissism, presumptuous arrogance, or bold, even veiled pride.

Few things are more different from our world system than that. And if that isn't enough, Jesus goes one step further and describes the role of his followers. And he's talking to the twelve who have walked with him longer than anyone else on the planet. They've been his close followers. He has been their mentor. So he tells them, they must learn this if no one else. When I'm gone, this is what you must model.

And look at how he puts it. Whoever wants to be a leader among you, be known as a servant. And whoever wants to be first among you, be known as someone else's slave or helper. Be one who says, may I help you?

Can I be of assistance to you? Or when you have done wrong, I really owe you an apology for doing what I did. I was wrong. I was out of line. I spoke too quickly.

Or I came across like I was a know-it-all and I'm not. And on and on the way servants work. It's sometimes called random acts of kindness. Where you do for others without having attention called to it. Least of all by you. You're in it to serve and you're in it to give.

You want a good model? Last verse of our passage. Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a payment or a ransom for many. Men, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Bart, Judas, all you guys, listen to me.

That's why I came. That's why the Father sent me. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped, to remain equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a bonslave and was made in the likeness of man. And being found in fashion as a man, he became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2, 5 through 9. That's my rule. Now, was this enough to get them on the same page?

It wasn't. When you read on, you read more and you see how ingrained in them is the system, which isn't like ingrained in some of you. I mean, you know the laws of the office better than you know the verses of the scriptures or the books of the Bible. You know how to handle yourself to get ahead better than you know how to spend time with the Lord and connect with him in prayer.

You made a study of that because that's how you can get ahead. Wrong goal, if I may be so blunt. Did they get on the same page? Was the result of this James and John apologizing to Jesus for their ultra-selfish request? Never once do you read of that. Did this begin a journey toward unfamiliar greatness?

Not yet. They have to hurt before that happens. Pain plants the flag of reality in the fortress of a rebel heart. Brokenness assaults pride. They have to learn that.

Not just they, the real question is, are we on that same page? I can't speak for you. I wouldn't if I could.

That's not my place. I can only speak as best I know my own heart. A few questions that will help as you do a little audit of your servanthood. Are you going to start leading by serving? Husbands, are you going to start serving your wife? I sometimes say jokingly to Cynthia, but I really do mean it, I exist to serve you. The truth is she feels the same. That's why we stay together all these years.

When you compete, you don't stay together. You're willing to serve the one that can't return the service? Being of help to someone who may not say thank you? Or doing something very kind for someone who wouldn't even know you did it? Will this change how you handle the role of leadership, whatever may be your leadership? Is this the beginning of your applauding others and where necessary apologizing to others?

When is the last time you ever apologized for anything? You see, it's ingrained in us. Let me tell you about an editorial cartoon I saw some time ago. It was rather large at the top of this editorial page. It was in a square and it was a monument drawn inside the square. The monument was in the shape of a pyramid.

And the pyramid were words that had been chiseled out of stone in this monument. At the top, I. Below it, the word me. Below me, mine. Below mine, myself. At the bottom of this cartoon, editorial cartoon, are hundreds of people with their hands held up high, looking up as if worshiping at a shrine. I, me, mine, myself. And written on the border of the four sides that frame this cartoon were familiar sayings. You're number one. You deserve the best. Have it your way.

If you can do it, it ain't bragging. At the very bottom of the cartoon is the clincher. The words, speaking of American cults. How different from what Jesus taught.

How different. John ultimately learned it, obviously, because in his later years, his ministry was sort of limited to the words, love one another. Love one another.

Care for one another. Peter ultimately learned and wound up crucified for his faith. But he wrote to fellow elders and pastors saying, don't do what you do because of what you get out of it. Do it because you're called to do it.

When will we learn? I would love to know that every believer connected with Stonebriar Community Church is a model of this. And people who come into our homes to do repair leave impressed with our kindness and our thoughtfulness. Those who do work on our roofs or in our plumbing or on our cars walk away thinking, that's the nicest people I've ever been around. I mean, they they even care that I had lunch.

Those we do business with. And I'll realize, let me stop here. If you don't know the Savior, if you've never come to the cross by faith, if you've never trusted in Jesus, this is all just talk. You couldn't do this if you tried. Because it has to come from the Spirit of God that convicts us of our pride.

And shuts our mouth when we want to brag on ourselves or drop a hint or a name. You come to the cross and you surrender yourself to the Savior and you say, take my life. Let it be whatever you wish. I need you, Lord God. Come into my life. Change me. Transform my thinking. Take away this ugly side of me that's dominated so much of my words and actions and thoughts. I want to serve people. I want to be of help to people. Oh, I began by telling you about Dr. Walke.

Let me go back there as I close. And I returned to this great man. Those years I remained at the school, I, of course, was around him. And I saw how the next few years began to shape and change him.

And he left a lot of that arrogance he had left when he had left Harvard. And he was just one of us more and more. By my fourth year, I understand from the other, some of the other guys, because I know what he said to me. He took the time to meet with the 20 of us in different ways at different times, privately.

I'll never forget it. He pulled me aside and said with tears, I want to apologize for what I put you guys through. I said, you know, Dr. Walke, he said, no, no, let me let me finish. I didn't do a good job. I was so anxious to prove some things and coming out of school, I was ready to, you know, set a record. I thought you didn't get one with us, man, when you taught us. But he said, well, I realize that years have passed. That I really didn't handle it well.

Please forgive me. Since that graduation time in my life, I've had the privilege to do a conference or two with Dr. Walke. And to be around him. And I will tell you, one of the most gracious men I've ever known, over time, he's become a serving, giving teacher leader. Melts me when I think of it. It's always magnificent when you're around uncommon greatness coming from one who is so bright, so capable.

Like so many of you. This is what, this is what, this is what the Lord wants of us. This is what the Lord wants of us. When it's all said and done, it will be this that will give this church wings to fly.

And a heart that touches people where they are. Let's bow together. I don't know where you are in this.

I really don't. But I know there's something here for every one of us. Good place to start is in your home. With your own family. With those that you know best.

They're the ones who would expect it the least. And what a great thing to serve and to give to them. All for the glory of Christ. Help us all, Lord, in the journey. Help us to get past ourselves and get beyond the I, me, mine, and myself nonsense.

And come to the place where just having breath in our lungs is enough. Use us, we pray, in great ways. Uncommon greatness.

That no one would ever expect. And that you would be so pleased to see in us. Minister, Father, through these words to every one of us. As we journey along this thing called life. In the name of Jesus.

Everyone say. Amen. In a world that's prone to celebrate fierce independence, it's refreshing to hear this reminder from Matthew chapter 20.

Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of Pastor Chuck Swindoll. Perhaps you've made a decision to trust Christ as your Lord and Savior for the first time today.

Or you've simply made a decision to pursue Christ in new and meaningful ways. I'd like to point you to a free resource that will guide you. Insight for Living produces a daily devotional that's sent by email. Chuck's down-to-earth writings cover a variety of everyday issues to help you live above the daily grind of life. And you're invited to receive the free devotional email from Chuck by following the simple instructions at insight.org slash devotional. And then you often hear us say that Insight for Living is made possible through the voluntary contributions from our monthly companions and all those who give one-time donations. Well, in recent months, we've been pleased to add new members to our team because these new friends understand the impact of their investment in Insight for Living. As a result of the steady support from our monthly companions, we're empowered to touch more and more people through the daily program and the wide variety of resources made available to anyone who wants to know more about God and the Bible.

Perhaps today's the day you'll become a monthly companion. In this role, God will use your gift to help us reach a hurting world with His compassion, truth, and grace. Here's the number to call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or sign up online at insight.org slash monthly companion. To give a one-time donation today, go online to insight.org. 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. 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. Filling in today from my friend Dave Spiker, I'm Wayne Shepard. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll talks about seeing ourselves through blind eyes. That's coming up next on Insight for Living. The preceding message, a roadside reminder and reproof, was copyrighted in 2017 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 / 2023-09-03 10:14:29 / 2023-09-03 10:22:45 / 8

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