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Exposing Religious Phonies, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 4, 2021 7:05 am

Exposing Religious Phonies, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 4, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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There's nothing attractive about pompous behavior. Arrogance turns us off.

It makes us feel small. And especially so when someone who's overtly religious looks down his nose in a condescending way. Well, the first century Pharisees were notoriously proud. And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll recounts a scene in Matthew chapter 23 in which Jesus calls their bluff. In doing so, he relieves those of us who carry any measure of spiritual inadequacy. Jesus said, those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Chuck titled today's message, exposing religious phonies. And we begin with prayer. Our Father in heaven, you alone are worthy of praise.

You alone deserve the glory. But there's this, there's this nature within us that wants to siphon off some of that praise and to bask in some of that glory. Even before we hear what you have to say through your word today, please accept our confession that we are prone toward pride, that we do watch out for ourselves, that we care too much about what other people say, and we are far more important to ourselves than we should be.

Remind us that you take care of us. You don't need us to watch out for ourselves. You are the one who lifts up and puts down. You don't need us to do that.

You are the one who makes decisions regarding promotions and demotions. You don't need us to manipulate it or to fight it. Teach us, Lord, what it means to truly rest in your good plan and to rely on your arm of mercy. Help us to become so self-forgetful that we serve others, and just as quickly as we began, may we forget the serving, for we have done it for you. Help us to be keen to those random acts of kindness. Help us to be very discerning to those moments when a word of encouragement is in order or an opportunity to affirm another, deliver us from needing it for ourselves. Teach us in the process of our growing up what it means to be a servant at heart, not to talk about it, not to put it on display, but to live it.

Help us to live it. Help us to be what your son was so good at being, that is, a giver of mercy, a helper of those in need. And speaking of that, our hearts continue to go out to those who don't know where they'll sleep tonight, who haven't a car to drive, who haven't a job, a place, who are feeling like wanderers.

Help them, Lord, in their helplessness, and somehow send along those who have big arms and great hearts, that they might be lifted up and encouraged. Remind us when we slip in between the sheets tonight to give you thanks for a bid, when we sit down at a table to give you thanks for food, and when we put a cold drink to our lips to give you thanks for something to drink. In the process of growing up, Lord, may we guard against taking for granted the simple things of life that are so important. Now, Lord, our gifts are really coming from you because if it weren't for you, we wouldn't have our job, we wouldn't make our income, we wouldn't be able to be a part of what's known as a generous believer, but because you were teaching us that, find favor in our gifts today.

We give them with great hope that they'll be useful to others, and in the process we'll learn to be less selfish ourselves. You supply our every need, and we count on that today as we give, and as we pray, in the name of Jesus, everybody sin. Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled Exposing Religious Phonies. Now with your Bible open to Matthew 23, please observe that before Jesus begins his message, we read that he was in front of crowds and his disciples. See it in verse one? So there's a little different agenda for the two groups. Verses one through seven, literally verses two through seven, are for the crowds, and I suggest verses eight through twelve would be for the disciples.

Let's look at them a little more carefully. First, to the surprise of many who have heard my warnings to begin with, there were some things they were to practice and obey that came from the Pharisees. Look, verse two, the scribes and the Pharisees, that is the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, who by the way, don't miss it, really knew their scriptures. They really knew the Old Testament. They spent their lives studying the scriptures, the law of Moses, the Psalms, the Prophets. So he says the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.

Everything right about that? God drilled his law with his finger into stone, and Moses took that law and gave it to the people. The people gave it then to the Prophets. The Prophets passed it along ultimately to people like scribes and Pharisees, the official religious leaders who were to take the scriptures and declare them.

Everything right about that? So he says of them, it's worth your time to hear what they are telling you, to understand and obey the teachings of Moses. That's what verse three, as it begins, is all about. Practice, he says, practice and obey whatever they tell you.

But that's a big contrast. You could hear the brakes screech verbally, but don't follow their example. They may deliver the truth from their lips, as Moses has stated, but they live a lie. They say one thing, but they live another way. In fact, if I were to divide their, the reason for not following them, I would find three, three of them.

Look closely. Verse three says they don't practice what they teach, so there was a lack of integrity. If I teach one thing and then I go out and live another way, I'm a hypocrite.

I'm a phony. I may speak it well, but I don't live it well. And he says because they do that, don't follow them. They don't practice what they teach.

Teaching is good. Their living is poor. Don't follow their example. So they lack integrity. They're consummate hypocrites.

There's a second. Look at verse four. And you who have lived under legalistic teaching won't have any problem understanding this. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Look at those words. Their words are crushing in that they add to what Moses has written, and they make the words make the words a burden, so they lack sympathy. They don't help you live the life that God tells us where to live.

Third, and don't miss this, verse five. Everything they do is for show. What they do, they do to be seen. So there's a lack of humility.

Did you get the three? A lack of integrity. They don't carry out what they teach. A lack of sympathy.

They burden you with the requirements, the dos and don'ts. And third, there's a lack of humility. Whatever they do, they do to be seen. They're dripping with self-importance and conceit. And oh my, they love titles. They love to be called rabbi.

Maybe it's time for me to give you a moment to catch your breath. So let me tell you a story, a true story. Many, many years ago, Maya has to be in over 30 or more years ago, we were living in California. I was a friend of a man who produced television broadcasts and excellent television shows, and he wanted to do a television talk show put together randomly by four individuals who were not related to each other. They were just different walks of the Christian life. And of all things, he asked me to be one of them and he asked another friend of mine to be one. He asked someone we had never, none of us had ever met to be one of them, represented a little school that he was the president of. And then he asked a fourth individual who was not in ministry but was a Christian layman and was a great, great guy. But anyway, when we got, it was to be filmed in Dallas, so we all were to catch our flight and get to Dallas, and then there we were to meet and the night before go over the plan, the next day film the two-hour show, one hour, then the next we'd film that.

Fine. So the one who produced the show said to my buddy and me, he said, look, I'd like you to meet so-and-so at the plane. He's the one who comes from another part of the country. I won't mention the country, other part of the country, and I'll just say when we ask, because you don't have a picture of him, how will we know who he is? He said, oh, you'll know. Well, that was interesting. This was back in the days when you could go all the way to the gate to meet the person coming off the plane.

Remember those days? And so we went all the way to the gate, we waited, we waited, and virtually everybody was pretty much off the plane and we kept looking for Mr. Hotshot and he didn't show up and finally, let's call him Schlock. Schlock shows up and he walks out. He's kind of looking around like, where are those people that are supposed to meet me? He's carrying two bags that look like they were maybe carrying two small pianos and a lot of stuff, a lot of heavy stuff. He had a hat and a tie and a dark suit. So it's what I'm wearing.

Anyway, we didn't notice it right away. He kind of wandered around. He was a little perturbed because someone went right there and I walked over and I said, well, you must be Sam Schlock. And he said, Dr. Schlock. And I go, oh, of course, Dr. Schlock.

So he said, here. And he drops his bags and he says, carry these. I said, well, you know, we had a little trouble finding you because we didn't we didn't know what you look like. We've never met before. Oh, really?

We're walking along. Tell me, what does the president look like? I want to say a jerk. So you look like you look like a jerk. Sound like a jerk. The more we were with him, he was a jerk, you know, and that night, of all things, someone in the middle of the night ordered two Budweisers and a basket of pretzels and had them delivered to his room in the middle of the night. Can you imagine someone in our group doing like that on that guy? He was really hot to be tight, you know. Boy, was he mad next morning. Anyway, we had fun doing that TV show. If you knew what I am restraining right now, you would be so proud of me. A classic example.

What was important to shock was shock. Not you. Not her. Not the producer.

Not the program. It was all about him. And don't you forget. Total blind spot. Total. And I have to tell you, when I went to bed around three, I began to think, am I anywhere near that?

God help me if I ever get anywhere near it. Because he doesn't know that. Or he doesn't have someone near him to tell him that. I wondered about his wife and what she's got to go through to put up with that. And his kids.

And the school. You see, when you think through this enough, you realize that this isn't a message for someone else. This is to you and me. Which is why he speaks to his disciples very carefully. His followers. That's what we are. Hopefully, we're followers of Jesus. And he says to us, don't let anyone call you rabbi. That's the idea.

I say it like that because there's nothing, again, wrong with the title. Or even if you've earned your doctorate and that's what you're known for, that's fine. But don't expect that. I tell the young men and women at the seminary, where I often have the privilege of speaking, and I say to them, we all admire the fact that you work hard to get this degree. It's a tough degree.

And we all admire the work you do. And ultimately, that piece of paper that states you're a graduate. Now, you get that paper, and the very next thing you begin to work on is to get over it. Get over it. No one will ever ask about your GPA. No one will ever ask about how well you did at the school. Nobody cares but you. You're entering into a world where you give yourself up, where you're really exalting someone else who wound up on a cross. So don't correct people on what title they call you.

Just be grateful they called you. That's what he means when he says this. In other words, let me put it this way, Sean Pretentious Titles. Sean Pretentious Titles.

Don't let anyone do that. For you have only one teacher, and you're all equal as brothers and sisters. Would all of us remember that?

There is no status. There is no rank in the Christian life. I'll never forget going, it's a wonderful visit I had with a former Hebrew professor. And I sat in his office because I was struggling with a particular interpretation out of Proverbs that I knew Dr. Walke would know and would be able to give me counsel on. He'd studied Proverbs, you know, and he could read it from the original text backwards.

He really knew the text and he really knew God and he really had a walk with God. So I sat in his office after I graduated. I was pastoring a church in the Dallas area.

It really was Irving. And I went in to see him and he said to me, what's on your mind, Chuck? I said, well, Dr. Walke, I've come to a section of scripture that I'm getting ready to teach in the next several Sundays, but I don't find it in any of the books that I would normally do my research in. I'm a little uneasy that I may not have interpreted it correctly. He said, well, let me hear your interpretation.

So I gave it to him, a little bit of fear and trembling because I'm talking to, you know, Bruce Walke. And yet he was as gracious as he could be. And he listened like this. When he looked at you, it looked like he's looking at the back of your cranium, right through your eyeballs.

Never took his eyes off. And when I finished my explanation and he asked a couple of questions. How did you come to this?

What was it that led you to that? That is unique. I thought that was a nice word, unique. And then I said, well, you know, Dr. Walke, I know this is really different and I really respect your opinion. He said, stop right there. Chuck, there are no popes in the body of Christ.

Never forget that. I'm no final authority. Yeah, I teach. I mess around in the languages.

Yeah. And I love them. And I love that you would come talk with me. I would say to you, if the Lord told you this, you better preach it.

You better teach that. It's what the Lord showed you. You know what said to me?

There's one Lord. And I thanked him and put his arm around me and he said, ah, no, I thank you for coming and talking with me. And the following Sunday, it was everything I could do not to quote Bruce Walke as saying, you know, he's approved this.

But I didn't do that. He didn't give me permission and I'm not sure he would approve. But I don't need his approval. What I need is the assurance of the Holy Spirit that this is what God would have me declare. And I must be careful how I came to the conclusion in the way I worked my way through the text.

And then if I'm sure of that and the language lends itself in that direction, I should I should declare it fully acknowledging it's my interpretation. But how gracious it was. And there was no pretension whatsoever. Someone told me the other day he saw Dr. Walke. It's been years and years and years and years and years since I've seen him. And I said, how was he? He said, same guy, gracious as ever. Isn't that wonderful?

After all these years, same gracious man. Chuck Swindoll's seminary professor demonstrated the meaning of this passage. There's no rank in the Christian life, no hierarchy.

We're all equal as brothers and sisters in Christ. This is Insight for Living and Chuck Swindoll is teaching from Matthew chapter 23. He titled today's message, Exposing Religious Phonies.

It's a topic we'll address again on the next program. And to learn more about Chuck and this ministry, please visit us online at If you'd like to explore this subject further right now, I'll remind you every sermon Chuck delivers is complemented by Searching the Scriptures study notes. This resource is free and designed so you can type your own notes right into the online document.

Or feel free to download the document and email it to your friends. To access the Searching the Scriptures guide for Chuck's daily teaching, go to slash studies. During today's message, Chuck talked about his careful approach to studying God's Word. Clearly this discipline, this process, isn't something that only pastors do because every one of us is invited to reflect on the beauty of God's truth. In that spirit, Chuck has written a 30-day devotional for you. It's called God's Word for You.

The subtitle explains more. It's an invitation to find the nourishment your soul needs. To purchase a copy of this devotional from Chuck, you'll find all the details at slash offer. And then finally, as we conclude today's program, I'm inviting you to become one of our monthly companions. The steady financial support of our monthly companions has accelerated our pursuit of an audacious God-sized dream, and that is to bring insight for living to all 195 countries of the world. We refer to this mission as Vision 195. To become a monthly companion, you can have a ministry of your own by participating in Vision 195. To sign up right now, call us.

If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888, or go to slash monthly companion. And then I want to give a special shout out to my good friend Wayne Shepherd, who filled in for me while I recovered from losing my voice. You're a good man, Wayne.

Thanks so much. And I'm glad to be back as your host every day. 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 6th through 17th, 2022. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by handpicked 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 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. Be sure to join us again Tuesday to hear Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll. The preceding message, Exposing Religious Phonings, 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 / 2023-08-14 17:04:10 / 2023-08-14 17:13:08 / 9

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