Today, on Insight for Living from Chuck Swindoll. He is the master, we are the servant. He is the potter, we are the clay.
Just don't get those confused. He is the leader, we are the follower. He is God, we are not. Accept that, embrace that, remember that our times are in His hands.
His times are not in our hands. Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples when Jesus began to break the news? Perhaps standing together in a circle, Jesus began to explain, I need to go to Jerusalem and while I'm there, I'm going to suffer persecution.
Imagine their confusion as Jesus laid the groundwork for His crucifixion. Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents a brand new teaching series called Compelled by the Cross. In this message, we're looking at Matthew chapter 16.
And if you missed our previous program, we'll give you helpful highlights. But right now, Chuck leads us in prayer. We thank you, our Father, for your Son, Jesus, and His magnificent model following His obsession to go to the cross as you sent Him to go. We come to live, He came to die. So many of us come seeking our own way, He came pursuing yours.
What a model to follow, the personification of obedience. Thank you for Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Thank you for the words He spoke, such as these we read today.
Give us ears to hear them as if for the first time. May we see these words in a whole new light as it relates to our giving up our way, taking up our cross, and like He, following Jesus. Find us, we pray, as we sit down to an abundance of food and rest our bodies in comfortable beds, drive nice cars, wear comfortable clothes, are warm within as it is cold without and cool within as it is hot without. How blessed we are. Thank you, Father, we do not take this for granted. Thank you, Father, for dealing with us softly and tenderly, even wooing us to the cross that we might believe. Thank you that your call is gentle, that you never force your way in. We hear you today, we're listening carefully. May we be ready to alter our lives to fit your plan, whatever it may be. In the name of Jesus, we pray.
Everyone said, amen. You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash studies.
And now the message from Chuck titled Extravagant Love on Everlasting Display. It begins with a casual sounding question that we began reading of in Matthew 16 about verse 13 it is. Look for yourself. Who do people say that the Son of Man is? He asked.
What's the word out on the street? I'm sure they wouldn't tell Jesus who they thought he was, but what are they saying to you about me? The answer came rather easily. Some say you're the baptizer, you're John. Others say you're Elijah, having come back from beyond. Some say you're Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Then Jesus looked deeply into the eyes of these men he's been traveling with these three years. But who do you say that I am?
Peter doesn't wait for the others to answer. He steps up and his greatest moment occurs when he steps out all on his own and he says, you are the Mashiach. Your Bible may read Christ. Christos, that's the Greek word.
Mashiach, transliterated from the Hebrew Messiah, means anointed one. And he goes on, you are the Son of God, the living one. Peter never stood taller. Jesus moved him to the front of the class when he said, blessed are you, Simon Peter. Heaven has revealed this to you.
It hasn't come from some human source. And I'll say to you that you are Peter, Petrus, the rock. And upon this rock-like statement I will build my church. What a moment for Peter. Verse 21, from then on, it's a turning point. From then on, Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly, it's necessary for me to go to Jerusalem. That wasn't a shock. It had been there before.
And while there, it is necessary that I must suffer many terrible things at the hands of the authorities. They've seen him suffer before. They have no idea what he's referring to here, not fully.
And then he adds, and they will kill me. I don't believe they even heard what he said regarding his being raised from the dead. Peter certainly didn't. He pulled him aside.
He brought him to the side and he began to reprimand him. He says, no. No, that will never happen to you.
You got that wrong. You're the one that's going to conquer. You're going to overthrow Rome. You're going to be leading us into a kingdom and you will reign and we will reign with you. You're not going to die. You're God.
Jesus doesn't give that statement five seconds before he is back on it. Get behind me, Satan. You sound like the enemy. You're a trap. You're dangerous. Step aside.
Go to the back of the class. He may have scored high marks on Jesus' identity, but when it came to his obsession, he missed it by a mile. I am going to die. You see, the death of the Savior is not a defeat. It's a victory. It's a victory over sin. It's a victory over death. It's a victory over the grave. Equally important, it's a victory over Satan. Satan loses his fangs at the cross. Don't tell me I'm not going to die.
That's the whole purpose of my coming. While Peter is thinking you cannot die, Jesus is answering, I must die. I think at that moment there was silence. Not only Peter, I think his lips are now sealed.
He has been summarily rebuked and appropriately so. And before we go further, let me give you the first of three principles I want to leave with you from the verses now that follow. This one and the ones that follow. Please hear them well.
They are as relevant now as they would have been back then. We must never think that because a death is shockingly unexpected, it is therefore unacceptable. Again, we must never think that because a death is shockingly unexpected, it is therefore unexpected. If we are going to look at life as God has planned life, we must look at death as God has planned death. Otherwise, God is not quite sovereign.
Just almost. Which is heresy. You believe the day of your birth was marked out by God for a reason and a purpose, you better believe it. So it is with the day of your death. Not one second before, not one second late.
It's in the book ordained for you. So do not see a death as unacceptable just because it's shockingly unexpected. This will help you when that time comes and you lose one that means so much to you.
And they're younger than you. Maybe even your own child. Or your beloved parent whom you've loved all your life. When it's time, it's time. And Jesus is saying to Peter, that's my time. I must go to the cross. Our lives are in God's hands.
This is a good time to emphasize this. I will say what I've said before from this pulpit so many times. He is the master. We are the servant. He is the potter. We are the clay.
Just don't get those confused. He is the leader. We are the follower.
He is God. We are not. Accept that. Embrace that.
Teach that. Remember that at those moments when you cannot explain why to yourself or anyone else, understand our times are in his hands. His times are not in our hands. You will not read this in any popular magazine. You'll not hear it in the evening news from any reporter. You will not see it written in any newspaper, any periodical, any form of media, because we live in a day when we are the ones who are the most important. It's a me as a mage.
Not so. Our God and our God alone is the one who determines when we are conceived, when we are born, and therefore when we die. He is in charge of all the above. So the Lord has made that clear, and I believe by now the disciples are all just as quiet as they can be as they sit and stare, somewhat embarrassed for Peter and thankful that they aren't the ones that he said that to. It's a good time to bring up the second principle that I want to leave with you. We must stop thinking that the Lord should alter his plan to fit our preference.
He doesn't do that, does he? That's not the way it works. For a moment, pause and think back. I'll arbitrarily pick five years. Go back five years from today. Would you ever have imagined these five years would have been like they have been?
Not a person in this room could say that. It wasn't according to our preference. We would have preferred not to have had a pandemic. I couldn't even spell it two years ago, and suddenly it was upon us. We got back from Israel. That was 2020.
We were working on that the other day, Cynthia and I. It was March of 2020, and the first time I heard as it was addressed to me, you're quarantined. I'd been told to get in my chair as a little boy, and that was another kind of quarantine, but this isn't like that. Here I am an adult.
You get alone and you stay alone. Why? There's a pandemic. It wasn't my preference.
How many things were canceled, changed, altered? Nothing in your job is the same because of the pandemic. Changes everything. That's just one thing. Our preference is not what's important. We must stop thinking that the Lord should alter his plan to fit our preference. You see, again, it isn't about us. There is one thing I would love to get across to every child and every teenager.
It would be that principle. Stop thinking that your preference is the plan. Start thinking you're the one that alters the course. Your course is to fit his plan.
As Joni Eareckson-Tada altered her life from when she was a teenager and took that dive in the Chesapeake Bay, and from that moment on, paralysis became her lifetime companion. She's altered her plans, her preference for God's plan. That's an extreme example.
It's in little ways and in other ways I could get into, but you see the point. Now, Jesus goes further. He uses this silence among the disciples as a teaching moment. Sometimes we must do that when we're rearing children, when things get quiet or when something has happened that has silenced them. It's a good moment to teach, and that's what Jesus does here beginning in verse 23, or I should say 24.
Look for yourself. These are powerful words. None of them come naturally. Jesus says to these disciples who have been following him for three years, he says to them, if any of you wants to be my follower, if you're serious about walking with me, following as I lead, here are three things that must occur. These are not nice options.
It isn't a multiple choice where you can pick two out of three. All three are essential. First, you must turn from your selfish ways. I pause because that's a blow to our ego. Unless you were unusual, you were reared by selfish parents who were reared by your selfish grandparents, and you became a selfish parent teaching your children watch out for yourself. Did they really learn humility from you or did they learn selfishness? I remember when my son graduated, just an aside here, when my oldest son graduated from high school, I promised him we would ride the rapids of the Rogue River up in Oregon. We lived in California at the time, so he and a buddy of his and I took off for Oregon and we wound up on the Rogue River and we were standing about waist deep in water and the guide was going to lead us in this trip, these rubber rafts, was beginning to describe how the rapids would be and what we should do.
There were about six or eight of us in the group. He was carefully pointing out this and pointing out that. While he was doing that, I was eyeing the newest vinyl canoe that we'd be riding on. I was looking out for us.
I wasn't paying a lot of attention to the guide, so I said to Kurt, Kurt, come on. See that canoe over there on the left, far over there on the left? Move over there. He said, why? I said, just move over there. I'm watching out for you, son.
Just go over there and get that canoe. So he did. I said, I'll be in the one next to you.
That was the one next best. And your friend, he's going to be in this one. And I had it all planned. I was training him in selfishness, doing a pretty good job.
And I thought about it that night and it bothered me. So much of my life has been watching out for me, my kids. Teaching them to, you know, take care of yourself. I learned it from my dad, who said the same thing. And I know that you need to be responsible in life. I understand that.
Don't write me. I understand that that's part of taking care, watching out, looking both ways, being careful, driving carefully, whatever. But the main thing is you take care of you. We want that extra edge. But this says, got to set that aside. And then he says, you must take up your own cross. I'm following the one that is set out for me. And, you know, he doesn't identify what your cross is.
You know why? Because I think it's different for every one of us. May include what we've set our heart on, being willing to give that up. Something that could easily become an idol to us. Take first place.
Something that would really make us feel better, regardless of what it does to others. Whatever the cross, you have to determine that, but it must be taken up. And then having done those two things, turning from your selfish ways, taking up your cross, you now follow him.
Meaning you do as he leads you. We're midway through a message from Chuck Swindoll titled Jesus Magnificent Obsession. It's the first sermon in a brand new series that will lead us right up to Easter weekend. Chuck titled this study Compelled by the Cross. Did you know that every sermon you hear on Insight for Living is paired with Chuck's online study notes?
We call these free resources Searching the Scriptures Studies. To take advantage of this interactive study tool, go to insightworld.org slash studies. Sometimes you might wonder if we're actually reading the notes you send us through social media in the mail or on our website.
Well, I can assure you, we read every single comment. Let me share an encouraging note from a longtime listener in Colorado. He said, Pastor Swindoll, I have been a Christian since my mid 20s. I'm now 73. I've read many books by my favorite Christian authors, but I just finished reading your book on Ecclesiastes. And I'm thankful for your words of truth that teach me and help me grow even at my age.
Well, we're never too old to be learning, that's for certain. And along those lines, we're pleased to offer a brand new selection for you. Several years ago, Chuck offered some biblical wisdom in a way that captured a lot of attention. He was preaching about cultivating a godly perspective. In his message, he said, and I'm quoting here, I'm convinced that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. Chuck went on to say that all of us are on a journey, but when it comes right down to it, we are the only ones who can choose how we'll react to what life throws at us. Chuck's book will help you determine your choice. Chuck's new book is called Life is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React. To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash store. Or you can also call us and ask for the book.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the Inside for Living Ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun. And without a doubt, the stunning views took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska. In fact, I guarantee this, you'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for his majestic creation. Yeah, at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins.
They were playing and spinning in the waves. It was amazing. You'll have plenty of time for adventures on shore, lingering conversations around mealtime and strolling through the idyllic ports of call. You'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day.
Laughing, singing and celebrating our God. Plan to come with us, won't you? The dates are July 1st through July 8th, 2023. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444. Or visit insight.org slash events.
The Tour de Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Chuck Swindoll continues his message called Jesus Magnificent Obsession, next time on Insight for Living.
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