Can you imagine waking up each day and looking forward to going to work? I mean, is that how you think about your job today? Well, it's possible to have the job of your dreams, and today we're going to talk about how you can begin to discover exactly what God made you to do.
Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Today, Chip picks up in his series Answering the Call with the second half of his message based in the book of Ephesians.
There's a lot of content to get to, so let's dive in. Here's Chip for the remainder of his talk, What Has God Called You to Do? You are called to a person, Jesus. You are called to a purpose to become like Him, and you are called to a people, called the church.
The phone rings, and God says, I didn't just save you for a purpose, and you float out there somewhere. I want you connected to a local body of people, because I've deposited gifts in you, and I have purpose for you, and you, fitting with who you are and who they are, come together to demonstrate my glory to the world. And in the one, you come, right? Coming to me.
In the other, it's be, be perfect. And then what did Jesus say? Follow me. Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. He wants you to be a part of other people becoming like Christ.
You are called to that. California, you get into lots of conversations like, you know, I don't need to go to church to be a Christian, to which I say, you're right. You know, I don't have to go to church, you know, all I do is talk, and I don't think it's that important to be a member of a local church.
Yeah, you know, God does. Now, you can describe membership, and you know, some people, I'm a member, and they haven't been in three years, so I don't think that's a good one. And some churches don't take formal membership.
I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is a participating, involved, active, engaged member where you know your gifts, you're serving, you're being loved, and you're loving other people, and life community is happening on the basis of the work of Christ, and people's lives are changing because they're rubbing up against the Christ in you and your gifts, and you're rubbing up against the Christ in them. You are called to a people. And then notice what happens as the evidence of maturity, and it goes on in verse 14 that we should no longer to be children. The reason a lot of Christians don't look like Christians are immature, little spiritual babies, because they're not connected.
They're not in community. They're a lone ranger of Christians. He says we're no longer to be children, and then he describes what's true of children. Tossed to and fro, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men and cunning craftiness and deceitful plotting, but positively speaking the truth in love. That's how relationships really work.
We're to grow up how? Into all aspects into them. Who is the head? Even Christ.
From whom the whole body, what? The body of Christ being fitted and knit together by that which notice every joint supplies according to the proper working of each individual part causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. And what I want you to see here is Jesus said upon this rock, remember he makes the statement, Peter, you know, you're the Christ, the son of living God.
The rock that he's talking about is that confession, and on that confession that I'm the Messiah and I'm the head, and I'm going to bring about a bride upon the confession of that reality I'm going to build my church. But I'll tell you what, I love the church. I don't know where you're coming from, and our church gets ripped a lot and it has a lot of problems and there's a lot of hypocrites because there's a lot of people in there like us, and it's got all kind of problems. And we got to address those problems. But the local church is the hope of the world.
Now we've blown it and boy there's been things done in the name of the church and Jesus that are just embarrassing. But with all that aside, I want you to hear that if you are going to understand and fulfill the unique plan that God created you to fulfill, it starts with his calling to you and your love for him and walking with him. And then it's you understanding the number one agenda is not where I work, what I do, how many kids I have, or if I ever get married or how much I make. The number one agenda on God's list is that I become like his son. And then third is I'm called to a people. I am called to engage in the supernatural community where I give and I receive in ways where transformation occurs. The fourth calling is the calling into a process.
Into a process. 1 Thessalonians 4-7, for God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness. Matthew 5 says, but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Seek his righteousness. Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be satisfied. You will be about as holy as you want to be. That may sound heretical, it's absolutely true. Everything you need to be to be like Christ you already possess. The spirit that raised him from the dead, if you're a genuine follower of Christ, lives in you. And man won't live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. If you have a passion to love and follow him and you say I want to be a man or woman of your word and you get yourself involved in authentic community, the spirit of God calls you to a life, a process, a journey that you will become holy. You will become progressively pure. Your thoughts will change, your speech will change.
I'm not talking about just, you know, external cleaning up some things. That's a great place to start and God usually does. I'm talking about having unconscious reactions to injustice. I'm talking about forgiving people that there's no way in the world after what they've done to you, you should ever forgive. But by the power of the living Christ, you say, Father forgive them.
They know not what they do. And it's a response that comes not because it's anything of you, it's because you have been so surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ over a protracted period of time, you actually have the mind of Christ and the mind of Christ is manifesting itself not just in your actions but in your reactions. And so you are called into a process, a walk, a journey of transformation by God's Spirit through His Word. And actually what you see as I've outlined here is if you take the big sections beginning in verse 17 to 32, you're called in this journey or process called sanctification to walk in the light. Look at verse 17 because it really talks clearly about what has to happen. It says, this I say therefore in testifying the Lord that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding, get the idea, darkened, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that's in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.
And then he goes on and talks about why. But you haven't learned Christ in this way. Verse 22, put off your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lust and be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you can put on the new man that was created according to God in true righteousness and boldness. It is normal, in fact, absolutely normal for those outside of Christ when they come into Christ over a period of time to be radically transformed in their speech, their thoughts, their behaviors and their motives. And we are living in a day when a Christian actually lives that way, we start wanting to get some stained glass out and put it up because we think they're superstars. We have so dumbed down the expectations of what we think God will do in our lives, we find a handful of people that live the normal Christian life and we go, I will tell you when you met a Christian in the first century, that was just normal.
And by the way, one of the reasons it's not normal is the softer and the easier it is to walk with God, the softer and easier the Christianity and the flavor becomes. I have just taken so many trips around the world you wouldn't believe it. And I've just sat down with people that have created private little rooms that are soundproof to take 15 and 20 people through at a time to tell them about Jesus and disciple them and they know if they're caught they will die.
I was in the Middle East where we had people from Iran, Iraq, all 21 Arab countries, we took the invisible war translated for them, gave them the video, and they get caught, they go to prison. Within three weeks, one of the pastors from Iraq emailed me and said, I'm sorry, you know, I wanted to tell you how many people I've taught and what was going on, that it was gunfire everywhere. He said, all my kids and I, we got all under, you know, three kids, my wife, we got underneath the bed and for half hour, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba. And I got up and there were six dead bodies in front of my door.
And bullets everywhere. My kids have been shaking for the last three or four days. We've not gone outside. But it's Saturday afternoon. It's time for Bible study and I'm the pastor. And I'll teach the Bible study and tomorrow morning we'll have church.
I'll tell you what. You talk about people whose lives are transformed. See, Jesus is very real.
You really figure out what you believe and you experience His power and transformation when it is about life and death and what's real. I'm fearful that in the United States, Jesus has become the great self-help genie. And the real goal is that He will make me fulfilled, give me a marriage that no one ever has ever experienced, but we can put it and tell people that it's available.
Have kids that turn out perfect, that go to Ivy League schools, that never have a problem, that will never get cancer. And somehow everything is going to be wonderful if I just think a certain way and I love Jesus. And Jesus is here to kind of be my little self-help genie. Kind of a little spiritual vending machine. And all I need to do is learn the little code, read the Bible a little bit, maybe give the mission, serve in the church, clean up my external act.
Just like those machines where you push B7, F4, D3 and the M&M peanuts come out. We think we can push a few little buttons and get Jesus to do that and successful marriage, upwardly mobile, kids turn out right, never have a problem. That's a deceptive gospel from the pit of hell. Do not be surprised when you encounter a fiery trial.
Those who desire to live a godly Christ in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. You don't have a lot of people claiming those promises. Now I'm not sadistic, I'm not looking for trouble.
Okay? And you know what? All the blessings we have, God has blessed us where we are because we're stewards to use it for His glory. And we've turned it inward and we've made it about us instead of Him. And that's why a lot of people, you know something?
Their phone's ringing off the wall but someone came and pushed the silence button. And they can't hear God because they think God's job is to give them a successful career and make them upwardly mobile. They think God's job is to make them happy all the time and if they're not then they trade in whatever version of mate they have for the next prettiest, bestest one. And so that's why we have the stuff going on in the church today and the divorce rate in the church today and the lack of integrity in the church today. Tell you what, people have not heard the call of God to a person and then to a purpose and to a people. People change churches like others change underwear. That's not very fulfilling and you know this program isn't what I really think it to be. Whatever happened to, let's build the church and make it great, speak the truth and love.
If it's not right, tell someone. Go through Matthew 18, deal with hard stuff and see it purified and watch God work. See, unconsciously what we've asked is what have you done for me lately, church? And then become big houses to meet our needs. And so we build everything in the church and become this little secularized cul-de-sac community with our own world and our own social club and our own everything, telling one another how wonderful it is.
Salt's got to get out of the salt shaker and light's got to get on the on position in the flashlight to expose and to reveal. So the life of Christ, I mean I've got news for you, we are not going to be here forever. And so there's a purpose and part of that is this process to walk in the light and then we're to walk in love. Look at chapter five, verse one. He says this calling, this process is walking in purity, it's walking in light, there's a real transform. But then he says what? Chapter five, therefore be imitators, literally the Greek word is mimic. Be a mimic of God, dear children, and then walk in love. And he contrasts walking in love with sexual impurity. He says you're called to this process, you walk in the light, it's a journey. Yes, there's three steps forward and two steps backward.
Yes, you blow it. Yes, you have struggle. Okay, that's fine. There's difference between owning it and asking God for forgiveness and repenting and knowing you're on the right track and just stepping away and saying, you know, I don't, I've done a lot of single things in the last couple of years. We've got evangelical single groups everywhere that go, well, you know, I don't think God was really serious about that not sleeping together before you're married.
I mean, it's just common. I mean, in good Bible-teaching churches. I've got a friend whose wife died and he spent a couple of years just grief and recovering and he goes, you know, I'd kind of like to meet someone. And so he went to a couple, I mean, great churches in his city. He said I've been in Bible studies where, you know, five guys, six guys, I'm the only celibate guy in the room.
And they're looking at me like, what's wrong with you? He said, what's wrong with me is Ephesians 5, walk in love. Let there not be a hint of immorality among you. And so we're to walk in the light, we're to walk in love, and then we're to walk in wisdom. And that begins in Ephesians 5 and he says, okay, don't be foolish or unwise, but understand the will of the Lord.
And then he says, okay, now I want you to walk in wisdom. By the way, wisdom is not intellect. In the Bible, wisdom has the idea of skill. It's the idea of doing life the way God designed it to be done. That's what wisdom is. It's the skill, the insight, the knowledge, and the understanding to apply the truth of God. In other words, wisdom would be handling your money the way God would want you to handle your money to bring the most glory to him and the best benefit for you and for others. It would be handling your relationships his way. It would be parenting his way or grandparenting his way.
Wisdom is the skill and the knowledge to know when and how to apply the truth of scripture in various areas. And so he says, okay, with regard to God, be filled or literally controlled with the Holy Spirit. Then he gives evidence of when you're controlled and when you're not. And then he'll say, okay, let's move to the next contentment circle. Marriage. Okay, wives, you know, here's what you need to do. Husbands, this is what you need to do. Then he moves to the next one. Children, hey, obey your parents.
Hey, fathers, don't exasperate your kids. And then it gets down to the work world. And he says, slaves, I mean, imagine 80% of the church maybe more were slaves and you were a piece of property. When this was written, a master could just say, I don't like this slave, kill him, no consequences.
No more than killing a cow or a donkey or a goat. They're a piece of property. And yet God says to them in your work world, I want you to do your work unto this pagan master as though I were your boss, Jesus. And you know what? There's a reason the first century transformed their world. Can you imagine how counterculture or what it would be to treat someone like dirt and have them be your best worker and then try and figure out what is going on with this guy?
And he keeps making these little fish signs on the sand and talking about some guy who was dead and came back to life and you're going, yeah, right. And then pretty soon it was undeniable. It was the marketplace ministry of the first century.
You realize, you know, I mean, we think about the churches and all the stuff we've got to have. I mean, they didn't have any buildings. They didn't have any buildings.
They didn't have any staff. I mean, Paul, you think he could be like at least one full-time staff member, right? You know, he goes for a while, runs out of money.
The Philippians were the only church that helped him out. So, you know, tents by day, preach by night. You know, Peter, kind of a little extra special permission. You know, hey, it's okay.
I take my wife with me on some of the trips, right? And they turn the entire world upside down. But the reality is God's call goes beyond first to Him and to the purpose of becoming like Christ and to a people where He changes us and supports us and comforts us and we comfort and love others into this process of sanctification where we walk in purity to the light, when we walk in tenderness to love, and then when we walk in wisdom, doing life God's way where we're salt and light in every relationship. And then notice what happens then, transformation. But that's, He's calling us to these things. He's on the other end of the phone saying, I want you to walk in wisdom this way. And He wants to whisper or shout in your ear and mine.
And then notice what He says. Jesus says, seek ye first. You come, you be, you follow, and then you seek. You seek. Fifth and finally, God calls us to different places.
Different places. 1 Corinthians 7, 17 to 24. When you begin to get this idea and see how calling plays out, you can start to think that what it's all about, am I called into the ministry or am I called into a regular job? And if I'm really going to make a difference in my life, well, I can't because I've got this job to do. Or I can't fulfill God's calling because I've got these kids. Or I can't fulfill this calling because I've got all this education that I need to get and I don't have. Or I can't fulfill this calling because, boy, I've got not one divorce, I've got two divorces and now I've become a Christian. And so we don't think we can fulfill God's calling because of the position we find ourselves.
I'm married, I'm single, I'm old, I'm young, I'm uneducated, I've got too much education, whatever it is. And so the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, very, very interesting passage here, he begins to describe some things about when you are called to a person, to this purpose of Christ-likeness, into a people of God called the church, into this process of transformation. He now says God calls you into different places at different times and he gives instructions. Notice verse 17 of 1 Corinthians 7.
But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk and so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. In other words, if you were a Jew when you got called, be a born again Jew. If you're a Gentile, be a born again Gentile. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
It's a hard issue. Let the one remain in the same calling in which he was called. His whole point is don't think calling is all about exterior stuff, about circumstances that were different. He says if you're called while a slave, don't be concerned about it. But if you can be made free, rather use it. For he was called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freed man and likewise he is called while free is Christ's slave. You're bought with a price, don't become slaves of men. Turn, let each man remain with God in that state in which he was called.
Are you, anybody getting a message here? I mean is he like using the word called a few times? His point is it's not about external circumstantial or positional roles in this world. It's about being called to a person, to a purpose, to a people, and to a process so that wherever God calls you, if he calls you after two divorces, great, reveal Jesus where he has you.
If he calls you without a lot of education, if he shows you that you need more, fine. If not, stay where you're at and reveal Jesus 24-7. If he's called you to this kind of work, do that work unless he shows you something different and reveal Jesus there. Be an ambassador for Christ. Be a secret agent, full-time Christian, waitress, businessman, salesperson, stay at home mom, coach. What he's saying is you're all in full-time ministry, okay?
Every single one. You are a kingdom of priests. I don't have clergy up here, you know?
I got news for you. God doesn't love Billy Graham any more than you. Billy Graham heard the phone call and he was called first to Jesus a person and then to a purpose to grow and if you read his autobiography, you hear about this passion to become like Christ and then to a people and he pastored for a while and he saw that wherever he went, he would coordinate with the churches and then to a process and guess what? He got a team of guys around him and they did life in community and then to a place and his place was to be an evangelist. He fulfilled his calling and you know what God wants?
He wants you to fill yours and his is no more important than yours. Imagine if you will a car and everyone wants to be the hood ornament or the leather seats and there's one very kind of ugly bolt down there in the drive shaft where everything connects. I got news for you.
I want that part of the car to work really, really well and some of us are the bolt of the drive shaft. We are not public. People will never know our name but we're called to a place and where he calls you, he will gift you for. Some of you are in the wrong place. Granted, you're in the wrong place because you really haven't heard the call or it's not as clear yet and we're going to talk about how to get it clear and there is a world system that wants to take you away from God's call in your life and so it wants to distract you and say that you might have those leanings but more money is what really counts and security is really important if you want to really be significant and so there's a whole world that's filling your mind and mine with TVs and movies and papers and billboards that says that success and significance and security is about how you look, what you own, who you know and you know what that does?
That causes the ringer on the phone of God's call to get dim, dim, dim, dim and then we find ourselves successful people with money that doesn't satisfy and outward looks that people envy but you look in the mirror and feel ugly and you have zeros in your portfolio and letters behind your name and kids that don't like you and what I'm glad is no matter where we're at in the process of God's journey and call, the phone lines go two ways and you can always stop right wherever you're at and say, Lord this is Chip. I haven't noticed but there was a lot of messages on my recorder. Thirty-one, yeah that's right. Seven years, that's correct sir. I was wondering could you maybe go back to like number, maybe we could start with one and if you could say it real slow, I got my pen and paper and I'm really sorry. Yeah, thank you. I'd like to get back on track.
Oh man, thanks. You'll call me next time? Thanks Lord.
Okay, good night. It's never too late. It's never too late and God wants you first and foremost see most of us when we think about work and calling, we jump over here to am I in the right place?
Should I be in full-time Christian ministry or not? I got news for you, you are. You are. It's just how you doing? And what God would say is you know what, did you kind of feel a little bit, I mean was there at least a little bit, maybe I don't want to read into it but did you have a little bit of the flavor in 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul's going I don't give a rip what you are.
I don't give a rip what you're doing. You're a slave, be a slave, circumcised. You know what he's saying is hey tell you what, you get called to the person, you get serious about being called to the purpose of becoming like Christ, you get called into a people of God and you get called into the process of allowing him to change your life and walk in the light and walk in love and walk in wisdom in these relationships. He goes you know, whether you do that here or do that here or do that here or do that here, that's so secondary. Finally, implications for your calling and I just touch on these because we're going to develop these but I just want to throw some things out before we finish. And implications for a calling on your work, one, work is not about finding a job to pay the bills, okay. That is really not, where you spend your time and energy is not about just figuring out well I got to get a job to pay the bills. Second, work is not even about building a career for a successful life.
That is not what when God thinks about you and how he made you and the work he has for you. Third, work is a vocation, a calling that places you where you do what God uniquely created and designed you to do in order to fulfill his highest purpose in you and through you for his glory and your joy. That's what work is. Work flows out, see if you can watch how in one sentence we're taking all these callings and putting them in sort of something and how, because I like the idea of flowing. Work flows out of a relationship with Christ that's inward to external activity that we do that's outward that impacts culture and community that's onward to the glory of God and that is upward. That's what we're going to talk about. John Piper writes in his book Don't Waste Your Life, work is not a curse.
It is in fact where the war is fought. The burning question for most Christians should be, how can my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation? And then Howard E. Butts Jr. in an article, Why Is Our Work a High Calling, writes, how different things would be if each Christian, each ordinary lay person, felt himself called by God to his daily work, felt herself called to her daily task, as much as any clergy, religious professional, or missionary. How different would the church be?
How different would the world be? There are some people like Fred that God calls into a vocation that happens to be Christian ministry and I think that's the exception. All of us are called into full-time ministry. Some will do it in a way where the rest of us will give a little extra to free their unique gifts up to minister to us. Their calling is no higher or more important than our calling. They got a call on the phone from God that said, do this. And we, if we're willing to hear, will get a call from God that says, do that. And when I stand before God, he's not going to say, did you do this? He's going to say, Chip, did you do that, which I called you to do?
Right? Lord, thank you so much for your love for us. Thank you that you have called us.
And Lord, I pray first and foremost, we just so run to the end and want the details of the where and the what and the vocation and location. Lord, I pray that you would just, in a new and powerful way, help us understand you want us to grasp how much you love us. That it's personal. And that your real purpose is not our success or even our impact. It's this process of becoming like your son. Lord, will you please help every person in this room to discern what part of what they've heard is the part you really want them to ponder and to meditate on and to act on.
I don't know what that is. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your presence. Thank you for your word in Christ's name.
Amen. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, What Has God Called You to Do, from our series, Answering the Call. Are you looking for a job, starting a new career, or just desperate for a fresh perspective on your current employment? Through this eight-part series, Chip unpacks what the Bible has to say about this idea of work and reveals why God intended it to be more than just what we do for a living. Stay with us as we discover how to find genuine enjoyment and fulfillment in our work and bring praise to God through it. To get more plugged in with this series or our many resources, visit livingontheedge.org. That's livingontheedge.org. Well, Chip's joined me in studio now to share a quick word.
Thanks so much, Dave. I'm going to be right back and I'm going to talk about today's message, but I want to talk directly and personally to you first. We've got millions of people going to church, going through the motions, many of them sincere but ignorant about the Gospel, about truth.
Their lives don't change. We have a whole generation of young people saying, You can have your Jesus and your churchianity and I'm out of here because they don't see reality. And Living on the Edge has been called to declare war on religious activity that doesn't align with the Jesus of the New Testament, but we can't do it without you. I grew up in that environment and I turned away from God and I just praise God that he brought people into my life that clearly explained the Gospel, but as importantly, they lived it out and they lived it out in real life and loved me and cared for me and they were holy and they weren't weird. God longs to do that in our day and the message of Living on the Edge is helping Christians live like Christians.
We do it through teaching, we create resources, but it requires a team and for us to do it moving toward the future as God has opened more and more doors, I simply tell you, I need your help. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us today and kind of move that good intention? You thought about it, I ought to help them out. Yeah, I already decided in my head I would, but the fact is you haven't acted on it yet.
Act on it today. Let's make a difference. Thanks, Chip. As you prayerfully consider your role in this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant. When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways only God can do. Make your donation at livingonthedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app, or if it's easier, text donate to 7-4141.
That's the word donate to 7-4141. We appreciate your help. Well, here again is Chip to share a few final thoughts. As we wrap up today's program, I talked about a lot of information. I'd like you to lean back and just pause for a moment.
Let's do a quick review. You know, I've heard many people talk about, you know, God called me to go overseas, or He called me to be a pastor, called me to be an architect, or He called me specifically to do this ministry. I mean, wouldn't it be great if you got like an actual phone call from God? You know, on your phone it just showed up, this is God, want to get a few minutes with you? Well, let me tell you, God has called you, but first and foremost, He called you to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here's the question. Have you answered that call? Have you placed your faith in Christ? You'll never understand or fulfill what you're made to do until you answer that first call to salvation. Second, He called you with a purpose. I mean, He wants to accomplish something not just in you, but through you, to make you like His Son. Third, He's called you to a people. The goal is not to be a great moral person living this life somewhere on your own. He's called you to the body of Christ. We need you, and you need us. Fourth, He's called you to a process of what we call holy transformation that brings peace and joy as, you know, it is hard, but as you grow in holiness, as you're conformed to the image of Jesus, there's great joy, great peace, and a new love that's normal for a believer. And finally, God calls you to a place. It's where you work.
It's what you do in the great majority of all those hours. We're going to talk about how all this actually works so that your everyday life in your everyday job becomes far more than just getting a paycheck. Thanks, Chip. And you know, the points Chip just reviewed come right from his message notes, which is a great resource to help you get the most out of every program. It provides you with Chip's outline, all of the scripture he references, and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning. So before you listen again, let me encourage you to download Chip's message notes at livingontheedge.org under the broadcasts tab. App listeners, tap fill-in notes. Well, from all of us here, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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