When you think of a special ops team on a critical rescue mission, what kind of personnel do you think of? Right?
Highly trained, intelligent, strong, endurance. You're thinking of SEAL Team 6, the best of the best. They're going to do the impossible. Now pause for a second.
We're going to look at God's special ops team that He sent to rescue the world. And I just want to prepare you. What you will hear will absolutely change the world. Absolutely amaze you.
Stay with me. Before we get started, maybe take a second to download Chip's message notes. They've got his outline, and they'll help you follow along as he introduces each member.
App listeners, tap fill in notes. Otherwise, jump online to livingontheedge.org, click the broadcasts tab, and you'll find him there. Okay, let's join Chip now for his message, The Unlikely People. I'd like you to mentally get in gear with me, and there is a plane traveling from New York City to Paris. And I want you to mentally think of someone who's very close to you that's on this plane. It can be your boyfriend, your girlfriend. It can be your husband, your wife. It can be one of your kids. It can be your mom. It can be your dad.
It can be your best friend. Because when you get the news on this, you will be deeply engaged. Somewhere between New York and Paris, terrorists on that plane took over the plane. They have now redirected that plane, and that plane has landed. Terrorists now have 161 hostages, of which your mom, your dad, your wife, your husband, or one of your kids is there. The US military has a special ops team immediately working in the area, deciding what they're going to do, knowing that, with the demands and the beheadings that have occurred, that they will do a special operation.
Now, here's my question. What kind of a group do you want to help rescue one of these hostages that you love very deeply? What kind of qualifications do they need to have? What do you want to know about a special operations, whether it's Green Beret or Delta Force or the SEALs or the Army Rangers?
What do they need to have to be successful in this? Well, I did a little research and listened to, this is from our federal government armed services. Those who make up the US Special Forces are a special breed of warrior. It's their job to push beyond limits that are mentally tougher, physically stronger, and 100% committed to serving our country and protecting its freedoms. It's a job for the best of the best. This elite team of heroes goes where others won't because they aren't trained and they cannot do what others do. It goes on to say, the requirements to make it into the special operations are some of the most demanding in the military. It calls for training that is physically and mentally harder and more strenuous than any other in any career. To make it, you have to have the will, the strength, and the endurance. In this special one, 730 days of training. Every recruit thinks that they're up for the challenge, but very few are.
Most of them fail. And then there's a criteria. You need to be between 20 and 30 years old. You need to be a citizen. You need a level of education. On one course, you have to have 110 score. On your armed services operational course, 100 score. Security clearance, airborne training, physical fitness, and 20-20 vision. If you know anything about any special operations, they are the elite of the elite of the elite.
And I don't know about you, but if they have my wife, my daughter, my son, my best friend, that's the kind of people I want, don't you? To do this rescue operation. Now, a rescue is what?
It's to save someone from a dangerous or distressing situation, to keep them from being lost or abandoned, or to retrieve them. We want to retrieve these hostages alive. And so what I can tell you is this group, they're going to come up with a plan, the right people we're going to send in, they're going to have innovative methods, they're going to look at the situation and what they need to do, and it might be different from anything they've ever done. Their timing is going to have to be not impeccable, but perfect.
And they're going to have to execute flawlessly. Now, I want you to think of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise God who's created all that there is. And it's not there's a few people, there's a whole planet full of humanity that is held hostage. Hostage by evil, hostage by sin, hostage by death, hostage by an evil imposter. And God is going to rescue them, and so he has a special ops team. But as I've studied his special ops team, it's really different than ours. We want the best of the best, the most highly trained, the most intelligent, the strongest. And so what I want to do with you is I want to take you on a little journey, and I want to walk you from chronologically the first mention we get of God's rescue operation right up to the birth of Jesus, which is the birth of the launching of his rescue operation. And let's look at what I like to call the unlikely people.
I want you to be thinking about, wow, I wonder if I could qualify. What is it about these people that I have in common with them? Why would God choose them? How does God really work?
Because it's quite a bit different than us. So chronologically, if you go through Scripture, what you find is the first people that you would discover would be there's a group called Magi. And these Magi were not just astrologers the way we think, they were a very influential group of wise men. They were referred to in Daniel 2, they were referred to in Jeremiah 39. These were the counselors to kings. These were people that were involved in what's going to happen in the future. And they started watching the stars and this phenomena at least two years before the birth. They probably made at least a 300-mile trek. I began to ask myself now, this is a special operation of God's holy people, the Jews, and the first people who recognize that the king of the Jews is going to be born the savior of the world is a group of Gentile people staring at the stars that had hundreds of years of history of giving counsel to kings and who were referred to as magicians and sometimes even sorcerers. Is this really the group you want to start this plan with?
I mean really? Doesn't it seem a little unlikely these pagan, Gentile stargazers are going to be the ones who are the first to mention chronologically of this great rescue plan? Well, we move from the magi to Zachariah, Matthew chapter 1. Zachariah is a priest. We know he's not yet 50 because you have to automatically retire at 50 from the priesthood. Twice a year he would go and serve in the temple.
They would cast lots because once a year someone would go in to burn incense in the holy place and the incense were a picture of prayers going up to heaven. We know that Zachariah is married to Elizabeth who is barren and in that day to be barren is assumed to be cursed of God. They've been begging God, begging God, praying for a son, but you know the biological window has closed.
She can't have kids now. And he's chosen by lot, just happenstance. And you can only do this once in your lifetime if you're chosen. So Zachariah goes into the holy place, he burns the incense, and while he's there an angel appears.
Whoa. And as this angel appears he begins to tell Zachariah that you're going to have a son, he's going to prepare the way for the savior of the world, and he begins to lay out all these things. This man has studied the Bible his whole life. This man has prayed to God, give me a son. And the angel comes and lets him know this is what's happening. And what's his response?
Unbelief. So because of his unbelief the Lord causes him to be dumb, he can't speak. So he comes out, what happened, what happened?
You know he's just freaked out. So he can't speak and we find that he can't say a word until the baby is born. And you know they've been waiting all their life. It's a miracle, everyone's just freaked out that Elizabeth is having a baby first of all. And then we're going to name him Zachariah because I mean your family line and that's I mean that's really important stuff. And Elizabeth says no, his name's going to be John. And they take him to the father and say now wait a second you don't buy that. And he writes his name is John. And the moment he says that he can speak. And you can read it and he prophesies. And he begins to talk Old Testament passage after passage reaching out of Isaiah and there's a forerunner who's going to prepare the way for the savior of the world. And God is going to push down the proud and exalt the humble and he's going to make a way because he cares for everyone.
Kind of unlikely. A cursed couple that can't have kids and a priest that doesn't have much faith. The next person in the story chronologically is Mary. She's a peasant teenage girl probably 15 to 17 years old. She's devout. She really knows God unusual for a woman. She's had some theological training because when we hear her pray later she'll quote parts of at least seven or eight Old Testament passages. But this is a girl we know she's a peasant or she's really poor because when she goes to the temple and dedicates Jesus.
There's two offerings and there's an offering for that's normal and there's an offering for really poor people and she and Joseph have to give the offering that really poor people give. So here's the special ops team. This is we're going to rescue all humanity.
So we start with a bunch of stargazers. Then we move to an unbelieving priest with a barren wife who everyone thinks is cursed by God. And now we go to a teenage girl unlikely and the angel says to her oh favored one of the Lord.
What? I mean can you imagine being a 15, 16 year old girl and an angel shows up in your bedroom? You're favored of God. You're going to have a baby. There's a problem here.
I've never been with a guy. Oh no no the Holy Spirit will come upon you. And this humble peasant girl says be it unto me according to your word. Can you imagine being 15, 16, 17 years old and telling your closest friends an angel came to my bedroom? Sure. Hey got you Mary.
Right? And God says here's a sign. You know your cousin Elizabeth?
The barren one here. She's six months pregnant. And the text says she hurried off into the villages. And the moment she walks in the door what do we know? The baby leaps within Elizabeth's womb and she's filled with the Holy Spirit and she begins to declare this is the mother our Lord and she begins to quote Old Testament passages about the Messiah.
In fact Elizabeth in her prayer says blessed are you who believed what the Lord has said about you. The next person is Joseph. He's a young devout man. He's a blue collar worker.
Not a lot of education. He's a righteous man because when he hears that Mary is pregnant he decides to divorce her quietly. In the Jewish betrothal period you would be betrothed and you'd be committed and you weren't married.
But the only way to get out of a betrothal was you had to have a divorce. And so he was going to put her away quietly because he was a righteous man. And before he can do that he gets the angel in the dream. And in his dream this angel reassures him Joseph. I just want you to know this 15 to 17 year old teenager that you're going to marry who is pregnant has never been with a man. You'll believe me right?
And so I want you to go ahead and marry her but I want you to abstain from any sexual relationships with her. Because what I want you to know is that God is visiting the planet. I mean okay we got a peasant girl, blue collar worker, a poor young man. And then it says a census is going to be taken.
There hadn't been one in ages. And so sovereignly out of the blue Carinia says from Syria let's have a census. And he says all the inhabitants of the world no exceptions. And then next is the town where it all happens Bethlehem. It's a no name little dinky town seven miles outside of Jerusalem. And about the only claim to fame is that you know that was where David was brought up. And they go back to Bethlehem. And as they go there what we learn is there's no room. So God uses a Roman governor who decides to have a census and he's so you're starting to see this unlikely arrangement. This isn't like a special ops of the most holy, the greatest, the smartest, the best, the elite followers of God.
This is like a collage of unlikely people. And so they go to Bethlehem. And when they go to Bethlehem you know the story then there's the manger Luke chapter two.
The king of the universe is going to be born in a manger. And I just I almost hate to say this because I hate to mess up your stories. The thing about three wise men number one there weren't necessarily three and they weren't necessarily wise men. Sorry. In fact in one text it says and all of Jerusalem they probably had quite the caravan that came in.
These are these are uppity guys okay. Second it says when there's no room in the inn but the word for inn is actually the guest room of a house. In that day there weren't hotels so you would go to your relatives so they went to the relatives and the way the houses were is there was an upstairs guest room. There's a family room here. There was an open area where they would cook and then right inside there would be a manger because to protect your animals.
And so really there wasn't room in the guest house. And so this baby is born in a manger with animals. Think of how unlikely the king of the universe coming and being born in a manger. Well then the next group that we find is shepherds. Luke chapter 2 verse 8. You need to understand shepherds are like the lowest on the socioeconomic scale of the day. In fact it's not just the lowest class of people but if you get the night shift you're the lowest class of the lowest right.
God chooses the lowest class people and of the lowest class people those who get the night shift and angels fill the sky and they go and they worship Jesus. And they become the first evangelists if you read the text carefully they went and shared the wonder of what the angels had said. You've been listening to part 1 of Chip's message The Unlikely People from his series The Great Rescue. In this little three part series Chip reveals that God's great rescue mission utilized an incredible plan and relied on a very unlikely team.
And yet is exactly what people desperate for rescue can rely on with absolute certainty. If you'd like to hear this message again the Chip Ingram app is perfect for free access. The app's also an easy way to share this message with a friend. If you like CDs take advantage of our on-air discounts and remember the MP3s are always free.
Just visit us online at livingontheedge.org tap special offers on the app or give us a call at 888-333-6003. Before I come back and share some final thoughts to today's message I'd like to read a letter that I got that really made a difference in my life. It's something that we value here at Living on the Edge.
Dear Chip I want to thank you for your coffee break of July 2020. It was on time and very insightful especially in view of the climate in our country. I appreciate the fact that you have reached out to deal with the racial divide in our country in a godly way. I appreciate the fact that this is not a popular subject because it makes people uncomfortable.
I am an African American but I'm also a Christian and not in that order. Therefore I appreciate men like you who are at least willing to listen to our point of view. Your July teaching demonstrated your willingness not to wholeheartedly agree but to listen and for that I'm grateful. Well I am deeply grateful for the letter from James and want you to know we at Living on the Edge want to teach the full scripture.
And at times it's popular at times it's not. But when you pray for and when you support Living on the Edge you can be a part of what God says about racism. What God says about what's true and what's right and how we treat one another.
And it's a complex issue and there's a lot of different opinions. But if we stick to the scriptures and if we love one another we can make a difference. My request is this will you help us be that voice in 2021. December is a critical month for Living on the Edge where every gift that's given is doubled. And it becomes a major part of our funding not only for the end of this year but for next year. Thank you for your support and please pray. Ask God what he would have you do this December.
Thanks for sharing that Chip. Well it isn't always easy but standing on the Word of God is a commitment we'll never waver on. Now if that's important to you and you'd like to help us continue to provide solid biblical teaching now's a great time to join the team. With over a million listeners each week and a footprint on every continent your gifts have significant impact. During the month of December whatever we receive is doubled thanks to a small group of ministry partners. To send a gift and partner with us just go to livingontheedge.org tap donate on the app or give us a call at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do.
Well now here's Chip with his application. As we wrap up today's program I hope you caught just how much I love the Christmas story and all the people in it. You know every time I spend time reading it thinking about it studying it I get so encouraged because these aren't superstars they're regular ordinary people like you and me. In fact candidly they're not even ordinary people they're the lowliest they're the marginalized they're the often the misfits.
And I don't know about you and I'm sure because you you know hear me on a podcast or radio that you don't think I actually think this way. But I didn't grow up in the church and I know I'm ordinary and I am absolutely amazed. And what gives me hope around Christmas is that God doesn't need superstars. He needs ordinary available people. I do believe that he does extraordinary things through us regular ordinary people. I mean a teenage girl brings the Savior into the world. The lowly shepherds are the first evangelists.
I mean the story goes on and on. So this Christmas could I encourage you you're precious and you're valuable but you're also a messenger. There's people that will be family and I know it's hard. There'll be people that have needs and I know you've already given. But I just want to encourage you to say oh Lord this Christmas would you use an unlikely person like me. And so when he prompts you to to give a gift to help a homeless person to say a word of affirmation to forgive an ex-mate to to do something that seems crazy but it's loving and it's kind.
Or maybe you're asked to step up and share your faith or do something that you think oh that's not for me that's for someone stronger better more intelligent on and on and on. Could I encourage you this Christmas be one of the unlikely people that God uses to rescue others for God's glory and for your good. Just before we close I want to thank those of you who financially support the Ministry of Living on the Edge. Amazing things are happening and you're a part of that. If you want to get in on what the Lord is doing through Living on the Edge there's never been a better time. Between now and December 31st every gift you send will be matched because a small group of ministry partners has committed to double everything we receive. Now to send a gift just go to livingontheedge.org tap donate on the app or give us a call at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. We'd love to have you with us. We'll be with us again next time and until then this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-12 11:23:53 / 2024-01-12 11:32:39 / 9