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Yes! You Really CAN Change - Is a "Changed Life" Really Possible?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 5, 2021 6:00 am

Yes! You Really CAN Change - Is a "Changed Life" Really Possible?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 5, 2021 6:00 am

Would you like to experience real, lasting, positive life change, but just don’t know how? Join Chip as he begins a series called, “Transformed: The Miracle of Life Change.” If you want victory over attitudes and behaviors that have tripped you up on your spiritual journey, Chip gives hope and encouragement that lasting change really is possible.

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Are you tired of making resolutions that you never keep and never amount to much? You know, I'm going to work out. I'll lose weight. I'll read my Bible. I'll pray more. You know, you have good intentions, but you just keep fizzling out and the change never really happens. What I want you to know, it doesn't have to be that way. God has a word for you and me today and we're going to learn how to change, life change, deep change, supernatural change, that can happen to ordinary people just like you and just like me.

Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher on this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians.

I'm Dave Druey. In this program, Chip's starting a series called Yes, You Really Can Change. You know, we all long to be the best version of ourselves possible, but oftentimes, as Chip pointed out, we fall short of our goals and expectations. Over the next several programs, Chip's going to explore what God says about making lasting change.

So I hope you'll set a reminder to be with us for this entire series. If you have your Bible, open it now to Ephesians chapter four for Chip's message, Is a Changed Life Really Possible? If you could change just one thing about you, what would it be? And if you could change one thing about how you look, how you think, how you respond, if you could change one kind of private struggle or something that just you feel like you've made progress, but it just keeps coming back at you, if you could revamp it, have a makeover, modify it, literally revolutionize something down deep inside your life, what would it be? In fact, maybe more importantly as we start this series is, do you believe that life change, I mean real life change, not just exterior stuff, can really happen?

Do you believe that lifelong addictions or things that happen out of maybe a family of origin and dysfunction or fears and struggles and just kind of the way you are that you've just said, I guess this will never change? Do you really believe that God can and will change that in ordinary followers of Jesus Christ like you? See, the Bible teaches and God promises that when a person is born of the Spirit and if that person born of the Spirit lives in vital union with Christ, that he will so radically change you from the inside out that if someone knew you today and then met you 10 or 15 years later, there's parts that they would just say, it's hard to believe you're the same person. It's not just some cleaning up on the outside, there's a fundamental change that happens when Christ enters your life and the Spirit of God is allowed to have control and as you connect with other people and his word begins to birth the very life and personality in Jesus in you.

God promises, he actually commands it, the Scriptures declare it and nature sort of gives us a object lesson because you see a little green caterpillar stage one who goes into a cocoon or a chrysalis stage two where you can't see what's going on and emerges stage three as a beautiful monarch butterfly. It's called metamorphosis. Meta means to be transformed or changed. Morphosis has the idea of substance or structure. In fact, Webster says metamorphosis is a change of a physical form, structure or substance and then I love this, especially by supernatural means, especially by supernatural means.

That's the picture. That's normal Christianity. That's what happens when the Spirit of God comes into the human heart of a person who has been forgiven of their sin, they're born again from above and that's the journey or the process that occurs. Now there's a problem and the problem is that we all long to change and improve and grow and be transformed but we find it really difficult, right? I mean there is a multi, multi billion dollar self-help industry. I mean every commercial, depending on what they're advertising, there's a before and then there's a after and so I mean if I have PX whatever or I have insanity or if I have total gym or if I have I mean on and on and on and on, then I'm gonna have a body like that and Weight Watchers and Nutrisystems and I mean we're bombarded by what? I used to be like this but for 1995, instantly take this pill and you will and whether it's diets or fitness or advertisements of recovery programs for addictions or anger management and there's something now and then where you kind of lean forward and think, you think if I ordered that it would really work, right? You know, there's something in you. God made you and made me with the DNA. You want to change.

You want to grow. You want to improve but quite often it's not only hard, it doesn't work. Statistically, even people who lose a lot of weight, statistically most all of them gain it back.

Statistically, the people who do the fitness program and really get in shape, statistically they actually get back out of shape very quickly. Statistically, those who go through recovery programs for alcohol or drugs, the great percentage of them have relapses and sadly, statistically, people who come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior after some incremental beginning changes rarely live like Christians according to Barna, according to Gallup and probably according to the anecdotal evidence we have in our own life. So we got a picture of what God wants to do. We've got a problem and what I want to talk about is a process of spiritual metamorphosis. I mean why is this?

What's the problem? Why don't we change? What is it that we don't understand or that we're not appropriating? God has given us everything we need to be completely transformed. It is a process. It is a journey but I'm going to suggest that most people don't understand the process.

They don't understand the journey and you don't have the tools and that's why a lot of Christians don't live like Christians. I'm going to give you an overview and some of this is like core theology of the Bible and I wish I could spend more time but you need to know the process. Stage one in the Christian life in spiritual metamorphosis goes like this. There's a spiritual birth. Jesus gives me a new life. The Bible calls this the moment that happens justification.

It's a legal term. In John chapter 3 a religious leader came to Jesus and said we know that you're from God by the works that you do. He was religious.

He knew the Bible but Jesus said unless you're born again, unless you're born of the Spirit, unless you're born from above. In other words physical life requires a physical birth. Spiritual life requires a spiritual birth. It's not an intellectual thing of agreeing with God about certain doctrines or teachings.

It requires a spiritual birth. At a certain day at a certain time you need to realize that Christ died upon the cross in your place. That he rose from the dead. That he's paid and covered your sin and the sins of all people and all time and the Spirit of God will convict you that you are separated from God and you will turn from your sin and in the empty hands of faith ask Christ to come into your life and forgive you and at that moment God as legal judge justifies you. Some of you have heard the definition it's just as if you didn't sin and that's true but it's only half the story.

The moment you're justified legally here's what happens. Imagine if you will a little computer screen on this side and it has your name on it and a little computer screen over here it has Jesus name on it. And on your computer the moment you're justified you have your righteousness which is his filthy rags and you have all your sins like I have all my sins. And justification God does two things. One he deletes the sin column and he takes it and he puts it over on Christ. So all your sins are paid for by what he does. And then he takes the righteousness of Christ and he pushes share and he brings it over here and he imputes it onto your column so when the God of the universe looks at every child of God in terms of your position and your legal standing he sees you with the very righteousness of his son. Not understanding that is why many Christians lives never change. And so we've turned Christianity into moralism and trying hard to please God or imitating Jesus' behavior. When what you're gonna learn is a spiritual birth occurs and the Christian life is living out of who you already are. The second phase is spiritual growth. This is called sanctification.

I put these words in here very purposefully. I think for the last 20 years we've tried to make everything so simple we don't teach people some basic theological language. Sanctification the word literally means to be separate. All those verses where it says be holy, be sanctified, it's sacred.

This is the same root word. This is not just a moment in time. Notice this is Jesus changes me to be progressively more like him. You often hear this as progressive sanctification. If any man is in Christ the Bible says the old things pass away.

Second Corinthians 5 17 behold listen to the tense of the verb. All things are becoming new. Justification therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God new relationship. Sanctification therefore if any man any woman is in Christ new relationship the old things are passed away behold process all things are are becoming new. It's a journey.

We're gonna talk about the journey. In fact this whole series is about spiritual growth that journey and how it works. The third phase is spiritual maturity and the word here is glorification. That word maturity it's it's everywhere in the scripture. Jesus would say in Matthew chapter 5 in the Sermon on the Mount verse 48 he he summarizes a point says be ye perfect that's this word even as your Heavenly Father is perfect which you're thinking whoa. Or the Apostle Paul would say the goal of all his life is we want to present every man every woman complete or perfect in Christ. James 1 will open up and say the whole goal of difficulty and pain is we endure and we go through it that we might be perfect or complete.

The word is teleos and I say that just so you hear do you hear sort of like telescope or for you apologist it's the teleological argument the word means is that something it's by design and the design has a fulfillment. And what God is saying is the fulfillment of your design when you come in to be a Christian is he's going to make you like his son. And 1st John 3 2 says we do not know little children what we will be like but this is what we know when we see him Jesus we will be like him. And so all those verses about be mature grow to maturity it starts with justification a point in time a journey of sanctification and then there's one day when you will achieve maturity you will actually be like Christ and be transformed. That's the spiritual life.

Question then is this just for like superstars? I mean is this people that just make it into kind of the Christian Hall of Fame or a handful of pastors or missionaries? And around here we talk about maturity being very clearly defined as becoming a Romans 12 Christian right? And in verse 1 of Romans 12 we know it's being surrendered to God and then verse 2 talks about being what? Separate from the world's values and do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed circle that word by the renewing of your mind. Didn't say by trying hard be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And then notice the result notice what God wants for you what he wants for me what he wants for every follower that you might literally the word is that you might test or experience or know by way of real experience the will of God that which is good acceptable and well pleasing or perfect. You know that word transformed it's are you ready? Metamorphosis. Now that's God's goal for all of us and I think the issue is if that's God's goal if that's God's agenda I like to call it it's the miracle of life change.

We're going to talk about how it really works and how you can experience it. Ephesians chapter 4 the entire chapter is about how this really works. Ephesians chapter 4 the context of course are you ready for this? Is Ephesians chapters 1, 2 and 3. So for three chapters he's told us this is what God has done for you doctrine.

Chapter 4, 5 and 6 this is how you live in light of what he's done. In chapter 1 he said that you've been adopted. He said that you've been chosen. He said that every spiritual blessing in all of all the world in heaven is yours. He says that you're a part of a family. He says you have an inheritance. He says you've been sealed with the spirit. He says you've been made part of a supernatural family.

I mean everything you need you already possess you are in Christ. And at chapter 3 then he prays a prayer. And please don't miss this prayer glance glance in your Bible go up to about verse 14, 15. And when Paul looks back on all that God has done for you and me and every Christian he says for this reason I bow my knee before the father who's the father of all the families of all the earth. And he goes here's what I'm praying for you. I'm praying that God would strengthen you in your inner man down deep in your heart that you would be able to grasp the height and depth and length and breadth and to know the love of God that's beyond understanding.

With his love you would begin to grasp not how hard you need to try but you could grasp the chapters 1, chapters 2, chapters 3 all this truth is really just an expression that you totally apart from anything you've ever done you are so deeply loved. You're accepted. You're forgiven. You've got a purpose. He's given you a gift. He's prepared a place for you.

He's for you. And then chapter 4 is going to open up and notice what it says. He says as a prisoner of the Lord then you know in light of that I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling that you've received. Well how? Be completely humble and gentle.

Be patient. Bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

And then he says well why? Well there is one body and one spirit just as you were called in one hope. When you were called there's one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who was over all and through all and in all. And what he's going to do in these six short verses is explain to us now that you are justified I'm going to explain to you how that spiritual green caterpillar gets transformed into a butterfly.

And I'm going to explain the part that God does and I'm going to explain the part where he asked you to cooperate. And so notice in verse 1 he's going to say the call is to let Jesus live his life through you. Notice it says as a prisoner of the Lord then in your notes I urge you to, will you put a line under live a life.

Live a life. We're to live a life and above that write the word walk. This is a very good translation but it's a metaphor. And he's really saying I want you to walk worthy of this calling that you received. Well what calling? The calling of chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3. You've been chosen. You've been placed in the body of Christ. The spirit dwells in you. You've been called into a group of people called the church, a supernatural body. You've been called with the purpose, your love.

Now he says what I want you to do is I want you to walk worthy. And maybe right below the word worthy you might write the English word axis. The literal meaning of the word it was, it comes from you know when they would measure things with scales like this. The literal meaning of this word means bring up the beam to the other side to make it level.

And so you know if you were going to buy something they would put you know like so much food or so much grain and they would put so many weights over here and that would tell you how much it cost. And what the Apostle Paul is saying for three chapters you're loved, you're forgiven, you're cared for, you're part of a body, you have a future. Those are all the things you now believe and you possess. Now let your behavior reflect your beliefs. Let your conduct say the same thing as your creeds. Let what you profess and what you practice tell the same story. Let what your lips say are true come out of your life.

Basically what he's saying is this is not about trying harder. He says you are in Christ now. Here's the command. I call you to let Jesus have full freedom and reign to live his life through you.

That's the call. Chip will join us here in studio with his application in just a minute. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Is a Changed Life Really Possible? from his series Yes You Really Can Change. You know there's so much practical insight in this series based in Ephesians chapter four for people desperate for something in their life to change. Maybe you're looking to mend a broken relationship or overcome a recurring personal struggle. Genuine life change is absolutely possible but it takes a lot of work.

Maybe a good way to get some help would be to share this message with a friend and then meet over coffee or jump on Zoom to talk about it. Accountability and community are essential in becoming what God's called us to be. To find all the resources for Yes You Really Can Change, including Chip's book, study guides, and small group videos, just go to livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Chip, before we get to your application, this series really is part of the core of everything we do here at Living on the Edge. Talk for just a minute, if you would, about why it's so important.

Dave, it really is. I mean, all of the Bible is profitable for teaching and instruction and life change, and yet there are certain aspects of biblical teaching that I call the core. In other words, like having an accurate view of God or knowing what it means to be a disciple.

This is a third one. How does life change really occur? This is based out of Ephesians chapter four. This is a passage that I've lived in, that I've taught. In fact, not only do we have a small group resource out of this, the brand new book has come out, because I think more than anything else, I meet people that want to change, and they don't understand that trying hard or just going to church or just reading the Bible a little bit is not how change happens.

Ephesians 4 clearly articulates the source of change, the process of change, the need for people in your life, and how it actually happens. I just cannot encourage our listeners enough. Stay with me for this whole series. God wants to change your life, not motivated by guilt or duty, but by love and by power, and that's what we're going to talk about.

Well, I'll definitely be here, and I hope you'll make plans to be with us, too. And if you happen to miss a program, you can always pick it up on the Chip Ingram app or anytime on our website, livingontheedge.org. Well, now here's Chip with a final word. You know, I wonder how many of you, as you heard the very last line of my voice when I taught that, would say to yourself, You know, Chip, I've heard this before.

I don't buy it. I hear this, that I have every spiritual blessing, that God's given me everything that I need to change. My life isn't changing. I know God really wants to change my life. I have tried hard.

I've read the Bible. I've tried to go on a diet. I've worked out. I've prayed a little bit more, a little bit longer, a little bit harder. I've got news for you, Ingram.

It doesn't work, and I'm frustrated. And as I heard your voice today, something inside said, I want to believe this. I want to change, but I've got so much history and so much baggage, I down deep don't think it's possible. What I want to tell you is, give God one more chance. What I want to tell you is, you probably, like me, don't understand what God has already done and how holy transformation occurs. And in the next few weeks, we're going to walk right through a passage of Scripture that's not just going to say what you ought to do.

You're going to learn how to do it. And I want to ask you to just let me sign up as your spiritual coach here for about three or four weeks, and I'm going to walk through this passage. I'm going to share my own struggle, but I want you to know change is possible. God's Word, His Spirit in community with His power can bring about change in you. So you don't want to miss this series, and I don't want you to miss it. My passion, if you listen to this program very often, you're going to hear, my passion is that Christians live like Christians, and not just for their own benefit and joy and what it does for their marriage and for their kids and all the rest.

That's wonderful, but also what it does for God and how important it is that we reflect Him. So I want you to just kind of mentally decide, I'm going to be on board for this series, and if you're in the car or you're doing something different, then you can pick this up on the internet, l-o-t-e dot o-r-g, that's lot.org, and you can stream it and get it the days that you miss. But I want you to sign up. Change is possible. Step out. Let's do it together. That's a great idea, Chip.

Thanks. As we wrap up, let me quickly tell you about a great way to listen to our extended teaching podcast. Hear Chip anytime on your Echo or Echo Dot. To get started, ask Alexa to enable the Chip Ingram podcast. Then just say, Alexa, play the Chip Ingram podcast. It's that easy. Well, join us again next time as Chip continues in his series, Yes, You Really Can Change. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-09 13:59:14 / 2023-12-09 14:08:34 / 9

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