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Yes! You Really CAN Change - How to "Break Out" of a Destructive Cycle, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 13, 2021 6:00 am

Yes! You Really CAN Change - How to "Break Out" of a Destructive Cycle, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 13, 2021 6:00 am

Addictions, anger issues, dysfunctional relationships - how do you break out of a destructive cycle?  Chip begins a 2-day journey to discover what God’s Word has to say about overcoming behaviors and attitudes that drag you down. 

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Do you know someone who says they're a Christian, but doesn't live like one at all? I mean, they might even go to church, and you say to yourself, I want to help them, but I don't know how.

If you know someone like that, or honestly would say, I could use a little help myself, then stay with me. Today's for you. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram.

I'm Dave Gruen. The genuine life change Chip's been talking about in this series requires commitment. If a person isn't fully devoted to getting their life on the right path, it's not going to happen.

Apathy sabotages the chances of lasting change taking place. And that's what Chip's going to talk about in this message called, How to Break Out of a Destructive Cycle. So if you have your Bible, open it now to Ephesians chapter four. If any man or if any woman is in Christ, in relationship, in Christ, it says you're a new creation. And the old things pass away, and behold, it's a process, but all things become new. And I would just ask you as we get started, we talk about this miracle of life change. If you just privately had to say which one of those butterflies most represents you, which one would it be?

The one where it's an adventure, there's risk, you're flying, you recognize the beauty, and you're stepping out. Or is it the one that's like, I really know I'm in Christ, but you sort of withdraw, pull back, live in fear. As we've been through Ephesians chapter four, the apostle Paul speaking empowered by the Holy Spirit wants you to know and wants me to know that a new life demands life change.

And you know the research and you probably have it in your own life as I've had it in mind in different seasons where you know some changes need to happen and you're not experiencing them. So historically, a couple very negative things have happened with pastors and teachers and among Christians that when people's lives aren't changing, sometimes we try and create some artificial ways to either explain it or get people to change. One very dysfunctional way is called moralism and what we do is we try and just get people to change their external behavior and we tell them things like your external morality is what makes you right with God and it moves away from a relationship with Christ and a supernatural life and love and relationships and caring and powered by the Holy Spirit to sort of a list of rules that people keep and they feel guilty and in fact just as anyone you know yeah go ahead and raise your hand. Has anyone in the last month had to say I'm sorry to anyone?

I have. Now if the fact that you've had to say I'm sorry tells you that you can't even keep your own rules right? Let alone God's rules but moralism is piling people up with guilt and telling you if you do these four things or stop doing these seven things that's what makes you quote a good Christian and it ends up in legalism and restrictions and completely misses. Now when you're changed from the inside out your morality will change but it is not your external attempts to keep moral boundaries that make you right with God.

The absolute opposite extreme is called antinomianism. Long word that you break it up anti against nomianism or namaste has the idea of a law and so some people say you know it's so hard to your life's not changing where sin abounds grace super bounds and so in the history of the church in fact in our some multiple cults they just say you know what here's don't worry about changing. When you sin God just gives you more grace there's no condemnation in Christ he loves you there is no law just do and live any way you want but the Apostle Paul said you were called to freedom brothers but don't allow your freedom to be an opportunity for the flesh but there's a whole group of people it's a very interesting one and they just say you know what morality sexuality immorality God covers it all just the scripture teaches that a new life will produce a new lifestyle and the Apostle Paul in verses 17 through 24 is gonna explain what that looks like and why. Open it up if you will and as you do and look at your teaching notes I just want to remind you that these letters were written in a context Paul just didn't sit in the library in fact he's in prison when he's writing this one and and if you were in downtown Ephesus there would be the temple of Diana over here and there would be a brothel over here and you can have any kind of sex any kind of way you could ever want it I mean it was a wild and crazy place and it was a core city of the world and these people have come to know Jesus and they've been taken out of the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of light and he lives inside of him and the goal is that would be salt and light and transform the world and the Apostle Paul is going to say now your new life demands a new lifestyle and what he's gonna do in verse 17 he's gonna remind them of what their life used to be like let's read the whole passage to get an overview he says so I tell you this and I insist on it in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do and the futility of their thinking that they're darkened in their understanding and they're separated from the life of God well why because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts as a result having lost all sensitivity they've given themselves over to sensuality as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more he's describing a culture of violence and sexual immorality and disregard for people and slavery and the dehumanizing of people and greed that's just off the charts but you however did not come to know Christ that way speaking of their conversion surely you have heard of him and you were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus and then he reminds them of what he taught them you were taught with regard to your former way of life to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness in essence the very top you'll see it a believer whose life does not change is an oxymoron in other words it's incompatible it's inconceivable and yet the Barna and Gallup research would say that about eight out of ten people in America who verbally profess that Jesus is Lord their life hasn't changed we divorce it about the same rate we lie at about the same rate our morality is about the same we do about the same with our dreams our money our relationships we lie about coming into work about the same as those that are outside of Christ and the Apostle Paul says what wait a second this isn't about some intellectual knowledge about God and you pray a little prayer a new life demands creates a brand new lifestyle but what he's gonna teach them as some of you don't know how that works I want to give you grace I'm gonna give you understanding about how this really works and three very specific truths flow out of this passage the first truth is kind of the negative but he has to lay it out for him because there's a group of people saying hey you know what I you know there's this God this God this God and Jesus that's great I remember being in India and I was gonna speak and it was a number of years ago right after the tsunami had been there eight days earlier and there's a young Indian man and I had a chance to share Christ with him and we talked for about ten minutes and I said well what do you think and he kind of looked at me goes Jesus is great I believe in about a thousand other gods I believe in this one this one this one I'll add Jesus to the list Paul said it doesn't work that way you don't just add him to the list and intellectually throw him into your sort of religious basket truth number one is this as believers our lives must be progressively underline the word progressively doesn't mean you're perfect progressively characterized by moral purity as believers genuine followers our lives must be progressively characterized by moral purity if you have a pen pull it out if you will I want to do a little Bible study with you and I've laid out the text in a way where you can see some of the relationships notice verse 17 he says so I tell you and I insist upon that you must no longer live and circle the word live and right above it walk that's our word in other words it's a process it's a journey you must not walk as the Gentiles do he's in other words as unbelievers and then he describes in the futility of their mind put an arrow from that and write the word command this is a command he's commanding them you can't keep living the same way this phrase in the futility of their minds he means aimlessly in vanity purposelessness with no direction a life devoid of worth says you're completely out of sync with God's purposes for your life you can't keep living that way the next line he says he describes your life before Christ he says they are darkened in their understanding and they're separated from the life of God put an arrow and right at their state he makes a command and it says now here's their state before God this is their standing if you will and the two phrases there the first one is darkened in their understanding it literally means your mind is blinded by sin you progressively no longer can hear God's voice he's gonna take us through a progression downward of what happens when we turn away from God and then beyond that excluded from the life of God literally it means to be alienated completely separate in the next line he tells us the why there's a command here's the present state these people their minds have been blinded they don't see it they don't get it anymore and they tell us why because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts the word ignorance here is not an intellectual ignorance this isn't that they don't know intellectually this is right and this is wrong this is a moral ignorance this is an ignorance where when you know when you do something wrong and you feel kind of bad about it and you feel guilty and you say oh man I shouldn't and then you do it again and you feel a little bit less guilty and it doesn't really bother you he says there's a progress where you can get where you don't feel anything where you can sear your conscience where you get to the point where in terms of right or wrong who's to say what's right or wrong and you know what no one's gonna tell me what to do about anything if I want it I'll take it and there's just this total disregard and that's he says this ignorance and the ignorance happens because there's a process he says due to the hardening of their hearts that word hardening we get a word like a petrified force it's the word petrified their hearts get harder and harder and harder and harder it's just complete disregard for God and then he says there's a result so you get a command you get their state put a little arrow and the third one the reason and then here's the result having lost all sensitivity literally we get our word calloused in other words your soul your spirit your heart layer after layer after layer of turning away from God and doing what is wrong you lose all sensitivity or your calloused they've given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more one commentator writes it's a surrendering of oneself to all the passions with gusto with no regard to whom it may injure or hurt there is no shame no remorse no regret I was away with Teresa after a little teaching stint recently and it was rainy and yucky and a movie came on it's not a movie I'd ever seen and it was the true story of a woman who whose family was taken to Auschwitz to the concentration camp and the way the the movie was laid out as you would have her there were these three men interviewing her because they're looking back into history and she wanted to get her license as a doctor to deliver babies to to deliver babies in downtown New York City and she was being interviewed because she came out of the camp and they were evaluating whether she might be a war crime person because of what happened in those camps and she was explaining to them her journey there and how all of her family was killed and what she was forced to do and and in it they showed these snapshots snapshots of what it was actually like in the concentration camp and there were little windows of it that were just like oh god that is so evil I picked up the remote and and as I picked it up that I thought you know something this is the condition of the human heart and I was studying these passages and I thought somehow we get insulated from this and there is a hardening there's things that human beings do to one another when our hearts get hard and totally disregard for God there's no sense of right or wrong and in one scene this very famous doctor who was judged for all these war crimes walked in he goes is there a doctor here and as a barracks that you know they had cut the women's hair and they stripped them of all dignity and did unmentionable things and it was it smelled and they didn't give them enough food and as soon as they found out if a woman was pregnant they shot her and killed her and the baby immediately and so this is there a doctor in here and she was a doctor and no one moved and he just walked up to someone BAM and just literally I mean it was so shocking she now I will kill another one is there a doctor in here and she stepped forward in another girl and they set up a little clinic and then this guy did experiments without anesthesia on people I mean it was and it reminded me of the pictures that I saw in Rwanda when people that would go to the market and stores and schools and live together and then the tribal conflict and pretty soon they were raiding one another's homes and killing men and women and children in the name of you're not in this tribe or I mean think of what's happening all around the globe in the last century more people were killed by their rulers by the Stalin's by the Hitler's by the Mussolini's then all the wars of all time of all history the Apostle Paul is saying in the darkness of people's hearts turning away from God he said you were on a journey toward that kind of life and that's what it's like apart from God and so here's his point he says it's inconceivable for a believers life not to change be holy first Peter would write even as I am holy John the beloved disciple would say if you say you love God and hate your brother you're a liar and there's no truth in you if you say you love God and you don't keep his commandments you're lying there's no truth in you our vertical relationship with God through Christ must get played out and how we treat other people and in this church like in America today a lot of people's lives weren't changing and so first of all he sets the bar and he says look your life not changing you progressively not allowing God's Spirit to control your tongue and your thoughts and your appetites so that you progressively become less sinful and more Christ-like he says moral purity isn't an option it's not like a salad bar like you know I love Jesus and you know like seven out of the ten commands sound pretty good but you know God will grade on the curve no no no no it's that you walk with him I was in Atlanta and meeting with a young couple and they'd listen to something on the radio and they were excited about and had their Bibles and were telling me how neat this was and that was and they'd been coming to this Bible study a couple times and we're sharing a couple things with me and I said well well where do you live and I was expecting her to say well I live here and him to say I live here and they were going to a very fine Bible teaching church and they said well we live here I said what do you mean the same apartment complex oh no no we live together said hold it help me so you like you live together like man and wife but you're not man and wife and so you know sometimes I can be blunt so you live together having sex and you're not married is that right yeah yeah we yeah I mean you know we really love God we really follow Jesus we just don't really think that stuff about no sex before marriage is all that important I said you know there's a lot of Christians that do that with a lot of different passages but God's not really happy with that and here's here's the deal you know why he's not happy you're embarrassing him in terms of how you're living and can I tell you this you're hurting your relationship all any time God gives commands and rules he's not approved I mean he actually invented sex and every other good thing he wants to give you the best thing at the right time in the right way and you guys are short-circuiting the process but you know that's sort of one of those easy ones for those out there but I think all of us don't all of us have a few things where we say you know we know we're supposed to pay our taxes right but you know the government's wasting so much money and we know that you know we're supposed to put good things in our mind that I mean you know when you're tired and we know that you know our bodies are the temple of God but you know right see we baptize certain sins or we all struggle with them so much we just pretend we don't right Paul's saying a new life demands a new lifestyle and that moral purity is first and foremost one of the things that distinguishes us and then he gives the reason why I mean why is that so important the second truth is an immoral lifestyle is inconceivable for us as believers for two reasons in other words look in verse 20 he says you however didn't come to know that that's in a punctilier time he's talking about your conversion he goes that was before that's for people that aren't in Christ but you you didn't come to know Christ in that way surely you heard of him speaking of when you heard the gospel and understood that Christ died for you in your place paid for your sin and rose from the dead and you were taught in him that's a that word has the idea of you know the fellowship and the connection in the community and what God was doing in your life and doing life with people in the progress and then according to notice the truth that is in Jesus this little phrase in Jesus put this wise here only in the New Testament it's a reference to the historical Jesus the Jesus that lived and walked and taught the Jesus that said to the woman go and sin no more the Jesus that said if anyone can has anyone seen me sin see Jesus was holy in pure and he said follow me and I will make you like me your life will be transformed and so here's the two reasons why it's inconceivable for us to live immoral lives number one it contradicts who we are it contradicts who you really are you are not a green worm caterpillar anymore you're a butterfly you're a new person you're not a slave to sin you're a son you're a daughter you've been redeemed you're loved you're precious his spirit lives within you you have a father who's created all that there is he's got a plan for you you're brand new your life you need to fly not crawl see here's the issue and here's how moralism plays its way out most of us think that the issue of sin is a behavioral problem and it's not the behavior is the symptom the issue of sin is a relational problem see when people are asking questions like well how far can I go or should I do this or not and it's kind of gray and is this right or is this wrong and you kind of know what's right already that the focus is on these external behaviors instead of wait a second there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus what's it look like to draw closer to God and what are the things that put a barrier for those of you that are married you've been down this road you know something happens in your relationship and you've hurt them or you neglected or you forgot something or you blew up in anger or you have a history of something and you've done it again and then you walk in the house it happens with roommates as well and there's sort of this funky stuff in the air you know and you know there's a problem and you can say something like I'm sorry and the funkiness in there doesn't go away does it you know I'm sorry I shouldn't have done that you know focus on behavior I'll try not to do that again and if it's one of that like that if it's I'll try not to do that again I'll try not to do that again you keep on doing it what do you get there's just there's it's this distance but when you see violations in a relationship as I hurt that person there's a breach our love is broken down there's not a connection there's there's that weird thing in the air until you sit down and look them in the eye and often with a few tears in your eyes say you know something I told you I would do this I did it again I'm sorry I blew it will you forgive me I'm really really sorry and when there's a confession that's followed by a reconnection of the relationship then what happens see the issue of sin it's like well just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you're not going to sin anymore it just means that your sins have been forgiven and it means there's the power has been broken you don't have to sin anymore but when you sin what it does is it it separates you in your fellowship with your Heavenly Father and so the issue isn't about just these external behaviors and so there's lots of people I'm going to start do that I'm gonna stop doing that I try hard try hard try hard fail try hard try hard try hard fail it's not until your mind gets renewed and you realize I'm breaking God's heart I'm a son I'm a daughter that's why a lot of people you don't feel his presence the reason you don't want to read the Bible or praying for more than a few seconds your mind wanders everywhere is because of unresolved issues you've been listening to part one of chips message how to break out of a destructive cycle he'll be right back with his application on this teaching from his series yes you really can change you know there's so much practical insight in this series based in Ephesians chapter 4 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 chips book study guides and small group videos just go to Living on the Edge org or call triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 thanks Dave I want to share an important request with you if Living on the Edge is ministering to you would you consider returning the favor if you've been listening but haven't yet become a financial partner with Living on the Edge would you prayerfully consider sending a gift today and if you've given but could do it monthly I can't tell you it would make a huge difference if we all pitched in it would just make an incredible difference in terms of what we can do here to reach and care for more people so thanks so much for all that you do and thanks for just praying and doing whatever God shows you to do and we will receive it with great gratitude well as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry I want to remind you that when you partner with Living on the Edge every gift is significant when you stand with us financially our ministry efforts and resources are multiplied in ways that only God can do to send a gift call us at triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 or if you prefer to give online just go to Living on the Edge org app listeners tap donate your partnership is a great encouragement well now here's chip you know there are some things in the Bible that are very very clear and today's was very very strong those of us that are brand new creatures in Christ have the Spirit of the living God dwelling in us and what we learned today unequivocally is that a new life demands a new lifestyle now I want to talk just personally and as a pastor to you where you at how are you doing when I talked about the sensuality and the discrepancy between what people say and how they live and these very I mean very strong words that the Apostle Paul says and then he follows them up by saying but you didn't learn Christ in this way can I ask you and not a condemning way does your present lifestyle match your new life I mean does it really do you watch the kind of things that would be honoring to God are you involved in relationships in a way that honor God do you put things in your mind that honor God or quite honestly when I was talking did a little light go on in the Holy Spirit say to you you got to change this is wrong you've been in denial the Spirit of God convicted you and you might be saying to yourself well what do I do chip I mean what exactly do I do it's a biblical word what you need to do first is be honest and identify and say God it is true my lifestyle does not match my new life and so I'm gonna admit that it's called confession you agree with God and you say in your heart of hearts Lord I'm sorry I agree with you please forgive me the second thing you need to do is repent you need to have a change of mind and I want you to imagine your life is like someone driving on a freeway and they realize I'm going the wrong direction well what do they need to do well they first need to say oh I know I'm going the wrong direction and then they put their blinker on get in the far right lane they get off the off ramp they go over top the freeway and they get back on the other ramp and go the opposite way and that's a picture of repentance you got to put the blinker of your soul on and say Lord I've got to get off this direction I got to get out of this relationship I can't keep putting these things in my mind I need help and so you repent you have a change of mind that leads to a change of action and once you get off that you make the decision then today you need to tell a friend or a pastor or someone you know I need help because I got out of an old lifestyle I made a decision but now I need not just to repent I need to be restored and you can't do that on your own get the secret out get real get forgiveness from a loving God and then get help today be as drastic as you need to be whatever you need to do to turn the car of your life around and get on the path of righteousness do it today you'll never regret it and you will meet a God who loves you and cares for you and has a tremendous plan for your life but you need to obey what you've heard so go for it you know a great way to stay engaged and connected to chip and Living on the Edge is with the chip Ingram app you'll get free access to all of chips recent messages his message notes and much more not only that but it couldn't be easier to call or email directly from the app we'll be with us again next time when ship continues his series yes you really can change until then this is Dave Drewey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-02 12:52:51 / 2023-12-02 13:04:32 / 12

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