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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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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 but I don't know how. If you know someone like that honestly would say I could use a little help myself stay with today's thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with shipping Living on the Edges and international discipleship daily Bible genuine life-changing strips from talking about in this series requires commitment. If a person is fully devoted to giving her life have apathy sabotage the chances of lasting change chips 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 4 if any man any woman is in Christ in relationship in Christ is your new creation and the old things passed away and behold, it's a process, but all things become new. 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 which one would it be the one where it's an adventure this risk you're flying you recognize the beauty and you're stepping out words at the one it's like you and I really know I'm in Christ, but sort of withdrawal pull back live in fear as we been through Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul speaking in part of the Holy Spirit wants you to know and wants me to know the new life demands like change and that you know the research and probably have it in your own life as I've had it mine in different seasons were, you know, some changes need to happen in you, not experiencing them so historically a couple very negative things of happened with pastors and teachers and among Christians that when people's lives are changing.

Sometimes we trying create some artificial ways to either explain it or get people to change.

One very dysfunctional ways called moralism.

What we do is we trying to 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 in a supernatural life in loving relationships and caring and powered by the Holy Spirit to sort of a list of rules that people keep and I feel guilty and in fact just as anyone yet. Good Richard has anyone in the last month had to say I'm sorry to anyone I have ever met. If the fact that you had to say I'm sorry tells you that you can 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 the seven things. That's what makes you quote a good Christian and it ends up in legalism and restrictions in completely misses know when you're change from the inside out. Your morality will change but is not your external attempts to keep moral boundaries that make you right with God, the absolute opposite extreme is called anti-know me in this long word but you break it up anti-against no man is more namaste the idea of a law as some people say you know it's so hard to relax, not changing where sin abounds Christ super balance and so in the history of the church. In fact, in our multiple calls they just say you know what here's don't worry about changing when you send God just gives you more grace there's no condemnation.

Christ he loves you.

There is no law just to do and live anyway you want. 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 very interesting one and the just say you know what morality, sexuality, immorality, God covers it all just Scripture teaches a new life will produce a new lifestyle in the apostle Paul in verse 17 through 24 is going 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 the context Paul just didn't sit in the library impact is in prison when he is writing this in 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 away you could ever want it. I mean it was a wild and crazy place. It was a core city of the world and these people have come to know Jesus and they can take out the kingdom of darkness in place in the kingdom of light and he lives inside of them 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 is going to do in verse 17 is going to remind them of what life used to be like, let's read the whole passage to get an overview basis. So I tell you this, and I insist on it in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking that there darkened in their understanding and there separated from the life of God. 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 is 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 in slavery and do 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 that he reminds him 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 put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. In essence the very top you will see it, a believer whose life does not change is an oxymoron. In other words, it incompatible its inconceivable and yet the barn and Gallup research would say that about 8/10 people in America who verbally profess Jesus is Lord, that their life hasn't changed. We divorce about the same rate. We lie at about the same right arm.

Morality is about the same. We do about the same with our dreams are 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 would a second.

This isn't about some intellectual knowledge about God and you pray little prayer a new life demands creates a brand-new lifestyle. But what is good to teach them as some of you don't know how that works. I want to give you grace only new understanding about how this really works in three very specific truths plot of this passage. The first truth is kind of the negative, but he has to lay it out for because there's a group of people saying you know what you know there's this God. This God. This God and Jesus. That's great, a member being in India and I was going to speak, and it was a number of years ago, right after the tsunami been there eight days earlier and there is a young Indian man and I had a chance to share Christ with him and we talked about 10 minutes and assemble what you think and he can look to make a Jesus is great. I believe in about a thousand other gods. I believe in this one this one this one all I Jesus to the list.

Paul said it doesn't work that way you don't just add them to the list and intellectually throw them into your sort of religious basket truth number one is this, as believers, our lives must be progressively underlined 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 template out if you will do little Bible study with you. I've laid out the text in a way we can see some of the relationships notice verse 17 says so I tell you, and I insist upon that you must no longer live and circle the word live in right above walk.

That's our word towards the process is a journey, you must not walk as the Gentiles do, he's another 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 is it completely out of sync with God's purposes for your life. You can't keep living that way the he says he describes your life before Christ. He says they are darkened in their understanding and there separated from the life of God put a arrow and write their state. He makes a command and it says that 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 is going to 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 means to be alienated completely separate in the next line he tells us to why there's a command. Here's the present state. These people, their minds have been blinded. They don't see they don't get it anymore and it tells why because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts toward ignorance here is not 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 endurance where when you know when you do something wrong to feel kinda bad about it and feel guilty and you say all managed and then you do it again and feel a 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 when 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 going to tell me what to do about anything if I wanted. I'll take it.

And there's just this total disregard and that he says this ignorance and the ignorance happens because of the processes is due to the hardening of their hearts that were hardening we get a word like a petrified forces were petrified their hearts harder and harder and harder and harder. Just complete disregard for God and then he says there's a result so you get a command you get their state to little arrow in the third one. The reason that here's the result. Having lost all sensitivity. Literally we get a word, callous 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 callused 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 her. There's no shame, no remorse, no regret. I was away with Teresa after a little teaching stent recently and it was rainy and Jackie and a movie came on. Is not a movie I've ever seen and was a true story of a woman who whose family was taken to Auschwitz to the concentration camp and the way the movie was laid out as you would have her there.

These three men interviewing her because they're looking back in history and she wanted to get her license as a doctor to deliver babies 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. 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 and in it, they show the snapshots snapshots of what was actually like in the concentration camp and there were little windows of it that were just like oh that is so evil like I picked up the remote and and as I picked up that I thought you know something. This is the condition of the human heart, and I was studying these passages 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. In one scene this very famous doctor who was judge for all these war crimes walked in he goes.

Is there a doctor here and is a barracks that you they had cut the women's hair, and they strip them of all dignity and did unmentionable things and it was it smelled and they didn't give them enough food in his sin if they found out if a woman is 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 diamine and just little and it was so shocking she for now I will kill another one is her doctor here she step forward.

Another girl, and I set up a little clinic and then the sky 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 in stores in schools and live together in the tribal conflict and pretty soon they were raiding one another's homes and killing men and women and children in the name of your not in this tribe are. 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 believer's life, not to change the 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 in your lyre and there's no truth in you. If you say you love God you don't keep his commandments. Your lien there's no truth in you are 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 were changing and so first of all he he sets the bar and says look your life not changing you progressively not allowing God's spirit to control your tongue in your thoughts and your appetites so that you progressively become less sinful and more Christlike. He says moral purity isn't an option. It's not like a salad bar like you and I love Jesus and you like. Seven out of the 10 commands sound pretty good, but you gotta grade on the curve in the no it's that you walk with I was the in Atlanta meeting with the young couple made. Listen to something on the radio. They were excited about it and had their Bibles were telling you how neat this was.

And that was the income of this Bible study a couple times and were sharing a couple things with me and I civil will where you live, and I was expecting her to say, will I live here in him to say I live here and they were going to a very fine Bible teaching church and I civil we live here would mean the same part accomplice on don't know we live together sin help me so like you live together like man and wife, but you not man wife and so you know, sometimes likely want to live together having sex and you're not married, is that right yeah yeah Wheatley yeah I mean we really love God, we really follow Jesus. We distantly 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 that God's not really happy with and here's here's the deal, utilize not happy. You're embarrassing him in terms of how your living and can I tell you this, you're hurting your relationship all any kind. God gives commands and rules.

He's not approved him and he actually invented sex and every other good thing he wants to give you the best thing at the right time the right way. You guys are short-circuiting process. But you know that's what one of those easy ones for those out there, but think all of us don't always have a few things where we say, you know, we know it was both fair taxes right but you know the government wasting so much money and we know the specific good things in our mind it. I mean, you know, when you're tired and we know that in our bodies are the temple of God, but you know right to we baptize certain sins, or we all struggle with them so much. We just pretend we don't write pulsating a new life demands a new lifestyle and moral purity is first and foremost were the things that distinguishes us and then he gives the reason why me, why is it so important. The second truth is an immoral lifestyle was inconceivable for us as believers for two reasons not to look in verse 20 says you however it didn't come to know that that's in the punctilio time you talk about your conversion that was before. That's for people that are in Christ, but you you didn't come to know Christ in that way.

Surely you heard of him speaking when you heard the gospel understood the Christ died for you in your place paid for your sin and rose from the dead, and you were taught in him that that that word has the idea of 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 way secure only in the New Testament it it's a reference to the historical Jesus the Jesus that lived and walked and caught the Jesus that said to the woman go and sin no more.

The Jesus that said, if anyone can.

Has anyone seen me sin city.

Jesus was holy and pure and he said follow me I will make you like me, your life will be transformed. So here's the two reasons why it's inconceivable for us to live a moral life. Number one, it contradicts who we are, it contradicts who you really are. You are not a green worm caterpillar anymore your butterfly your new person. You're not a slave to sin your assigned your daughter you been redeemed and your precious his spirit lives within you.

You have a father has created all that there is he's got a plan for you. Your brand-new your life you need to fly not crawl to. 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 when people are asking questions like what how far can I go or should I do this or not, and it's kinda gray and is this writer is this wrong and you can know what's right already.

The focus is on these external behaviors instead of what a second there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. What's it look like to draw closer to God and one of the things it put a barrier for those of you that are married you 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 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 in the funkiness and there is no way does son of Sgt. Bennett focus on behavioral try not to do that again and if it's one of it like that alternative do that again of truck do that again you keep on doing it when you get is just this.

It's this distance but when you see violations in a relationship as I heard 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 him in the eye and often with a few tears in your eyes that you know something I told you I would do this I did again I'm sorry I blew it when you forgive me. I'm really really sorry and when there's a confession that's followed by a reconnection of the relationship and what happens see the issue of sin is likely just because you're Christian doesn't mean you're not in us 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 the more but when you send what it does is it it's separate you in your fellowship with your heavenly father is of the issue isn't about just these external behaviors and so there's lots of people going to stop start do that him to stop doing that. I try hard, try hard, try hurt failed try her try her try her tail. It's not until your mind gets renewed, he realized I'm breaking God's heart I'm a son I'm a daughter that's why a lot of people you 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 because unresolved issues listening to Martin's message to break out of the destructive cycle will be right back with his application of the stitching from a series. Yes, you really can see you know there's so much practical insight in the series based in Ephesians chapter 4. Four people desperate for something in the life to change.

If you're looking to mend a broken relationship overcome a recurring personal struggle, genuine life changes 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 then meet over coffee or jump on zoom to talk about 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 or call AAA to 333-6003. 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 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 that could do it monthly. I can't tell you 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 chose you to do and we will receive it with great gratitude was you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry I will 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 AAA 83336003, or if you prefer to give online just go to app listeners tap donate your partnership is a great encouragement about 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 learn today, unequivocally, is that a new life. Demands new lifestyle. I want to talk just personally and as a pastor to you where you at are you doing when I talked about the sensuality and the discrepancy between what people say and how they live in these very 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 and he 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 honors 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 change this is wrong.

You've been in denial the spirit of God convicted you and you might be saying to yourself, but what I do chipping. What exactly do I do. It's a biblical word. What you need to do first is be honest and identifying say God. It is true.

My lifestyle does not match my new life and so on can admit that is 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 I want you to imagine your life is like someone driving on a freeway, and they realize I'm going the wrong direction or they need to do, will they first need to say will 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 overtop the freeway and they get back on the other ramp and go the opposite way and that's a picture of repentance, you can put the blinker of your soul on and say Lord I gotta get off this direction. I get 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. As I got out of an old lifestyle.

I made a decision, but now I need not just 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 what ever you need to do to turn the car of your life around and get on the path of righteousness. Do it today will 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 all.

Great way to stay engaged and connected to trip and Living on the Edge is with the chipping remap you get free access to all of chips recent messages is message notes and much more.

Not only that, but it couldn't be easier to call or email directly from the yeah will be with us again next time Winship continues his series. Yes, you really can change. Until then, this is Dave saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge

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