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The Real God - Seeking God, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2021 6:00 am

The Real God - Seeking God, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 23, 2021 6:00 am

What comes to your mind when you think about God? Your mental picture of Him is the most important thing about you. Chip reveals how our understanding of who God is affects every single aspect of our lives.

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How do you know if you really know God or you just know a lot about God? Today we'll learn four tests where you can know how deeply and authentically you actually know God.

Stay with me. It's called The Real God, How He Longs for You to See Him. It's a study of seven key attributes of God's character. Before he gets into those, though, Chip asks a foundational question.

Is your God too small? It helps with perspective and sets up what he'll share over the next several programs about who God says he is as revealed in nature, in scripture, and through Jesus. He began this message in our previous program, so if you missed it, maybe catch up later on the Chip Ingram app. Well, now here's Chip with part two of his message, Seeking God.

See, here's what I want you to know. If we get a clear view of the real God, some of the things that we have slowly, slowly, slowly come accustomed to and think as normal as Christians would shock us. And one is the idol of happiness and self-fulfillment. The other idol, I think, is what I call the salad bar approach to Christianity. And the way it goes is something that we're seeing in Bible-oriented churches now, and it's like God had a good day when he gave the Ten Commandments. It's just not a great day.

Eight out of ten are good. Now you get to choose which two you don't like. In our day, you know this one about adultery or sexual purity, I think that was very old-fashioned. It was probably for the community of that time. And in our more existential, wiser way, I don't think that really applies today. Oh, this one, oh no, we don't, just know that we've been, you know, that thing about greed.

Greed is good. He obviously hadn't seen the movie. We'll cut that one out. And we have taken the Bible and we've decided selectively which parts are true, which parts are not true, instead of it being the authority. And we've created it around a lifestyle and an American dream vision, and we have taken a book, removed the God of authority and the God that is holy and the God who loves us and the God who wants our best, and we have basically said, how again can this, and so when you decide what's true and what's not true, there's a new God on the throne and it's you.

I mean, it's massive across America right now. We have tens of thousands of people flocking to services where part of the Bible is taught as though it's some sort of a positive thinking self-help manual. Instead of the holy creator of the universe sent his son and that he's asked us to join him in a mission to rescue people off this world called the Titanic that's sinking, and we have the only hope, and that needs to be our priority. And by the way, by the way, as that's your priority and he is Lord and as you serve him, he is so kind and so generous that the byproduct is very, very often an amazingly deep intimate marriage. The byproduct is a level of joy regardless of circumstances.

The byproduct is that your kids will see that and catch the vision and probably follow in your steps, but it's a byproduct. And so what happens is when you make the means the end, it becomes an idol. It's what happened, I believe, with Abraham. Why would God ask Abraham to give his son?

I mean, you wait 100 years for something, you think that by 12, 13 the kid kind of was an idol? So anytime we worship an idol, two things happen. The idol can't deliver and we take God out of the equation in our life. So the whole point of Abraham giving Isaac was for his good to free his heart. Isaac can't deliver fulfillment. Isaac can't fulfill my will. Isaac is a gift.

It's to steward. Children are a gift from the Lord. And so that moment for him to take Isaac up was a moment of lordship to believe that he could trust God's word. And Hebrews 11 says what?

He went there believing that though he slay him, he would rise. And you know, we might as well just start this time off together. Just ask yourself before you hit the pillow, do I have any Isaac's? And usually they're good things. It's a good job. It can be a great marriage.

It can be one of your kids. Heck, it can be ministry, believe me. So what we want to do is we want to pause and say, okay, Lord, I know that you're not like me. I know that I will reduce you to manageable terms. And third, God can only be known as he reveals himself to us. And he does that in three ways. And these will develop throughout the whole time.

But let me give them to you. The first way God reveals himself to us is through nature. Psalm 19 one says the heavens declare the glory of God.

The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech. Night after night, they reveal knowledge. One of the things I do, I just like to get up early. It's just work for me.

And so it's always dark. And often when I get up, you know, that's when I spend time with God and my warped personality. Sometimes I think of all the things I've got to do and I start feeling pressure. And so I usually list the things I'm thankful for to get my perspective. And then I'll write a little box in my journal.

And I'll put a box and then I'll write and I'll turn the pressure into a prayer request. And some of them, sometimes, you know, I have like 8, 10, 12 going, oh my gosh, and that's just today. And then I often, you know, get that second cup of coffee and I'll go outside. And when I go outside and I just look at all these stars. And I just look at my little boxes, all those stars.

And I just think, men have been looking at these for thousands of years. You hold, you know, every name. This is just the Milky Way. There's only a billion stars. Only a billion. And you know all their names. By the word of your power, you're holding them right now.

Outside the Milky Way, there's between 200 and 300 billion galaxies. I'm going to cast my care upon you because you care for me. You're an all-powerful God. And yet, you care about one little guy in California named Chip and you know I feel those pressures and you're committed to giving me the grace to either say yes, to say no, or to do whatever you want me to do. So I'm going to go back inside and I'm just going to remember who I'm really talking to.

And sometimes it's three minutes, sometimes it's ten. And then I go back and I say, okay, Lord, what do you want me to do? What do you not want me to do?

What could someone else do? And then, okay, I know these. Okay, I've got to record this video and prepare me.

I need to have a hard conversation. And it just changes. It just changes. When's the last time you were out in nature and saw it? The theologians call it general revelation. In Romans 1, the apostle Paul would say we're all without excuse because from the stars and the balance of nature and the mystery and the harmony of nature alone, God's invisible attributes, his eternal existence and his very character is revealed. What kind of a God has a bird that lays an egg here and flies thousands and thousands of miles way over to here and a year later drops an egg 12 inches from the same spot? What kind of a God has GPS into whales that travel and crisscross? What kind of a God has 600 different kinds of beetles? He's a God of variety, a God of beauty, a God of power, a God of love, a God of design.

But you know what? He can just be the God of help me get through this. God, I need a parking spot.

Help it to be on sale. Yeah, I mean, go to some of our prayer meetings. You know, they're like anatomy meetings. Help Ethel's toe. Help Bob's shoulder. Help George's ear.

Help him clean out that valve and Bob, it's a second time through. If you listen to us pray, you would think honestly what we really feel like is I can only pray about things I think I can control and since God is obviously unaware of all this, what I'm trying to do is take this awesome powerful God and bring him into my little world to get him to do what I think he ought to do. Then listen to how the Apostle Paul prays. I pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened. I pray that you might grasp the height and depth and length and breadth to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. I pray that God would give you insight into his will that you could discern good from evil in order that you might walk in a manner worthy of him. I pray that you would understand the depth of his love for you. How precious of an inheritance you are to him and the power that dwells within you. I pray that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will. I mean those prayers in Philippians 1 and Philippians 3 and Ephesians 3 and Philippians and Colossians, I mean I'm not the Apostle Paul and you're not the Apostle Paul.

But wow, it sure seems like he's asking not so much about tactical things, and I don't think it's wrong, I pray for tactical things, but I think he actually believes that if people could see God for who he is, if people could be aligned, if God would reveal himself and they would be open and they would follow his will, all those tactical things would probably get taken care of. The second way he reveals himself is through his word. John chapter 1, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Through him all things were made, and without him nothing was made that has been made, and him was life and the life was the light of the world.

I mean, I love, you might just in your notes I think I put Hebrews 1, it's one of my favorite passages. In times past God has spoken to us through the prophets and the apostles, but in this last days he's spoken to us through his son, who is the icon, the exact image or representation of the Father. It's the picture of if you've ever, if you took a piece of putty and you took like a silver dollar or something like that, and if you pressed it into the piece of putty and then pulled it out real carefully, you have the exact image, right?

That's the word. Jesus is the exact image. Colossians 2, all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ. See, if you really want to know what God is like, it's Jesus. The very last night, right, he's getting, he wants the disciples to stay on track.

And he's talking to them and he's preparing them and it's really encouraging because they're really slow, which gives me a lot of hope. And he talks to them, well you know the way I go, except to Thomas. You know what, Lord, this is the Ingram translation. I think you're talking in circles candidly, Jesus.

I really don't know the way and I don't really get it. And Jesus said, Thomas, I'm the way. And the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me. And then Philip, frustrated, Lord, it'll be enough, just show us the Father and it'll be enough. Philip, how long have I been with you?

If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. If you want to know how does your image of God, how does God respond when you really mess up? When you do something that's willful, malicious, sinful, shameful, you wish you hadn't done it and you feel terrible about it and you're coming to God. How will God treat you exactly the way he did the woman caught in adultery? If you want to know how God thinks of you and how he'll relate to you when, you know some of those times where you feel like, man, I'm reading the Bible, got the quiet time going.

We gave a little extra money to missions. I think I'm feeling pretty holy. Then the way he feels about you is Jesus with the Pharisees.

If you know when your heart is hungry and you don't know the direction and you wish you knew what to do and you're messing up and you're making progress and you say, Lord, would you just help me? It's how Jesus related to the disciples. Did you realize he never got mad at them? One only issue. All the gospels, only one thing. Oh, you have little. God's agenda is so simple, we make it so complicated.

Here's his agenda. Trust me in the hard marriage. Trust me with your kid. Trust me with your money.

Trust me with the decision. I've got a little question that I write down in hard situations. Question, what does it look like to trust God in this situation?

Not how do I fix it? Not God, will you do this, this, this and that? What's it look like to trust God in this marriage, in this decision, in this financial loss, in this hard conversation coming up? What's, because here's the thing, without faith it's impossible to please him. You can build a ministry, you can build a business, you can have a decent looking family without faith. You just can't please God. The heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus is to trust him and you can't trust someone you don't know. You only trust people that this is their character, this is their track record. And over and over and over all the lessons to the disciples were what?

You can trust my word because when you see my word it's always faithful. So many of the miracles, why did he do them the way he did them? When he wanted to calm the sea, what did he do? He spoke. I mean he could have done hand signs.

When the little girl was dead, how did he, he didn't touch her. Little girl, I say to you arise, bam, sea, calm, demon, come out. If I'm a disciple what am I thinking?

I'm not sure about this guy but whatever he says you can trust it. And that's for us. So he reveals himself through nature, through his word and ultimately through Jesus. No man has seen God at any time, John 1 tells us. The word became flesh and dwell among us. We behold his glory, glory is the only one. And then he says to us, no man has seen God at any time but he has explained him.

The word is exegeted. Jesus explained the Father. You want to know what God's like, it's Jesus. That's why I think it's no matter where we're reading in the Bible, don't go too far away from the Gospels. I've got a buddy, he's a Bible-aholic, he's my hero when it comes to the Bible. I've never been around, we went overseas together when I was young and he was the first guy that started memorizing small books of the Bible.

And every time I'm with Glenn, and he goes, Chip, I just learned something. What? He says, no matter where you're reading, you ready for this?

What? If you just read, just like three chapters, just three chapters in the Gospel, I mean can you imagine, only three chapters? If you read three chapters every day in the Gospels, you can get through the Gospels like fifteen times in a year. Can you imagine fifteen times you really see Jesus?

I'm thinking, Glenn, you're still blowing me away. But what he's saying is, no matter what we're doing, Jesus is the focus. Jesus is the focus. Get to know Jesus, you get to know God.

Okay, the big question, and this is the one we'll impact in our time together. What must I do to see the real God as he is? What must I do to see the real God as he is? The answer is seek him.

Seek him. Jeremiah 29, 11, follow along as I read. For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

God's not the force, he's personal. Plans to give you a hope and a future. The God that you're talking to wants to give you hope deep in your soul and a future and he understands. Then you will call on me and you will come and pray to me and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and you will find me, what's the condition? When you seek for me with all your heart. And then all I can say is, it's almost mind boggling, God says I'll be found of you. I'll be found of you. This isn't for superstar Christians, this isn't just for people who went to Bible school or seminary.

This isn't people who are smarter than the rest of us. Jesus would make the same statement, seek and you'll find, right? Knock and the door will be opened.

Ask, seek, knock. God wants to meet you but here's the deal, how? How do you seek God where you really know him?

It's not through external religiosity, it's not through just intellectual cognitive information about him. There is a way to seek God and the wisest person who ever lived, Solomon, lines out for us. Notice what he says in Proverbs 2, I've put it in your notes. My son if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, put a little arrow and write initiative in God's word.

You will never find a man or woman that knows God deeply that isn't a man or a woman in this book. Treasure his commandments. Receive his sayings. Second, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding.

Put a little arrow and write teachable attitude. This isn't like, oh I would like to understand the outline of the book of Philippians. Oh I want to understand what's the major themes of the Pentateuch. Oh I have a reading program. I read three chapters a day to keep the devil away. No, no, this is God. I want you to speak to me, this is me. I got questions, I got issues, I got struggles. I'm going to open your word. I want you to speak to me in specific ways because here's the deal, if you'll speak I'll obey.

That's when God speaks. I don't want to become a smarter sinner. I'm going to become a more obedient son or daughter. So I'm going to read this and I don't understand it all. I may not understand it all, but I want you to speak to me. I have a teachable spirit. Incline your heart to understanding. Third, for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding. Put a little arrow and write passionate prayer. Passionate prayer. It's the kind of prayer God answers. This isn't, no, no. Lord, it's good to pray.

I might have missed a couple. Now I lay me down to sleep, something about my soul to keep, catch you later. I'm getting deep. This is the kind of prayer when you've got a kid in ICU and the doctor says, I don't know if he's going to make it. This is the kind of prayer when your wife or your husband, positive result.

It's cancer and it's serious. How do you pray? No little foreign prayers. You bury your heart before God. God, I'm asking you, would you intervene safe, my boy? God, I'm serious. You know, God, it searched my heart.

If there's something between us, let me know. But it's passionate prayer. It's cry out to God. God wants to hear from you. This isn't religious people. This is people who long to know God. Notice it says, if you seek for her, speaking of this wisdom, this knowledge of God, as silver in search of her as for hidden treasure, look at the result. Then, purpose clause, you'll discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

Circle this, discover. You won't get it from a preacher. You won't get it from a book.

You won't get it from someone else. You will discover you want God to speak to you. And he wants to speak through his word and he wants to speak through his spirit. And yes, he speaks through people. But Solomon is saying, as you dig in, as you make it a priority, he'll speak.

He wants to speak. Next to the one where it says, seeker for silver, write priority. Priority.

Write first priority. If I told you right now that, and if you have a really big backyard, then just limit it to like 30 feet out and across. If you have a small backyard, this illustration works. If I told you that in your backyard, while you were here, $10 million was buried in your backyard. We've resotted everything. You have no idea where to look.

It's only six feet deep. You have three days to find it. From the moment you get home, you have three days. If you don't find it in three days, it will be returned to me. Now, you get home.

Your three days starts the moment you hit the driveway. I can't quite imagine you going, well, you know, that NFL season has started. I think I'll look for it a little bit later, but, you know, it's a big game. Cowboys are playing.

Pittsburgh Steelers, you know, love them. You know, I think it is Sunday afternoon. You know, naps are really important on Sunday afternoon. I think I'll take a nap. Or we could, I'll start tomorrow. No, I can't start tomorrow because the kids have a ball game tomorrow.

I have the ladies lunching in the afternoon. Gosh, I just... Is that what you'd do? You know what, some of you, some of you would be buying shovels at Ace Hardware on the way home, and some of you are high-tech shovels.

Are you kidding me? The backhoe will be delivered at 4.35 p.m. And then this, you knock down the fence and this backhoe's digging up your whole backyard. Your neighbors, what are you doing, man? You're messing up our yard.

What are you doing? Hey, forget it. I'll buy you a new backyard in about three days. You wouldn't care. What if you had, if you had that kind of passion for $10 million in your backyard, what if you had that kind of passion to know God? That you would receive His commands? That you would incline your heart to understanding? That you would cry out with passionate prayer and that you would seek it as for silver and as for hidden treasure? Then, here's the promise, then, not someone else, you will discern. It's called the fear of God.

You won't learn. He ain't your buddy. He's God. And then in these great words of Tozer again, the great paradox of the faith is that you will be afraid and in awe and yet because of Jesus, fearful but not be afraid to come and come to the Heavenly Father and you will be here to be your friend. Chip's going to be back in just a minute, but just a quick reminder, this message, Seeking God, is from his series, The Real God. In this eight-parter, Chip explains that we naturally tend to imagine God with human characteristics, moody, impatient, unforgiving, because it's what we know about ourselves and others, but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to God. That's why it's essential to see Him as He really is, and that's what this series, The Real God, is all about. If you're ready for a clear understanding of who God is and how that changes everything you've ever thought about Him, the best way is to do this study with a small group of friends. So for a limited time, we've discounted these resources because we want to do everything we can to help you get to know the real God. For more information or to order your small group materials today, go to livingontheedge.org, tap Special Offers on the Chip Ingram app, or give us a call at 888-333-6003.

That's 888-333-6003. Chip, as we dig into this series, we're also in a season when people are thinking about starting small groups in their homes or church or with a few friends over coffee. So of all the series we have available and discounted right now, which one would you recommend? Well, Dave, it's interesting that you asked me that because I have a very quick answer.

A.W. Tozer has a quote that really changed the course of my life. He says, what comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you. Everything rises and falls with our view of God. He goes on to say there's a secret of the soul that we unconsciously gravitate toward our view of God. What I want people to know is that how you see God, if you see Him accurately, it affects your emotions, your view of yourself, every decision. If you don't see Him as good, you can't trust Him.

If you don't see Him as sovereign, life just seems like an up and down random chance. But it's not enough to read a book about God. It's not enough just to study about God. Real learning occurs when you take that study and then you get with a group of people and you begin to dialogue and share and pray and you begin to take the truth about who God is and begin to talk with one another about what does that look like in your everyday life. And so that's why our The Real God Small Group Resource is my number one recommendation for everyone. Of all the things I've studied in all my life, in fact, that little book by Tozer is still in my briefcase.

I must be a slow reader because I've been reading the same book for over 30 years. But what I really mean by that is I've been studying the character of God. And as I've done that with other people, the clearer that gets, the more accurate that gets, the more transformed my life and the life of others become. If you're ready to get back into community, I would say to our listeners, now is the time, and The Real God would be my number one recommendation. Well, to help you make getting to know God your number one priority and to encourage you to do this study with a small group of friends, we've temporarily discounted the Small Group Resources for The Real God.

Doing this series together will get you into a deeper level of understanding as you process and talk about these key attributes of who God really is. Included in each discounted workbook is a unique code to unlock the online videos. Get the workbooks, use your codes, and you're good to go. To take advantage of this limited-time offer, just go to livingontheedge.org or tap Special Offers on the Chip Ingram app.

For more information, give us a call at 888-333-6003. Well, now here's Chip with his application. You see, as we learned today, it really is possible to see God, to know Him. Exhaustively? No. Accurately?

Yes. How? By the Spirit of God dwelling in you. The Holy Spirit enlightens your mind so that you can understand and see God for who He is. That's why the first step to seeing God is becoming a believer or a follower in Christ. And then once you're in the family, this is so critical, you must get to know Him. You must see Him accurately.

And we learned today there's three ways that God reveals Himself, number one, through nature, number two, through His word, the Bible, and number three, through Jesus. So let me ask you, are you seeing God clearly? And if your immediate response is, well, you know, I don't know.

Well, gosh, I'm not sure. Well, let me ask you this. Are you in the Bible on a regular basis?

I don't mean because you ought or should or you feel guilty. I mean, are you in the Bible with a heart that says, Lord, I want to know you. Holy Spirit, open my eyes. Let me see your glory and your love and your holiness and your kindness. Let me see you as you are. You see, being in the Scriptures is critical.

Second, and I'm making a little challenge here because I think we as evangelicals often miss this first one, nature. Are you spending any time, do you plan any time at all to look for God in nature, to catch His majesty and His beauty and His holiness? Just the other morning, I tend to get up a little bit early in the morning and so it's dark. And I got out, I took the paper, it's my little deal, and I throw it up on the porch, and I open my car door, and I just started to get in, and I glanced up. And when I glanced up, the moon was, I mean, awesome. And there were all these stars, and I did something I rarely do.

I mean, it was 30 seconds. I shut the door, I leaned against my car, and I thought the God who made all those stars made me, the God who has the power to call out the starry host one by one, knows my name, knows what's going to happen today, and He loves me and has revealed Himself to me through Christ. Can I encourage you? Why don't you take a walk in nature? If you're near the ocean, go look at it. You know, go in the backyard, find something beautiful and stare at it, and remember that God wants to reveal Himself to you.

Seek Him. Just before we close, I want to thank each of you who's making this program possible through your generous giving. 100% of your gifts are going directly to the ministry to help Christians really live like Christians.

If you found CIP's teaching helpful, but you're not yet on the team, would you consider doing that today? To donate, just go to livingontheedge.org, tap Donate on the app, or give us a call at 888-333-6003. And let me thank you in advance for whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, until next time, for everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 21:58:47 / 2023-09-13 22:11:37 / 13

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