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The Real God - The Goodness Of God, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2021 6:00 am

The Real God - The Goodness Of God, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 24, 2021 6:00 am

Join Chip as he shares a moment in time that changed everything he ever thought about God. Find out what caused the change, and how you can experience the very same thing in your life.

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Of all the words that God could use to describe Himself, what one word do you think He'd choose? While you're thinking about that, I have to tell you that many years ago, a man gave me a thin little book on the attributes of God, and the one attribute that changed the course of my life is this one word.

If you want to find out what it is, stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher on this international discipleship program, and I'm Dave Dury. In this program, Chip continues his series, The Real God, as he longs for you to see him with a look at the first of seven characteristics God uses to describe Himself through nature, through Scripture, and through Jesus. Over the course of this series, Chip reveals each of these characteristics, but today we begin at the beginning, and Chip's favorite.

He'll be with us after the teaching with a great takeaway that'll help you absorb the teaching and apply it in a way that'll really stick, so be sure to stay with us for that. Okay, if you have a Bible, open to Psalm 84, and let's join Chip for his message, The Goodness of God. I was at a major crossroads in my life. There was a path that was clearly the will of God, and there was a path that was clearly not the will of God, and although sometimes that can be confusing and hard, this was easy. I knew exactly what God wanted me to do, and I had enough self-awareness to know that whatever path I took would determine the rest of my life, that the implications were just amazingly overwhelming, and I knew exactly what to do, but I couldn't get myself to do it.

Anybody been there? For a year, year and a half, went to Bible studies, still read my Bible. Outwardly, I'm sure few people really knew, but I was involved in a relationship with a young lady that God made it very clear, this is not my will, but I was in love, and I had worked and worked and worked out of all my insecurities. I was the, if you've ever gone to an outdoor playground and seen very competitive basketball, and you just see one skinny little white kid, John Stockton was my hero, and the over-aggressive, over-the-top, over-achiever, that was me, and so I grew up playing in inner-city playgrounds and then played in college, and my whole identity was wrapped around being a basketball player, but really it wasn't. It was really, it was my God, it was my Isaac. It's what held me up inside, and God had made it very clear that I love you very much, and that you need to break off this relationship, and trust me for your future, and you need to release this idol that you have, and my fears were that if I did, one, I would be single the rest of my life, or I would marry someone, this is bizarre thinking, that I would really not like, because what I had was really good, and I could see her and touch her, and she was beautiful, and what God had was invisible, and I felt like if I entrusted basketball to him, he would probably take it away and not let me play anymore. On the front of your notes, I put a sentence that I think is worthy for all of us to look at. There's a private battle that every true follower of Christ must face, and you must win.

There's no exceptions. The battle is for your heart. It's for your affections.

It's for your loyalty. We call it a lot of things. Some people call it surrender. Others call it being all in. Others say it's being totally committed. Jesus said it's picking up your cross, denying yourself, and following him and saying that he and he alone is the Lord of your life, and there's lots of competition. There's an entire world system that's designed to woo your heart away from your Savior who loves you. The barrier is FOMO, F-O-M-O, fear of missing out, and there's this idea that somehow FOMO is this thing that keeps us not enjoying the present, not being who we're supposed to be, living with this fear that we're going to miss out.

Well, I got news it's not new. The very first sin by our first parents was FOMO. Eve, don't you understand that he's holding out on you? Don't you really want to be wise?

Don't you want a better life? God's not really good. Has God really said? The first sin that ever occurred was a belief that God was not a good God, that he was holding out on us, and that you're going to miss out by allowing him to be the Lord of your life. The breakthrough, I'm convinced, for all of us is not trying harder, not seeing someone who's more committed, not saying, this time I'm really in, I'll do anything, I'll go anywhere, and out of your flesh and energy say, okay, I'm really going to be committed even though, because we've all done that, and what happens?

You cycle back, cycle back, cycle back. The breakthrough, I believe, comes when you actually believe that God is good, that he's for you, that the path of his will, though difficult on the front end, is the good, the acceptable, that the highest good that you'll ever receive, the best relationships, the best decisions, the best future, that literally that surrender or total commitment, because God is good, is the channel through which his biggest and best blessings flow, and that the most intellectually feasible, the emotionally fulfilling path that you could ever take would be do exactly what God says, because all his commandments are for your good. Rather than being prohibitive, his commands are like guide rails on a winding path, and if you would break through the guard rails, there's a thousand foot drop, and he so loves you and so loves me, he gives us guide rails about relationships and sexuality and money and decision making, all so that we land and experience the very best, because you're the object of his affection. But I am deeply convinced that many of us don't believe in our hearts that God is really good. Tozer said, what comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about us, and that there is a secret law of the soul that you and I will move and make decisions consciously and unconsciously toward our mental image of God. And if God is not good, if he's not for you, if you don't believe that at the core of your being, then you will constantly struggle with commitment, constantly struggle with manipulating, constantly struggle with how can I get as close to sin as possible but not fall in, and ultimately never really fully trust God. The thesis of this whole study is that our distorted view of God is at the root of all of our problems. Your fears, your anxieties, your relational breakdowns, your sense about the future, your conflict in relationships, at the root of all of our problems, it goes back to a distorted view of God that gives us a distorted view of ourself, a distorted view of the future, a distorted view of relationships.

So we have this scarce pie mentality, there's not much to go around, I better get mine, if I don't have this position, if I don't have this, if I don't look like this, if I don't own that, if people don't think this about me, and we have all this stuff going on, and then we're bombarded by media and a world system that says if you look like this, or if you have this, or if you own this, or if you've accomplished this, then you're a somebody. And so our significance, our security is all wrapped around chasing the wind, as opposed to realizing there is a good God who is completely for you, and it brings rest to your soul. And you can trust Him, but I will tell you, it's a battle. So in our study, we're going to start with the goodness of God because it's foundational. The theologians call God simple, and what they mean by that is think of the character of God as a diamond, and that as you would tilt the diamond and put light on it, it would reveal different facets, but it's one diamond. It's not like God is holy and then on some other days He's loving. His holiness, His infinitude, His self-sufficiency, His justice, His compassion, they all work as a simple unit. He's always holy in all of His love. He's always loving in all of His justice.

He's always compassionate, even in judgment. But I think one of the things that we miss and is foundational is the goodness of God. If God isn't good, life makes no sense. As Tozer would say, heaven can become a hell, and hell can become a heaven.

There is no values if there's no goodness. And so often if you want to study something, go to where the concept first pops up in Scripture. And so I'm going to ask you to turn with me to Exodus chapter 33 and chapter 34, and as you turn there, I'll give you the context. Moses has seen God's power. He's seen the miracles. He's a reluctant servant.

You know, Lord, send somebody else, not me. But he's now seen the Nile turn to blood. He's seen the parting of the Red Sea. There's a fire by night.

There's a cloud moving by day. He's seen miraculous things. And as he is now in intimate relationship with God, the psalmist gives us some insight. Psalm 103 verse 7 is one of those interestingly hinged verses. It says, He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.

His ways. All of Israel saw His acts, right? Power, deliverance, power, deliverance.

How many of those people who saw all of His acts entered the promised land and believed God? God's acts will never sustain you. Everyone in this room, we all probably have a big challenge in one of our kids is in a jam, or we have a health issue, or a financial issue, or something's upside down, or you have a big fear about something.

And all of us, we play, this is human. Oh God, if you would just do this. And let's just say hypothetically, he miraculously did that big thing in your life.

I'll guarantee 30 days from now I could sit down with you and you'd be asking him for the next big thing. Oh, if you would just change so and so's heart. If you would only, and God supernaturally, if you would look in the rear view mirror, He's intervened in your life in supernatural ways. Acts that are deliverance are evidence of His kindness and His goodness. But God's acts don't sustain us.

His ways do. And Moses, after seeing all those acts and interacting with God, he makes this outrageous, bold request that I think thrilled God's heart. Show me your glory, he says. I want to see you face to face.

I want to know all of who you are. And God says, again, some of these translations are sort of the Ingram telling the story through my lens. So, you know, don't look for this right in the Bible. But I think God's response, in essence, was, you have no idea what you're asking. What he actually did say is, no one can see me and live. But I'll tell you what I'll do. I think when God sees a seeking heart, He says, Moses, you get over there, kind of edge back in those rocks, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to pass by you. And then I'm going to give you just a glimpse of my back. And then notice in your notes, when God wanted to describe his passing by, all my goodness will pass before you.

Isn't that interesting? Not all my holiness, not all my, all my goodness will pass before you. And then God answers his prayer.

Exodus 34, we pick it up in verse 5. Now the Lord descended in the cloud, and He stood with him there, and He proclaimed the name of the Lord, and the Lord passed before him and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin. And then in all that love, compassion and goodness, by no means declaring the guilty innocent, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and to the fourth generation. J. I. Packard in his book, Knowing God, comments on this passage. He says, within the cluster of God's moral perfections, there is one in particular, the term goodness, that points to a quality which God especially singled out from the whole when proclaiming His goodness to Moses. He spoke of Himself as abundant in goodness and truth. And then Packard makes this comment that as he studied this word, this idea of goodness at its heart is the generosity of God. Have you ever thought of God as generous? Have you ever thought of God as no matter, He just wants to lavish, He longs to give, the core of the character of God in all of His attributes, that He's generous.

No scarcity. When He sees you, when you come to His infinite mind, He longs to bless, He longs to encourage, He longs to create a path. I love this next line. He says, generosity expresses the simple wish that others might have what they need to be happy. Have you ever thought of God like that, thinking of you? That you might have what you need to be happy.

See, it's interesting as the world says, here's all these things that'll make you happy someday, some way. God says, no, no, no, follow me, worship me, I've made you, I want to give you a life from within and in relationships and a path with me that would bring delight to my heart and make you happy as a byproduct. That's how God thinks of you. The Hebrew word here means pleasant, joyful, agreeable. And when it's translated into the Greek text, it's noble, admirable, worthy.

It's good. It's the standard of goodness. Goodness isn't something that God possesses. He is the standard. It is how He is.

And again, I've given you a thought by Tozer. He says, the goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He's tender-hearted and quick of sympathy. Is that how you think about God?

When you bow your head, do you think, oh, He's for me. He's glad to see me. He's full of good will. He wants my best. He's orchestrating people and circumstances in my home and in my job and in my heart to bless my life.

He's quick of sympathy. How many of you, when you hurt and when you mess up, feel like God just moved away 10 yards, God's arms are crossed? God's attitude is, again, huh? How many times are you going to go around this barn? So, oh, you think that thought, that lustful thought again? You're still envying her? Oh, you opened your mouth again and talked about, well, friend, well, you know what, I call that gossip or you know what, so are you just possessed with greed?

You have to get up and look at the Wall Street Journal before anything else. I mean, mind me what's with you. Oh, that show came on and you lingered a little bit longer and you didn't click the thing, so how many times are we going to deal with this issue? How many of you have a view of God that his arms are crossed and he's basically down on you instead of a view that says the moment that you turn and go, oh, Lord, you're mindful that I'm dust. I'm just a person of flesh. I get lulled into these, oh, I so don't want to be that and that when you would turn like that, he would be, I understand. I'm for you.

I love you. See, the power of temptation, the power of the lust of the flesh, the power of the pride of life, the power of the lust of having and possessing, the power of what everyone thinks matters so much is behind it is a belief that God isn't for you, that the real action is over there, that the real success, the real fulfillment, all the things you're looking for are some way out there and that's why 1 John, the apostle of love would say, love not the world or things that are in the world and all that's in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, it's not from the Father but it's from the world and if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father isn't in him but the world's passing away but God's love abides forever. See, what Tozer wanted is to get around that that's what God is like.

The last line, he says this and I have this underlined like 45 times in my little book that I've been reading. It says, by his nature, circle that in your notes, by his nature, not by your circumstances, not by whether you're doing good or doing bad. God isn't good to you because you're good. God is good because he's good. It's intrinsic. He can't not be good. You have good days, bad days, obedience days, not obedience days.

It doesn't change the character of God. Actually, there's times that it's out of his goodness, some of the difficulties that some of us have in our life, the difficulties I had in my life, that that 18 months when I was in a relationship that was sinful and when I had an idol in my life, in the goodness and kindness of God, the velvet vice of discipline started. So I pulled my quad right out of here to here. Wow, couldn't play 12, 13 games.

You know, then pretty soon as I rehabbed and so I went again and then I had a stress fracture in my foot. I mean, every year it was like God going up, you know. Ingram, you can worship basketball or you can worship me, but I love you so much. I mean, finally, my surrender was not like some noble, I will give you everything. I mean, literally mine was, if you can't lick him, join him. Literally.

God, I'm bankrupt. You frustrate my plans. This relationship isn't what I know it is. I don't like the guilt. I don't like the shame. I don't like living a double life. I look in the mirror and I don't like me. I appear to be one person I know I'm not. You were just, you frustrate, frustrate, frustrate, frustrate my plans. You know what, and you won't leave me alone.

I've tried to quit the Christian life a couple times. You won't leave. You know, when you receive Christ, it's like in a marriage, you said, I do. Lord, come into my life.

Guess what? He said yes. And then he sealed you with his spirit. And he lives in you.

And he permanently came in. And you can grieve the spirit, but out of his goodness, some of the most difficult things in our life is his saying, I want what's better for you, so I'm not going to allow you to keep going down this path. The scripture says that God disciplines every son, every daughter that he really loves. It's out of his goodness. It's out of his kindness.

He doesn't want you to miss out. He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of his people. The breakthrough came for me when I, a passage came from my intellect to my heart. And then I later claimed a promise. It's Psalm 8411. I have a little card that's about 30 years old and it says the goodness of God. And on one side I have written my fears about the future.

And on the other side, after it says stop being afraid of the future, you won't miss out. On the other side, Psalm 8411, the Lord God is a son in his shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Now think about this. And by the way, it's the Lord God. It's Yahweh Adonai. The I am that I am.

The one who spoke the world into existence is a son – unlimited source. He's a shield – unlimited protection. He gives grace. What you don't deserve – blessing, lavish, love, goodness, kindness, mercy.

What's mercy? He withholds the due judgment that we ought to get in so many occasions. No good thing – here's the promise – no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. As you have the crisscross of this path is God's way or this path in small and big situations, as you say I'm gonna go on your path, here's what you can say. I do not fear missing out because on this path God will never withhold what's best for me. That's a statement of faith. That's a promise to claim. It will change the course of your life. Well, how has God revealed his goodness?

It's one thing. I can tell you if you actually come to believe that from your head down to your heart, obedience will be completely different. Trusting him becomes completely different. The fear of the future will always have some – it will begin to dissipate. Because if God has your best and he's sovereign and he's in control and he's an all wise God and he's for you and he's leaning forward on the throne to bless your life and to help you and give you the very best, well then whatever he says is the, well that's what I want to do. Now by the way it doesn't mean that you don't have some emotional fear.

It doesn't mean the front end might be really hard. But it means that you trust his promises because he's a good God. He's revealed it to us in three ways and let me encourage you to let these ways sink in and begin to practice them in a new way because you gotta do some things to move I believe God's good to hear.

First it's through natural blessings. Psalm 145, 7-9 says they celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all. He has compassion on all he's made.

Does the all include you? He's good to all. This little phrase is repeated all through the Old Testament. He's gracious, compassionate, abounding, multiplying, exponentially available, loving kindness.

The word is hesed. It's a steadfast loyal commitment love to give you the best. That's how God is with his creation. Later in the same Psalm verse 16 says you open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all that he does. And here's what I'd say is pause to look around. We get so busy, so focused. Just observe people. Observe people at a restaurant. Observe people walking on the streets now. The whole world does this.

A family sitting together in a restaurant. Here's four phones out. When's the last time, I'm serious, when's the last time you saw a sunset? You.

When's the last time you saw a sunrise? You've been listening to the first part of Chip's message, The Goodness of God, from his series, The Real God. He'll be back with his application, but before he is, let me give you a quick sketch of this series overall. In The Real God, Chip looks at seven key attributes of God's character and explains that none of them is ever diminished or overshadowed by the others, which means that God is 100% love, 100% just, and 100% merciful. Kind of mind-bending when you think about it that way, and why it becomes a lifelong adventure to get to know him for who he really is. A great way to learn how these attributes of God work together is to do this study with a small group of friends. So, for a limited time, the small group resources for The Real God are discounted, because we want to do everything we can to help you get a clear, accurate view of God. To place your order or to get more information on The Real God, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org, tap Special Offers on the Chip Ingram app, or give us a call at 888-333-6003. Well, Chip, as I listened to today's message, I was thinking that literally about a million people are listening right now.

And who knows how many of them are hearing about the goodness of God for the very first time? As Living on the Edge continues to buy airtime, create programming, and develop resources to help people learn who God really is, the expenses of the ministry are a monthly issue. I think it's fair to say that a lot of people may have considered partnering with us financially, but then they might think if they can't give something substantial, their gift won't really make much of a difference.

You know, Dave, really, only about two percent of all the people that listen partner with us financially in any way. And I think sometimes it's because they just don't think what I could do would make a difference. But I just want to encourage some of you that feel like, you know, hey, you know, boy, God's really using this in my life, but I'm just not in a position. Maybe you could do something really small, but God could take your small gift and do something really big with it. So, you know, thanks so much and appreciate anything God leads you to do.

Well, as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that when you partner with Living on the Edge, you become part of a much bigger team. So as we work together, every gift is significant. To send a gift, call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. If you prefer to give online, go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, just tap donate.

On behalf of the entire staff, let me thank you for your support of everything we're doing. Well, now here's Chip with a final thought. By His nature, He is inclined to bestow blessedness, and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people. That statement in the same sentence with God was inconceivable to me. I was a Christian three, maybe four years at the time. Now, I didn't grow up in a Christian environment. I'd only read the Bible for a couple, three years, but all the baggage of my past was this angry God who was down on me. Do you understand?

It was like the lights coming on. Do you understand what will happen to you if you can begin to renew your mind and believe that by His nature, not your performance, by His nature, not your behavior, by His nature? In other words, it's what God is like. It's who He is.

He doesn't change. He is eternally good. Every morning when you get up, it brings God pleasure to see happiness birthed in your heart out of your relationship with Him. When He wants to give good gifts, when He wants to bless, and I don't mean just superficial stuff like money or cars or things working out your way. Of course, He blesses in those things, but I'm talking about the depth of your very soul to know that you are approved. God is for you. He is with you. He wants to bring great joy to you. That's Jesus. And Jesus says to you today, come unto me, all of you who are tired and heavy laden and worn out and stressed out, and I will give you rest. Why?

Because God is good. You know, a great way to get more out of every message is to use Chip's message notes while you listen. You'll get his outline, all of his scripture references, and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning. Use them personally or even with your small group. Chip's message notes are a quick download at livingontheedge.org under the broadcast's tab. App listeners, tap fill-in notes and you're set. We'll be sure to join us next time. Until then, this is Dave Drewy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 16:16:00 / 2023-09-13 16:27:32 / 12

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