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Doing Good - Doing Good - Where it All Begins, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2022 6:00 am

Doing Good - Doing Good - Where it All Begins, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 31, 2022 6:00 am

When you think about doing a good deed, what comes to mind? Feeding the hungry? Building homes for the homeless? Sponsoring a child? Have you ever wondered who or what defines what is “good?” Chip reveals what the Bible has to say about the answer to that question.

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Do you privately wish some Christians that you know and you love would live a lot more like a Christian, but you realize that criticizing them or saying stuff to them really doesn't work?

Can you imagine if you could invite them to do something with you, something that's good, that might grab a hold of their heart and really change their life? Well, that's today. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, Motivating Christians to Live Like Christians.

I'm Dave Drouy, and we're in the middle of our series, Doing Good. Now in this program, Chip helps us make the important distinction between just doing nice things and actually doing good. You know, the kind of good that the Bible talks about that changes the lives of those around us. If you're ready to learn more, open your Bible now to Titus chapter 1, and let's join Chip for his message, Doing Good Where It All Begins. The scripture says the Lord executes righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding and loving kindness. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Loving, kindness and truth go before you. Because the way God executes justice and brings about righteousness in an evil world is he has a group of people in whom Christ lives by his spirit, and they see the way he sees and they care the way he cares, and they do what Jesus did when he walked upon the earth. And we're in a series called Doing Good. It's what happens when Christians live like Christians.

And I put some study notes there. You want to go ahead and pull those out, because the apostle Paul, when he was describing what it looks like for Christians to live like Christians, at the end of Romans chapter 12, he said, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. He basically says in response to all the evil in the world, you can whine, you can complain, you can call talk radio, you can have coffee with your friends, you can criticize and blame all the people of why this has happened, or you can do good. You can be a change agent. You can be light that pushes back the darkness. And when you do it, powerful things happen. I listed four on the top, because doing good, remember, it's more powerful than evil. Four things happen when we do good. Number one, it pushes back the darkness. Number two, it rescues people from destruction. Number three, it connects our hearts to others. I don't know why and I don't know how it works, but when you help people, when you help people in your home, when you help people at work, when you help someone who's really hurting, something happens, your hearts connect.

And finally, it provides unexplainable joy. The Bible talks about the orphan, the widow, the poor, the abandoned woman, the single dad, the person who's lost their job, the person who's lost their home. It's powerful when you do good. We're going through the book of Titus and it's an entire book in the Bible written for one purpose, to help you understand why to do good, what good really is, and then how to do it.

Why does it matter so much? First, doing good reveals God's passion for people. Jesus said to his followers, let your light so shine before men that they would see your good works and glorify your Father who's in heaven. People understand God loves them because we do good to them. The second reason, doing good reveals God's presence in our lives. Jesus said, good trees produce good fruit. When Christ lives in you and it's legit and it's real, it will always produce doing good. Doing good doesn't make you right with God, but when you're right with God, you can't but help doing good. Third, doing good reveals the priority in our lives.

Jesus in Matthew 25 talked about his return and he talked about be ready. And he said that when we focus on things that last forever and our focus is on other people rather than just ourselves, we begin to understand there's more than just right now. And we begin to live for what really matters, for what counts for all eternity. And then finally, doing good reveals God's purpose for our life.

Jesus said his desire for his disciples then and now is that normal regular ordinary people like us, you would bear much fruit. And he said before the foundations of the earth, think of this, before there was time, before there were galaxies, before he said let there be light, he said he prepared a good work for you to walk in. That there's a person that has your eye color and only your DNA and just your background and your gifts and your struggles and all that you've been through. And as you align your life and let the spirit of God have his way in you, there is a good work that will reveal what God is like to other people. His love and his kindness, his power, his gentleness, his justice and his truth.

Now here's the question it raises for me. If doing good is something that helps people, if it honors God, if it candidly transforms us when we do it, where does it begin? I mean how do you learn how to do good not sort of like for a week or two or three and we make little lists and we try and be good little two shoes and I'll do this and I'll do this and I'll do this.

Two weeks from now that won't last. How is it I have this picture of you know when you go to the doctor and you get your yearly physical and then you sit on the little table and they've done all the tests and you're in the funky little gown and always holding the back and then he comes and he has the little tomahawk you know that little square thing and he says dangle your leg over like this. Remember this? And what's he do? He takes it and I always tighten up and he goes would you please relax your leg?

Okay I'm sorry doc. And then he goes right? He just hits you and what he's doing is he's checking out your reflexes. You don't respond, you don't think about moving your leg but your body operates in a certain way so that when something happens the reflex is that response. And what we're talking about is walking with God and being united with Christ and allowing the Spirit of God to so flow through your life that when a need comes up and when you see certain things at home or at work or in that third place you reflexively respond by doing good because the living Christ is living through you.

That's what we're talking about. This isn't about just trying to do a few good deeds or trying to feel better about yourself or trying to make people think that you're a nice person. This is about doing good that flows out of God living inside of you. And so open your notes and let's ask and answer the question in our time together. Where does it all begin?

Where do you start to have that kind of a life? I'm going to suggest that doing good begins by recognizing who defines what is good. I mean the word good has gotten really over the centuries and even in our day some people think this means good and other people think this means good.

And so the question is by what authority or by what standard or for what purpose. I mean who gets to say this is good and this is bad. This is good and this is evil. This is acceptable.

This is kind and this is not. The Apostle Paul wants this group of Christians on this island that has moral laxity and immorality and brutish harshness and they're stingy and the little churches have been planted and he's writing this letter to a young pastor. And so listen to the first four verses of Titus chapter one and Paul listen for the words like where's the authority come from?

What's the standard? Who says so? Paul a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Why? For the faith of God's elect or chosen and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness. It's a faith and a knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life which God who does not lie promised before the beginning of time. And his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching Paul says entrusted to me by the commanded of God our savior. And then he says well who's the letter to? To Titus this young pastor my true son in our common faith. And then he opens it with grace and peace from God the father and Jesus Christ our savior.

By what authority? It's from God. He says I'm an apostle from God. I'm a servant of God. I have taken the revelation from God entrusted to me and he commanded it so God defines by revelation what is good.

The standard notice the words were faith, faith, faith knowledge was used. He says truth. There's certain things that are true.

There's certain things that aren't true. So God defines what is true and for what purpose. Godliness. Moral goodness.

That which helps people that which restores that which heals. Now for many of us we have grown up with a pretty significant history of the Judeo Christian ethic of what's good and what's not. But the world was not always like this. For example in Rome at the time mercy was not a virtue. Humility was not a virtue.

That these were introduced by Christ. I mean when you were ruthless and powerful and gave no mercy that was viewed as good. Women were viewed as a piece of property to be used in any way. There was no sense of being good to a woman in the time that this was written.

There was no sense of respect for a woman. In fact we'll find when he talks about being good as a leader, as a person. One of the early things is how you treat women and how you treat your children.

Power, brute, force, intimidation. When this is written that's what's good. And so Paul is saying I've got a whole new definition of good in Titus. These people have come to Christ. I want them to understand this is what God says is good and I want them to know that I wrote this to you and you have my authority so lay it out for them. It was prophesied by Isaiah that one day in our world that which was good would be called evil and things that are evil would actually be called good. And that was true at this time and I don't know about you but I think I can think of a handful of examples today can't you?

Aren't there some things that you just scratch your head and you think are you kidding me? So first and foremost where does doing good begin? It begins let's define God defines what good is. Second when you want to bring about transformation, when you want to do good, doing good in any organization always begins with the leadership. Whether it's the leadership in a home, leadership with a bunch of housemates, leadership in a small group, leadership in a company, leadership in a church, leadership in a multinational corporation, leadership on a NFL team. If you want to bring about change you always start with the leadership. And so what the Apostle Paul does in verses 5 through the end of this chapter he's going to say this is what good leadership looks like and this is what bad leadership looks like and as I read it what I want you to see is how few skills and gifts and techniques are mentioned. Because often when we talk about leadership you know a person can do this and they're gifted at that and they can vision cast and they can problem solve.

But the Apostle Paul focuses first and foremost on character. Follow along as I read. He says the reason I left you in Crete speaking to Titus was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders. The word just means a shepherd or overseers in the church in every town as I directed you.

And then he gives a definition. An elder must be blameless. We'll learn it means above reproach, have a good reputation and then he's now going to describe so what's it mean for a leader in the church to be blameless. Well it's the husband of but one wife. A man whose children believe they're not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

Why? Because an overseer, different word for the same thing, an overseer, a shepherd, elder, overseer or episcopost is someone who looks in and cares for people and understands what's going on. He says so an elder overseers entrusted with God's work. So he needs to be blameless.

Since an overseer is to be blameless, here's some of the characteristics of a blameless or person above reproach. It's not overbearing. It's not quick tempered.

Not given to much wine. Not violent and not pursuing unjust gain. Those are all the negative things that they're not.

Notice the positive. But he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who's self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message that's been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. And now he says, you know, you not only have to define what a good leader is, you got to recognize what bad leaders are and deal with it. He goes on to say, verse 10, for there are many religious people, mere talkers, deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group, they must be silenced.

Why? Because they're ruining whole households by their teaching, things that they ought not to teach. And that, for the sake of dishonest gain, they're actually preaching religious messages for money.

Imagine that. Even one of their prophets has said, Cretans are always liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons, and this testimony is true. This was just kind of a bad place. And so he says, therefore rebuke them sharply so that they will be sound in the truth and will pay no attention to Jewish myths and command those who reject this truth, because to the pure, all things are pure. But those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. In fact, both their mind and their conscience are corrupted.

And then the acid test, they claim to know God, but by their deeds, their actions, they deny him, being detestable, worthless, unfit for anything good. And so when we think about leadership, and I know we're going to talk about the church, but I want you to think about who would see you as a leader. Where does someone see you as someone of influence? Maybe it's someone in your housemates, or maybe you're a parent and kids would see you as a leader, or maybe it's in the church, or maybe it's in a small group, or maybe you're a supervisor of a team at work, or maybe you're a manager, maybe you're a CEO, maybe you're the owner of the company. But who would see you as a leader? And then for those of you who lead, let me give you three very specific suggestions.

They're to the church, but these are critical for all of us. Number one, appoint good leaders. Appoint good leaders. And notice by good, I mean people with character.

We fall in love with talent and we fall in love with gift and we give those kind of people a pass. So appoint good leaders. Second, remove bad leaders.

And this is hard, especially if they're gifted. Especially in a business where they're making you a lot of money. But short-term putting up with bad character in places, there's always long-term ruin. And then the final admonition here is refuse to compromise.

Refuse to compromise. Those of you that are in positions of putting people in places. I had a very good friend, and this is, you know, a decade or so ago, and without mentioning it on any names, I can tell you it was a multi, multi-billion dollar company. He was in the upper, upper, upper level of management. Only above him were the board and maybe one other person. It was tens of thousands of employees.

He'd been on a journey, had become a very committed follower of Christ and he wanted to be a Christian no matter the cost that lived like a Christian. Apparently some of the very, very top executives after some business meetings that were off site spent a weekend doing some things in their policy manual. It was absolute immediate termination for that kind of behavior. It came to his attention. He was morally responsible and so he executed that and told those people that they were terminated.

Some of the most gifted, most powerful, important people in this multi, multi-billion dollar company. And then he was called in by powers above him and there were very few, and they said, you can't do that. He goes, what do you mean I can't do that? He said, well, you can't do that.

Do you realize, I mean, that team, those people, I mean, the giftedness, the strength, the knowledge, the, you understand how many billions of dollars that team is created to make? You can't fire them. He said, we have in our policy manual, this isn't gray. This is blatant. This is black and white. And he was overruled. And he chose to make a very positive transition. He let those above him know that I can't work in an organization because if this was anyone else in our company, they'd be terminated immediately.

And it's only because of their giftedness and their talent that you're changing the rules. I can't work in a company like that. I resign.

He refused to compromise. Very, very interesting that the decline of that organization over the next eight to 10 years and the interesting how God orchestrates things that, you know, you need to be vested when you leave a company and all those certain things. And you know how the market things go up and down and up and down.

And he just felt like an integrity if that's the way they were going to operate. Once he left, he sold all of his stock, which was a lot. And it happened to be sold at the peak.

And a few months later, the peak went to the pit. And see, I think God wanted to say to him and wanted to remind us, you know, you can bank on gift and on talent and you can fudge or you can make sure you have good people in responsible situations and you can be bold and courageous and remove bad people in the right way and the right attitude. And then you refuse to compromise.

And there will be some short term pain, but it produces great long term gain. So if you want to do good, where does it really begin? It begins with realizing God defines what's good, not the culture, not the culture of Crete, not the culture of Greece, not the culture of Rome and not the culture of 21st century America or Hollywood or Washington, D.C. or the Silicon Valley. God defines what is good and what is bad.

Second is it starts with leaders. Whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, I often don't like it. You are the greatest Christian someone's ever going to meet in their whole life. It's scary, isn't it?

I mean, there are three or four layers away and you don't even know it. And, you know, there are four cubicles down or they're on the job site and they've heard about you and they know you're a Christian and you're the greatest Christian. So you're a leader. And so what I want to now talk about is how do we develop the kind of heart, the kind of relationship and the kind of character so that when difficulty comes, so when opportunity comes, when a need comes, our reflex response flows out of who we are, not just actions that we take. Point number three, doing good personally begins with who you are, not what you do. It begins with who you are, not what you do. When seeking to do good does not flow from who you are, the results are disastrous. When there's something, it's like an old car with rust and you can take it into a body shop and they can spray nice paint and what you know, in four or five months, all the rust is going to come through.

But it looks pretty on the outside, but it's not. And now what he's going to do is he's going to talk about leadership in the church, who you need to be. And I'm going to walk through it because this is very clearly addressed to elders or church leadership, elders and pastors. But I want you to listen and realize the very qualities and character that's going to be developed is basically what it looks like when Christ is living his life through ordinary regular people like you and me.

Just the standards are going to be absolutely clear. You have to come to this level of maturity to lead God's church. And what I want to tell you is I have a good, good friend who worked in a very, very, very large church.

I think it was the largest in America at the time. And he ended up working with pastors and leaders all across America and around the world. And he began to see that although we have the greatest opportunity ever in all of history with technology and resources to help people really communicate, not just the words, but the life of Christ, is that we have a crisis. And he did research and he now spends his life helping leaders live out their calling with a healthy soul. He says the epidemic of leadership struggles comes at a time of amazing opportunity for the church.

The potential to reach and fulfill the great commission is unprecedented in our day. However, the church will never be able to leverage this amazing moment of opportunity without strong leadership. Today's troubling statistics on pastors paint a bleak picture.

And my premise is this. This is not, boy, I'm a pastor. I'm not down on the church.

But here's what I know. Sick shepherds produce anemic sheep. Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry permanently every month in America. Eighty percent of pastors and 85 percent of their wives feel discouraged in their roles. Fifty percent of pastors' wives feel their husbands entering the ministry was the worst and most destructive thing that ever happened to their families in marriage. Thirty percent of pastors say they either have been in or are in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner. Seventy-one of pastors stated they were burned out.

They battled depression and fatigue weekly, if not daily. And only one out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister. That's not happy news. The pastor's greatest leadership tool is not techniques, not speaking ability, not being a great CEO. It is leading from a healthy soul.

You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Where It All Begins. He'll be right back with his application for this teaching from his series, Doing Good, What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians. The Bible teaches that we're saved by God's grace and our faith in Him. So where does that leave doing good works? I mean, why does it matter how we interact with one another? Through Chip's teaching in the book of Titus, we'll learn how our decision to do good for another person is more than just a simple gesture. It's an opportunity to impact their life. Don't miss the easy ways you can practice doing good every day and how we can dramatically change our world for the better.

Now, if you missed any part of this series, the Chip Ingram app is a great way to catch up anytime. I'll be right back in just a minute to wrap up with some specific application to today's message. But as I think of what we've been teaching about, one of the things I'm seeing and hearing from God's people is I feel overwhelmed and confused. The world is so complex right now.

The division is so deep in so many areas. As I watch the news and see what's happening, I just wonder, what can I do? And what I want you to know is that this has happened before. It happened in the first century, and God gave us a very clear command that has the promise to make a difference. He says we're to love God with all of our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength. And sometimes we forget and love our neighbor as ourselves. The way you love your neighbor is by acts of kindness. It's by doing good. If you would like to get unparalleled by all that's happening around you, let me encourage you to get two, three, or five people or some people in a living room together and study this series Doing Good. Take action. Get on the offense. Realize God will empower you.

Love never fails. If you keep taking in media and hearing how bad everything is, you will get deeply, deeply discouraged. You are the light of the world. You're the salt of the earth, but you need the encouragement of others, and then let's start doing good. Thanks, Chip.

Well, let me encourage you to get plugged in to the small group resources for this series. Join Chip as he impacts why being others-centered is important to God and has the power to turn our world upside down. Learn more about the small group resources for Doing Good by going to LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or LivingOnTheEdge.org.

App listeners, tap special offers. Well, here again is Chip. As we close today's program, maybe some of you thought to yourself, okay, you asked that question, how can we learn to habitually do good? In the teaching, we said, well, one, you have to define what is good, and God defines that. Then we talked a little bit about leaders.

Maybe you thought to yourself, oh, this is interesting. I hope the people that lead our church or my boss at work, I wish he could hear that. The fact of the matter is that leadership is fundamentally influenced, and so we're all leaders. Moms are leaders.

Dads are leaders. If you're on a team of any kind, people look to you. Anybody who knows that you're a Christian, you're a leader to your neighbors.

Here's what I want you to understand. We don't think of ourselves this way, but you are the object of people's observations, whether you like it or whether you don't. You're doing of good, and I don't mean in some artificial way, but proactively asking God, what would it look like for me to be kind? What would it look like for me to be caring? How can I drive in a way that demonstrates the love of Christ?

Some of you are laughing when I say that, but there's a lot of Christians that, you know what, the sticker on the back of your car says one thing, and how you drive says something really, really different. It's the same sort of, how do I deal with my anger in meetings? Here's what I want you to get. You are a leader.

I'd like your application today. Just sit quietly for maybe 30, 45 seconds, and just say, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, if there's any way that I am acting in ways that are influencing others in a way that is not good and I'm not aware of it, would you just bring that to my mind right now? It won't be a shaming. It won't be you're a bad person.

He'll maybe point something out, and then here's the deal. Just take some small step to be kind, to do good. Just do it to one person today and see what it does in them and see what it does for you. That's a great idea, Chip.

Thanks. As we wrap up, let me quickly tell you about a great way to listen to our extended teaching podcast. Hear Chip anytime on your Echo or Echo Dot. To get started, ask Alexa to enable the Chip Ingram podcast. Then just say, Alexa, play the Chip Ingram podcast. It's that easy. We'll join us again next time as Chip continues his series, Doing Good. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-11 11:52:03 / 2023-04-11 12:03:17 / 11

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