Where there is no risk, there is no faith. Wisdom tells us that life without risk is not an option for a great Christian, but there's a problem.
I'm afraid to take risk, and so are you. Today we're going to learn three keys to overcoming the fear that we all share, so stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Drewy, and Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. In this program, we're continuing Chip's popular series, Good to Great in God's Eyes.
We hope you've learned a lot from Chip's teaching, and if you have, would you take a minute after the message and share it with a friend, either through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s at livingontheedge.org. Okay, here now is Chip with part two of his message, Take Great Risks, from Hebrews chapter 11. Well, what exactly is faith if it's that important?
Verse one of chapter 11. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Faith is operating on the reality is I'm certain, and when I hope for this, the word hope in Scripture isn't like how we use it.
You know, I hope it's going to be a sunny day, and I hope the stock market goes up, and no, no, that's wishful thinking. Hope is there is something out in the future that is a guaranteed thing that will happen for sure, and I'm going to live in my present temporal reality in light of that hope that is sure. So faith is being sure or certain of what's hoped for, and it's a certainty of what you cannot see. And then notice this is what the ancients were commended for.
It wasn't they made all the sacrifices on time in all the right ways. It was their faith. He says, by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
So even a cursory reading of this, it gets very obvious. Number one, the righteous person is going to live by faith. People who are unwilling to take a radical step of faith slash risk do not please God as they shrink back. And then he goes on to say, what is faith? Faith is living with this reality of the invisible. God's promise is certain to us. In the past, that is exactly what God commended. And by the way, first example, because what's the object of your faith? I mean, who are you going to believe in?
Then he says, by faith what? We understand that the universe, I mean, just so you get it down, the universe was formed. There was this infinite eternal being before time, self-existent, who spoke words and as he spoke and he didn't expend one tiny little aspect of energy in doing it, he spoke and two billion galaxies came into existence. And then we have this one little thing called the Milky Way with two billion stars in it. And then inside of it this tiny little solar system called ours. And then inside of that this little thing called a planet called Earth. And on it this tiny little dot called you. And you in this whole thing of all eternity is that little dot called you has something so microscopic called time.
And you live in that and you are just a breath of vapor. And God created all of that and he says, that's who I want you to believe in. The God who speaks and the universe comes into existence is the God who says I'm with you always. The God who says confront the issue in you marriage.
You can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. The God who says to you, I want you freed from your greed and your security. Give liberally.
The tithe, great start. I want you to give liberally. I want you to believe in me. I can supply all your needs according to my riches and glory by Christ Jesus. I want you to face the addiction. I want you to understand that you know something? No temptation has taken you but such is common to man.
But with the temptation I will provide a way to escape that you, you can be delivered. So they say this is the key, this is the kind of God. And you might be saying to yourself, well Chip why did you call this refocus your fear?
Here's my theory on this. Is I think we're always going to be afraid. I just have decided I think I'd rather be afraid of God than afraid of people. Great risk takers fear the loss of God's favor more than loss of people or things. And the reason I don't take risk and the reason many of you don't take risk is you're afraid of losing people and you're afraid of losing things and you're afraid of losing security.
But you know what? I can keep my wife happy when God wants me to do something or I can keep conflict at a minimum in the home if I don't do something or I can you know make myself feel like I'm secure when God has tapped me on the shoulder when he wants me to let loose of something because of what other people would think. And if I please them I don't please God. Or I can fear God. Sort of a novel concept in our day but it's pretty biblical. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom is how to do life God's way. It's a skill. That's what it means.
The Hebrew word for wisdom it's how to do, how to understand how God has put life together and how to cooperate and do priorities and relationships and money everything is what wisdom in a life that honors him. I remember reading an article I'm reading a book by the leadership secrets of Billy Graham and I came across a section of it that really struck me and you know you got to go back to the 1950s and remember what was happening racially in this country the beginning of the civil rights movement and as Billy's ministry was really beginning to grow and you know they had the big LA movement that occurred and so in northern places and in California he was speaking to mixed audiences of whites and blacks and then when he went into the south it was segregated audiences and the reporters were asking Billy well you know why are you doing this and key people around Billy I mean I'm sure good-hearted people lots changed in the last 50 or 60 years said Billy you know in the south you've got to speak to the blacks and you got to speak to the whites you can't have them mixed together because you'll lose your base you know and the people that are financing your ministry and and your reputation and and you you know don't go there don't get involved in all of this and pick up the story and it's really good at first at first Graham tried to carve a middle ground that opposed both forced integration as well as forced segregation but over time it became such a hot issue that Graham could no longer find any middle ground and they asked him reporters over and over why he would never address racism in his messages in the south. Billy chose to make a stand in the heart of the segregated south. He initially agreed to segregate the audience during his 1952 campaign in Jackson, Mississippi but rejected Governor Hugh White's suggestion to conduct separate meetings for blacks. All the blacks or African-Americans were on one side all the whites were on the other side and you had a rope down the middle. Very interesting you talk about a radical step of faith but rejecting Governor Hugh White's suggestion for he says meanwhile Billy prepared to make a much bolder statement holding segregated events that always struck him as wrong but he'd never chosen to take a decisive action until now walking toward the ropes that separated blacks and whites Billy tore them down mystified and uncomfortable ushers tried to put the ropes back up Billy personally stopped them. This symbolic powerful gesture marked a major ministry watershed. He never again led a crusade with the segregated audience Graham then got up and said there is no scriptural basis for segregation it may be there in places there may be places where it's desirable for both races but certainly not in the church Graham told his Mississippi audience the ground at the cross is level and it touches my heart when I see white standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross and you know what an awful lot of what we experience now and we still have a long way to go is because Graham took a radical step of faith and he and Martin Luther King Jr. faced some issues that they got incredible flack for with huge risk and so you say well so why does God use some people more than others because at critical windows in Graham's ministry and in his life God said I want you to take a radical step of faith and the moment he went and pulled down those ropes he knew his whole ministry could fall apart his financial base could be gone so he either is going to fear God or he's going to fear man question who do you fear who do you fear and what makes you so afraid of what they think and what makes you think that doing things God's way instead of what you think might happen if you don't do it his way will make such a difference second thing we need to do is rejuvenate our faith and the writer of Hebrews goes on and let me read verses four five and six and just make a point of each it goes on now and develops this by faith Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain did by faith he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offering and by faith he still speaks even though he's dead moving on then you get so you get this first story about faith it's Abel and he talked about an offering and then verse five by faith Enoch was taken from this life so he didn't experience death he couldn't be found because God had taken him away for before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God so these first two examples about radical steps of faith are kind of interesting one guy comes and gives an offering and another guy has this relationship with God where God says I don't want you to die I think I'll take you right now and then the third one it says and without faith it's impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him I just want to make a couple brief observations first is if you want to rejuvenate your faith start with the little things start with the little things it's not this big thing over here and you know what the little thing isn't it interesting why would God inspired by the Holy Spirit when he talks about faith the very first opportunity to talk about it he talks about finances he talks about finances the one of the quickest easiest ways to rejuvenate your faith is what you find is Jesus was real clear wasn't he you can either worship mammon money materialism security or me option a option b no middle ground right you are all looking at me like you've never heard that verse before okay Matthew 6 you can read it for yourself I'm not making this stuff up okay and then in Luke 16 we have this very interesting parable that Jesus tells about money and then in verse 10 of Luke 16 he says he was faithful in a very little thing speaking of finances or money will be faithful also and much but he was unfaithful in a little thing money will be unrighteous also much translation if you can't trust me with your money I mean in the spiritual game of life you're not out of the batter's box you're barely on the on deck circle I mean you're not on first base rounding second rounding third I mean you may be a believer you may love God you may go to church regularly you may lift your hands when you worship you may have ooey-gooey feelings about God but if his if you don't if he doesn't have your treasure he didn't have your heart if you want to rejuvenate your faith God deserves the first and the best and I mean minimum is the tithe I mean the first 10% it's all 100% belongs to him the first 10% you give regularly just to remind you that 100% belongs to him and then the 90% you hold morally accountable for and then you ask God he says if he gives you a lot like if you're an American or an executive or have a good life well then I expect you to proportionally give over and above that over time and test me and see how powerful I am I mean I did speak and the universe came into existence like I can't take care of you financially the average evangelical believer in America gives 2.5% of their income and they're just standing before God screaming I think you created the universe I love you Jesus I think you can forgive my sin I think you're taking me to heaven I want you to provide for all my family but I'll tell you what I don't think you're big enough to handle my money oh sorry I mean your money entrusted to me I don't believe you I just don't believe you and God says okay I accept that then I will remove my blessing and you work out your life with your resources this whole point was I don't need your money my whole point of giving was I wanted to cultivate your faith and the quickest easiest most clear way to see God work in supernatural ways is when you give wondering where it's going to come from and you watch him supply a lot of Christians have never experienced that so if you want to rejuvenate your faith start with your finances the second way to rejuvenate your faith is by pondering big things you know you need to start with little things but ponder big things and this is one of those stories I really wish I could spend more time you know Enoch is such a cool story I mean there's very little information but is a very cool story and I ask myself I don't know when you do Bible study or when I'm reading scripture when I come across something that I think that's odd and then I go to that's weird to I wonder why that's here to I have no idea I don't understand this is this how you read the Bible as well I hope you know and I'm thinking I mean there's a lot of examples and here he's giving this is the hall of fame of faith this is about how to really walk with God and he starts with able money and then he goes to Enoch and he pleased God and I'm thinking I mean you mean Lord I don't tell you how to you know write your book but I think I could come up with a lot better ones than Enoch and then you go back into Genesis and you say well what was it about Enoch and he's just in one of those genealogies right you know so so and so begets so and so the begets so and so the begets so and so and he lived so 100 years and something you know you know and you skip through that rather quickly and then you hit Enoch and then it says and Enoch had a son and after that Enoch walked with God and then the last and then we learn and he so pleased God after that God took him and I now and then you get it see something Enoch was doing life Enoch had a lot of emails to return Enoch had a lot of voicemails Enoch had a lot of pressure Enoch had to make a living Enoch had to prove himself Enoch was a blowing and going I mean you lived a long time there you had time to make a lot happen and then he had a son and he saw life and he saw birth and he realized life's about relationships and you know what then they stick you in the box everything you earned everything you gained a hundred years from now no one knows your name the only thing you ever ever leave is the people you touch and the people you love and apparently Enoch pondered big things Enoch had this experience where because of the birth of his son he realized what really mattered and I wonder how many people if the Lord doesn't return and the clock ticks 20 years ahead will be sitting alone because you're so busy with stuff that relationships really haven't had the priority in your own home and with your children with your grandchildren with friends see if you want to rejuvenate your faith you first start and say well okay God you know what let me get my wallet out here and look at my finances and my security and I'm going to take a radical step and second then God I want to ponder what matters why do I get up when I get up why do I go where I go why what is the to-do list on this to-do list what really matters in my life and I think I better invest in the things that can last forever and then the third is not just the little things or pondering the big things it's remembering the main thing the main thing is pleasing God without faith it's impossible to please God I think we think unconsciously and it's sort of in the air and the culture we think if I can get my morals straight get my family in line if I'm single thing finally get married and I can find the right person and you know they say if I fill out all those forms someday some way I can find that right person and then if I can get my I'll go on even a missions trip God that what do you think about that and I'll get all these things right and then I'm going to get my life to work so I'm fulfilled and happy and everything is pictured just like in my mind and I'll stop doing these things and I'll start doing these things I'm sorry and I can't keep all the rules but you got to understand some and we just think somehow the goal of life is that our life works out wonderfully wrong the goal of life is to please God and you can read your Bible and you can go to church and you can be involved in ministries and you can volunteer at the hospital with no risk am I saying those things are wrong absolutely not what I'm saying is just what the Bible says here without faith it's impossible to please God and where there is no risk there is no faith there may be religious activity maybe a nice moral person maybe doing some good things I got news for you there are cults all over America that are really nice people that make great commercials that emphasize the family they're not pleasing God because faith is what pleases God and to please God you must believe that he is and that his reward are those who seek him the summary here is great risk takers see faith as a verb and not as a noun you know we think of it you know I faith I have faith I believe but when you read this passage what you realize it's a verb do you have the kind of faith Abel gives Noah builds Abraham leaves Daniel prays Isaac submits Sarah waits faith is an action faith is God you said this there's the chasm I'm afraid I'm going to take the step it's an action to put into practice what your word says based on your character you want to be a great risk taker you got to refocus your fear and get more afraid of God than you are of people and things and then you have to rejuvenate your faith by saying okay here's my money that'll get it started I want to think on the things that are really big relationships and then God I want to please you I don't know if my life's gonna work out all perfect and nice and wonderful I mean that's what they say in American Christianity is the goal but you know I read the end of the Hebrews chapter 11 and there's some people that you said so pleased you that the world wasn't even worthy of them but you know what they didn't receive what was promised their life didn't work out wonderful they didn't see the city some were sawed in two some were hiding in caves some lived lives of intense suffering and they brought you holy pleasure because they were great risk takers and for all eternity and ever and ever and ever and ever the God who spoke the world into existence will be honored by them and they will experience you and experienced you and glorified your name in ways than that group of people that were trying to use you to get you to be their self-help genie to make their life work out the final thing is that we need to refocus our fear and then rejuvenate our faith but we need to recall God's faithfulness I don't have time to go through this but verses 7 through 40 the rest of the chapter I mean this this is this is for you and a great cup of you know sweet tea diet coke coffee or water with lemon I mean I don't know what your drink of choice is where you put up your feet and just read real slow verses 7 through 40 of Hebrews chapter 11 and you recall God's faithfulness you ever wonder why that chapter so long what's he really doing well Noah saves the human race Abraham it's scary but he gets his own nation Sarah 90 years old gets a child not bad for 90 year old woman you know why because she went from laughter to believing Moses delivers God's people Daniel's delivered from the lion's den Jericho the walls fall down Rahab goes from prostitute to hero David becomes a king but it doesn't stop at the end of Hebrews 11 church history and your life and my life the goal is the names just keep getting added and God brings little windows of opportunity to you and to me with our money our families our ministry our security our jobs and he says this is what it looks like to trust me would you take a radical step of faith would you risk and the only way to risk in the future is by recalling his faithfulness now I don't know about you but my life I got a lot of demands in my life and I'm I get afraid and so other than reading God's Word every day you know I read God's Word every day I get up in the morning and I read it first I need to remember that he's been faithful to all these people and he promises to be faithful to me because left to myself I forget that and then the second thing I do is I take all those crazy fears that I have nearly every morning and I list them and think oh I don't know about this and I don't know about this and I don't know about this and literally I just write down numbers and then after I write down these in my journal then I say Lord I can't handle this I want to give these to you show me what the step looks like what what does it look like to trust God what a great question to ask God every day what does it look like to trust you today in this meeting with this decision with this person in this video in whatever you want me to do and often when God wants to do something broader through you he will take you after your radical step of faith to a deeper time with him and suffering creates dependency and pain brings an aspect of a purity and a purifying of your motives that nothing else can do and then what's he promised he rewards those who diligently seek him and you know what guys I think a lot of men especially especially men who really love God and want to serve their wives and families I think a little thing happens over time where we get wanting to please our wives and please our family more than God and I think every now and then God will tap you on the shoulder and I think you'll say you know what could we could we re-establish who the real Lord of your life is and you know every decision I've ever made we've been in agreement and God made it very clear I was to do this and my wife didn't she said I don't have any verses not to go I don't have any reasons not to go I just don't want to go okay if you I will trust you if you believe it's God but we're always together on this just know I don't want to go well I've lived with her for a while okay her not wanting to go this is not going to be like we decide to go and everything's going to be okay we're going to work through this for a while and I'll never forget it was one of those do you fear God or do you fear man but God's reward God's grace God's love for you never is realized until you take the radical step of faith and the radical step of faith means you will be afraid and there's risk and so here's my question what does that look like in your life your next step what would it look like for you to take a radical step of faith is there something or someone God wants you to leave or break off aligning with scripture is there something or someone you need to return to and make right is there something or someone that you need to confront another person or in yourself and is there something or someone that you need to step up and fight for and not worry what people think are the implications God is looking for great Christians great Christians take great risks Chip will be right back with his application for this message take great risks from his series good to great in God's eyes now you may be thinking isn't wanting to be great a bad thing in this 10-part series Chip assures us that our ambition to be the best Christian we can be isn't a prideful thing at all in fact it comes from God himself stay with us as we better understand the specific practices that will help mature our faith and delight the heart of God now if you missed any part of this series the chip and gram app is a great way to catch up anytime well chips back with me in studio now and chip here at Living on the Edge we believe one of the best opportunities for us to grow spiritually is through small groups which is why we have a number of resources people can check out and as people do that which studies do you recommend well Dave we all have special times in our life where there's either crisis or we know we need to improve our parenting or marriage or there's some emotional issues and as people go through there's plenty of small group resources like that but what I think is missing is what historically has been called a catechism a catechism is a well-ordered process of truth by which you go through it systematically and intentionally in order to become more and more like Jesus and to fulfill more and more what Jesus has called us to do and so if you follow Jesus life his actual chronological life then the first thing is he defined what a disciple is and so the very first study I encourage people to do is true spirituality becoming a Romans 12 Christian it'll let him know this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus the second thing Jesus did is he took them through various experiences to reveal who God was like what is God really like and so our second study it's called the real God and in that we studied the attributes of God and how to get them from your head into your heart the third thing that Jesus did is he helped them understand how does life change really occur how do you put it into practice we have a study from Ephesians chapter 4 called transformed the miracle of life change and then the fourth one I'll give you because I don't want to lay it all out is that when you take these kind of steps all hell breaks loose I don't mean that as a cuss word what I mean is it's challenging it's difficult there's spiritual warfare and that's our study from Ephesians chapter 6 it's called the invisible war what every believer needs to know about Satan demons and spiritual warfare so let me encourage you unless there's a critical need a high felt need consider studying in order the catechism the way Jesus taught his disciples thanks chip well to learn more about the studies chip mentioned or any of our other small group resources go to Living on the Edge org or call us at triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 and let me tell you these materials are so easy to use chip provides the teaching then you'll have time to discuss what you've heard with our helpful study guides so if you're not in a small group yet or you aren't sure what to study next let me encourage you to check us out and for a limited time all of our small group resources are discounted again visit Living on the Edge org or call triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 app listeners tap special offers chip in today's message you stress that faith doesn't always have to be this big dramatic deal but instead it's seen more in the everyday or the ordinary could you explain what you meant by that absolutely Dave I think sometimes we make faith is very mystical thing all the time and it only revolves around these huge big decisions about relocating or should I get married or should I have a baby or should we launch this ministry or you know I feel prompted by faith to begin to give sacrificially of my money but you know will God provide for me and I think all those things are legit but when you really study trusting God we're like little children he's teaching us how to walk and it's like a muscle that has to be developed and with each step and repetition and each rep if you will it gets stronger you know there's some of us that need to have some faith to realize you know we just can't passively talk to one another about quote all the stuff happening in the culture you need to step up and winsomely take the slingshot of God's word and truth in your life and make a difference but faith looks different at different times it's not always about stepping out in fact you know sometimes it means returning you know like Moses I mean faith was going back and for some people you got to go back and address some hard issues for others it's leaving I mean it's this isn't the right relationship this isn't the right place this is I've got to step out and you're you know you're like Abraham faith gets birthed through God's word but it takes on action when you have a group of people that are standing behind you cheering you on and saying you know what this is what God says you can do it David was ready to cash it all in and Jonathan came and encouraged him in God and I will tell you you got to have a group of people you do life with because faith grows in the context of authentic community great reminder Chip as we wrap up this program just a quick but important thought Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians so would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge to set up a recurring donation go to Living on the Edge org or text the word donate to 741 41 it's so easy text the word donate to 741 41 or visit Living on the Edge org app listeners tap donate well I hope you'll join us next time until then this is Dave Drewey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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