If you're finding it very difficult to be a bold, loving, public Christian in the world that we're living in, I want you to know you're not alone. It is really hard to be the kind of follower of Jesus with the kind of challenges that it brings, the criticism that it brings, and just the downright pain that it can often bring.
How do you keep faithful to the Lord when you feel like giving up? That's today. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, Chip will pick up where he left off in his new series from 1 Timothy by sharing some challenging words for how we should respond to the unpredictable world around us. But before we get started, if you happen to miss a portion of this program, let me encourage you to catch up through the Chip Ingram app.
It's a great way to listen to Living on the Edge anytime. Here now is Chip with part two of his message, Step Up, from 1 Timothy chapter one. Verse 12, he says, I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me because he considered me faithful, putting me into his service, even though previously a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.
How's that for, I got some issues of my own, Timothy. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant with the, put a little box around it again, the faith and the love which are found in Christ Jesus. This is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, and you might underline this in your Bible, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Notice he goes, among whom I am foremost.
Did you get the tense of the verb? Did you hear what the apostle Paul said? He didn't say, among whom I was. He said, man, you don't understand. I killed a lot of people.
Yet for this reason I found mercy, purpose clause, so that in me as the foremost sinner, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in him for eternal life. He just said, you know what? Hey, Timothy, I know it's hard. I know there's a lot of pressure. I know I'm asking you to step up. I know you're a little timid. I know you're struggling, but here's what you got to understand.
Here's what's at risk. You can't let that stuff go on because this is why Jesus came, and these guys are trying to feed this garbage religion. Do this.
Don't do that. I actually grew up where the theology that I got out of my very social non-biblical church was, if it was any fun, God was against it. You were always just guilt. You're always messed up.
You never measured up. It's like, I don't need that because the people that were telling me they were doing the things they said I wasn't supposed to do. He's straightening him out. He says Jesus was a God of love and a God of grace. He didn't minimize things, but he came to rescue us.
Then notice he ends with a charge. Okay, Timothy, I remind you what you need to do. We address what the problem is. I've told you I love you and I'm for you. I've talked about where I've messed up in the past and what God's done for me. Now get this.
This is the fourth quarter timeout speech when you're down two and all the guys are looking at you like, Coach, I'm really tired. This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you that by them you fight the good fight. Well, how? Keeping, you might put a box around this again, faith and a good conscience. Then notice the bookends, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. What Paul's actually coaching Timothy to do is the very thing that God wants to coach us to do. I hope you have a general understanding of the chapter.
Then you'll notice each time I'm going to give you what I call coaching nuggets. What I want to do is I want to pull out what I think is the most important truth and then our response. The most important truth, i.e.
if you don't remember anything else, but the goal of our instruction, the reason you read the scriptures, the reason you go to a Bible study, the reason you have fellowship, the reason you go to a men's retreat, a women's retreat, the reason that you have a mentor, the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. It's not that you're religious. It's not that you're a little bit nicer than most people.
It's not so people think you're a nice person. The goal is that you love God and you love people and that's not a feeling. It's sacrificial, other-centered relationships where the life of Christ in you gets poured out to demonstrate his love for other people. Let me give you my definition for love. I'm sure I've stole it from multiple different places, but I'm claiming it as my own now. Love is giving another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost.
Roll that out and see if it works for the cross. Love, a choice, not a feeling, is giving another person what they need the most. Your wife might need acceptance. Your son might need forgiving. Your boss might need understanding when they deserve it the least.
After the way she's treating me, after what he went and did after I told him this is the third time, after my boss has ripped me off, love is giving another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost. And if you follow what you realize is you can't do that and I can't do that, but God by his Spirit working in you through his word in the community of God's people can supernaturally do that through you. That's what the Christian life's all about.
The second truth is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I don't know your background, I don't know if you're a masquer or a non-masquer, I don't know if you're a vacciner or a non-vacciner, a blue state or a red state, I don't know any of that stuff, but I'll tell you what, whoever they are in your mind, God loves them and he wants you to love them. We can disagree with people, we can even be passionate in how we see things, but we're called to love everyone. Our response is to fight the good fight.
Can we just start off saying it's really, really hard to be a follower of Jesus, it takes a real man. Fight the good fight, keep the faith in a good conscience. And then notice, some have suffered shipwreck.
Regards to their what? Their faith. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. You need to understand that you gotta be really careful who you listen to, what you allow into your mind. Some of the words we're gonna find is that they get shipwrecked, they drifted, they turned away. A lot of these aren't like someone woke up and said, you know, I've been really following Christ for the last seven years, the last 30 years, I think today I'll just blow it all off. It doesn't happen like that. It's incremental. Most of the men that I've sat in tears as they have lost their families, often lost their job, lost their reputation after a sexual addiction or an affair, some that I've worked with recently, then you get up one day and go, I think I'll just mess my whole life up. It's a harmless flirting.
Just a casual wonder what she's doing after 20 years in high school. It was just a little pop-up thing. Do you guys get these all the time? You know, even from foreign countries, you know, click on this text or something like that.
If you don't know who it is, delete. At every level, we're bombarded. So what I tried to do is basically say, okay, I did my best to study this passage and say, in the first century, this person called the Apostle Paul, with his dramatic conversion and his writing of 13 books of the New Testament, had a personal relationship with one guy named Timothy that he loved deeply, who he left in a very volatile situation in a metropolitan area in Ephesus, and he said, this is what you need to do. And then what I tried to do is say, okay, there's a map there. That what was true in the first century, what are the takeaways for us?
Where's the application? So Paul's coaching for us, first of all, the subject is false teachers and teaching. Is that fair enough in this chapter? The underlying issue is truth. I mean, the underlying issue is they've drifted, they're confident, they say this, they're saying that. The issue is truth according to the glorious gospel of our blessed God. That's the underlying issue. Here's the underlying question. Am I willing to defend the truth of God's word in a hostile environment? But that's what I'm asking me.
I put it in first person. Are you? Are you willing to defend the truth of God's word in a hostile environment? Truth about what's right, what's wrong. Truth about marriage. Truth about the value of life. Truth about false teaching. Truth inside and outside the church. Now, by the way, what we're gonna learn is the Apostle Paul's gonna say, you really have to stand for truth, but don't jump to maybe how you think you do it. He's gonna say, if the vice of truth doesn't have velvet bumpers around it, then you don't understand what you're doing.
But you know, it kind of presumes that in order to stand for truth, you'd know the truth and you'd believe the truth. In a cancel culture world, when you say one thing like, you don't even have to be mad. I just don't agree with you and you can get canceled.
What I'm watching a lot of Christians do is, here's how not to get canceled. You're in conversations at work. You're in conversations here in our day. You're in conversations in church and it kind of comes up. You're in conversations around the table.
We're gonna learn how to point things out. I don't want to be disagreeable. I certainly understand where you're coming from and you have every right to hold that position. Could I ask you a few questions about why you believe that? Because I'd love to share, if you give me the opportunity with your permission, why I don't think that's correct. Instead, what we're having is people just, you know what, I don't want one more argument.
I don't want people to cancel me. I don't want to be viewed as, are you willing? By the way, I'm not talking about out there. I'm talking about in your churches. There is a drift in the churches today like never before.
There is a drift in some, I mean, bellwether institutions and universities that have drifted from what's very, very obvious and very, very true. Not on minor things, on big things. And I wonder, am I willing to take a stand for the truth? Here's the action. Step up.
I mean, we all hear that, right? Every NFL season. Well coach, what are you going to do? You lost your quarterback last week and well, we're just going to have someone step up. Just got to step up.
I mean, we so understand that in sports. Do you understand, basically, if there were two words, you know what Paul was saying to Timothy? Step up, man. Yeah, I love you. I'm for you. I've been there, but at the end of the day, I command you in the presence of the living God who lives in unapproachable light, invisible, immortal. Fight the good fight. Keep the faith. Step up.
That's a word for me. If I had a really good day, I think I could get us in a frenzy. Who's going to step up? We will, we will. Who's going to step up?
We will. I get you. Okay, everybody go stand up, stand up, stand up. I could get you all pumped up and you'd leave out of here.
You know what? That doesn't mean you step up. It means we had a rally.
Anybody can have a rally. There's a world of difference between believing something, even believing something sincerely in convictions. You believe something until it's tested. And by the way, can I tell you, for all of us, you don't know what you believe. I mean, I know you think you know what you believe, but you don't know what you believe until it costs you something big and precious. And are you willing to stand on that belief if it means rejection or loss or alienation or even a job or money? The unspoken need is to develop, right, the word convictions.
I can't tell you over the years, I've pastored for, gosh, almost 40 years, and I've had all kinds of families. Do you believe in life at conception? Absolutely. And it's interesting how people's theology changes when their daughter who has a full ride gets pregnant and they urge their daughter to have an abortion so she doesn't lose her scholarship. And I could give you a dozen examples, and if all of us were honest, beginning with me, I really thought I believed certain things, and I found myself in sort of a situation where, wow, if I step up and out on this one, I think I'm going to be the only one in the room. I just kept my mouth shut. See, it's one thing to, okay, how many of us believe we should be generous?
There's a good one. Jesus is generous, right? Although he was rich, he became poor, that we, by his poverty, might become rich, right?
It's better to more bless it even. God's favor rests upon you, better to give than to receive. So how many believe that? Some of you are so smart, I ain't putting up my hand because I know where that next question's coming. So then my next question would be, well, how many of you off the top give the first portion of your income to God's work? And are looking for graduated ways to keep increasing that percentage, realizing it's all God's and you long to help other people? I was doing a series on generosity, so I took a clipboard, and I just hoped no one would ever recognize me from our church, and I just said, I have a survey, excuse me, and you know, people are walking away like this, but I had a clipboard.
I said, please, it's just one question, just yes or no. Would you consider yourself a generous person? I just, random people. 90% of everyone I surveyed said yes.
And so I asked all the people of our church. But what they didn't know is I knew over half of them don't give anything. Zero, nada. What they didn't know that only 2.7% of Bible-believing Christians even tithe.
There's not a conviction. But what the people that do have experienced this, how does it work that I give, and by the way, don't just think, if you think money is, generosity is just about money, money is the training wheels of generosity. You start with your money, then your time, then your reputation, then, I mean, and then the more generous you become, give, and it'll be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over back into your lap.
God does amazing things. But just, my point is convictions. So let me give you a head, heart, and hands to develop convictions. Number one, know the truth. John 17, 17, Jesus' last prayer.
Here's what he prayed. Father, set them apart or sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. So first of all, you've got to know the truth. The 2 Timothy passage talks about study to show yourself approved to handle God's word. Learning the scriptures. Secondly, living the truth. He would say to a group who had believed on him, living the truth, John 8, 31 and 32, to those Jews who had believed on him, he says, if you continue in my word, in other words, put into practice or abide in it, you'll know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Hebrews 3, 13, this is why we're here. But encourage one another day after day, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Left to myself, lest I hang out with other guys and have times to be honest and share, I just get thinking I'm doing way better than I am. And then I get, I find myself in the ditch. So you know the truth, you live the truth, and notice the first has to do with God's word, and the second, I think you've got to have a coach or a mentor. I think you need someone, who am I doing life with?
Who can I be honest with? And then finally, the hands, his share of the truth. Jesus didn't tell his group, well, you've been to this three year seminar, I'm checking out, I'll see you later.
Make sure you have all your green, yellow and purple notebooks in order when I get back. He said, I want you to go and make disciples of every people group, every ethnos. And as you go, and it's not like you don't need to go to China, you don't need to go to LA, you don't need to go to West Virginia, you don't need to go to Afghanistan, verbally, grammatically, it's as you go, verb, make followers. And the way you make them is you baptize them, you help them come to the point of this used to be identity as a sinner, and now Christ has come into my life, and now I have a new identity as a saint, and I'm gonna just physically be baptized to die to my old way of life because I've been resurrected with Christ and it's his power I live. And then it's not just this big event, but then I want you to teach them to actually live out and obey everything I taught you. And when that happens, man, it just gets so rich.
And is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it awesome? Absolutely yes. Chip will be right back with his application for this message Step Up from his series The Book of First Timothy, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. Our mission, as many of you know, is for Christians to really live like Christians.
But that's a lot easier said than done nowadays, right? Through this new series based in the Book of First Timothy, Chip highlights the vital warnings and pieces of advice Paul shared with Timothy that helped him navigate the hostile society he lived in. Don't miss how we can put this wisdom into practice in our everyday Christian lives. To get plugged in with this series, visit livingontheedge.org.
That's livingontheedge.org. Well, Chip's back with me in studio now with a quick question for all of you. Chip? Thanks so much, Dave. I want to ask you something really important. Would you choose to become a financial partner with us? Now, I'm not using that language to disguise the fact that I'm asking you to give or trying to be fancy or asking for money. But when you invest in this ministry, it's more accurately saying, yes, I will partner with you.
Yes, I'll go to work with you. Yes, I want to be on this mission with you. When you give, you become a part of all that we do, a part of the hundreds of thousands of people hearing God's Word, a part of discipling new Christians and encouraging persecuted Christians in China and the Middle East. It's a part of supplying teaching and training and resources to pastors right here in the US. So will you ask God what part He would give you in all of this?
And then just do whatever He shows you. If all of us do our part, however God leads, it'll be exactly what we need to fulfill exactly what God wants us to do. I want to thank you in advance for whatever God leads you to do, and thank you. Thanks so much for being a partner.
Thanks, Chip. Well, as you heard, God has called this ministry to help Christians really live like Christians, both here in the US and all around the world. So if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission, we'd love to have you join the team by becoming a monthly partner. Set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or via the Chip Ingram app, or you can now text the word donate to 74141. That's donate to 74141. Thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, with that, Chip, let's get to your application for this message.
Thanks so much, Dave. You know, today is a sobering message in many ways. It's a couple thousand years ago, but the real issue is, am I willing to defend the truth of God's word in a hostile environment? I mean, the truth of God's word right now in areas of morality is very unpopular. The truth of God's word about Jesus saying, I am the way, the truth and the life, like it's unique, very unpopular. The truth of God's word in terms of the value of life or family is very unpopular.
And you know what? It was just as unpopular and in fact more so because there was persecution where their lives were being taken to stand for Jesus. And what I want you to know is that listening to podcasts, listening to me or someone else teach, even going to church and watching online will not give you the strength or the convictions to take a stand for Jesus.
And when I say take a stand, this isn't a militant thing. I'm talking about lovingly, winsomely, living the life and doing it in a sensitive way, but not being afraid, being bold, being kind, being a Christian that people know you're a follower of Jesus. The issue is, are you developing convictions? And to do that, you have to know the truth. To do that, you have to live out the truth. And to do that, you have to share the truth. Can I just speak to you very directly and say, I know it's hard.
Don't buy the lie. Don't shrink back. Paul is saying to his son in the faith, step up. And what I want to tell you right now, step up. If it gets hard, step up.
If you get some pushback, step up. But step up with grace. Be winsome. Be loving. Be kind. But don't back down. Just before we close, would you pray for those who are responding to Chip's encouragement today?
There's always a spiritual battle when we feel prompted to draw near and obey God. Thanks for taking a minute to do that. And if there's a way we can pray for you, let us know. Just call 888-333-6003 or email chip at livingontheedge.org. We'd love to hear from you. Until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-30 21:15:43 / 2022-12-30 21:25:22 / 10