Have you ever been to a job interview where the person asks you, what are your weaknesses? Now some may avoid giving a direct answer or flip the question to brag a little bit by saying, well, yes, I do have a weakness. I work too hard and I care too much. Well, what I want you to know is that your weaknesses are important.
You need to know what they are because what we're going to learn today is that they can work for your advantage. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Thanks for joining us today as we're nearing the end of our newest series, The Book of First Timothy, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. For these last two programs, Chip focuses on the sixth and final lesson Paul shared with his protégé, Timothy. But before we begin, if you've been encouraged by this series, would you take a minute after this message and share it with a friend?
Now you can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Well, if you have a Bible, go to First Timothy chapter six, and let's join Chip for his message, Step Away. Last coaching tip, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul.
You ready? Tip number six, know your opponent well and your own weaknesses better. Know your opponent well, the world system, the enemy, and your own weaknesses better. Now, I can't end this time without telling one more basketball story. I mean, when I went away to play in college, I was 135 pounds and six feet tall. I was always undersized, and so I always observed and I learned. I learned from coaches, and I'd watch games on TV, and who were my heroes, and what did they do, and why, and how does John Stockton come off of a pick, and how does he do a pocket pass? I would study, study, study, study, because everyone was bigger, everyone was stronger, and everyone could jump higher.
Other than that, I was in good shape. And so I remember starting to learn this in high school, and we were playing, I can still, I mean, not many high school games I can remember, but this kid lit us up, and we were, I was in Columbus, Ohio area, and it was Delaware, and we were in this thing called the OCC Conference, and I mean, he would come down, and he had a crossover, and I mean, he would just, he just lit us up, bang, bang, bang, bang, and then I'd come out of the game, and I was sitting there, and I was figuring out, what do we gotta do? And what I found out, I started to watch him, and I watched every time he did a heel toe, heel toe, one, two, every time before he shot. I watched it, I watched it, I watched it, I mean, the kid, you know, this is in the old days, it wasn't a three pointer, this guy's got like 18 points, and we're like not even into the second half at all. And so, you know, okay, Chip, get back in there. I did like the coach says, I'm just watching his belly button, and the moment I saw heel, heel, heel, man, I just, I just got up into his grill like that. And it was amazing what happened. And many years later, we were playing, when I went to seminary, my goal in seminary the first day was to find anybody over 6'10 and recruit them to a team that we had, and then we played in this big Texas tournament, and we played against another guy who was, man, he was, in this tournament, he's gonna light everybody up, and we studied him.
And I just found that, you know what, he's kind of the Larry Bird. Did you ever figure out how in the world that guy would? It's not as quick as other people, knew where they were gonna be, got to the right spot at the right time at the right place.
See, he knew his opponent well. But I want to encourage you to know your weaknesses better. In seventh grade I broke this, eighth grade I broke this, ninth grade I broke this. I think either three or four years I broke something on the right side of my body. And being a gym rat, what you do is you take the cast and you play with one hand.
But because of all that, I never had quite the touch. So, you know, I shoot right-handed, and what I realized was I needed people to believe that I wanted to go right. But honestly, I was always better left. And then I had one leg that didn't work so well, so I needed to jump off of this leg instead of that leg, because I had a bunch of knee problems growing up with shots in them. And so I knew my own weaknesses, so I would always come down right-handed like this, and I'd watch these guys do this like they were taught, I'm gonna make him go left.
And see, if you know your own weaknesses well, you structure your life in ways where your weaknesses don't hurt you, but instead you can use your weaknesses to your own advantage. Let me jump into three very quick things that are very practical about your life, and then I want to go through the text. I remember the big deal at my large high school was to make the varsity anything as a sophomore, and I happened to in baseball. And so we did a trip. We lived in Columbus and went to Cincinnati. And seniors, and we're walking around Cincinnati, and all these guys want to go to this triple X theater.
And I'm a sophomore, and I mean, like I didn't really want to go. I wasn't a Christian, but I was moral, and I'm not gonna say anything, so I went. I saw images that stayed in my mind for the next eight years. I memorized scripture, there was times when I would pray, it was a bad movie. And I recognized that I was very visual. So I pre-decided, I know I've missed a couple good movies.
Because I just said, for me, I can't watch an R-rated movie. If I'm in a room with another woman, the door is open. If I ever counseled a woman, it was with my wife.
Now, am I saying that everyone needs to do exactly like that? What I knew was I had a weakness, so I was positioning myself for success. I had a weakness in money. And so before I was a Christian, I used to go to the track. Someone introduced me to sulky racing.
And I think the enemy works like this. I didn't know what a quinella was, and the very first time I put down something on a quinella, I put like $5 down. And this was back in the day when $5 actually bought something, and I had like got $132. And I thought, this is the way to make a living. So every Tuesday and Friday in the summer, I would go. And then it was like, if that's fun, you know, these guys, I'd flip quarters in the bathroom. And then Friday nights, I'd play cards with guys. I remember owing two football players about $250 back when.
That was a lot of money. And I remember, this is so embarrassing, in between classes, I would go into the restroom, and I would put my feet up on the toilet so they couldn't find me. Because they were not nice guys. And I thought, I was an arrogant mouthy. I mean, I deserved everything I got. And I was living in fear. And I recognized that for me, and I mean, I gambled two on two basketball. I gambled about everything all the time. It's sort of in my personality, that risk-taking, stupidity mix. And so I don't gamble at all. A diet Coke or lunch for a round of golf, that's my limit.
Because if there's not something on it, it's not, you know. So here's what I want you to get. Don't miss this. And I want it to be in kind of funny little stories, because where the apostle Paul is gonna take his son Timothy is, there is a couple things that'll take you down, dude. There's a couple things that have taken the very best of people down. And I want to warn you, you need to know your enemy well. But if you read this text very carefully, he's gonna say, Timothy, you need to know your own weaknesses better. And then you have to structure and protect your life so that those weaknesses don't come into play. Does that make sense?
Okay, then let's roll. We're in chapter six, the apostle Paul doing some life coaching. And he says, all those under the yoke of slavery are to regard their own masters as worthy of honor. See if you can start getting a theme, so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not disrespect them because they're brothers or sisters, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.
And then he's gonna make a hard turn. He says, you need to be wise in relationships, and I want you to step into them. And if you've got an unbelieving master, this is the way you do it. If you've got a believing master, this is the way you do it. Now, Timothy, teach and preach these principles, because at the end of the day, Paul's writing this thinking, if all else fails, the one thing I want him to do is stop the false teachers, because of all the things I've written in this book.
So now, notice what he says. Teach and preach these principles. If anyone advocates a different doctrine and doesn't agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to, circle this word, godliness, that's the goal of everything.
I want you to live out your life so that you reflect Christ. He is conceited and understands nothing, but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words from which come envy and strife and abusive language and evil suspicions and constant friction between people of depraved minds who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. And so basically what he goes through and says, some of the evidences of false teaching, it produces arguments and envy and friction. Has anyone seen any of that in the church in the last couple of years or so?
Did you notice the root cause? Men of depraved minds. It's thinking. And over time, pretty soon, people's theology and their values, and then you do understand that you are now wired in a world where the enemy, whatever you believe, we now have algorithms that will keep feeding you the same stuff so that you'll get cemented in your views, even the ones that aren't true and that are baseless and have no fact, and polarize you against other people. Because if you want to raise money or if you want to get likes or if you want to get following, what you have to do is have a big evil opponent that everything they do is wrong, and the more you scream, scream, scream, they're terrible, they're terrible, and we need you to...
It raises money and it gets ratings. The only person who knows the truth is God. But our responsibility is we've got to be really discerning. He says this is how false teaching occurs, but all you know is the evidence of false teaching in relationships, he says envy, strife, abusive language. You see any of that online lately?
I don't know what happened. It had to be in the last five years or so, but this calling out of other people instead of with respect, of giving them nicknames, of humiliating people in public. How in the world could you ever have a conversation when it's them, and they're called certain names?
It's like fifth graders on bad days talking to one another now, back and forth in the media. And then he says that one of the other evidences of false teaching is not just the production of controversy and questions and disputes, but it actually develops into people who think that godliness, becoming more and more like Christ and following Jesus, is a means of financial gain. Have you seen any of that lately?
This isn't new. I always love the one where the guy says, Send me all your bills. Just send me all your bills, and we'll put them in the center, and we'll burn them, and God will take them away.
Or I love this one. Send a seed of $1,000, and the Lord will give you $10,000. I'm thinking if you believe God's that generous, why don't you send me $1,000, and when he gives me $10,000, I'll give it back to you. Can you understand why Christianity is hard for a lot of people to swallow right now? So you're telling me you guys believe in the Jesus, that this guy is telling people his other two jets are too old, so he needs $300 million for a new jet to tell people about Jesus?
I remember as I was only 12 years old, and there wasn't a whole lot of TV, but this stuff has gone on forever. And I remember thinking, I think the only people dumber than the people that are saying things like that are people that actually believe in them and send them their money. I mean, I'm 12 years old, and I can see through that. But there has been a huge movement here and around the world that started all the way back that says that if you want to get rich, here's the spiritual keys. Now, be careful, because if you're more on the conservative side, it's easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, because the Scripture's really clear that when you're generous for the right reason, generous with your time, generous with your money, generous with your resources, generous with your friendship, God does bless, and he often blesses financially. But the moment that becomes your motive, man, you are on the wrong track, going in a very bad direction.
And so he gives a little correction here. He says, but godliness actually is a means of great gain when accomplished by contentment. That's being at peace with what you have.
It doesn't mean that you're lazy. It doesn't mean that there's not direction, ambition, goals, or strategy. But godliness, walking closely with Jesus, and being at peace, content, for we have brought nothing into the world so we can take nothing out of it either. If we have food in covering with these, we shall be content.
Can you imagine what would happen if we actually believed the last line? I've got a roof, I have clothes, I have food. With that, now, is it wrong to want a nicer roof, a little bit nicer clothes, and a little bit more food?
No, I don't think so. But can you say thank you? I've been spending a lot of time with pastors through all of this, and one young man called me and said, could we talk? And he had come to Christ through a Bible study I led about 10 years ago, and pretty difficult background, and went away to school, became a pastor, and got married, and just, you know, things on the right track.
Basically, the conversation went like this. It's really hard to be a pastor, and I don't think if I remain a pastor I'll ever be able to own my own home. So I'm thinking about maybe starting a little charter business for fishing, because I really like to fish, and then I can still tell people about Jesus. So what do you think? Well, I would remind you at least that of the eight billion people in the world, you are in the one-tenth of one percent of knowledge of the Bible because of your training for four years.
That's a stewardship that no one else has. So if God's calling you out of being a pastor into fishing because you're more passionate, I would just say make sure it's a real clear call, and I know Him really well. And so working on my gentleness, because my insides were not gentle at all.
My insides were like, who said it was going to be easy? I've got some promises for you. Anyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. And then I just said, when you sense God's calling, and by the way, it's real tough to be a pastor, so I really listen compassionately right now with all the junk going on.
But I said, do you think that owning a home is like, do you think God promises or you deserve to necessarily own a home? Well, I mean, everyone else is. I said, I know. Are you getting it? It's subtle. It's so subtle.
Jesus, yes, I want to follow you no matter what, but unconsciously I have this condition and this condition. Where I went to school, I really love it. It was a really great school. And I remember talking to the admissions guy, and I don't want to exaggerate, so I'll aim really low, but it's like a third of all the people that graduate from where I went to school live within 50 or 100 miles because they didn't want to move out of the area.
Really? He spent four or five years going to school, learning the Bible, and then someone asks you, I don't want to go there because it's cold, because it's hard, because people aren't as open, because my mother-in-law doesn't want me to go there because she doesn't want her daughter to live more than two hours away. And if you wonder why so many Christians are missing the fullness of God and experiencing the power of God, verse 9, but those who want to get rich and put a box around want to in your Bible. There's nothing wrong with being rich. Those who want to get rich fall into temptations and a trap, underlying trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. I mean, just underlying trap, harmful desires, plunge, ruin, destruction. I did a study on this earlier, and I mean, one of these words is the word for a fishing lure, and the other word is a word for a trap for an animal, and both of them are built around what? Deception. That fish thinks that's a real minnow. That animal thinks that food is free. And notice he says those who want to get rich. In other words, it starts then with harmful desires.
I've got to have this. I'm not content. And then he gives the reason for the love of money, and then circle is a root. It's not the root. It is a root of all kinds or sorts of evil, and some by underlying longing for it have, are you ready? Wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
And then he says, Timothy, here's the recommendation. Contrast, but flee these things, you man of God. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and for which you were made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I direct you. Last time it was I command you. Now I direct you in the presence of God who gives life to all things and of Jesus Christ who testifies the good confession before Pontius Pilate that you keep the commandment without fault or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the proper time. Speaking of judgment, haven't we kind of heard a charge like this before?
This is actually the fifth personal charge. He's concerned that his son and the faith is going to wander, drift, be pierced within, be destroyed, find himself in ruin, bankrupt. And then he goes, he who is blessed and the only sovereign, the king of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal dominion forever. And then almost like an afterthought because he said, okay, Timothy, you understand, right? Remember my coaching tip, Timothy?
You need to understand your opponent. I was a pastor 10 years when I thought there was God against Satan. That's not what the Bible teaches.
According to Jesus, there's two gods, me and mammon. Materialism, wealth, money. And Satan uses that to say money will make you secure. Money will make you famous. Money will give you happiness. Money will make you significant.
You've got the logo here. You can talk about, you know, I had a pretty good time at the Final Four. You know, my friend on his G5, we had a pretty good time together. And have I told you lately who I did a selfie with? And, you know, we all just downsize that to, you know, I know the superintendent of schools or I know the football coach, right?
Or, you know, I dated the prom queen. But money, money promises it, right? You know, if I watched enough commercials, if I could just have a red sports car and really white teeth, I mean glowing white teeth and a coarse light, beautiful blondes would jump in that car with me. You do understand? No, is that? It's true, right? Because the commercial says so.
Can I just, by the way, I usually mute commercials. Do you know why? Do you understand?
Every single commercial has only one goal. It starts with discontent. You don't buy something unless what you have isn't coming through for you.
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't desire or think or plan. And what he's saying to Timothy is, boy, there's a trap. Because the other God, money, is always screaming. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Step Away. He'll be right back with his application for this teaching 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, I'm joined by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. And Chip, a great challenge today for every believer to really be careful how we use, how we view, and how we think about money. Now, I've heard you say before that how we handle money is actually a great indicator of our faith.
What do you mean by that? Well, Dave, you know, I think we all long to believe that what we say and what we think really is who we are. And Jesus, in his day, talked so much and taught so much about money, not because he ever became rich, he was trying to get people's money, but our money is the mirror of our heart.
Or maybe think about it this way. It's the MRI of your heart to know what's really in there, what do I really worship, what are my values, what are my true motives. And what I would say is Jesus' teaching says, your lips declare what you think matters, what your values are and what you worship.
That's what your lips declare. Your money reveals where they really are. And so that's why he talks so much about that because really it's love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength. And the competition for our heart is money. It's the things that we think that can fill us up that money can buy.
Security, significance, impact, impressing others. And so, you know, it really has an impact here at Living on the Edge. When I think of the people who give to Living on the Edge, it's not just that they're giving us their money. We are so grateful. We are good stewards. We are using it in ways that really honor God and lives are being changed.
But to help people understand who God really is and create resources around that and reach the next generation and to say that we really want to make a difference to help Christians live like Christians, in a crazy world that we're living in, when people give to the ministry, what they're really saying is, that's on my heart too. I'm with you. We're partners. We're in it together. And so I just want to pause and I want to thank each and every one of you who are partners, who are on mission with us, not because you say you are, but because your money is the mirror. It's the MRI that reveals that we are in this together.
And you know what? You're not only a part of making a difference, you will be a part of the reward as well. And so we want to pause today and say thank you. Well, if you're benefiting from CHIPS teaching, now would be a great time to join the team. You could minister with us to help others receive the same blessing you're enjoying. You can send a gift at livingontheedge.org or through the CHIPS Ingram app, or text the word DONATE to 74141. That's DONATE to 74141.
And we hope you know how much we appreciate your partnership. Well, Chip, as we wrap up this message, there were two major themes in today's talk, false teaching and wealth. Now, could you help us understand how those ideas are connected? Well, Dave, I'd love to, and for some of us that didn't grow up in the church, and probably for a lot of people now even, they've dropped out of a local church experience because of the false teaching having to do with money. When we turn on the TV, let me say there are some excellent Bible teachers that do much good. And let me also say there's a plethora of teachers who are using the platform of Jesus Christ to make themselves rich and wealthy, and are teaching a false gospel that God wants everyone to be rich. And the bizarre thought is that the way you get rich is to send your money to them, and then somehow God's going to multiply it back to you. Even in the early seasons of the gospel, people perverted and twisted the teaching of generosity and the teaching of sowing and reaping to fill their pockets. As a result, so many Christians don't understand anything about money and generosity. The truth is God honors generous giving.
The Bible is very, very clear. But the goal of any kind of teaching from Scripture is never to give to get. Our generosity comes from a heart that cares for others, and we give without any thought of return. I want to encourage you, yes, you right now, to do a study in God's Word to find out what the Bible actually says about money and generosity. If you need a little help, I've written a little book called The Genius of Generosity.
It's very small. You can read it in about 45 minutes, an hour max. This is not, I will give you this book for a gift of any amount. I don't want anything from you. I want you to understand what the Bible says in God's heart about generosity and stewardship and the joy and adventure of being a conduit of God's grace. Give us a call, and we'll drop it in the mail. I think this tool will really help you get God's perspective on money and ministry. Thanks, Chip. Well, to get your hands on this book, Genius of Generosity, go to specialoffersatlivingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. And as Chip just said, for a limited time, we'd like to give you this resource at no cost to you. So take advantage of this opportunity now. Again, to get your copy of Genius of Generosity, go to specialoffersatlivingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. One book per customer while supplies last. Well, from all of us here, I'm Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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