Have you ever wondered why so many good Christian people could treat each other so badly over politics, over masks and vaccines? Well, today you're going to find out why and how we can live above all that.
Stay with me. 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. And boy, Chip touched on a subject that's really relevant to all of us right now.
I mean, we all have opinions on what's going on in our world, but why has it caused so much division and anger among believers? Well, today Chip picks up where he left off in his message, God's Deliverance, by explaining how we can live in unity with others. But before he continues our series, You Were Made for More, let me encourage you to use his message notes while you listen.
Now you can download them under the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org, app listeners tap fill in notes. As Chip begins the second half of his talk, he'll give us a little better context for Jonah's reaction to God's calling on his life. Let's dive in. Jonah's disobedience and despair were birthed out of fear that God's agenda might be different than his desires. Jonah's desire is for God's justice for the Ninevites, right? It's like, God, I don't want to go preach truth. What if they respond? And Jonah also knows he's got a prophecy in the back of his mind that about 30 years later that the Lord is going to bring about judgment to Israel.
And so, you know, he's like us, he thinks it through. Now let's say if I don't go and they don't repent, that's the group that is supposed to come later, which they did in 722 BC. And so Jonah's action revealed tribalism over lordship.
See, at the end of the day, Jonah says, the Israelites and my people, my group are more important than God's agenda because I know better. Anybody seen any of this in our life in the last couple years? I think the ugliness I've seen inside the church probably breaks my heart as much or more than anything I've ever seen. And it's tribalism. And it could be nationalism, but I mean, inside the church, there's people that don't talk to each other anymore.
They have said things and done things because, and I mean, it has been unbelievable. My job has me doing a lot of travel around the world. Just before the pandemic, I was in China seven times, and we do training of pastors, especially in rural areas, and then maybe three times in the Middle East in that season. In one of the trainings there in the Middle East, one of the groups that had come had done some other training.
And the leader of it was telling me, they said, thank you for this training. We don't have much access to good teaching. Before we go back to our country, would you teach us to die well?
Would you teach us to die well? Do you get it? It's not my agenda. It's not my country.
It's not my group. It's what does God want? Shift. What does God want for my life? Shift away from my culture, my desires, my this is the way it's got to be. This is what's happening in this passage.
You'll notice the little chart that I gave you. Jonah, you talk about he knew God's word, but he didn't quite apply it. Notice in chapter two, the verses on the left side, he didn't come up with a single original word in that prayer. All the different psalms that he quotes. Now, by the way, I don't know about you, but when I pray, I would sure like in the midst of my distress, God bring to my mind, remember the psalms were sung.
These are this part of this song and this part of this song and this psalm and he had probably a huge percentage of all the psalms as a prophet memorized. And so he's sinking, right? He's sinking and all the word of God is coming to his mind and he takes this part and this part and this part and this part and he puts it together and he prays. I'll tell you what, when you're in a jam, having God's word on your heart, there may be nothing more important or more valuable. So I want to give him an A plus on that, okay? Jonah, A plus on getting into God's word, hiding in your heart and having good theology, you absolutely know God is merciful.
Here's where it gets a little tricky. Let's go from Jonah's world to ours. What did we learn from Jonah?
This positive, okay? I never want to get too down on the people in Scripture because the more I study and the more honest I am, I realize there's a mirror here. So I'm glad that when I read about where they blow it, that God is merciful and understanding.
So let's go to the positive side of what we learn. One, he knew God's character and he acted accordingly, right? He knew God was merciful.
Since that's true, I'm going to run, but he also knew since God's merciful, even though I don't deserve it, I'm going to cry out to him. He knew God's word and he quoted it spontaneously. By the way, just aside, as Ryan said, I've been in ministry 40 years, but I came to Christ when I was 18. So it's been a lot of years and because of what God called me to do, I used to teach and I went to school, then I went to graduate school, and then after that, I had to go to seminary. It was like, are you kidding me? And sometimes people will say, well, what was the most valuable thing? Was it education or where you went to seminary, you had to learn all those languages? And you know what I'd say to them?
The most valuable thing that ever happened in my life that has shaped my life in all the storms, I'm thankful for all that. I'm not dismissing it. There was a bricklayer with a high school education who, when I went to college, came and met with me once a week. And I wasn't... I was a slow starter. Sometimes I would pretend I was asleep when he would knock on the door. The first couple of years, everyone was memorizing verses and it was like, hey, you know, it's in the Bible, dude.
I'm not going to memorize it. Yeah, right? And eventually, I really was struggling in an area of my life and it was a... I wasn't planning to do this, but there was four girls to every guy on our campus. And I was committed at this point to be pure, to do life God's way. And my behavior reflected that. My mind and my thoughts were just, I was the most lustful Christian that I knew. And I tried and tried and tried and tried. I failed so much, I finally decided I don't think I can...
I don't think I can be a Christian. And just before I was ready to sort of give things up, I had a roommate who was going to a summer Christian training program. But before he got there, there's this thing called the topical memory system. And you had to memorize these 60 verses and have them word perfect. And they were just on the basic things of, you know, God's word and fellowship and temptation. And he was a heavyweight wrestler.
And a lot of the... I was in a dorm where a lot of the athletes were. And I was a point guard on the basketball team. So we had this sort of little rivalry. He was a brother in Christ.
He really had a great impact on my life. So he left the room one day and I got his cards out and I cut up three by five cards and I wrote down his 60 verses. And to spite him, this is just to spite him.
I don't wanna really know God's word. To spite him, he was gonna take how many months to do it. I thought, I'm gonna do one a day, review them all every day, and then I'm gonna walk in casually when I've got 60 of them and say, well, Bob, how are you coming on that?
You know, you lame wrestler. And then I was gonna quote them like this. And I had a psychology professor that this guy was perhaps the most boring teacher that has ever... So I would sit in the back with the book up and I would review verses every day. And I got 21 in a row down and I remember coming around the library and a very attractive co-ed who was involved in the ministry. And I found, as a young man and probably as an older man, but lusting for people that don't walk with God is one thing but you feel extra guilty when you lust for someone who's sweet and loves God with all their heart. And, you know, it's like double, double guilt. And so she came around and I've always been really attracted to her. And I remember we talked and then I started to go and as I was walking, I realized I didn't lust at all. In fact, wait a second.
I mean, this may sound funny. I've got 24 hours under my belt. And then I did the 60 verses and then I started memorizing some chapters. And then years later, I got around the guy and said, you know, you should just do some, you know, do Philippians or do James.
Here's what I'm gonna tell you. Of all the things I have ever done in all my life, renewing my mind and memorizing scripture has been the single most powerful thing to help me walk with God, avoid temptation, hear his voice. And I can't tell you how many times when I was praying, God, I don't know what to do. Here's a verse.
And so that's an aside. Notice positively he ran to God when he felt unworthy. That's so powerful. I remember, and I still do this to a degree, but when I really blow it, I used to think like I needed to take a two-day break from God. I'm not gonna read. I'm not gonna pray.
I'm so ugly. I knew what was right. I didn't do it. And then sort of like, okay, God, I'm kind of back. Like, you know, I had to go to the woodshed, right? Like you did really bad, so you should feel really bad, so you should pay for it.
And here's the deal. God is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He longs to meet us right where we're at. Principle one, the Lord frequently uses moments of great darkness to drive us into the light. Moments of great darkness to drive us into the light. Hebrews 12, 11 says, all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet those who have been trained by it, it's a process.
Those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Well, negatively, what did we learn from Jonah? He was thankful, but he wasn't repentant. His words were good, but his heart was hard. He wanted relief, not transformation. And where I get that is that, you know, he prayed this Thanksgiving prayer.
There was something missing. Did anyone read that prayer? I'm sorry.
I blew it. Please forgive me. Did he ever ask God for forgiveness?
He didn't. But by the way, the sailors, it says, they offered prayer and then they made a sacrifice. Jonah promises. He says, I will offer sacrifice and I will pay my vow.
Is there anywhere where we learn where he ever sacrificed? So what he basically, what did we basically get from Jonah is, you know, I was desperate, and here's the word. When it says God vomited him out, there's only a couple times in the Old Testament. One, God says, I'm going to vomit them out of this land because of their evil. Later on, he says, if you worship idols and you do what these people did, I will vomit you out of the land. And so what I want you to know is that Jonah said, okay, I'll do what you want me to do, but his heart wasn't right. And so it's more than just praying the right prayer. It's more than, okay, God, I'm sorry I slept with you.
Okay, God, I lied about that. Okay, God, and our fathers are in heaven. Amen. We're good, right? No.
No. God's looking for the heart, a real change of heart. Principle number two is spiritual growth demands we confess and forsake our sin.
And here's the key word, to experience the more that we're made for. Proverbs 28, 13 says the one who confesses and forsakes their sin experienced God's blessing in his prosperity. Well, let's look at that in contrast to David. When David sinned in Psalm 51, you don't need to turn there. Remember the beginning of his prayer against you and you only I have sinned, Lord. And remember he said, if there were sacrifices, if there was motions I could go through, if I could, you know, 100 sheep or 1,000 cattle or whatever, he goes, if I could get back in your good graces by earning my way there, I'd do it. And then he says, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, oh God, you will not despise. See, God is merciful. There's something about our suffering and our hurt, but we have to come.
And when David came, God forgave. What we tend to do is we tend to be like Jonah and we run, option A, or option B, I call Jonah the great pretender. I prayed the prayer, I know your word, I got it, and I'm going to go through the motions and I'm going to go do what you told me to do, but he's not doing it because there's a change of heart. He's not doing it because he cares about the Ninevites. You know, I've done some nice things for my neighbors and I've invited them to things and I've shared Christ at different times, but what God wanted to shift was, do you care about them, Chip, the way I care about them? Do you care about them to pray every single day for them and then by faith will you expect that I show up?
People are never going to be probably as open, family members, neighbors, coworkers. The world is a messed up place right now and they're vulnerable. And you know what they're looking for? Not someone who fits into some little niche and, well, I believe in Jesus and that's my tribe and I feel okay with that.
They're looking for light and salt and love, someone like you. And you start with your actions and God does great things to us normal people. Notice, what do we learn about God? What's the big takeaways about who God really is? We learn he's merciful to sailors, even though they worshiped idols. Mercy to Jonah, even though he's in willful rebellion and he gives mercy to Nineveh, the most wicked people on the earth. Each one of them got delivered in a different way.
I jotted this in my notes. It was how God revealed himself to Moses. He is kind and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. And then for me, in my own words, just for me, when I blow it, he's patient. God is gentle. God is ready to forgive. He wants to forgive me. He wants to restore me. He's not mad at me. You might jot Psalm 86.5 in your notes in the Living Bible.
It says, oh Lord, you are so good, so kind, so ready to forgive everyone who comes and calls on you for help. The principle here is your view of God will determine your life. Behavior always follows belief. I'm the product of my thought life. You're the product of yours. As a man or a woman, Proverbs 23.7, as a man or a woman thinks in your heart, so you will become. The person sitting in your chair is the product of all the things you've been putting in your mind for the last five, 10, or 15 years. The books you've read, the movies, the relationships, all of it creating this lens. And then we act in a way that makes sense to us.
Some of it we don't even know that we believe. Your view of God, he is absolutely sovereign over everything. Did you notice he controls the sea, the wind. He appoints the fish. Later on, he'll cause a plant to grow.
Later on, he'll tell a worm to go eat the plant. Remember they cast lots. God controls.
That wasn't chance. He controls deities and powers. And this is the final principle. You will not always understand God's ways, but you can trust him for everything and everyone because his purposes cannot be thwarted. His purposes cannot be thwarted.
There's a lot of times in my life, and I could spend a lot of hours telling you times that were dark and difficult, and I didn't understand them. But over the years, I've learned for everyone, every circumstance, an all-knowing, all-powerful God who is good. Job says, oh Lord, you are God.
Your purposes can't be thwarted. I love the quote by Saint Ignatius. He said, sin is unwillingness to trust that what God wants for me is only for my deepest happiness. You see, at the end of the day, Jonah flees because he thought God's plan and purposes would not bring him what he really wanted. And I flee, and I run to different things, and you do because down deep, we have this warped view of God that he doesn't have the very best, that he's not really good. And so the message today is he's so merciful that wherever you are, whatever you feel like, oh, how could God ever accept me? It's because of who he is.
It's not because of who you are. This passage screams, I love you. I want to forgive.
I want to restore. I want you to draw near to me, and I'll draw near to you. And then the deeper message is, would you follow me? Would you let go of your tribalism? Would you let go of your view, of your desires, of what you think will make you really happy? And could you actually believe that, you know, I did create the universe. Do you think I could work this out for you?
How about this? Instead of fix the relationship, God, show me what it looks like for me in the relationship or if it's even a good one. Instead of fix my boss, God, would you, whatever you want me to do, to express your love to him or to her. Lord, we are just human people in great need of your grace, and I ask that you would give it in full measure right now. I thank you that you understand where we're coming from. God, if you deliver Jonah in his willful rebellion, I just thank you that you are so available to us. Will you please speak? Encourage us in Jesus' name.
Amen. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, God's Deliverance, from our series You Were Made for More, Facing the Jonah in All of Us. So what do you know about the story of Jonah?
Maybe you remember something about a big fish, a violent storm, and an evil city named Nineveh. Well, in this new ten-part series, Chip and his son Ryan share that there's actually a lot more to this familiar Bible adventure. They'll unpack what Jonah's life teaches us about handling adversity, God's love for all people, and how we can shift our lives to the more we were created for. If you've missed any part of this series or want to share it with a friend, let me encourage you to check out the Chip Engram app. Well, before we go any further in this program, Chip's with me in studio now to share a quick word.
Thanks, Dave. I'll be back with some application to today's teaching, but if you're listening to this program and you or someone you know is being blessed, I mean, God is using it in your life. I'd like to ask you to really pray about partnering with Living on the Edge. Your financial investment allows us to equip Christians here in the United States, all across the world, to really live like Christians. Because of your donations, we create materials, we get God's Word to leaders, and we take the Bible to the people in ways that help them grow and transform their families and communities.
So here's my request. Would you help us reach the hurting people in the U.S. and around the world? Help us to be a catalyst for change so that Christians everywhere can live more like Christians. It makes a huge difference, and thanks in advance for whatever God leads you to do.
Thanks, Chip. Well, if joining the Living on the Edge team is an idea that makes sense to you, we'd love to have you partner with us. Your support multiplies our efforts and resources in ways that only God can do.
So if you'd like to be part of that, let me encourage you to become a monthly partner. You can easily set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, text the word donate to 74141.
That's donate to 74141. And thanks for helping others benefit from the work of this ministry. Well, now here's Chip with some final thoughts. As we wrap up today's program, I want to speak to some of you that are carrying around some very, very heavy burdens.
In fact, some of them are heavy because they're a secret. You've done some things. You've said some things. You currently might be involved in some things that you feel so overwhelmed, so shameful, so guilty. Either you feel like you can't come to God, that you've asked Him to forgive you a hundred times and there's no way He's going to forgive 101. Or you look back in the rearview mirror and you know God forgave you for the unbiblical divorce or the person that you hurt or the abortion that you encouraged or the abortion that you had or the way that you really caused a division in a family or something that you did in your past that, I mean, it was a business trip. It was just once but it just plagues you. And somehow down deep in your soul, you just feel like God's arms are crossed.
You're a second-class citizen and there's just no way to ever get back into His good graces. You know, so often we hear this story about Jonah and it's a little cute little story. And yet, if you could read firsthand accounts as I have of the Ninevites, they made what Hitler and the Nazis did look like Sunday school teachers.
They were horrendously evil. And the reason Jonah had such a hard time apart from his own tribalism was they deserve the wrath of God. And as I study this, I am just amazed. And there's a line in Scripture that has always stuck with me. It says that God delights to show mercy. He says He has no delight in punishing wickedness. Now because of His justice, when there's not repentance, when we don't turn, when we're hard-headed, when we continue to go in our own willful way, His justice and holiness demand that He brings about consequences. But I want you to know that the God of heaven, the reason Jesus came, He wants to extend mercy to you. And mercy is that characteristic by which God, He wants to forgive.
He wants to pass over what you don't deserve Him passing over. He wants to suspend His justice and put that justice and consequence on Christ and you in empty hands just in sincerity of heart, Lord Jesus, I am so sorry. Will you please forgive me? And then get up and start acting like a fully accepted son or daughter. And you can never do that alone.
So let me encourage you. Receive His forgiveness. Connect with the greatest Christian you know and say, I had a really deep time with the Lord. I want to walk more closely now than ever before.
Will you help me? God will meet you. Thanks, Chip. And if you're looking for a practical way to deepen your relationship with God, let me encourage you to sign up for Daily Discipleship with Chip. This is a free video resource we've created where you can study the Bible alongside Chip. For the entire course, you'll spend no more than 10 minutes with Chip in a particular passage of scripture. Then he'll challenge you to study 10 minutes more on your own.
It's so easy. You'll be blown away by how much you'll learn about God and His word. So sign up for any of our Daily Discipleship sessions today by going to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, just tap Discipleship. Well, join us next time as we continue our new series, You Were Made For More. But until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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