Did you know that God has two amazing gifts for you?
I mean, gifts that we rarely think about or even consider as gifts. But when you think and hear and ponder and digest these two gifts, it absolutely changes your perspective and gives you the power to live with joy, even in the midst of great adversity. 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. Well, in just a minute, Chip will wrap up our series, I Choose Joy. For the past several programs, we've been exploring God's desire for us to experience authentic joy, even through the most demanding and frustrating times of life.
We hope you've been encouraged by this series. So to help others feel refreshed and strengthened as you have, take a minute after this message and share it, either through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Okay, let's join Chip for the second half of his message, Understanding the Power of Expectations, as he picks up on the last phrase of Philippians 1, verse 27. Intending for the faith, it's about our beliefs. It's about standing up for what we believe. It's battling but winsomely, lovingly, you know, not angry, but it's saying that there's certain things that are true. I was praying this morning and I was thinking about this and I thought of, I get to do in one of the most progressive areas in all the United States with a group of people that are willing to take a stand and do it lovingly and then not only pair the truth, but pair the truth with acts of love and compassion and kindness. Let me just tell you something. We did something on culture shock that I actually taught here and we talked about life, abortion, human sexuality, politics. What does the Bible actually say?
And how do we stop bringing heat but bring light? And then you all gave me the opportunity to go around the country and take multiple pastors and churches to say, we're going to contend for the faith. Those are very unpopular things, but shared lovingly, life matters. God's not confused about men. He's not confused about women.
He's not confused about marriage. And when we violate and when the culture pushes us where we shrink back, the consequences and the pain, I can't tell you how many people I've counseled out of the lifestyle, in the lifestyle that are suicidal and hurting and difficult. And there's all this stuff out there that says our rights and stuff like that. And I meet the people in the pain and the struggle. I had a guy just recently, just a month or so ago, and he waited until quite a while, a Saturday night service and said, am I welcome here? I said, what do you mean?
Of course you're welcome here. He goes, well, I'm gay. I said, now, is that a behavior or an identity?
And he looked at me like, what do you mean? I said, we have people that have temptations for affairs, pornography, lying, stealing. This is a church filled with people that have all kinds of issues. Gay is not your identity.
There's absolutely zero proof, scientific evidence that you're born this way. You have some sexual confusion and you're attracted to the same sex. We have people in our church that are highly attracted to the opposite sex and have lots of problems. So you are as welcome as all the other liars, affairs, fornicators and cheaters that go to our church. But we're on a journey together. God will speak to you.
He'll change your thinking and your life from the inside out and you'll make progress and you'll probably mess up some just like everyone else here. But to say that in many places around the country, you get fired or picketed. Everyone, everyone believes certain things and are staking your life on it. And the more politically correct things are happening and the pressure comes. Here's the last thing. Not only is our behavior, not only is our beliefs, but we've got to be bold. What's the last word? Don't give up. Second, don't give in. Churches all across America, Bible churches all across America, whole denominations are giving in and changing their doctrine.
Well, you know, it's pretty unpopular to believe what Jesus actually said. So we're just going to change it on the most controversial issues of our day. But we're not going to give up.
We're not going to give in and we're not going to shrink back. This is about being bold. Here's a question I would ask all of you. Does everyone in a positive winsome way know that you're a follower of Christ? Do they know it? Are you bold? I don't mean wearing it on your sleeve. You know, please don't put a praise the Lord sticker on the back of your car. It's not enough to say this is the truth. It's got to be the truth captured in love and demonstrated. Here's my question.
How are you doing? This is this is normal Christianity. God expects us to not give up, not give in, not shrink back.
You got it? At this point, you should be saying maybe. No, that's what your body language tells me. Intellectually, I would say 98 percent of all the people in this room say, you know, I don't have a whole lot.
You know, chips, a little hyper, but that's chip. I don't have a whole lot, but I would disagree with what he just said. But when he started playing it out of what it would look like in my life. I'm not so sure that I have a consistent conduct. I'm not so sure that I'm not more worried about being a citizen of the United States that is more comfortable and more happy and doesn't create waves than I am a kingdom citizen of God, that when I get and realize that this little thing that we called time is running out and I was made for this big thing called eternity. And when you live that kind of life, yeah, you'll probably have a little more pressure, a little bit more suffering and a lot more joy and a lot more love and a lot more impact. And God will use you as a catalyst to transform your neighborhood, your coffee shop, your workplace, your sport team that you coach and boldly. Yes, I'm a follower of Christ.
We love people. Yes, we believe certain things that are unpopular in this day. Would you be willing to say, Lord, would you speak to me about is my belief and my behavior telling the same story and not sort of like I'm a terrible person at all, but just where the Lord would show you. And it might be your behavior. It might be your belief, your thinking.
I need to check that out. Or maybe it's your boldness. And ask God to make you an agent of life and change, because the world is anyone concerned about what's going on other than me. I mean, there's a missile could be coming our way. There's division in this country. There's hatred like never before. And here's the deal. You are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. There is no middle ground. Hiding in our cul-de-sacs, hoping that it won't affect us. And we just want to unconsciously be upwardly mobile and everything work out for us and our family and our little world is not an option. It's just an illusion.
Second. What can we expect from God? He says, for it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him since you're going through the same struggle you saw I had. And now here that I still have. Interestingly, again, you can circle the word granted to you.
It's pretty easy. It's in bold. It's literally it means God has given you a privilege. You know the word grace or some of you have named your daughters, you know, chorus. That's the word grace.
That's the root word. God has given you a precious grace gift and there's a privilege into it and there's a responsibility to it. And Paul's playing with these Philippians and reminding them, hey, citizen, right? A fill of hay, privilege, responsibility. Now here's the grace gift God's given you. Privilege to believe. You can receive eternal life. He's changed your life. He's taken you out of the kingdom of darkness, placed you in the kingdom of light, sealed you with the spirit, given you spiritual gifts, given you a purpose, given you a family of God, created a place forever and ever looking forward. And he's going to transform your life and make you more and more like Jesus so the world can see how much God loves them. It's an amazing grace gift to believe.
So why don't you put a little box around believe? But he says there's another gift. You've been given the gift to get to suffer.
How many of you, honestly, don't raise your hands because it wouldn't mean you go. How many of you ever thought suffering is a gift from God? That's foreign to American Christians. Suffering is a gift from God.
Yes. He said he's given you a gift of suffering and you're going through this same struggle, this conflict, this persecution. Some of it is from within and some of it is from without. Paul is going to leave Timothy at Ephesus, young pastor. 2 Timothy 3.12.
Timothy, all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. It's a promise. What's Paul doing?
Setting expectations. You know, here's a young guy. I followed Jesus. I'm now a young pastor. What I'm going to do? I've sacrificed everything. It's going to be great, right? Well, you really live for God, you'll be persecuted.
Or how about Jesus? How did he set expectations the very last night? What did he say? Just think positive, guys. Just think positive. It's all going to be super duper. I'm going to heaven. I'll be back. We're going to mojo a little bit later together.
What did he say? In the world you'll have tribulation. You'll have troubles. But be of good cheer.
I've overcome the world. In fact, I just read this morning and I thought in light of the current events, it was the very last time Jesus was hanging out with his disciples and he basically gave his sermon to the Pharisees and pretty unpopular white washed tombs, snakes, vipers. I think I underlined the word hypocrite seven or eight times. I mean I'm a follower of Jesus and he just alienated the entire establishment and all the power.
Jesus was perhaps the most politically incorrect person who's ever walked the face of the earth. And in the midst of that, you're following him thinking, whoa. And he's been talking about leaving, dying, raising from the dead and they don't figure out what he's saying.
And then he makes this crazy statement like, you see that temple? Destroy it. I'll rebuild it. I'm coming back. And the disciples took him aside privately and said, when will all this take place and will there be a sign ahead of time to signal your return in the end of the world?
Now, just listen to this. Don't let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name saying I'm the Messiah. They'll lead many astray. Wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other. There'll be famines, earthquakes in many parts of the world, but all this will only be the beginning or the birth pangs of the wars to come. Then you'll be arrested and persecuted and killed.
How's this for preparing the team for the next game? You're going to be arrested, persecuted and killed. You know what's interesting? They were, but they didn't give up. They didn't give in and they didn't shrink back.
Why? Because they knew it was true. They experienced God's power.
They leaned into the suffering. He said, many though will turn away from me and betray me and hate each other, many false prophets will appear and they'll lead many people astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold.
Sound familiar? But those who endure to the end will be saved. And the good news about the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world so that all the nations will hear it. And then finally the end will come. Now I'm in no way a, I think Jesus is coming back tomorrow. Oh, the end's coming.
The sky's falling. But what kind of, what would have to be happening in the world to tell us that it's close? Maybe more, more hurricanes, bigger earthquakes, more wars. See, I think it's really interesting that we unconsciously think that some things that have happened in the past, they're going to happen probably someday some way, but probably not in my lifetime.
Really, Jesus goes on to say it will be the same as in the day of Noah where people were doing business, having parties, marrying, going about their life and all I want to say is it seems like the birth pangs are more intense now and we should have an urgency at a level that we haven't had and we shouldn't be afraid about our job. We shouldn't be afraid about our money. We shouldn't be afraid about our reputation. We shouldn't be afraid. We should be bold because here's the deal. At some point in time there's going to be things that are true and things that are untrue.
And the one thing Jesus said is there is no gray. Anyone who's ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of them when I come with the angels, with my Father. Paul said I'm not ashamed of the gospel. Now the question is are we willing to take that stand? Before we wrap it up, I have talked about suffering in 1 Peter 2, 20 and 21.
You might jot that down. That's one you might actually want to memorize because when Peter writes, Nero is I mean burning Christians and throwing them into the lions and Peter's writing to the church and he says if you suffer for doing what's wrong, for being a crook, for doing evil things, what credit is that? But then he says but if you suffer for doing what is right, being righteous, walking with God, making a difference, this finds favor with God.
Are you ready for this? For you have been called to this purpose, to suffer, for Christ left you an example to follow. See if we're trying to avoid suffering all the time, you will never become the man or a woman God designed you to be.
You will never have the relationships and you'll never have the impact. Jesus suffered. The apostles suffered. Now here's the thing.
Don't automatically think every time you're suffering that's because you're such a wonderful, committed, amazing follower of Jesus. Pretend we're on a highway together on this message and I just parked the car and I say there's a cul-de-sac we're going to go over here just for a second, okay? Are you ready for a quick cul-de-sac?
Here's the cul-de-sac. When you read scripture, there's at least six, there may be more but I know six specific reasons why we suffer. I'm not going to go through all these in detail but here's what I want you to do.
Maybe put a little box and then write this question. When you're going through a difficult time, ask God, why am I suffering? Why is this marriage like this? Why is this health like this? Why is this situation at work like this?
Why am I having this problem with my son or daughter like this? Why am I so depressed right now, okay? Just ask God. And what I'm going to say is biblically, there's at least six possible reasons why you're suffering and I've given you the passages so that you can do your own Bible study but the first one is my sin. When I am angry, when I say things I shouldn't, when I do things that are wrong, when I'm rude to people, when I'm mean to one of my kids, when I lie or when I steal and by the way I've done all those things, there's consequences, right? Galatians 6, 7 and 8 says sowing and reaping.
You sow things and you reap them. So sometimes I'm suffering because I was either stupid or evil and we all do stupid things and we all do evil things. Second is other sin. 49.1 in Psalms, David says a friend betrayed me. Drunk driver goes left of center, hits a car, someone you love. God didn't make him do it.
He got drunk. God didn't create robots. Sometimes we suffer because of other people's sins. Third is spiritual attack. You know you get in God's word on a regular basis, you decide to be more bold, I'll just warn you.
Stuff will start happening. Job was the most righteous man. He didn't know what was going on. Ephesians 6 will describe what spiritual attack looks like and how to defend yourself. Fourth it's a fallen world. People came to Jesus and said the tower in Siloam, it fell and these people died.
Hey, what's going on? And Jesus said, do you think that those who died are more sinful or unrighteous than others? I say no. In other words, concrete cracks, wood rots in a fallen world. There's just certain things. It's a mystery.
We can expect negative, difficult weather. It's not designed the way God wanted it. It's a fallen world. Fourth is spiritual discipline. God loves you so much. There are times the velvet vice, Hebrews 12, he disciplines every son. He disciplines every daughter and he'll get your attention in the way that makes sense to you. Some of us apparently it must be our health.
I don't know anybody particular. ACL, back, ankle rebuilt, I could go on. Some it's a relationship. But sometimes we're asking God, take it away, take it away, take it away.
He's saying, look, I'm trying to get your attention because I love you like we get our kids attention so that you can look upward and we can address this issue, this arrogant issue, this pride issue, this lust issue. We all have those things, don't we? And you have a father who wants to help you. And then finally, spiritual development. There's times where Paul is living the life like never before, making a huge difference.
And what happens? He gets this physical ailment that keeps him dependent so people could see the power isn't Paul, but it's God. And he says, I've learned to be content. I want to give you a summary about suffering and then I want us to pray. Suffering is God's gift to accomplish his ultimate good in a fallen world.
Is that crazy? Suffering is God's gift. When I suffer, it draws me near.
When I suffer, I look up. When I suffer, I have compassion for other people. When I suffer, life's not all about me. When I suffer, I'm not so judgmental. When I suffer, I'm following in the footsteps of Jesus who suffered so you could live and I could live. John Erickson taught a quoting her coach said, God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.
What a truth. Lord, you know the suffering in this room and you know the reasons. Lord, you know the world situation and the desperate, desperate need for regular ordinary people like us to stand firm and to contend and to not shrink back. And yet we tell you that God, we can't do that and we're afraid and we struggle. But Lord, you have told us that Christ in us is the hope of glory and that we can do all things through Jesus who gives us strength. I have a little moment with your Heavenly Father and ask him, Lord, help me see myself right now the way you do. Help me grasp how much you love me. Help me to be a person who stands firm, doesn't give up, doesn't give in, doesn't shrink back.
Help me lean into my suffering and discover some of the whys. Change me and then use me to change others. People be right back with his application for this message, Understanding the Power of Expectations from his series, I Choose Joy. Well, let me ask you, how do people know you're a Christian?
What sets you and me apart that causes others to think what's different about them? Through Chip's study in Philippians chapter one, he reveals how joy supernaturally works in our lives and why it draws so much attention from others. Chip also illustrates what joy has to do with our purposes, expectations, focus, and sense of hope.
If you've missed any part of this series or just want to share one of these messages with a friend, check out the Chip Ingram app. Well, Chip joins me in studio now, and Chip, as our messages and resources go out, we consistently hear from parents who are looking for some help to better guide and direct their kids. So how are we practically helping those moms and dads? Because honestly, some of them are really struggling right now.
Well, Dave, you're absolutely right. Parents are up against it right now. Believe me, I've got 12 grandchildren, and my daughter, who's the youngest, has four kids, nine and under. One or two days at our house, and I think, I don't know how parents do it today. Under all the demands, it's so easy just to hand them a tablet or a screen and let them go their own way. But that isn't going to produce the kind of kids that we want.
And here's what I know. If we don't invest in them, if we don't teach them, if we don't really help them grow emotionally and spiritually and intellectually, the world will shape them. And so we have a resource that we have found has been super helpful and easy to use. It's called Intentional Parenting, and it comes from my friends Doug and Kathy Fields. And through their decades of parenting experience and working with young people, they've come up with 10 crucial concepts to be intentional, God-honoring moms and dads to give their kids what they need. I just want to tell you personally, I've actually studied and written a book on parenting, but what Doug and Kathy have put together is some of the best stuff I've ever seen, and there's two ways to get it.
The first way is on these cards. They're Intentional Parenting cards. There's 43 of them that cover these 10 practices, and it's just like in bite-sized little ways that remind you on an ongoing basis how to invest in your kids. The second is we have a five-part video series called Intentional Parenting that Doug teaches. These are things you want to get your hands on if you want to make a difference in the lives of your kids.
Thanks, Chip. Well, if you'd like to get plugged in with the online course taught by Doug or our card set, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. Make today the day you choose to be more deliberate about your calling as a parent or grandparent.
Again, to learn more about these Intentional Parenting resources, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, with that, here's Chip. As we close today's program and wrap up this entire series, we're ending on a note that's a bit unusual. I talked about two gifts. Of course, the first gift is the gift that we can believe, but I don't think most of us think of suffering as a gift. I did a little Bible study for you because I think it's important because I think, one, we don't see suffering as a gift, and yet also there are different causes for suffering. The last thing I want to do is your suffering because someone did a horrendously bad thing to you, and you think, oh, are you saying that people doing bad things is a gift from God?
No, no, no, no, no. But I love what Joni Eareckson-Tada writes when she says, God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves. Here's what I'd like you to do. I want you to lean back right now, and I want to give you the six reasons that suffering happens in a believer's life. The first is that we sin. I do things that are wrong, and I suffer, and the response is to confess and tell God I'm sorry.
He forgives me. The second is other people sin against me, and in a fallen world that's going to happen. That's not God's will.
That's not what he wants, but it happens, but God will use it for good. Third is spiritual attack. There's times where I'm suffering because I'm in the midst of a real spiritual battle, and so I need discernment to know what's going on and why am I suffering because I want to respond with the armor of God. Fourth is in a fallen world, there are just certain things that happen. You know, we talked about Luke 17 and this tower that fell. You know, wood rots, bridges rust. It's a fallen world.
It doesn't mean anyone did anything bad or wrong. Fifth is spiritual discipline. There are times that you are so loved by God that he kind of brings that velvet vice of circumstance to get your attention, to realign your life and your heart so he can give you the best, and then finally it's just spiritual development. There are certain aspects of becoming like Jesus that you just can't ever experience or develop apart from suffering, and so let me encourage you.
This might be one where you want to go to the website, download the notes. I've put all that information there so that you could look at something visually, and when you're suffering or when someone who is hurting that you care about is suffering, you can kind of walk through these reasons and begin to ask the Holy Spirit, Lord, I need to respond to suffering in different ways, but I need to discern why I'm suffering. God loves you.
He's for you. It is a gift to suffer for doing what is right. Let's make sure that's why we're suffering, but we need insight from the Lord to know how to lean into the kind of suffering he allows in our life. So, as we wrap up our time, Father, I pray, and I ask it in the name of the Lord Jesus, that those listening to my voice at this very moment that are going through difficult times, that you by your Spirit will give them discernment about the cause of their suffering and their response in order that they might meet you, become more and more like your Son, and experience your joy even in the midst of pain.
In Jesus' name, amen. Thanks, Chip. Well, if you'd like to get plugged in with any of the resources Chip just mentioned, go to livingontheedge.org. There you can download Chip's message notes, check out our small group studies, or listen to any part of the series. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus. So, visit livingontheedge.org today. On behalf of Chip and the entire team here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-23 05:41:03 / 2022-11-23 05:52:12 / 11