Do you find yourself living in fear and anxiety, like the world is getting worse and worse all the time, and wonder, God, where are you?
Today we'll answer that question. Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.
Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, Chip's going to share the second half of his message. Be prepared.
Don't be surprised from our newest series, Becoming an Effective Disciplinator. But before he does, let me encourage you to use Chip's message notes while you listen. They include his outline, the scripture he references, and some key fill-ins to help you remember what you hear.
Download them under the Broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org, app listeners tab, fill-in notes. Well, here now is Chip with the remainder of his talk from 2 Timothy chapter 3. You'll notice in the next section I just entitled this, Don't be afraid, keep pressing ahead, verses 10 through 17. Don't be afraid. Isn't that what's happened in our country right now more than anything else through the pandemic? I mean, people are afraid. I mean, just terrified. Where I live, we have all kinds of backgrounds and different people. I see people walking outside by themselves with no one around with a mask on. Now, you know what? Some people have health issues and there's different times and different places for people to wear masks.
Great. I think it's really wise. And I probably should learn from some people that are much more conservative with wearing it when I get on planes and this is that. But I mean, I'm watching little kids, five and six years old, that most of they can remember they've always had a mask on.
And now they're walking to school by themselves with a mask on with no one else around. There is a fear that has gripped. We can't live our life out of the lens of fear. You have to live your life out of the lens of faith. But this kind of evil causes us to question that. That kind of evil causes us to wonder, can we trust God?
Can we trust his promises? And what Paul's trying to help him see is, okay, Timothy, so notice this. Let's remember some of your past progress. Verse 10, now you, he's contrasting him with these people that are going down very bad paths. Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and suffering. Such has happened to me in Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra. What persecutions I endured and out of them all, what's the punchline?
The Lord rescued me. I would encourage you to remember past progress, to literally kind of look in the rear view mirror, not maybe a year or two, but to try and even if you need to sit quietly and ask God, or especially with family members, where has God shown up in the most challenging and difficult times in our life? And you would start to tell stories about taking one of your kids to the ICU. You'd start telling stories about a time where you thought there's no way your marriage is going to work. You'd start talking about time when you got laid off or a company shut down and you had literally no money, no groceries. You talk about a time in some of our cases when one of you had cancer and it was very questionable whether you were going to make it. And you start looking back, looking back, looking back, looking back, and you would have a story that God has rescued you out of things in the past. He's not idle.
And by the way, I know I'm a broken record. If you keep watching a lot of news, you will live in fear because the news is made and geared to be sensational. It's to get your attention and to keep you watching. And when you keep watching, since you're a product of your thought life, you will assume that the things that are happening on the news are going to happen to you and the lens in which you will look at the world is it's negative, it's violent, it's terrible, it's bad, and it's not going to get better. And so your only two choices are one is to isolate or to compromise or medicate yourself in some way.
And you can do it with drugs, you can do it with alcohol, you can do it with work, you can do it with escape. And so, you know, you need to kind of be aware of what's going on. But if you get on and watch your news feeds and you scroll and every time that thing goes off, oh, can you hear it? There's another shooting and what about this and what about that? When's the last time someone said, I just like to declare that in the last 10 minutes there were about 27.5 million acts of kindness of people who cared for one another. I got an email from a friend who works in the global south and he gave the statistics of the number of people in the last two or three years that have come to Christ in the global south. It's more of all the people that have come to Christ in all of church history. God's working and you don't get any good news. God's working in amazing ways here and all around the world. There's young people that are on fire for God. They're not all just a bunch of slackers. There are people that are doing things like never before that are innovative in light of all this pandemic that are helping people and doing things that are beyond your wildest dreams. But you know what?
It's not going to make, it's not going to make the news. And we have by and large a church that is living out of fear. And perfect love casts out fear according to the Bible. And the second thing he says, look, persecution is normal.
Look at verse 12, indeed all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Contrast, but evil people and impostors will proceed from bad to worse. Deceiving, and here's what you remember, and being deceived. You understand that some of the most terrible things that are happening in our world are happening by people who absolutely believe with all their heart they're bringing good and making things better. And if you don't get that, you'll either think they're stupid, bigoted, anti-intellectual like they think we are.
And you'll never get to know them or listen to where they're coming from. But does anybody remember a guy named Saul? Just you know, remember him? Remember his testimony? He says God was gracious to me because out of ignorance Saul was absolutely committed, knew the Bible inside and out, was actually committed to crushing this movement called The Way. Christians.
Why? To honor God. The most dangerous people in the world are people with religious zeal believing they're doing what they're doing for God. We had a pastor was with us a couple weeks ago, and this is so fresh. And we heard his testimony.
In fact, we got it on film. He's with Isis and was being trained as an assassin. And he finished his training and got his target and was on his way to finish the job. And he had a, I can't even describe it, he had this intervention moment where God spoke to him. And it's too long a story to tell, but in that moment he responded to that which resulted in him coming to Christ. And how many people personally has he led to the Lord? Thousands. I mean, and it was like 19,000 and something and someone said, well, how do you know?
He said, because I was the one who baptized them. Don't be ashamed. Be bold. Be strong. Be strong in grace.
And, there's a connection, and the things that you have heard. Entrust to faithful men, faithful women, faithful children, faithful grandchildren, neighbors, friends, people at church. Don't just keep going to meetings. Where do we want to go?
Let's be intentional. Let's walk through this together. Let's be difference makers in our little sphere. That's all you have to do. You don't have to be famous. You don't have to be big. You don't have to be smarter. You don't have to be more educated.
You just have to be willing. And he's going to get to the end and he's going to show you and me how it actually happens. And so he says to Timothy, giving a little more encouragement here, he says, verse 14, you, however, I love that, continue in the things that you have learned and become convinced of knowing from whom you've learned them. And from childhood, you've known the what? Sacred writings, which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. And then this classic verse, all scripture is inspired or God breathed. And it's beneficial for teaching what's true and what's right. For rebuking, correcting when things are wrong for correction, not only it's wrong, but how to get back on track and for training in righteousness, how to make it habitually a part of your life.
Why? So that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work. You know, it's powerful. It's powerful. God's word is powerful. We have done some research at Living on the Edge and we partnered and got some information from the American Bible Society and you might be shocked, but can I tell you, the average Christian does not read the Bible.
It gets worse. We commissioned to study because we were ministering to pastors, all evangelicals, but from about 45 or 50 different backgrounds or denominations. And in our survey, only 21% of pastors ever opened their Bible except for sermon preparation. The reason we're investing so much in pastors, anemic pastors produce sick sheep.
You know what Paul knew? There's a lot of pressure for a pastor like Timothy. There's a lot of pressure for pastors today all over the world in here.
There's a lot of pressure for people like you who have a lot on your plate. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll get right back to today's message from our series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker. But before we do, Chip's here in studio to share a quick word.
Thanks, Dave. You know, the apostle Paul is talking to Timothy about not giving up. And what I want you to know is pastors all across the globe and about 40% of pastors in America have said they are ready to give up. Your pastor, children's pastors, youth pastors, senior pastors, they need our help. And at Living on the Edge, we stepped into this gap and we are helping pastors like never before.
But I need your help. Will you give to Living on the Edge during this pivotal time of our match? Just go to Living on the Edge, all one word, livingonthedge.org. And right now, every gift given before December 31 will allow us to channel a significant portion of the resources of Living on the Edge to help pastors here and around the world. Thanks so much for praying and then doing whatever the Lord chose you to do. Well, if you'd like to be a part of ministering to even more pastors in 2023, give a gift today and every dollar we receive between now and December 31 will be matched. Call 888-333-6003 or go to livingonthedge.org.
App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, let's get back to today's program. I want to tell you a story and if you identify with it, it was the last church I pastored and one of my jobs always was, what's the next pipeline for the next elders? And I had a process where they didn't know I was doing this, but I went to the staff and I went to our present elders and just tell me, who are people that are actually leading? They're real leaders in our church.
And then I would just call them privately or stop them in the hall and say, hey, I wonder if you'd be willing to kind of meet with me every other week for about three months. I'm just pulling a group of guys together. I've been told that you're one of our leaders. You're doing this and this and these ministries. And the elders told me or the staff, and I'd just like to get to know you.
And if there's any way I could be helping your life, that'd be wonderful. And usually they all said yes. And so I always started it the same way and I had sort of techniques behind why I was doing what I was doing. I told, well, we'll start at four, we'll be done at 5.30. And the moment four started, I said, okay, guys, tell you what I'd like to do is whatever's on your heart, I'd like you to first, let's thank God. And then any issues that are going on in your life you'd like to pray about. And they don't know each other. I said, are you ready?
And they're looking at me. Yeah, let's pray. And I said, rather than that how everyone prays maybe once and then we move on, I'm going to set my phone for 15 minutes. So you can pray once, twice. You can pray conversationally.
It's on the dot at four o'clock. We start praying. Guess what happens if you're late? You're walking into a room with a bunch of people praying and you go, oh my gosh. And then the first round of praying is like, oh Lord, you know, normal. And then it gets a little bit more honest, a little bit more honest. And then I have a thing that I take them through and my first question is, just tell me a little, your story. Just give me a sense of you, your life, your journey, family, where you work.
And they go around and, you know, we're getting to know each other. And then I ask this question, tell me your relationship with God's word. What? Yeah, tell me your relationship with God's word. Because according to Jesus and the parable of the soils, your relationship to the word reveals and determines your relationship with the Lord.
No exceptions. The parable of the soils was the kingdom, the secrets and the mysteries of the kingdom. And God's truth goes forth and it lands on four kinds of hearts. And there's four different responses. Only one produces fruit.
But if there's no even truth going in, and so I mean, these are leaders. So the first one is a doctor. He says, well, I pulls out his phone.
He goes, my life's really busy and I got three kids and the practice is really heavy. And so I open you version and I read the verse of the day. That's it. I mean, I had to sort of, you know, I don't want to be judgmental.
So it's like, you know, very calm. Oh, okay. And I try and think about that verse. Okay, great.
Next. You know, I'm really running a really big company and it's really important. I usually leave a little before six and I work out. And sometimes, you know, I try to listen a little bit to the Bible maybe when I'm a thing, but I'm not very disciplined at that.
But I mean, it's a Silicon Valley, man. You can't imagine the pressure. And then I get home about 830 and I try to at least tuck my kids in bed. Okay, next.
You know, I don't know exactly why you asked me, but I'm not only not reading the Bible, my marriage is in trouble and I'm not sure it's going to make it. And so he talks for a while. And next. And so we got near the end of that one and they know me. And you know, I knew of them, so they know I'm very direct. And so I'd ask them a question about your dreams and your future and your kids and et cetera like this. And I said as calmly as I could, I said, man, it's a real privilege and I appreciate what you're doing and serving in the church.
I want to make a comment and this is going to be very, very important. Because I talk a different way with people out like this than I do with leaders. I said, I want to each one of you to know that the dreams and the hopes that you shared, your current trajectory, I will tell you for certain, they will not happen in your life. And you will have heartache and pain and family breakup and a life that is not what you expect.
And I can guarantee that. Because none of you are in the scriptures. I came home and I said, Teresa, I'm shutting the group down.
I'm not going back. And she said, why? I said, these are our leaders. I'm the pastor of the church.
I actually know who's teaching most of the time. And this is what we're producing? There is no life too busy. Man can't live by bread alone, but only by the word of God. The word of God is living and active and sharper than the two-edged sword and pierces to the division of soul and spirit and joint and marrow and reveals the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Thy word was found and I ate and it came for me the joy and the delight of my soul.
All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for. It's the equipper. It's the changer. It's the power. God takes the written word, makes it the living word, develops convictions and transforms your life.
It's the renewing of your mind. And so I thought it was pretty tough on him. And Teresa said, don't stop the group, Chip. You're just emotional. I said, you're right. So I went back and I'm thinking this is going to get better.
I mean, I hit him pretty hard, but my, my, my deal is if you're a leader, if you can't, you can't take it and hit hard, go do something else. Now this is the kingdom of God. These are people's souls. We're not trying to run a company.
We're trying to go public. This is forever stuff. You got to take this seriously. So, you know, they all got together and we had good fellowship and they were, by the way, they were all great guys and all had great leaderships. So guys, you know, before we get started, you know, we had our prayer time.
Could you share with me your relationship with the word of God? So I thought, okay. I said, guys, we got with everybody. I said, you know what?
This leadership stuff is pointless. And I said, we're going to learn to get into the Bible together in a way that you can understand it and practice it. And I had a couple of resources that I felt have always helped me. And I got those guys together and the one guy, and I, and I say this because I mean, he got in the Bible and God spoke to him pretty soon. His wife's coming to me. He goes, what did you do?
I said, it's not me. I got a new husband. I mean, he comes home, we eat as a family.
In fact, okay, you got to get this sort of over top. He's having a Bible study. He and these other men at nine o'clock, five nights a week.
I'm thinking that might be a little over the top. The guy that used to get up and work out started to get into God's word. About six weeks later, he said, you know, it's an amazing thing to eat dinner with your family. I'm tucking my kids in bed.
The friction of my marriage is gone. The guy whose marriage was falling apart really struggled and these guys got around him. He goes, well, he was a football star and finally said, you know, are you willing to put in to be the man of God that you did to become the football star and play in these pro leagues?
And then he did. That guy is the boldest Christian I think I know. Mark my word, we are in the last days and all those things that you read in there are going to happen more and more and more. And there's going to be a group of people that will live by faith and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And they're going to be promise centered people that God's going to use to do the greatest things that have ever happened on the face of the earth. Or they'll be problem centered people that will live in fear and anxiety and they'll find some group to blame or some other person and they'll sit around whining in coffee shops talking about how terrible everything is and who's wrong and who's bad instead of being an instrument of righteousness equipped for every good work. So what I want you to know is that persecution is normal.
Buckle your chin strap. Understand this is what happens to warriors for Jesus in the midst of a fallen world. The world has changed. It's not coming back.
The morality of the America that you know is not coming back. Wow. Strangers in exile.
Oh my gosh. It almost sounds biblical. So live in such a way in such harmony. Never give evil for evil but give good for evil.
Right? 1 Peter 3. In order that the Lord might bless you and prosper you and have the kind of life that men and women would ask you in this corrupt world about the hope that's in you.
And you could respond with reverence and grace and kindness about Jesus. And that's what Paul's telling them. And I don't know about you but I think we're living in a day that is more and more parallel to that day than it was the last century. And so what we gotta do is we gotta you know we gotta delete the old software. We need to delete the old expectations. We need to just get in the computer of our mind and it ought to be this way and this and this and that and delete and delete and we need to reprogram. Power's God's word.
It's a very evil world. God is going to equip me. God's gonna protect me. He wants to use me right where I am in my network with my family and I'm gonna sow righteousness because if you sow to the flesh, corruption. When you sow to the spirit, righteousness, life, grace. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, Be Prepared, Don't Be Surprised from his series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker, a study of 2 Timothy. With all of the hatred and misconceptions pointed at Christianity nowadays, it's really difficult to be a genuine follower of Jesus. In this new study, Chip's gonna encourage us that now more than ever, we can't just settle for saying we're a Christian.
We have to live like one too. Chip will help us put that into practice as he highlights four compelling challenges from the Apostle Paul's final letter to Timothy. Join us as we learn how to live more God-honoring lives and better disciple others along the way. To get more plugged in with this series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker, visit livingontheedge.org. That's livingontheedge.org. Well, before we go any further, Chip's with me in studio again to share a quick word with all of you.
Thanks so much, Dave. We are living in a crazy time, but now it's the Christmas season and by God's grace, you know, we get to celebrate the birth of Christ and remember that there's hope and as the holidays get rolling, here's what I know happens. People intend, they've listened to a program and they said to themselves, you know what, I'm gonna support Living on the Edge. Oh, I want to help those pastors or they're reaching the next generation and you kind of get excited and you're in your car and you intend to do it, but the truth is you haven't done it yet. So this is just me pausing today to say turn your good intention into an action.
I do the same thing all the time. I was just doing an interview for a program and during the interview, they showed a video about getting water to the neediest people in a part of Africa where the kids were dying and drinking this bad water and the spirit said, I want you to give to it. Well, I got home and I got busy, busy, busy, busy, and this morning I woke up and it was like, oh, oh, I remember I was gonna, I was gonna give to that project.
And so it was like, man, I almost forgot. And so I wrote a check this morning and gave, but I want you to know is that the intention is great, but the action is what makes a difference. If God has been prompting you to give to Living on the Edge for all the kind of things we've talked about, now's the time to do it. And Dave, why don't you tell them why it's such a good time to give?
Be glad to, Chip. Well, right now, every gift we receive until midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar. So if you're being ministered to by Living on the Edge, now really is the perfect time to partner with us. To send a gift, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or go to livingontheedge.org.
App listeners tap donate. Well, with that, Chip, let's get to your application for this message. Thanks, Dave. As we close today's program, could I encourage you to get your Bible and read 2 Timothy chapter 3. I mean, read it very, very quickly. And you'll read 20 different things that the Apostle Paul will say.
Don't be surprised. We are living in the last days now. In fact, the last day started when Jesus came. And then notice at the very end of the chapter, the antidote to all the things that are happening for you as a follower of Jesus Christ is the power of God's Word that's breathed out, that is profitable for teaching, training, redirecting your life and empowering you to do all that God wants you to do. Here's my question for you today. What is your relationship with the Word of God?
Is it precious? Are you in it daily? Are you listening to it?
Are you reading it? And most importantly, when God prompts through his Word, do you obey it? If you will obey quickly, you'll begin to experience God in a new and powerful way.
The world certainly is a challenge, but God has given us all we need through his Word and his people to live it out faithfully. Keep pressing ahead. Don't get discouraged. Thanks, Chip. As we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Well, then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. There, you can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship, and so much more. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus, and the Chip Ingram app is a great way to immerse yourself in Godly, enriching content. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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