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Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker - Be Faithful - Don't Shrink Back (2 Timothy 4), Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2022 5:00 am

Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker - Be Faithful - Don't Shrink Back (2 Timothy 4), Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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December 20, 2022 5:00 am

Have you ever thought about what it’ll be like to stand before God, and have every part of your life evaluated? Well in this program, Chip will help us get a new perspective, as he continues his series Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker. Join us as we learn how each one of us can give a good account of our lives.

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When was the last time you pondered what it will be like to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be evaluated for your whole life? Today we'll learn how each one of us can give a good account of our lives.

You don't want to miss it. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. We're nearing the end of our new series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker, and for these last two programs, Chip's going to highlight the fourth and final challenge the apostle Paul gave to Timothy and explain why this particular charge is so relevant to us now. If you're ready to dive in, let's join Chip now for his message, Be Faithful, Don't Shrink Back. Well if you have your notes open, the command of Jesus hasn't changed.

Go into all the world and make disciples. Now we have this sacred document of the apostle Paul in his final writings, at least that we have record of, and he says to a young pastor, you need to be bold, don't be ashamed. You need to be strong in the grace of God, don't get distracted.

You need to be prepared, don't be surprised. And then finally he's going to say you need to be faithful, don't shrink back. And in the introduction I said the insidious power of wanting to be accepted by the crowd. One of the most powerful things that keep you and keep me from doing and fulfilling all God wants us to do is the insidious power of wanting to be accepted by the crowd.

So much so as I was praying this morning, I thought of a number of personal illustrations and they would have been okay, but I thought of this one. I'm in Galatians 2, you can just listen. But when Peter or Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, Paul's writing, because he stood condemned. For prior to coming, some of the men of James, he used to eat with the Gentiles, but when they came he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those and the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, if you being a Jew live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like the Jews?

We are Jews by nature and not sinners from the Gentiles. Nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, since by works of the law no flesh will be justified. And he gets a little theological toward the end, but here's what happened. Apostle Paul comes to know Christ, he does some preaching, they lower him in a basket, he goes back to see the apostles, they wisely think he's probably not for real. Barnabas kind of says, hey, you know, for real, I mean this guy that was killing Christians, he was preaching, God's using him, and then he kind of disappears. We don't know all that, there's three years in Arabia, best we can tell, he goes back to his hometown for about ten years.

Who knows exactly what's going on? And then the church grows, and these Gentiles are coming to Christ, and so in Antioch they're living so much in their sacrificial love for one another that they just start making fun of them and call them little Christ ones or Christians, and the name stuck. And Barnabas, being the son of encouragement, realized, you know, that young Pharisee who was a persecutor of the church, God's calling on his life was the Gentiles, I tell you what, I've got to get some help around here, so he gets Paul to come to Antioch. And then the church flourishes, and you know, the missionary journeys float out of Antioch. And so Peter comes to visit, and Peter's kind of overcoming his commitment to the law, realizing that he's biased and he's prejudiced, just like all the rest of us, and he finds himself with this new freedom and he's eating with Gentiles, something forbidden all of his life as a young man.

And then some of the boys come down from headquarters. And they're converted Pharisees who, they love Jesus, they love him, but you know what, their context is a little different in administering to Jews, it's kind of like, Peter goes, uh-oh. And so he starts little by little, shrinking away, and then he doesn't, you know, like, I still remember this, I remember going to Bible studies on Thursday night and having these wonderful relationships, and then going into the cafeteria or the student union, and like my basketball buddies and the guys who were really cool, and then one of my Christian friends, especially maybe one that was a little bit socially awkward, and I can remember to my shame sort of hoping they don't see me because I don't want him to go, hey, Chip, how you doing, because these are the cool guys. Hypocrisy, just hypocrisy.

We all do that. Some of the biggest things that keep us from doing what God wants us to do, because if you take some of the steps we've talked about, some of your more conservative friends, you selling out? Selling out? You becoming friends with that person? That person prays for Biden, what are you thinking? Well, the Bible says to pray for the president. Oh, or it's the other hand, you hanging out with those radical Trumpites? You sharing Christ with them? See, when you start doing what God wants you to do, you're going to find that you're going to end up in the middle, and the people won't like you on the left, and the people won't like you on the right.

You might want to take that as a compliment. Isn't it interesting that the apostle Paul wants Timothy to understand in the challenges, the suffering, the calling, to be bold, to be prepared, to be strong in the grace of God, to make disciples, Timothy, here's the deal, from the time of Solomon to now, it's been true, the fear of man is a snare, but blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, Proverbs 29, 25. So what's the antidote to peer pressure? The apostle Paul knows the greatest antidote to peer pressure is God pressure. And so as you open your Bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 4, notice how he opens. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is the judge of the living and the dead, and by his peering and his kingdom. When I study the Bible, one of the things I like to do is, some people call it a mechanical layout, I like to rewrite the text.

So if you were rewriting the text, I solemnly charge you. So all of a sudden, those words, you know, you can do your little word study, and what you realize is this is like coming before a legal term, a court of appeals, this is a heavy, heavy moment. And then there's three levels, I charge you in the presence of God Almighty and Jesus Christ, who's what? Who's the judge of the living and the dead. So Timothy, as I end this and I'm ready to check out and I'm ready to head out to heaven, I want you to know that this final thing, I'm bringing you before Almighty God. And second, I'm going to bring you before the Son of God. And then I want to remind you that you're going to stand before him and he's going to judge you. And you're going to give an account of your life. But I want you to know, on account of his appearing, he's coming back. So you better stay on your A game every single moment of every single day, because you don't know when he's coming back. And by the way, there's a great reward, and I charge you because of his kingdom.

Because what you do now, and there's a reward in your whole life in the future, this is like heavy and then heavy and then heavy and then heavier. And then, so what's he tell him to do? He's going to command him to be ready to communicate and to apply God's word in unpopular ways with great patience in a hostile environment. If I wanted to summarize verses two through six, he's going to command him to be ready to communicate and then to obey God's word in unpopular ways with great patience in a hostile environment. There's actually five specific commands, but the first one is more overarching. He says, preach the word.

Second command, be ready in season and out of season to do what? To correct, to rebuke, to exhort. That's what you're to do. Well, how do you do it?

Do it with great patience and instruction. Let's do a little work together on this passage. So he says, I want you to, the word for preach is to be a herald. I want you to proclaim.

This is Timothy. I want you to tell people what the truth is. In fact, as he'll go on, he'll talk a little bit later because people will wander from the truth. He'll say, I want you to give them sound doctrine. And then he's going to tell them, in your declaration of the truth of God, it's more than just Bible stories. It's more than interesting illustrations. It's more than keeping people's attention.

It's more than helping them live better moral lives and being kinder neighbors. I want you to take the great doctrines of the church, and I want you to explain them and declare them and apply them. And here's how it works. I want you to preach the word of God, not your opinions. And then I want you to do it in such a way where it convicts, where it cuts to the heart, where it helps people to see who they are before God, where they see where this is the truth and this is where they don't measure up. And then I want you to go beyond that because after you do that, you're going to see that some people respond very positively and some people don't. And then I want you to rebuke.

It literally means to censure. It's like this is the truth, and it's a graceful, wonderful truth, but there's things that come with it in terms of obedience. And then I want you to help people see this is the truth, but this is where they're living.

And that delta is the grace of God and the gospel and the spirit of God and the work in their life. And so I want them to get to see that difference because if they don't, they can't respond. And then some will respond in obedience and some won't. And the ones that won't, I want you to go from correct or convict to rebuke. This is like to admonish.

This is like shooting it straight. This is like saying we're teaching. This is what your priorities are. This is what God says about our money and our possessions and our stewardship. This is what he says about our mental life and our sexuality. And you teach that truth because every command, listen carefully, every command of God in Scripture is for your good. There's no picture of like here's a command and you're on this side of the command and God's on that side of the command. The commands are like this and he's on this side with his arm around you saying, the wisdom of God, the Hebrew concept of wisdom is God has created a way for life to work. And so wisdom is, it's not intellectual, wisdom is the skill to understand this is how God tells me to do relationships. They're very counterintuitive, humility, other-centeredness, concern for others, caring, sacrificial. This is how you do your finances.

It doesn't belong to me. Generosity, stewardship, kindness, helping. This is how you deal with your enemies. Don't respond with evil to evil but good for evil. Pray for those who persecute you.

I mean this is like wacky stuff. He's saying that's the truth. The point behind it is when you follow the pattern. As you read through the Proverbs, look at the path, the pattern, the way. There's a path and that's how you experience the very best from God. He came that you might have life, you might have it abundantly, but you don't have an abundant life unless you're on the path with Jesus. Remember what he said?

Follow me. He didn't say preach what I did. He says I want you to actually do what I did as well as preach and tell people about my life.

I have this word picture that really helped me. I was a very, very slow learner as a new believer. I was thoroughly, God radically changed my life, but within three months I went away to school and it was Bible study on Thursday night and hanging out in the bars and stuff with the basketball team on Friday and Saturday and desperately trying to get up to go to church and making it about once a month. Feeling very, very guilty telling God I'll never do that again only to do the same things over and over and over and over and over and being just totally frustrated and living a double life. I didn't know much so I just kept reading through the New Testament. I couldn't understand the other part. But I got to the part at the end where it says his commandments are grievous unto us in 1 John. I thought I don't know about you, but they're really grievous to me. I just thought I think this guy's on drugs or he knows a different Jesus than me. Actually, there's four girls to every guy and I'm to be sexually pure and I'm committed to doing that and it's grievous.

Everyone else is sleeping around. It says I'm supposed to. It was so hard to be a Christian. And I had this picture of I'm on this side, there's all these commands and I can't keep them and I'm in this tug of war with God. And I'll never forget, I can't remember how at all. I think I memorized a passage somewhere about his obedience.

Obey in order that you might receive God's best out of the Old Testament. And I had this picture of this chalet up in the mountains, this beautiful overlooking and there was great food and great joy and great relationships. And I was at the bottom of one of those mountains where the hairpin turns and you get to the edge and you fall over a thousand feet. And I remember God gave me this picture of, you know what, this chalet, this is the life.

This is where you have an accurate view of yourself, where there's deep and rich relationships, where your deepest desires are fulfilled with people and life and purpose and career. And you're on this journey and it's this winding road. And, Chip, if you go off the road, you can drop a thousand feet and it really hurts. So what I did is I put guardrails all the way around that curvy road. And those guardrails are my commandments.

And the whole point of the guardrails are when you bump into them, you're aware and I convict you not because I'm mad at you but to stay on the road because I love you so much I want you to get my best. He that spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all, how will he not freely give us all things? Romans 8 32. And I remember the transition that happened when it wasn't like, it was always about rules and stop doing this or start doing that or you're supposed to read your Bible more or stop lusting or stop doing this.

And all of a sudden it was like, oh. So there's this way better life and these commandments, that's why they're not grievous. And so the teaching of God's word that you need to put yourself under is the teaching that is not just making you feel good or not just nice stories.

You know what? There's nothing wrong with a sermon that makes you feel good. And I would hope there's some nice stories. And I've said this, I've studied how churches grow all over the world. It's been a hobby.

I mean, different countries, if they've written a book on it, I've probably read about 90% of them. I'm just fascinated by how does God grow churches wide, grow deep, and impact their community. I call it the high-impact church.

And I don't mean this arrogantly. You give me a hot band and a motivational speaker, and I can grow a church without God to five or 10,000 people. There's sociological issues, there's certain things that you do, there's ways that you change in terms of your leadership structure. Now, there are churches of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50,000 that are very godly, very deep, and really teach God's word that I never evaluate healthy church or impactful church based on the size, large or small. The high-impact church sees lost people coming to Christ regularly, systematically.

It sees found people's lives actually changing, maturing, and investing their lives in others. And it's a church that sees the deepest needs in their community and realizes the gifts in this church were here in this community to help these people like never before. So if Jesus jerked your church out of that community, the city council, what are we going to do about the poor? What are we going to do about helping out the schools? What are we going to do with the teenagers that run away? What do we do about the drug problem? Because that church, that church was engaged and involved.

They were one of our right arms. All the social services, by the way, that we have today, all the things mostly the government does, you ought to read a book called Bullies and Saints by John Dixon. It's really thick.

I listen to it on Audible because really thick books put me to sleep. But he does an overview of the church. When the church was most saintly and made the greatest impact, hospitals were started by the church.

The Dark Ages weren't dark at all. We preserved scriptures. We preserved the greatest writings of Philo, Socrates, Plato, the seasons of the Crusades and the Inquisition. He shows the ugliness and the beauty of the church throughout the centuries. And what I want you to know is that God always finds this remnant of people and the church is constantly self-correcting. And I think people with the sincerest of motives said, you know, most churches aren't reaching lost people. Why don't we figure out how to maybe change some of our services to make it more attractive to lost people?

Great intention. We needed to be more sensitive to the culture. But over time what happened is instead of the church shaping the culture, the culture shaped the church, we fell in. And we started using the same metrics. We weren't measuring disciples.

We were measuring how many people showed up. I've been the pastor of a couple very, very big mega, mega churches. I had a hot band.

I teach God's word and I'm inspiring and motivating. And I'll never forget when Columbine happened. And it was a jolt to the country. And I remember thinking, how in the world can something like that happen? And I asked one of our most dynamic ministries, those fifth and sixth graders, and I asked this couple. I mean, it was like the high school has 300 or 400 people and this group has this and this. And we felt like we were being very successful.

And don't get me wrong. I just wondered, what is the diet like in our church? I mean, I'm the pastor, at least one of them. And so we did a little survey. And, of course, fifth and sixth graders, they're like honest. And they listed the kind of movies and kind of things that are fifth and...

These are Christian families. I mean, some of it was just vile. And I just thought, oh, my, we are measuring some of the wrong stuff. And so sometimes when you really want to rebuke people, you've got to have to come in the side door because when you come in the front door, they could get really upset. So I'll never forget this.

I got there the next week. And people were concerned. What are we doing with our kids? What's happening in the culture?

I mean, think of how long ago this was. And so I often had what I called family time. Before I would preach, I'd come out and sit on a stool and just talk about kind of where we're at.

Here's our vision or here's the struggle. And so I said, we need to have a little family time because something's happened. And so I tried to come in the side door.

I said, hey, I just need to talk with you all because there's something that's occurred that is, I mean, crazy, and it's kind of scary. We've done a recent survey, and I just need to tell some of you parents, your fifth and sixth graders are getting up in the middle of the night and they're sneaking out of your house. I don't know how they do it, but they're getting in your car. They're driving, oh, remember, they're driving to Blockbuster. They're actually, I mean, they are renting movies that I'm sure you would never let them watch.

And then they're coming and they're watching them until the middle of the night, and then they drive back and they put them at Blockbuster, and their values and what's happening in their life right under your roof, and I just felt like I should make you aware of that. And I remember we pushed the pause button, and we said, you know, we're going to measure what kind of Christians are leaving our church, not how many people show up. And it started us on a journey, and we had to repent.

And we still did it very imperfectly. But for the last at least 25 years, my passion has been to help Christians live like Christians, and pastors measure the quality and the health of the ministry by are you preaching the Word in a way that convicts, rebukes, and then don't miss this, and exhorts. The word means to encourage. And it's an interesting word that can be applied two ways. Sometimes it means to exhort, like get with the program, and sometimes it means to comfort someone in their struggle.

It's para kaleo, para alongside kaleo, to call. So he says, Timothy, here's what you need to do, man. It's a crazy world. You gotta suffer. It's evil now.

It's not gonna get any better. But here's what you do. You in the midst of this, you teach God's Word.

This is true. All have fallen short of the grace of God. Christ came and died in our place as our substitute. He has risen from the grave.

There is a heaven, there is a hell. Jesus is coming back. He has paid the price for all mankind, and whosoever would put their trust in Him can have eternal life, and it begins right now. That's the message, Timothy. And then this is how you walk and are sanctified by the Spirit and the Word of God in the context of community so that we're lights. We hold forth the light of God's Word in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Preach it, son. As we close today's program, I have to tell you that God wants to use you. But the prerequisite, what matters first and foremost, is have you ever personally received Jesus as your own Savior and Lord? Do you know for certain if you would die right now that you would be ushered into the very presence of God because you, by faith, have received God's grace? If you've never done that right now, even as we think about that moment that all of us will stand before a holy God who loves us and cares for us and made provision, but He's provided the gift, but the gift must be received. If you've never received Jesus, I would encourage you right now, pray with me. Pray, Heavenly Father, I confess to you today that I'm not the person I need to be, that I've done wrong, I've thought wrong, I've said things that I know that are wrong, and you call that sin and it separates me from you. But today I believe that Jesus died in my place on the cross to pay for my sin, and your promise was that you're knocking on the door of my heart, and if I would open up my mind and my heart to you and receive you and accept your forgiveness in my place, that you would give me eternal life. And so right now I ask you, forgive me, Lord.

Come into my life and help me to walk with you all the days of my life. In Jesus' name. And if you prayed that with me, could I encourage you to text the best Christian that you know or give him a call, find a Bible teaching church, and then go to livingontheedge.org, that's livingontheedge.org, and we have some information right there to help you in your new walk with Christ.

That's right, Chip. If you just prayed to receive Christ, we'd love to put a resource in your hands called Starting Out Right. Now, this is a tool that'll help you gain a clear biblical understanding of what it means to put your faith in Jesus. Request this free resource by calling us at 888-333-6003 or by visiting livingontheedge.org and clicking on the New Believers button.

That's livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Let us help you get started in your faith journey. Well, Chip's still with me in studio, and Chip, sharing the gospel, like you just did, is the main focus of our ministry. But another burden that's on our hearts is for pastors who are hurting all around the world. And for the past few years, we've devoted a lot of time and resources to supporting these church leaders. Well, take a minute, if you would, and share how and why we're doing this, because this is meaningful work that many people don't know about.

Well, Dave, that's right. In the wake of the pandemic, pastors were weary. They were discouraged, and they had unprecedented challenges. And so we created a resource called The Art of Survival. It's a teaching out of James 1 about persevering. During the pandemic, we began to reach out every month for 18 months to pastors, and we ended up with over 10,000 pastors in 60 countries partnering with us.

Then we saw that we needed to go on the ground. So we've been on the ground in India, Africa, Mexico, and we've now trained 60,000 pastors in The Art of Survival in their country in one-day live seminars. And I think the beauty of it was watching them come together and pray, cry, support one another. And the testimony was, now we're not going to quit the ministry. And what we've seen now is we have requests from all around the world.

Here's my request. Would you partner with us to help pastors, under-resourced pastors, in very challenging situations to have hope and to get help through The Art of Survival? 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. So encouraging to hear, Chip. Well, as you consider how you'd like to partner with us, I want to share that in 2023, we hope to reach 170,000 more pastors with this helpful resource.

And your support will help make that happen. To give a gift, go to livingonthedge.org or call 888-333-6003. And as Chip mentioned, every dollar we receive between now and December 31 will be matched dollar for dollar. So go now to livingonthedge.org or call 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap Donate.

Just before we close, our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. And one of the best ways we can continue to do that is through programs like this one. So when you hear a message that's especially helpful, we hope you'll pass it on to others.

Now, you can easily do that through the Chip Ingram app or by forwarding them the free MP3s you'll find at livingonthedge.org. And don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life. Well, join us next time as Chip wraps up our study of 2 Timothy and our series, Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker. Until then, this is Dave Druey. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
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