Here's a fact. You will never have a marriage that God wants for you if you are not deeply connected to the body of Christ. Today I'll teach you how you can experience authentic community. 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 featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And we're in the middle of his newest series, Keeping Love Alive Volume 4. For the past several programs, he's been highlighting four relationships every marriage needs to survive. And in case you want to go back and listen to the other three volumes in this series, you can do that by going to specialoffers at livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. But with that, here's the remainder of Chip's message, An Intimate Relationship with Christ's Body.
He begins by identifying a practice vital to every marriage. Discipline is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Once you get in patterns into the Bible word, you don't hear it anymore. It's called sloth. Sloth is simply this.
It's the opposite of being disciplined. God speaks to you and says, you need to go talk to your wife and ask her for forgiveness. And what you do is say, you know what? I think I'm going to read a couple more chapters of my Bible. You're sinning reading your Bible. It's easy to get religious.
Discipline is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. God prompts you and says, you know what? You need to share Christ with so-and-so.
He's hurting. I know he's an outcast. I know he has a different sexual preference than you. I know there's a lot of stigma to it. But he's desperately in pain and shame and hurt and he needs you to break the barrier with him or you to break the barrier with her and look into their eyes regardless of their orientation and let them understand. There's someone that understands and someone that loves them and you want to introduce them to the one that can meet their deepest needs. Because that attraction and that sin is just like the heterosexual sins and the porn addictions and the sexual addictions and the lying and the affairs and all the other things that we Christians do.
Right? So what I'm saying is, God wants you to be his body. Jesus lives inside of you. So you're in desperate need of love and you're actually in more desperate need to give love.
The question is are you currently involved in experiencing authentic community? The third thing you need is a weekly practice. There's certain rhythms in scripture. Again, the Hebrews chapter 10, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering because they are wavering.
For he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how, in other words, let's think up ways. Let's conjure up ways. Let's have brainstorming about ways to stimulate one another to love and the good deeds. Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some. But encouraging one another all the more.
Why? As we see the day approaching, he is coming back. History, you understand, is not Eastern mysticism. It's not a circle.
It's not endless circles. History is linear. There was a beginning. It was called creation.
God spoke and it came into existence. And there's ups and downs in a plan and for the Old Testament history. And then Jesus came and he launched the church and he is coming back and there's a day where everyone in all the world will stand before a holy God. And every knee will bow before Jesus and say he's Lord of Lord and King of Kings. And those who we have not cared about or stiff-armed God will be apart from him.
And every believer, you and I, not for our salvation, but will stand before what's called the Bema Seat and I'm going to give an account to Jesus Christ. What did you do, Chip, with the time, the money, the gifts, the education, and the opportunity that I gave to you? You do understand that the top 1% of all the people in the world, if you make $50,000 a year, you're in the top 1% of the economy of all the world.
There's a whole third of the world that lives on a couple bowls of rice or $2 or $3 a day. The goal is not to make you feel guilty. The goal is to say you're a steward. You're a steward.
I'm a steward. You should enjoy every good thing God has given you, but you should also radically be sacrificial with a global view to say, God, I have this little thing called time and there's this long thing called eternity and what I do in time determines a lot of what happens in eternity. Heaven is not the socialist republic of Jesus. Everyone will be there. Everyone will be loved, but everyone's experience will not be the same. You who is faithful with a little, you've been faithful with much, and by the way, heaven isn't playing harps as much as I like worship services. There'll be plenty of worship. It's a new heaven and a new earth. The new heaven and the new earth will be a lot like the old earth except there'll be no sin.
It'll be perfect. God's original plan to walk with man. There'll be cities and there'll be culture and there'll be songs and there'll be books to write and we'll learn and learn and learn and it will be a real concrete place and there will be animals and skies and trees and we will have abilities unimaginable. Heaven is our hope, but how you live today has a direct relationship to what heaven's going to be like. I don't think we think about that much, but what was it about those early apostles that were willing to die? What was it about those people arm and arm that would go into the coliseums and sing and forgive the people just before they died? They had this anchor of their hope. It wasn't a religion.
It was Jesus himself and he made these promises and he said he's coming back and he actually said, I'm preparing a place for you and he said it was real. Here's my question. Do you believe in the supernatural and do you believe in the reality of heaven and the promises of Jesus?
Either you do or you don't, but it's not an intellectual question. My behavior and your behavior will demonstrate whether we believe that or not and God is telling me and he's telling you, guess what Chip? You can't do that without a life giving relationship with me and you can't do that without a genuine love for yourself of who I made you to be and seeing yourself the way I see you and you'll never do that by yourself.
You are so desperate for other men and other couples and you women for other women to do life in such an authentic way that we're stimulating, spurring one another on. I mean, haven't we all been around some people that walk really closely with God and you end the evening and you get in your car and you're driving home and there's just something about your time with them that, I have a mentor named Glenn and he started a bunch of orphanages in Zimbabwe and he's an old basketball coach and every time I'm with Glenn, I want to be more like Jesus. He's so soaked in God's word. He's like 78 and it's like, Chip, when are you going to go and do another pastor's conference with me in Zimbabwe? I just can't wait to go.
And you know, most people 78 are thinking, hey, my social security check was late this month, you know. Hey, asshole, I love our small group because we really get to pray. What's with you? My hip is really burdened.
My hip bothered me a lot. How are you? How about you, Mary Jane?
Well, my knee replacement isn't doing so well and my great-great-grandson, I think he's going the other direction. I'm not sure and God forgive us. Can I just ask you and challenge you, will you not be that?
Would you be that person when people get in the car or they leave your home or your group and they say, you know, boy, they sure don't have it all together. But there's a passion. There's something about them. There's this hunger.
There's this concern. There's something that they have that I want more of and if they had time, they'd recognize it's just a lot of Jesus, a lot of Jesus in your personality, a lot of Jesus in your values, a lot of Jesus in your priorities, a lot of Jesus in your calendar. And you're not religious and you're not quirky and you're not judgmental. You're just authentic.
But you have to have a weekly practice. There's got to be a rhythm. And so the question are, are you being a passive or active member of God's family?
And I get it couldn't be more hard than it's been in the last couple years, but I just still want you to ask it. I'm seeing all kind of people that used to be active and they're just passive now. And they got all kind of excuses. I mean, there are people that should not be in church that have health issues or that are older or that have issues and absolutely, you know. And then there's the other 95% that I can watch online later and I'm playing golf with my friends. You know, I can just have a cup of coffee and put my feet up and I'm listening to so and so and so and so and so and so and so and so and so and so. And I'm thinking, yeah, well, I hope those guys on video you're listening to when you have cancer show up at your door. And I hope they knock on your door and say, you know, I know it's been a lot of video, but I just, I'd like to give you a hug and tell you that God really loves you and could we maybe have a meal together.
I got news for you, that doesn't happen. I'm all for, I'm one of those people that people listen to. So I'm not against any of that, right? What I'm talking about is there is no substitute for face to face, heart to heart. I love you.
You love me. This is where I'm hurting. This is where you're hurting. I don't know if I can make it any longer.
I don't know if I can make any longer. Let's do this together. That's what we need. What must we believe about God for that to occur? I think the most important thing is this is love. And I think we've got this crazy idea that love is like this ethereal something that's floating out somewhere and we hope it just comes and lands on me. Oh, I feel God's love. I feel God's love. Now, you know what? I've had a couple mystical experiences and I have some friends that had some very mystical experiences where in just shattering terrible times they've actually felt the physical hands of God around them. But 99.8% of the time you're going to experience God's love and his hug and his words of life through a mortal body in whom Jesus lives called another person.
In fact, this isn't Chip. My commandment is this. This is Jesus speaking and it's the last night that he'll be alive on this earth. Love each other how? As I have loved you.
How was that? Oh, when it was convenient, when I felt like it, you know, when it worked out in my schedule, when? Once you love the way I loved you. Greater love has no one than this to lay down one's life for one's friend. And by the way, I think in some ways it'd be easier to have one great active moment of lay down your life physically than it is to lay down your life over and over and over and over and over and over to put the needs of others ahead of yourself. And if that's true for people outside your family, be careful. Here it comes. All right?
Be careful. What would it look like for you to have that attitude toward your mate? What would it look like in obedience to God regardless of what's going on or where you've been to lay down your life for your mate as an offering to God? It's what Jesus did. He laid down his life for you as an offering and aroma to the Father. You are my friends if you do what I command.
I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know what his master's business. Instead, I've called you friends for everything I've learned from my Father I've made known to you. Do you hear the intimacy? Do you hear the authenticity?
I mean, this is the God of the universe. You're my friends. You didn't choose me. I chose you. And there's a mission. I appointed you that you go and bear fruit and what kind? Fruit that will remain.
Why? So that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. And I think when you have those kind of relationships and that kind of focus, the kind of things the early church asked, oh, Lord, we see these brutal Romans taking these little children and they put them on the dump heap because there might be a small defect or because it's a girl and they wanted a boy and it was legal. God, would you hear our prayer? And we're going to take them. And we don't have enough food to take care of our own kids, but we're going to take them. Three pandemics in the first 300 years of the church.
Oh, God, would you preserve our life? Major cities were completely wiped out. Rodney Starks in talking about the rise of Christianity. He's a sociologist. I have no idea where he's coming from spiritually, but he charts three major pandemics that happened in the first 300 years. And he said, I mean, hundreds of thousands of people died, but the rich could flee to the hills. And the only people left in the cities were Christians. And when they died, bringing others back to health, they were literally called martyrs.
And so, I mean, like the New York cities of the day, the San Franciscos, the LAs, the Shanghai's of the day, people wouldn't come back. And the only people left were those that were nursed back to health by Christians or Christians that survived it. And he says, that is why by 313 AD, there were 60 million people in the Roman Empire and 33 million of that 60 million professed following Jesus. It's our radical love, people. Our radical love for each other, our radical love for those that don't have. This is my command, love each other.
You know, you got grown kids, you got grandkids, and I don't know about you. Do you ever just feel like, I don't really know what to pray? But you want to pray something that's significant? Colossians 1, Philippians 1, Ephesians 1, and Ephesians 3 are prayers in the Bible.
And I just don't know any better. And so all often, God, I bow my knees before the Father in heaven who knows all things, and I'm going to ask you now for Annie and Jason and Eric and Ryan and for their mates and all my grandkids, would you strengthen them today in their inner man so that they might be able to comprehend the height and the depth and the length and the width and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge? Lord, would you do that today? Guess what? You'll answer that.
You'll answer that. The second thing we need to know is his humility. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. It's humility. Do you realize he washed you at his feet?
See, we've got this. Well, I'll wash people's feet that I respect. I'll start loving him when he starts loving me. I'll start being a radical husband and caring when she becomes more affectionate.
Well, I'll become more affectionate when he, you know, gets off the blankety-blank sofa or TV or his gaming or work. And so we keep waiting for the other person to make the radical move. At one point, I memorized lots of scripture, but it probably wasn't for all the right reasons. I literally got to where if it was a cool passage I memorized it. Because when I memorized scripture, I didn't understand how it worked. I didn't understand renewing your mind. All I knew was my motives changed, my desires changed and things changed more rapidly. And God, I heard his voice like never before as I memorized scripture.
And so I started with a few verses and then I did a few chapters and then I did a few small books. And I don't say that to impress you. I just say, if you binge on Netflix and if you do social media, you're going to be the product of Netflix and social media. Hey, watch a good movie.
Check something out on Facebook here and there. But let me tell you, take classic passages, Romans 12, Colossians 3, the Sermon on the Mount. And it'll take a little while because your brain's kind of foggy and it's gotten really lazy. Remember when you could remember phone numbers?
All you can say is Siri call so and so or Alexa do this or Alexa do that. That convenience is costing you some things. I'm not saying you shouldn't use it.
I'm just saying compensate. If you took 15 minutes before you went to bed and you just keep reading that passage over and then you look at it and you sort of try and say it to yourself and you can't get it and you peak and you peak and you do that just before you go to bed, your sleep will change. Your mind will change. God will speak in your subconscious. And then pretty soon you have a chapter here and then you have something else here. And then pretty soon when you wake up, you know, God will bring this to your mind or that to your mind. And this is a passage that I memorized just because I thought it was cool. And it was probably a decade later as I studied it I realized there are only two places in the universe where God dwells in his fullness.
Think of that. Only two places in the universe where God can be all that he wants to be. One of them is in heaven because it's an absolute perfect environment with angels and seraphim praising and honoring him. Listen to Isaiah 57, 15. For thus says the high and exalted one who lives forever whose name is holy. I dwell on a high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit.
Why? In order to revive the spirit of the lowly, literally the broken, the hurting, the wounded, and to revive the heart of the contrite. When you come to God and peel back all the junk and broken, he will rush to meet you. Gentle and Lowly is a book by Dane Ortlund about the heart of Christ.
And I want to close with an excerpt from it. It just keeps opening my eyes to how much God loves me. In other words when Hebrews 5, 2 says that Jesus can deal gently with the ignorant and the wayward, the point is that Jesus deals gently and only gently with all sinners who come to him, irrespective of their particular offense. What elicits tenderness from Jesus is not the severity of the sin, but whether the sinner comes to him. Whatever our offense, he deals gently with us. If we never come to him, we will experience a judgment so fierce it will be like a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth at us. And he quotes some passages. If you do come to him, as fierce as his lion-like judgment would have been against us, so deep will be his lamb-like tenderness for us. We will be enveloped in one or the other. To no one will Jesus be neutral.
Consider what all this means. When we sin, we are encouraged to bring our mess to Jesus because he will know just how to receive us. He doesn't handle it roughly. He doesn't scowl. He doesn't scold.
He doesn't lash out the way many of our parents did. And all of this restraint on his part is not because he has a deluded view of our sinfulness. He knows our sinfulness far more deeply than we do.
Indeed, we are aware of just the tip of the iceberg of our depravity, even our most searching moments of self-knowledge. His restraint simply flows from his tender heart for his people. Hebrews is not telling us that instead of scolding us, Jesus loves us. It's telling us the kind of love he has. Rather than dispensing grace to us from on high, he gets down with us. He puts his arm around us. He deals with us in the way that is just what we need. He deals with us always gently.
Jesus described himself as gentle and lonely. When hard times come, isolation and secrecy are the enemy's greatest weapons. We need each other. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And the message you just heard, An Intimate Relationship with Christ's Body, is from our newest series, Keeping Love Alive, Volume 4.
Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. We've all seen those stories of couples who've been married five, six, or even seven decades. So what's their secret?
How did they make it? And better yet, how can we build those types of lasting bonds? Through the newest installment of our Keeping Love Alive series, Chip's identifying four relationships great marriages have in common.
Learn why these connections are so critical and how you and your spouse can better prioritize them in your marriage, starting today. If you missed any part of this series, catch up via the Chip Ingram app or at livingontheedge.org. Well, before we go any further, here's Chip.
I'll be right back to talk about today's message. But before I do, I want to give you a picture that I got to witness as a young pastor. There was a man there who was a master craftsman. I mean, he was a cabinet maker par excellence. And I remember watching him literally painstakingly with a piece of wood, use a lathe, and little by little by little by little, he did all these things that I couldn't figure out what was happening. And then, you know, all those little moments led to this absolutely beautiful piece of cabinetry or furniture.
And you know, sometimes we think little things don't matter, even calling them little things. And one of the quote little things that is the backbone of Living on the Edge are those people who support the ministry monthly. You know, I don't know if you are a current supporter or you've been praying about being a supporter, but let me tell you this. When you give monthly, it provides the bedrock and the consistency and the stability of all that we do here at Living on the Edge. So I want to thank you monthly partners for all that you do. And I would like you, if you're not a supporter, would you prayerfully today ask God, do you want me to support Living on the Edge? Do you want me to help Christians live like Christians?
And if so, would you like me to do it on a regular monthly basis? And by the way, thanks in advance for whatever God leads you to do. Thanks Chip. As you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant.
When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways only God can do. To set up a recurring donation, go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. You can also text donate to 74141.
That's the word donate to 74141. Well, here again is Chip to pass along a few final words for us to think about. Thanks so much, Dave. And as we close today's program, I want to revisit the last words in today's teaching. When hard times come, isolation and secrecy are the enemy's greatest weapons. We need each other. You know, I know enough to know that every marriage goes through ups and downs and seasons. And for some of you that in your maybe first or second really difficult season, you might think I've married the wrong person or this will never get better, let me tell you, pause, pause, pause. You are just where every couple has ever been. And those of us that stay strong hang in there, you will make it through this.
But here's the issue. When you go through a difficult time and those silent thoughts of bitterness and resentment and you're mad at her because she's not affectionate and you're mad at him because he's insensitive and you've drifted apart and you've both said things to each other and you've hurt and wounded one another and you don't want to be around each other, when you start isolating yourself or if little secrets, those secrets of the kind of things you know that are wrong, the kind of attitudes or maybe some substitute practices where you go online and whether it's fantasy or romance or pornography, these are the typical things that we human beings do when our marriages start drifting apart or get in trouble. Can I tell you, God is speaking to you personally today. Go find the greatest Christian you know that you can trust and tell them the thoughts that are in your mind or the practices that you're actually doing. Just honestly share, I know this isn't where I want to be and we've drifted apart. Keeping that front that everything's okay to others will do nothing but destroy you in the end. Get help.
Get it today. I needed marriage counseling and we went and God healed our marriage and because of that, I have grown kids that love God, that love their mates and they didn't grow up with a mom and a dad that were separated or divorced. You can do this, but you can't do it alone. Great encouragement, Chip. Thanks. As we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. You can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship and 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. From all of us here, this is Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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