One of the greatest challenges I've faced in my life is when God tests my faith by directing me to give money to help other people. Because here's what happens with me.
I think to myself, if I give away that money, who's going to take care of me? The issue is, how do you choose peace when you're afraid God won't provide for you? That's today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The goal of this international discipleship ministry is to encourage Christians to really live like Christians. While we're nearing the end of our series, I Choose Peace, How to Quiet Your Heart and the Chaos of Life, for these last two programs, Chip will illustrate the ways sincere acts of compassion and generosity can strengthen our dependence on God and the peace he's given us. So, if you're ready to learn how to put that into practice, let's join Chip for his message in tests of faith. Well, we are going to go on a little journey together.
And if history, in my experience, is any indicator of the future, some of you will literally mark this weekend in this room as a major turning point in your life. Because we're going to give you the final installment on contentment. We're going to give you the last secret, the last part.
But at the end of the service, you know, I hate it when people sneak things up on you. At the end of the service, I will give you an opportunity to make a very specific decision. And that decision will activate the faith component in this process of contentment. And many of you will take it and you will experience peace and contentment and the beginning of a journey in your Christian life that most believers never experience. So, I ask you and pray for me as we begin, Lord God, I pray that you would fill me afresh with your spirit, that you would open people's hearts and minds not to hear my voice but to hear yours.
I ask that I could be clear that you would give me a sensitivity to what you want to say. And then, Lord, I pray, would you give us the grace and the faith and the courage to believe that what you say is true to the point of acting on it. In Christ's name, amen. Number one on the checklist by way of review is that we need to understand contentment is learned, Philippians 4, 10 to 13. There is a secret that it can be learned and you can actually be at peace regardless of circumstances being good or bad. Checklist number two from the Philippian church we learned that greed must die before contentment can live.
That was verse 14 to 18. And the way that greed dies is by developing personal compassion. We learn we give our wants, give up our wants to meet some other people's needs. It's by a generous spirit where we begin to release the very thing, money, that can consume us. And third is by developing an eternal perspective.
Coming to believe and understand that spiritual decisions and financial decisions instead of being in two different camps are literally connected at the hip. Third thing in our checklist we need to remember is that our treasure both reveals and directs the affections of our heart. Matthew 6, 21, Jesus would say, wherever your treasure is, what's valuable to you? Wherever your time goes, wherever your energy goes, wherever your money goes, wherever your talent goes, wherever your treasure is, your heart is like connected with a chain to your treasure and if your treasure goes there, it reveals where your heart is but also has the power to direct it. Different times in my life I've realized that I needed to shore up some priorities or I needed to work on an area in my marriage with one of my kids and here's the thing, try this. I started putting my treasure toward that area. I put my time, my money and my treasure toward my wife for a season and it's amazing how God changed my heart. Or I put my time and my treasure and my energy toward one of my kids going through a tough time and I saw my heart follow.
Your money, your time, your talent always reveals and directs wherever your heart is. Peace is great. I mean we all want it intellectually.
The way to get there is very counterintuitive. The way to get is to give and that raises a problem. Some of you are thinking to yourself, becoming more generous and being more compassionate. That's good except I got a stack of bills this high. I got tens of thousands of dollars in debt. If I actually took serious what you said last week, who's gonna take care of me? Who's gonna pay my bills? I got needs. There's college, there's retirement. Is this like church stuff?
Does this really work? Who's gonna take care of me? That's the problem. And what I want to suggest is God has a solution and the solution is at the very end of Philippians chapter 4, it's verse 19. And in verse 19, he says, and my God, Paul says to this Philippian church, will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. If you will, pull out a pen and underline the word my God. That's the who behind this promise.
And then I want you to underline all your needs and put a circle around all. Doesn't say finances, does it? This is a generous church.
They don't have a lot of money. They love Paul. They see what's happening and they've got some wants but see he has a bigger need so they give financially to him. And he looks back to him and says, you know, what you've modeled is how people learn contentment. And then almost to reassure me, he says, here's what I want you to know. When you're generous like that, when your priority is in order and you're afraid, I want you to know my God, personal God, not the force, not some invisible set of factors that operate but a very personal God who loves you, what's he gonna do? He'll supply all your needs, your spiritual needs, your emotional needs, your financial needs, your relational needs.
How? He's gonna do it according to the glorious riches, what's in Christ. And so the promise he gives them and he gives us is God's provision. God's provision. God says if you learn to live this radical give rather than get, compassion and generosity, he says, I'll tell you what, you relax and I'll take care of you. I'll make sure you have what you need to take care of you. But with every promise, there's also what I call a premise.
And there are three conditions here. In other words, my God will supply all your needs according to his riches. You can say, oh, that's great. I mean, God's faithful, he's big and, you know, I've got needs and he'll take care of those. But some of you have said to yourself, wait a second, I've been in church for a while, I've read the Bible some.
I've tried this, it doesn't work. Okay? I mean, down deep, you never say it out loud. It's not like you go to a Bible study and say, hey, I don't think verse 19 of chapter 4, I don't believe that one.
You don't say that at Bible studies. But down deep in your heart, you're praying and you say, you know, I'm praying and God's not providing. I've got needs and I've got a bill over here and I've got a problem over here.
He's not doing it for me. I like to suggest that sometimes we get needs and wants confused. If you've got enough to eat and you're warm, God says, really, that's all you need. I mean, that doesn't have 401K, doesn't mean you own your own home, doesn't mean you have a second car, doesn't mean you have all the fanciest clothes, doesn't mean... And, you know, we say that intellectually, but unconsciously in America, as standard of livings go up, up, up, up, up, what we do is we make a little bit more money and the window of our expenses go up. And we start thinking that God has promised that we always live at this level all the time and something happens and we say, hey God, what's the deal? When I was in seminary, I had a very interesting experience.
I think God takes you through things before you teach him. And so, I'm going to school full time, working full time, and I'm on this straight commission job where I make about $900 a month. And I'm back in 1980, that still wasn't very much money. Family of five.
I mean, you're living tight. And so, every now and then, I was in a straight commission job and if someone didn't pass their physical, I didn't get my commission. And it would be like, oh man, and so someone would, and then I'd have my rent and I'd need some food and I didn't have any money. And we were digging quarters out of the back seat and praying and begging God and claiming Philippians 4.19 and, you know, and I could give you, I could stand up here for an hour of stories of how God provided and built my faith. I could tell you the story of a time where a good friend who went to be a missionary from India, and you know, you've got to figure, if God prompts him, he knows what's happening over here. By the time they decide to send you some money, it goes all the way overseas and you get this, I mean, I didn't have enough money for rent, a guy failed his, you know, medical so I couldn't get the commission. I get a $500 check from a missionary in India. When missionaries are sending you money, you know God's hearing you.
But no matter where you're at, you can get thinking, and I love to hear those stories, but we can confuse needs and wants. And we had a particular situation where I think God wanted to teach us a big lesson. And there was a lady upstairs in our apartments and her husband walked out on her and she had a brand new baby and then a little boy the same age as my older boys. And I was, you know, just like you, getting up in the morning, reading my Bible, and this outrageous thought came to my mind, she's going to get kicked out of the apartment. Chip, you and Teresa, you should pay her rent. And I said, surely you jest, God. I said, you know, I've figured it out. When we pay our rent, we'll have $10 left in the bank.
Chip, I want you to pay her rent. And, you know, sometimes when people get up in their pastors and you think they're real obedient and real holy and they make these outrageously sacrificial, I argue with God a lot. So, I mean, I said, no. I don't think this is a good idea. I think this is my imagination. This could not be the Holy Spirit.
I mean, when you get thoughts that help other people or are highly sacrificial, bring glory to God, I mean, well, I guess they're probably not from you. And so about the third day, finally, I give in and say, okay, God, I mean, this is a reluctant giver. I'll do it. And, you know, my heart went out to her, so we took all our money out of the bank and we paid for her rent. And so, you know, about nine days later, our rent's due, and I'm thinking, okay, Philippines 419, you're going to supply all my needs. My rent's due. My rent's due. Gabriel, do we have a communication problem up here? Could you, you know, I mean, no money comes. It's the first time in my life.
I mean, I've seen miraculous things happen now for about two years. There's no money. Next day, I get a three-day grace period. No money. Third day, I got to pay. Today's the day or it's late. Now, God, your reputation, what are you doing?
Philippines 419, does this work or not? I'm really pretty upset. And I'll never forget walking, and, you know, it's a little tiny. It was a government-subsidized little housing project. And I remember walking to our little living room and I looked and I saw, not an expensive at all, but a TV. And I thought, hmm, TV, is that a need or a want? Want. Then I looked over at a stereo system that I'd had for a few years and actually went on a basketball trip to Hong Kong.
It was pretty nice. Is that a need or a want? And then I thought, you know, when I was a paperboy, I saved all my silver dollars and the silver dimes. And back in the 80s, remember when silver got real valuable? I thought, you know something?
Maybe God has supplied all my needs and I'm asking Him for something. And I shared it with my wife and we loaded up in our car, my TV, my stereo, my silver dollars, my silver dimes. Teresa went back and she didn't have any real expensive jewelry, but she had a couple of three nice rings and a couple of necklaces. And we went to a pawn shop and we turned in everything we could and got about $447 or something. And we paid our rent and had enough money for food for that month. And you know what I learned?
I learned often God has supplied our needs. But we unconsciously tell Him that what standard of living He has to come through. You know, God, I can't do that because I have to make that car payment and you have to have that late model of car. God, I can't do that or I would really follow you except I had this house payment. So everyone has to own your own home, right? You're taking your home with you to heaven, right?
And you have to live in this neighborhood with this zip code. The Apostle Paul is going to say if you're serious about contentment, you need to be serious about God's promises. And he said there's three conditions about verse 19. Condition number one, this is not for unbelievers.
This is written to a church, notice, He will supply according to His riches in Christ Jesus. I mean, I didn't come to Christ until I was 18. God does not commit Himself to meet the needs of those outside of Christ. The second condition is I don't believe this passage is for all believers. I don't think every Christian can claim this.
I don't think my priorities can be out of whack. I can be disobedient in major areas of my life, especially my finances and claim this verse. This verse is written to who? The Philippian church who are doing what? They're sacrificially giving up of their wants to meet a need in Paul's life. And the answer is my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus for people like you who are doing what?
Have their priorities in line. Third condition is I think this is only for believers who've chosen to walk by faith evidenced by sacrificial giving. God will meet the needs of His children who say, Lord, I want to obey You. I'm sacrificially giving of my money and my time and my talent and I'm out here on the edge and if You don't catch me, I'm in trouble. He says, I'll always catch you.
I'll always catch you. And so the way that you unlock the promises of God is by faith. It's by trusting.
Would you jot down, we'll probably get to it yet again, but jot down Hebrews 11 6 in the corner of your notes if you will. It's more than anything that God wants to develop in your heart and your relationship. It's not activities. It's not external morality. It's not how much money you give or how much you serve in the church.
It's not trying to figure out how you can figure out some little formula. What He wants to develop in your heart more than anything else is a son or a daughter or a student who says, I love you Jesus and I evidence my love by you that when you say it, I obey it and I trust you even when I don't feel like it because I believe that you are good and I believe that you are real and I believe that you're true. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe two things. One, it says that He is, that He exists. And second, He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Did you ever think of God as a rewarder, as a good God who's for you and loves you and wants to bless you and is longing for each of His children to take a step of faith so He could bless?
God promises He'll take care of you. And the evidence of our pile of debt is often an evidence that I have to have immediate gratification. The evidence of our overextension with our time and our finances is trying to get contentment, trying to get satisfied by all the stuff out there. And over against that, God says, the more, more, the get, get, the bigger, bigger, the acquire, the choir, the gotta have, the gotta have is an empty dead end.
And He says, if you'll learn to release, if you'll learn to trust, if you'll learn to walk with Me, I'll satisfy all your needs. Now let's talk about how that works, because there is a principle here, as some of you are thinking to yourself, you know what, I'd like to believe this, but my experience is I'm not sure it's worked out for me. And there's an axiomatic principle behind this promise, and it's in the Old Testament, it's in the New Testament, it's from the life of Christ, it's in the character of God, it's from Genesis to Revelation, there's an axiomatic principle all the way, a kingdom principle about how God has set up life. The world and the world's system goes this way, this kingdom principle goes this way. It's called the law of the harvest. The law of the harvest. Some have called it the law of sowing and reaping.
Others, the law of reciprocity. The law explained is in Luke 6 38, it's from the very lips of Jesus, it is not a financial passage, although it applies there. In Luke 6 38, Jesus gives the law of the harvest. He says give, and it will be given unto you.
Good measure, pressed down, running over, shaken together, over into your lap, for whatever measure you give, and the measure means whatever size, if you use a cup, if you use a bucket, if you use a 55 gallon drum, whatever measure you use to give in the same measure, it will be given back to you. Law of the harvest, the world says get, get, get, acquire, acquire, acquire, more, more, more. As you acquire and get, then you will be significant and strong and powerful and secure. And God says no, just the opposite, give. It will be given unto you.
Good measure. In fact, shaken, it's a picture of someone who shakes something to make room for more. So he explains that the kingdom principle is give so that God might bless. It's illustrated throughout nature. Jesus in John 12 24 says unless a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.
I mean, it's just an agricultural picture, but God has made, the creation declares the glory of the Lord. You can take one or two seeds of wheat, stick it to the ground, it seems like the height of foolishness, because you could take 10 or 12 and you could grind them up and make at least one little piece of bread and eat it. But instead you take one seed and you put it into the ground and then you put dirt over it and you give it away. And then in a season, you never reap in the same season that you sow, it grows up and what comes out of it? Hundreds and hundreds of seeds of wheat. Give and it will be given unto you.
Good measure, pressed down, running over. It's explained in nature, it's applied to Jesus. Follow along as I read Philippians chapter 2. What does Jesus do, what does he give in order for God to exalt him? Beginning at verse 8, it says in being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
What did he do? He gave his life. He was the grain of wheat that went into the ground. What's the result, verse 9, therefore God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The law of the harvest, the secret, final secret of contentment is that the way to receive is to give. We see it in nature, we see it in the life of Christ and then in Luke 9, 24 from the lips of Jesus he applies it to us. In verse 23 he says to a large multitude of disciples, if any one of you want to follow after me, be my disciple, be my follower, you need to take up your cross, instrument of death, deny yourself and follow me how often?
Anybody know? Daily. And then verse 24, for whosoever would seek to save or keep his life get will lose it but whoever would give his life would find it. Now at this point in time, the looks on your faces, I always love it when this happens. There is a conflict and dilemma between your brain and your heart because some of you are thinking through some of the implications and your brain is going, Luke 6, 38, that's the principle, it's as clear as a bell, I see it in nature, farmers use it all the time. You know what, Philippians 2, it's true of Jesus, you know that Luke 9 passage, I mean that is black and white, that's not like interpretation. This is an axiomatic kingdom principle, the law of harvest and then you're thinking to yourself, oh my lands, I would have to think completely differently about how to do life. So can I just get you, let's take it one step at a time, do you buy, okay, do you at least intellectually buy that the Bible teaches this?
This would be kind of yes, this would be no, this would be I don't move my head in church, dude, okay. Well if you intellectually buy it, then here's what I'd like you to do, let's go to the next page and I want to walk through the process of how this actually works in a regular person's life, not a missionary, not a pastor, not some famous spiritual person, I want to walk through how the law of the harvest actually works in ordinary people's lives so that as you begin to live in a different way, you will have supernatural stories. Aren't some of you like tired of hearing stories of, you know, a quarterback from the NFL sent that guy a thousand dollars a missionary sent him $500 and boy I could tell you the time where five bags of groceries with only the kind of food with wheat flour and meat and cheese and no one knew we had any need. Why do you think I get those stories? Because God is a rewarder of those who do what?
Step out by faith, faith does what? Often counterintuitively you give when you're thinking to yourself only an idiot would give right now. I mean that's what I told God, Lord excuse me but I have both brain cells working. I have like my rent plus $10 and you're asking me to give it to this lady.
It's very nice, why don't you give it to her? And he said I'm going to through you. The question I want to know is do you trust me to take care of you? And my answer was maybe. And so I didn't feel like it, don't over spiritualize this, I didn't feel like it, I didn't want to do it, I just obeyed. And then God provided. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message in Tests of Faith which is from our series I Choose Peace.
Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Have you ever thought about what it means to be at peace? Is it just a fulfilling job, happy household, financial security? Well many people put stock in those things but they don't last.
Eventually the shine wears off. In this 12 part study of Philippians chapter 4, Chip explains where this attitude of discontentment comes from and the ways it steals our joy. Stay with us as we learn how to move beyond that temporary feeling of calmness to a lasting peace centered life. To help you on this journey, during this series we're offering every listener a copy of Chip's popular book I Choose Peace at no cost. We want to encourage you to completely lean on God and trust Him through the highs and lows of life. So to learn how to get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to livingontheedge.org or text PEACE to 74141. That's the word PEACE, P-E-A-C-E, to 74141.
Limit one book per customer while supplies last. Well I'm joined in studio now by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. And Chip, in this society, it's tough to be a genuine follower of Jesus because so many believe Christianity hasn't delivered on what it promised or Christians don't really practice what they preach. And boy, those accusations sting a little because there's some truth to them.
Well Dave, you're right. And I think every organization, and the Church worldwide is an organization, requires some self-reflection and evaluation. Even businesses have an area called quality control. And to our fault, we need to own that we've kind of built a lot of buildings and we've had budgets and programs and strategies and often it's been about the growth of the Church or the size of the Church. And we've missed it to some degree. And there's great, wonderful exceptions, but Jesus said go therefore and make disciples, not get a lot of people to pray a prayer or fill your buildings. And I say this as a pastor, I've certainly been a part of the problem. But at this stage of my life, and when I look at where the world is, and as we do face the future together, there's not a greater need in all the world than us becoming genuine, authentic, mature followers of Jesus and then reproducing that in our families, in our neighborhoods, our communities, and our workplaces. And that is the calling of Living on the Edge. And it's been interesting as we provide teaching and small group resources and tools for business people and pastors and families, God has allowed us to experience just an explosion in ministry.
God is expanding our borders at a rate and a pace that requires financial resources beyond what we've ever seen before. And so it's great when you give a gift now and then or others who give a gift now and then, but our real need is for monthly partners. And so on this day, we're going to be people who make a difference rather than criticize the Church. And I'd like to ask you to help us make that difference. Would you pray and ask God if he wants you to be a monthly partner to Living on the Edge? And then after you pray, just do whatever he says to do.
And Living on the Edge will fulfill all we're supposed to do, and you'll fulfill what he wants you to do. Great encouragement, Chip. So if you'd like to be part of growing this ministry, pray about becoming a monthly partner. Your gift will go places and accomplish ministry work like you wouldn't believe. So set up a recurring donation today at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, text donate to 74141.
That's the word donate to 74141. Well, here again is Chip to share some thoughts about today's message, which focused on putting our trust in God. Today, just let me remind you that this didn't come easy for me, and it doesn't necessarily come easy for you. In fact, when God begins to grow your faith, I find that often he tests us, and he gives us opportunities to step out, and then he comes through. And it doesn't mean you feel like giving.
It doesn't mean like there's some big emotion. In fact, obedience is what brings joy to the heart of God. It's Jesus said, he that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me. In our next broadcast, we're going to talk a lot more about the specifics of this whole idea of trusting God, especially as it relates to give beyond what we're normally used to giving.
Whatever God is speaking to you about with regard to your finances, maybe it's just basically tithing. Start today. Trust him. He will provide. Thanks, Chip. Well, before we close, you know, anxiety, stress, and uneasiness seem to be at an all-time high. That is why choosing peace is so tough. So we want to help. During this series, we're offering Chip's book, I Choose Peace, at no cost. We want to encourage you to lean on God and completely trust him through the highs and lows of life. To get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to livingontheedge.org or text peace to 74141. That's the word peace, P-E-A-C-E, to 74141. Limit one book per customer while supplies last. Well, join us next time as Chip wraps up his series, I Choose Peace. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 05:15:21 / 2023-03-16 05:27:16 / 12