You know, we all hope in something or someone to give us life and hope and future.
And here's the bad news. Everything and everyone will someday let you down, except the one hope that never fades, that never changes. And we're going to talk about how you can experience that hope today.
Stay with me. 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.
And in just a minute, he'll wrap up our series, I Choose Hope. For the last several programs, he's been building a convincing case that Christ is our only true source of hope. Today, he makes a final argument for why placing our trust and faith in Jesus can completely change our lives.
And let me say, if this study of Philippians chapter 3 has encouraged you, would you take a minute after this message and share it with someone in your life who needs to hear it? Now, you can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. And lastly, our website is a great place to explore if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge or want to learn more about what we do. You'll find tons of resources there and countless programs for you to enjoy.
That's livingontheedge.org. Okay, let's get going. If you have a Bible handy, turn to the book of Philippians chapter 3 for Chip's final message in this series, Knowing Hope. The apostle Paul would write in 2 Corinthians, for God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Notice this line, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. For God made Christ who never sinned to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ. What's he saying?
This is amazing. He's saying that Jesus was born and from the foundations of the earth, he came to live a perfect life, reveal what God was like, teach and tie all that had happened and all the prophecies of the Old Testament to verify its reality, to do miracles that no one has done that were verified even by his enemies, to have eyewitness accounts of over 500 people that he actually lived and walked upon the earth. But his mission was I'm coming to die and I'm going to die an unfair death. Being fully human, he could die. Being fully God, he could pay the price for all the sin of all people of all time. And he would absorb your sin and mine and the people of all time as the sin offering so God could cover or atone for the sins of all people. And he did it on a cross.
The moment he was born, that's game day. That's redemption. You have already been purchased by God and the price tag was the blood of Christ. Now, are you ready for this?
You know what this means? You have been forgiven. You're already forgiven. You can't earn it.
You can't negotiate it. It's a gift. See, when Jesus hung upon that cross, your sin, my sin, the sins of all people were placed upon him and when he died, he defeated death and sin and Satan and when he rose from the dead, it's true, he made everyone forgiven. So the gift is free to everyone. But only those who by faith receive the gift have a relationship with God. I didn't know that. I went to church until I kind of opted out.
I never knew that. You are wanted. You're completely understood and you have a gift. Some of you, probably the great majority in this room, you've opened it. You've received Christ. There was a day that you realize my life's not working or for some of us it was my life's working really great and I'm supposed to be happy because of this, this, this and this and it's really not. And God showed you that it would be his love and he wanted to give you what money can't buy, what another person can't give, what a perfect family can't deliver, what the best job or going public will never give you, life and peace and love and purpose and so at a point in time, probably the great majority in this room turned from your sin, repented and asked Christ to forgive you and also come into your life and it's called a new birth and you were changed and you're on the journey. For some, you know what I see with a lot of people is, is they believe in Jesus but they've never received him.
It's sort of an intellectual. Do you believe in God? Yeah. Believe in Jesus?
Yeah. Have you received him? Is it, is he the focus of your life? Is he changing you? Are you experiencing him?
And that answer would be probably not. The message of Jesus is hope. Paul says I am in a personal relationship with God that is so radicalized my life and my thinking that his love, his actual concern has somehow come down inside of me and I just feel compelled to love other people. And notice what he says, since we believe that Christ died for all, we believe also that we died to our old life.
That means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become, look at this, not a religious person, a new person. The old you, the old me, the old life is gone. A new life has begun.
It's an absolute new life. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow and hope forever. Here's the big question. The really, really big question. Here's your hope.
Not intellectual, okay? I mean, in terms of your energy, in terms of your time, in terms of your focus, in terms of your dreams, I mean, just, I'm not going to ask you to say anything out loud, but if you would just have a private conversation right now, what does your lifestyle, what does your priorities, what would they say? Life is going to be meaningful and secure and deliver for me because I have a great job, finally get married, make a lot of money, my kids are very successful, right?
But where's your hope? Because this is an amazing offer of a brand new life, but it has really big competitors. I remember a young man came to me and he looked to be, I don't know, mid 30ish and he said, you're the pastor. I said, well, I'm one of them. And he said, can I have a quick talk with you? This is my first time here.
And I just don't know if you would be comfortable with someone like me coming. I said, well, gosh, why? Just tell me a little bit about yourself. He said, well, I just got out of prison last week. I said, okay, tell me a little bit more. He said, well, I was in prison for murder one and I got out early for a good behavior. But he said, that whole experience, what I realized was my whole old life was not what God wanted.
And I've met Christ personally and he's really transformed my life. But I realized, I mean, I'm a felon and I'm a murderer. And I just wanted to tell you upfront, I didn't want someone to find out. And someone come to tell you, you got a murderer running around. I said, oh no, we got liars. We got fornicators. We got affair-ers. We got crooks. We got people with sexual addictions. We have people that are narcissists.
No, no, we're going to fit right in. But we're forgiven and we're new and we're on a journey. In fact, I said the apostle Paul was a murderer and Moses was a murderer. And I don't mean to diminish it, but God forgives.
This isn't like a try hard, self-righteous, clean up your act. This is a total transformation of the living God coming and taking up residence inside you. And you build a relationship and little by little, he transforms your life. But here's the deal.
That's been true for 2000 years, but the challenge in the first century is the same challenge that we have. There is so much, there is so much competition to take your heart and to take your hope and to put it someplace else that won't deliver. The apostle Paul is going to give a warning to this little church that he loves, that he's tight with. He's told his life story. We learned in chapter one that he's going to be executed, but he chooses joy.
He says circumstances can't shape me. We learned that there's been a lot of difficult time and he chooses that I'm going to be a loving person no matter what in chapter two. And then chapter three, he says, I've got hope. I mean, whether I die or whether I live, I've got hope.
And now to this little group that's being persecuted and some false teachers have come in. He says, I want you to make sure your hope is the kind of hope that delivers. The apostle Paul has contrasted false hope of his past success, education, status, wealth, and personal morality with the true hope of love and joy and peace and purpose found through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
He makes it really clear. I don't have it all together. It doesn't mean I'm perfect in this life, but I am pursuing this relationship with Christ because he's my hope. And so just to give you a picture because, you know, some of this Bible stuff, if you're like me, I didn't grow up reading the Bible.
I didn't grow up understanding or following Christ. Let me just give you a picture of when he says my hope's not in these things. You might say, well, gosh, you know, he was a loser. Why would he?
No, no, no. The apostle Paul is described by Will Durant who wrote a complete history of mankind, secular historian, as the greatest single intellect in the entire first century. If I was giving, you know, he was the rising star in Judaism. If I was introducing him today, if it was the apostle Paul today, I would say Paul came from a prestigious family. He went to a prestigious prep school. He did his undergraduate at Stanford. He did his MBA at Harvard. On the side, he went to Wharton School of Finance. I did some little extra work in his area in MIT and post-grad work. Along with that, what he did was he was morally the finest person anyone has ever met. His wife and family are just wonderful.
Because of this, he's become very, very wealthy and would hold the kind of job of CEO that's this guy in his day. Wealth, power, success, education. And the world says, if you can somehow, someway get all that, you'll be happy and secure.
And what do we know? Am I saying those things are bad? No, but they're a bad hope, right? If your hope's in your marriage and your partner dies, it's not so good. If your hope's in your kids and someone goes left to center and they're drunk and your kids are gone, it's not good. If your hope is in money and you lose it, it's not good. Those things can be rich, wonderful things in our life, but what you can accumulate or achieve or possess or find apart from Christ will always at some point disappoint you. And so his plea, this is this pastoral heart of Paul, his plea is put your hope in that that is going to deliver real life. And so he gives this warning and a command, and then he gives him a couple reasons why. He says, the command is you must live out your hope every day. This isn't just a religious experience.
This isn't intellectual. You have to live out this hope every day. Notice in verse 17, brethren, join in following my example and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
Three words, example, observe and pattern. What he basically says is I was with you. My whole life changed. The test of where your hope is, is not what you think and not what you say. The test of where your hope is, is your behavior and your conduct.
What do you do with your time, your energy and your money and your relationships? He says, I gave you a pattern of transformation. Make sure you stay on that path.
You live out your hope every day. And then he gives us two reasons. Reason number one is a really negative one, because apparently there were some people that were professing to be followers. They intellectually said or believed they were followers, but they were saying this, but their life was like not even close. And so this is a warning.
Reason number one is because false hopes deliver tragedy. If you want to jot a word down, notice he's broken hearted for many walk whom I often told you and tell you now weeping that they're one enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose food is their appetite, whose glory is in their shame. And they set their minds on earthly things. These people profess that their hope is in Christ, but they've become enemies of the cross. In other words, they're going to find it somewhere else. That means they're undermining everything that Jesus did. Their end is destruction. And this is this is a word that, yeah, they say this, but their hope isn't in Christ.
And so they're going to end up apart from him forever. In fact, he goes, what you see is what are their motivations? This word here for their God is their appetite or literally it's their stomach. Actually, it's used in other parts in the New Testament as as sexual organs. In other words, sensuality.
How much can I get greed and sex and power? He says that's their God. That's their appetite. That's what they want, which reveals their hope isn't in Christ.
And then with sorrow, he just. They glory in their shame. Do you realize that an awful lot about sex has nothing to do about sex?
It has everything to do with power and manipulation. And you know what? That ain't new. This is this is written a couple thousand years ago. And he says, at the heart of it is how you think.
What's it say? Who set their minds on earthly things? And he's not saying it's wrong to set your mind on what you need to get done. He's saying, setting their minds on what can this world now deliver as hope. Brings tragedy. Some of you already know that, don't you? You thought when you found Mr.
Right or Miss Right. And now it ended in divorce. Some of you have thought, you know, man, it's going to be in work and I'm going to do this. I'm going to climb the ladder.
I'm going to. And for some it didn't work and you realize and for others it did work. I've got a handful of friends that are just extraordinarily wealthy. In money. And who are some of the saddest, loneliest people I've ever met, because what they lost was the things that matter.
Their family, their friends, their integrity. Now they're back on the track and God's been gracious. Let's get to the good news. The second reason to put your hope in Christ is that true hope delivers transformation. He's going to say there's a reorientation.
Don't think that Christianity is kind of be a nice person, go to church now and then and maybe go on a mission trip. No, no, no, no, no. This is about he came down. It's a wonder.
It's a mystery. He understands. He's already forgiven you. There's a brand new life. So he's got a plan and a future for you. Embrace it.
Go for it. And then he says, why? Here's the root. The root is our citizenship, our real homes in heaven. We're going to live forever. Not just in time from which we eagerly await for a savior. Notice the focus.
That's what I'm looking forward to. It's an eternal perspective. The Lord Jesus Christ who will do, who will transform the body of our humble state.
If you had, I would have you circle that and underline that who will transform the word is morph. It's a word that means to be absolutely in substance changed from the inside out. That's the evidence of true hope. And it says, not only does it happen spiritually and emotionally and in this life, but a day will come where your actual body will be transformed by him. And how does he do it? By the power that he has to subject all things into himself.
We started with the wonder of a God who speaks these galaxies into existence. And now he says that same power to subject all things, a day will come for those who put their hope in Christ. And he says this, you will be transformed and I've prepared a place for you and we'll be together forever.
So live your life like what is true about me is true and that heaven is real and eternal values will really pay off and it will not only produce the kind of life you've always dreamed of today, but it'll be an anchor for your soul when you face the greatest difficulty that we will all face one day. And that's death. And he's saying it's been overcome. As we close today's program, I just wanted to talk with you very personally. As I finish this message, I talked about the greatest difficulty we will ever face is death.
And it's one that we all face. And the real issue of hope, we've talked for, you know, a number of days now about hope, about pursuing hope, of having hope and where it comes from and how that everyone and everything at some point in time will let us down. But the fact of the matter is that the greatest place that we need hope is, is there hope not just for this life, but for when we die? You know, I have had the honor and the privilege and also the just sheer responsibility as a pastor for over 35 years of burying a lot of people. And it's so interesting to watch people die. It may sound morbid, but this is one of those realities.
All of life isn't, wow, wonderful, great, happy. People that we love die. And it's interesting that when people have genuine hope, not some veneer of religiosity, not I went to church, not I intellectually believe in God, not I'm trying to be a nice or good person, but the difference between people that have a deep personal relationship with Jesus and have a hope, not wishful thinking, but an anchor in their soul, they die so differently and they live so differently. I just wish you could somehow climb inside my mind and see two video screens at the same time and one of a family of a godly man or a godly woman and sometimes they're 25 and sometimes they're 85 and their family and their kids or their grandkids and when they've lived this life and when they've had this eternal perspective and they weren't perfect, they didn't have it all together, but they had a hope in Christ that transformed their life and they die in peace. They die knowing for certain that they will be with Christ in heaven forever. And the family responds in ways that it's of course there's grief and there's tears and there's sorrow, but there's a laughter about memories and there's a certainty and there's a hope and it's unexplainable. And by contrast, I wish you could see the other screen of the trivial remarks and he or she's gone to a better place and sort of all these trite little things and jokes about things that are immaterial and what you really see is the despair and you see people face a reality that they have no idea is there any hope afterwards because their hope has been in success or how they look or how much they make or what school their kids got into or their hope was in a person and now that person is gone. What I want you to know is that as the Apostle Paul finishes this teaching in Philippians chapter 3, he's in essence saying, follow my pattern, walk behind me.
Reason number one, there's a group of people that their affections got shifted, their appetite was about the now, it was about lust, it was about power, it was about money, it was about sex, it was about looks and it ended in destruction. And there's another group of people who understood their citizenship is in heaven. There's a reality of life that's more than now and as they fix their hope on Christ, an amazing thing happened.
Their life was transformed now in this life with joy and peace and connection and love and a hope that's unchanging and unfading of a new heaven and a new earth with a Savior and a King who is their Lord and their Savior. Here's my question, where's your hope today? I'm asking those of you that used to walk with God that you can't believe you're listening to this right now but you have quote fallen away. Wouldn't today be the right day to tell God, I'm so sorry and I'm coming back and get into the word, find a good church and begin to grow. And for some of you, you've never heard this before but you know you're going to die and today's the day for you to say, Lord Jesus, I want to put my hope in you. I put it in people, I put it in things, I put it in work, I put it in success.
Everyone and everything someday will let you down. And so right now, would you bow your head and would you in your heart of hearts just cry out to God who wants to hear, Lord Jesus, save me, please forgive me today. I believe today that Jesus is the Son of God, that you died for my sin in my place and rose from the dead and today I invite you to come into my life to cleanse me, to forgive me, to make me your son, to make me your daughter.
And now I ask you to help me follow you all the days of my life. And as you prayed that, please text or call the greatest Christian you know, tell them what you did. Find a great Bible teaching church this weekend and go to livingontheedge.org and we have some free resources to help you grow.
Welcome to the family. Well, if you prayed with Chip, we do have a free resource we'd like to put in your hands that was specifically created for new believers. It's 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, then 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 here in studio with me and Chip, let's wrap up this series by continuing to talk about heaven. Now, I understand you have a story to share that really drives home why this topic is so important. You know, Dave, I had an experience that really blew my mind. It was just a few years ago and I met a guy that was a, he would call himself a kind of cultural nominal Christian.
He's an older guy and he lives in a part of Florida, sort of the retired community and I mean everybody, I don't mean this in a bad way, but everybody's senior, senior, senior citizens, right? And he came to know the Lord and he had this tremendous salvation experience and really got in the Bible. And he met a mutual friend of ours and my friend gave him the book, The Real Heaven. And he read it and I mean he wrote me this long, long email and said, Chip, you don't understand. No one knows about this.
I'm living in a world where most of these people have very little time left. So, he reads the book and he started teaching all these small groups. Then he started teaching it in community centers. And it was just absolutely amazing what happened because, you know, we've all lost loved ones or we know someone who's lost really close loved ones. And even as believers, if you don't have hope or if you just, if heaven is some vague idea, it is not what God has promised. The early church lived and endured because it had this hope of heaven, a real place with Jesus, with him that's concrete, that I mean makes a difference, that's an eternity that you look forward to. And Dave, I've just seen that people don't know much about heaven. My confession, I say in the book, I didn't know much about heaven even as a pastor. And so, if there's ever a time to learn about heaven, it's now. And I really hope people will either get the book or, you know, jump in and do the small group with us.
So, Dave, why don't you give them the details so they know how to get it. Be glad to, Chip. Well, if you've been searching for some solid biblical answers about heaven, let me encourage you to get plugged into our resources for The Real Heaven.
Whether it's Chip's popular book or the small group study, you're going to walk away with a more accurate and exciting view of the place God's preparing for us. For complete ordering details, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or visit livingontheedge.org. App listeners tap special offers. As we wrap up, let me quickly tell you about a great way to listen to our extended teaching podcast. Here, Chip, anytime on your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. To get started, ask Alexa to enable The Chip Ingram Podcast. Then just say, Alexa, play The Chip Ingram Podcast. It's that easy. Well, until next time, I'm Dave Drouie, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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