Are you facing a big decision? Maybe a big decision about money?
Maybe about work or career? Or more importantly, maybe a very big decision about a relationship? How do you make wise choices? That's today. It reminds me of that classic board game, The Game of Life.
Do you remember playing that? You drive a little car across the board, randomly collecting a spouse, kids, houses and accolades, with the ultimate goal of retiring at the end with the most money. Sadly, many approach real-life choices with that same careless, wealth-motivated attitude. Well, today Chip's going to challenge us to think differently as he continues our series, leaving a legacy that lasts forever. Discover what should drive our decision-making and how we can honor God with our thought-filled choices.
Chip has more to share on that idea, so stick around after the teaching to hear his application. With that said, let's listen now to Chip's message, Teach Them to Make Wise Choices. We make our choices and then our choices make us. Some of our good choices have resulted in a happy marriage, a great job and deep personal satisfaction. Some of our poor choices have resulted in destroying a marriage, losing a job and suffering shame and reproach. Few things will determine the quality and the fulfillment of your life more than the choices you make, for better or for worse. I've heard someone say that when you boil it all down, you will probably make a half a dozen very major important choices about God, about future, about relationships and about how to deal with some difficult things in your life that will determine all of your life.
You just basically play out the rest. In fact, let me give you some time with yourself. I'd like you to think as fast as you can about the two best choices you've ever made. Two choices that you say, some of the richest, deepest, blessing. When I look at my life from where I am now backwards, I think about I made a couple choices. These were good choices and some of you think back to a window of time and you chose to make a decision that was kind of counterculture and you ended up in a world and in a job that you were made for and you look back, I can't believe I got to do that.
Right? So I just want you to mentally think about what are maybe the top two or three choices you've made and some of you just need to remember you have made some good choices. Okay, now I want to go to the other side. Just what's one choice that you've made that if you could take this one back, you'd take it back? One choice you made in the past that you just thought, oh my, I mean that was dumb.
In fact, that was worse than dumb. That was biblically unwise. In fact, that choice cost me a lot. And it could be a choice that cost you a lot of money. It could be a choice that cost you a relationship. It could be a choice that in a just quick moment of time and it was like, you know, it promised a lot of pleasure but it really delivered a lot of pain.
Can you think of any? Now here's why I want you to get your emotions around that instead of just your head and your heart. In like manner, there are few gifts that you will give to those that are coming behind you.
Okay? This whole series is about passing on the things that matter most. And when you think about that person you're wanting to help grow spiritually or that child of yours or that grandchild or someone in church or someone who's looking to you and you want to pass on what matters most, few things could be a greater gift than you giving them the skill and the ability to make wise choices. In fact, I'd go out on the limb and say to give people wealth without wisdom is to sentence them to a life of folly and failure in their future. And yet, I mean the research is in, almost all followers of Christ have spent much more time thinking very carefully about how to transfer their wealth to their kids and grandkids than they have their wisdom.
And so it's not too late, but I mean if you take time to make an estate plan and to make a will to think about how important it is to give them your stuff, what you want to do is translate your soul. What are your values? Teach them how to make great, great decisions. Great decisions about God. Great decisions about relationships. Great decisions about money. Great decisions about how to respond to adversity.
Great decisions about how to resolve conflict. Make wise, wise decisions about opportunities that seem too good to be true because they are. Wise, wise decisions about how to discover who God made them to be. Wise decisions about if their parents, how to parent well. Wise decisions about how to take care of their body. You know, one of the greatest gifts you could ever impart to those that you care about the most is the skill and the knowledge and the ability to make excellent, wise decisions. And so our transferable concept is teach them to make wise choices. And what I'd like to do now is say, I believe there's a place to start. And if I was going to just open the Bible in the middle here and open to Proverbs like it did, let me read one verse sort of as a launching point. It's not in your notes. Here's the wisest man in the world.
Past, present, future. And he says, verse 7, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline. The fear of the Lord. And the fear of the Lord is reverential awe for sure. The fear of the Lord is emotional. He is awesome and powerful and all knowing and pure and you are actually afraid. You're afraid not to do life his way. The fear of the Lord, both positively and negatively, part out of admiration and part out of just actual fear, is to say to God, I want to do life your way because you have designed it in a way for my good. And, by the way, you're God, whether it's for my good or not, you are God and you created me and you say these things and I am afraid to do anything other than what the one who created me and deserves to have rightfully anything he wants, he can have.
He made me. And so the fear of the Lord. And what I would like to suggest is if we're going to learn to make wise decisions, we need to walk through a theology of holiness. And I've summarized, I didn't put all the verses there, but I've kind of summarized a theology of holiness.
Now when you hear this word, please do not go to black robes, lit candles, prune face people chanting in the dark, or people who don't wear makeup ever, or don't play cards, okay? I'm not talking about external holiness. Write next to this in your notes, a theology of holiness, put a dash, and write the word wholeness, w-h-o-l-e-n-e-s-s. The root word of holiness comes from wholeness, it comes from health. The prerequisite for the universe that a perfect holy God has made is for it to be whole and to be healthy, it must be holy.
And the fall is like cancer, and it's like eating away at the environment, at the world, at the structure that God created. And so his holiness is his standard that provides health. When we live a holy life, when we follow God's holiness, it not only is what he expects because of who he is, but it's also his way of helping us get health in our relationships with him and with others, and what makes us whole and complete. And you know, they didn't know all the scientific stuff that we know, and when he gave multiple commands and it looked like just ceremonial holiness, I mean they didn't know about bacteria and they're washing their hands all the time. They didn't know that the platelets clot at, what is it, when you circumcise a child?
Purdue did a study that, you know, the platelets clot the most on that very day. But all these standards and all these laws that God gave his people to be this holy nation were for their health and for their good, and so they would reflect him. And so what does it mean? What is holiness?
Let's walk through it. First, God is high and holy, and the idea of holy means he's totally other. He's not a bigger, better category.
He's completely different. We are creation and he is creator. When we look at our little Milky Way with a couple billion stars and then try to imagine behind it maybe 200 billion other galaxies, we are speaking of one who spoke a word and it came into existence. He is a God that when people ever get even near his presence, they fall on their face. He's a God who's unapproachable light. He is absolute purity, absolute holiness. He's the source of all life, and so he's other.
He's not, you know, the old man with the beard who, you know, nods at his children and he's not a divine Santa Claus or he's not a cosmic vending machine. He is holy. God is absolute truth. John 14, 6, Jesus came, he said, I'm the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. God is truth.
God's word defines absolute truth. Might John 17, 17, the last prayer of Jesus, sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth. And sanctify, that's our same root word for holiness.
Set them apart is the idea, something special, not something regular. Theology of holiness includes God's law or morals is for our protection. When God lays out these commands, these guardrails, this is not from a prudish God that is against sex or someone that has all these rules to frustrate us in anything that we like to do. You know, he comes up with a command to say, don't do that. They're for our protection.
They're for our boundaries. Imagine, if you will, okay, this is a little word picture. For me, sometimes these things are abstract.
I have this picture because I've struggled with all of this a lot. And I didn't grow up as a Christian. I never read the Bible growing up. And all I knew was, even when I was a young Christian, if I liked to do it, I could find a command that said I'm not supposed to. And I spent probably the first five years of my Christian life with, I'm on this side and God's on this side and there's this big fence and all the time he was telling me, Ingram, you can't do that, you can't do that. I thought he was against me. And I had a warped view of God. And what I came to understand is actually he's on the same side with me and this fence or this barrier of some laws that he gives me are that he's all wise and all knowing and loving and he cares about me. And I begin to see those as guardrails. And so here's the word picture that I came up to that really helped me want to obey is imagine, if you will, this little chalet at the top of a mountain and there's this windy, windy, windy road to get up to it. But when you get up to it, I mean, the refrigerator is stocked.
There's a workout room. The view is absolutely glorious. All your closest friends are there and they can stay forever and ever and ever.
I mean, it is life at its very best. And that's the trail, this quote, abundant life that God has for us. But you need to go on this trail and it's windy and it's dangerous. And so all along the trail, you know, you get near the edge and there's like a thousand foot drop off so he puts these guardrails. And the guardrails are his laws and his decrees so that when you bump into them, you realize, oh, don't do that or you could go over the edge.
But if you stay inside those guardrails of his moral decrees and laws, he wants you to get to that chalet. He wants to enjoy you. He wants you to have the very best. He cares about you. You're the object of affection.
So they're for you. And so, I mean, especially in those college years and those post college years, I mean, I didn't grow up as a Christian and I learned for 18 years how to relate to girls. And then I become a Christian right before I leave for college and there's four girls for every guy. I mean, ugly guys were getting good girls where I went to school.
I mean, you didn't even have to try and you can't get a girlfriend. And, you know, this is the early 70s so, I mean, everybody's sleeping with everybody. I mean, I remember, you know, the co-ed dorm thing was starting to come in and I'd walk out of the bathroom and the girls went, whoa, you know, I mean, this is wild. And now I got this new Bible and God telling me, now you need to be sexually pure. And I'm thinking, boy, you must be very powerful.
You think that can happen? And I made a commitment to be. But it was always like, you know, God, I'm missing out.
God, I'm missing out. And then, and I've done a lot of research in this area. And I've learned, you know, the most sexually fulfilled people in all the planet are highly religious, monogamously married people that have no other partners that believe in God and that he created marriage. And they have 31 percent, how they measure this, don't ask me, but they have 31 percent better sex than all the rest of the people.
So I dare not ask how that happens, you know. Those people who live together prior to marriage have a 50 percent higher divorce rate. They have about a 75 percent more likelihood of adultery.
Sexually transmitted diseases can lie dormant for over 10 years before they pop up to let you know that what you did on a fling back then can come back and visit you or you can pass it on to your partner or other people. Now, God knows all that. And so when God says the marriage bed is holy and when he says don't have sex outside of marriage, I mean, I didn't even get to the spiritual implications.
I didn't get to any of the issues emotionally. I didn't get to the baggage in the back of your mind when you're making love with your wife and the pictures of the past can come up or vice versa. And so all I'm saying is when God says things like don't have sex before marriage, this isn't a prudish God that doesn't understand that we have hormones. This is an all wise, all loving God going, you don't want that second rate stuff with all the baggage emotionally, physically, right?
I got chalet sex for you, okay? I want you to be completely committed, without guilt, free of shame. You'll still have your struggles, but you know what? When he has a command about money, you ought to give here, save here, and do it this way.
Same reasoning. When he has a command about telling the truth and speaking the truth in love rather than gossiping, every one of his moral commands, because he's holy, is for your health. And when you can ever get your arms around, his commands are for my good. That's why read Psalm 119, David, despite his struggles and his failures, his commands are my delight. I rise in the middle of the night like someone waiting for the dawn. I love his word.
Why? Because he got it. They weren't prohibitions. They were the pathway, they were the guard rails to get the highest and the best. That's what holiness is about. It's about wholeness and it's about health and reflects God's character.
God's ultimate aim is to make us holy. You know, we quote Romans 8 28 quickly when life's bad, right? For we know that God works all things together for the good.
You know, the car wreck and, you know, the down economy and the struggle with one of our kids and the tension in our marriage and circumstances. He works it all for the good. And we quote 28, well verse 29 is the purpose behind how he takes every situation, every person, every circumstance, every difficulty that you'll ever face and what? Verse 29 says that in order that he might conform us to the image of his son. The game plan is to make you like Jesus. That's what holiness really is.
Christ-likeness. In Ephesians chapter 4 we get the picture of what the church is all about. And in verse 11 through 13 we're told why God gives leaders in the church. He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers.
Why? For the equipping of the saints, for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ. And then why is the body of Christ supposed to be built up?
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith of the standard of the measure of the fullness of Christ. Maturity. Paul said my goal in life is to present every man perfect.
It's the same word teleos or mature. You know what that is? That's called being holy. That's called being Christ-like.
That's his aim for you. Now a byproduct is as you walk that way you'll have great joy. But happiness has to do with circumstance. Joy is the byproduct of relationships. And you know what? Your happiness can go up with the stock market and it can go down with the stock market.
Up with your in love, down with your heart broken. God's aim is to make us holy and to reflect his son. It's a winsome, pure, not weird, religious, out there. You people are where you're coming from, holiness. It is a holiness that is loving and winsome and pure and approachable and Christ-like.
When you're holy, you're like Jesus. And that's God's agenda. The Old Testament roots are we get Exodus chapter 3 verses 5 and 6. Moses sees the bush. God says don't come any closer.
Take off your sandals for the place where you're standing is, remember? Holy ground. Then he said I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
At this Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. We've lost a generation of people that are afraid to look at God. We're casual with God. We think God's going to wink at stuff. I've got a lot of friends in churches all around the country and as we kind of compare notes, I will tell you the average single person in the average evangelical church, and I'm just going to throw a statistic out.
It's probably higher than this, but the average single person in evangelical churches is sleeping around about 80% of the time. And people will just look you in the eye and say, well, you know, I don't think God really expects that anymore. I mean, like 8 out of 10 commandments, that's pretty good.
Isn't that like an 80 on a test? I mean, we've, it's, we have really lost the sense of the awesome holiness and purity of God. Here we have a situation with Moses. God says, take off your, why?
Nothing artificial, man. Wherever I am, it is holy. You find John meets Jesus, right? Revelation chapter 1, bam, he's on his face. Joshua meets the angel of the Lord. You know, we've lost the sense of God's transcendence.
He is not our buddy. He is approachable, he's imminent, he's loving, he's kind, but he's unapproachable light and purity and holiness. Isaiah caught it in Isaiah chapter 6. Listen to the verse. In the year that King Isaiah died, I saw the Lord.
What was he like? High and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, these special angels, each with six wings.
Two, they covered their faces, and with two, they covered their feet, and with two, they were flying. And they were calling out to one another, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory. This is the only time you ever find God addressed as three different things. In Hebrew, they don't have, I can't remember what you call them in English, like we say, very good or best or better.
They don't have that in Hebrew. The way you make a stronger statement, it's holy, or you go holy, holy, or if you want to make it holy, holy, holy, it's a majestic exponential, it's... And that's what the angels are doing then, and according to the book of Revelation, that's what they're doing now, and there's going to day come where they're going to keep doing it and we're going to get in on it. But that's who God is. And these are perfect angelic beings that are of the higher ups. I don't understand all cherubs and seraphs and who knows how all that works, but I'll tell you what, they are in the very presence of God night and day. But later we find out they have eyes all over them and there's all this wisdom and they're innocent and they're pure and yet in the presence of God, they hide their face and they cover their feet and they declare who he is.
I will tell you, you get a glimpse of who God really is. It changes everything. No one throws around that, you know, it's not about us, it's not about us, it's not about us. It's not about being in control.
It's not about making your little life work out or my little life work out and our plans work out and what other people think. When you see God for who he is, it's just like... All that stuff goes away. And then at the sound of their voices, the text goes on, the door posts and the thresholds they shook and the temple was filled with smoke. And this is what happens when you see God afresh. Woe is me, I cried, I'm ruined. This is a prophet.
This is the statesman of the day. This is a man who heard from God. This is a guy that his righteousness I'm sure compared to most of ours, his is here and we're here, but he sees God, I'm ruined.
For I'm a man of unclean lips and I live among the people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the king, the Lord Almighty. And then we get this powerful picture of the seraph who flies with the coal, takes it from the altar, touches his lips. And you have this process that I think needs to happen. The old word for it is repentance and renewal. But it's this process where we get into the scriptures and in community and in worship where we again get a glimpse of who God really is which leads to an accurate view of ourselves which leads to a realignment of our agenda with his. And that process is over and over and over in scripture and that has to happen with us.
And it's painful. Sitting quietly before God, worshiping God for who he is versus just asking and telling and whining and complaining, we can do all that. But we need to come before God and worship him for who he is and remember who he is and then ask him to by his searching light pray the prayer that David prayed. Search me, O God, into my heart. Test me. Examine me. See if there's anything in me.
And you know what? Then sit quietly. And unless you're living on a different planet than I am, he'll show you stuff. And for some of you that are very mature and walk with the Lord far longer than me, it probably won't be outward external stuff. It'll be that little self-righteous attitude. It'll be that little judgmental thing of how you think about so and so.
It'll be about issues like motive. When everyone looks to you and yet what you know is you play into the crowd just a little bit too much. You're liking the praise of men just a little too much. You've become a little bit of a people pleaser a little too much. You've allowed your faith and how you live to be sort of a little badge. And you know, you're human. And you just need to get the fiery flame of the holiness of God to purge you and me purge me and allow him to do that. And then we recognize with a new level how unworthy we are.
And guess what that does? The work of Jesus then becomes very precious because you realize without him you're in big trouble. And so the cross takes on new meaning. The biblical profiles are Moses and Stephen.
I like the Hebrews passage where it says, Moses chose to be mistreated for a time then live in a pagan culture and enjoy the pleasures of Egypt. There's a price tag to be holy. And Stephen, you have this, you know, when they chose Stephen, remember Acts chapter 6? It comes from you men who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
And the very first name is Stephen. He's a holy man. He's filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. And then chapter 7, what do we have?
We have Stephen making this defense and they bring these trumped up charges. And as he's looking up, God gives him a vision of Jesus next to the throne. And you have courage when you're holy. And you have boldness when you're holy.
You know the word of God because he goes through the entire history of Israel when you're holy. And then he gets to the end and you have a forgiving heart. Father, forgive them.
Please don't take this into account. That's what a holy life looks like. Not people who dress funny or praise the Lord on the back of their cars or have big black Bibles. Holiness is a quality of life that is winsome and loving and word centered and deeply caring and morally pure. The New Testament command is 1 Peter 15 and 16. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in your notes where you circle the word all. In all you do.
For it is written, be holy because I'm holy. In all you do. In what you watch. In what you put into your mind. In what comes out of your mouth. In what goes into your mouth. In what you say.
In what you think. Be holy in all that you do. Holiness is not an option. The scripture says without holiness no one will see the Lord. Holiness is not external religious activity. Holiness is a condition of the heart.
A purity of the mind that expresses itself in a righteous lifestyle. And then notice the great promise. Blessed are the pure in heart because what do they get?
They see God. And you know at the end of the day that's God's heart's desire and you'll never get a greater reward. Just see God knowing for who He is.
And by the way that's how transformation occurs. 1 John will tell us we don't know exactly what we're going to be like but this is what we know. 1 John 3.
When we see Him we'll be like Him. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message Teach Them to Make Wise Choices. Which is from our series Leaving a Legacy That Lasts Forever.
Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. We all want to leave an imprint on our families that will last long after we're gone. But what exactly do you want them to remember? Well in this series Chip shares some godly principles that will provide more for your kids than what money can buy.
Hear what the Bible teaches about enduring hardships, making wise choices, and discovering your purpose. So whether you're a parent, grandparent, or mentor, Chip will help you share these lessons with the young people you love in a personal way. To learn more about Leaving a Legacy That Lasts Forever or our resources visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.
That's LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well Chip's back in studio with me and Chip before you share a few final thoughts from this message, you know Father's Day is coming up. So do you have any ideas for how we can practically encourage the men we look up to in our lives?
Absolutely Dave. I do have a great idea. I think it's helping a dad be a dad. My confession, I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I got very little help being a dad. Being the father that my children need. And so I've written a little book called The Portrait of a Father. How to be the dad your child needs. The father's role in the family is critical.
But I think men get overwhelmed. We don't know exactly how to do it. In this little booklet I'll give you the four roles that God expects for a man to be a leader, a lover, a teacher, and a priest.
And then very specifically how to do that. You can read this in a little over an hour. It's really small. So it's one that you could get for three or four or five or six people. And I think the team has discounted it because we want to get this in the hands of as many people as possible for Father's Day.
Not just so they get a good gift, but what we know is when a man begins to lead his family, when he finally gets the confidence to know who he is to be and what he's to do, it changes everything. Dave, why don't you tell them how they can get this little book? Sure thing. To order your copy of Chip's book, Portrait of a Father, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. We hope this book will encourage every dad to be the man his kids desperately need him to be. And as Chip just said, we've discounted this resource so you can get as many as you need for either your men's group or your entire church. Also, if you want to give this as a Father's Day gift, place your order by June 5th to receive it in time. To get your hands on Chip's book, Portrait of a Father, call 888-333-6003 or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.
App listeners tap Special Offers. With that, let's get to Chip's application. What's going through your mind and your heart right now? I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that a lot of us don't have the big old sins that maybe we dealt with in years past. You know, the alcoholism, the porn, the addiction, you know, maybe we've come through a divorce and we've been walking with God.
But let me ask you about the issues of the heart. As I was reading through the Psalms and Proverbs here just in the last few days, two or three different times it says, God weighs the heart. God knows and sees every aspect of my motives, of my tongue, of the little comment that I make, the passing on of misinformation, the small little sarcastic remark that reveals something down deep inside. And I'm not trying to get you to, you know, figure out how terrible you are, but here's what I want you to do.
When is the last time you, even as a good, genuine, sincere follower of Jesus Christ, when was the last time you felt deeply convicted by the Spirit of God for one of those sins that we would all characterize as, it's just a minor thing? You know, I just criticize so and so. I just thought the bad thought. I was just coveting in my heart.
But I mean, I didn't actually do anything wrong. Here's what you need to understand. God wants you to be pure. It's the pure in heart that see God. My experience as I've read of past Christians in my own life and as I counsel with people is, over time we let all these tiny little sins, if you will, begin to build calluses on our heart. The Scripture says, in fact, Jesus said, the pure in heart see God.
We begin to not experience the power of God and we gradually become religious and focus on externals. Unless we allow at a point in time, God, search my heart, search my motives. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Am I pleasing people or pleasing you? Am I really using my gifts the way you want me to? How much am I posturing?
How much am I just image casting to appear like I'm humble or like I'm a good Christian? Take a moment today and say, oh God, search my heart. Lord, if there's anything impure there, show me. I want to be as close to you as possible. I know you love me. I know you reveal it to me.
I know you're not down on me. But I want to come clean to the very depths of my being because you promised draw near to God and he'll draw near to you. And so, Father, I want to do that today. And my prayer is that you'll take some time right now. And if you can't right now, you know, think about when today could you get 10 or 15 minutes to get totally alone, totally quiet, and just pray, search me, oh God, and know my heart.
Test me and see if there'd be any wicked way in me in order that you might receive forgiveness and fresh grace from a God who loves you. Amen. Great word, Chip. Hey, before we go, let me remind you of an easy way to listen to our extended teaching podcast. Hear Chip anytime on Amazon's Alexa Echo and Echo Dot. Just say, Alexa, open Living on the Edge, and you'll be able to enjoy that day's full length teaching. Try it today. Listen in next time as Chip continues our series, Leaving a Legacy That Lasts Forever. Until then, this is Dave Drury saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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