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True Spirituality - How to Give God What He Wants the Most, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2023 6:00 am

True Spirituality - How to Give God What He Wants the Most, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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June 7, 2023 6:00 am

What causes God’s blessings to flow to you and me? Is it following a list of rules or religious practices? Or maybe just a random choice made by Him alone? Chip looks at how God chooses on whom He will pour out His blessings …and how you can begin receiving those blessings starting today.

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What do you give the person that has everything? Every time that comes up on my Christmas list or birthday list, I get stumped, but here's a bigger one. How do you give God what He wants the most?

Have you ever thought of that? You're going to learn exactly what He wants and how to give it to Him. That's today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. We're in the middle of our popular series, True Spirituality, becoming a Romans 12 Christian. As you've heard, it takes a lot of intentionality to be an authentic follower of Jesus, so we hope Chip's teaching has challenged you to stick with it and continue growing in your faith journey. And to help others mature in their faith, take a minute after this message and share it with someone in your life, either through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org.

Okay, go to your Bibles to Romans chapter 12 for Chip's message, How to Give God What He Wants Most. If I ask you kind of over a cup of coffee, where did your spiritual journey really begin as an adult? What would you tell me? Where were you? What were the circumstances?

For me, it was the night I graduated from high school. After being with some friends at a party, I realized I was a workaholic. I had academic success. My dream of a basketball scholarship was in hand.

I was all league in baseball. I had a really pretty girlfriend. And I sat alone and empty and just wondering, what in the world am I here for?

My little formula of success will make you happy didn't pan out. I remember that night sitting on my bed looking out my bedroom window. It was a very starry night, I remember. And I started asking the real questions that adults ask. Why am I here? Is there a God? What's my purpose in life?

Is there more to life than just setting goals and achieving them? And that night, although I had a lot of childhood prayers of, you know, get me out of this jam and please help so and so. I prayed what I think was my first adult prayer. And I remember looking at the stars and I said, God, if you exist, reveal yourself to me in a way I can understand. And then I figure everybody wants something and I remember praying, God, what do you want from me? If you exist, what do you really want from me? And that's gonna be the question we're gonna ask and answer today on our journey toward true spirituality.

How do we give God what he wants the most? If you pull out your teaching handout, we're gonna walk through this journey and this journey is gonna take us to a point of a very, very important decision. When you ask the big questions of life, they come back at you in a way where there's big decisions. Decisions about future and priority and relationships.

I mean, way more important than jobs and money and details. And so I wanna introduce you to a book that I read. It was by a Harvard, actually Yale, excuse me, they use it at Harvard Business School, but by a Yale law professor called Risk, Reason, and the Decision Making Process. And it's a series of true stories that are case studies and they read the case study, then they get in small groups and they talk about, okay, what were the risks involved in making this decision? What reasons did people make this decision?

And what would you do? And so they sort of peel it out, give a case study, let the groups talk a little bit, and then give them more information. So let me actually, I've got a couple case studies here, because here's the deal. The goal was to teach them to make skillful, wise decisions. And we're gonna be talking about a very, very important decision, and there was just some great insight about making great decisions.

So case study number one, they're brief, but they're kind of fun. A 32-year-old engineer named John loves to go to estate sales to look for antique furniture and other potentially valuable items. One weekend, he goes to an estate sale in the southern part of the United States.

All the items in this particular house are being sold together for a single price. Visitors are welcome to make a bid, and John learns that the winning bid will be about $95,000. The house is old and disrepair, probably built during the Civil War period. John, a self-confessed geek and history buff, recognizes a collection of rifles that seem to be from that time frame. He then goes downstairs to a damp basement using a small pocket flashlight, finds an old roller top desk, and going through the desk he discovers a false drawer.

And in the false drawer is a small leather pouch that contains 22 very rare, pure gold coins minted by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. They could be worth millions of dollars, he believes. John has to make a decision. What should he do? He has $10,000 in savings. If he can sell his car, his house, and everything he owns, he believes he can come up with the $95,000 and make the winning bid. What would you do? Students at Harvard's Business School and MIT and other universities discuss this. So face value, what would you do?

Think about that. Case study number two. Sheila, a 20-something college art teacher at a community college, was traveling in Europe over the summer. She had even started a small collection on her limited salary, and while in a small village in southern France, well off the beaten path, Sheila went to an auction where the locals had all donated family art to be sold to help finance the construction of a much-needed school. One painting topped the list and was said to be a rare but highly valued copy of Picasso's work. It was deemed as a non-original because the signature at the bottom was different from all of his other works. Sheila, however, wrote her master's thesis on Picasso and was aware that in the first year of his work, he did not sign his name but only put his initials there. She looked and studied the painting carefully and came to the conclusion that she actually was in the presence of a priceless piece of art.

It was believed they were only two or three of these paintings in existence anywhere in the world. If this were so, Sheila was standing before something worth a very great deal of money. The 25,000 asking price was a joke with regard to what it was worth, but it was a bigger joke with her income. What Sheila would have to do would sell her Volkswagen Jetta, sell her entire art collection, and withdraw her entire savings of $600. What should Sheila do?

What would you tell her? Now, you'll notice on your notes I did little observations or questions to ponder and here's, you know, when you get something like this, you ask, okay, what are the risks? The risk is that if the coins are phony and John does that, he loses everything and the risk for Sheila is if it's not a Picasso, she's going to lose everything. The potential rewards are, and by the way later in the study, you know, they have a second page that the teacher brings out, the coins are real and they're worth about 30 to 40 million dollars.

The Picasso was real and was worth about a hundred million dollars. So, the rewards were super if in fact it was true, but the cost and the risk was very high if it's not. So, with that information, what would you do and why? Now, I want to give you three principles that flow out of these case studies.

Here's where the meat is for you and me. In every big decision, and I mean big important life-altering decisions especially, the number one thing you need is just write this word down, truth. Truth. The issue here is the validity of the find.

If the coins are legit, if they're true, if it's a Picasso, if it's true, and for you, when you're trying to figure out what you should do with your life and the relationships that you're in, you need to first and foremost say, what's true? Second, write the word knowledge there under your kind of observations. See, Sheila had knowledge that other people didn't have. She had done some work. She'd done some study.

She was prepared to take advantage of a situation because she knew things that other people didn't know. John, the same way. He's a computer geek. He's a history buff. When he saw the rifles, he saw the house. All those things gave him insider's knowledge about what he was really looking at. And after truth and knowledge, the last thing, just write the word faith. These are the three keys to making great decisions. What's true?

Do you have the inside knowledge? And then faith is literally the courage to pull the trigger. You know, it's one thing for John to say, hey, I believe this. This is true.

I've done some evaluation. And then can you hear John? You're like going back and talking to his wife.

Hey, honey, we're going to empty our savings account, sell the house, sell the cars, everything that we have because I just found these gold coins. And even if he's absolutely convinced, because I've watched this happen a lot. You know, there's things you're convinced of that you really believe are true. Your logic tells you it's true. At times, even the Bible tells you it's true. At times, the research in history even says it's true. But when you look at the weight of the risk, there's a great deal of people that never have the faith or the courage to pull the trigger and act on what they absolutely believe is true.

And so they don't make good decisions or they make no decisions which is really a decision of itself. Turn the page if you will because these two remind me of a case study by Jesus that teaches us also about risk, reason, and the decision-making process. When Jesus is teaching this, it's out of Matthew chapter 13 verses 44 and 45, by this time his popularity is growing. And people he has deemed to be the king of the universe, the Messiah.

And he's saying that I'm the king over a kingdom and all a kingdom is is the rights and the power and the authority that someone has to rule. And he was teaching a completely new way of life, completely different from the religious time, completely different. He was loving and he was kind and he was holy and he was radical and everywhere he went there was either a riot or revival and there was something fascinating and powerful and he did things that no one else had ever done.

He raised people from the dead and he spoke about God and he revealed the Father. And people were following him but as they begin to follow him forced him into very big decisions. Big decisions about the way they used to think. Big decisions about other relationships.

Big decisions about their time or their money or their future. And so he gives them two similes or pictures, parables. He makes them up. He says the kingdom of heaven, in other words following me and how life works with me as the king of your life is like a treasure hidden in the field which a man found then he hid again and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and he buys that field. Now that's a very short sermon but there's a lot in there.

And just in case, very common in Jewish teaching, parallelism, they'll give you a truth and just to make sure you get it maybe give you exactly the same truth with a different picture. So look at verse 45. Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls and upon finding one pearl of great value, of exquisite value, of over the top priceless value is the idea. He went and sold all the pearls that he had and he bought it.

So if you have a pen pull it out. Let's go up to verse 44. I want you to see something. Underline the two words treasure hidden and then the two words man found and then the two words hid again and then the two words from joy and then the two words sells all and then the phrase buys the field. And if we were doing a little Bible study together I would say there's four observations we could make that are very, very simple but unveil what Jesus is saying. A man, number one, finds a treasure. The man after finding the treasure sees how much worth it is, he hides it again.

Number three, he has an emotional response. He is absolutely exhilarated and joyful that he has come into all this money and then number four, in order to get that field he sells everything he has so when he owns the field he'll get the treasure inside. Now here's what you need to understand. Jesus isn't talking about money and treasure. He's making a very profound spiritual point and principle about decision making. And what he's saying is this. He's saying there's certain things that we can see and certain things we can't see. And the kingdom of God in following me is akin to, and this would be in their day, it would make sense because this actually could happen in their day. They didn't have 401Ks. And so you would take your treasure and you would hide it, dig it someplace on your land and the goal is you would tell your relatives, your sons or daughters where it is but sometimes people they aren't ready quite to hear it and they die before they tell anyone.

So it could be on a piece of land for two or three or four generations. And so the people realize that this story is really plausible. And so he says here's a man who is in a field, maybe he's walking with a stick and he hears something and he opens it up and there's a little chest and there's a fortune in it and he covers it back up and he is just exhilarated with what he's just found so he recklessly with abandon sells everything he has that's not worth very much to get something that's worth a whole lot.

Same picture with the pearl. Here's the thesis. Jesus is saying when you understand who he is and how life really works and what really really matters now and forever and you get the treasure of what it is to have relationship with him and the plan that he has for you on this earth, you would with reckless abandon and joy forsake all else to get that. Put another way his thesis is total commitment is the channel through which God's biggest and best blessings flow.

Did you realize that? I mean total commitment he sold all that he had. Motive joy. Above the word in your notes where it says total commitment would you write the word surrender and put a box around it. Surrender total commitment.

I mean it was all or nothing in order to gain that land with the treasure inside. Now notice Webster defines total commitment for us because sometimes that word means different things to different people. He says it's the alignment of one's motives, resources, priorities and goals to fulfill a specific mission, accomplish a specific task or follow a specific person. In the words of Texas Hold'em it's you're all in. Total commitment. Surrender.

This is very counterintuitive. Jesus is this amazing teacher calling people to a life and he says the values are upside down than the world that you live in and the way to gain is to give and the way to life is to die. And he says I have a plan and in following me there is a treasure that's unspeakable.

It's unspeakable for the now. It will transform you. It will transform every relationship. It has the promise of eternity. It has the forgiveness of your sin. It has focus and purpose and answers all the big questions of life and this treasure I want to give you but here's the entrance to the decision. Surrender. Surrender is the channel to which God's best and biggest blessings flow. Now you'll notice at the very bottom I put a spiritual insight because when you talk like I have just been talking about total commitment and if you really begin to play it out in your mind and you start thinking about you know the story about John and Sheila that's really nice and you know you kind of think of the hundred million dollars that Sheila has and you think about the 30 or 40 million dollars that John got out of the deal because they had inside knowledge and had the courage to pull the trigger both did. By the way before I go on is there no compassion in this room?

I noticed. Does anyone just have a twinge and feel sort of sorry for Sheila? She gave up her Volkswagen Jetta. I mean every piece of art that she picked up over those years don't you think they were on her teacher's salary and emotional and John if he's been to these estate sales when he sold everything he has don't you think there's a couple antiques from other sales that really meant a lot to him?

I mean his wife loses her home? You're a really hard hearted group. So you're you actually are saying you think that 30 or 40 million dollars is worth doing that?

Of course you do. Now Jesus told these two parables to get into their world in such a way that they would get a new set of glasses because when you talk to people that want to follow God about total commitment it's like well I know you know pastors are supposed to be totally committed and and maybe missionaries and there's always like you know like a 98 year old lady who really prays like 37 hours a day and there's only 24 hours and we know she's totally committed but I mean for most of us like we're just like regular Christians and that sounds really scary and you know I really want to love God I'm glad I'm going to heaven I'm glad Jesus forgave my sins and you know I would like to be a good person in fact I think I'm a little bit better person than most people but total commitment sounds like scary like I mean lock stock barrel I mean God has the say on my time my money my future my family and so what most of us do is we see the lens of total commitment negatively. In fact notice I put it on your notes we see total commitment as sacrificial we see it as self-denial we see it as noble we think people that are totally committed are martyrs have you ever met someone who said I have renounced all for Jesus I've met some people like that and I haven't liked to be around them very long because they've renounced all and somewhere in there they think they're way better than you and me. Here's what I want to tell you when Jesus taught about surrender or total commitment it is the channel to get God's very best in your life but he said it's for joy his motivation is positive it's wise it's logical it's shrewd it's not so much renouncing as it is a reevaluation is $95,000 as valuable as 30 to 40 million this isn't rockin science. Now when we look at it like that it's easy but when you look at the treasure that God has it gets a little more difficult because you can't see it just as Jesus made up parables to help people in their world understand what's going on I took the liberty to make those two parables up please do not feel betrayed I mean if I would have come out here okay are you ready if I would have come out here and said total commitment surrender is the channel through which God's biggest and best blessings flow now are you totally committed or not you're gonna step up or not you're gonna get with the program I mean all your defenses would be what and you would have totally missed the point I've actually taught that in my early days as a pastor you know where's the few the proud the Christian marine come on and I was one of those religious jerks that thought I was better than anyone because I'm committed I totally missed the point I didn't understand God's grace but you know all of you were kind of leaning forward thinking here's the only thing you thought about Sheila and John I wish I were them right I wish I were them and you know what Sheila does anyone would say that Oh Sheila and John were noble they were martyrs she gave up her Jetta right she they made a big sacrifice where's your focus your focus is like mine sacrifice my lands thirty or forty million the focus was on what they got and that was Jesus point and that's his message to you this is Living on the Edge with chip Ingram and you've been listening to part one of his message how to give God what he wants most from our series true spirituality chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about does your relationship with God often feel like working for a perfect report card do you believe if you don't get straight A's in life God will be disappointed or even mad at you well in this 12-part study chip challenges us to let go of that performance driven attitude and embrace the grace-based love-filled life God has for us as chip teaches through Romans chapter 12 he'll reveal what a genuine follower of Jesus looks like and how we can get there and for a limited time we've discounted all the resources for the series so you can experience true spirituality like never before to learn more visit Living on the Edge org that's Living on the Edge dot o-r-g app listeners tap special offers well before we go any further in this program chips joined me here in studio now with something special he'd like to share chip thanks Dave I have a very important word for the Living on the Edge family a huge number of believers are still spiritual infants they're not mature they don't know how to live out their faith in their families their churches or their communities they've trusted in Christ they've been forgiven but their lifestyles don't really reflect the love or the holiness of Jesus and we at Living on the Edge want to help Christians learn to live like Christians to disciple believers and help them learn biblical truths so that when they're attacked by the enemy or go through adversity or difficulty or pain or suffering they'll have the strength to stand strong if you want to see Christians grow spiritually here in America and around the world I'm asking you right now will you give a gift to help us disciple Christians will you partner with us and by the way every dollar that you give by July 7th will be matched dollar for dollar so pray about it and then do what the Lord shows you today thanks so much well if you believe God is calling you to join us in helping Christians live like Christians now's a great time to become a financial partner because during our mid-year match every dollar we receive will be doubled for greater impact to send a gift call us at triple eight three three three six zero zero three or go to Living on the Edge dot org that's triple eight three three three six zero zero three or visit Living on the Edge dot org app listeners tap donate well with that here's chip to share some application for this message as we wrap up today's program I've really introduced a very different paradigm about what God's like I mean surrender is not this great huge sacrifice it really is the channel it's the opportunity it's the window through which God is going to do the biggest and best things in you now what I know is that's a lot easier said than to believe and so here's your assignment for today and you can do it right now I want you to ask this one question how do you tend to view God as kind or demanding just in your own heart and mind when you think about God is he kind is he for you is he ready to help is he just you know on the edge of his throne saying what do you need today or is he demanding and hard to please that will tell you why it's hard to surrender here's your little action step get a three by five card and write out in whatever translation you want Romans eight thirty two he that spared not his own son for you how will he not with him freely give you all things if he loves you enough to give you his son how can we not trust him for the little stuff like our future our cars our money our homes and our locations he wants to help you surrender today great challenge chip as we close if you're looking for a way to get more out of our teaching let me encourage you to download the message notes now this helpful tool is available for every program they include a clear outline all the scripture references and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning you can get them at Living on the Edge dot org under the broadcasts tab app listeners tap fill in notes will join us next time as chip continues his series true spirituality becoming a Romans 12 Christian until then I'm Dave Drew saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 05:49:17 / 2023-06-07 05:59:19 / 10

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