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God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - No Gods But God, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
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July 4, 2023 6:00 am

God's Boundaries for Abundant Living - No Gods But God, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 4, 2023 6:00 am

Chip continues this journey into a fresh look at the Ten Commandments by explaining why commandment number one is foundational to our peace and well-being.

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Do you feel like your life is spinning out of control? That there's chaos and conflict in every direction that you turn? Today, I want to show you a boundary that God will give you to bring order and peace and direction to fragmented lives.

You're not going to want to miss it. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. And in just a minute, Chip will pick up where he left off in our series God's Boundaries for Abundant Living with the remainder of his talk from Exodus chapter 20 verses one and two. Last time, Chip gave us the background and framework for all Ten Commandments. Today, we'll learn why we are to exclusively worship God and what this looks like in our everyday lives. Well, with that, here's Chip for the second half of this message, No Gods, But God. He begins by helping us better understand God's purpose for the Ten Commandments.

Well, let's get going. Later in Romans chapter seven, they were given to help us see our need. Romans seven tells us what? It says no one can keep the law. I mean, the law was never designed ever to fulfill the law, keep all the law, and you'll get right with God. The Ten Commandments were never given that if you can keep them all, then you're going to be saved, that somehow you're going to get to heaven, then you're going to get big gold stars on your refrigerator in heaven. The law was given to show every man, every woman, every child of every age that this reveals the character of God, this is the bar, this is the standard, and no one can keep them.

No one can keep them. And so they drive you to ask God for mercy. They drive you to the cross.

They drive you to say, even if you can be like an apostle Paul and do the external things fairly well, then you get to command number ten. The issues of the heart, thou shall not what? Covet.

Covet. God has ten things that he says and when he gets to the end, he takes all of them and like an exponential to the tenth he says. All these have to happen, but they have to happen not just in your external behavior or speech, they have to happen as an issue of the heart. And if you open the Sermon on the mount, Matthew five, six, seven, what did Jesus say? You have heard it said, but I say to you. You have heard it said, but I say to you.

You have heard it said, but I say to you. And he says it is written and every time, what did Jesus say? He took the issues to the heart and said if you don't obey from the heart, you haven't obeyed at all. So as we look at the first command here, what I want you to know is that we're to honor God as God. Boundary number one is no gods but God. So, how do you honor God as God?

What exactly does it mean? It means very simply that God wants, desires and demands to have the same place in your heart that he has in the universe. He is the CEO of the universe. He is the master of the universe. He is the Lord of the universe. He is the central, focal, infinite reference point of all that is and all that will ever be and at the same time he is a circumference. He wants to be in you and in me and in your life and in your relationships and in your work and in all that you do. He wants to be at the center. He wants to be the priority. That's what it means to honor God as God. And he will have zero competitors. Notice what it says.

What does it mean to have no other gods? Notice the phrase before us. You got your pen?

Pull out a pen if you have it and if you don't have one, bring it for next time. We'll do a little Bible study each time. Circle the word before. The Hebrew word here, have no other God before me, the word before means in opposition to or in addition to. Nothing is to be placed before God. No person, no thing, no ideology, no purpose. God wants to be the center and the circumference of your life.

He wants to be the number one priority, the number one relationship. In kind of layman's terms, if we were listening to this and you were Israelites and I got to be like Moses for a moment and someone raised their hand and said, yo Moses, like what's this really mean to us? Moses would said it means you don't worship Baal or Chemosh or the Asheron or Dragon.

Those were the gods of the Canaanites. He would say it means you don't worship the sun, the moon or the stars. In our day it means you don't worship Mao, Stalin, Lenin or Marx or even Elvis. It means you don't worship pleasure or success, money or prominence. It means you don't worship sex, power, family, spouse or church or ministry. It means you don't worship your body, your mind, technology or your work. And for heaven's sakes it means don't worship yourself.

No gods but God. And that kind of raises a question. I mean since you know my background in undergraduate graduates in psychology and so what I learned early on is that you know something, we are masters at denial, aren't we? As human beings.

I mean we are just like unbelievably good at convincing ourselves we're doing really, really well when we're not really doing very well at all. Can I give you some diagnostic questions? You don't need to write them down. Just listen. This is a little test for you to find out who's at the center and the circumference of your life. This will let you know who you worship. First question would be who do you rely on? Who do you rely on under pressure when there's trouble? Who do you rely on? You, someone else, your job, money, your position, power or God? Second question, where does your time, energy and money go?

I mean if we just played a little game and of course we won't do it and we could take you know your portfolio and I could look at where all your money goes and I could look at where all your time goes and look at some of your journal entries and probably I could take a staggering wild guess about what and who is most important in your life and you can know pretty quickly what and who's most important in mine, right? See it's not how you feel when we sing the songs. It's not if you have an ooey gooey feeling during one of the worship times.

It's not you know how often you're reading the Bible. Jesus said wherever your treasure is, that's where your heart is. Wherever your time goes. Third question is who are you trying to impress? I mean we all do, right? Who are you really trying to impress? Who is it that you're looking, that boy they're going to give you the stroke and the big pat on the back. Is it your family? Is it the people at work?

Is it the people at school and how you look and how you dress and are you in and are you cool? See if he, no other gods but God means your primary goal is that you want to live for an audience of one. That you do the same thing alone in front of your computer as you would do if the whole family was with your computer.

You would spend money the same way if no one ever found out about it or if everyone found out about it because you live for an audience of one. The fourth question is what is the center of your life or who? What is it that makes everything else connect? And by the way in our circles sometimes you know a very good thing can get in the center but God says no gods but me. Your spouse is not a good center. One of your kids is not a good center. Supplying for the needs of your family is not a good center. Are you ready for this?

Church and ministry are not a good center. Only God and God alone is worthy to be the center and the focus of your life. Or here's a test that rattles me a little bit is what do you dream about or what do you hope for when you don't have to think about anything? You're just driving in the car or you have some time away or for some of us guys maybe gals I don't know when you're cutting the lawn and you know how you can just have time to think. What do you dream about?

Do you dream about the next deal? What just comes to your mind when you think about the preferable future? Does it have to do with your life and your relationship with the one that created you? With the God that died for you? With your intimacy with him and longing? And then finally under ultimate pressure what holds you up inside?

See at the end of the day that tells you who your God is. What could we take out of your life that if we remove that your life would fall apart? Could you be as happy if tomorrow your financial picture changed? Could you be as stable if we removed a person out of your life? Would your life still work if we said work gets omitted?

What is it that holds you up inside? Now am I saying in any way that those things are bad? Absolutely not.

Absolutely not. I'm saying according to God none of those things have the power to hold you up and therefore if you put your faith and your hope and your trust in anything or anyone you are destined to a heartbreak in your life and God is not receiving what is due him because he's the only eternal one. He's the only all powerful one. He's the one who gave the ten words to do what?

Set a boundary about who he is and what he does in a relationship with you. Why does God command exclusive worship of himself? Two reasons. One is his character demands it. He can't help it. God is the only person in the universe that is we would think you know he just seems to be kind of wanting to make himself the center of the world. Well he is.

He wants to be the center of attention. He is. He's the creator. He's the redeemer.

He's the sustainer. Colossians one. Christ is doing what? He holds all things together by the word of his power. What is worship? Worship is understanding and seeing God for who he is and then admiring, adoring and enhancing his reputation in light of that reality.

But all that I say and all that I do and how I live. That's what it means to be a worshiper. Worship isn't something I do now. Worship is being a living sacrifice 24-7, 365. And what does God want?

He wants me to worship him in spirit and in truth. God's character demands there is only one non-caused being. There is only one creator.

There is only one God. His character demands it. Secondly, our welfare demands it.

It's not just egocentric. Our personal welfare demands that we put no one or no thing in the place of God. Jod in your notes Psalm 115 and about verses 3-8. The psalmist says our God is in heaven. He does whatever he pleases. But the idols are of silver and gold made by the hands of men.

And then notice what he says about idols. They have mouths but they can't speak, eyes but they cannot see. They have ears but they cannot hear, noses but they cannot smell. They have hands but they cannot feel, feet but they cannot walk.

They cannot utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them. And so will all who trust in them. And then hear the plea, oh house of Israel, trust in the Lord. Oh house of Aaron, trust in the Lord. He is your help and your shield. You who fear him, trust in the Lord.

He is their help and shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless the house of Israel. He will bless those who fear the Lord, small and great alike. What's he saying about idols?

They can't come through. You see the day is going to come if you put your trust unconsciously or consciously in your job, your mate, one of your kids, your money, your portfolio, your success, your body, how you look, your popularity, who you impress and that you've really got it together, I will guarantee the day will come in your life when that idol cannot have the power to come through and deliver for you. And when that happens, you're going to be one hurting unit. And so God gives a boundary. He says there's one person who gets to be at the center of the universe, it's me. There's one person that is to be worshiped above everything else, it's me.

Why? One, I deserve it and two, you can't afford not to do it. It's a boundary. It's no different than God saying don't have sex before marriage. It's no different than he gives the boundary about telling the truth and lying.

It's no different than don't coveting other people's stuff. They're all provided for relationships to work in a way that are better and deeper and more winsome and grace-filled than you could ever, ever imagine. So final question is this, how can we honor God as God? I mean practically.

What's this look like? Let me give you three. I almost said suggestions but they're really not suggestions. From God's perspective, they're non-negotiables. Number one is recognize God for who he is. God is not your self-help genie. God is not a cosmic slot machine that if you push the right buttons that you'll have a great marriage, kids that turn out right.

They'll be upwardly mobile. You probably won't get as sick as other people and life will be wonderful for you. God is not Santa Claus who just throws little gifts here and there to help your life when you need him. God is not a cosmic psychiatrist who keep him on the shelf and then when you get really down and really hurting, there's someone you can go to.

And God is not some sort of eternal insurance agent that basically makes sure you're right on the dotted line because you need some fire insurance someday, someway in case all this might be true. He's the creator and maker of the universe. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, filled with compassion, slow to anger. He is eternal and he loves you. And he wants in your heart and in your life the same place that he holds in the universe. And at this very moment, there are beings that I do not know how to describe, but they are with wings covering their eyes and covering their feet and flying before the throne of God and they're crying out at this moment, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are filled of his glory.

Glory be to thee, oh God most high. First, recognize who God is. God is not some portion or some angle or slice of pie in your life to make your life go better. God is the core and the object and the creator and he wants you and your heart and your life and your relationships and your time and your treasure and your money and all that you are to come under submission to the king of the universe.

And it's not a boundary that is restrictive. As 1 John said, his commandments aren't grievous to us because God is a sun and a shield. He's a God who gives grace and glory. He's a God who does not want to withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. But it begins with recognize God for who he is.

Second, recognize yourself for who you are. You are not a nice, moral, religious person who gets graded on the curve and you can find a group of people that are doing a little bit worse than you so you think I must be pretty right with God because I'm not as bad as all those other people. That's human nature. What you are is a person like me born in Adam and on your very best days your motives stink or are mixed or you have presumptuous sin that you know not of. And he is the creator and you are the creature and that means, are you ready?

Old time word. You are a sinner. All that means is you fall short. It means you're not like God.

It means you have fallen, you have failed, you have missed. You're not loving all the time. You're not the husband you want to be or the wife you ought to be. You're not the child you need to be.

You don't do the right thing for the right reason all the time. You have fallen short. You are a creature in need of grace. He's the creator. You are a creature.

He is holy. You have sinned. Recognize God for who He is.

Recognize yourself for who you are. And yet though being a missing of the mark sinner you're made in the image of God and you have dignity and value and beauty and you're the object of His affection. And then your response is first and foremost to accept the free gift that this standard and bar, these 10 words that God has laid out that no one can keep and understanding who He is, who you are and then realize God has made a way through Jesus on the cross to pay for your sin, to close the gap between creator and creature. And that is the beginning of a new relationship called a new birth.

And the new birth is followed by a new life. And the rest of these commands are going to talk about how to worship this God in the right way in the new life. And the rest of these words are going to talk about how to live with one another in this new relationship and this new life. And He's going to give you boundaries that are going to be more valuable than what side of the road you stay on. They're going to be more valuable than how to keep you know psychological distance with people.

They're going to be more valuable than anything you can imagine. And they will impact your relationships and your money and your worship and your family. And as we look at each boundary then we'll turn them over and hear the very words of Christ so we not only get the law as given to the nation but the spirit of the law as given by the Savior. And we're going to learn God's boundaries not for restricted living but for abundant living. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And the message you just heard, No Gods but God, is from our series, God's Boundaries for Abundant Living.

Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Many people today look at the Ten Commandments as an outdated and oppressive list of rules. So are they still necessary today? Does it matter if Christians follow them or not? Well Chip addresses these tough questions through his detailed study in Exodus chapter 20.

Discover, rather than a rigid set of don'ts, how the Ten Commandments act as guidelines for a loving and caring Heavenly Father. I hope you can join us for every message in this series. To learn more about Living on the Edge or our many insightful resources, visit

That's Well I'm joined in the studio now by Chip. And Chip, you know I read a statistic recently that revealed that nearly 40% of pastors all over the world have considered quitting the ministry in the last few years. I mean that's a shocking number to me that even church leaders are struggling with hopelessness right now.

Well Dave, that's right. Pastors are weary. They're discouraged. And they're facing unprecedented challenges. So in the wake of the pandemic, we created a resource called The Art of Survival. It's a teaching out of James chapter 1 about persevering, about considering it all joy, even when times are tough. So during the pandemic, we were able to train over 10,000 pastors in 60 countries over Zoom.

Then we saw the need to go on the ground. So we began training pastors first in India, then Africa, Mexico, and now we've gone to the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. We've now trained over 60,000 pastors in The Art of Survival in their country in one-day seminars. I have to tell you, these pastors who love the church, they've come together.

We've watched them pray and cry and support one another. And their testimony is this, now we're not going to quit the ministry. And this year we're launching another training program called The High Impact Church. We're on target as of today to train 170,000 pastors this year.

So here's my request. Would you partner with us to help under-resourced pastors in very challenging situations to have hope and to get help? And right now, every gift that you give before July 7th will be matched dollar for dollar. Your gift will allow us to help pastors here and all around the world.

Thank you so much for praying about this and then doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, if you're already supporting us, we appreciate you. Your gifts are helping us in profound ways all around the world.

But if you aren't yet part of the team, now is a great time to become a financial partner. Thanks to a handful of ministry friends, every dollar we receive until midnight this Friday, July 7th, will be matched dollar for dollar. To send a gift, call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. Or go to

App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, Chip, let's get to your application for today. Thanks Dave. You know, the title of this series, God's Boundaries, is kind of funny because sometimes when I think of boundaries, I think of when I was a kid and I didn't get to do it very often, but you'd go to one of those go-kart places and they'd have those tires everywhere. And you know, some of them were pretty big and the sharp turns and you tried to go as fast as you could. And those big tires were designed to keep you on the track. And for some of us that didn't obey all the rules, you would kind of bounce off of them instead of really get hurt. And you know, when I think of this series, that's a lot like God's Boundaries. I think so often we think of the Ten Commandments as, you know, rigid rules and an angry God and they're punitive. And the fact of the matter is, they're like the tires on that go-kart course.

You know, they're very visible. They're actually there to keep you on track. And the whole goal is to protect you.

And so I don't know about your background. I don't know kind of where you've been, but let me encourage you that when you know who put the boundaries there, they really become very different. They become sort of guidelines and acts of love and barriers to keep you from getting hurt instead of prohibitive things to keep you from having fun. When you understand who God really is, it completely changes how you think of His, quote, rules or boundaries. And so here's what I would love you to do. I'd love you go to our website,, and there you're going to find a book and a small group study called The Real God. And it's a study of the attributes of God. And as you get to know who God is, I'm going to tell you these boundaries will take on whole new meaning. So let me encourage you to, you know, maybe get your family or a couple friends, get them together, go to the website and go through this study.

And I think it'll have a profound impact on your view of God and how you actually live your life. Thanks, Chip. Before we close, I want to quickly thank those who support us financially. Your generosity helps us create programs like this one.

But if you haven't partnered with us before, there's never been a better time. Every gift we receive until midnight this Friday, July 7th, will be matched dollar for dollar. Go to or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or visit App listeners tap donate. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-04 04:59:57 / 2023-07-04 05:09:48 / 10

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