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Pathways to Intimacy with God - How God Speaks to Ordinary People, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2023 6:00 am

Pathways to Intimacy with God - How God Speaks to Ordinary People, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 11, 2023 6:00 am

How would your day turn out differently if you could hear God speak to you? Join Chip as he shares how you can rediscover an ancient method of hearing God speak directly to you about the most important issues in your life.

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Can you imagine getting up in the morning, having a slew of problems, walking over to the phone, picking up the phone, and dialing H-E-A-V-E-N, heaven. And you push the button and God answers on the other end. And you say to Him, God, I've got a big problem with one of my kids, I've got a financial problem, and I've got a big meeting today. Will you please tell me what to do? And God tells you exactly what to do.

Would that be cool or not? Well, today I want to tell you, God literally speaks to ordinary people like you and me. Don't go away. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We are a discipleship-driven ministry on a mission to encourage Christians everywhere to live like Christians. Today we're continuing our series Pathways to Intimacy with God, and as Chip just teased, we'll learn about the simple ways God communicates with us every day.

There's a lot to unpack on this topic, so let's dive right in. Here's Chip with today's message, How God Speaks to Ordinary People. Some of my very best memories as a child happened around a table about like this. It was a little bit bigger, but at 6.15 or 6.30 every morning at my house, regardless of when you were leaving, you had breakfast. And we would eat a meal that my mom or sister or someone would fix, and then at the end we took all the plates and we pushed them to the middle, and even as early as like I can remember, this probably is not good advice for parents, but about three or four years old, I didn't like milk, and so if I would drink part of my milk, my parents would put a little coffee in there, and then I would douse it with lots of sugar, and I would sit around with a cup of coffee, and with my mom and dad and my sisters, and we would talk. And there was a sense of belonging and affirmation, and you talked about your day, and you talked about school, and you talked about what you were afraid of, and you talked about the dreams that you had, and it was just a time where you really talked as a family. And there's something powerful and encouraging.

I have no idea what it does in the life of a child, let alone a parent, but there's something very, very powerful when you have a heart-to-heart talk with your mom or with your dad or better with both. And there's a sense of counsel and direction and affirmation and now and then some rebuke, but I ask myself, why are those the best memories? And even today, I mean, people give me a hard time. I'm not sure I even like coffee. Some would say I'm lying.

But I think it's so paired with the best experiences and relationships in my life that's always been around a cup of coffee that I've felt a sense of belonging, connection, and love with other people. And you know as a kid, you know it's not true when you completely grow up, but when you're a kid, your parents care. I mean, they're strong. They've been there.

They've done that. And so when you sit around a table like that and you talk, there's a place where really you're processing life and you're being guided and directed and affirmed and getting a little redirection. And what I would suggest is that you never outgrow that need. And I think God knows we never outgrow that need because even though you may end up 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80, as parents, what you know is you're always parents and you have kids whether they're 40 or 50 or not. And you're a kid and you need a father. You need someone to sit down and talk to that you can process life with that affirms you and loves you and really listens who's been there, who's done that, who's strong, who's committed. What I always knew about my parents is whatever we talked about around the table, it was unspoken, but they were committed to help me make it through it.

Now sometimes they put it back in my lap and sometimes I own my decision, but what I knew is they were for me. And it's interesting when Jesus went to a church by way of the apostle John in Revelation chapter 3, and he wanted to explain to grown kids who have a heavenly father about how important it was to have a relationship with him. He said, behold, I stand at the door and knock. He's saying this to a church. He's saying this to believers. He's saying it to a church just like ours. I stand at the door and knock. If any man, if any woman, if any student hears my voice and if they'll open the door, he says I will come in to them. And then he uses an interesting phrase. I like the old English on this one. And I will sup with him and he will sup with me.

Or the idea is to dine or to eat. See what God knows is I don't care how old you are. You know what you need and I need?

You never outgrow the need to sit down with someone who loves you and cares and whether it's over a meal or a cup of coffee, but it's where heart to heart connection time occurs. And the God of the universe in Revelation chapter 3, you know what he does? He invites you and he invites me to have personal, uninterrupted, intimate time where he can let us know how accepted and loved and affirmed we are. He can say that I've been there, I've done that, I've been tempted, I understand, I know your heart, I know your motives, I know your challenges, I know your family, I know your struggles, I know the inner recesses, I know where you've been, I know what you've done and by the way I even know tomorrow. Wouldn't it be great if in a physical resurrected body Jesus would sit down and I could be sitting here and I could offer him a cup of coffee and he could get a cup and I could get a cup and I could say, Lord you know something, Terese and I have been married well over 25 years and we have four grown kids, but you know there's a couple things that I'm really struggling with and I like to run them by you.

Do you mind if I just kind of lay them out here for you? And to have him in his physical body make eye contact with me and just nod and say, sure Chip, I understand, tell me what's going on. And then lay out what I'm struggling with and what I think and where my fears are and then maybe even he wouldn't talk, but have that look in his eyes like, I got this one covered, didn't I already promise I'm going to be with you on this? Well, well thank you.

Well you know since you're so available there's a couple other things I kind of like to run by you because there's, but how does it work today? Because I'm not Peter and I'm not Paul and I'm not John. And so how does God speak to ordinary people? You know he said on the very last night on the planet something very powerful in John 16. He said, it's really better for me and it's better for you that I go because I'm going to depart and go with the Father and I am with you now, but the day is going to come when I will be in you. And he says then the spirit that I'm going to send, the paraclete, the one who's called alongside, he will be in you and with you and he will manifest my presence and my power and he will reveal all truth to you. So instead of having to wait in line like if Peter's talking to me right now, John you had to wait in line or James you had to wait in line or Bartholomew you had to wait in line, you don't have to do that anymore.

I want you to know I'm going to be available 24-7 and you can talk to me anytime and I'll talk to you. And the question I have is, how does that really work? How does the God of the universe, I mean is this really real?

Is this true? How does he speak to ordinary regular normal men and women like you and like me? As Jesus spoke to the early disciples, so now the spirit speaks to us through the scriptures. And remember it's the spirit who's going to make the truth known. The apostle Paul is talking to a Corinthian church that is very carnal and they've had all kind of great experiences and what he wants to teach them is just as Jesus would sit down in his physical body and out of his lips would come words and he would talk with a man or talk with a woman, the woman at the well, the woman who lost her daughter, the people that are confused, the people overwhelmed and condemned with guilt and just as he would speak to them out of his mouth, so now he will speak to you and he'll speak to me but it won't be in his resurrected physical body, he's going to speak to you and speak to me through his spirit and his spirit is supernaturally going to take the word of God and make it come alive in your actual experience so they'll speak to your personal needs in your life through his word, the Bible.

And you say, Chip that's pretty far out, where do you get that? Notice what the apostle Paul writes to this Corinthian church, 1 Corinthians 2 verses 9 to 16. He says to them, no eye has seen or ear heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

Just let that soak in before you read further. Eye hasn't seen, ear hasn't heard or entered into the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love him. God has a wonderful plan for you, God loves you, what he wants to do in you and through you and your relationships and your family and your future, it is so beyond, so better than anything you could ever imagine. Well then how do you find out about it? Verse 10, but God has revealed it to us how? By his spirit.

Well how does it work Paul? Well see the spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? Well in the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. Now notice what's true of you and what's true of me. He says we, speaking of us believers, have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God.

Why? That we may understand what God has freely given us. And then he goes on to explain, this is what we speak not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the spirit, expressing spiritual truths and spiritual words. You see the man without the spirit, the unbeliever, he doesn't accept the things that come from the spirit of God because they're foolishness to him and he can't understand them because they're spiritually discerned. However the spiritual man, the believer, the person who's received Jesus and the spirit of God dwells in him, he makes judgments about all things but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him, but we have the mind of Christ.

It's the spirit within us as believers taking the revealed word of God so that you actually have the mind of Christ. You can know what Jesus thinks. You can know what Jesus feels. You can know what is true and what is false. You can know what is wise. You can know his plans.

You can know his direction. You can have as intimate relationship with Jesus, in fact more intimate than if he would come in the flesh and you could sit and talk with him in these chairs. He's available 24-7 and he loves you and he wants to reveal himself to you and his spirit dwelling in you will illuminate your mind and your heart in such a way that as you get into his word, he will reveal himself specifically and his plan for your life and direction for your life and wisdom for your relationships. And what I want you to see here is God's word is living and it reveals Jesus to us. Notice what the writer of Hebrews says, for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to the dividing of the joint of the soul and spirit of joints and marrow.

It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Anybody ever have that experience when you read God's word? I memorized it in a little different version. It says the word of God is living and active and is able to divide the judgments of the heart right down to the very depths of your motives in your heart. Have you ever been reading the Bible and as you read the Bible, it literally acts like there's a spiritual highlighter and a verse would pop up off the page almost and what it would show and almost like a little video recorder goes off on your head and that truth out of that verse and your personal experience somehow connects and God speaks to you about that relationship or that thought or that motive in a way that is unmistakable and you realize God has taken the written word that is the living word and he's spoken to me. Now I got to tell you, I did not grow up as a Christian.

I never opened a Bible till I was 18 but I'll never forget as long as I live the very first time that happened to me. I was in a camp. It was a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp. The football coach paid for me to go.

I didn't want to go. You could play all the basketball you want for free so I went and I remember they gave this little Bible, you know. I'd never read the Bible and I looked out over this grassy lawn on this college campus, six or seven hundred athletes from all over West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and I just thought I'd been dropped into the land of Jesus freaks.

This is 1972 and I'm thinking, man, I just got to get out of here as fast as I can. I got a Bible in my hand and some t-shirt that has Jesus name on it. I'd never said Jesus name out loud except in a cuss word. I thought they're going to indoctrinate me.

This is probably one of those weird places. I'm not going to read this Bible so for 15 minutes every morning I would just close it. About the third morning I thought, oh well, you're not supposed to do it like this so I just opened the New Testament. Romans 12 one. I urge you therefore my brothers in view of God's great mercy that you present yourself to him as a holy and living sacrifice for this is what God really wants from you. It was a new translation. Don't be conformed or molded after the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that the way you actually live could demonstrate what God's will is that which is good and acceptable and perfect. And then he went on to say and don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to think but to think of yourself as a having sound judgment as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. And I read those three verses and it was like as I read them a video recorder went on. Don't be conformed to this world and I just it was like a picture of a dictionary came up chameleon and my picture next to that little lizard and I was like this with this group and like this with this group and like this with this group and then it said don't think more highly of yourself and like pictures in my mind came of acting arrogant and big and cussing in the locker room and pushing people around and just out of out of all my insecurities trying to impress people and it was it was it was almost like woo. Later about three or four years and I began to just read the Bible and I didn't know what I was doing I didn't know where to read or where to start so I started in Matthew and I read it through once and then I read it through again and read it through again and read the New Testament three or four times and someone told me there was a bigger part that I should check out and so I started Genesis Exodus got to Leviticus and went back to the New Testament read it again and someone said you know you really need to check out that older portion so I went you know Genesis Exodus hit Leviticus again made it about halfway through went back to the New Testament and I remember when I found the Psalms had no idea that other people got depressed and angry and had no idea that people had really up high times with God and then just felt like life just stunk and you could actually say those kind of things to God and it didn't even offend him and I'll never forget when I found Proverbs and it was like this is a gold mine about how to treat people and how to live and what to do with your money and wow I mean the Bible talks this much about sex are you kidding me and God began to speak to me through his Word why notice what it says in John 1 John 1 says in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God he was in the beginning with God you see the logos the Word the second person of the Trinity John is telling us about before all time before mankind in the beginning was the Word Jesus and the Word logos was with God and then he goes on look at verse 14 skipping down and the Word became flesh that's Jesus and he made his dwelling among us literally he tabernacled among us and we've seen his glory the glory of the one and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth and then the next verse says and he has explained him that's why Jesus came to explain God you want to know what God thinks you want to know how God feels you want to know how God thinks about you just look at Jesus his life and how do you get to know Jesus Jesus is the Word and so better than having a physical body sitting in a chair to drink coffee with you and someone you can ask questions what the New Testament teaches is in the New Covenant the Spirit of Jesus his actual presence lives in you you've been sealed with the Spirit God wants to speak to you you actually possess the mind of Christ you have been sealed you're a part of the body and now this book can be illuminated in such a way that you can know his heart and his mind your direction your counsel how to live how to spend your money what decisions to make what decisions not to make and the Spirit of God will take the Word of God and manifest the actual person presence and power of the living Christ in you and through you in a way that gives you greater intimacy than even the early apostles you have a better deal than if you could smell the dust of his sandals you have the potential for a more intimate relationship with Jesus than any of the twelve that's how God speaks to ordinary people and you might be saying to yourself that sounds pretty good but I got a problem I've been a Christian three years and I would trade whatever he just said for like 10 minutes with Jesus in a real body and you know I had that happened to me a couple times I mean I mean you know that sort of those verses coming off the page I mean that happened a couple times in the last eight years that's not happened to me on a regular basis God's not speaking to me from his word the way that guy just said so I don't know if this really works or not see there's a condition there's a condition this doesn't happen for everyone all the time in the same way what I just described is God's plan it is available for 100 percent of all Christians all time and that includes you but in point number two here's what I want to make is that we must come in earnest if we're going to hear his voice we must come in earnest there needs to be a desire there needs to be a level of focus there needs to be a discipline there needs to be a passion there needs to be a sense of God I want to hear your voice God what you say means more than anything else and whatever it takes for me to hear your voice that's what I'm going to do that's who God speaks to fact the average Christian that I meet and this just breaks my heart the average Christian that I meet not only doesn't know this book is not even in this book I finally you know in the last 20 plus years of teaching and usually after I teach often for a half hour 45 minutes I end up talking with people and all the stuff you know that happens in their life and man I mean you name it boy I've seen it heard it and so finally I got where I asked one question I asked well tell me tell me a little bit about your time in the scriptures with God and when they talk about their on their seventh marriage and you know their drug habit that they can't lick and you know all this people approval addiction that they have and on and on and on and on and on and almost without exception the diet of God's word they had was not even sustainable for life they weren't in the Bible at all David said how can a young man keep his way pure how do you live this life by keeping it according to your word your word I've hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee the problem is not that the Spirit doesn't live in a believer and the problem is not that this is not powerful and that the Spirit of God will not take this and make it the living word personalized for your life the problem is there isn't earnest in most Christian believers life the problem is they know a lot more about friends about TV shows about ESPN about the Wall Street Journal and a number of soap operas than they know about the scriptures and so because of that when they long to hear God's voice and they need to hear a word from God they don't hear and we say well what's it look like to have earnest Proverbs chapter two one to five lays out very specifically the condition notice he says my son notice the word if if you have a pen circle the word if then go all the way down to verse five and circle the word then he says if here's the condition then here's the results he says my son if you notice underline this accept my words and store up my commandments within you underline accept and store up there's an attitude and an action first of all I'm going to come to God and I accept it I'm not going to argue with you I accept your word and I'm going to store them up they're going to matter to me that's the reception of God's word then notice verse two turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding so now it's beyond an attitude now it's okay I really want to know I'm turning my ear I'm going to listen to you rather than all this noise out there and I'm going to apply my heart I'm going to think I'm going to ponder I'm going to meditate I may even memorize it notice verse three and then if you call out the verb that notice there for insight and cry aloud for understanding is that how you approach the scriptures God show me what this means I've read it I've thought about it I've memorized portions of it I've done Bible study I just don't know what it means cry out for insight Lord show me I've got a big decision I've read all of through Proverbs I still don't know what to do please show me what to do I'm reading your word speak to me today and he says if you call out for insight cry aloud for understanding and then notice the intensity in verse four if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure what he's saying is if you bring the same kind of intensity and focus to wanting to know and hear God's voice that you do to your job for many of us men at making money of making the business grow or for many of us in our sports you want to be good at something what do we do we watch videos we read books about it we watch the pros we go to interviews we go to pro games we spend money we do all kind of things to do what get better at a sport and he says if you want to hear my voice accept my words store them up turn your ear apply your heart call out cry aloud and then you look for a word from me in my word like a man that is searching for silver or someone who knows I'm not sure where it's at but somewhere in this quarter mile radius there's a sunken treasure ship with one billion dollars worth of gold bullion and I'm going to find it I'm going to stay out here every day and I can keep dropping lines I'm going to pay for divers until I find it it's that level of focus and intensity and earnest that says I've got to get it when you come to God's word with those attitudes and that level of focus notice the promise then you'll understand the fear of the Lord and find or discover the knowledge of God God's spirit living in a believer will take God's written word make it God's living word and he will begin to speak to you an ordinary person about every single area of your life and a lot of it will surprise you it won't be all about challenging get with the program you know what his voice will say most often I love you I'm for you I understand I've been there I'm mindful that you're but dust we believe so many lies about ourselves we believe so many lies about God that's why we're on these unbelievable you know rampages toward trying to impress people and accomplish this and do this that's why we're busy busy fast fast busy busy fast fast move move go go go you know why because down deep we think we're going to miss everything we think we're going to blow it and so we're just running faster and faster and faster to accumulate and to gain and to capture because down deep we're scared we're scared that we really don't know what life's about and we're scared that we're not going to measure up and what you hear most of all over and over and over is I like you just the way you are I want to bring about the very best but I got a great plan I'm not in a hurry I have unlimited power I know what's happening next week next month next 10 years all of eternity you're my son you're my daughter I want you to slow your pace slow your heart and come and get away with me and when you with intensity and focus and crying and searching and applying of your heart say God I want you not just what you can give me not just the nice family not just the kids that will come out right not just the husband or wife that I really were hoping it's going to bring someday you know not just the good job not just the blessings I want you I want to meet you remember what Jesus said you search the scriptures because you think in them you'll find eternal life but are they the scriptures that testify of me Jesus spoke to his disciples on the earth through his earthly lips in an earthly body Jesus now speaks to ordinary men and ordinary women by the spirit of God by illuminating by the Holy Spirit the scriptures to you and to me this is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and you've been listening to part one of chips message how God speaks to ordinary people from our series pathways to intimacy with God Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about have you ever met a Christian who seems to have a special connection to God and it's not built on fake super spiritualism but a genuine closeness do you desire that familiarity in this series chip reveals that God longs to have that level of intimacy with all believers not just a select few learn how to experience a deeper relationship with the heavenly father who loves you for more info about pathways to intimacy with God visit Living on the Edge dot org or the chip Ingram app well chips back with me in studio now and chip over the past few years Living on the Edge has grown tremendously to develop more resources create more programs and support even more pastors globally but to continue this work the ministry expenses are a monthly issue so take a moment if you would and talk to those who've considered partnering with us before but just haven't done it yet I'd be glad to Dave thanks so much you know really only about two percent of all the people that listen partner with us financially in any way and I think sometimes it's because they just don't think what I could do would make a difference but I just want to encourage some of you that feel like you know hey you know boy God's really using this in my life but I'm just not in a position maybe you could do something really small but God could take your small gift and do something really big with it so you know thanks so much and appreciate anything God lead you to do well as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry I want to remind you that every gift is significant when you partner with Living on the Edge you multiply our efforts and resources in God sized ways to set up a recurring donation go to Living on the Edge org or visit the chip Ingram app you can also text donate to 741 41 that's the word donate to 741 41 well here again is chip to share a few final words for us to think about did you ever imagine that the God of the universe wants to talk to you now think about that you know some of you have grown up in religious circles and you know you've heard aughts and shoulds and you're supposed to read the Bible well let's just suspend all that how does God speak to ordinary people he speaks to ordinary people through his word his word isn't just those little dots of ink on a piece of paper that we call the Bible or the word of God it's living and it reveals Jesus to us his word is a sharper than a two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit and yet we need to come to it earnestly he it's not just out there on the top you know you just don't just you know open the Bible and grab a little something here there we learn today that when you seek it as for silver and search for it for hidden treasure then you will discern the fear of the Lord here's what I want to tell you I grew up thinking the Bible was a closed book it was really hard to understand I never opened it never read it I long for God to speak to me and in fact I meet people all the time who say you know I need direction about the next job or what school my kids should go to or a big decision of whether I should marry this person and so I ask them so what has God said to you and they look at me like you know I'm on drugs or something what do you mean I don't get dreams or visions what do you mean what has he said to me and so I ask him well when you read the Bible on a regular basis and you're going through life God knows where you're at his words supernatural the Spirit of God will take the written word and he'll make it real to you and speak to you what's he saying I can't tell you how many times I get that staring into a distance that says you know I don't actually read the Bible you know I'm coming to church and I don't read the Bible on my own and then I look at him and say so you mean to tell me that God wants to speak to you and the way he speaks to ordinary people is through his word and you've got big decisions and you need direction and strength and help and you don't even read it and I don't mean it to shame them I just mean you know that's like hey you know I've got a disease and the antidote's over there but you know I just have a hard time taking the pill I mean give me a break so here's what I want to say to you let's get out of this sense of religiosity of ritual and oughts and shoulds I want to tell you today God will speak to you and if you say well you know where do I begin book of John okay you know New Testament book of John and just say what's Jesus like and God speak to me or some of you that have been reading for a while and it's hit and miss do it systematically just get in the Bible five ten minutes start somewhere in our next program I'm going to give you many specific ways about where to read and how to read it and how to approach it but let's just get operational and jump into the Bible but jump into the Bible with a heart that says God I expect you to speak to me I'm going to read your word and I'm going to ask you to give direction to my life to comfort my soul to show me who you are and who I am and what to do in the relationships I'm in he speaks to ordinary people through the word of God your assignment get into his word today and every day this week and wait and see what God will do thanks chip and we'd love to help you get into God's word and study it more regularly so before we go let me encourage you to sign up for daily discipleship with chip now this is a free video resource we've created for you to study the Bible alongside chip for the entire course you'll spend no more than 10 minutes with chip in a particular passage of scripture then he'll challenge you to study 10 more minutes on your own you'll be blown away by how much you'll learn of God and his word so sign up for any of our daily discipleship sessions today just go to daily discipleship.com app listeners tap discipleship we'll listen in next time as chip picks up in our series pathways to intimacy with God until then this is Dave Drewey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-11 05:21:17 / 2023-08-11 05:34:28 / 13

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