Let's be honest.
We've all done stuff we wish we hadn't done, right? Well, today we'll learn God's plan for helping all of us break free from the past, find healing, and then move forward with hope. Stay with me.
That's today. 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. Well, in just a minute, Chip will pick up in our series, Jesus Unfiltered Volume 1, Believe. Today he'll remind us that we're never too far from God to be rescued, and only he can turn what we believe is the worst thing about us into something good. If you're ready to learn how, go in your Bibles to John chapter 4. For part 2 of Chip's talk, Jesus models his mission.
Most people have a pretty decent idea of when their life is not rightly aligned. The Holy Spirit has a full-time job. He probably doesn't need you. But what he needs you to do is offer grace, offer kindness. Now, for some of you thinking, this sounds like a soft gospel, where's this guy coming from, grace and truth always come together. Notice in the next section, the big idea is Jesus helps her face the truth, but he helps her face the truth in love. So she goes, yeah, you know what, this magical water that you have that I never have to come back here, I'll take some of that. And so he gives her three commands, go, call, and come back. He told her, go and call your husband and come back. Her answer is truthful, just not all the truth. I have no husband, she replied. And Jesus said, you were right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you have five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband.
What you have just said is quite true. I just can't help but imagining the eye contact going on here. First of all, it's weird. Why is he talking to me? He doesn't get off the well. He doesn't have anything. He would actually drink out of my thing. No man talks to me. Boy, if he knew my background. And he offers me this thing, maybe I'll give it a try. Well, go call your husband, moment of truth.
Okay. How far do I go on this? Well, I'll be honest, but not completely. I don't have a husband. And Jesus gives her this like, you couldn't be more accurate.
You not only don't have a husband, and now, first of all, there's a male and the distance that is uncalled for. Not just a male, but a Jew. Not just a Jew, but a Jew that talks to her. Not just a Jew that talks to her, but a rabbi who's offering spiritual guidance. Not just a rabbi now, he's a prophet.
How could anyone know that about me? She goes on, sir, the woman said, I see that you're a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, Gerizim, but you Jews claim the place where we must worship is Jerusalem. Jesus declared, believe me, woman, a time is coming when we will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. And she does what most all of us do and what will happen to you as you start building and loving and caring for people because you're the Jesus in you, in your body as followers, that will sit down and talk with a junior high girl that feels rejected because she doesn't have a daddy at home and some guy started sleeping with her and she thought it was love and now she just feels used. And you'll be the person that sits down with someone in midlife that has two kids and no husband and he had an affair and her life shattered and what they need is hope.
And you need to know how to talk to them. And what you need to understand is that what Jesus is going to do is He's going to very lovingly help them get honest about their life because He wants to offer grace. But transformation only comes when there's both grace and there's truth. Notice here's the timeless principle or the life lesson. It's simply that honesty with ourselves and with God is the prerequisite to authentic relationship with Christ.
He gently takes her to a place where she has to be honest. Jot down if you would in the corner Psalm 145 18. This has been a transformational. It's one verse, one truth. It says this, the Lord is near to those who call upon Him. That's like praying, right? To those who call upon Him in truth.
A little bit later He's going to say that the Father is seeking or pursuing ordinary regular people who would worship in spirit and in truth. This woman's got to understand you've got to come out of your denial. You've got to come out of your self-hatred.
You've got to come out of your lying. You've got to come out of all the stories you've told to all kind of people and we've got to understand we can't share the truth unless we have it. If you want to have an authentic deep relationship, you've got to cut through all the denial, all the blaming, all the stuff and get ruthlessly honest with God. My experience with my own self and my experience even with pastors and missionaries and my experience with God's people is we spend an inordinate amount of time projecting, protecting, denying, blaming others, giving people a limited amount of, yeah it's true, it's just not the whole truth. And we play all kind of games to project that we're a little bit more loving, a little more kind, a little more holy, a little different than we really are. And so instead of the power of God welling up as a spring that flows out into the lives of others, our energy is spent trying to project that we're better than we are.
Because we don't want to face, it's a painful thing to face the truth isn't it? I remember a number of years ago I had I guess what I would call the most radical experience of someone being honest with me ever. The guy was not a Christian and if you've ever seen people, I mean totally unchurched, totally I don't know what's going on, came in off the streets. Then Monday I came in and the same guy was around, I said hi how you doing? He goes, gave me his name, I said I kind of saw you wandering around. He goes, yeah. I said, your first time? He goes, yeah. I said, well how'd you find it? He goes, I was just walking by. I saw the sign and something said go in. I've been clean and sober three and a half months.
I have 25 year drug and alcohol habits. My life is just absolutely, absolutely messed up but I'm on a journey and I'm trying to find the higher power. And something said he might be in this building. So I came, I listened to you yesterday.
I think you might know him. He said, now I'd like, would you do step four with me? I said, what's step four? He said, step four is a ruthless inventory of my life where I stop blaming or denying and own every single part of my responsibility in anything I've ever done wrong so that I can clean the slate and confess that to another individual so that I can move from there to step five. And we had a significant celebrate recovery so I called Jim who leaded it and I said, Jim what's this about step four because I'm new at all this stuff? And he said, it's what that guy said. I said, well, I don't know kind of anything about this and would you do it with me? And he said, sure. So the guy that afternoon comes, gets in my office and I'm there, Jim's there. And I mean, no Christian cliches. I mean, no like, do you want to pray? How are you doing?
It's nice to be... None of that. He has a legal pad that looked 30, 40 pages that he'd written scribbled. He sat down, looked at me. When I was in junior high and then he graphically described a horrid thing that he did. And then after he described specifically what he did, I will no longer blame my father who abused me as a little boy from this age to this age. I now come out of denial and refuse to blame him or other people for this.
I personally own my responsibility for exactly what I did to this person and I'm very sorry for it. And we went from junior high to high school to multiple marriages to prison to lying to cheating. And I mean, I mean, in two hours we were through about 25 pages and I had an elders meeting. I turned to Jim. I think we got another couple hours. I said, could you kind of finish up?
He said, I got it. I mean, I've been in Bible studies. I've been with leaders. I've been with pastors.
I have never, ever seen a human being be ruthlessly honest about every aspect of their life and own their responsibility. And little did he know that when we confess our sins to one another, we're healed. I don't know where you're at in your life, but I will say that ruthless honesty with yourself and God will be the beginning of the Spirit of God. One making you awake to what, you know what, when you do that, you need a savior, right? You know, a lot of people don't come to Christ. You don't need him.
The reason you don't need him is you haven't been honest about who you really are. The motives, the coveting, the lust, all the rest that we, hey, by the way, if you're human, you got all that stuff. And Jesus leads her gently to a place where what she realizes is I need the truth, but I don't know how to get it. And so in the next section, notice the big idea, the summary is Jesus explains how true worship works. Well, how does this work, this living water?
How does your life ever really change? And so he begins to explain to her. He says, you Samaritans worship what you do not know. I mean, you have a form of religion and you've got a system that it's an error. We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. God's plan for Messiah, the Savior of the world, is going to come through Abraham and the special people. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For they're the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. Circle the word seeks, we'll come back to it.
Why? God is spirit. God is immaterial. God is spirit. He's not a geographical place. It's not on this mountain. It's not some system. It's not some religious stuff. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit from the heart, not external religious activities.
And truth, ruthlessly honest. The woman said, okay, she's going from, look, you started talking about the God stuff, prophet, let's argue about theology or, you know, smoke screens or your mountain, my mountain. And Jesus said, look, I'm not getting into political talk with you. We're not going to talk about types of baptism or whether electric guitars or organs are best in churches, or we're not going to talk about whether you're Arminian or this or that or Calvinistic.
No smoke screens. I'm talking about you and your life and your heart. God loves you. And then finally, she gets in this thought. Can you imagine for her? I'll guarantee she's never had a relationship with a man that was meaningful and deep and valued her. And saw her as precious.
And now this prophet who she thinks says the father, the God, this distant, probably angry God with rules to keep. Father, father, you're his daughter. He loves you. He cares for you. You come honestly and from the heart, he's seeking.
The word means pursuing. That's why he had to go through. That's why he had to go through some area. There was a divine appointment.
There's a city called Sychar and there's a woman that is worthless and no one cares about her except her father. And so Jesus cuts through, sits on a well, violates nearly everything possible that you could in terms of prejudice, gender, background, race, so that this person that no one cares about can understand there is a father God. And he's seeking. He's pursuing. Your neighbor, he's pursuing. Your co-workers, he's pursuing.
Your kids, he's pursuing. And it's the Jesus in you that needs to show up and not just observe the Bible or interpret the Bible or even apply it to your life, but to communicate it. How? The way he did.
Gently, lovingly, caringly, non-judgmentally, but probing to where you get to the truth. And now the lights come on, she goes, I think we've got something in common. When the Messiah comes, the Savior of the world, I mean, when that person comes, he'll make everything right. What you're talking about, I get it.
Look in your notes. What's Jesus say? He does something that the Pharisees ask him this, the disciples are slow on the uptake of this.
This is an immoral woman from a half-breed race completely rejected by Jews and of all people talk about revelation. Then Jesus declared, I who speak to you, am he? A literal translation because, especially for someone that only believes in the first five books of the Bible, literally it's, I that am talking to you, I am.
Anybody remember where the word I am came from? Exodus chapter 3, Moses, take off your shoes, burning bush, worshiping, this is the job, who shall I say sent me? Tell them I am that I am sent you. He's telling this woman, I am the Messiah and I am God and I value you, I love you, I forgive you, I want to give you eternal life. Just as Nicodemus learned, he needed to be born again from above and have a spiritual birth to have spiritual life. She's now receiving the offer, I know when the Messiah comes, you're standing in front of him.
Notice the application. Life lesson number four, true worship is a matter of honest relationship, not religious systems. Jesus is talking about a relationship. He's revealed a completely, completely new view of God. Can I ask you, how do you see God? You know we're talking about reaching out and loving people and having conversations. How do you see God?
Is he a father that pursues you? You know we often talk so importantly because it's true that Jesus is God, have you seen the father, you've seen me. But how many of you when you read this this week thought to yourself, well Jesus got tired, why? Because he walked for two days. Well Jesus is thirsty, why?
Because he hadn't drunk something in a while. Do you realize that the reason God became not just fully God but fully human in human form is so that he could understand, he knows when you're tired, he knows when you feel impatient, he knows when your back hurts, he knows when you're anxious, he knows when life is hard, he knows when you're up half the night. He's not just fully God, he's fully human. So his heart, he was tempted in every way like us, he understands you. And yet somehow we get him so far away as opposed to when you just come and you're honest and someone really loves you, you know, have you ever prayed prayers like, Lord I'm really tired, I've got a really bad attitude, I know the right thing to do, I don't feel like doing it right now, I know I'm supposed to forgive so and so but this is like the fourth time, candidly between us, I like to punch him out. These are the kind of prayers God wants to hear. Instead of, I know I should do something spiritual, I'll try, our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, if I say seven of them really fast, will it help? See that's what the religion was then.
External performance, trying to please a God that's unpleasable. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and he'll be right back to continue his message. But let me ask a serious question. Is there someone in your life like your child or grandchild who's walked away from their faith or shows no interest in God? If so, join us after Chip's talk to learn about a new tool we've created to help you reconnect and engage with the young people you care about.
You won't want to miss it. Well with that, here again is Chip. Now notice, this is so precious, the next big idea is Jesus allows her wounds to be leveraged to bring others to faith in himself. Just then his disciples returned and they were surprised, understatement, to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, what do you want or why are you talking to her? Literally, that's an idiom from the Middle East, why are you talking to her? Literally is, do you want us to get rid of her? Because that's what a servant would do, be like, whoa, this is inappropriate.
Hey boss, you want us, but they thought, we're not sure what's going on here, but they've now learned, just shut up. Come and see, the lady says. Leaving her water jar, the woman goes back to the town, said to the people, come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?
She's got no platform to preach. Could this be? What do you all think? They came out of the town and they made their way toward him. Meanwhile, his disciples urged him, rabbi, eat something. But he said to them, I have food to eat that you know nothing about. And again, you see, Nicodemus, wind, spirit, deeper truth, water, real water, food, real food, you get it?
So the disciples are living at the very functional level. Could someone have brought him food? I mean, we're out in the middle of nowhere. The town's about a half mile away. Did he order takeout while we were gone?
I mean, this is ridiculous. Jesus says, my food, what satisfies, what matters, what's meaningful, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. What's your food?
What matters? Where does your energy go? Where does your time go?
What are your dreams about? See, whatever we think food is drives us. Think of what we do when we're hungry. I've got to get this. And for some of us, when I get my house or when we have kids or when I get married, that's my food.
But no matter what food you get, it'll never ever satisfy. I have a confession to make. I'll say this kindly as I can.
I'm rooting for the Seahawks today. They asked me to do the chapel. The guy who is normally going to do it couldn't make it, so I did the chapel for the Seahawks. And as I spent about an hour with those guys, I taught and then we shared and we taught and we kind of gave them some tools to help them grow. And one of the great conversations was this. His assistant, the guy that kind of orchestrates everything, is a very strong Christian and had the most time with him. And he said, you know what, the biggest thing that happened after last year was the level of let down.
Not just with unbelievers, but with believers. You know, it was like the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl. If we're ever champions, our food, champions of the world, we've got the ring, we've done it, our legacy. And he said it was like winning the Super Bowl. And literally, the non-Christians were going, 48 hours later, this is it? I mean, we've been hyped up for this, this is the pinnacle of being a pro football player, this is it? And then he said the Christian players, it was like, oh, we know Jesus and we know this isn't really it, but you know, we all get caught up in stuff.
And as they got together and said, this is it? And he said the conversations for the last year were, how do you get motivated and realize, hey, this is a great opportunity, but football cannot be your food. Because football, even as a Super Bowl champion, will not satisfy. Neither will going public. Neither will a big house on the hill. Neither will having all your kids turn out great. Neither will finding the hottest, cutest, whatever person out there that you want.
Neither will getting in just the right school at the right time. Have I hit most of them? What's your food? Jesus said, my food is to do the will. Nothing will satisfy you. Ever. Until you understand what is God's will for me. And you do it.
And you finish it. Jesus, in response, says, do you not know there's four months more than the harvest? I tell you the truth, open your eyes and look at the fields. They're ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages. Even now the harvest crop's free.
Notice the metaphor. It's agricultural. You sow, you reap. You sow in about September, you reap in about April or March. And then as you plant in about four months, don't you say it's coming?
He goes, no. We're talking about a harvest that comes right now, spiritually. And it's for eternal life. Thought the saying, one sows and another reaps is true. I sent you to reap where you have not worked. Others have done the hard work.
And you have reaped the benefits of their labor. Others, Old Testament prophets. John the Baptist. In this situation, me. And now this woman.
This woman of ill repute. They've done all the work. And now it's only half a mile out. People from this town are coming out. Hundreds of people are following the lowliest person. And the disciples are seeing all these people.
And he goes, look, behold, the harvest is ripe. I had to come through Samaria. Before we came here, you all were prejudiced. You wouldn't even talk to a Samaritan.
They were half breeds. It's like some of you. You look at people, and you see their Rolex watch and their Lexus and their big house, and you're intimidated, and you think all rich people are this way. Some of the other yous, you see people on the corner with the little sign.
All poor people are that way. Other people, you see this junky car, and you wonder, what are they doing around here hanging to other people that says, you know, man, that guy's got a Bentley. Who's he think he is? Jesus says, rich, poor, Asian, Indian, white, black. God doesn't see his man sees man. He looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart. God doesn't look at tattoos. God doesn't look at piercings. God doesn't look at expensive watches and handbags with insignias that tell you you spent $10,000 on them. God looks at the person behind all that stuff, and he says, I love you, but it's not religion. It's spirit and truth, and so he's teaching the disciples and teaching us, how in the world do we do that?
Notice, he says, I sent you for what you haven't worked for. Others have worked. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony. Could you circle the word believed?
I mean, it's everywhere. They've come to faith and put a box around the word because. They believed because. He didn't just have angel dust come down and they all became Christians.
They believed because. Are you ready for this? Most of us, down deep, not everybody, but most of us feel like God could never really use me at work or my neighborhood or with the other ladies or with this group or to be really bold for Christ because one, I don't know enough. Two, I don't really have a platform.
Three, there's some stuff in my past that if people sort of probed. So all these reasons why God could never use me. I don't fit in with that group.
Now let's back this up. Woman, immoral, half-breed, non-Jew, disrespected. She knows Jesus for maybe 15 minutes. Knows a lot of Bible, right? No reputation because of her testimony. Her living water in her shares this is what he did for me.
I can't answer all your questions. This is what he did for me. Therefore many did what? They believed. And then notice, it goes on.
The testimony was he told me everything I ever did. So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay for another couple days. And the disciples, can you imagine them? Oh my gosh, we're gonna be staying in Samaritan houses with Samaritan cups. We're violating everything we learned.
We're out of our comfort zone. Two-day revival and Bible conference. Why? Because Jesus had to go through Samaria because the Father was pursuing that woman that most of us thought no one cares about. Who's God pursuing in your network?
Better? Who's God pursuing in this room? And maybe you just came for whatever reason to watch something or a friend invited you and you're gonna come to a moment where if you would be honest, he'll forgive you, fill you with his spirit, give you a brand new life and take you on a journey. Will it be easy?
Absolutely not. But your life's not easy now. He loves you. It's called grace. The final life lesson is God will use even our baggage to bring others to eternal life. He'll use our baggage.
He'll use some of the worst things that have happened to us and some of the worst things we've done as we confess and turn from them and ask them to come into our life and forgive us. And rather than being ashamed, we are literally like this woman, a trophy of God's grace set on the mantle and platform that people could know. There's always hope. You're never too far gone. You're never too messed up. You're never too immoral. You've never lied too much.
You've never hurt too many people. If you'll be honest and turn and come, he'll forgive. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard, Jesus Models His Mission, is from the first volume of Chip's series, Jesus Unfiltered, titled Believe. Chip will join us in studio to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute.
To believe in something is to fully accept it as true or reliable. Through this 10-part study in the Gospel of John, Chip will unpack what it means to believe in Jesus, learn how Christ's life, ministry, and message prove he is our Savior and King, whom we can completely trust. For more details about this or any other volumes in our Jesus Unfiltered series, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.
Thanks, Dave. I'll be right back with some application from today's message, but as we think about this particular season, I just want you to know that one of the most difficult things that are happening across America today is your kids who have walked away from the Lord or you realize they don't want to go to church anymore or you're just completely on different pages and you just feel like there's this wall between you and your kids and your grandkids and you don't know how to get through. What I want you to know is that there's hope, but we can't go about it the same way we've gone about it.
Some of the models that we've used in the past, no matter how well-intended, simply aren't working. Here's the message. Your kids and your grandkids are not beyond reach, but there's a new way.
It's biblical, but it's different than the old way. In the book Not Beyond Reach, we partnered with Aaron Pierce and the Steiger ministry, who are reaching people who are farthest from God in the global youth movement, and we want to make this book available to you where you can start a conversation and then begin to build a bridge and really reconnect with your child or a grandchild or someone you know that just seems far from God that you really care about. Dave, there's some real specifics about how they can use this and what we're offering. Could you fill people in as they think about how to reach that person that they so deeply care about? Thanks, Chip.
Be glad to. Go to Special Offers on the Chip Ingram app or LivingOnTheEdge.org to learn how to order Aaron's book. In fact, we really want to see you engage the young people in your life, so we're offering two copies of Not Beyond Reach together at a discounted price. And if you want to gift these books to someone for Christmas, place your order by December 13th to receive them in time. To take advantage of our on-mission bundle, visit SpecialOffers at LivingOnTheEdge.org or the Chip Ingram app.
Or with that, here again is Chip. As we close today's broadcast, I'd like, no matter what you're doing, kind of at least lean back emotionally and let me talk to you or maybe someone that you know and love that you feel like no matter what you tell them, they feel like they never measure up. I want you to think about what we've heard Jesus say to this woman who was an outcast, five relationships, living with someone, overwhelmed with shame.
Here's some questions I want to ask you and maybe you need to ask someone you love. Do you really believe that Jesus wants to meet your needs? I mean, do you believe he cares about you? I remember talking to my wife who had a terrible, terrible self-image, and in the early days of our marriage, and no matter how many kind things I said to her, they just bounced off like BBs. And I remember just her saying, I know God loves the world, but it's just hard to believe that he loves me. And she'd been through some very difficult times.
And what I want you to know is that, yes, you have baggage, I have baggage. Some of us have made very, in the world's standards and churches' standards, big, big mistakes. But isn't it interesting that this woman is the one that led a whole city to the Savior, that he loved her, that he cared for her, that he accepted her. Now, he didn't whitewash and he didn't sort of gloss over the issues in her life.
He spoke clearly, honestly. And she heard and she was accepted and loved. And here's the word I have for you. God really loves you.
Stop hiding the baggage, get help if you need it, and then realize that you can help some people that few people will ever reach because you really understand. Great word, Chip. Just before we close, would you stop for a minute and pray for Living on the Edge today? We've never seen a greater need for God's truth to go out than right now. And by God's grace, Living on the Edge has provided encouragement, teaching, and personal discipleship resources to more people than ever. So thank you to those who support us in prayer. God is doing amazing things. Well, from all of us here, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
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