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What Child is This? - What does He Want?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2023 5:00 am

What Child is This? - What does He Want?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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December 20, 2023 5:00 am

Most of us think a lot about what we want from God. Have you ever wondered what God wants from you? Join Chip as he reveals what God really wants from us - and in turn, what He wants for us.

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Did you ever wonder what God really wants from you? I know I did, and my perception of what I thought God wanted from me wasn't even close to reality.

In fact, it actually kept me away from Him for years. Today we'll discover what God really wants from you and me, and in turn, what He wants to give us as well. Don't miss it.

That's today. 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, and we're nearing the end of our series, What Child is This?, based in the book of Colossians. For the next two programs, Chip will pose a critical question we've all probably asked at some point in our lives, What does God want with me?

Now, whether we've said that in frustration or true humility, I think the answer Chip's going to highlight for us will surprise you. But before he gets going, let me encourage you to use his message notes while you listen. They include Chip's brief outline and all the supporting scripture he references.

To download them, go to the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org. App listeners tap fill in notes. Well, if you're ready, go to Colossians chapter one in your Bible as we join Chip with his talk. Do you know what the most commonly asked question is in December of every year? It's not a trick question. It goes like this, What do you want for Christmas?

I mean, think of the millions of times that's happened just all over the world. When I was very, very little, my grandparents, you know, they would come by and we'd go visit, and, So, Chip, what do you want for Christmas? And it was a ridiculous question because you were going to get socks and underwear every year. And I just remember getting the soft packaging going, Oh, brother, you know, but that's what grandparents ask of little kids. And if you've ever seen, you know, one of the Christmas movies, right, there's the Santa, or if you go to the mall, sometimes they have a big area and the little kids get on Santa's lap. And what does Santa ask every little boy and little girl? So, what do you want for Christmas, right?

Or for some of us, it's a little more serious. It's sort of like, you know, that person that you love very, very, very much. And sometimes it's a friend, a mate, one of your kids, and you're thinking, What do I get? I mean, what would really express what's on my heart? I want it to be special. And you think about it. And what do they want for Christmas? That's the question. And then for some, and I don't want to pick on us men, but this question keeps us wandering the malls on the 23rd, on the 24th. I'm supposed to be back. I can't even get this thing wrapped.

It's like 730 at night. And, and you just wander because you don't know the answer. What should I get him? What should I get her? What about, right? Here's a question for you. If we could ask Jesus, I mean, the reason for the season, the baby in the manger, the God that visited the planet, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the one who created all that there is, what if we would ask him, What do you want for Christmas? I mean, what do you really want? We've learned already, you know, why he came and who he is, but what do you want? But here's the thing. How about not what do you, Jesus, the little baby want, although that's true, but what about the Jesus who lived the perfect life, died upon a cross, paid for the sins of the world, was resurrected, walked on the planet for 40 days in a resurrection body, 500 witnesses ascended in broad daylight, sits at the right hand of the father and now rules all things and is coming back.

And if we could ask him, so what do you want this Christmas personally? And that's what we're gonna talk about. The answer is in the book of Colossians. You know, this isn't the Mary or the Joseph story. This isn't the Herod angels.

This isn't a way in a manger. This isn't, you know, the Luke chapter two and the wise men. All of that is the story.

And it's wonderful. But I wanted to stop this year and say, if we could just pull back a curtain and from heaven, looking down from God's perspective, what's this Christmas story all about? And we find it tucked in a little book that was written to a group of new Christians. They were a group that were new in the faith. The apostle Paul had never met them personally, but Epaphroditus was one of the kind of servants and ministers and he had gone there and he's writing him a letter to actually straighten out some things.

Some false teachers came in and in the letter, he ends up answering this question. We pick it up, pick it up at about verse 19 or 20. It says, for God was pleased for all the fullness of deity to dwell in Christ and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things in heaven or things on earth, making peace through his blood shed on the cross. It says once, speaking of these new Christians, you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior, but now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through his death to present you holy in his sight without blemish and free from accusation.

If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel, and this is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven of which I, Paul, have become a servant. And so here's what I want you to know. If you could ask Jesus this very day, what do you want? I can tell you four things he wants for you, and a little bit later there's four things he wants from you, but the first thing he wants for you is this. He wants you to receive his pardon. He wants you to receive a gift. You know, most people, you give a gift.

He wants you to receive one. Notice the text says once you were alienated from God, the word means estranged, and then he says that it's because in your mind you were God's enemy. In other words, God is over here, and you're over here, and you're enemies, and he says your enemies because of your evil behavior, but he says that the great news is you've been, the tense of the verb, you've been reconciled. It's happened, and it happened by what Christ did on the cross, paying for your sin in mind for the whole world. Now, this word alienated, estranged, if you've ever had like a falling out with a friend or if you've ever been separated from your mate or your supervisor and your boss, you really got into it.

I mean, it was really bad. To be estranged or if you've been through a divorce, I mean, that's estranged, and all the emotions go through it. That was the position that you and I and everyone have been in apart from God, and the gift is we're reconciled. The word reconciled, you know what it really means?

It's when two people that are enemies become friends. Here's the truth. Jot this down.

Here's what he wants. Jesus made it possible to be friends with God. Now, think of that. Jesus made it possible for you to be friends with God.

Now, you know, sometimes we just throw this stuff around. Think about what a real friend is like. I mean, not just this distant God who created things or a religious ceremony, but I'm a friend. At least in my life, a friend is someone you can depend on. A friend is someone that, this is what I like, they love and care about you for you, not what you do or what you can do or who you know or what you've accomplished. The people that I really call friends in my life is I can share anything with them, and I don't get judgment. I also don't get a pass, but I mean, I can say, this is what I'm struggling with and this and this and this, and I got this attitude.

I know it's not quite right, but I'm really ticked off, and they listen, and then they give wise counsel. I mean, a friend is someone that, at least the ones I have that are really close, everything they have, when I've been in a jam, I've called people at one in the morning to pick me up. I got in an auto accident and called a guy at 1.30 in the morning. Would you come? And it never entered my mind that he wouldn't jump out of bed and come, and he did. See, a friend is someone who's there for you, who loves you just for you. Have you really thought about Jesus wants to be your friend, and he's made a way to close the gap so that you could be God's friend. And this Christmas, he doesn't want you to know about him or have a religious belief or try harder to be a bit more moral.

He wants to be your friend. But the response is two things have to happen. We need to repent and to believe in order to become his friend. The word repent just means you need to have a change of mind. When an enemy is, I'm going this way with my life. I'm going to do my thing. God, don't you tell me what to do, and I don't want your direction. You may have made me and all that stuff, but I'm doing this. Repent means you turn around and say, you know, if you really made me and you love me and you died for me, okay, I want to go this direction with my life. So there's a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. But then the real power is you just need to receive a gift.

It's a gift. In John chapter one, it's the story of the life of Jesus, and it's all around this idea of, so why did Jesus actually come? And in John chapter one, it says he came into his own, his own people, and those who were his own didn't receive him. In other words, they rejected him. He came and said, I want to be your friend. I want to forgive you.

I want to love you. And the great majority of people said, we don't want you. But then verse 12 says this, yet those who believed in him, who believed on his name, he gave the right or the power to become children of God. Those who received him, those who said, you know what, I want the pardon.

I want the gift. I heard a story a number of years ago, and I was told it was a true story, but I mean, this is like really an old, old story, but it was just stuck in my mind. There's a story of a guy that was on death row, and it was in the Midwest, I don't know, like Indiana, Minnesota, somewhere in there. And the guy was on death row, was really hardened and bitter, but his family was just, I mean, just torn up by it.

They'd appeal after appeal after appeal. And finally, the governor was going out of office or something, and they just asked, would you, would you please, please, please? And so the governor decides he's going to pardon this guy.

And so he actually does. He pardons him of his sentence. And I can't remember whether he was really old or what the situation was, but he pardoned him. And the guy was so hard-hearted, he said, you know what, I don't want your blank pardon. And the governor, true story, said, let it be known in this state on this day that so-and-so will be executed, but he will not be executed because of his guilt. He will be executed because he refused the pardon.

His guilt was forgiven, but he refused the pardon. Now, I don't know about you, but that seems rather dumb. Could we agree on that one? I mean, if that was your dad or your brother or your friend, I mean, just like, are you kidding me? And yet that's what people do to God all the time, all the time.

And by the way, it's not an intellectual issue. Notice he says that we were enemies in our minds. Notice the little phrase, because of our evil behavior. See, the fact is is that we're all narcissists to a high degree, and we want to please me and my world, and I want to be king. I want to be my own God, and I want to do certain things and certain behaviors, and because of that, I say, you know, I don't want you. And God, here's the thing. Are you ready for this? He doesn't want you to fit into some little religious mold.

He longs to forgive you and give you a pardon, invite you into a relationship, and be your friend, and be better than any friend you've ever ever had who would be available, who would accept you as you are, that would help you grow, that would deal with issues of your past, who would always be willing to listen and give you the strength and the resources, whatever you need to become who you long to become and better who He wants you to become. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and Chip will be back in just a minute to finish today's talk. But quickly, this program is supported by the generosity of listeners like you. And right now, during our year-end match, it's a great time to partner with us. Between now and December 31st, every gift we receive will be doubled dollar for dollar.

You can give today by going to livingontheedge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. Well, with that, here again is Chip to continue his message. The second thing Jesus wants this Christmas is He wants to make you holy and whole. Okay, He doesn't just want to give you a gift and take you from this kingdom of darkness and put His Spirit inside of you and say, okay, you're my child.

He wants that to begin a process of transformation. The text says, in order to present you holy in the Father's sight without blemish, free from accusation. This is a picture where Jesus says, my blood paid for you and has covered it. And when you come to faith and turn to me, then I want on a certain day at a certain time before the final judgment to present you to the Father holy. It means pure, set apart. The word unblemished here is a picture like an Old Testament offering where you'd bring a cow or a goat, but it had to be unblemished, no defect.

And without accusation, in other words, no one can bring up charges and say, oh, this person should never have a relationship because he did this and she did that. And what about here? And what about the past here? He says, absolutely. He says, I want you to be holy.

I want you to be presentable. But the word even holy in our language, it comes from the idea of wholeness. This isn't just some spiritual transaction. He wants you to be restored. He wants to address the dysfunction. He wants to give you peace. He wants to repair to happen in your heart and in your soul. He wants to make you whole. He doesn't just save us out of something. He saves us into life and light and relationship. Now, notice there's a little condition that says if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope, and the hope is the return of Christ, all the promises of God held out in the gospel.

And he says, this gospel is what you heard. And so the truth is that Jesus has freed us from the penalty and the power of sin. Now think of this. There is a penalty, the wages of sin. There's consequences to our actions. The wages of sin, there's a penalty.

It's death. He has freed us from death. But sin has power. I mean, if you would make up a whole new set of rules, I don't care what they are, 30 days you can't keep your own rules. In fact, once you start making rules, breaking them just there's something in us, it's like it'd be kind of cool to find out what it'd be like if I broke my, you can make your own rules, but God's made some. And they're real clear and they reveal his character. They're called the 10 commandments. And they were never designed in any way to save or forgive anyone. They were just to give you a bar of clarity to know this is what God is like.

This is really what's best for you. These are the boundaries that make life and relationships work. And then everyone who tries realizes I fall short and he says, I knew that.

That's why I sent my son. So you have to be pure. And maybe you're like me. You grew up a little bit.

I didn't grow up reading the Bible or church or anything. And I sort of grew up with, I think it's an American concept, but it's pretty ancient from what I've read. I kind of had this idea that there's a big chalkboard or whiteboard in the sky or in our day we'd say there's a computer screen and there's sort of all your good deeds and good thoughts would go on one side and all your bad deeds go on the other side. And I thought at the end of your life, more good deeds than bad deeds. And I always have graded myself pretty liberally.

So I figured I was doing great. Everyone grades on the curve except God. But if you read the Bible, the scripture is very, very clear and Jesus was very clear. One little mark on the ledger of bad deeds or thoughts or a lustful thought or a single lie or hypocrisy eliminates you from relationship with God. Because he's holy and perfect and pure. So to have a relationship with God, your score has to be 100, not 99.9.

Well that makes it really hard to get in. But that's his character. And maybe you know Billy Graham and the Mother Teresa's and a handful of people around the world or 92s and 94s and ax murders or minus fives. I'm just telling you most of you, you're in the 70s and 80s.

All right. But you know something, if you have to get 100, it doesn't matter whether you're a minus five or a 94, you still fail. And the point of scripture and the point of Jesus is he atoned for and he paid for your sin. He reconciled you once and for all so that you could be his friend, so there could be a relationship. And this little clause, if it really has the idea of sense, it's what's called a first class condition in Greek. It's since you won't be moved, the infrastructure and the foundation that you have can't be changed. And you can't, it's the second word affirm as a picture of someone who's seated and something that can't go from one location to another. He says, if indeed you've actually trusted the gospel of Christ which you heard, that God being fully man and fully God lived a perfect life upon the earth, died upon a cross to pay for as your substitute your sin and rose from the dead, and you place your faith in that and that alone to have new relationship, he says, you won't be moved.

But what he also says is that when that happens, there's a progress that occurs. God wants to make you holy for that last day, but the Bible talks about two things. It talks about kind of positional righteousness or sanctification and practical righteousness or holiness and sanctification. And so the moment a person recognizes your need, and I did it when I was 18 after going to church for years and rejecting it all, and I heard the gospel and realized it was a gift, not performance. I asked Christ to come into my life and forgive me, and I trusted in him alone. I was transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

His spirit literally came inside my physical body. My sins were forgiven, and God as a judge legally goes, step one, you're justified. It means literally God from that moment on or any person that's trusted Christ, it's just as if you've never sinned. All your sins are taken away legally, but that's just half of it. Then the very righteousness of Christ is imputed to my account. It's like if it was numbers, it's like all your debts go, and then all God's resources go, and it's called justification.

And so God sees us legally or positionally in that way, but then that begins a process where his spirit wants to practically work out what's already true of us. Let me give you a picture of this. We have some friends, and they have three kids, and there was a student that came from another country, and she was on like a 30-day visit to America, and not a little baby, but you know like a preteen I think, and she stayed with them for about 30 days, and after 30 days they just fell in love with this girl, and they went for the last year through this process, and there's some good parallels here. They loved her. They chose her. They adopted her, but she went back and lived in this other country while all this was happening, and though she lived in this other country, at a certain day, at a certain time, the adoption went through, and though she's in that country, and they were in this country, except for like three weeks ago, that girl is their daughter. Do you get it? It's positional.

It's true. She couldn't be more their daughter, but her experience of life in their family didn't occur until they all got on that plane, and the whole family went there for about three or four weeks, and now the whole family came back, and she's now living, and you know what she's learning? She's learning how this family walks and talks and eats and loves, and see, that's God's plan for you. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to part one of Chip's message, What Does He Want?

from our series, What Child Is This? Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. For most of us, the Christmas story is a pretty familiar one, so in the routine of this festive holiday season, we forget about the incredible significance of December 25th. In this six-part series, Chip will remind us of the awe of Jesus coming to earth by asking three profound questions. Why did Jesus come? Who is He? And what does He want?

We hope these answers will completely change how you celebrate Christmas this year. For more details about this series, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, before we go on, Chip's here in studio to talk about an issue that's really been on his heart recently.

Chip? Thanks so much, Dave. I don't know if you know it, but a recent Barna study found that there's a growing, increasing number of pastors that are struggling with burnout and discouragement and literally depression. The study found that the immense stress of the job, loneliness, political and cultural tension, and the strain on the family were the top issues that are causing a significant number of pastors not just to be discouraged but to leave the ministry. Pastors and church leaders, they need your help. They need community.

They need someone that listens to them and cares for them and understands their world. This year alone, we've come alongside over 160,000 pastors here in America and around the world with a teaching called The Art of Survival. We gave it to them in 27 different languages, wherever they were, and it's a teaching that pulls them together and helps them survive and then thrive in the midst of heartache and pain and difficulty and rejection. And we've heard one thing as we've gathered them together, now I'm not going to quit the ministry. These pastors need our help, and I'm asking you, would you help us bring encouragement and theological training to church leaders?

We want to do it, but we can't do it alone. And right now, every dollar you give will be doubled dollar for dollar until December 31st. And I hope you can grasp that healthy pastors make vibrant churches. Unhealthy, discouraged pastors produce anemic sheep. Our leaders, our pastors, they desperately need your help. Will you join with us financially this month and make a difference in a pastor's life?

Thanks so much. Well, if you believe God is calling you to encourage and support pastors with us, now's a great time to become a financial partner, because from now until December 31st, every gift we receive is being matched dollar for dollar. So to be part of our year-end match, call us at 888-333-6003, or go to livingontheedge.org. That's livingontheedge.org, or call 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap donate. And thanks in advance for giving whatever God leads you to give.

Well, Chip, let's get to your application we promised. As I close today's program, I'd like to take you back to the story of the little girl that got adopted, and she was as much in that family the moment she was adopted, but she didn't experience it. I mean, she didn't feel it.

She didn't take advantage of what was already true of her. And I know many people who claim to know Christ, and yet their lives are still in bondage. I mean, they're like the little girl who has all of this grace and all this love and all this acceptance, but they don't know how to realize it.

They don't know how to appropriate it. Jesus wants you to know today that if you've been forgiven, you've also been set free, and He wants you to live that way. He wants you to experience His love. He wants to get rid of the guilt in your life.

And here's what you need to understand. There's about three things that you need to do in order to appropriate or to experience in life what's already true of you as a genuine follower of Christ. The first is get before God. You have to get in His Word.

You have to talk with Him and share your heart and just use normal language. But before God, come before God daily and then throughout the day. Pray little prayers even as you drive or even when you walk. Just practice the presence of God.

The second thing you need to do is get in community. Don't do life alone. You'll never experience God's power unless you have a band of brothers or a band of sisters or a few other couples, and you say, let's walk with God together. Let's share our struggles and our hurts.

Let's grow together. And third, get on mission. Discover what God made you to do. The reality of God's power happens as you reach out and love other people. Before God, be in community, I, on mission, O. We call it around here bio, the life that Christ wants for you each and every day. Great word, Chip. And speaking of that bio acronym, we've recently bundled some vital resources around those letters to encourage you to be a Christian who lives like a Christian. So whether you want to know God better, get into authentic community or discover your divine purpose, these tools we've tied together will help you grow your faith. Learn more about these bio bundles when you visit our store at livingontheedge.org. That's livingontheedge.org. We'll listen in next time as Chip wraps up his series, What Child Is This? Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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