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June 28, 2019 6:00 am
What happens inside of you. When you mess up I mean a real personal failure. Is it ruin everything you just shrug it off and figure at you confess and move on, or does it stay with you and wreck any possibility of joy or peace will today talk about what it means to put our past behind us. Don't go. Thanks for joining us for this Friday edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram today. Chip continues his series I choose by giving us three specific takeaways regarding spiritual maturity is building a lot of groundwork laid in our previous broadcast so if you missed it. It's available on our website LivingontheEdge.org just click the broadcast staff have a Bible open it out of begins chapter 3 let's join Chip for part two of his message pursuing, hope what the apostle Paul is doing as he's addressing two extremes. There were two extremes about what it meant to be spiritually mature and in very subtle ways. He's addressed both of them on the one hand, spiritual maturity is not compulsive perfectionism.
When the Judaizers and legalistic people came in, you gotta live up you got it up. You gotta live up got lit up you live up model either some of us and there's some of you, but maybe it's not even conscious but you live with this who you are and where you're at on your journey and never measures up you live with this low-grade guilt that messes with your life all the time and as a result, some of you parents you are passing that on to your kids no matter what they do have much progress they make it's never enough.
There's this perfectionism and what he saying is, is that that's not spiritual maturity. Reading your Bible every day, praying every day having all your ducks in a row. It's about a relationship. The test of spiritual maturity is loving God and loving people in a transformed life is not these external perfectionism, but there isn't another extreme and he addressed that on the very last verse. Spiritual maturity is not complacent passivity on the one hand, these Judaizers were coming in and giving people a list of rules you gotta do all this but there was another group.
The other group.
It's a big word, anti-know me and asked, learn to be bored today anti-against no meet the law and what they would say as you know this stuff about Jesus. It's even better than we thought.
This is what Christ means you pray and you receive Jesus into your heart, you are forgiven. God loves you unconditionally there are no rules there. You can live however you want. There is no morality. It's just Christ grace grace. Some people call it cheap grace, so you can keep you can keep living in sin" because God understands he's a gracious God, you are already forgiven and this is where he says you need to live up to the standard okay thank you Chip, we have now learned a great deal about the apostle Paul and what was going on in the life of the church help me a little bit on what's this really got to do with me on shuttling back what you really think I want to summarize some things because God wants to give you hope. You need to find it.
You need to experience it, but you need to pursue it, but you need to pursue it in such a way that no matter what you do you never measure up is not an option and on the other hand, that there's not just this laxity that you know. I guess God just winks that everything genuine.
Spiritual maturity is a passionate pursuit of knowing and becoming like Jesus we you get it well I now but it's a passionate pursuit. So let me give you again what I think are three really major takeaways number one spiritual maturity does not mean that we are perfect right that word in what I mean by that is sinless. We never will be in this life. He says he wants to know Christ. He gave us the disclaimer but it's huge. It doesn't say that were perfect, but it does give us a direction he says, but I press on, but I hold on. So what it does mean is that spiritual maturity is a lifelong process of knowing and becoming like Christ. So I want you know there is no quick fix, becoming like Jesus, knowing God takes time progressively in his word.
It takes you being honest with yourself and talking with God from your heart. It requires, and this is that this is a nonnegotiable that you are involved in relationships with people where there is honesty and love and support and understanding and accountability, and apart from God's word. People prayer and are you ready suffering and difficulty in pain those of the avenues by which God begins to conform us to himself. And as those things are happening. Keith calls us Paul's ministry.
He calls us to serve first. Wherever we live with her roommate. Our family calls us to serve that I'm an agent of light and love in my neighborhood and at the coffee shop and at the gym and where I go to work and what he saying is it is going to be a journey. There's an already not yet okay you already are loved. You are ready are forgiven, but you're not yet perfect, and there's attention that you going to live in but there is a direction not perfection.
There's a direction there is a focus there's an intentionality to connect, pause, how are you doing not legalism. Not Ott's insureds but I mean, how are you doing personally intentionally and with intensity. A deep, rich growing relationship with the God who made you and saved you and loved you.
And if you're a follower of Christ, his spirit lives in you. His word has been given to you. And in this room and all around the world. You're part of a supernatural body called the church that his spirit lives in them and they will minister to you and you will minister to them and this process of transformation continues and continues and continues the second major take away is that spiritual maturity does mean our lives are characterized by a passionate pursuit of knowing and becoming like Jesus. Verse 12 never to be perfect.
Verse 13 and 14 passionate pursuit you do that you have to come before God. It's when we see him when we get glimpses of them when he reveals himself in his word and prayer, and in people and as we serve, we come before God, we come before God regularly come together and worship it really matters. That's part of a passionate pursuit. And yes, there's prayer and all the things I mentioned that he gives us two very specific things that I think a lot of people don't get there's two things that need to happen for your passionate pursuit. Number one he says forgetting what lies behind and reaching or straining forward to what's ahead, save for some of you. You have to forget some of your past life and failure. I have shared a little bit of my wife's story, but part of her journey, she came to Christ after being abandoned. She had these two little boys. Her life was desperate. She came to know Christ. After her husband left with this other woman.
She became a believer. She began to grow. But even after we were married even after I was mostly through seminary even after I was pastoring a church. My wife, had this part of her that she didn't want people to know because she was actually told your second set class citizen. I mean a biblical divorce for adultery were being abandoned. That may be true that you're a second-class citizen and so her freedom never took off because she lived under condemnation. She wasn't forgetting her past and I'll never forget. I sat in the room with the Lord and Bill Lawrence looked at my wife and said your past has been completely forgiven. He's radically changed your life, and he said Tresa you are a trophy of God's grace and on his on his mantelpiece. That's how God sees you and it was a barrier it was barrier how many of you, you won't forget your past, your baggage, your pain, the abortion, the divorce allying the stealing. The one night affair.
I don't know where you than what I don't group the size of the church. The size we got everything under the sun. You have to forget what lies behind but not only the difficultly in the past, but also you can forget some of the success we've got some people here that you feel like you've done your part in your living on old verses in your passion, your Drive your life isn't characterized by pressing ahead and knowing him and serving him. It's, like you and I did my deal.
You have to forget your success, whether it's in the secular world, or whether true spiritual success that he says required for spiritual pursuit. And that's the negative and the positive is straining forward literally. It's the picture of a runner who's not swerving it was used in the ancient games where when you were riding a chariot is there be two wheels and a B-flat and you had to lean forward and hold on in such a way with absolute focus in order to not fall off into when the rice and that's the picture that most people think Paul's alluding to pursuing hope means pursuing a deep, rich relationship with Christ perfection.
No complacency, no passionate pursuit. Yes raises the question does not, how do you know how would we know if were making progress me.
I mean, beyond the activities write the Pharisees read the Bible, the Pharisees prayed a lot. The Pharisees gave you know their money. The Pharisees went to their worship service, but they weren't close to God. JI Packer has this moment in his book. Knowing God says if you want to know how well you know God there's a litmus test. There's four things that characterize people that genuinely know God is not their external stuff. These are things you can actually measure. He writes in his book, those who know God deeply have great energy for God. Just you privately. Maybe on your nose, just in a right great energy yes or no. Do you have great energy for God or ask yourself where you have great energy for because I will tell you what you worship.
Second, he says those who know God deeply have great thoughts about God great thoughts about God, you find yourself thinking God is infinite and powerful.
You find yourself looking at nature and think you must be so beautiful to create that give great high thoughts about God.
Third, people who know God deeply have great boldness for God to find yourself not caring what other people think I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, the son of God, Savior of the world. Now you don't have to put on a big bumper sticker and you have to get a Bible this big and put on your desk but are you bold do you step out.
Are you unashamed of the gospel unashamed of Christ not worry about fitting in and being you are correct in the way that everyone sees things. If you have great energy, great thoughts and a boldness those are evidences give a genuine deep and growing knowledge of God and forth.
Those who know God have great contentment and God. There's there's a piece. Your life isn't about the next promotion is not about the next house is not the next remodel.
It's not the wind, then strategy right you know I'm single when I have a mate were married when we have a kid we in a small house when we can buy houses bigger house when then, when then, if you really know God. It's fine to get married. It's fine to have a house all those things in and of themselves. If you are growing, there is a contentment with who you are in this room in your present state and I don't mean over spiritual eye. But Jesus really is on the roof is your hope he supplying grace gives you joy in the midst of suffering he gives you power in the midst of difficulty. That's what he saying the final take away is that spiritual maturity does mean our lives will exhibit significant spiritual progress within and without perfection. No complacency, no, but progress progress within and progress without I get that from his final verse two without his action pieces live up to the truth you've already obtained and within is to understand the tension of the already not yet okay see them give you picture this, I've shared very openly about my marriage in our journey. In fact, it is utter now than it's ever been, and we just celebrated 39 years. When I said I do to Tresa. I knew her okay I know her already were married already were completely married. I'm committed to her. We we have a relationship now, but it's not perfect right it's been growing for 39 years. Some of the growth were some really deep valleys and then some really nice high peaks, and it involved difficulty and pain and sometimes deep health issues and raising children, but so we already had a relationship. Five minutes after we were married already, but we were not yet as deep as close as rich as we are now, and I pray if I get to live long enough, and another five or 10 years that the Lord is a return to keep getting deeper and deeper and richer. So what the apostle Paul is saying to that church and to this church.
He says maturity is the sense of you know every time you make a mistake you don't start condemning yourself and your terrible person but on the other hand, you don't have issues in your life that you let keep going and single when everyone struggles I ever was materialistic so I guess I can be to. Everyone has major debt issues core, most men struggle with pornography all these kind of things we give each other best you know everyone I'm around. They come to talk about other people and they gossip a little bit so we just all give each other a pass on even though no you understand the tension internally that you haven't arrived and you don't beat yourself up, but externally whatever God has spoken to you and you've made progress you living in that progress and you don't use the we haven't arrived yet as an excuse to make sense. Melanie just take a moment because I'm concern for two groups. One group is you have really high standards you are very into getting everything right in your passing that owns your kids and can I graciously said, you gotta light up as another group and it's it's more and more more more in America. It's just that you hate Jesus loves this.
I prayed a prayer come to church when I can and I live with my boyfriend. I live with my girlfriend. I had an affair and I and I I'm doing things that the Bible says are right, but I get to choose what I believe. What I don't believe it. And you're really an antinomian and I want to know that there is very serious consequences to that.
Here's my heart. Spiritual maturity in pursuing it is about experiencing hope. Hope is not about perfection, it's about direction. Hope is not about duty. Hope is about devotion your heart, your passion and hope is not about complacency over here were being compulsive over here. It's about you saying I want to press on toward the hope of knowing and growing in my relationship with Jesus and allowing him to change me every moment of every day.
That's how you pursue hope. Father, I thank you that you love us that your spirit is within us that you care about us. Lord I pray right now for other people in this room, and even advanced the people will log on and watch this that feel such condemnation and are so overwhelmed and so feel like no matter what they do, even with you.
They never measure up for you free them, which help them to believe with all their heart, it's in already but it's a process and it's a journey in Lord I pray for those that somehow over time have justified clearly behavior and attitudes that are not only wrong and immoral, but their destructive and it breaks your heart because it's hurting them and it's hurting others.
Would you like an arrow pierced their heart convict them in order to draw them to yourself.
Given the grace to turn away and repent and then begin to grow. Lord we want to be holy and blameless. We want to follow you. We want to anchor our hope in you, for Jesus, we thank you for how much you love us, we come to you father with great appreciation Jesus name. You mean readable. We go on just under God may have spoken to in such a way that you really need to listen to this message again. I hope you'll take the time to do that in the next day or two, and an easy way to do that would be to download the chipping remap none of us Masters this kind of maturity with just one hearing it's a lifelong pursuit. I'm to be right back with some specific application to today's teaching, but I just want to give you a quick reminder that were in the last couple of days of the series I choose hope from Philippians chapter 3 and we talked about finding hope, experiencing hope, pursuing hope and then we'll talk about knowing, hope, and here's what I want you to know this is the kind of teaching from God's word that penetrates deep below the surface and on about you but I can't tell you how many messages were God really speaks to me. I'm not listen to them once or twice, but eight or nine or 10 times. I remember specific series about grace of breaking out of some of my perfectionism by by John ort bird that I probably listen to 10 times and I've told John that and so I want you to know that if this series is doing bad in your life you think it be a great help to someone you love. We would love to help you do that by strip for just a couple more days to help you take advantage of this great resource.
The CDs for I choose hope are discounted and the MP3s are absolutely free to place your order.
Just go to LivingontheEdge.org or were always available by phone when you call us at 1-888-333-6003. I hope you'll take a few minutes and pick up your copy today.
Now here's chip as we close today's program. I said there are two things that need to happen for us to really experience hope through an intimate relationship with Jesus first forgetting what lies behind, and second, reaching for what lies ahead. And now this first one is really hard for some people, forgetting what lies behind in the context the apostle Paul is looking.
He wants to forget all of his past failure.
His baggage in the vernacular today. It's some of us have made some really bad poor decisions both before we were Christians and some of us after we were Christians and and it plagues you. I've met people counsel with people that quite honestly, they're still living in the shadow of the divorce they had that they literally moved to another town and no one knows about or the abortion they had worked the sexual addiction that is is five years. In the rearview mirror or unit of the drug addiction or you name it we all have failures and difficulties in our lives. The apostle Paul would say when you understand the cross when you understand the new life that you have when you confess your sin he is in fact faithful and just to forgive us for our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness that God literally looks at us through the blood of the Lord Jesus is righteous and pure. Now what I want you to know is that if you don't forget what lies behind then it will have you in your mind thinking you're a second-class Christian God can never really use you. You have nagging guilt and you live a life of duplicity, trying to hide something of your past. The fact of the matter is that deliverance is a trophy of God's grace. Now I can hear some of you because believe it or not.
I've done this for quite a few years. Here's what I hear chip I know God has forgiven me. I just can't forgive myself.
I mean I've sat in rooms and I've heard that I don't know 2550 times in the last 30+ years and it's sincere. It's really sincere and I know God's forgiven me, but you and I just can't forgive myself and and this may sound really harsh, so lean back because I don't want to sound too harsh, but I listen very carefully, but after hearing this many many times over many many years than I I, in a very gentle voice. Look at them I do. I and I say well, so what you're telling me is your opinion of your sin is more righteous than God's and you completely disrespect what he's done and you don't believe what he said and they look at me like, well, I never looked at it quite like that.
I said we need to start looking at it like that because you become a prisoner of your own self-pity you become a prisoner of your belief system. If the God of the universe has said I had to give my son to pay for that sin and you are not receiving that gift, then you are disrespecting the God of the universe like no other person and and sometimes that jolts them. But here's the second half of your told someone not to think about something we don't think about the pink elephant with white tennis shoes. Don't think about that. Don't think about that. You know I'm playing a game, the more you try not to think about it the more you think about it. The apostle Paul says I'm forgetting my past success. I'm forgetting my past failures, but notice what he says I am reaching forward the word means I am running without swerving I am full-court press think I'm pressing forward, I am intense in pursuing think of something you pursued. Think may be of that girl or that guy that you were in love with that you pursuit or that career where that athletic achievement or that you wanted to be that kind of dance or a musician or artist. Think of the level of intensity and discipline and what ever it took quote to make that Olympic team. The apostle Paul is saying that's the kind of focus and passion and discipline I have brought to getting to know Jesus when that is forefront.
Guess what, you forget what lies behind and so here's what I want you to know spiritual maturity and experiencing God's hope is much more about direction than perfection.
It's much more about devotion than duty, and it's fundamentally more about transformation than any tradition. God wants you to know put the past behind you if you seek me you will find me when you search for me with all your heart, that's his promise and it's free.
You and is for you today so seek him just before we close. I would think those of you who make this broadcast possible through your generous financial support.
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