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Redeeming Ambition, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2020 9:00 am

Redeeming Ambition, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 25, 2020 9:00 am

The word “ambition” tends to conjure up images of greedy Wall Street executives or ruthless dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte or Stalin. It carries a distinctly negative connotation. But is there such a thing as good ambition? Pastor J.D. argues that there is. As we continue the series Home Wreckers, we’re discovering how our aspirations affect our family life and what it looks like to have godly ambition.    

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On something like JD Greer talks about biblical ambition and Christianity is either fatalism or is it the commitment. It all depends on you what it is is working towards temporary never given up in your dreams be in the daily energy speed and saying you know what you're in control. I can trust everything you could find to be in your hands and us thankful to have Molly bit of it is our new host. Some of life Molly, welcome to the program. Thanks, Katie. I'm excited to be here and doing this team today on some light discovering what it looks like to have godly ambition and how these aspirations can affect our family. It's part of our brand-new series on relationships called home.

Let's join Pastor JD in Philippians chapter 4 subject for today and that is the will of ambition in your life.

The Bible in no uncertain terms the selfish ambition is wrong and sent with you. There is another kind of ambition that is good and right.

It was ambition that led David to expand the borders of Israel. It was ambition that led Solomon to build the temple.

It was ambition that led Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It was ambition that led Paul to extreme measures to spread the gospel to the boys and said there's Romans 1526. I have made it my mission to take Christ read never been named work order that anybody works of their job. The gospel writer say about Jesus that he was more ambitious than anybody you ever live John chapter 2 verse 17 says about Jesus zeal for God's house had eaten him up, you can transfer that word sales ambition.

Ambition for the house of God had eaten him up like just selfish ambition has caused greedy executives to exploit the poor and ruin our economy, selfish ambition has driven some dictators to drive nations into war.

Selfish ambition has made some men and women destroy their families and neglect their children, but in our reaction to that we don't need to get rid of all ambition. We need to redeem ambition. We need to rescue it. We live in a world that is desperately in need of people who should be ambitious for the right things for the right reasons so many real clear. The goal of this sermon is that you become more ambitious, not less. So Paul displays the good kind of ambition of the book of Philippians ambition that I want to show you try to show you what is ambition look like to give you some litmus test that you can take along the way as we go through this to you can test yourself to see whether not your ambition is a good guide to the bad guy, like background, the book of Philippians. All is right in the book of Philippians is imprisoned. People telling lies about it. Other people have taken credit for his work, and then trashed his reputation lets me read it happened bad enough when somebody takes credit for your work, but there when they trashed you in the process. If you ever had that happen to you.

That's what is happening to Paul, don't want to make you suppose in some pretty discouraging circumstances is ministries not surging is like his ambitions, which he thought were good once our being unfulfilled. That's when most of us were discontented right there looking for 11 Paul says I have learned I have learned in what ever situation whatever means in prosperity or in prison, in whatever situation I am to be content. Verse 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to balance what Paul was showing you about himself is pretty remarkable here Paul is disappointed, genuinely disappointed, but he hasn't grown bitter, and he hasn't given up at his dreams. He is a man that is disappointed in his ambitions, he has not given up on his dreams. He faces disappointment without disillusionment. He is genuinely sad at his losses but he is not in despair, he is hungry for more yet happy with less. He wanted to preach to large audiences, but he was content to sit in prison. Paul could face disappointment with contentment because his ambitions were godly ones, godly ones because they were rooted in Christ. There's a question we need to have your ambitions rooted in Christ and Christ is one of the phrases but be honest 40 something spiritual mumbo-jumbo Christ was that me know, but I'm in really you like you wake up you know it for quite a morning Stroman, Chris Tomlin tunes on the harp you have beside your bed that's in crime. I don't know what it means. I will assure you for things that Paul meant by in Christ from the book of Philippians.

Okay one. Paul had found his approval in Christ. Paul knelt down his approval in crisis in chapter 3 given about verse five, Paul starts with a list of his accomplishments would become like his resume or CV for there's you in the academic world, and it's pretty impressive by anybody standard special somebody that day both like knocking for the right family. I went to the right school I had the top job in the country most sought-after job I was a rising star in the job and I was famous this is. This verse eight and I tell everything everything that you would rule for everything you work for. I can't. Everything is lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, I count them as rubbish, that I might gain Christ that Pulitzer Prize. The Congressional medal of honor that $200,000 a year salary. It's all crap compared to the worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, number two, Paul knew what he deserved this in chapter 2 Paul says I know you myself and what is happening to me. I view it through the lens of what I deserve to see another secret of contentment and unfulfilled ambitions is understanding what you deserve, because the heart of discontentment is not getting what we think we deserve.

So you think this is over the top but it's not what does the gospel teach you about what you deserve. The gospel what you deserve short today trying to help when you understand that what you what I really deserve is that it changes our attitude everything that we actually have in life. The Bible never ever tells you to gain contentment by comparing your situation or somebody else's. It tells you to gain contentment by comparing your situation. What you deserve. The fact that I woke up this morning anywhere else.

But hell is God's grace to me. The fact that I have family. The fact that I read in the fact that I'm healthy whatever I have. Wherever you are.

It is grace number three Paul trusted God's control over all things Paul trusted God's control over all things. This is chapter 4 verse six pulses. Do not be anxious about anything, anything ladies does anything include your children. Yes. Does that mean it is wrong for you to be worried about how your kids are going to turn out. Yes it's what it means, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, not complaining, but with thanksgiving, which means that the undergirded everything that you say to God, is the sense of overwhelmed Thanksgiving at the grace that is given to you with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

They get your Paul Bowles living this verse Paul is concerned about his church loves them. He wants to be with them. Anything that everything the goddess told me the latest speed that includes my church that include my children includes those I love include my deepest dreams and desires. I've laid them at Jesus's feet and I am now resting in what he will do with those things bought give it up, but one apathetically said there prison to submit God when whatever you can change anything.

I'll just give up.

I'll just quit caring because now I can do anything that's called Buddhism for fatalism. It's not Christianity. Paul and he keeps asking boldly. He keeps praying ambitiously for those that he loved it work ambitiously for them and then he would rest in God's loving sovereignty is a Christianity is either fatalism nor is it thinking that it all depends on you what it is is working as hard as you can pray never given up on your dreams but at the end of the day. Later Jesus feet and say you know what you're in control and I can trust everything with you. It's good, it's fine to be in your hands now. Trust your loving sovereignty when you do that Paul says when I do that he says verse seven, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus who passes all understanding. Sometimes you can't figure out how to work out you know what Jesus tank is he's all-knowing and all-powerful bases and those will guard your heart and your mind a sense of peace.

How will the technology that was for him.

He's in prison with two guards and inside here they are to keep danger out and keep me guard that understand on the sides of your heart will keep your order piece and that's when you understand that there is a loving God who is doing exactly what God said that God would do and that is sovereignly working all things for his glory and for your good. Some of you have an irrational fear of the death of your spouse you have an irrational fear of your spouse leaving you give an irrational fear about your children give an irrational fear about went bankrupt and in your career falling apart and you're never going to get over that fears so you understand that there is a loving God who sovereignly holds all things and at the end of the day after you work you prayed late as his feet and you can trust that it is softly directed in his hands before Paul moved to God sometimes ordains our suffering, so that we could, knowing more so that he can be glorified through us.

This living separate one both described as one how his imprisonment is actually the spread of the gospel people talking about you all prison before Jesus imprisonment is making the gospel go out and so verse 17 look at this. Some preach Christ on a rivalry not sincerely thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment comes next.

Here's what comes next in JD's prayer, God, why don't they imprison doing a bad heart to be printed in the conference there prison pulses well with them, whether in pretense or in truth crisis proclaims that I'll rejoice. Here's a very serious resolve a question for you to consider what if what is best for the kingdom of God is not best for you personally are you willing for God to do what is not best for you. If it's best for his kingdom. Can you rejoice in that essay, Christ is glorified in the gospel magnified so I am satisfied. He said his ministry John the Baptist.

There's another got John the Baptist that you value because of Jesus that preceded Jesus's ministry that his ministry started off with a bang as that got popular like that.

Thereby small readers will follow him on Twitter is like a big conference speaker insert holding fast, reliable camel hair thing he was. He was big and before school eaten by just using locus is not big, but he was he was eating wild oats. He started all the stuff he was popular is not how his ministry ended this in the Bible ends with him in prison virtually pay them any attention anymore, just beheaded, as he sees how his ministries in the knot with a film about with failure seems to be says about Johnson free verse 30. He, Jesus must increase and I must decrease something here. Paul was decreasing but he trusted that God was doing what God said he would do that is constantly magnifies name even if it wasn't best for Paul's personal ministry ambitions question.

Are you willing for that to happen. Once that happened to you biography Charles Simeon over this recently Charles Simeon viewing him at church history writing is a nameless, famous pastor of a while ago, Charles Simeon later in his career.

One Super Bowl, but he was getting a little older you get a health issue that they can step down from his pulpit for eight months. During that eight months of your second recuperator was a temporary thing that another younger pastor and associate pastor preached to this place and Tom Thomason will Thomason turned out to be an even more effective preacher with his congregation, the trial Simeon had been to a trial.

Simeon gets better after the eight months and is ready to come back to the pulpit is now facing this issue of this bit that this younger guy is so much more effective elitist congregation than I am. What you do in a situation like that that happens to me. What if it becomes apparent that God has selected somebody else to more effectively to church and I am at the time to trial. Simeon plays a carpet was about 30 years about this think my blood sweat and tears set out with me to die.

When you have it draw Simeon his biography says this and now I see why I was temporarily laid aside, and I bless God for it. He talked about this younger guy. He must increase, even if I must decrease. You will for that to happen with you mightily may not be able to see it. Paul couldn't talk and seal him sit in prison. It was write a letter would study 2000 years later he did know that he does know the guy was doing God said I would do that is sovereignly directing all things for his glory. Paul's good about this with what if God appointed your failure to bring about his glory. We all dream about.

Like not more to our success will not come on God, you may be rich you got your you bring you success and I will give you nobody brings about their failure. Oh God, what I want to do is only a failure for you. I want to just fail and fall my face in the glorified unit to say that Paul no Paul knew but even though he worked for success. There were times I got appointed failure retention because there is a intimacy that I can know Christ in the midst of suffering that I can't know, and prosperity and there is a power I can know having multiple calls call the resurrection power that I can know having both of the cross that I could know if I never went through. What if God allows you to suffer. One of the allows you to fail sometimes because you want you to know a certain kind of Jesus, and you want you to know a certain power of Jesus that you could know if you can walk that value crucifixion. See there is a God who loves you so much that sometimes ordains the hunger of your body to save your soul. And we need to give up this idea so boxing three we give up this idea to God's plan for everybody is always smooth road big success.

Best life now really better than Jesus really he died by crucifixion John the Baptist.

He died in prison, beheaded better than Paul. He died in prison, beheaded a day.

Hardy says it this way. Let us not accept the world's definition of success that says, always abounding in increasing and has no room for he must increase, even though I must decrease Jackpot. One of my favorite theologians contemporary dealer says it this way, the world's idea, the world's idea that everyone from childhood up should be able at all times to succeed in measurable ways and that it is a great disgrace not to hangs over the Christian community like a pall of acrid smoke.

You know how to glorify God in your prosperity, but the litmus test of ambition is how you face disappointments.

Paul can face disappointment because his deepest desires. His identity is quest for fulfillment and significance have been met in Christ. His life is not defined by what he did but by whose he was and he knew that God was sovereignly in control of all things working them out so he could say Philippians 44 rejoice in the Lord always. He's writing up the prison enough saved up from a conference is not writing that our private experience is great is your ministry's book sales growth chart conference. He's like from the prison. When I turned her back on his ministry for the part he says rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice see your discontentment, your fear, your jealousy, your strife, or like a useless analogy that is before or like St. Augustine. This is analogy, there's things like the smoke from a fire to lead you back to the altar of your selfish ambition, discontentment for your strife, jealousy, that's like smoke from a fire that will lead you back to the altar of your selfish ambition you want to let your discontentment wherever it is right now you will follow the trail that smoking you want to let it lead it back to you to the places that you have substituted some ambition for Christ. What can happen is God. Use that to transform your selfish ambitions to God. Whiskers are rooted in Christ, if you go to the church.

You've heard me say before that there was a defining moment in my life. You years ago when I was praying for our church and praying that God would do something in our church that would just be unbelievable that you, God would use us to reach the city that there would be a movement of God in our church like never before. That you guys know me this is our church, yes, but it's my job to just like you want to succeed in your job. I want the church to succeed because that success.

My job right so the Mr. praying that God would do this is one of those times of the Holy Spirit spoke to me, not audibly but just as clearly the words of the Holy Spirit, whispered in my heart for these okay what if I say yes. What if I caused her to be a movement in the city of Raleigh-Durham that is something like nobody is ever seen. What if I transform Raleigh-Durham for my glory. What if I from Raleigh-Durham send out church planters all over the world. Unreached people groups over the world. What if I do everything that you were hoping for.

What if I don't use you or your church. In the process. What if it's somebody else are you willing to say he must increase, even if I must decrease in my heart I knew that the answer to that was know I wasn't okay with and I began a process for me but still going on through the 90 minutes, but of God tearing down this ambition that I've had for our church that is selfish ambition and begin to replace that she was ambitions better for you and for the good of God's kingdom even if it doesn't involve me disliking Solomon king Solomon Weinstein were to live if you grew up in church another social story. You all probably heard this. If you are preserved social story. I got here Solomon beginning of his ministry dinners, rain, and says all what you want what is what is solvent site.

I want to be wise all unprecedented national riches. He asked for wisdom. We don't notice is what he asked me wiser see this little phrase right afterward wise make me wise for the purpose of this great people has to be wise for myself.

I'm not asking that I be wise thereby don't know that on the wisest finger live I'm asking because this could take wisdom and insight, leading people as it is. A lot of times I pray for wisdom and insight ambition as a pastor, but it's been about me God make me wise and insightful make me great for my sake, but when I can say no, not for my sake make me wise, give me insight and success.

The pastor not for me but because these people need somebody to preach the word of God, to them it is not about me you usually that's okay because what I want is your ambition, not mine. And if you really increase, even if I decrease that's okay because my focus is rubbish because I'm satisfied you then you say God make me a success.give me this, but it's for you not for me. And so if you passed me by Ralph that's okay because I found what I have what I need one muscle surgeon for Christ sake, for the first time in my life and begin to be free for godly ambitions is selfish and that's happened. I grounded my soul in Christ find in him what I had once found in selfish you can be free to start receiving what Christ is offered to you as a gift by embracing everything your soul search for if you will found your soul and you'll be free from Earth changing family altering eternity shifting conditions for Jesus during this transform a willing heart into a force for his kingdom.

All it takes is surrender your listening to Senate life. The Bible teaching ministry pastor, author and theologian JD Greer. Today's message as part of our series called home records, even looking at a few of the pitfalls that corrode relationships and breakdown family tamale service so that our listeners can get to know you just a little bit. How did you come to know the love of Christ and begin that relationship. I grew up in a Christian family, and prayed the prayer said when I was nine years old and I didn't because I was a real father. I thought that's what the pastor wanted me to do and let my parents wanted me to do and coming from a musical family. I started leading worship at a very young age I was always involved in my turns but I was still just following the rules.

I went off to college, made a lot of bad decision until the time came that I needed to either make my faith, my own or leave it all behind and then at 21 years old and I completely surrendered my life to Jesus and I have never Molly that is awesome and it's one of the reasons we are so thankful to have you here, not just as part of our Summit family worship also now with the system life you know Senate life entirely funded by listeners like you are getting really make it different helping more people die every day to be a monthly gospel partner give a single gift and remember your surprising story dying churches were finally called by 335.

Give online JD Greer. I mounting the events. Be sure to join us tomorrow when were talking about turning our careers worship timely message will encourage to be sure to join us when on Senate life.

Greer


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