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About this series
Trusting Jesus No Matter What
How to Build an Unshakeable Faith
In many cities around the world, there are buildings specifically engineered to withstand severe disasters - like hurricanes and earthquakes. In this series, Chip plays off that idea by helping us build an unshakable faith that can endure any challenge. Learn why the strength of our faith has nothing to do with our determination or resolve, but in getting an accurate view of God. Discover through various New Testament verses why we can completely trust in Jesus, no matter what comes our way.More from this series
“Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus.” This attitude of considering others more important.
Humility is, it just flies in the face of what I call the Big Five Ps, power, possessions, position, prestige, and productivity.
And I want you to watch when Jesus said to Peter, “Follow Me,” and when He says to you and me, He is going to cut across those five Ps and show us a different way, a powerful way, a counterintuitive way to become great in God’s eyes.
We follow Jesus when we embrace His mindset toward power and possessions. “Who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.”
It’s a picture of humility. It’s a picture of: I don’t have to be in control. It’s a picture of releasing those things. Trusting that as I trust God, He will work it out.
When we look at possessions, He goes, “I promise you’re always going to have what you need.” But to work crazy hours and to invest your life and somehow think that the more you accumulate is going to bring you happiness, He says, “It’s a lie. Don’t buy it.”
We follow Jesus when we embrace His mindset toward position and prestige. Not only did He not think equality with God a thing to be grasped in terms of position, "but He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men."
Put a circle around that word “emptied.” It’s a big theological word. Some of you with Bible study backgrounds, it’s kenosis. It means He veiled His deity. He didn’t lose it, but He veiled His deity and some of His voluntary access for a season so that He could be fully man and fully God.
And then notice, we follow Jesus when we embrace His mindset toward productivity. The text goes on to say, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
So, again, he emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, the deity of Jesus, and then when he looks at – what did He do? He humbles Himself and this is how we humble ourselves: obeying God, obeying what the Scripture says.
Forgiving your mate when, in your heart of hearts, you realize it’s ninety percent her fault, ten percent yours. Choosing to obey and say, “Lord, I don’t know how this looks, but I’m going to give the first portion of my income for Your kingdom purposes and I don’t know how it’s all going to work out in terms of paying all my bills.” It’s obedient to the point of death. It’s dying to self and ego and pride.
And He says there’s this amazing kingdom principle, the – give – and that’s just not money, the passage in Luke 6:38, it’s not even a financial passage. “Give, and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. For in whatever measure,” or size of cup or container that you give, “it will be measured back to you, overflowing.”
Jesus is saying, “I want you to follow Me and there’s a kingdom mindset, there’s a kingdom lifestyle, there’s a counterintuitive way. And it requires faith. You have to believe what He says is true. You have to believe Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer. You have to believe when He makes promises like this, He is going to take care of you.
And my experience is we have a lot of people that intellectually agree with these things and very few who practice them. And, yet, the Early Church, not practicing them wasn’t an option.
I think there’s something that has happened, especially in sort of the Western side and American culture, of our consumer mindset that somehow we have filtered things through in such a way where we hear the commands and this is what you’re supposed to do, but there’s only a special group maybe that could do that. And we feel this freedom to take this one and reject that one. And it’s almost like our spiritual life and the commands of Jesus and the calling to follow Him is like a salad bar and we choose which ones we will accept and which ones we will reject as though we are the authority.
I remember sitting in a café in Amman, Jordan with a young doctor about thirty-two. And I’ll never forget the breakfast. And there was a price on her head in Yemen. There was a network, we partner with a group there. And very few Christians in all of Yemen. And so, as the Christians began to multiply, she was one of the keys. And so, there was a contract out to kill her.
And they were able to get her out of the country and she is super bright and articulate, speaking great English. And her request was, “Can you please help me get someplace where the World Health Organization, a refugee camp somewhere, because I’d like to use my skills to help heal people. I know I’m not going to live very long.
And she said that, like, when I said, “Could I get two eggs over easy? And could I go with the wheat toast?” I mean, it wasn’t like she was making some dramatic statement. It was just, “Following Jesus in my world, at this time means, like many or most of my friends, none of us are going to live very long.”
But underneath of it is, but for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. There was no sense of, “Don’t you feel sorry for me?” Or, “I must be one of those wonderful, wonderful few Christians in all the world.” It was as matter of fact.
And that’s what I long for. We are not following Jesus when it comes to these areas of power and possessions and position, prestige, and productivity.
We have bought into a world system. And here’s the irony: the world system doesn’t deliver. Some of us have really been very successful in some of these things. And there’s an emptiness and there’s a lacking.
I love how the Father rewards the Son.
The final point here is we experience God’s exaltation, His lifting up of us and His blessing when we follow Jesus’ example of servanthood.
Notice it says, “For this reason also God highly exalted Him,” speaking of Christ, “and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” Why? “So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,” well, of whom? “…of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
You see, in God’s economy as we choose to follow Jesus, the acid test of greatness is love. The road or the path to greatness is humility. And the opportunity for real greatness is servanthood.
And this is a far cry from the Christianity that most of us are being exposed to and most of us are living out. We’re at a pivot point. We’re at a point in history, a point in the Church, a point in culture. God is raising up people that have this kind of mindset here and around the world. And at the same time, there is a culture that is increasingly hostile to our faith and to Jesus.
And this is one of those, like, first century opportunities. We get to be those people who would say, “I am trusting Jesus no matter what.”
As we wrap up our time, I’d like to ask a couple questions and then I would like to follow up with an amazing invitation from Jesus.
Question number one is: How would you describe Jesus in your own words after reflecting on Philippians 2:5 through 11?
This is a little bit different than Jesus is walking through the fields and loves me and wants my life to work out. And don’t get me wrong. I know we don’t think that way all the time. But it’s subtle. How would you describe Jesus to a friend? This is radical. This is a revolutionary. This is a completely counterintuitive way to live one’s life. How would you describe Him?
The second question is: What is Jesus’ motive in calling us to follow Him and His mindset of humility?
I mean, why? I mean, what is His motive? What’s His heart? What’s His passion? You know, we so often focus on the cost. Peter: drops his nets, leaves everything to follow Jesus. And we miss the reward. “And I will,” Jesus said, “make you a fisher of men.”
You know, like you, I have had some successes in my life and I have had some failures and, you know, everything from a little success in sports over here, maybe a little success in ministry or something else over here. And, but I will tell you something. I’ll never forget the first time that the Lord Jesus allowed me to be, I just call it a conduit of his grace, where I didn’t know very much and I didn’t know how to do much but I found myself talking to a fellow on the floor – I was an RA in college – who was really going through a hard time.
And I explained how he could have a relationship with Jesus. And I remember in that little kitchenette bowing our heads together and him praying to receive Christ. And then watching his life change and be transformed the next two or three years.
And then little by little, getting to have that kind of influence on our basketball team in college. And then out of the blue, the Lord kind of tapping me on the shoulder and say, “You know, you love basketball and I love you and you have had this passion and you were injured most of your college career. How would you like to join this team and play all the Olympic teams throughout South America for a couple summers with fellow believers and share your faith?” And it was like, amazing. A game every day and huge crowds and sharing your testimony and literally, at times, leading fifteen or twenty people to Christ each and every day. What could be more fulfilling?
And it’s not always leading someone to Christ. Maybe you’re the person that meets a physical need and you do it privately and there’s a mom with a baby that no one cares about and you pay to take care of her.
Or I remember the first time I sat down with a couple who, I mean, they thought they had this huge marriage problem. They just, they didn’t know that everyone has what they were going through. But we live in a day where if I’m not happy, it’s not working, I’m gone.
And I remember meeting with them, Theresa and I, you know, a number of times and watching them forgive each other and learn to communicate and fall back in love and watch their family come together and watch their three kids not have some divided family of, you know, “I’m with dad on the weekends and mom during the week.” And realizing you’re just a normal, regular human being with all kind of limitations and struggles. And, yet, as we are surrendered to Him and trusting, the payoff, the reward…
It’s this picture in my mind, it’s like the grace of God and we are the PVC pipe. It comes through us and as it gets into the lives of others, it is, I don’t want to be sacrilegious but it’s better than any drug that has ever been created, because it’s what we are made to do.
When the light of God, the love of God, the forgiveness of God, the reconciliation of God, and the power of God flows through your eyes and your arms and your words and your wallet, that transforms the lives of other people, I’ve got news, there’s nothing like it.
I mean, did you ever wonder why some of the most, I mean, richest, richest, richest, richest people, you know, they get to the end or near the end and they’ve got billions and billions of dollars, what do they all end up doing? They start some kind of foundation. Because what they know is getting, getting, getting, getting, getting, it never fills the hole.
And so, they may not be Christians, but they realize, “I’ve got to help people. I’ve got to give back.” And when they do that, there is a joy they don’t fully understand. But what they are doing is they are following kingdom principles.
And lastly, I was, just, I have an invitation. And here is Jesus’ invitation. The One who descended into greatness says, “Follow Me.”
Luke chapter 9, “And Jesus was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” And here’s the reason, “For what is it profit to a man if he gains the whole world and lose or forfeits himself.” Literally it’s his soul.
And so, Jesus is saying, “By faith, I’m going to make you an invisible promise over against all the physical realities. And if you want to follow Me, it’ll be a step of faith. And you need to deny yourself.” That’s crazy in a consumer world. And then you need to take up a cross so you need to die to your agenda. This is what I’m going to do, this is why, this will make me successful. I call the shots, right? I’ll run my life. You die to that daily.
And then you say to the Lord, “I’m going to follow You. I’m going to follow You in my career, I’m going to follow You day-to-day, I’m going to follow You in my home as a husband or a dad or a single person or a roommate. I’m going to follow You.”
Well, what does that mean? I’m going to consider the needs of others as more important than myself. I’m not going to look only on my stuff but on others. I’m going to look at those five Ps, and I’m going to look at those five Ps the way Jesus did, and I’m going to flip it in a way that is so counterintuitive and just downright scary. And I’m going to follow Jesus and I’m going to trust that when I draw near to God, that what the Scripture says is true. He is going to draw near to me. And that as it says in James 4, when I humble myself, God wants to and will exalt me. That He will not allow any good thing to be held back from me.
In Psalm 31, when I was on my journey of struggling as a first, probably, three or four years as a Christian, and realizing my lack of good theological background and my lack of growing up in a Christian home did one good thing. A little bit like those Muslim believers, I didn’t know anything. So, I thought if it said this it really meant that. And when it came to, “Chip, are you going to be all in? Chip, are you going to lose your life for the gospel and for Me so you can find it?” Well, I struggled, I struggled, I struggled.
I’ll never forget one day reading Psalm 31 and I can’t even remember where in the passage, but it says, “How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those that fear You, for those who follow You over against the opinions of men.” And this picture came to me of instead of God’s arms crossed and why don’t you get with the program and you don’t quite measure up, that there was this Savior who has demonstrated His love for me by going to the cross, who put His Spirit inside of me and inside of You as a follower, who has sealed me with that Spirit, and no one can snatch me out of His hands, who is currently preparing a place for me and every follower.
And says, “You want in on the greatest movement, not in history, the greatest movement of the Creator of the world. I want to invite you to die to your agenda and say yes to Mine and become a part of the kingdom of God. Lose your life and find it. Be counterintuitive. Walk in humility because here is what I want to do.”
God says, “I want to exalt you. I want to lift you up. I want to fill your heart and fill your desires and your dreams with what My dreams are for you, so that all the things that everyone is looking for over here, I want to give to you in spades, exceedingly, abundantly, beyond what you could ask or think.”
Far from missing out, He says, “There is a life that I have for you that is better and greater and deeper and more wonderful.” But the path is I am going to trust the character of God and the promises of God and they are invisible, while I’m being bombarded by all the world system and many even in the Church who say, “Don’t get too radical.”
God loves you. And I want you to hear that not sort of as a general thought, but as someone who is going to be loyal to you that will help you, strengthen you. But He’s a rewarder to those who believe that He is and who believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.