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June 12, 2020 8:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ that commanded, God never commanded to stand in your faith. Just you don't fight notices against the schemes of the devil. First of all, if you fought him are you strong enough. No run fast enough.
No, no, that's not what I want to but I want you to do is stand firm. It's interesting missing the point is this, you and I don't fight for victory. The fight from the battles one. We fight from victory. That's why in Romans chapter 8 also overwhelmingly conquers joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word to make a list of the American presidents that only be one man who actually shows up twice. He is both the 22nd and the 24th President of the United States. His name was Grover Cleveland is also the man by the way that dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York City is the only president that was ever married in the White House. He was 49 years old and his bride was named Francis foursome, and she was 21 and she was the youngest First Lady in the history of the United States and as you can imagine the romance sort of because a lot of astern the country thing about Grover Cleveland always he was a Presbyterian preacher's son. He was thoroughly trained in Christian truth when he was in office.
He had to grapple with titanic issues. I was in the middle of a national financial panic. He also had a personal crisis in the White House. He was diagnosed with cancer and he endured a top-secret surgery on a friends got.
They kept that news away from the United States until after he observed the people of the United States and yet Cleveland was known for his work ethic.
They said that he had the strength that usually worked every day of the week past midnight, as presently United States historians complement items for his industries. Integrity is courage and his common sense. In fact, when Grover Cleveland died the last words he spoke on this earth were these I have tried so hard to do right now. The secret to Grover Cleveland was a motto that he lived by it was a biblical promise. He framed it and he had it in the White House hung right above his bed. He saw before he went to bed.
He saw first thing in the morning when he was a lawyer before he went to the White House. He also had it in his office whenever Cleveland went to bed he would look at this and it had the family crest on it and it also had the King James version of Deuteronomy 33 verse 25 in the King James it says as thy days so shall thy strength be. Cleveland said if I have any coat of arms, an emblem, it's that one. What's interesting about it is that that promise that he had is a promise from God. All of us to sustain us every day of our lives to give us the strength, the living Bible puts it this way, made her strength match the length of your days. The amplified Bible says and as your days are so will your strength be in the NIV version simply says your strength will equal your days to survive in this world we all know we need a certain amount of strength.
The problem that we have, though, as we go about it the wrong way. We keep thinking that strength means more inner fortitude are part that I need to but I need to be stronger. I need to do more but the truth of the matter is God's, as I will have none of that. That's not what I mean at all. I want to open your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 10 Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 10. Several weeks ago I started a series and it had to do with the saying of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 10 he said I've come to give you life and to give it to you abundantly. Another problem that I have is a pastor and knowing so many of you, and not just you but others over all these years of ministry is that I find very few Christians who live the abundant life, and I had to wrestle with that and it can't be that the words of Jesus are shallow. The words of Jesus are wrong. So the more I thought about it I thought the problem that we have is that you and I have to make certain choices and if we don't make the right choice will never experience the abundant life that Christ spoke will always find ourselves sort of just living like they live outside these walls, so I said the very first week that we needed to choose God's peace over our own anxiety. That's why Jesus said my peace I give you Paul said the peace of God is incomprehensible. It's a wonderful thing and yet so few of us have it would rather be anxious we choose. The anxiety secondly I don't.
With that we should have God's wisdom over the world's folly, the world's knowledge. We need to see life from God's perspective rather than from whatever the culture is telling us. Life is really like.
And then last week I said that we needed to have faith and we had to choose faith over fear so often what we end up doing over and over again is becoming fearful and I said last week how many times Jesus said fear not, fear not, and yet we find ourselves with fear this morning when I want to say is what we need to choose God strength over our own efforts. Notice what verse 10 says Paul says. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, as a commandment not a suggestion. It's an imperative mood and the great, be strong in the Lord and then he qualifies it and says, and then the strength of his might. You commanded to be strong. I think that's it's an interesting thing. It's not unusual in Scripture. God told Joshua and Joshua one. Be strong and have good courage, David told his son Solomon. Be strong and of good courage, and do it. Do not fear or be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God will be with you. Paul told a young Timothy yes therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
God promises that they insisted be strong to replace irksome coming back and go with me to Isaiah chapter 40 Isaiah chapter 40 verses 28 and 29, Isaiah 4028 and 29. I love the way. Isaiah starts it.
Jesus, do you not know have you not heard just a great way to put it.
Hey listen up. This is going to be important since what Isaiah says, do you not know have you not heard this, he said the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable he is and the strength that he says this he gives strength to the weary and Ahimelech's might he increases power comes as a given strength. I'll give you strength when you're wearing. If you don't have the resources I give you power is underway feels in your life whenever you're facing something you need to be strong is that you feel the strength of God or not. Sincerely using my this is a time when I made more inner fortitude I would have to try harder.
I have to do more back with me for a moment now to the passage any Ephesians by the way he should be thankful for this, but I find over 30 references in the word of God to be strong in me to be strong need to be strong need to be strong.
He knows what life is like he knows how hard this is for us now back here in Ephesians 6 he says finally, be strong in the Lord in the strength of his might pieces and put on the form of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Verse 13 therefore take up the form of God, that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, stand firm. 14 stand firm. Therefore, he says, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness God's supernatural strength is manifested whenever you and I stand firm.
That's always ask you to do stand firm.
Notice he tells us against what against the schemes of the devil. He said you need to stand firm.
You're not commanded to fight God never command you to fight is to just enter just be firm just stand there in your faith just standard you don't fight and notices against the schemes of the devil. First of all, if you fought him are you strong enough know what if you run from him. Are you fast enough know he said no that's not what I want to do what I want you to do is stand firm. It's interesting you see the point is this, you and I don't fight for victory. We fight from victory. The battle is one we fight from victory.
That's why in Romans chapter 8, Paul says them.
We overwhelmingly conqueror through Christ. Overwhelmingly, we went overwhelmingly we conquer in first Corinthians 1557 he says. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, the battles one is that's what I just want to stand firm.
As I was trying to think of an illustration for this for some of you were confronted probably not, but I meant to say this is from the movie the Fellowship of the ring and I don't know if you saw that the trilogy of the rings, but you have to adore me anyway. If you did I but there's a scene in that movie were Gandalf the Grey and the others are fleeing from the orcs and going through the minds of Mariah and in hot pursuit of them at that time. Is this terrible monster named Balrog and they come down within Stonebridge and Denver make sure everybody gets across the bridge but him and then he stopped. He walks out to the middle of the bridge in a dispenser just stand firm and Balrog comes and he's one of these and he erupts fire from everywhere just consumes everything in there is Gandalf still went standing in the middle of the bridge and as a staff in one hand the sword the other is just standing there and he never uses the he simply bellows out in a loud voice, you shall not pass, he stood firm and evil cannot have its way.
I'm sure the talk and thought this is a great way to talk about the strength of God stand firm as a Paul tells us now for us. Our enemies are not near as clear as Balrog, but the real notice what he says, verse 12. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against powers, against world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. You see, that's our enemy. That's what were fighting were fighting those spiritual forces we often think that we need to stand strong. What we need to fight or other people.
But the other people you'd ever need to fight or not your enemy the victims of your enemy the Bible calls him something else. They call them your mission field. You see, that's the mission field. That's what we love our enemies. That's why we pray for their victims of the enemy go with me to our second Corinthians chapter 10 second Corinthians chapter 10 and verse three Paul makes it even clearer here first. Three. Paul says this for though we walk in the flesh.
All that means is we live in the real world we just live like we live in a world war. Although we walk in the flesh. He said we do not war according to the flesh. He said for the weapon of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses we are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
When we fighting ideas, thoughts, meaning of life. Where's the battle is between your ears. That's with the battles fought his fought right between our ears whom I can listen to how my going to do this love those thoughts metaphorically almost every thought in the world originates in heaven or hell. See, that's the way this works and that's where we fight. He said we had to think about it from that point of view, that's wise telling us to stand firm answer the question comes down to, then you know how do we appropriate strength.
How do we appropriate God's light live stream. How do we get this power in our lives and I think there are four things and I'm very much indebted to what David Jeremiah here and he uses a really good analogy. I think he uses your computer and he says that the computer has a hard drive and that contains all the applications that you need any said when you launch a program you downloaded from the hard drive to a temporary drive once it's on the temporary drive it on the screen. You can see it on the screen and now you can access. He says what you've downloaded, but he said it was always there on the hard drive.
You just can access until you did. And these are the ways in which he talks about the way we can the hard drive. It is in the Bible was a hard drive and so how do we access. How do we download of the power of God. The first thing he says is this. He said we download the power of God. God strength from his word go with me just for one verse in the Old Testament.
Psalm 119 in verse 28 Psalm 119 verse 28 notice of the Psalm assessor. My soul weeps because her grief. I can tell you how many of you I been with over all the years in which to do this and if you haven't done it, you probably will just your soul weeps because the Greek. The pain is unbearable. Hard to explain difficult. You never feel weaker or more vulnerable than you do that, notice what the psalmist says. He says my soul weeps because her grief strengthened me according to your word. When I get the strength from your word. Lord I need I need your strength from your word here. Let me take a New Testament application then concluded go with me to second Peter second Peter chapter 1 verse three and here Peter says it differently but I think it's clear to us. He says in verse three. Seeing that his divine but to say power I get his divine power in my life. He said, seeing that his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.
What that include read it again. Everything in life are godliness. Everything gotcha so I can supply you the strength and the power you need and everything. Notice he says divine powers granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence.
For by these he has granted to us his precious and magnificent promises, so that by then we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. He has granted to us his precious and magnificent promises. That's his word to me asked. Be honest with yourself looking for dine in on some of his nine so to dive stuff in it. Let me ask you you you really believe that you would get what we would like to have a little bit of strength when you die because you're going to die. By the way, I hate to say that the parting the rapture everyone in his going to every single one of us seen when you think of that battle.
That final battle with pain is the hymn says when you think of that use any strength for that. You will. God says I provided the Bible says when you are absent from the body are present with the Lord as of the Bible says you are absent in the body present with the Lord Jesus said let not your heart be troubled, you said you just need to believe in me. In my father's house are many dwelling places. I'm going prepare one just for you, so that where I am, you'll be also. And then I'll come and I'll receive you to myself. Here's the question do you believe that or not you believe that are not because if you believe that by the way, where is your strength coming from from the word of God.
I got my strength from his word. He's already promised me this.
You see, that's a difficult thing.
One of the songs that we sing here is the last day of my life would be the best in my life.
It was written by Matt because I say it all the time pulpit but the truth of the matter is that's true, but some of us probably feel funny even cemented.
That's not like my wedding day is like the birth of my first child doesn't like Christmas know it's better you see, do you believe that that's the question do you believe it he said look you can appropriate my power. He said from my word. Secondly he says that we can appropriate his power through prayer.
Go with me to Ephesians chapter 3 Ephesians chapter 3 and I love what Paul does here starting in verse 14 Paul like any servant of God what he wants to tell people is and who wouldn't I want you to have God strength. I want you to have God strength when you need it in this life.
I want you to have this so much so that he prays about it. Notice what he says in verse 14. For this reason I bow my knees before the father.
He said, from whom every family on heaven on earth derives its name that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened. I pray he said that you would be strengthened, he said, with the power of his Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breath and the length and height and the depth and I know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. He said look I would just pray that you would have some grip as to how much God loves you.
I just we should get it. He loves you with more love than any person ever love you and it never wavers maybe another way of saying it is the way Paul did. He said if God be for us know the verse to be against us. God is for you. He loves you pulses I get that because if you really believe that strength works for you bathroom your radio ministry and fellowship. Lord, if you ever missed one of our broadcasting or maybe you just like the message one more time.
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