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July 20, 2020 8:00 am
Today on the Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ and I are joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana Pastor Bill Gebhart now is once again he shows us how God's word. Our world. Imagine you have the gift of encouragement. That's a spiritual gift that you have your encourager could you imagine. You said you know what Sally in the lobby today at the church and I encouraged her mom I could encourage anyone for several weeks because I'm almost out of encouragement. Now, I'd use that you should not use or get works of course not say with any gift in the Bible you would say it never diminishes. In fact, the more you use it the more you give it away. The more God blesses I've seen in my whole life the gift of teaching.
That's what God does. But in an interesting once you get to the gift of the well, the God giving us a coho. Wait a minute or I don't know about that Senate works. I don't know about that. The reason that we struggle with that is the same reason that they struggled with it is greed is the backdrop of greed's the idol of more you see. Somehow we really believe mine mine.
See that's the problem that we have not much as Paul now comes in on this go with me to second Corinthians chapter 9 second Corinthians chapter 9 given the context of chapter 9. Paul's been going around from city to city and one of the things it's on Paul's heart is Garp or Saints in Jerusalem were starving.
They have very little shelter and almost no food.
So the apostle Paul is going to Gentile churches to churches in general and said look we need to take an offering back to feed them and I'll get back there. So when he went apparently to Corinth at one time the Corinthians heard it said when Paul with you. But the problem is the Corinthian church is rich may start thinking about it usually said that I meet. So, notice how Paul picks it up in verse 20 says, for it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, mainly that he said Acadia consequences has been prepared since last year and your zeal has stirred up. Most of them. I went up to the Thessalonians.
I told the Thessalonians about your zeal and they said no. The Thessalonians are not rich. The Thessalonians are blue-collar Thessalonians or middle class and lower middle class and you find out they give sacrificially to this whole idea. He says, verse three, but I have sent the brother and in order that our boasting about you may not be empty.
In this case, so that as I was saying, you may be prepared otherwise. If any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared. We not to speak of.
You will be put to shame and this confidence vibrancy Macedonians with me and you guys start saying what offering ESA so I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go ahead to you and arrange before hand your previously promised bountiful gift so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and then he says this and not affected by covetousness, greed. I hope this is an affected by greed you wanted so then Paul picks up where Jesus was speaking and he says now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion pulses on the can make you do this. I'm not can do that because the problem is, your heart would be wrong.
If you can't do it gradually pried open your fingers you can do it under compulsion, he says, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver and we talked about that over the years. That's the Greek word Larry on it's the word hilarious is a great word like they can't wait to give you my the can't wait to get because they want to share with the gift that God has given the can't wait to give. They also understand something else. He who sows sparingly reap sparingly, who sows bodily reap bountifully so notice he says in verse eight. Then, and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything that you may. He says have an abundance for every good deed verse 10. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be enriched in every thing for all liberality, which he says through us is producing thanksgiving to God. You be blessed by God. That's what is using what God has gifted you with and people will thank you and I will thank you pulses notice the idea is the only thing it could hold them back is their own greed to that idea of it at the idea of the things that kill contentment. One of them is envy and coveting is very much related.
Envy the others just greed. The trouble was if you're greedy and money is your God. I gotta tell you something you'll never have enough. You just won't and you always live under the lie. I just need a little more. I mean just about a lot more just a little more and then a minute really be content, that's not the case. So let me ask you this where you stand on this was your heart may help you with a few questions, are you more concerned about making money and sharing it. Got answer that my more concerned about making money than sharing it. Do I feel that I don't have enough of it to.
I resent giving it and am I willing to compromise values to acquire the answer yes to any one of those memorable problem.
You see, you may have a problem and I know one thing will never be content if you answer yes to all of you do have a problem seeing you really going to have to address that. Now back to Timothy as Paul picks up the rest of the passage, Paul uses the contrast in verse six and he says, but godliness actually is a means of great gain when it's accompanied by contentment.
Notice East plays a word game. There godliness plus contentment equals wealth.
That's what you're saying, godliness, plus contentment equals wealth. Godliness is the word Eusebius and it means likeness to God. It means piety reference the word for great gain is the word of Parthia and it means total self-sufficiency. When we would say stability, wealth, godliness, a life dedicated to pleasing God contentment accepting the provision in the presence and he says in the providence of God in my life. That's contentment. He says you have those two together and he said you have wealth, that's what wealth really is and by the way, you may be poor with that class about a very affluent with that same you have wealth now it's not only spiritual but it's also logical.
Notice the next verse for we brought nothing into the world and so we can take anything out either to the whole point about wealth and stuff is its temporal I mean it's really temporal you think I mean what did Job see naked I came out of my mother's womb naked out return. That's the way life is. You've heard all the things you know you never saw you never saw hers with a U-Haul behind it and no you don't, you don't really take it with you so you don't its temporal why it's just a gift that God wants to use you see that all it is the gift of God, and he said look I want you to enjoy that gift and I want you to use that gift. He understands the way the real world works. Notice that he says if we have food and covering with these two. We would be content. That doesn't mean he wants us all the go live a life of asceticism and live in a monastery that mean that what he saying is that's the baseline. Remember the summit of Mount Jesus said don't worry about what you can eat. God feeds the birds don't worry about what you're going to where he close the flowers. Don't worry about that.
Seek first the kingdom of God. All these will be added unto you.
That's the baseline God says I will meet your needs.
You see, that doesn't mean and that's all you get a gift from God.
Out of all God's is a lot of people on the bus with wealth, some with a lot some of the little some of you will be middle-class and some of the lower middle class. But he said the whole point of it is whatever the state you're in.
As Paul said, I'm going to be content. That's really what the heart comes to. He also implies something here with the temperaments of wealth in verse seven, and that is that contentment is tied to an eternal perspective of life.
You see, the idea of greed and accumulation makes good sense.
If this is all there is. I've seen a bumper sticker he wins, who dies with the most toys that type of thing all got everything I can for me, but that's not a life like back with me now to Luke chapter 12 Luke chapter 12 in verse 13 and again Jesus weighs in on this. Someone in the crowd asked Jesus, Rabbi, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me but with things don't change much doing. I mean I can't even tell you how many disputes I become aware of over all these years of ministry because a parent died.
Now there's a tremendous dispute. Who gets the stuff. Notice what Jesus did. He said man who appointed me to judge an arbitrator arbitrator over you.
When Jesus is judge. He said I'm not even going to go there why he knows a man's heart.
What's a man's heart screed. It's greed.
I want my share well. He then says another warning beware and be on guard against every form of greed for not even when one has an abundance does life consist of his possessions see you lean your ladder against the wrong building here that's what he is saying don't do that beware of that. He then he tells them a parable when he gives a very famous parable.
The land of a rich man was very productive to begin reasoning to himself, said what so I do since I have no place to store all my wealth, my crops melt what should be doing sharing. Enjoy it and share it but he doesn't think the way a biblical believer would. He thinks the way a typical American would notice what he says. He said this is what I will do.
I will tear down my barns.
I build large ones in there I will store my grain and my goods and I was say to my soul soul. You have many goods laid up for many years to come.
Take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. That is called the American dream. That's the point.
I've started all up and now I'm just going to relax and enjoy. Now God enters picture but God said to him, you fool, this very night your soul is required of you and now he says who own which you are prepared. Solomon wrote that also in Ecclesiastes. You said you know you could work your whole life and accumulate a lot of stuff and then basically what Solomon says is and give it to a bunch of idiots who would just go through it like a wood chipper can happen. You spend your whole life accumulating it.
That's what he says he says so is this man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. You see, that's the point that he's making. It's interesting if you look back the key to this whole thing to me is notice what he says he tells them to be on guard beware. Now back to Timothy: always in on what can happen to us. We don't get this message straight our own lives. In verse 90 says, but those who want to get rich falling to the temptation ensnare many fools and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
He said for the love of money and that's affection for silver literally in the Greek. He said for the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil and some by longing for the wondered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs he said would flee from these things you man of God and pursue righteousness and godliness in faith and love and perseverance and gentleness fight the good fight of faith take hold. He said of the eternal life which which you were called and made you, you said and you made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I want to zero in a one-word word in verse 11.
Flee that's interesting. There's only four times in the Scripture were told the fleet that I find fascinating. We are to flee adultery that's I Joseph it run for where to flee fornication. We are to flee idolatry worshiping another guy and we are to flee greed. Why does he tell us that how to get added to that, because for the same reasons with fornication or adultery, there's a point of no return.
There's a point where you put yourself in a position where you won't turn back, you have the run from that position with idolatry. It means you've already turned away from God. You go to flee the idle, but here he says greed.
In other words, we don't handle greed well. We just don't greed to me is a slippery slope. It's kind of an interesting thing.
I think if we pull ourselves none of us would say were greedy, but I wonder if God did the pole would be different when you see is different than we see ourselves when comes agreed to because I think you slip into greed and falling to greed and once you're in that mindset of your life. You don't even think about it in any other way. So he says for us to flee greed now contentment comes from having a priority of godliness and not gain.
And yet, godliness plus contentment is great gain of great wealth is kind of interesting.
Here, though. Paul then goes on and speaks to Timothy and he says you know I think the people in Ephesus will misunderstand me if I don't get clear on this.
So in verse 17 he picks up the idea once again I want to make some points of clarification, he said instruct those who are rich in this present world that would be most of us instruct those who are rich in this present world, one not to be conceded.
See what happens when we become rich. Is there a temptation to actually believe that were better than other people.
Have you known anyone ever fell in that temptation.
Of course, you see, that's the way we measure the cons, we can become conceited, and then he says order fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. In other words, all my security notice all my security comes from my riches. The problem with that is there uncertain notice conceited is my significance are more significant than you now my hope fixed a more secure than you. He's been monies uncertain is hard to imagine, but it seems to me that when you read the Bible from a prophetic point of view that someday in the future not that far probably economic systems of this world probably going to collapse and I'd I think it will be exponentially worse the 1920s and 30s, and I just wonder how people will be use all the people like in 2008 or nine.
I mean, people were just frantic like this is all my security wouldn't say that way. We kept using numbers in a letter 401(k) 401(k) my 401(k) and other words a minute be secure for the future because I 401(k) but there's uncertainty in that season riches are uncertain, he said, but you have the says future hope in God, who richly supplies us with all things and and don't miss that. To enjoy, see, that's the beauty of it and not missing out on anything if God is given you a gift. He says enjoy it. I enjoy teaching. I enjoy studying even more.
I enjoy teaching but I enjoy the process because it's a gift you enjoy your wealth. If the jury about of all you see that's a wonderful thing is I give it to you for him to enjoy. He said instruct them to do good to be rich in good works to be generous and ready to share. There is again just what was talked about by Moses, and Solomon, Christ the ideas user gift sees I doing a hilarious manner. Enjoy it. He said storing up for themselves a treasurer of a good foundation for the future. You see what he says there you can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead. You see, that's what you saying. Well done good and faithful servant and then he says this so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed your life will be better here every day you look up your life will be better. Why your content. You see your content in your being used of God. It's better now and it's better later in the only thing that can stop us. The only thing you can stop us is the profusion of our age. The idea of the tyranny of more more greed, more. I need more, but they'll never produce contentment in 1886 the great Russian writer Tolstoy wrote a story that is appropriate today as it was when he wrote it.
He tells a story of a rich peasant who was never satisfied or content. He always wanted more and then he heard of this wonderful chance to get more land if he would invest 1000 rubles. He could have all the land that he could walk around in one day, 1000 rubles. It will cost somebody get all the land he can walk around he gets in one day.
But he had to make it back by sundown or lose all his money and so this is where Tolstoy picks it up. He rose early and set up. He walked on and on his greed driving him just a little farther as he saw new territory and finally he realized that he had to turn back and it had to walk very fast and want to get back in time to claim his land and then the sun got lower in the sky, and he quickened his pace in the sun near the horizon. He began to run and finally he saw the starting place. His heart was pounding rapidly.
He was grasping for breath, but he gave everything he had and he plunged over the finish line and he fell to the ground and he collapsed in just seconds before the sun disappeared below the horizon stream of blood poured out of his mouth and he lay dead.
His servant took a spade and dug a grave he made it just long enough and wide enough to bury him in the title of Tolstoy story how much land is a man need. He concludes her story by saying this 6 feet from head to his heels is all that I am you needed see when you live with this idea that all I need is more senseless and won't give you a better life. No, it certainly won't give you a better time at the judgment seat of Christ, and it will never make you contend you see contentment comes from having a priority of godliness. When you have that you have great wealth and yet godliness with contentment is great gain. And yet we struggle with the tyranny of more. Ask yourself the questions you need to. This morning was. Father, we are inundated in the culture in which we live. We are on endless high-speed treadmills going faster and faster every day we face profusion more and more and more the father eventually that treadmill will burn up or eventually will fall off.
Father I pray that we don't buy into the philosophy that is so prevalent in the world in which we live.
I pray father that what we buy into is what your word says to enjoy what you have given us to be content with what we have and then to share and to use the blessings and the gifts you given us to help other people to make us feel good about ourselves and to bring glory to your lesson and pastor Bill Gebhardt on the radio ministry of fellowship lower if you ever missed one of our broadcasting or maybe you just like to listen to the message one more time. Remember the good a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the fellowship and the word online event website you will find on today's broadcast but also many of our previous audio programs as well have Fellowship in the Word.
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