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August 21, 2020 8:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gephart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.
You really know who your. Do you really know that how special you are, how valuable you are? You were purchased with something so infinitely higher that no number could ever be ascribed.
You are chosen and forgiven and protected. My God almighty.
You are complete in Christ. All because you are loved by God.
Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the World with Pastor Bill Gephart. Fellowship, in a word, is the Radio Ministry of Fellowship Bible Church, located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gephart now as once again he shows us how God's word meets our world.
You know, it seems that from the moment we're born, we embark on a journey. The search for significance.
Sort of a quest for dignity, a pursuit. Self-worth. Our problem is not our desire. Problems where we go looking for it. We seem to hop on a treadmill. And then another, then another. By the time we're adults, so many of us. I feel so badly. About ourselves. Generally, we look in three different areas. I'd call the first one style. We base are significant and kind of how we look. The tyranny of the mere. And what's amazing about that to me is I'm not just talking about those of you who are the beautiful people. I'm talking about those of you who would be considered average. Even some homely. And somehow your whole life, you felt bad about yourself. Because of the way you look. Book of Proverbs says the charm is deceitful and beauty doesn't last. Boy, in our culture, we have the technology to fight father time. But in the end, don't we know that the only person we're fooling with that fight is ourselves? The second general area would be status. A desire to be known. A desire to have social respect, to maybe be famous, sometimes it's wealth. We want to be somebody's.
And that only occurs with people who are somebody's. But it occurs for many of us who are nobody's.
We want to be somebody's.
By the way, it's an amazing thing that in our country we still have that desire after we have seen so many, what I would call, quote unquote, American Idols, that you see them in their real lives. The people we call celebrity. And you see that many of them are morally bankrupt. Incredibly unhealthy. And some of them addicted to drugs and alcohol because of how unhappy they are. And yet we still want that.
We still want that status, style and status. And success.
And what I mean by that is the achievement idea to be the best. It's an amazing thing. We say that often, you know, I was raised to be the best. Let me give you just a little bit of insight into that. Only Jesus Christ is best. There's never been anybody else is the best. And by the way, even in any field that you're involved in. There's always someone better than you.
There's always the next one who will be the best athletics business, grades, gardening, baking, it doesn't even matter. But this idea that I will be a more significant human being if I'm just successful, if I just make it.
When Mohammed Ali was the greatest of all time. You know, when all is said. I had the whole world and it wasn't nothing.
The desire that we have.
So the question of whether you struggle in that area is how would you feel if you lost your looks? How would you feel if you lost most of your notoriety or half of your wealth? How would you feel if you tried your best over and over and you failed almost every time? How would you feel?
Because maybe you're on that treadmill. You see that search for significance. In all the wrong places.
You know, I'll tell you something, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. You have nothing to worry about.
It's an amazing thought. You see, it's not just a matter of a change in destination in my life.
To change in ID.
You see, its significance is born into that relationship. In fact, in a word of God, let me say it this way. You if you were a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a masterpiece. God, you are. Do you think of yourself that way? You are a masterpiece in effusions to 10. Paul said, we are his workmanship.
Almighty God. It's a staggering thought. If you could just get your mind around it. I want to turn to first, Peter, chapter one. And I wouldn't give you a general idea of your worth. Verse 17. Peter writes this, he said, If you address as father the one who impartially judges according to each one's work, he said conduct yourselves in fear during the time he will stay on the earth, knowing that you were not redeemed or purchased with perishable things like silver or gold from your feudal way of life inherited from your forefathers. But you were redeemed with the precious blood. As of the lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
Think of that when you think of self worth. You have been purchased. By the death.
The son of God. It's amazing, but somewhere in the world, the next five years, because it happened in the last five years. But someone in a basement or an addict or a garage will find a Picasso.
You know, they'll find it. And they had never found it before. And then you'll find out that it's worth five million, 10 million, 12 million, 19 million, whatever it is, dollars. And then we will line up somewhere in the world in a museum and we'll all walk and we'll all stand in front of it and we'll pretend like we understand it. And then we'll not our heads and say, did you see that?
That's a Picasso. That's worth 19 million dollars. That's peanuts compared to what you're worth.
You see what you were bought with? You see when you start worrying about your self-esteem. Do you know what was paid for for you?
The death of the son of God.
That's how much you're worth. That's what Peter is telling us from a general point of view. What I hope you come away with this morning is, man, I finally get it.
Self-esteem is Christ esteem. Because you are that special.
I want to get into the specifics. Turn to First Thessalonians, chapter one, and we'll quickly just go through this little list. Verse two. The apostle Paul says, We give thanks to God always for all of you making mention of you in our prayers, constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and your labor of love and the steadfastness of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of our God and father.
And then he says this knowing bretheren be loved by God, his choice of you. You are chosen by God. How should that make you feel?
You are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are chosen by God. I grew up in a neighborhood where all we did was play sports all year round as a little kid. And so whatever the season was, that's what we played as a group. All Power Boys and Summertime was baseball and love that from the time I was little. Now, one of the problems I had growing up the neighborhood is that I was between two and four years younger than all the other guys in the group. So I was the youngest guy. So we would go to St. Gregory's school with a big field behind it and we'd play baseball and then they'd pick two captains to the older guys and they'd start choosing. And of course, here I am, a little Billy Gebhart, you know, and eventually what would happen if we first started playing is, okay, I'll take Gebhard. You know, the last guy taking. But as my ability began to increase and I began to have some affinity for the game, I was astounded that by a certain year when they picked up, I wasn't taken first. But I was right up in the middle. And I can remember saying, I'll take him, I'll take Bill. And I got nothing. Hi. I feel so good. I don't have to be the last guy standing here. It feels good to be chosen.
That's nothing. Compared to be chosen by God. I'll take Bill. I'll take Sally. You see, were chosen by God. We're special.
Turn with me to Psalm 32 in verse seven. David writing this.
And that starts all the way through all the songs. But I just want you to see at this moment.
David says, You are my hiding place. You preserve me from trouble. A better translation of that Hebrew word would be protect. He says, you are my hiding place, you protect me from trouble, you surround me with songs of deliverance. I am not only and you are not only chosen by God, you are protected by God. He didn't just choose you. He protects you. You are the hiding place. He says in the Old Testament, you know, I like a mother hen. I put you under my wings. Well, what does a mother hen do with the chicks when trouble comes by, she protects them?
But this isn't just a chicken.
This is God Almighty. Even Lucifer, when he was going to want to attack Jobe, he said the God. He said there's only so much I can do because you have put a hedge around him.
You're protected by God, chosen by God. Turn to Isaiah, Chapter 43 with me for a moment in verse twenty five. You're not just chosen and protected by God, but you are forgiven.
My God. He writes in verse twenty five, I even I am the one who wipes out your transgressions. For my own sake. In other words, not because of you, but because of me. And then he says this and I will not remember your sins.
You see, the first part of it seems like enough. He's saying, I wipe out your transgressions, but he said, I wanna do more than that.
I will not remember your sins. Don't you wish you could do that with your sense? God says, I do not remember them.
In fact, he also says the profits that as far as the east is from the west, that's how far a place you from your sins.
He says, realizing that I said, look, I take your sins and I take them out to sea and then I dump them off.
And remember them no more. That's the forgiveness of God. That's how special you are to God. That's an amazing thing when you think about the sin in your life. It's not just that I'll die for your sins. And I'll wipe the slate clean. I will remember them no more. You are chosen by God. You're protected by God. And you are forgiven by God. That self-esteem people. That's significant. You see, that's some of the build your life on. And here's the most important thing. It's true.
You see so much of our idle search for significance, our life is all based on illusion. It's all based on what we call Styopa or status or success. And it's an illusion.
This isn't this is reality. This is how special each and every one of us is to guide. Told me to cloches chapter to.
Now begin in verse eight. The apostle Paul here writes. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy or empty deception. According to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ, for in him, all the fullness of the DEEDI dwells in bodily form. In other words, you can't get any more of God than he is.
And then he says this. And in him, you have been made complete. And he is the head overall rule one authority. You are complete in Christ.
In other words, from God's point of view, it's not like, wow, you know, I've just not made it. He goes, no, you are complete, by the way. It's the word the Tallis di. It is finished on the cross means maturity, completeness, finish. You are complete. You'll never have to achieve something for God to accept you. It doesn't work that way. Wow. Just feel how incomplete we feel in our lives. Think about that. Oh, I wish I could, I wish I did. I wish I would've. He says you're complete. Chosen by God. Protected by God. Forgiven by God. Complete. In Jesus Christ. It's an amazing thing.
Turn to John, chapter eight, verse 30.
And Jesus says as he spoke these things, many came had come to believe in him. And Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed him. He said, look, if you abide at my word, then you're truly disciples of mine. Truly my followers. Truly my students. And then he says this and you will know the truth.
And truth of such a free. We are not just complete in Christ. You are free in Christ.
Your free. Free from what? I'm free from falsehood. I'm free from the world's perspective of what counts in life. I'm free for me. I'm free from sin. I'm free because of Jesus Christ. And he's a no, by the way. All the forms of the daily dwells in him. So don't think for a moment that he can't do this. He said, because now you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. And even though there's part of that would be the propositional language of scripture, what is true and what is not. But there's more to it than that, because in John 14, Jesus said, I am the way the truth.
The life no one comes to the father but through me.
You see, the truth is not just a word or proposition, the truth is Jesus Christ. He said, you will know the truth.
Me. Truth will make you free.
Free from self doubt. Free from a poor self image. Free from that struggle that I'm just not what I should be. Oh, I wish I was like someone so free from that. Chosen by God for given by God, protected by God. Complete in Christ.
Free. In Christ. And it just gets better and better. Turned to Romans Chapter eight.
This section is such an important section when you should read over and over again until it becomes part of your thought process. You know, Paul starts out in verse 31 with just a general idea, says, what shall we say to these things? Hey, look, if God's force was against us. I mean, a great way to say it. Think about the things going on your life, because, look, if God's force, though, doesn't really matter who's against this.
And then he says this in verse thirty five. He said, What will separate us from the love of Christ? We'll tribulation because it's terror every day in our lives. Distress. Persecution, famine, nakedness or peril or sword.
When you mean Sordi means even death.
He's not talking about this is, again, some pie in the sky by and by idea. He's not talking about this as some perfect scenario that we live in some delusionary world. He goes, no, I'm talking about the world of tribulation, the world of distress, the world of persecution, the world of famine. That's why I'm talking about.
And notice that verse 37, he says. But in all these things that he spoke in verse thirty five, we overwhelmingly conquer through him who love this.
Your victory is assured.
You are victorious in Christ and notice he's talking about us. He's not talking about that. Ultimately, Jesus will win. Ultimately, in the second coming, Christ will prevail. He's talking about in the middle of tribulation and distress and persecution. You. Me.
Victorious. We are victorious. Well, that's success. You see, that's really going out of your way. That's winning.
And notice that after he says that I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present or things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth or any other creative thing will be able to separate us in the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
That's why he said we overwhelmingly conquer. That's why we are victorious. Because of him and he says it in the middle, by the way, of distress. And tribulation.
In peril. And famine. Even death. Over the years, I've say it all the time. But one of the reasons that I want to say it is so this point gets through. The worst thing that could happen to you can't happen to you. Why? You're the victorious one.
You win, you win.
Now, start thinking about, as you see these things sort of put themselves together. You are chosen by God. You are forgiven by God. You are protected by God. You are complete in Christ. You are free. In Christ. And your victory is assured.
Oh, yes, just one last thing. Turn to Jeremiah. Thirty one three.
God is speaking to Israel and to us.
He says in verse one, I will be the god of all the families of Israel and they shall be my people. Same as the church. For us. But I love what he says anniversary. He said the Lord appeared to him from afar and he said, I have loved you.
With an everlasting love. Maternal love.
You're loved by God. But you're not just loved by God, like you're loved by people. God says, I want to tell you what this love is like. This is an everlasting love. You know, it starts out for God so loved the world that he sent a son.
Then God loved you so much of the sun dies in your place and pays the price. So that God can purchase you for his own. And then God says, I adopt you into my family. And then all of us collectively then are called the bride of Christ. But it got also says, look, I love you with an everlasting love. Nothing will ever change it. I'm always amazed at that because, again, we get to show you how weak we are as people. And you know what I'm going to say here. But aren't you a little bit full of yourself? Whenever once in a while you happen to meet somebody who's famous and somehow you get to know them in any way. You're almost like famous by one person, removed that type of thing.
Now, by the way, these people might not even like you. They probably won't even remember you.
But God Almighty loves you. He loves you more than your mama loves you.
He loves you with an everlasting love. That's how special you are as a human being to God. And yet somehow we fail to draw significance from that.
And we want somebody, some celebrity, to even know we exist and somehow we feel good about ourselves. How sad is that? Look, this is very simple this morning, it's just to encourage you. Have you been on a treadmill? Style status. Success. Some of you may be saying she I, I just I feel so bad I've never even got on the treadmill.
I don't have any any style. No, I don't. I just I don't. He said, I just wish I could get on and compete with everybody else.
It's not self-esteem. It's Christus time. That's what you're created for. So as I. And B C has a show called Who Do You Think You Are? And what they do is they take celebrities.
Not people like us, but celebrities. And then through a lot of painstaking research, they go back to family tree and they show what it was like in their lives and in each and every story. It seems like when somebody finds out what their great, great, great, great great grandfather, grandmother did or something. All of a sudden they feel special. They feel significant because he now they kind of really know who they are. Do you really know who your.
I mean, do you really know that how special you are? How valuable you are. You were purchased. With something so infinitely higher that no number could ever be ascribed to it. You are chosen and forgiven and protected by God Almighty.
You are complete in Christ. You are free in Christ.
All because you are loved by God. You're loved by God with an everlasting love.
You see, you've got to say to yourself, if that's all true and it is.
I am a significant human being. I'm special.
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