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We Are The Church!, Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
September 30, 2020 8:00 am

We Are The Church!, Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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September 30, 2020 8:00 am

What is the church? God's answer may be different than yours.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Present tense worship is what you and I should be all about. You should wake up worshiping God. You should spend your day worshiping God and go to bed worshiping God.

You've heard me say this in the past here. When it comes to corporate worship, if you didn't bring it, you didn't do it. You don't go somewhere and then be stimulated so you can worship. Your heart either worships God or it doesn't.

You see, that's a different thing. Worship is part of who we are. After worshipping God all week long individually, we come together collectively and we worship God. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. I hear people say, and sometimes I feel the same way, I really miss the fellowship one Sunday morning. I don't want to burst your bubble, but very unlikely that that's fellowship. You see, when I meet my friends or a few other people that I know and say good morning and I say to my friends, you see the game one Saturday?

Holy cow, was that something or what? That's not fellowship. No, that's friendship. I'm all for friendship, but that's not fellowship. Fellowship is partnership. How does it work in our lives? Well, look at all the one anothers in the New Testament.

Someone has written there are 39 different ones. One anothers. That's fellowship. Love one another. Encourage one another. Serve one another. Admonish one another. Confess your sins to one another. Forgive one another.

On and on you have these one anothers. That's fellowship. You see, and how much of that is what we do on Sunday morning? Again, during this pandemic, don't we have unique opportunities? Just unique opportunities here for fellowship. Do people have needs? Some people lost their jobs. Are people lonely?

Yes. What are you doing about that? What are you doing about that? How have you showed people, your brothers and sisters in Christ, that you love them? That you're serving them. You pray for them. What do you do for fellowship? And I'm not sure many of us do anything. But we all want to say, but I really miss it.

I know you miss something. Go with me to Romans Chapter 12. I love what Paul writes here. Romans 12, verse 10. Paul gives us another little description here of fellowship. He starts out and he says, be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Can someone come to your mind right now in the body of Christ that you say, I'm devoted to them?

I want to demonstrate my love for them. That's what Paul said. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Give preference to one another in honor. Why should I be devoted to you? Because you're more important than me.

That's what Paul said to the Philippians. Consider everyone else is more important than yourself. Be devoted to one another.

Give preference to one another in honor. Not lagging behind in diligence. You've got to work at this.

This takes time and effort. Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation. Isn't that exactly what we're all doing right now? One of the greatest opportunities you have in the church for fellowship is during tribulation. Because when I am tribulating, I don't know if that's a word. When I am tribulating, I need encouraged. I need someone to lift me up. I need those people.

And we have people right now who are in tribulation. And you say, I want fellowship. Well, then, with all diligence, show them the honor that's due them. Devoted in prayer.

Well, it's an important thing. This is a discipline that's difficult for us. Isn't it easy to be in prayer for yourself? You ever find that pretty easy? Oh, God, help me get through this day. Oh, God, when you have that diagnosis go away.

Oh, God. But what about intercessory prayer for others? How much time do you spend praying for others? You see, I think we've reconfigured this whole word, fellowship.

And so we don't see our responsibility here. He said, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Wow. That's fellowship. You have a need.

If I have the resources, I'll meet your need. This is hard for us. Fellowship requires you to be wholly other oriented.

And if we're all honest with ourselves, aren't we just a little bit myopic and selfish? So it's a lot easier for us to call fellowship. Fellowship's just seeing my friends on Sunday morning talking about yesterday's game.

And once in a while, in some churches, maybe we could have a donut and coffee. There we go. It's fellowship now. That's not what the Bible says at all. That's not fellowship. That's friendship.

And I'm all for friendship. But don't call it fellowship. Don't call it what God does. Go with me to 1 Peter for a moment, verse 7, in chapter 4. Chapter 4, verse 7.

Notice Peter picks right up where Paul left off. He says in verse 7, and this may apply for today for all we know, the end of all things is near. Well, we know it's nearer than it was yesterday. The end of all things is near. I mean, I've even been asked that question. Pastor, do you think what's going on globally right now, do you think this is part of the end times? I mean, the answer is pretty simple.

Yes, I do. But I don't know if that means anything. Because the New Testament writers believe they're part of the end times. The end times is a long time. But here Peter says, the end of all things is near. Therefore, be of sound judgment, sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Let's pray about this. He says, above all, keep fervent in your love for one another. There it is again.

Keep fervent in your love for one another. Because love covers a multitude of sins. The inference there is kind of funny when you think about it. The more you know people, the more they impress you or the more they depress you.

Really. You know, sometimes you think almost, boy, I wish I hadn't got to know that person that well. Because all of us fall short of the glory of God. And he says, yeah. He said, I understand that it's in there. But, you know, if you have a fervent love for somebody, you can cover a multitude of sins. You see, because God loved me so much that what has he done for me, he forgives me. So if I have a fervent love for you, what do I do for you?

I forgive you. That's what Peter says. Then he says, be hospitable to one another without complaint. That's just funny to me.

Show hospitality to people without complaint. I wish he wouldn't have said that part. It's sort of like this. You say to your spouse, hey, hun, you know, so and so, they're coming over for the evening. Oh, boy.

I hope I'm up to it. And they got their kids. Yeah, I think, oh, boy. You see, that's what we start thinking. We start thinking, no, no, that's not real hospitality. That's almost like dutiful hospitality.

I got to do this. He said, no, do it without complaining. He said, be hospitable without, he said, any sense of complaint. He said that each one of you has received a special gift, employed in serving one another as good stewards of the manifest grace of God. God says, look, the gifts I've given you aren't just for you. The gifts I've given you are for others. You serve them with the gift I give you. Boy, that is fellowship. That's so different than what we often think. Now, go with me back to Acts chapter 2 again for just a moment because this vital relational experience horizontally is called fellowship.

But vertically, it's called what? Worship. That's what it is. It's worship. And not only do we have very strange ideas about fellowship, but we often in the context of a local body of believers have strange ideas about worship as well. Notice it just comes up as an inference right in the beginning of verse forty seven of chapter two, he says, praising God.

That's what they're doing. They're praising God. What is worship? Praise. I'm praising God. Notice it doesn't say they did it only on Sunday morning. Doesn't say they did it in a building. It says here they were just praising God.

You see, it's a present tense. They continued to just praise God. Present tense worship is what you and I should be all about. You should wake up worshiping God. You should spend your day worshiping God and go to bed worshiping God.

You've heard me say this in the past here. When it comes to corporate worship, if you didn't bring it, you didn't do it. You don't go somewhere and then be stimulated so you can worship. Your heart either worships God or it doesn't. You see, that's a different thing. Worship is part of who we are. I say after worshiping God all week long individually, we come together collectively and we worship God. Many in the contemporary church, they often fall into the trap that the key element to worship God is how good can you make the music?

How good can it be and how emotional? And especially if you can do it with lighting and special effects. So if you use a lot of special effects and a lot of music in a certain way, then you can get people to worship.

It doesn't occur there. Now what happens is when you do that, once you create a concert-like atmosphere and get people engaged, there's something that happens to them. They can't help it. They become the audience. I still remember years ago I just read this and a person came up to the pastor of the church and said, you know, I didn't get much out of worship today.

He said that's good because we weren't worshiping you. You see what happens when you're the audience? Well, that wasn't good enough for me.

That didn't grip me. Wow, you're not the audience. God's the audience. And he sees only your heart. This means nothing to him.

Whether the lighting is the quality, that doesn't mean anything to him. He means is this stimulate your heart? It's not only that you sing true words, because that's important, but that you believe what you're singing. You see, I can't just sing the words.

I've got to believe what I'm saying. That becomes such an important thing. Singing is important.

It's very important. The context might be a little bit different in the Bible than we think of it, because we've made it simply a Sunday morning church activity. But the night before Jesus was crucified, after he was in the upper room, the last thing they did when they left the upper room to go to the Mount Gethsemane was they sang.

They sang together. Paul wrote to the Ephesians in Ephesians 5, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. He also wrote to the Colossians, singing with thankfulness in your heart. But the point of it is, singing a great praise song without real thankfulness in your real heart is just a waste of time. Because that's not what God's interested in.

He's only interested in your heart. There's another experience. He says that in verse 47, praising God, having favor with all the people, and the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Vital witnessing experience. The Lord wasn't just magically adding to their number. These people were praising God, and they were witnessing for Jesus Christ. And men and women and boys and girls came to a saving faith of Jesus Christ, and that's how God added to their number. Turn with me to Matthew chapter 28.

The Great Commission. These are great words, famous words. Verse 18 says, And Jesus came up and spoke to them and said, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, which means people groups, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.

And lo, I'm with you always, even to the end of the age. That's it. Now, so often we see too many commands here.

There's only one. There's only one command in the Great Commission. Make disciples.

That's the command. There are three participles that describe how you go and make disciples. One, by going. Two, by baptizing. That means witnessing to them they come to a saving knowledge of Christ and are baptized. Or they baptize in the Spirit of God. Either way, but baptizing is a sign of salvation for them. And then he says in teaching them everything I taught you.

We're right back to where we started the vital learning experience. You have to be taught. Just because I'm saved doesn't mean I have spiritual knowledge. Just because I'm saved doesn't mean I'm going to be conformed to the image of Christ. I need to be taught that.

How do we do this? You see, it's essential to us. The book of Acts starts out in Acts chapter 1 and verse 8. He said, you are my witnesses.

In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost part of the world. We are the church and we are God's plan. That's us. That's your job. That's my job. Your witness.

Now please understand it's a simple way to understand it. What does a witness do? They testify. And what do they testify?

What they know to be true. They say, yeah, that's you and me. You're my witness.

You are my witness. What do I tell people? Tell them what you know. Tell them what Christ means to you. Tell them how you became a Christian. I've said this over the years, but I'm always befuddled when people will say to me, you should have been there.

Why would I be there? Well, but you could argue about dinosaurs or astrophysics better than I can. That's not what a witness does. Could you imagine you witness something, they ask you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? And he says, now what do you understand about nuclear physics or astrophysics? Tell me your understanding. Well, that would be a short testimony, wouldn't it?

Zero. I don't have a testimony. Jesus said, no, I'm not asking you to do that. I'm asking you to tell people what you've experienced. I love what Peter writes. Peter said, we are to give an account for the hope that's in us. How do you think a lot of people in our culture feel right now? Hopeless.

Hopeless. Lost their jobs, lost all their financial security. Some people have lost their lives. Some people are terrified of losing their lives. I mean, there's a lot of despair out there right now. I mean, it's an amazing thing that you get secular people, even through the media, keep telling us that one of the ongoing biggest issues of the entire pandemic is the mental health of Americans. Americans are struggling with their mental health.

Why? Fearful. They feel fear. They feel hopeless. They're depressed.

They feel unhappy. And here we are. What an opportunity God has given us.

What a uniquely different opportunity to give an account for the hope that's in you. You're fearful. I have peace.

What? I have peace. How can you have peace in a time like this?

I can just tell them about my Lord. I feel so hopeless. I have hope. How can you have hope? Because I read the end of the book, we win. Because the worst thing that could happen to me can't happen to me. I have hope.

Well, I'm so miserable, I have joy. Can you see how that would testify to the culture we live in? But not a foreign vacation. You know, because I miss going to church. We have to be very, very careful. Vital learning experience. Vital relational experience. Horizontally fellowship. Vertically worship.

And a vital witnessing experience. That's what God says. That is what the church does. We don't go to church. We are the church.

Let's pray. Father, it seems to me that for all of us it's so easy to get distracted. We often focus on what we don't have anymore instead of these great opportunities that we do have. For some of us, Father, we spend all of our time complaining about what we don't have.

Instead of being about the business about what we do have. Father, these are extraordinary circumstances. They are unique to us as a people. But they are also a tremendous opportunity for your church. So I pray, Father, for our church, for our people.

That they look at what the Bible tells them they are to be. And through your power of your spirit, we become what you want us to be. What an impact we can make on the lives of those around us. That's my prayer, Father, for all of us. In Jesus' magnificent name, amen. At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word, 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana, 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's For our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-25 18:29:52 / 2024-02-25 18:38:26 / 9

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