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Coveting, Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
October 14, 2020 8:00 am

Coveting, Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. We covet so much and so many different things. It never stops for us. You know, we probably didn't even notice it, but when TV was invented and they started doing commercials, all of a sudden you were being sold something all the time. It became part of the American fabric of the American life, but we kept knowing it and it just kept coming. But now it is completely taken to a whole new level of wanting something that somebody else has, wanting something that we don't have.

This idea of coveting for something. 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 don't know about you, but I have a love hate relationship with technology. And based on the reading that I was doing over the last couple of months, apparently a lot of us do. Some of the conclusions of some of the things I read said that Americans are busy, but they're bored.

They're full, but they're empty. They're connected, but they're lonelier than they've ever been. We have more stuff, cars and homes and clothes and gadgets and toys than any generation in the history of man.

And yet we long for more. We're more connected online than we've ever been, but we often feel more alone than we can describe. We are bombarded with information and are struggling how to process it. The news, the ads, the commercials, the blogs, the tweets, the pictures, the sound bites, the music, the games and the apps. No generation comes close to us.

We have a unique set of spiritual problems to deal with that no other generation of believers have ever had to deal with. It seems like some of the things that technology are just wonderful. The idea that you can text a friend instantly anywhere in the world. That's an astounding benefit for family and friends that you can send pictures instantly of a baby or a child and send them right to them. It's a wonderful thing. But I remember, for instance, when the first cell phones came out.

I remember this thought. Why would anybody want one? That makes no sense to me whatsoever at all. Why would anyone want a cell phone? Who would want to have a phone that you carry? You know, if people want to reach you, they can call your house and you can talk to them.

But it didn't make sense at all. Now, I have to admit this. Whenever I go upstairs in our house and I'm sitting there and watching television or something and I realize I don't have my phone, I have to go downstairs, get the phone, bring it up and sit it right beside me. It has to be everywhere that I go. The same thing is true with all of the benefits of all the online services that we have. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and LinkedIn and Vine and Pinterest and Tumblr.

I'm not even sure what they are, but they're all over the place. The irony is, if you're under 25, it's your world. It's the world you grew up in. For example, if you're under 25, you might not realize this, but one of the great benefits of technology is we no longer have to make long distance phone calls.

The people that are young, they never would understand that that's something that we had to deal with, but you couldn't call anybody unless you were willing to pay and usually a lot of money long distance. But something's happening to us. Intuitively, we know that the technology and the social media is changing us.

It's been backed up by an awful lot of folks. How we receive information, how do we relate to other people, how do we see ourselves. All these things are changing and it's having an effect on the spiritual lives of believers as well. Just give you one example. Take a word that always meant the same thing until the last 20 years. Friend. When you said someone was a friend, you knew exactly what someone meant when they said that person's my friend. Now, if you send something out electronically through a post or a pin or a tweet, you just send it out and someone says like, they're your friend. You now have friends. Hundreds of them are friends. Recent studies have shown that we are more connected to people online than anyone ever had been, but less compassionate about other people's needs in our real lives. It's affecting us.

Carla S said this. I used to think that I had a lot of friends, you know, friends at work, friends at church, friends in the neighborhood. We'd grab lunch or talk about it after our kids soccer practice, after church on Sunday or when we were out working in the yard. Then after Facebook, I was able to connect with long distance friends and people I knew from high school and college. But everyone seems so busy now. I supposedly have over 300 friends on my pages and sites. But last week I couldn't find one friend who could meet me for coffee.

I have never felt this lonely in my entire life. The differences. It affects us in another way, though. The online bombardment and technology bombardment in our life has caused us to be the most coveting generation of believers ever. We covet so much and so many different things. It never stops for us. You know, we probably didn't even notice it, but when TV was invented and they started doing commercials, all of a sudden you were being sold something all the time. It became part of the American fabric of the American life, but we kept knowing it and it just kept coming. But now it is completely taken to a whole new level of wanting something that somebody else has, wanting something that we don't have.

This idea of coveting for something. This past week I was online at a great site, as you know, Amazon.com, because you can buy anything there and usually have it shipped free to your house. But I was looking and I can remember, I wasn't really going to buy something. I was just looking. I was looking at pants and a shirt and I looked at a battery charger. Just looking.

So never thought about it. And then starting the next day, I decided I wanted to read the news in a variety of newspapers, whether it be USA Today or the Pittsburgh Tribune and the New Orleans paper here. I just I want to. And every time I went online, there were my pants and my shirt and the battery charger every time. It's like they're talking about world news and right there in front of me.

You want this battery charger? You know, you might really need this. You see, it makes you covet. The whole idea of it is you're bombarded with this kind of thing. No one else had ever been like that.

John Kay wrote this. He said, my buddy Steve is the most competitive guy I know. He not only has the one up and everything that I say or do, but then he has to tweet about it and post a selfie of whatever award he won.

And with a new jacket on or the cool place that he had just visited. I used to feel really good about my life and what I've been able to achieve. But I look at Steve and I feel like I can never catch up.

I would never tell him or anyone I know. But it makes me feel like a loser. Like I'm no good at anything. It is arguable that this generation is struggling more with discontent in their own personal lives than any other. Every day of our lives is filled with convenience and opportunity and abundance.

And yet because of the social media, according to the experts, we are completely dissatisfied. Sociologists write this. We are the first people in history. The first people in the history of the world to see inside the lives of countless others in real time.

You see it instantly anywhere in the world that it happens. Steve Furtick said this. We compare our real lives with other people's highlight reels. He said their lives have been photoshopped, cropped, filtered, edited, and their versions then make our lives seem extremely dull. Research is being done because of the effect on people. Studies done at two major American universities on social media and how it affects our moods.

They track students who are regulars on Facebook, that type of thing. And they gave them life satisfaction surveys of all different kinds, five of them a day, just to find out how satisfied they are with their lives. Their conclusion was after time on Facebook, universally, students are less satisfied with their own lives.

It's amazing. All they did was read something about something else doing. They're less satisfied with their own lives.

One third of them said they felt significantly worse in their own lives after they looked at a Facebook site. You see, we were never designed by God to seek our image in the image of others. We were designed to seek Him. Would you open your Bibles to Philippians chapter 4 and verse 11, Philippians 4, 11. Just a couple of verses here, but talking about being contented.

It's a very important question. Coveting and envying is the saying it has a great deal to do with how content you are. Are you a content person? The apostle Paul has written this from prison. It is called the Epistle of Joy. He doesn't know whether he's going to live or die. He doesn't know if Nero will give him thumbs up or thumbs down. But he writes this and he says in verse 11 of Chapter 4, Philippians. He said, not that I speak from want. For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

What a tremendous statement this is. Paul said I don't speak from want. I'm in prison.

I might not live, but I don't speak from want. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Notice what he said though. He didn't say I was naturally content. He said I have learned to be content.

It's a process. Contentment is a process. He said I have learned to be content. He then says I know how to get along with humble means.

I also know how to live in prosperity. He said in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. Now he tells me something else. It's a secret. He said I've learned the secret of contentment.

The implication there is clear. Most people never find it. And certainly in our world most people never find it.

They're not content with their lives just the way it is. Paul said I've learned the secret. And obviously that begs the question and makes you when I look at it say, well, Paul, what's the secret?

Well, for some of us it might be a little more profound than you thought. It's right there in front of us, verse 13. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Paul said it doesn't matter if I'm in a palace or in a prison.

It doesn't matter if I'm getting treated to a banquet or they're beating me with rods. It really doesn't matter to me. I'm content no matter what because I can do all things through him who strengthens me. It's an interesting statement on his point. He's saying that Jesus Christ is his source, his strength, and his sustainer. It's his joy and his contentment. That's what Paul was saying. Paul was saying when Christ is all you have you come to the realization that Christ is all you need. And once you have that you've got the secret. You see you'll be content and when you're content you won't find yourself coveting what somebody else has, envying what somebody else has. Alfred Nobel said that contentment is the only real wealth.

He's right. It's the only thing that really gives you wealth. So Paul says I've learned how to do this.

I've learned the secret of this. See where is contentment born? Why is it we find ourselves discontent?

It's always because of a comparative idea. Notice that Paul says my contentment is based on my relationship with Christ. I can do all things through him.

He said I don't really need anything else. It doesn't really matter to me. Now I want you to go with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 10. 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and 1 verse, verse 12. Paul starts out verse 12 of chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians with an interesting statement. He said for we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some.

I'll stop right there. Paul says I never compare myself to anybody. In fact the Greek almost implies I wouldn't dare do that. Paul says I don't compare myself with other people. My question to you is that you? Do you compare yourself to other people?

Because if you do the whole new technological world is made for you. You can be inundated every day by comparing your life with the lives of others. Paul says we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some. He said of those who commend themselves. But when they measure he said themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves.

He said they're without understanding. He said there's a whole group of people out there that their contentment is based on how do they compare to other people. You see that's what it comes down to and for some of us there's almost a paranoia about this. You see we have to live in a place where other people don't live.

You see that they can't live that's really good for us. We have to drive a car that other people can't drive. That makes you feel better about yourself. We wear clothes that other people really can't.

Look at this we're a group here. We constantly compare ourselves to each other and Paul says whenever you do that you lack understanding. Because you get yourself on a treadmill you can't get off. It never stops for you. This idea that if you covet things and envy things you'll find yourself in an endless cycle.

You know that from your own experience. You know when you were young and you know it's always an interesting thing but you had a totally different emotional reaction to the first of anything. You remember when you got your like my first car. There's never been a car quite like that. That was the first car. Now the reason was it meant you were growing up and it meant you had freedom. But the other idea is my last car infinitely better than my first car in every measurable way.

The joy lasted a very short time. It becomes your car. Your house is your house. Your clothes are your clothes. In other words when you try to covet other stuff you find the law of diminishing returns taking place.

It doesn't last for long. What you thought would make you feel so happy only keeps you happy for a short time and now you're out to covet for something even more than that. He said that's what ends up happening when we compare ourselves with ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul said to me it's a very small thing that I be examined by you or by any human court. He said I don't even examine myself I'm conscious of nothing against myself.

He said yet I'm not acquitted. But the one who examines me is the Lord. Paul says the only person I care about who really examines my life to see whether it's worthy is the Lord.

He said I don't even examine myself because I'm biased to myself. He said I'll just let that up to the Lord. That's why Paul doesn't covet.

Where does this coveting come from? Turn with me to James chapter 3. James chapter 3 and verse 13.

Now notice what he says. He said who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in gentleness of wisdom. He said but if you have bitter jealousy or selfish ambition in your heart do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This idea of the jealousy and he says the ambition goes right with envy, coveting.

He said if you have that in your heart he says do not be arrogant so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above. It's earthly, it's natural, it's demonic. So where's my coveting spirit come from? He said it doesn't come from heaven. It doesn't come from God.

He said it's earthly, it's natural and then he even goes one step further it's demonic. By the way if you think about it what did Satan want? He coveted the position of God.

I will be like the Most High, I covet that. He didn't accept the graciousness of God. He said for where jealousy and selfish ambition exist there is disorder and every evil thing. He says whenever you are an envying, coveting, jealous person you have disorder in your life, in all your relationships.

You'll never have peace, you'll never have joy, you'll never have hope and it certainly doesn't come from God at all. I guess the question would be what pushes your envy button? You see what is it that you envy? What is it that you covet, that you want in your life? I mean some of us are so shallow it's just more stuff.

If I just had a little more stuff, just more stuff. But a lot of us is a lot of different things. It's relationships, it's all kinds of things that we covet what we don't have. It's an interesting thing. The scripture says stop exposing yourself 24-7 to the very things that make you covet.

You need to do that. But there's another thing the scripture says that's very important. Go with me to Romans chapter 12 and verse 15 now. Romans 12 and verse 15.

This is a good test for us. Just one verse. He says it in verse 15. He says rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

That's a pretty short verse. But here's a good question that helps you with coveting. Do you celebrate other people's success? Do you celebrate it when other people succeed, people you know? Do you celebrate with them? Do you rejoice with those who rejoice? You see, you have to ask yourself that. Have you ever noticed sometimes, and I'm not saying it applies to you in all situations, but in any situation, have you ever find yourself in a situation where you hear some bad news about somebody and you never admit it to anybody, but you kind of feel good about it?

When is that? See, that's comparing myself and my life. Somebody else has to do poorly for me to feel better about myself.

That's certainly not of the Lord. He said you need to rejoice with those who rejoice. You see, the whole idea is I don't want my life to be about me. That's the heart of envy and coveting. My life's only about me.

If that's how you view your life, I can almost promise you you will not be happy. Maybe I can define it this way. Envy is resenting God's goodness in other people's lives and ignoring God's goodness in your own life. Envy is resenting God's goodness in other people's lives and ignoring God's goodness in your own life. He said that has an enormous effect.

It's an attitude that you have. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called oneplace.com. That's oneplace.com, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

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, fbcnola.org.

That's fbcnola.org. At 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 fbcnola.org. For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-04 22:21:50 / 2024-02-04 22:30:57 / 9

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