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December 1, 2020 7:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ believe that there is a clear distinction between righteous acts and sinful that's not the way I called all our culture says it is often we are in as people because if you were tolerant except every form of behavior in every possible and because we are viewed as intolerant solution culture has used that prides itself on tolerance is we tolerate everybody but them 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 Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is again he shows us how God's word meets our work and that we now live in a post-Christian culture in America and the reason for that.
I went to Romans one and because I like almost any country because America didn't acknowledge God at all. God gave them over and he actually just gives a country over to its own wishes and there were three stages of that. But today I want to talk about how to set show up in our lives and what's going to happen in the future twice in this country and about five years ago I read a book by DA Carson a great book. The book is entitled the intolerance of tolerance and Carson does a masterful job in the book, and when I say tolerance I mean tolerance in this way to allow or permit or respect someone else's belief, the postmodern America post-Christian America prides itself intolerance. I bet it's probably the number one value that America holds as a country. Now, I don't mean individually, but as a country tolerance and so the whole idea is that we tolerate everything in our country. All opinions have equal value. All worldviews have equal worth and all stances are equally valid. That's a culture that is a problem with that Christians so we don't share those values.
We actually believe in absolute truth, and so because we believe in absolute truth, we believe, for example, that Jesus Christ in his finished work on the cross is the only hope for mankind, as we believe we believe that there is a clear distinction between righteous acts and sinful acts. That's not aware culture sees it all. Our culture says this often we are intolerant as people because if you were tolerant you to accept every form of behavior and every possible belief and because we are viewed as intolerant. The solution that the culture has used that prides itself on tolerance is we tolerate everybody but them. We are intolerant of those who we say are intolerant.
That doesn't even make any sense but it doesn't have to because that's aware culture is it sort of like a college professor who's pounding the desk and saying I'm telling you there's no such thing as absolute truth.
But isn't he assuming what he just said is absolutely true. I mean is not exactly what he's doing.
He said nothing is absolutely true except what I'm telling you, and if I tell you there is no such thing as absolute truth. When you see where I'm going with that and the intolerance in America for us and started probably back in the 50s and 60s is just that were seen at coming to fruition. There's always been an intolerance in the university system in the country and you see this more and more all the time. There is a growing but consistent intolerance and media. There is a complete intolerance for us in the entertainment industry which are seeing now and now for the first time were beginning were just beginning to feel the intolerance of our governments were beginning to feel that is people like was said get ready and exciting at terrifying errors beginning for American believers as cultural changes sweep our country will soon be challenged to live out what the Bible says about confronting and responding to growing persecution. Christianity today said most persecution in our country is not violent. Instead, it's a squeeze in five spheres of life, private life, family life, community life, national life and church life. That's what's happening in this intolerance of our culture for us has been showing up for a long time but in different ways there's look at progressively different steps. The first wave a sugar intolerance for us was stereotyping. Stereotyping is through the media making America Christians look in a particular way. The if you can remember there's an old movie made about the Scopes trial in Tennessee about evolution and creation is a great movie. But if you watch the movie Christians are viewed as intolerant, ignorant and anti-science and they said that movie had a profound effect on the people at large. In our country because they saw that in order movie that I have really liked over a lot of years was a movie called Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford and it enters and I really like the movie. He was a mountain man but there was only one horrible person in the whole movie preacher. It was the worst person in the movie by Miles, hateful, intolerant, judgmental, in other words, a stereotype us. Second stage is they marginalize us that's happening right now.
What I mean by marginalizing is this you can have any private belief you want were more than happy to accept any private belief you want and you have no right to make that belief public. You cannot make your belief public see that's what's happening in our culture. In fact, I heard somebody say at the beginning of the processor with the latest Supreme Court nominee that no judge in our country should be a person of any faith at all because if they say they're a person of faith that means excuse all of the judgments that means the prejudicial. It's amazing. It's just the whole idea of marginalizing you to believe anything you want. Just don't tell anybody. Thirdly, even intimidation over these last several years you've heard this both Christian and Catholic hospitals have been intimidated by saying to them if you want to stay to be a licensed hospital. You must do abortions. I don't care if your private hospital auto care for Kelly.
You must do abortions same idea privately. You can believe one thing, but publicly you have to be something else. And now, what's just beginning in our country is litigant litigating it's now becoming laws and I think you're going to see more and more and more and more of those future but my problem with all this is a problem with us. Some want to say this morning.
This should not be shocking to us, and yet I find Christians shocked just seems so shocking to us that this is happening.
This is been the norm and of Christian experience for 2000 years. Open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 10 I show you one in the right in the beginning Matthew chapter 10 in verse 16 and please understand the context is different but the intolerance is the same Jesus Christ is the Messiah of what country Israel Jesus is going to send out his disciples to what country Israel. So the Jewish Messiah is sending out his disciples to the nation of the Jews. That's the context but the nation of the Jews are intolerant of Jesus disciples so he says in verse 16. Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. He says, but beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts discourage you in the synagogues and you will even be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as testimony to them and to the Gentiles was a strange because not only can they be scourged in a Jewish court, but he said he hated so much that the Jews who hate the Romans will send you to Roman governors so that they can persecute you. He said that's what's going to happen you. This is before there even as a church band of verse 22. He said you will be hated by all because of my name. That's a fact. I was telling Jewish disciples as the Jewish Messiah that in Israel you will be hated by all because of my name. That's a fact.
That's just the principle and the rest of Scripture is amazing with it. Just a few examples. In Mark six John the Baptist. John the Baptist tells Herod's son Herod Antipas what you're doing is wrong. The lifestyle you're living is wrong. The woman you're with is wrong.
He was beheaded for that. You see that's that's real persecution. Several times the Jewish people and their leaders angered Jesus by Jesus message tried to seize Jesus and kill him.
In fact, it's a move for Luke 13 John five John seven John eight John 11 Jesus spoke the truth of them. They hated him so much they want to seize them and kill him.) Peter and the other apostles all through the book of acts are arrested, beaten and imprisoned. Ask for five and 12 right to beginning of the church.
The first Christian converse living in Jerusalem were forced out of Jerusalem and live in other lands as acts eight all 12.
The disciples were persecuted 11 of them were martyred.
And John was exiled on the island of Patmos. The apostle Paul suffered almost every kind of persecution imaginable five times.
He was beaten with 39 stripes Jeep. The reason they use 39 was 40 would kill a man so I want to understand what this was just telling of flesh off of his body five times. Three times he was beaten with rods. He was one of time.
He was often cold and hungry. According to second Corinthians 11 without any clothing. Persecution is always been part of it. Jesus is the world will hate you why because aforestated me and if the world hates Jesus, who was the perfect human being. What kind of chance, do I have that the world is going to just love me. I want to see something go with me now to acts chapter 5 the persecution of the apostles and here were going to see an example is how should we deal with it. It says that in verse 40 they took his advice and after calling the apostles and they flog them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus. So they got them flogging. That's not a good day and be excruciating and I told him that's it no more, no more, he said, speaking in the name of Jesus and then they released him. So they went on their way. He said from the presence of the Council and then that word rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for his name. So the reaction was what was it like ours. What's our reaction whining. We whine about this, they rejoiced. He said hate these people hate us because of the name of Jesus. That's a wonderful thing and every day in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. What did persecution due to the early church absolutely nothing and had no effect on the early church at all that they are rejoicing that there be an flog and persecuted history ever since the time of the Bibles and we just give some stats since the Reformation the last several hundred years between the years of 1540 and 1685 the Roman Catholic Church martyred 1.7 million believers they execute 1.7 million believers executed. Ironically, by the church in France, St. Bartholomew's day massacre 3000 Protestants were executed in one day. The 17th century Japan made Christianity illegal expel all the missionaries and they executed every convert they could fine the next few hundred years in the 18 century China did exactly the same thing the French Revolution in 1789 outlawed Christianity.
The clergy were either banished out of France or killed. Churches were desecrated, and every semblance of Christianity was removed the Ottoman Empire. We've all heard of that has a long history of persecuting Christians in 19 1505 years ago they killed and that one year, 2.7 million Christians executed.
In fact, estimates of the total best of Christians under the Ottoman Empire, 50 million executed 50 million. The Russians of the revolution of 1917 they actually made all of the churches. Everything about the church illegal.
They confiscated all the property and then anyone was found to profess Christ.
See if you read history limiting was very, very, very unusual for Christians or believers, the last 200 years in America. That is very very unusual not like any other time. Any other place for any other people suffer 200 years we have had freedom. You see, we have had this freedom in our country we have had acceptance is changing and it's going to continue to change, but it doesn't change how are we at what our reaction should be like because it's very different when I want to say is this, you might be surprised at the source of the persecutions I want to turn with me to Philippians chapter 1 Philippians chapter 1 in verse 29 Mrs. aware verse. If you think about. Here's what Paul says in verse 29 for to you. That means you and me. It has been granted that's a great word. It is been granted for Christ's sake. It's been granted that when God grants you something. Doesn't that sound like a gift you God says I'm going to give you a gift. I'm going to grant something to you all this is going be good. He says it has been granted for Christ's sake not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake experiencing the same conflict that you saw in me and now here to be in me cuts as I want to grant you something I want to grant you the ability to be persecuted and suffer for Christ as a gift of God; doesn't matter to us. God is good reason Ford will look at a few those right now. When you see the truth of this.
The first one is go to Romans five Romans chapter 5 starts on verse one is it, therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, that's great and a great that's what happens with the gospel doing all of this. I am not justified before God.
So are you him declared righteous, and I have peace with God. I have eternity is my future and show you this is good stuff. We like the stuff but then he says down in verse three he said, and not only this, we also exalt in our tribulation.
The word exalt maybe ever use another English word celebrate will like to celebrate right we celebrate birthdays, holidays, special New Year's Eve we all celebrate. We love the celebrate with us what what he says right now he says. Notice he says this we celebrate in our tribulations. When's the last time you celebrated in your tribulation celebration. Wow this is really it, but celebrate zeal for this is from us the way we think. How could anyone celebrate during this pandemic and all the repercussions. He said we exalt in our tribulations why knowing that the tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, proven character, and proven character brings about hope in other words, persecution and suffering shapes your character God says I can use this to make your character better than I know what you think. You think like most American Christians. I like prosperity better just make my life as healthy and prosperous as possible and every day without any bombs and then I'll be good in God would say, and you won't John or Berg said this, he said God is and at work producing the circumstances I want. God is at work in bad circumstances.
Stances to produce the me he wants is what happens. It shapes your character when were persecuted for all of us. Now back to defeat Philippians 1 again right where we were back that same chapter. Philippians 1. The second thing that suffering and persecution brings us verse 12 pulses. Now I want you to know heat brethren that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel so that my imprisonment is the cause of Christ become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and everyone else and that most of the brethren trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear to Paul says look you want to know something. Now they all know where is Paul is under arrest is being guarded under house arrest in Rome by the praetorian guard at this stage he has no idea if he's going to live or die is as yet.
This is great this is really good because he said I can produce the gospel and we realize in the rest of Scripture that apparently some of the praetorian guard even became Christians because of Paul being in prison, but he said there's more to it than that. He said in verse 14, and that most of the brethren trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment have far more courage now to speak the word of God without fear.
In other words, the persecution and suffering. I'm experiencing reveals my courage and grows other people's courage. In other words, when our culture persecutes us the best of us. Hopefully the most mature of us handle it with real joy like the early apostles that will encourage all the rest of us to have the courage that we need. So it not only seems our character good reviews and grows courage and listening to Pastor Brueggemann on the radio ministry of fellowship, nor if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you just listen to the message one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the Fellowship in the Word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast so many of our previous audio programs as well Fellowship in the Word we are thinking for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible with all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help with radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly.
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