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Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ by I abide in you, you will bear me see even the Christian life even being light in the world is his word not mine, not yours knee bearing guided all I can do is stop my light under the basket. I cannot do it.
Just let me do you stay close to me and you will bear like now when you're not purring like not close to not staying with them. He said that's what you do, you'll bear much fruit. 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 loss, name risk and 8125 he will letter to the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and this is what he said in the letter describing Christians. He said they do not worship strange gods they go. He said, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. It is not found among them and they love one another and from Windows. They do not turn away their esteem and they deliver the orphan from him and treats them harshly, and he who has gifts to him and was not without any boasting and when they see a stranger.
They take them into their homes and they rejoice over them is a very brother. They don't call him brother because of his flesh, but brother because of the spirit of God. And whenever one of the poor passes from the world.
Each one of them according to his ability give heed to him and carefully seems to his burial, and if they hear that one of their numbers imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah.
All of them anxiously ministered to his necessity and impossible to redeem them and set them free, and if there is among them. Anything any of the poor or needy, and if they have no spare food though fast for through two or three days in order to supply the needs of food to those who needed so desperately.
They observe the precepts of their Messiah, with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord your God has commanded them to do so is a pagan philosopher regular Roman Emperor Mrs. that's the way Christians are thus aligns a lit.
Just imagine that our media would report on the evening news that's all we are that that's how they would describe us and you know what you say, that can never happen now things were different then there were no different then there were two groups of people on the earth. And just like now say people unless people there were those of the church and those in the mission field that's all there's ever been. And by the way, I think I could prove that couple of months ago I read an article about the government in China. Now the government and China's communistic is an atheistic government religion is in that sense outlawed. No Bibles are supposed to be in a country no meeting place is nothing all the children are taught secularism know God and this is what the Chinese government is now saying the Chinese government is now saying we are going to stop persecuting Christians not as between 100 hundred and 50 million Christians in China, many more Christians in China than our hundred, 150 million. I just find that the American Bible Society as a keep smuggling Bibles into the know what's interesting about this to me is the Chinese government says and this might be bad for them to stop persecuting and here's why it said because they're so honest they're so hard-working they're so helpful to everyone around them and they are so great for the morale of all the people of China that's a secular communistic government saying this, I see the lives of Christians and this is what I think so don't say no. I can never happen here.
You could say it doesn't happen seen. I think it's because outside these walls for almost all the churches we really don't matter, light shine, not all, we've earned a reputation that we have come with me to Ephesians chapter 4 verse one Ephesians 4 verse one.
Ephesians is a great epistle is sort of a Reader's Digest version of Romans. It's a shortened version of the a wonderful book. The first three chapters of Ephesians are theological they call once a you there Ephesians in us to know what is it mean to be Christian. What is amenable to believing in Christ, what are the benefits that we have and so we that's what he tells us in the first three chapters. He says in chapter 1 that you and I have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Say we have a lot of them. He said you have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. They're all yours. Such a gift from God to you. He also says it in you and I the Holy Spirit of God resides. He has filled us off as his people. We have the actual presence of God in our lives. Unique to the church age into the church. He also said that we have access to resurrection power. That's amazing. Resurrection power, not just a little more strength to get through the day. We have access to resurrection power, he said, and all that's because in chapter 2, he said we been saved by grace, the unmerited favor of God. We didn't earn it.
We don't deserve it. We have been saved by grace through faith. It is a gift of God.
No one can earn it otherwise would boast.
These houses were saved by grace, then he says were all united in the one body all over the world. All the believers in the world. Makeup one body of Christ right now.
What a benefit that is and then he said it would remind us were all the recipients of the love of Christ for each and every one of us know that should forest up proposes. I have the reason I'm telling you all this is chapter 4 verse one all these benefits you have. He says therefore I the prisoner of the Lord importing you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called walk in a manner is a metaphor for live your life always benefit you have her so that you will live your life differently. You see, that's his point differently.
You need to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you see that this point we have to have a gospel worthy life beyond these walls we have to be different. We have all the resources to be different.
We have the spirit of God indwelling us the access to resurrection power. We have all these things, and yet for a lot of us, we just highlight under a basket. We don't impact the world of all terms me to Colossians chapter 1 just a couple pages. The recollections chapter 1 in verses three through 828. He's thanking the Lord for the Colossians, and then in verses nine and 10. He says something else. Colossians 1, nine and 10 he says. For this reason also since the day we heard it we have not ceased to pray for you and asked that you will be filled with knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding would also like that. In fact, I'm afraid, often in churches just like ours. Burke Bible churches. A lot of the time is spent filling your head with wisdom and knowledge and then you actually believe that if you have enough wisdom and knowledge are spiritual, but you're not James said can be a hearer of the word actually have to be a doer of the only thing it measures your spirituality is how you do the word that how much of the word. You know that's a very different thing to notice how he ends at first he said with a knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that result that with the result or purpose that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. He said the reason you have all this is so you live differently. That's the advantage of growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. As I mature as a believer I can live more distinctly. Beyond these walls and so can you.
But that's the point of it, it's all about the basis of how we live. We are to please him in all respects, he says, bearing fruit in every good work.
Now please understand what I'm not saying I'm not saying that if you get some conviction you say okay I'm there to do better.
I'm at work harder to make an impact.
I mimic my light shine idly missing the point is you can't do what you have to save yourself as a minister a lot closer to my Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said on the binding of the branches. He said if you abide in me and I abide in you, you will bear much fruit.
Apart from me you can do nothing see even the Christian life even being late in the world is his work, not mine, not yours is not me bearing down and doing it all I can do a stop to my light under the basket. I cannot do it. Jesus is let me do it. You stay close to me and you will bear like now when you're not burning like it tells you something you're not close the Lord and not staying with them. He said that's what you do you bear much fruit. Christopher Wright said if our mission is to share the good news. Then we have to be good news people.
People should be glad to see us almost everybody, neighbors, colleagues, people at work, everyone should be glad to see us that they should not so sure they are seeing this when you read the Bible. This is all the way through the entire Bible takes on the like. The wisdom literature. In the Old Testament.
Proverbs I was reading that this week is what Solomon wrote whoever oppresses the poor man insults his maker, but he was generous to the needy honors him. Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many occurs. Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner but blessed is he was generous to his neighbor, a generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with others. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord and he will pamper his deed.
Speak up. He says for those who cannot speak for themselves for the rights of all who are destitute speak up and judge fairly defend the rights of the poor and the needy. Proverbs Job was called the most righteous man know he wasn't called that Job was the most righteous man on earth. The reason I say that is God said God said to Lucifer look at Job is the most righteous man on earth.
Once God says that that's he's the most righteous man on earth when what he was like the remember when he was alive. There were no books of the Bible written the first book written G chronologically would've been Job and so there were no but what made him so righteous. You see, God said it really obvious. He had a relationship with God. But what made him so righteous go with me to Job 29 verse 12 Job 29 verse 12, Job is making his last defense of himself.
He wants you and I to know what kind of guy was Joe when he spend his time doing verse 12 this is what Job says about himself because I delivered the poor who cried for help in the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish, came upon me and I made the widow's heart sing for joy I put on righteousness and it clothed me, my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was the father to the needy and I investigated the case, which I did not know what kind of man was he brought joy to widows he took in the orphan, which is the worst thing you could be in their culture. He said I help the poor every chance I had.
He said I hope blind people ceiling people walk who does he sound like.
By the way, in the semi Jesus met exactly what Jesus did you see that was Job, God said, is the most righteous man on earth. Job description, or should describe all of us. That should be our description.
You see, we are to be distinctly different. Beyond these walls, America's having a terrible time with the nuclear so the family marriages in America are in deep trouble and they been in deep trouble.
The saddest part of that whole story is that marriages among Christians are virtually no different than marriages among not just our divorce rate about the same as theirs, God, to tell you all day and all night. He hates divorce that matter to us. Our divorce rate about the same, and even the divorce within the home is about the same amount of counseling, the amount of abuse all kinds of issues, but the word of God says that I marriages are supposed to be different C4 to treat each other different will both be able to be subject to another as a man or a husband I I am the love my wife as Christ loved the church. I should be willing to give everything for her and her job is to respect me.
See, that's the way it should be, but it's not. So why would anyone in the world say all you mean if I became a Christian I can have a marriage like yours. Our families are supposed to be different. The way we raise our children are supposed to be different to raise her children in the admonition and nurture the Lord there should be distinctions, but there's not we should be different kind of employees than everybody else.
I just heard a manager Velma and I would eat lunch yesterday and that manager of the store was talking to us and talking about how horrible employees are okay and I wonder how many of them describe Christians because it says is a Christian, even if I was a slave. I do all, as unto the Lord.
I am to do it is on the Lord, not whether or not the employer of the boss is worthy, but is under the Lord to do it or not. If I'm an employer I'm supposed to be giving grace and mercy to my employees was that your reputation is that how you reveal to the culture were supposed to be different were supposed to be different neighbors Jesus.
It is part of the two great commandments. Love your neighbor as yourself. They should they said love is because we love that we should be distinct and people have been in the past. I'm afraid were not now, one less passage. First John chapter 3 verses 17 and 18 first John chapter 3 verses 17 and 18 verse 17, the rhetorical question on John's part, I'm afraid one that the he's not comfortable with, but many of us are he said in verse 17 but whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against them. How does the love of God abide in him. How does the love of God. Where is it that he says this little children, let us not love with word with tongue, but indeed truth you see is not enough to say love you man, hello, hello everybody is an action verb is not words talks cheap yet the love people see that's what he saying it has to be in deed and in truth. We have to make this difference by the way some of you do talk about this little more next week. I would say this, the thing I'm most proud of this church are those of you people that I'm aware of who are doing all kinds of wonderful things beyond these walls just love it. Not a church program.
Nothing the church to follow the Lord's leading in your own life and your pursuing. You see that agenda. That's a wonderful thing.
I'm very proud of that. The church we should all be involved in something beyond these walls will make a difference you see how we live is indispensable to our testimony of the world that still effective this past week I read this. This happened not too long ago. It's an article written by Matthew Parris in the London Times, Matthew Parris grew up in Africa okay. He is an avowed self-described atheist. He said I write this article with great resignation, but honesty you want to write the article and believe in God but the church in Africa has been growing like the church in China largely to do in the beginning that all the missionaries went there in the work that they did, and here's what he writes.
He said now a confirmed atheist I have become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelicalism makes in Africa. Education and training alone will not do in Africa. Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation to the lives the rebirth is real and the change is good.
He said it would suit me to believe that there honesty and diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with the personal faith, he said. But that's not the case. It forces me to acknowledge that the work of these Christians, while secular was deeply affected by what they were and what they were was in turn influenced by the conception of man's place in the universe that Christianity had taught them swordsmen atheist just think that Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings spiritual confirmation. The rebirth is real change is good and atheist is right and that because of the lives and the testimony of people just like you and me in Africa.
The most important thing about this churches what happens beyond these walls we are to be used by God to meet boys and girls in men and women to a saving knowledge of Christ.
We do this by the words we speak.
And by the lives that we live in our lives should be gospel worthy.
If you leave with one thought today. This is a thought. I want you to have Jesus Christ the son of God, the King of Kings and the Lord of lords, the great savior of the world, said of you. You are the light of the world. Think about that spring. Father let me confess that I think. So often we don't think of ourselves this way. Therefore honest, sometimes we become so preoccupied with our own lives so preoccupied with our own needs that we spent almost all of her time either pursuing ideas or people that will meet our needs. To help us but father we have something else that we have to have in mind that you have placed every single individual in a strategic place families.
They were born in the neighborhoods they live in the places where they work or go to school and there they are to be like that's the responsibility they are to live differently.
Some of us have a lot of influence. Father, we influence countless people. Others of us only influence a few people or couple people and it makes no difference to you at all.
All your best to subdue his letter light shine among men in such a way that when they see our lives. It will be led to bring glory to you. Father I pray that we understand how we are going to be effective to what you have called us to do this side of heaven for our good Christ pastor Brueggemann you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you just like to listen to the message one more time.
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4600 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie 7006 if you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format that is of the sermon, the pastor though delivered during a Sunday morning service at fellowship monitored visit our website FVC Melinda Ward that FVC and O LA not Margie at our website you will find hundreds pastor Bill sermon you can browse through our sermon archives defined sensors are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the method you're 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 this absolutely free of charge. Once again our website is FVC Nola.org pastor Bill Gebhardt and Jason Denhardt. Thank you for listening to fellowship in order