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Think Great Thoughts, Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2021 7:00 am

Think Great Thoughts, 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. Then the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Peace, as Jesus said, I lead with you. He said this is a peace beyond all comprehension. What is the difference between a Christian who is anxious and a Christian who has peace? It's not the indwelling Holy Spirit because he's in both.

You see, it's not the sufficiency of the grace of God because God will let his grace flow in all of us. 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. Dr. Jack Haskins, the University of Tennessee, has spent 12 years of his academic studies studying the effect of America's media on how we as Americans think and feel and act. His main part of the study was to divide people into two subject groups. One group was to listen to five minutes every day to negative sort of haunting or what we would call normal news.

The other group was not to listen to the news at all. And they were to listen to five minutes of uplifting positive stories each day. And he had them do this for a long extended period of time.

I know it was more than a year, but I'm not sure how long it was. At the end of it, he gave an evaluation and he said this. The group one, that's the ones listening to the negative news, were more negative than group two, which isn't a surprise. But group one was also more negative at the end of the study than they were in the beginning of the study. Secondly, group one believed that the world was more negative than it was what they believed before they had taken the five minutes of negative news every day. And then he found out that group one, those who listened to the negative news, were also less likely to help other people than the people who listened to positive uplifting stories. And lastly, he found out that group one began to believe at the end of this long extended period of time that bad things were now going to start happening to them.

Now that really shouldn't surprise us. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, life consists of what a man is thinking about all day. James Allen said, you are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts will take you.

I said a few years ago, you are what you think more than you think you are. But what really matters is what God said. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon said this, as he thinks in his heart, so he is. The reason I'm bringing this up is one of the more exasperating parts of being a pastor is to see the people of God not really benefit on this earthly temporal plane the way they should being a child of God. All children of God, all born again believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit in their lives. All have the sufficiency of God's grace upon them. All are exposed or should be exposed to the people of God. And all are exposed to some extent to the word of God. And yet what I have found in my experience is that there's a small percentage of Christians who live a really what Jesus Christ described as an abundant life.

A life that's filled with joy and peace and hope and purpose and meaning and all those things. And a lot of Christians never really get there. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it's because of the way we think. There are victorious Christians and defeated ones. There are joyful Christians and unhappy ones. There are peaceful Christians and anxious ones. There are hopeful Christians and pessimistic ones. And it's not the spirit of God's fault. It's not the word of God's fault. It's not the grace of God's lack of sufficiency. There must be something about the way we think.

Chip Ingram, who's a pastor in California and now is the head of Walk Through the Bible, wrote this. He says, This consciously we may trivialize the importance of our thoughts, but we obviously recognize their power. We spend a lot of time, energy, and money on fixing our behaviors. We turn to counseling, medication, accountability groups, training courses, and a number of other aids to control a habit or a personality flaw.

But almost always, beneath the emotions that we want to improve and the behavior that we want to correct is a pattern of thinking that needs to change. See, what is the difference between you and great Christians of the past? You know, when I think of great Christians, the Apostle Paul, Saint Augustine, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, what do these men all have in common? Well, they're all great Christians, that's for sure.

But what they have in common is this. When you read them, you find out they all have great thoughts. You see, great thoughts.

The question I have for you this morning is what is your thought life like? You see, the Apostle Paul not only had great thoughts, but the Apostle Paul said that you and I can have great thoughts. In fact, he implores us to have them. Would you open your Bibles to Philippians chapter 4? And again, you see the two classes of Christians in the two verses that precede the verse I want to look at. Notice in verse 6, he says, be anxious for nothing.

Now, he wouldn't say that if we didn't need it. But there are an awful lot of Christians that have an awful lot of anxiety. And then he tells us what to do about that with prayer and supplication and with Thanksgiving letter requests being known to God. But then in verse 7, he says and describes another kind of Christian. He says, then the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Peace, as Jesus said, I leave with you. He said this is a peace beyond all comprehension.

What is the difference between a Christian who is anxious and a Christian who has peace? It's not the indwelling Holy Spirit because he's in both. You see, it's not the sufficiency of the grace of God because God will let his grace flow in all of us.

Well, Paul alludes to it in the next verse, in verse 8. He says, finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things.

And the God of peace will be with you. Notice he says we are to practice them. It does affect our behavior.

But more importantly and in the beginning and before the practice is the thinking. It's the word he uses, dwell. He says you've got to dwell on these things.

That word is logizomai. And it's a really sophisticated Greek word. It means to deduce, to reason, to calculate, to ponder, to deliberate, to subject, to protracted analysis or thought. In other words, think deeply. When he says dwell about it, I want you to think deeply, he says. If you want peace, I want you to think about this. Notice what he wants us to think about, things that are true. That's kind of interesting. Think about things that would immediately almost stop you from watching the news.

It has to be true. Even secular psychologists say that about 90% of what the average person worries about never happens. You see, there's thoughts that we're giving away. He says no, think only about that that is true, honorable, which means worthy of respect. Are these honorable thoughts that I have? Are they the kind of thoughts that honor God and reflect his purposes for me?

Right, simply right and wrong, are these right thoughts? Pure, the same root word as the word holy. Then he says lovely, that's kind of my favorite on the list. Whatever is lovely.

Isn't that an interesting thought? God is telling you through the Apostle Paul that you should dwell, you should think a lot about whatever is lovely, beautiful, picturesque is what he is saying. Is your mind filled with that kind of beauty? Of good repute, is it fair speaking in other words?

Any excellence or anything worthy of praise? Paul says that if you really want to have a victorious Christian life, you need to think great thoughts about important things. If you get your thoughts right, you get your emotions right. If you get your thoughts and emotions right, you get your behavior right. That's what the word of God is saying. Peter says in 1 Peter 1.13, prepare your minds for action. You've got to think about it. You see, our problem that we have as Christians and so many of us is we immediately put our thinking on default mode.

That's it. Something happens and by default mode we just start thinking a certain way. For example, if you're a really pessimistic person, when you wake up in the morning, let me just guess, you're pessimistic.

I'm just guessing as soon as you get up. In fact, if you're a paranoid pessimistic person and someone comes up to you in the lobby and says, nice to see you, haven't seen you for a while, you get in the car and say, what do they mean by that? You see, you begin to think in a particular way.

It's a default mode. It's the way you think. God says, don't do that.

Don't do that because that thinking was shaped by your world that you live in. And he says, no, I need you to shape. I need to let you, let me shape your thinking. What I want to do this morning is I want to try to sort of jumpstart you. And I want to show you that victorious Christians think great thoughts. And I want to help you have some great thoughts in your life. And so we're going to be going right through scripture. And let's start with some great thoughts and go to Romans chapter 11. And the first thing I want you to do is I want you to realize that great Christians, victorious Christians, have great thoughts about God. They have great thoughts about God. You see, the important reason for your thoughts are this.

We would want to say it this way, I think, often. Well, great Christians have great faith. Right? And the reason they're great is they have great faith and I don't have great faith. Remember, is there any merit in having faith?

No. Everyone has faith. It's the object of faith, isn't it? And so what happens is when you have great thoughts, you have now a context and some content to your faith. And the reason that the great people of the faith over all the centuries were such great Christians is they thought great thoughts and they believed them and made all the difference. And so if you want your faith to grow, you have to allow your thought life to grow. The first area is great thoughts about God. Notice at the end of chapter 11 of Romans, Paul says in verse 33, Oh, and I love that.

How personal. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord or who became his counselor or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. And then what's he do? Amen.

That's a doxology. What happened? He started thinking about God. He got so excited thinking about God, he just broke out in the end. Everything's from him. Everything's for him. Everything's to him.

He's great. Amen. Notice after he says that, he says, Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. What drives me to worship?

You see, what causes me to give my life as a sacrifice to the God who saved me? Great thoughts of that God. Great thoughts about God. You know, a lot of the praise songs, that's exactly what we're trying to do. We're trying to get, in a sense, you to think how great is our God. Hallelujah.

You see, that's what it is. It's a way you think about God when you think of the scriptures. He is the creator. He is a sustainer. He is the redeemer. But on a personal level, he's a fortress for me. He is my refuge. He is my shepherd. He is my father.

He is my friend. You see, the Word of God expresses God to you in such a way so that you think great thoughts about God. Victorious Christians think great thoughts about God.

They also think great thoughts about themselves. Turn with me to Zephaniah chapter 3. It's highlighted in my Bible and it should be in yours. Verse 17. Notice the beginning of the verse talks about great thoughts about God. The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. That's a great thought about God.

But watch what changes when I think about me. He will exalt over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love. He will rejoice over you, and the numeric standard says, with shouts of joy. Some of the other translations I think get this right. It literally says here, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Literally. Think about that. Think about that. Just imagine what it would be like to wake up every morning and think about this. God exalts over you with joy.

He just loves you in a quiet way. And get this. He sings about you. You.

Me. We come here and we sing praises to God and worthily we should. But God sings out of joy for you.

Do you imagine that? If I woke up in the morning and think right now in heaven, God is singing, Bill, Bill, Bill, that's my guy. You see, he's my guy. I love that kid.

Isn't that wonderful? See, it doesn't matter what my dad said about me or my mother said about me or my sister-in-law says about me. It doesn't matter what a teacher said about me. I'll tell you what God said about me. He sings about me.

And he sings about you. Do you think like that? You see, victorious Christians think that way.

It's something to hold on to. Great thoughts about God. Great thoughts about ourselves.

Great thoughts about other people. Turn to 1 Samuel, chapter 16. 1 Samuel, chapter 16. Samuel is given the burden in this chapter to pick a king.

He's told to go to Jesse's house and he does. And Jesse begins to present his children, those who seem to be more worthy. And God interjects and says, look, I've got to tell you something, Samuel. There's a way to evaluate other people.

And let me explain to you what it is. 1 Samuel 16, verse 7. But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For God sees not as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart.

Do you ever think great thoughts that way? How do you see people? You see, how do you see people? Do you see people based on fame, celebrity, status, education?

Is that how you see them? God says, don't see people that way. See people for what they are, their heart. You see, what he is saying is when you look at another person, look at their heart, look at their character. Look inside, because that's what matters.

You see, this has the chance where I don't want to go into my default mode. God doesn't see people that way, and we shouldn't. As a matter of fact, if you think about it in the Word of God, when we think of others, as I look at the Word of God, do you know how many different kinds of people there are in the Word of God? Two. There's saved people and there's lost people.

I love the saved people as my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I'm going to love the lost people and do everything I can to get them to know Jesus Christ my Savior. That's it. There's no status.

There's no educational background. There's no color of skin. There's none of that in the Word of God. There are saved people. There are lost people. And that's how you see people.

And just think if you thought about that. When you meet somebody, I want to know this person's heart. I want to see what's inside this person before I accept or reject based on only what I see. You see, if you see people that way, it makes an enormous difference. These Christians have great thoughts about God, about themselves, about others, even about life. Turn to Luke chapter 9, and we'll begin in verse 23. This is right after Peter had made the great profession of faith that you are the Christ of God. And in verse 23, Jesus is saying to them and to us concerning life, here it is, If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake, he is the one who will save it.

He says, For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? I can tell you what life is. Life is following Jesus Christ. That's life.

What's life? Following Jesus Christ. And I think Paul realizes this, too, but Jesus realizes when he says this what we're like. If he just said, Life is following me, we'd all say, Well, I do that. I'm a follower. I say grace at the table, and I go to church most of the time. I'm a follower.

He says, No, no. Let me explain it. I'll tell you what a follower is. A follower is one who denies himself. Then he takes up his cross, which is an object of shame, and he does it every day, and he follows me. That's his loyalty to me.

That's a follower. By the way, that's life. Notice he says he understands that we think of life in different ways.

For what is a profit if a man gains the whole world and lost himself? You see, life is presenting myself as a living sacrifice out of Romans 12. That's life. Life is giving my all to my Lord.

That's life. That's a great thought about life, and the Word of God talks about that a lot. You see, there are other places, and all these overlap. There are so many great thoughts. For example, when I think about life, I think of this thought, and I think about Bill. Solomon writes, there is a way that seems right to Bill, but its end is destruction. There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is destruction.

And so immediately when I think about life, I think, whoa, wait a minute. Don't trust Bill. Jeremiah courses in and says, in Jeremiah 17, Bill's heart is desperately wicked, deceitful above all things.

Wow, that's me. So I'm not going to trust Bill, because I can't trust Bill's heart. Well, who can I trust?

I can trust my Lord. You see, when I see life, I see it that way. When it comes to life, the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, here's another principle of thinking great thoughts about life. Life isn't fair, so don't expect it to be. That's a great thought.

Can you imagine how much anxiety you'd save yourself if that's the way you thought? You go out in that world and you say life's not fair and I don't expect it to be. No, we go out, well, I don't know about that, but it better be fair to me. I demand that it's fair to me. It won't be. It's not.

It's not the way life is. You see, victorious Christians think great thoughts about life. Great thoughts about others, great thoughts about themselves, and great thoughts about God. 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 / 2024-01-07 01:49:03 / 2024-01-07 01:58:26 / 9

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