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Think Great Thoughts, Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2021 7:00 am

Think Great Thoughts, Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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January 11, 2021 7:00 am

How to live a victorious Christian life.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. One of my favorite verses to meditate on, Lamentations, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. What a great thought that is.

Every morning you wake up, it's new. Let's go. 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. Victorious 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 does a man profit 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 Jesus, 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 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. Well, 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.

Do 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. You see, if you have this view of life, it immunizes you against something, crisis. You see, if it's all about following Him, I can do that whether there's a hurricane in the Gulf or not.

It doesn't matter. I can do that whether there's a Republican or a Democrat in the White House. Do you understand that? I can do that. I can do that whether the stock market is going up or going down.

I can do that whether property values are going up or going down. I can do that because life's not about that. Life's about following Jesus Christ. And victorious Christians think great thoughts like that.

And it makes all the difference in the world. Great thoughts about God, great thoughts about yourself, great thoughts about others, great thoughts about life, great thoughts about the future. Turn to Jeremiah chapter 29. We've been here before. It's a great verse.

It should have been highlighted by now in your Bible. Verse 11, the Lord is speaking. For I know the plans that I have for you. Well, of course He does. He knows everything, doesn't He?

But I love that. He's got plans, even more particular. He didn't say plans for the universe. Plans for the world, He has those.

These are plans for you. He says the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. A future and a hope.

Isn't that something? God has plans for me to give me a future and a hope. He has plans for you to give you a future and a hope. He has plans for us to give us a future and a hope. You see, that's why God tells you things about the future and the word of God. He does not tell you things about the future and the word of God so that you can go to some kind of a, like a outdoor barbecue and mesmerize your friends with your understanding of end times. Okay, that's not why God does it. Why did He tell us that? Hope. He tells us that because He wants us to have this great sense of hope within us.

That's what God does. It's a wonderful thing. When I think about the things in the future, Rapture, wow, He didn't even have to tell us that's coming. Wouldn't that be neat? Wouldn't it be a great moment? By the way, it would be just as great a moment if you're there or here.

It's still going to be great. What about absent from the body, present with the Lord? What's that present? Hope. Wait, absent from the body, present with the Lord. How about when I step into heaven? He says in the Lord's presence, indescribable joy. I can't even describe it.

Wow. What about I'll never leave you nor forsake you? Heaven is a surety. What can separate me from the love of Christ? Nothing in the present, nothing in the past, nothing to come. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.

Why is He telling me this? Hope. He wants me to have hope for the future. And if I think great thoughts about the future, I have hope.

Victorious Christians think great thoughts about God, about themselves, about others, about life, about the future. And I know what some of you were thinking. Boy, I wish I could have got in on that. Too late for me. You know, I've really been a disappointment to God. I had a really bad day yesterday. Well, actually, I had a bad week, bad month. The last decade hasn't been very good for me.

You know, I'm pretty much a disappointment. Well, why not have great thoughts then about your past? Turn to Philippians chapter 3 with me. Philippians 3 verses 13 and 14. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Isn't that amazing? Well, what about my past? Forget it. Well, what about all my sins and failures?

Forget them. You see, that's what God says He's done, another great thought about God. The psalmist says, as far as the east is from the west, that's how far I've removed your sins from you. Isaiah says, look, I've taken your sins and I've taken them to sea and I've threw them overboard. And I not only forgive them, I forgot them.

Now, that's really what happens. Why can't we think that about our past? Why do we allow our past to hamstring our lives? That I'm so locked into my past and, oh my goodness, if we understood this verse, this thing, how much psychotherapy wouldn't be done.

You really got to get into your past and figure out what went wrong with your past. It went wrong. One of my favorite verses to meditate on, Lamentations, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. What a great thought that is.

Every morning you wake up, it's new, let's go. Isn't that wonderful? Great thoughts about God. Great thoughts about yourselves. Great thoughts about others. Great thoughts about life. Great thoughts about the future and great thoughts about your past. One last area of great thoughts.

I want you to turn with me to James Chapter 1. Great thoughts about your trials, tribulations and challenges. Listen, God knows more than we could ever imagine how difficult it is to live it as a fallen person among fallen people on a cursed planet. He understands there's a tremendous amount of sorrow and agony.

He knows that. But there can be great thoughts about my trials. James Chapter 1, verse 2. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. What? Consider it all joy.

Why? Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect results so that you may be perfect and complete and lacking in nothing. What's that mean? I'll tell you what it means. God says, I will take the cursing of your trial and turn it to blessing in your life.

He said, after all, that's what I do. Start in Genesis and work your way to Revelation. Is there a curse in the beginning? Yes. Is there a blessing that follows?

Yes. What is the new heaven and the new earth? It's a blessing over the curse of the old earth. You see, God says, that's what I do. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when various trials occur to you. Doesn't this sound a little bit like Romans 8.28? All things work together for the good.

For who? That be you, that be me, for those who love Christ Jesus. You see, he says, you can even get a handle on that part of your life. Jesus said it this way, in this world, you're going to have tribulation. Job said, as the sparks fly upward, so is trouble and man.

It's going to happen. Then Jesus said, but be of good cheer, I've overcome the world. You see how this works? He said, I've overcome the world. We go through trials, which some of you may be right now, tremendous challenges in our life. But you can think great thoughts, because God is the God who takes the curse and turns it to the blessing. His grace is sufficient for the moment. Those are great thoughts about God, and that's what victorious Christians have. They have these great thoughts, great thoughts about God, great thoughts about self, great thoughts about others, great thoughts about life, great thoughts about the future, great thoughts about the past, even great thoughts about the trials. You might be thinking, how do I get started?

How do I do this? I just want to look at one passage for that. Turn to the book of Psalms, Psalm 1.

We get some insight here in the first book of the Psalter. The Psalmist says, how blessed, and as I've said in the past, that means happy, joyful. How happy and joyful is the man or woman who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the paths of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers? In other words, they are the kind of person that doesn't allow that world and their world to shape their thoughts. They don't allow the media to shape their thoughts.

They don't allow the neighbors to shape their thoughts. He says they have something else working, verse 2. But his or her delight is in the law of the Lord, which is a metaphor or synonym for the word of God.

Delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, He meditates day and night. He doesn't mean you go to a special place and there's nothing wrong with that for periods of time. It's part of your discipline to read the word of God and meditate on it.

That's a good discipline. But obviously, you have another life to live. He says day and night. And what he means by that is, I think great thoughts. I think great thoughts about God all day long, about myself, about others. See, about life, about the future, about the past, about challenges or trials.

I think great thoughts. And he says, and here's what happens if you do that, verse 3. He will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water which yields forth its fruit and season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he or she does, he prospers. It's the abundant life that Christ spoke of. It's a life of joy and hope and peace, regardless of the circumstances of life. Victorious Christians think great thoughts. Paul says you should think great thoughts, and I know you're capable. And it's the difference in your life, even over things you can't even imagine how this can come up.

I'm going to conclude by giving you a little story. Last week, Velma and I were on vacation, and we came back at the end of this week from Florida, and we were on I-10, and we were just leaving Alabama and on our way into Mississippi and listening to the Eagles' new CD. And we're listening to the Eagles, and we come over a ramp, and the whole way over, traffic has been extraordinarily heavy. We're in the three-lane section, but lots of 18-wheelers, lots of traffic, and we're coming over the ramp, and I'm on the inside lane closest to the median. And I felt one little vibration for just a second, and I thought, there might be a tire.

Within the next microsecond, the vibration was gone because the tire was gone, and as soon as that happened, the sidewall completely come off of the tire. As soon as that happened, the car just went hard right. And so we went into the middle lane at an angle. I looked at my rearview mirror at that moment, and I'm going, 70, okay?

I mean, that's the speed limit. And I'm going, 70, and I look at my rearview mirror, and there's no one there, and I'm thinking, that's good. And then all of a sudden, the back of the car comes around sideways. The car goes sideways, so it's that speed on the interstate going that direction. Now my thought is, this car is going to roll.

And I said, or it's going to start doing donuts, and we're going straight into the woods doing donuts. What was amazing at this time was there wasn't a sound in the car. Now we have our two dogs with us, and they make sounds for anything that's unusual. Anything that's unusual, they're barking.

One's asleep in Velma's lap, and the other one's in the back seat. There's not even a gasp, and my wife likes to gasp. But she didn't do that. There was no sound. There was no sound. And I remember as it fell around, I thought, this is a lot like sliding on ice in Pennsylvania, and so I'm going to turn my wheels the opposite direction and see if I can get the car to go straight. And so I took the wheel and started turning it the opposite direction, and the back end came around. When the back end came around, I got on the brakes, went straight off the side, and pulled right off on the median. The only words that were spoken, Velma said, nice job. And I got out, went to the back, had to unload everything that was in the trunk, got my spare out, and then jacked the car up, and up, no damage to the car, the rim, nothing.

Just the tire is off the rim. And so I put the spare on, and we get back in the car. And so we get back in the car, and we start driving, and I said, what were you thinking about when that happened? And she said, I had two thoughts.

Now, here's what's amazing. She had the same exact two thoughts I had. She said, when the car turned sideways, I thought, this is where we're going to die. And I said, that was the thought I had. This is where we're going to die. Because I realized the car, inside tire like that, it's going to flip.

And if it did at that speed, it's not going to be good. She said, the second thought I had was, I'm okay with that. And that was the exact thought I had. Peace.

No anxiety at all. Now, was the grace of God sufficient? Yes. Spirit of God there, yes. Were the angels of God at work?

Yes, I think somebody straightened this out. But I'll tell you what else was at work. Years and years and years of thinking about great thoughts about our God.

What he's like. I have plans for you, Bill and Velma. You see?

Also, great thoughts, great thoughts about our future. Absent from the bodies present with the Lord. You see, in his presence is indescribable joy. There wasn't fear. No, there wasn't much time for fear. And I do understand that. But see, a lot of times, what I'm saying as Christians, I would have never even thought about that as an incident that was going to come.

Didn't plan for it. But thinking great thoughts about God, about myself, about others, about life, about the future, the past and challenges, when that comes to play is when something comes into your life. That's when faith gets applied. And you apply the faith to the great thoughts you have. And so if your Christian life is not what you thought it should be, and not what you know others to be, I want you to look in the mirror and say to yourself, do I think great thoughts? Do I have something to make my faith cling to?

Do I meditate day and night? Great thoughts about God, me, others, life, future, past, trials and tribulations. If you do, God will be delighted and you'll never be disappointed. Let's pray. Father, I'm afraid that so often we think we lack faith. In many cases, that might be true. But, Father, I think what often happens to us is we have nothing for our faith to cling to. We stop thinking these great thoughts that we could have about you. And we begin to allow ourselves to go to the default mode and think about life the way we were taught to and the way everyone around us does. And, Father, when difficult times come, it creates tremendous anxiety on our part.

And we lack peace. And the reason we do, Father, is so often we are what we think, even more than we think we are. Father, may your Spirit challenge us this day, each of us, to get up tomorrow morning and begin the day by thinking great thoughts and to program ourselves to think that way. And, Father, if we do, we reap the bounty of the abundant life that our Lord spoke of, a life that is filled with joy and peace and hope and immune to the circumstances of life. This we pray for our good and your glory.

In Christ's 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, 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 / 2024-01-06 09:56:14 / 2024-01-06 10:05:33 / 9

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