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Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.
Notice what happens. Verse 46, Nathaniel said to him, can anything good come out of Nazareth and Phillips IBM to come and see Jesus invitation managed your skeptic find his comments to investigation seem to think joining us today on this additional fellowship number pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word are world skepticism is often born in the context of prejudice and we know that anything I said and can any good thing come all well is prejudice. He has a disdain for Nazareth is not in the text, but I really believe at that moment he looked at Philip and he rolled his eyes really Nazareth really is a skeptics to see what we learn here is Nazareth is a city of disdain Judeans look down on those from Galilee, you're just a Galilean you're from the wrong place but get this, Galileans look down on Nazareth receipt Nazareth was right next door to some force the forces of military establishment of the Romans. It's a garrison Roman soldiers or the business of Nazareth is the business of keeping the soldiers of Rome entertained so you know exactly what kind of town Nazareth. This that's the town it's a nowhere town in a no place and it was interesting as Nathaniel doesn't like it and it's because he's prejudice. You see, we find out that Nathaniel was from Cana. Now I know you civil Cana must be a nice place. I mean it was a miracle in Cana comes in the next chapter you know Cana is no place Cana is so no place that even the scholars on a mature work.
Cana was but the best answers the best scholarship points that Cana is a little town about 9 miles from Nazareth. Now that's close and there's nothing in between.
So here are some Cana reminds me of light to rural towns with you two high schools, like your archrivals the town that looks just like your town down the road but everything about its bad using very archrival, and so you have in this case Nathaniel Macon's statement is that this is a bad place by the waves, not unusual goes and stays away hold place and go with me to the book of acts chapter 24 the book of acts chapter 24 now were talking about Paul much later in time and is in the middle of his ministry is going have to stand before Felix the governor but I want you to see something in acts chapter 24 verse one it says after five days, the high priest Ananias came down with some elders when an attorney named turtle was and with him and they brought charges to the governor against Paul and after Paul had been summoned to Toles began to accuse him saying to the governor. Now watch this typical lawyer speech or whatever start he says since we have through you attain much peace and since by your provenance reforms are being carried out for this nation.
We acknowledge this in every way and everywhere most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. They hated their oppressors is giving a lawyer talk. He's buttering them up. He says, but that I may not wear you any further I'd be due to Grannis by your kindness.
A brief hearing. Then he says this for we have found this man and this is a great translation. A real past.
This can kind of funny in the word of God to be called that we have found this man a real past and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world. A ringleader of the sect of Nazarenes bad wording in that Nazarene he's in what could become a Nazareth's pride and prejudice does.
That's the way it works. We go back to John. You see, a typical skeptic starts with ridicule and disdain. There still skeptics with us today. You might be one of Christianity. I grew up on that when the church when I was 11 and getting really mad sick skepticism Christianity is still Nazareth's amazing when you're the kind of disdain. I can remember, this student lost University of Pittsburgh. There was one professor in particular and only one, but he understood that I was able quote unquote he always it is of the smallness phase, a born-again Christian and up. He had a lot of fun at my expense when he would teach philosophy and up once talking to him in a serious way. He said to me that he would even consider Christianity. He said because are any serious thinkers and it never happened. You know, and I didn't know much because I was serious them, but I can think very well and but the point would be.
I often thought of that, and I thought I would love you to stand in open debate with Ravi Zacharias. I would love that.
What you would want us love to see your intellect at work with somebody who can outthink you in virtually every way. You see, but he wasn't.
He wasn't an honest skeptic.
He was dishonest to see.
The idea wasn't he wasn't really going to look for an export that wasn't what he was going to do. He was just simply going to dismiss it and that's what happens when you have pride and prejudice to some people. Jesus is skillful Nazareth. Some people are still rolling her eyes. If you're one of those kind of people though. Let me say two things to you two observations one is this rolling her eyes and skepticism against the validity of Jesus Christ is the kind of dismissiveness that can be extremely deadly.
See, it kills your serious thinking.
Don't just dismiss it outright want to be a skeptic be a real one really Strobel Josh McDowell be a real skeptic do the homework but don't dismiss it. Tara Parker Pope wrote a book on marriage called for better and she says I rolling is a definite warning sign that a relationship is in trouble. She writes this marriage can handle disagreement, pain, frustration and disappointment, but dismissal of the other person is much more serious. By the way, if you do marriage counseling when you hear someone speak if you want to know the condition of the relationship.
What's the other person's face hate to say that because of my time implicate any of you but I serve them. I rolling see what is that complete dismissal letting them interact with what they said seller works too much at stake. Secondly, by dismissing Christianity you sever the living taproot of your own core values. I'm always amazed that somebody will tell me there an atheist or an agnostic and and when you start investigating the things they value and how they see life there all Christian is funny to me.
So they have no basis for their values. If it hangs in midair ferry who was a French philosopher and an unsaved man and proclaims it that way says the philosophy of human rights concern for the poor and woman's equality would have never been established without Christianity is interesting when we get our values from what our values don't be like Nathaniel don't dismiss Christ out of hand. So skepticism is often born in the context of pride and prejudice, but even skeptics who dismiss Christianity always have an underlying spiritual need and asking to be the case. Notice what happens. Verse 46, Nathaniel said him, can anything good come out of Nazareth, and Philip said to him, want to come and see. By the way, that's Jesus invitation any skeptic your skeptic find just come and see. Do the investigation. See what you think in his case is going to get to meet them Jesus all Nathaniel coming.
See how do I know Nathaniel had a deep spiritual need became Philip said, come and see, and what Nathaniel do.
He went so now it is set dismiss it. Nothing good come out of Nazareth. I'm not wasting my time, but he doesn't see doesn't. Why, because I'm sure he knows Andrew and Simon and Philip and probably John. And they're all saying the same thing to.
He's the one John the Baptist that he's the one he's on Messiah. Now he has all of his own issues and Nathaniel comes now here comes Nathaniel and Jesus saw him coming and this must be a shock. Nathaniel's thinking. The house is going to go when I get to do this guy up on know about this Nazareth thing and she's a season coming in, says behold that's a big word by the way, that's one of these exciting words. That's one of these words that you only say when you see something enormous happened.
A volcano erupts. Jesus is a Nathaniel behold he says is doing. He says an Israelite indeed in whom there is no deceit, no guile that were no deceit isn't really should be translated no deceit is no negative in it. It's Alethea the itsy itsy adverb form of Alethea truth. This is a true Israelite.
This is an honest man you see in a man in whom there is no guile was one of the translations.
This guys honest. You see this man is an honest man.
He just simply telling you what he thinks.
That was so funny. Is this Nathaniel knows what kind of man is you know guys like that you ever met a guy describe someone else and say look, if you don't want to hear the truth talk to him here to tell you exactly what he's thinking. I mean he doesn't care who hears it. He's going to tell you what is thinking. That's what Jesus saying about them for you of your true Israelite and honest man.
How I look at the response. Nathaniel said in how do you know me skate mythical knows that it was how do you know me is how would you know me I'm sure is mine is just running the field get to him first point Philip and Andrew debated even meaningful yesterday. So this is all happening very very fast. How did you know me he's pondering and Jesus said, before Philip called you before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree, I saw you on this events and he knows it on this events, the log loss. Eternal you see the log loss on this events is incredible. What, by the way people try to respond so often it historically to this and trying to figure out how to get so wound up because Jesus arm under a fig tree coming can be been peaking and seeing him somewhere someone important notes all kinds of rational ways of looking at this, so there's all kind of funny traditions.
There's a Syriac tradition that says that that what happened was, Nathaniel was once living in Judea when Herod was killing all of the two euros and under and his mother hit him under a fig tree and he he he and his mother knew that, but no one else did. And Jesus was saying, I saw you in your under that victory all wow wow you know my whole life use that sounds good but there's nothing to support it. Then there's the view that the Tom and suggested Jewish men go under a fig tree and meditate on the Old Testament at least once a day or as often as they can. But again, there's nothing to substantiate that.
I think it's this. I think Philip never stopped talking to Nathaniel about who Jesus Christ was. John the Baptist said he was and what their conversation that Andrew and Simon had with him about who Jesus said he was and when Jesus said this, that was all it just clicked because once the response before Philip called you when you were under a fig tree, I saw unit management. Nathaniel has her name is Ed Ramon I you are the son of God, you are the king of Israel, that fast complete immersion that fast now not so sure he knew what he meant when he said you are the son of God. We know that Jesus is the son of God. We know he represents the one part of the Trinity, the son part but I'm not sure that's what Nathaniel saying her meaning when he says that the term son of is a little bit different in that context. The whole idea of sunup son of God, is a Hebrews him and Hebrews him is that they use in order to show the nature of something.
For example, if you were the son of the Lyle you would be called one who has the same nature receipt. If you were the son of thunder member sons of thunder, James and John didn't mean that their dad's name was thunder. It meant and used as allowed in of these guys allow their sons of wickedness their sons of affliction. There sons of Bauer, all of those type of thing you're the son of God, you have the nature of God in context. What John is saying you are the log loss.
You are the Messiah, he converts immediately know what's interesting to me about that is simply this though. That's exactly what happened me. I can still remember the idea being the skeptic and playing the role of the skeptic for years and especially the last year with the fellow leading me to Christ witnessing to me and I can remember going back to my lab and kneeling down to my desk and praying to receive Christ my whole life changed on Monday and now I had meeting and propelling was better everything in my life know the day before Nazareth Kaman using I say. That way I'd say things like unit tell me that some guy a Jewish guy in an obscure country a little dirt patch in the world died 2000 years ago been crucified by Romans, though they crucified lots of people and if I believe he died for me. I'm going to heaven got me to write as I would you tell me he would submit next day, you son of God my Savior sway works. That's just the way it works.
You see, that's the transformation I love what she says does it.
Jesus answered and said to him when you get this straight because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree. Do you believe he goes unit to see greater things in these you haven't seen anything yet and see if that really wow dear, you haven't seen anything yet about what I can do and what I'm going to do while Jesus then says truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man witnessing mean there will this go to Genesis chapter 28 and will come back for closure.
It and John. But Genesis 28, three versus four versus verse 10 this is what Jesus is alluding to Genesis 2810 then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Karen, he came to a certain place and spent the night there because the Senate said, and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head and he laid down in that place had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on earth with its top reaching into heaven, and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on now this is interesting.
This is the imagery that he has and says then again another, behold, and behold, the Lord stood above it and said I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham, the God of Isaac, the land, which in which you lie, I will give it to you and your descendents skull Jacobs ladder. What's that mean in that imagery. What he is simply trying to say is this God says I will bridge you to heaven. I would do that. You see, and was going up and down and here's the point. The covenant I made with Abraham, with Isaac I make with you. This is your land.
Now that's go back to John. That's what Jesus is saying something else or that's quite interesting. I don't think Nathaniel is alone in this.
I know Phillips with them but my thoughts are that so are Andrew Simon Peter and John, because Jesus said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens can see in English, but the U second person plural not you singular you all you see it's a plural. He saying I'm single. You guys see their other like what they don't know much about them at all, except behold the Lamb of God, it takes away the sins of the world peace is truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man think of that when Zacharias was told that he and his wife would give birth to the one who will be the proclaimer of the king become John the Baptist in Angel: Mary was told she will give birth to the Messiah of Israel in Angel told her that Joseph was told that Mary will have a child my father would be the spirit of God. Angel told Joseph that you see when Jesus Christ was tempted anyone through the temptations in Matthew four in verse 11 it says in the angels of God ministered to him when there was an empty tomb, who was there the angels who proclaimed his birth to the shepherds, angels.
You see, and when he ascends into heaven and ask one who's there angels is enough to Jesus Christ the same. In the beginning of my life to the end. The bridge between here and heaven is now open its flowing angels are coming and angels are going. You see, that's what you're going to see you're going to see the son of God, is the point of that in this context when you start your search for Jesus Christ with skepticism and then you find Jesus Christ you will find infinitely more than you're expecting you will. That's what Jesus tell them hey you think you find Messiah you will find so much more than that. You see when you come to Jesus Christ you find so much more than what you are looking for. I would imagine in one sense there's no doubt my mind that I would be looking as almost all of us would be for the forgiveness of my sins and having eternity in my sites yeah I would say when someone is to me the claims of Christ going to heaven sent a pretty good to me. There were some notes I want to go, what I wanted was peace. I just want to have peace in this life because I thought about life enough to leave myself and a lot of turmoil. I got heaven and I got peace and boy got so much more. I got purposed by God. Meaning I got a reason to get up every day I have joy I mean are so many I've come to give you life and to give it to you abundantly.
The ideas I do get so much more from Christ than you ever could've imagined when you came skepticism is often based and borne out in the context of pride and prejudice.
Even skeptics who dismiss Christianity have an underlying spiritual need. The first conversation of the ministry of Jesus Christ that we have recorded in the Bible is with a skeptic and all, Jesus saying is this, go ahead, be a skeptic. It's okay as long as you're not a skeptic because if you're not us skeptic. I will satisfy your curiosity when you find me.
You'll find more than you ever expected to find. I know that's true because that's exactly what happened to me, the spring father I pray for the skeptic. I pray for someone here who is still skeptical still pigeonholing Christianity as all, what good can come from Nazareth. What is special about Jesus. Father I pray that they won't use their own pride of their own prejudice to dismiss Christianity, but they will be on a skeptic. They will seek to encounter Christ. They will do their homework, and I believe father if they do that in an honest way. They will see that the claims of Jesus Christ are true and real and can make the difference in life father for those of us who are believers in Christ who have overcome our own skepticism for us. Father, may we be patient with people were skeptical.
May we be as Philip was simply a witness to what Jesus Christ has done for us as the apostle Peter said give an account for the hope it's in us. Father, I thank you for these conversations that were going to go through with Jesus Christ because they truly reveal his heart and his love for each and every one of us in his new pastor broke your heart on the radio ministry of fellowship Lord, if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you just like listening to the message one more time.
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