Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.
Paul says that's a very important place to start. And so often we don't. We aspire, we see people and we categorize them as they're a whole different quality person than I am. Not from God's point of view.
As I've said so many times in the past, there are only two kinds of people on this planet. There's saved people and there's lost people. That's it. God's point of view.
That's it. 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.
I remember teaching Romans once and I was teaching it and it just said, you know, wherever sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. And I remember a person saying to me, I have a question. Are you saying that a Christian could actually just keep sinning? I said, I am. They said, are you saying that a Christian could do really terrible sins and still be saved?
I said, I am. Well, that's just ridiculous. You can't do that. I mean, you can do little sins, but not big ones.
What is that? That's legalism. That's simple legalism. You see, a person could be saved as long as they do little things. But if you do something big, you're out. And think of the history of the church.
Just think of the way it was. It's an amazing thing. How many of you grew up with the whole idea, for example, that whether a person's a Christian or not, but if they committed suicide, it doesn't matter what they were. They immediately go to hell. People said that. You see, that's a sin Jesus didn't die for.
That's horrible. In fact, in back in medieval days, they used to behead the person when they put them in the grave. So that that to make sure to cut their heads off. That's just religion. Notice it said, Paul says, the other part of the verse, he said, in order to bring us into bondage.
That's all another gospel is, is bondage. When someone tells you, believe in Jesus, but you've got to do something. There's something you've got to do. You've got to keep doing this. If you don't do it, you don't get saved.
That's bondage. And Jesus is of no value. He says, but we do not yield to the subjection to them for even an hour. Paul said, I won't tell you how much influence they had over me. None. Absolutely not.
Not even an hour. He says, so that the truth of the gospel will remain with you. He said, but from those who were of high reputation. Now, notice this is going to be Peter, James and John. He says, but from those who were of high reputation.
I love Paul. What they were makes no difference to me. He said, I don't care what they. People help Peter, James and John because they don't make any difference to me, he said, because God shows no partiality. Isn't it amazing in religion how we show partiality?
Isn't it amazing how we give each other titles? And some people are more important than other people. A hierarchy like, oh, they're the important people. Look, there's the important people.
And you can tell they even dress importantly. They even look more religious than me. He says, God doesn't look at people that way. Paul said, I'm not that impressed that Peter and James and John were there with me.
They were like, I look at them like I look at any other person. He says, notice, then he says, well, those were who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. So what did Peter and James and John add to Paul? Nothing. So they didn't add anything to me.
Not a thing. In fact, when you read on, by the way, Peter is giving address and his letter is writing about Paul. And he says, you know, Paul writes things that I don't quite understand. He said he is.
He writes some really deep stuff. Well, he says, on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised, for he who affectionately worked for Peter and his apostleship to the circumcised, affectionately worked for me, also to the Gentiles. And recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
God will often use spiritual people to confirm your calling, whatever it is. And they did. There was a harmony between them. The only thing they ask of Paul in verse 10 is they only ask us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. And they did. Everywhere Paul went, he took up collections for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
There was a famine in the land and the poor believing Jews were being ostracized by their community and they were starving to death. So Paul said, I'll do anything I could to help. And so your pre-conversion days don't limit you in serving God. And God will prepare you to fulfill his calling in your life. And God will often use spiritual people to confirm his calling on your life. Whenever I finish those main points, though, I want to ask you something. Does that sound like you?
To you. See, what I often think is when you hear about the apostle Paul, does that sound like you? See, I think for so many of us, it's like that doesn't sound like me to me at all. I can't even identify with that. That sounds like the apostle Paul.
OK, it might sound like missionaries or full time pastors. These points seem to work for them. But what about for me? You see, I don't see how that works for me. Well, I think the problem is not going to be the text.
I think the problem is maybe perhaps a new. You see, when I ask you in the beginning, what is it you want to be? How do you want to be used greatly of God or how specifically? What's your ministry? What is it that you do for the glory of God? You see, we think of it, it's easy to identify in certain terms, but not so easy for the everyday Christian.
They find it like I don't identify with this. Well, maybe because you have a failure to see your own ministry. Turn to First Corinthians. First Corinthians, Chapter one.
The one thing that was written in Paul's letter to the Galatians that I want you to be part of your life is this. Look, there are no celebrities in Christianity. There are no 18 people and then beating people. There's no stars.
There isn't any. It's a very important thing to understand because our human nature is the one to make people that. So Paul is going to give us, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sort of an overview of all of us as a group. Verse 26 of Chapter one, he said, Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise, according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong and the base things of the world and the despise. God has chosen the things that are not.
He said that he might nullify the things that are so that no man may boast before God. There is an assessment of us as a group. Now, see if you can fit into this group. You're not wise. You're not mighty. You're not noble. You're foolish. You're weak.
Your base. You're despised. Can you make that cut list? I mean, do you think maybe you qualify for that? You see, that's us.
Now, we want to say, no, no, no. I mean, the apostle Paul is way up there. Billy Graham's like way, way up there. No, he's not. Not at all. He's in this group. Just like you are.
Just like I am. We're all in this group. You see, from a human point of view, we're not the most impressive group of people on the planet. But we are to God. Notice verse 30. But by his doing, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us the wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So that just as it is written, let him who boasts boast in the Lord.
God just loves it this way. None of us bring much to the table. And in fact, when it comes to our salvation, none of us bring anything to the table. Just our faith in what he gave us.
That's it. Paul says that's a very important place to start. And so often we don't.
We aspire. We see people and we categorize them as they're a whole different quality person than I am. Not from God's point of view. As I've said so many times in the past, there are only two kinds of people on this planet.
There are saved people and there's lost people. That's it. God's point of view. That's it.
All the other stuff is manmade. So maybe you don't see yourself in your ministry. You see, maybe you don't see your uniqueness in the ministry. Turn to First Corinthians Chapter 12. First Corinthians Chapter 12 and verse 12. Paul wants to describe all of us. Now, as I read through this, I want you to try to figure out where you might fit in the body of Christ.
He's going to use the image of a body, a human body. And he says we're all in that body, the body of Christ. He said, even as the body, he says, even as the body is one and yet has many members and all the members of the body, though there are many, are one body. So also is Christ. He said for by one spirit, we were all baptized into one body. It doesn't matter if we're Jews or Greeks, whether we were slaves or free. We were all made to drink of one spirit. He said, but the body is not one member, but many. Now you say, well, why is he writing this?
Because the problem in Corinth was that some people said, you know, look, I'm not really that happy with who I am in Christ. I want to be like him. I want to be like her. I want to I want to have their gift. That's what they were doing. Paul goes, you don't really understand this. It's just one body.
Now watch what he says, then. He said, if the foot says because I am not a hand, I am not part of the body. Is it not for this reason? He said any less part of the body. If the ear says because I'm not an eye, I'm not part of the body.
Is it not for this reason? Any less part of the body? If the whole body were an eye. That's an interesting thought. Where would the hearing be?
If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now, he says, God has placed the members, each one of them, that's us, in the body. How? Just as he desired. In other words, the ministry that God has called you to do is based on exactly what God has gifted you to do.
He has you placed. Now, he said, if they were all one member, he says, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And I cannot say to a hand, I don't have any need of you.
Or again, a head to the feet. I have no need of you. On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body, which seem to be weaker, are necessary. He says, and those members of the body which we deem less honorable. He said on these we bestow more abundant honor and our unseemly members come to have a more abundant seamliness. He says, whereas our seemingly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body giving more abundant honor to the member which lacked so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may be, he says, have the same care for one another.
Let me just sort of summarize it. If I'm using the some of us, my role was to be the mouth. OK, as you all know, and that's a role, but it's not any more important. Some of your hands, some of your feet. Some of you are the liver. Some of you are the pancreas. Some of you are gall bladders.
Some. You see what I mean? That's who we all are. We make up one body. Now, from the world's point of view and from the Corinthian point of view, I want to be the mouth.
I want to be the mouth. That's how you serve Jesus pulses. That's not the way it works at all. God honors the unseemly part of the body more so than he honors the mouth.
In other words, God sees each individual as more important. Let me ask you something. Would you what happens, for example, if your mouth stops moving?
You simply don't talk. What happens if your heart stops beating? What happens if your kidneys fail? You see, what's the most important part of your body? The part you don't see. God says that's exactly right.
That's the most important part of my body. The church. He goes, that's the part I honor. That's why when it comes to the judgment seat of Christ, I'm going to tell you this and I mean this with all my heart. I think people will be amazed because you're going to give an account for the life you live for Jesus Christ. And so many people think, boy, I'm going to I hope I'm not behind in the line behind like Billy Graham. You know, Billy Graham goes up there and then God starts talking to him.
Then I get up there. You know, I believe with all my heart that there will be people will be more honored by God for all eternity who no one ever heard of. But to God, there are people who make intercessory prayer for God's kingdom, for God's ministries, for God's people almost nonstop. That's what God was asked them to do. That's their ministry.
And I have a hunch that he may say to them, well done, good and faithful servant in a much greater way than he'll say to many of the people who are the mouse. You see, we don't we have to get that every single one of us, every single one of us has a ministry God has called us to. Now, you've got to watch out about this, because what we have a tendency to do then, as soon as you hear it, well, then I need a ministry. I'm going up to the pastor after service to give me a ministry. No, that's not the way ministry is decided.
God gives each one of us, as you read on in 12, a giftedness to do that ministry. You know what we did with it back in the 70s and 80s and 90s? We took inventories. We would pass out to everybody in the church a questionnaire. You fill out the questionnaire and then you say, well, that's your gift.
That's ridiculous. That's completely that's what the gift you want to have. You can write anything on a questionnaire. How do you know what you should be doing? Easy.
Be faithful and obey God and be clear to you. Where's your burden? You see, what's your burden?
It's easy. You see, all you have to do is live your life for the Lord and whatever your special giftedness is becomes evident. And a lot of it is something nobody ever sees. You see, it's that kind of ministry.
There are people that are encouragers. As I said before, there are people who have what Paul writes, the gift of faith. By the way, don't look at spiritual lists of gifts. There are 19 in the New Testament that are listed, but not one place does he list all 19. So that tells me something that tells me there's not one complete list. He would have written it down if there was. How many gifts are there?
Myriad, I think. I believe God gives each one of us in an interesting and special way. But see, what all God is saying is that the gift is all the word. By the way, the word gift is the word chorus, which is grace. God says, look, you serve me. I'll give you the grace to do it. That's all you serve me. I'll give you the grace to do it. You see, that's what God is saying. You never you see, you never have to worry about, am I going to make this?
Am I not going to make this? God, God has given every one of us a ministry. He's placed every one of us in the body of Christ.
Each one of us unique. You follow your burden and you want faithful to the Lord and you'll find out what it is. So some of you may have a failure to see your ministry. Secondly. I hate to say this, but for many of us, we've never given ourselves to ministry for God.
That's the whole point. Let's go back to Galatians one is the last verse I want you to look at the verse. I skipped verse 10. Paul wrote this for my now seeking the favor of men.
Or of God. He said, Or am I striving to please men? He said, If I if I were still trying to please men.
He said, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. You see. As you live out your life. Who are you trying to please? Now, let me tell you some of what men mean there. It means others.
And it means you. Am I living for others? Am I living for me? Or am I living for God? You see, Paul said, I'm not trying to please others. I'm not trying to please Paul. I'm not seeking the favor of others. I'm not seeking my favor. I'm only seeking the favor of the Lord. You see, that's the question for many of us. We never really give ourselves to be used by God.
We never do. You can ask yourself, what are your goals, your real goals in life? Are they secular? I mean, your primary top goals. Are they secular? Are they personal?
Are they spiritual? You see, your primary top goals. If you're a parent, what are your primary goals for your children? The primary goals you have.
I don't mean all goals, because a lot of those goals are good. But what are your primary goals? For so many of us, I want my kids to get a good education. I want my kids to get on a good career path and get a good job. I want them to find a good compatible person to marry. And I want them to make their life for themselves. Oh yeah, and I'd like them to know the Lord, and I'd like them to... You see, what's the question?
What's first in your life? That your children know the Lord? And after they know the Lord, that they walk with the Lord? That they have Christian character?
That that character is evident? You see, is that the top priority of your life, or is it an under the priority? See, what am I seeking the favor of here? Do I seek first the favor of men or of myself, or do I seek first the favor of God?
It's a very important question for us to ask. You see, when Paul ended it, he said, If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Jesus Christ. What a bad translation. I mean, it's just a bad translation.
It's notorious. Bondservant. The word's doulos.
You know what it means? Slave. Slave.
Are you comfortable with that? Slave. You see, we have a tendency to say, I like servant, because I serve. But this isn't God's assessment of Paul. This is Paul's assessment of his relationship with God. God calls Paul a child of God. He calls you and I aren't his children. But what do you call the relationship between you and God?
Paul says, I call it a doulos. I'm a slave. Now, this is what John MacArthur writes about this. He says, Scripture's prevailing description of the Christian's relationship to Jesus Christ is a slave-master relationship. He said, but do a casual read-through of your English New Testament, and you won't see it there.
He said, the reason for this is simple as it is shocking. The Greek word for slave has been covered up by being mistranslated in almost every single English version, going back to both the King James Version and even the Geneva Bible that he says predated it. Though the word slave, doulos, appears in the New Testament 124 times, it's translated slave once in the King James. Most modern translations only do slightly better.
It almost seems like there's a conspiracy. He said, instead of translating doulos as slave, almost all of our English translations consistently substitute the word servant in its place. Ironically, the Greek language has at least a half a dozen words that can mean servant.
Doulos is not one of them. Whenever it is used both in the New Testament and secular Greek literature, it always and only means slave. Then he says this, while it is true that the duties of a slave and a servant may overlap to some degree, there is a key distinction between servants and slaves. Servants are hired.
Slaves are owned. That's why Paul calls himself a slave. I'm not a hireling working for Jesus. He bought me.
He redeemed me. I belong to him. I'm a slave. Notice God doesn't say you're my slave.
Paul says to God, I'm your slave. What's that mean? I'm all in. I'm all in. Completely.
I'm all in. You see, maybe you've never given yourself the ministry to that extent. Maybe you've failed to even see yourself as a viable minister of Jesus Christ. Whatever it is, it really comes down to you. My grandson may not be an artist. And there's some reasons for that. One is by the time he's nine, I'm sure his interest will change.
Maybe eight and a half. Secondly, he may not have enough talent. As an adult, you and I know what kind of talent it would take to be a professional artist.
And thirdly, he may just by through life realize that I never can support myself or support a family by being an artist, and so I'm going to have to do something else. He may never be what he's saying right now I'd like to be. But if you are saying, I want to be greatly used of God as a Christian, if that's what you're saying, there's only one thing that can stop you.
You. Let's pray. Father, I fear that so many believers see ministries like the Apostle Paul's or Billy Graham's, and they say that's what a calling is. That's what a ministry is. But Father, we all have ministry. We're all part of the body. We've all been uniquely experienced and gifted by you.
It may not be something that other people see. It may be simply that we make intercessory prayer for others. It may be simply that we give and support others sacrificially to advance the kingdom of God.
But whatever it is, Father, it's strategically important to you. And so, Father, I pray for each and every one of us to examine our own heart and ask ourselves, do we know how we most effectively can serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Do we know, Father, what is it that burdens our hearts for ministry, for the glory of our Lord? And if we know that, Father, through your spirit, give us the power and the courage to act upon it. I pray for our good and for your glory in Christ's name.
Amen. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called oneplace.com. That's oneplace.com, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.
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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.
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