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Followers Don't Fear - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
August 18, 2021 8:00 am

Followers Don't Fear - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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August 18, 2021 8:00 am

How to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Think of all the things you're afraid of. Financial ruin, the stock market, crime in the streets, hurricane season, in a terminal diagnosis or prognosis.

Think of all the things that we get so afraid about. And Jesus says, living among sinful people on a cursed planet, if you really follow Him, you can drive the fear out of your life. 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.

Last week I started a new series entitled Simply Follow. And the premise is that Jesus encountered different kinds of people through the Gospels and He invited them to simply follow Him. Last week we learned that the only prerequisite to follow Christ is to admit that you're a sinner.

Today, I want to talk about something else. What's the benefit? If you follow Jesus Christ, what's the benefit?

For the here and now, what's the benefit? What's the reward for following Christ? You might be surprised that it's perhaps not as clear as you think. For example, you might think, well, the reward for following Christ is heaven. Now, I'm happy to say we're going to heaven if you put your faith in Christ. But in the context of following Christ, Christ rarely spoke about heaven and never in the context of following me. In fact, He told the thief on the cross, this day you'll be with Me in paradise. This day. Now, how long did the thief on the cross follow Jesus?

Minutes? You might say, well, maybe then the reward would be it'll make me a better person. And by the way, that's true. If you follow Jesus Christ, you will be a better person. But Jesus never said, follow me and I'll make you a better person.

That wasn't the context in which He used it. And then there's the most popular reason today among evangelicals in America, I think. And that is that if you follow Jesus Christ, you will have a pain free, problem free life. But Jesus never said, if you follow me or you do this step or you take you partake of this formula, that you will have a pain free and problem free life.

You see, that's not Christianity. That's magic. And the thing about magic is and this is what makes it difficult for us is sometimes magic works. And then you start believing in the magic. For example, if this fall I decided to get my old lucky rabbit's foot out and put it in my pocket and go to a saint's game. And just by sheer fortitude or providence, they win that day. You see, I could say, well, there it is.

That's what really pulled this off. For example, if you find yourself jobless and someone said to you, what you need to do if you're jobless is put on your best suit, go to the front door every morning for one week. And stand at your front door looking out to the world and read chapter one and chapter two of the Book of Job.

OK. And if you get a job, you see. Now, many of you would never fall for such a thing, but I know some of you well enough to know that for some of you, this may be your magic. This is a picture of St. Joseph. By the way, the scripture never implies why would Joseph be a saint? We don't know anything about Joseph, except that he died sometime between Jesus is 12 and he was 30. But this is St. Joseph.

And in this area where we live, this is big real estate news. If you go to Amazon dot com, you can buy St. Joseph's. I wouldn't pay the eight ninety nine. So I just cut it out.

I wasn't. But if you do that, you follow these steps. It comes with the statue.

OK. Ensure that the house and property for sale looks good for the future owners. Secondly, gently bury the lovely statue of St. Joseph in a hole in the garden. Ideally, this hole should be in the front of the house, burying the statue facing towards the house. Upside down and says with his feet facing toward the sky.

So it'd be more like this. OK, now or bury him in a pot of soil. If you're trying to sell an apartment, a home without a garden or a home that's far away, then you say the special St. Joseph prayer for nine days in a row. And then you believe, believe, believe.

And when the house is sold to the perfect buyer at a fair price, wait until the contract is signed and then remove St. Joseph from the soil, clean him thoroughly and place the statue in a place of honor in your new home. Sometimes that works. Sometimes you put houses up for sale and they sell. And by the way, it always works for the retailer. OK. One hundred percent of the time. You see, that's magic view of life. Is not really what Jesus talked about at all. In fact, you think about the magic view of life and you say, well, what if it didn't work?

Wouldn't that? No, no, no. Now, remember, if it doesn't work, it's always be always going to be because you didn't have enough faith.

In fact, remember when I was reading it? It said here, you say a special prayer to St. Joseph nine days in a row and you believe, believe, believe. Now, if you say that prayer nine days in a row and you only believe, believe.

That's why it didn't happen. That's a magical view of life. That's not what Jesus talked about at all.

When Jesus. Said, follow me. He was not talking about a pain free and problem free life. But he was talking about something that all of us really desperately need.

To live our lives in this world. Jesus says that if you really follow me. I will drive out fear. You won't be afraid. Think of all the things you're afraid of. Financial ruin, the stock market, crime in the streets, hurricane season.

In a terminal diagnosis or prognosis. Think of all the things that we get so afraid about. And Jesus says, living among sinful people on a cursed planet. If you really follow him. You can drive the fear out of your life.

I want to start. It's all over the gospels, but I want to start with one particular passage. Matthew 10. Kind of an obscure passage. Matthew 10 and verse 16. And in Matthew 10, by the way, this is Jesus sending out the disciples in the context is kind of interesting. But what makes it kind of interesting is that right up till now, Jesus is having tremendous success and popularity. And the disciples are sort of bathing in that. It's like, man, this is great. Everywhere he goes, the crowds, everybody loves him.

It's just wonderful. So in verse one, it says Jesus summoned his 12 disciples and he gave them authority over unclean spirits, disease and everything. He's going to send them out. So you just know they're got to be wound up. They're really excited about this potential in their own lives. Then that verse 16 abruptly, Jesus says, behold. Now, when you see that word behold, especially in Matthew, but anywhere in the New Testament, it means you really have to listen now. Behold is the word you do. And it means stop and listen.

This is important. He says, behold, I send you out a sheep in the midst of wolves. Now, that's paradoxical in and of itself. So he said, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Now, that probably threw them back just a little bit, OK? Because normally when you think of a shepherd metaphor, you never think of a shepherd saying, OK, I got the flock here. I heard over in the next valley there's a big pack of wolves.

Let's go over there. You see, but Jesus telling them, I'm sending you out a sheep among wolves. And then he uses two other metaphors. He says to him, look, what you need to do is you need to be as shrewd as a serpent. Now, that probably comes from the Egyptian.

The Egyptians always talked a lot and spent a lot of time talking about how serpents were so shrewd or so cunning or so smart. He said, you're going to have to be really smart. But he also said, and you're also going to have to be, he said, as gentle as a dove or as innocent as a dove.

Well, the dove's innocence is marked by words like not abrasive, don't be coarse, don't be belligerent, don't be untruthful, don't be unethical. In other words, I want you to be wise. Like a serpent, and I want you to have character. He said, that's what I want you to have. To go out there.

Wow. That sounded interesting to them. Be smart, have character. Paul said in Colossians 4, conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders. You've got to make the most of the opportunity. That's kind of what Jesus is saying.

So I'm sure right now they're a little bit perplexed, but still pretty enthusiastic. And then he says, but beware. They don't want to beware and neither do you and I want to beware. You don't want someone to say, hey, this is what I want you to do, but beware. As soon as you hear those two words, you think, oh, boy, there it comes. He says, but beware of men.

He says, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues. What? You see, that that's the last thing they thought. They thought, look, when I send you out, when you enter a village, you're going to have a parade in your honor. People are going to cheer because you're here and you're going to do the kind of things I did. He says, look, beware.

I want to tell you something. He said they're going to hand you over in their courts and they're going to scourge you in the synagogue. The word scourge is the word flogging. You get a flogging in a synagogue, by the way.

You have permanent reminders. That's thirty nine lashes with a whip. So he said, oh, by the way, that's what they're going to do. They're going to put you in the synagogue. They're going to give you thirty nine lashes. You have the scars the rest of your life. So you need to beware. Now, they're thinking, wow, I thought this was going to be like really just nothing but wonderful, problem free, pain free.

It's going to be great. He said you will even be brought before the governors. That's the Roman governors and kings.

That's people like Agrippa and Herod Antipas. He says, for my sake, he said, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. He says, but when they hand you over to the courts, to the government, when they hand you over, he says, do not worry about how or what you are to say, for it will be given to you in that hour what you are to say, for it is not you, he says, who speak, but it is the spirit of your father who speaks in you. What is he saying?

Whenever life gets really bad for you, when you're being arrested, heading to court, being flogged, being threatened. He says, well, there's what's going to happen. God will show up. He said God's going to show up.

He'll even tell you exactly how it is you should speak. And by the way, when you read the Book of Acts, that's exactly what happened. Down to verse 26, though, notice what he says then.

He says, therefore, let me conclude this. Do not fear them. Do not fear them.

Jesus says this over and over again, 10 times in the Gospels, over. Do not fear them. Do not fear.

You see, you're a follower of me. Do not fear them. Well, wait a minute, though, arrest me. They're going to flog me. We have to be afraid of them. Jesus says no. He said, Do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden.

It will not be made known. What I tell you, said in darkness, speak in the light and what you hear whispered in your ear. Proclaim upon the housetops.

You get out there and you go. Do not fear those who kill the body. Now, I could just see like Peter saying to Andrew, Andrew, did he just say kill the body?

I think. Do not fear those who kill the body. Wow. Jesus says, look, you're my follower. You don't have to fear them.

He said, let me give you a perspective. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. He said, rather fear him who is able to destroy both the soul and the body, he said, in hell. You want to fear anybody, you fear God. And he said, these are the beginning of God fearing people. You see, he said, you fear God. Don't you fear what man can do. You don't fear anybody that could just kill your body.

Or anything, I think, that could just kill your body. He then goes on and explains it. He says, are not two sparrows sold for a cent? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground. And he says, apart from your father.

You ever think of that? He's saying God is involved every single time a sparrow falls to the ground. There are probably hundreds of millions of sparrows, billions and billions of them. And just right now, as I'm speaking, somewhere in interior Africa, a sparrow fell. God says, yeah, I saw that.

What's Jesus' point? He's sovereign. Like over everything.

Even a sparrow falling. And then he says even more though, notice he says, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. That's a funny thing, isn't it? I mean, do you ever think about that? I said this earlier.

I was thinking about the first service, but just came to me. I thought I would never do this with God because usually I think once you're in the presence of the Lord, you don't really want to be too funny with him that way. But I, you know, I could name any one of you and he would give me the number of hairs in your head.

I mean, what a game that would be. Name a person, he'd name the number of hairs. Why would Jesus say that? It tells you, first of all, just down to what his omniscience is. It's almost beyond, it is beyond our belief.

It's just unfathomable for us that somebody would know that much. Then he says this. So do not fear you are more valuable than many sparrows.

There it is. Not only is God sovereign, not only is God omniscient, he said, but you have tremendous intrinsic value to God. You see, you mean a lot to God. He's assuring them of God's presence. He is confident, trying to give them confidence in God's power. And he is trying to secure them in God's love. And he says that when you have that, you will not fear. You see what Jesus didn't do here. He didn't tell the disciples when you go out and they take you into court, I'll give you a get out of jail free card. You see, he doesn't say any of that. He said, whenever they do this to you, don't fear them. You see, I think what we would want often is, look, Lord, what we'd rather have them is not do anything to us.

He says, no, it doesn't work that way on a cursed planet in the real world. Turn back with me now to Matthew six. Matthew Chapter six and take something much more mundane. Matthew Chapter six.

Sermon on the Mount. And at the end of the chapter, verses 27 to 34, he's saying, look, don't worry about what you wear. Don't worry if you have clothing to wear. Don't worry if you have food to eat. Now, by the way, that to us would be the necessities of life. You know, I'm not talking about being worried about being arrested and flogged because I'm proclaiming Christ.

Now I'm just trying to eat and get through the day. And Jesus said, don't worry about that. Whatever you do, don't worry about it.

Don't worry about that. So he says in verse 31, do not worry then saying, what shall what will we eat? What will we drink?

What will we wear for clothing? He said that Gentiles eagerly seek all these things. He said, your heavenly father knows that you need these things. Well, what do you mean?

He said, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. All these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself and then something none of us like to hear. Each day has enough trouble with its own. I thought there would be no trouble.

I don't want trouble. No, he said every day is going to have its own trouble. Now, I want you to see what Luke adds to this and go with me now to Luke Chapter 12. Luke Chapter 12, same message. And down to verses 30, 31 and 32. In verse 30, Luke says this. He says, quoting Jesus, for all these things, he said, the nations of the world eagerly seek, but your father knows that he said you need these things. Seek first his kingdom. These things will be added to you.

But Luke adds something. He says, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Now, let me tell you something.

If you don't have enough food to eat, shelter or clothing, would you have fear? You see, Jesus said, not if you're a follower of mine. I've just told you, don't be afraid. There's nothing to fear here. He says, do not be afraid, little flock, for your father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Wow. One verse, four different images. First, he calls us the little flock.

So what do we know? He is our shepherd. That's why we're the flock. He said, don't be afraid, little flock. The Lord is my shepherd.

I shall not want. 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.

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. For 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 / 2023-09-14 21:58:04 / 2023-09-14 22:06:52 / 9

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