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October 1, 2021 8:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ being different and so they Can approach them and said how is it that you are sleeping since get up and call your God, he says. Perhaps your God will be concerned about us so that we will not perish, as is ironing a pagan becomes a prophet to a prophet, and doing what prophet usually due to pagan and that is the call them to pray to God but the pagan does this Philadelphia's drawing of today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor broke your heart Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now again he shows us God's word meets our work.
God is the God of open doors is always opening doors boundless opportunities to contribute to his kingdom, to make our lives count now and forever, who could not want that you may seem strange that she we long for open doors and yank when God opens a door. So often we resist we withdraw Abraham Maslow in his work the father sent the farther reaches of human nature wrote this he said if you deliberately plan to be less then you're capable of being that I warn you that you will be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life and you will be evading your capacities in your own possibilities and he says we have a pension for that and he calls it the Jonah complex often when God opens doors for us.
What happens is a little game of tug-of-war we start resisting thinking and basically only you know in your own life. How often God wins when he opens the door, and how often you win when you resist going through that door. The most famous and the most colorful example of someone resisting and even running from an open door as Jonah. In fact, if there was such a thing, and I do not believe there is such a thing. Jonah would be that patron St. of refuse callings the greatest biblical example of saying no when God opens a door turning a Bible to the book of Jonah. This is a book that were almost too familiar with. This is a book that's relegated often to first and second grade Sunday school and it becomes a whole story of Jonah and the whale, but this book is so much more than that. In fact, been Jonah. We learn the reasons are why we are tempted to say no to God when he opens doors. The book begins and says the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of amortized saying, arise, and go to Nineveh, the great city and cry against them for their wickedness is come up before me already in those verses.
Understanding the context we see one of the reasons when God opens a door for us to serve him in his kingdom. We often allow fear to hold us back. Seemed Jonah is a prophet for the nation of Israel, the 10 tribes in the north that makes him an activist. Also, by the way, that makes him a troublemaker and that's how the prophets were all sitting at any time. Israel had a lot of priests, but almost always they only had one prophet at a time when writer I read this week said that's probably because they can only stand one prophet at a time, and generally speaking, the prophets are kind of fearless but they were exclusively to be prophets to the nation Israel. This is something unusual, he said, arise, and go to Nineveh and cry against it. Nineveh, the capital of the greatest Syrian Empire.
At that time the eighth and seventh centuries BC. The greatest power on earth and by a mile. The most feared Empire.
One of the most feared empires that ever existed and the reason was most empires when they conquered your army. They would in a sense, try to enfold the people of the Syrians didn't like doing that when they conquered you. They usually practice genocide. They kill all of you if they could they would force March people all the way back to Nineveh and there they got back to Nineveh. They would execute you as I've said often in the past, but I thought an Jonah. One historian said that first far as 30 miles and the gates of Nineveh, there would be single pegs on the side of the road with people they conquered Impala from the crotch right through just mounted on those things. So the last 30 miles that's what you saw when you came to Nineveh. These are fierce people.
In fact, what I'd like you to do is to simply in your Bible to books to you right. The book of Nahum Jonah Micah Nahum and I want to go to chapter 3 with me and Nahum is speaking against the Assyrians and against Nineveh. In chapter 3, verse one. He says this woe to the blooding city completely full of lies and pillage her prey never departs the noise of the whip.
The noise of the wrapping of the will galloping horses and bounding chariots, horsemen charging swords flashing spears gleaming many slain a mass of corpses and countless dead bodies they stumble over the dead bodies and then look at the very end of it he pronouncing a prophetic judgment against them. The last verse of the book of Nahum chapter 3 verse 19 he says there is no relief for your break on your wound is incurable. All who hear about you will clap their hands over you. He says for one whom has not your evil pass continually nailed prophesies decision is India time when you're finally conquered and everybody is ever known.
They can't wait to get rid of you know, there's a difference though Nahum is saying these terrible things against the Assyrians and Nineveh, but he safely and Israel. Now that's not what God's asked Jonah to do.
He's as Jonah. He said arise back to Jonah. One arise and go to Nineveh, the great city and I want you to cry against it while Jonah rose up to flee see when God opens a door for us to serve him in his kingdom. Sometimes we allow fear to hold us back doesn't have to be that way.
I mean if you read the New Testament special book of acts everywhere that Paul went. He was hated and he was persecuted and he was often imprisoned and he was beaten and he was stoned and left for dead meat all that happen. Any still wet, but I know if you're sitting there. You're probably thinking that I know but that that that's Paul well for all these many many years.
We have supported Dr. Joe Harvey and Becky in the Congo and I can imagine how many people thought when Joe and Becky said were going to go to the Congo to the remote part of the Congo. Now the political turmoil. There is just unbelievable and has been but just the thought of going the thought of disease. The thought of all kinds of issues, but they went and I can know what you think over that was stuck.
Joe Harvey, if you know Joe I mean he was after all it was called by God waves a little boy and still feel pretty safe. But this week we got a text from friends that now live over in Houston who were long time members of our church and therefore kids. The youngest son they have his name. Chad and he said 22 years old and he just graduated from Texas A&M so we receive this text message in this past week and this is what his mother wrote.
She said the Lord has called Chad to minister to Muslims.
He begins a program in January, but he so anxious and he wants to get started. So he's leaving Thursday for Jordan. He will live with a host family until January and be enrolled in language school would really appreciate your prayers for him and then subsequently got another text and said it's an amazing feeling to know that the safest and best place for your son is in God's will ask you something. If God opened the door for you or one of your immediate family members are specially your own children, similar to that door, I would you feel maybe more importantly, what would you do see when God opens a door for us to serve him and his kingdom. We often allow fear to hold us back all revealed there and that word, look how this plays out in verse three.
Jonah rose up to flee to Tarsus in the presence of the Lord while you see what's happening is not just not going to Nineveh he's not going East he's going last, but he's not just doing that physically, spiritually he was leaving the presence of the Lord. He's a prophet. He said yeah but I do not want to go through that door. Fear can hold us back. In fact, secondly, having other options can hold us back from open doors it says so he went down to Joppa found the ship which was going to Tarshish and paid the fare and went down into it he says to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Having other options can hold you back from going through an open door that God is giving you the keys and that little phrase paid the fare paid the fare that I might not mean much to you but you got understand something here. Those fears were basically in gold or silver or money. Most the time and not part of the world at this time. Seven century BC. Everything was bartered very few people had money. John had money but he just didn't have money. Jonah had a lot of money you seek.
Tarshish is the furthest place you can go close to Spain. It's a far as you can go that the world ends there.
Tarshish, in fact, when ever you talked about somebody being loaded in a famously rich you're so how rich are they they can afford a ship to Tarshish that became an idiom for having tremendous amount of money. Jonah has options.
He's got money. He has enough money to go as far away from God's door as he can, because he had money had options because he had options he had mobility. I wonder how many times God is open the door for you and Ben because you have other options you rationalize in your head. You see, well, I don't need to go through that door. I wonder how many other young people are in college and have an option to do some ministry just like Chad and up they say what again that that that be nice but a minute stay because I have to get my MBA because and I get my MBM that really get a good job and is me a lot of money to make an end.
You don't go through the door. That's more in the macro but how about this, you know, I know that's a wonderful ministry to the poor, or to the homeless Lord of the children, but that Saturday morning and I I got golf on Saturday mornings. It's amazing to me. Times will rationalize not going through an open door to minister for Jesus Christ because we have other options. When God opens a door for us to serve him in his kingdom. We allow fear to hold us back.
We often allow having other options to hold us back. You see the problem as Jonah thinks he's solving it. He thinks he's running to safety, but is not starting in verse four when God opens a door for us. Often our own spiritual blindness to open doors. The doors right in front of us hold us back. We don't see the door watch what happens. It says the Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about the breakup and then the sailors and by the way these one be any kind of sailors.
These would be the best sailors in the world at this time because they can go the furthest.
This is as good as it gets.
But it says then then the sailors became afraid and Everyman cried to his God Elohim is that word God generic word. Everyone cried his God, I mean this is an international crew. Everybody gets to have bringing in further God and a through the cargo which is in the ship and the seed to like that for them. That tells you what's happening. The car goes there money. You see the cargoes why they're doing this then thrown overboard because they're going to die. But Jonah gone below under the hold of the ship made on the phones. Honestly, for an interesting perspective spirit simply for me because one of the most amazing things that we think about Jonah coming from the northern tribes.
I don't know he's been on the water before the lessee fairy now. I don't know what it's like going down the horrible little ship like that and then you have that kind of storm he's asleep and I think that symbolic of the idea that he's physically asleep, and he spiritually asleep. He's completely indifferent and so the captain approached him and said how is it that you were sleeping says get up and calling your God, he says. Perhaps your God will be concerned about us so that we will not perish. This is irony of pagan becomes a prophet to a prophet, and doing what prophet usually due to pagans and that is the call them to pray to God but the pagan does this, it fell on deaf ears. And so each man said was made, let us cast lots and we may learn on whose account. This calamity has struck us and they cast lots and lots going Jonah Providence or coincidence, and then they said to him tell us now on whose account has this calamity struck us. What is your occupation where you come from, what is your country from what people were you and he said to them, I am a Hebrew and a fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land is really interesting because he said I'm a Hebrew and I fear you are very valid on the generic Elohim to the most intense personal descriptive name of God, Yahweh, while and then the men became extremely or greatly is a better work extremely frightened and they said to him, how could you do this for the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord because he told him so. They said to him, what should we do. He said to you that the sea may become calm for us for the sea was becoming increasingly worse or stormy and Joan of this profit so spiritually blind. Here's his plan.
Pick me up from intimacy.
See you become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm is come upon you of this is interesting to there's something going on here that you might've missed. I Joan is missing what's happening that's opening a door. This is a door within a door God is open the door. This is that this is a door for ministry for Jonah. Jonah innocent will just throw me overboard.
That would take care of it. Now watch however the men rode best for me to return to Lambert they could not and he says for the sea became even stronger against them. We value life too much. We will not do that we will do everything we can to save your life and it says and then they called on Yahweh not not a God. Not one of their gods, they called on Yahweh and he says they called on the Lord and said we earnestly pray all Yahweh. Do not let us person account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us for you all. Yahweh he said have done as you are pleased that our praying to their gods anymore. Lord, please. We don't want to kill this man. But please, we don't want to drown and so they picked up Jonah and eighth room into the sea and the sea stopped its raging and then the men fear the Lord greatly, then the men fear the of a greatly soon as he hits the water. I mean, it's hard to imagine a scene quite like this storm all that stuff going on and he hits the water to just gets, and then it says they offered sacrifice to the Lord. They made files as a worship service on a pagan ship. Now I'm not saying are not saying that this looks a lot like conversion. This is a mini version of what God said. I'm going to do in Nineveh, Joan is blind.
He doesn't see it all. He just sees it as a fatalistic way for me overboard. Kind of interesting when you think about it as something else or though God takes the context of storms and testimony and so often brings a loss to him what you think is a storm is a door. I wonder if Chuck Colson would've ever had the ministry had everyone in prison on. That's a terrible thing, not in the long run about that Helen Keller or Rabbi John Erickson taught your life's a storm. I was going to use that you see so often when you consider this storming are so spiritually blind to the doors that all you think about us is just awful. This is just terrible. This is just awful. Yes, it is what a opportunity you have in the context of a storm of your life for God to use you in the measurably great way in a way you cannot possibly imagine how thrilled your on the radio ministry of fellowship Lord, if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you dislike of the sum of the method one more time. Remember, you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the fellowship and the word online event website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her 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. Yes, all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help his radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly with just the 100th support for ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word. 4600 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, LA 7006 if you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format that is is a sermon, the pastor will deliver during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible church visit our website FVC Nola.org that FVC and oh LA.O RG at our website you will find hundreds of pastoral sermon you can browse through our sermon archives defined sermon series are looking for. You can search by title. Once you find the messenger looking for. You can listen online or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own. And remember, you can do all this absolutely free of charge. Once again our website is FVC Nola.org forecaster Bill Gebhardt and Jason Denhardt. Thank you for listening to fellowship in order