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Why Aren't We Happy - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2021 8:00 am

Why Aren't We Happy - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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October 11, 2021 8:00 am

Are You Happy?

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. When you wake up in the middle of the night, is that what you think about? Whatever is lovely, whatever is pure, whatever is right, all the good things, that's what I think about.

Or do you spend all the time thinking about the circumstances that gave you the pain or the agony or the apprehension you have about something that's going to happen in your life? You see, we don't do this. We choose not to do this. I don't want to do this. I don't want to take refuge in the Lord.

I don't want to dwell on these kind of things. And so we don't choose to be happy. In fact, we actually choose to be unhappy.

And then we reap what we sow and we are unhappy. 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.

Bill Johnson wrote a book called The Way of Life, and he had this quote in the book. He said, At the center of God's own heart is a love for beauty and pleasure. He created all things for himself to enjoy and for creation to delight in him. There is no delight, beauty or pleasure outside of him that can ever satisfy the cry of our own hearts. Last week, I asked the question, Are you happy?

And I spent some time saying that God is happy. And it's clear on the word of God that he is, and he desires to have a happy people. And secondly, I guess, if we're honest with ourselves, all of us want to be happy.

It's the ultimate pursuit for everybody. So God wants us happy. And we want to be happy. Then why aren't we happy? See, that to me is a very important question. Why aren't we happy?

What I'd like to do is today is to give you five reasons why I believe we're not happy. The very first one will be found in Psalm 34, verse eight, Psalm 34, verse eight. Just one verse. David wrote the psalm and there might be a little bit more in the verse than you think. Verse eight of Psalm 34. David writes, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in him? As I've said in the past, this is Hebrew poetry. They don't rhyme words. They use two lines of the poem. It's called synonymous parallelism. He wants to say the two thing and he says, look, I want you to taste and see how good the Lord is.

But there's a reason for it. He says it in the next part of the verse. He said, how blessed is the man who takes refuge in him? And if you remember last time, I spent quite a bit of my sermon talking about the word blessed in Greek and in Hebrew. In Hebrew, the word is asker. That's what he writes here. And that word always means in the Old and New Testament, happy.

And I talked about why it's not translated that way and it's regrettable that it's not. But it's how happy is the man who takes refuge in him? But there's even more to the verse than that. How happy is the man who takes refuge in him? Takes refuge. That means you have to make a choice. There's something you have to choose to do. You have to take refuge in him.

If I were saying the opposite, I could say this. How unhappy you are if you don't take refuge in the Lord, especially when the circumstances of life are so difficult. We live on a cursed planet surrounded by sinful people, pain and suffering, a part of our lives. And so we lose our happiness because we don't choose to take refuge in God.

And that's always a choice. When I was a student at Dallas Seminary, two of the men that I studied under was Dr. Frank Minrith and Paul Dr. Paul Meyer. They're two Christian psychiatrists and they ran the Minrith Meyer Clinic in Dallas and as well as taught at the seminary level. And they wrote a book called Happiness is a Choice.

And the book really dealt with the whole idea of depression. But what they surmised from it all was that happiness is a choice that a person has to make. And what happens to us often, even as believers, is we don't make the choice.

We don't choose to be happy. I want to back that up by going to Philippians chapter four with me for a moment in the New Testament. Philippians four and verse eight. Now, the book of Philippians is a book all about happiness. The whole book's about joy and happiness. That's why Paul wrote it.

The irony of it is that Paul's in prison and he's waiting to find out whether he'll be executed or not. And he decides to write an epistle about being happy and an epistle about joy. And so when he comes to the conclusion of this in verse eight, he says this. He said, Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Now, what's interesting about that verse is he covers about every good thing you could think of.

I mean, he does the whatevers, true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good reputation, excellence, worthy of praise. But the key to that verse is found right at the end. Dwell. That's a choice. You see, that's a choice. Now, what do you do? When life becomes difficult for you, is that what you do? When you wake up in the middle of the night, is that what you think about? Whatever is lovely, whatever is pure, whatever is right, all the good things, all the that's what I think about.

Or do you spend all the time thinking about the circumstances that gave you the pain or the agony or the apprehension you have about something that's going to happen in your life? You see, we don't do this. We choose not to do this. I don't want to do this. I don't want to take refuge in the Lord.

I don't want to dwell on these kind of things. And so we don't choose to be happy. In fact, we actually choose to be unhappy. And then we reap what we sow and we are unhappy. Secondly, we also allow worry and sin to steal our happiness.

They are both happiness thieves. Look in this down to verse four of chapter four of Philippians. There you see something very interesting. He says, Rejoice in the Lord always again. I say rejoice!

Exclamation points. The word or in Greek is he's all wound up about this. Be happy.

I really want you to be happy. He then says, and let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

That's something to be happy about, by the way. The question is from what do you mean the Lord is near? Well, it means two things. One is he's near to you and to me, even though I'm in prison.

And he's also near to coming back. So are you going to him? So let's be happy at least about that. And then he says this. Be anxious for nothing. Stop worrying.

You see this all through scripture. Don't worry. And he says, be anxious for nothing. So how many things can we be anxious about? You see, I mean, you said, no, I'm not anxious about everything, but I am anxious about some things. And there are some things you just have to be anxious about. Well, that's not what the word of God says. The word of God says, be anxious for nothing.

I mean, that's about as clear as something could be. Be anxious for nothing. He says, because worry is a happiness thief who steals it.

And you know it, and so do I. Randy Alcorn said this. Worry is the product, and I love this, of high stakes and low control. Think about that. That's why we worry. Something's important and you and I don't have control.

And if we don't have control, we worry. But there's some things we need to remember. When you talk about what is good and pure and right and all those things that we should remember, think of this as a believer in Jesus Christ. One, he has already rescued us from eternal disaster. You're saved. Your sins are forgiven. Christ died for you. He's already, your eternal disaster will never happen to you. He said, I want you to remember that when you start worrying about stuff. Secondly, he has told us that the worst things that happen to you, Romans 8.28, he'll turn for good. That's his promise. All things will work together for the good.

I'll see to it. So your eternity is set. You'll never be judged by God.

And now he'll take the worst things that happen in your life and he'll turn them for good. So what are you worried about? You see, where's the worry come from? Thirdly, every second or study will back this up. Virtually almost everything we worry about never happens.

Isn't that amazing? We worry, we worry, we worry, we worry, and then it never happens. Instead of just being grateful and learning from it, we just start worrying about something else.

Something else moves to the back burner, to the front burner, and that's what we'll worry about from there on in. I know the world's a tough place. What's wrong with the world? What's not, huh?

I mean, yeah, we know it. Death, disease, poverty, murder, abuse, war, broken relationships, addictions, exploitation. It's all over the world. In the world we live in though, what's the worldview?

How do you solve that? How does the world solve those things? And if you listen to the pundits in the world talk, they basically say one of two ways. One is that you can fix it by giving people more education and you can fix it by throwing more resources at it. If people are more educated and you throw more resources at it, things will get better. Now, we spend trillions of dollars in educating and throwing resources at the problems of the world and unless you're in a spot that I'm not, are they going away or not? Are those things getting better?

They're not. You see, what's the problem with the world is a simple, simple answer. Sin. That's the problem. The problem of the world is sin and its consequences. That's the problem that the world has. Stephen Charnock, the Puritan writer said, he said, though the fall be the cause of all of our misery, yet recognizing it is the first step toward our happiness.

He's right. That's the first step because God has a solution for sin. You see, he calls it forgiveness. God's solution to sin is forgiveness.

And if you think about it, it's almost ironic because God is the most holy being that exists and that he's the one that's willing to forgive. Sin. How much? All of it. How long? Forever. You see, to what degree?

Consistently over and over and over again. He said, I'll forgive. He said, that's the way I'll solve all this. Now, for us, another way you can make yourself unhappy or miserable is here you are, a sinful person. You're not God. And so many of us will not forgive. You want to steal happiness? Be unforgiving. Because if you are, you won't be happy. Once you become unforgiving, you begin to sow a seed in your soul called bitterness. And just like a cancer, an aggressive form of cancer, it just continues to grow. And then you get really, really bitter. And it steals all your happiness.

I remember years ago reading a study, and they dealt with people who were really, from their point of view, it was secular, happy, and people were really bitter. And they went to the people bitter, and they said, in a nice way, why are you so bitter? And they said, well, you don't understand how people hurt me in the past. And it could be your parents. It could be your mom, your dad. It could be siblings.

It could be a system. It could be people in school, all kinds, a spouse. People hurt me.

And that's why I'm so bitter. Then they decided to interview all the people that are happy. And they asked them about their past, and guess what? By and large, it was identical. It was the same past. They had people hurt them. They had the same experiences.

It wasn't like they were void of those. It's just they chose not to become bitter. Bitterness can do that to us.

That's what happens to us. We allow this worry, and we allow the sin also to kill our happiness. Thirdly, we believe Satan's lies about happiness. We believe them.

It's a shame, but we do. Go with me to Genesis chapter 3 for a moment. Genesis chapter 3, verse 1. Moses writes this. He says, now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. OK, he's crafty. We know that.

And he goes up to the woman. Now, let's get the background. Where do Adam and Eve live? Eden, right? Now, off the top of your head, is it a nice place or not so nice? It's Edenic, right?

We use that word. It's a wonderful place. God comes and walks with them in the garden. There's no bad world out there. There's nothing but goodness. And in that world, all that God did to them is he allowed them total freedom, except he gave them a one-commandment dispensation, just one. And by the way, he said, you can eat of any tree in the garden.

And this one, I've told you this. There was nothing special about that tree. It wasn't like they were all green, but this one was gold. It's not like that. It's just, he said, you can eat of any tree.

I think it was the same as all the others, except that tree. That's the only one you can eat of. A one-commandment dispensation. And if you just listen to what I'm saying, you'll be happy forever.

It sounds like a good deal. Now, here comes Satan, or the serpent. And he says, indeed, as God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden.

Wow. He's questioning what God said. By the way, it always works this way. And then it says, the woman said to him, from the fruit of the trees of the garden, we may eat. But from the fruit of the tree, which is in the middle of the garden, God said, you shall not eat it, or touch it, or you'll die.

Now, I don't think he said touch it, but she got it that way. But there's the one commandment. The serpent said to the woman, you surely shall not die.

Let me paraphrase, for God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be open, and you'll be happy. Ah. Yeah.

That's wrong. That's the temptation. It's always the temptation.

It's always the same. As God said, that's not really true. Think of the major areas in our culture of sinfulness. You think of sex, and drugs, and power, and stuff. All those kinds of things. We fall into all kinds of temptations. That's why the book of Ecclesiastes was written.

Solomon said, you know everything that you think will make you happy on a temporal basis? I did it. Oh, by the way, I did it in a way you could never do it. I did it to the nth degree. In every area, I did it. Here's my conclusion. It's all vanity. It didn't produce happiness at all.

It never did what it said it would do. Now, just think what happens to us. We live in a culture, by the way, where we have taken sexual perversion to sort of new heights. And the reason is, why would people do that?

Because they want to be what? Happy. This is going to make me happy. Now, please understand something. Did Satan invent sex? No.

God did. And he said, and this is the way it's going to work. It's a wonderful thing. It'll make you happy. And it's between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. You don't have it before. You don't have it with other people.

The whole idea of it is in a context. So what'd Satan say? No, you can take it out of the context and be really happy. You can be happy. That's what's going to make you happy.

And we do it over and over again. I can still remember a woman that told me once she was having an affair on her husband, and she said, look, God wants me happy, and this makes me happy. Now, she was in counseling because everyone was so miserable. But she said, God wants me to be happy.

You see, when that ends up happening, you buy into that. Now, think of our culture. When you start reading the national statistics in America of sexually transmitted diseases, especially among young people, it's startling. You never hear it on the news. They don't talk about it. Now, do you think all these young people with sexually transmitted diseases, it makes them happy. They're just happy to do this.

They're not. You see, you take something, and then you make it worse. You just simply say, no, God said, that's not the case at all. And that's what he does in every single area of our lives. And so we end up in courtrooms, and we end up in rehab centers. We end up in therapy. We end up in bankruptcy because I thought it'd make me happy.

I spent money I never earned. I thought it'd make me happy. Bankruptcy's not happy. Sin will never produce lasting happiness in anyone's life. It'll always be temporal, and yet we fall for it over and over again. We choose not to be happy. We allow worry and sin to steal our happiness. We believe Satan's lies about happiness. And this is what happens often to Christians. We feel guilty about the things that God has put in our lives that make us happy.

And so we become unhappy because we believe somehow that's wrong. I want you to go with me to 1 Timothy chapter 6. 1 Timothy chapter 6 and verse 17.

This area has had enormous effect over the church throughout the centuries. It's the kind of thinking that caused the whole monastic period. You remember you used to go to monasteries, separate yourself from everything in the world, wear some very uncomfortable garments, eat dry bread and drink water, be isolated, and that'll make you happy.

Just the thought of it doesn't make you happy, but people thought it would make you happy because you don't want, you can't get happiness in many of the things God gives you. That's not true. Let me show you this in verse 17. He said, instruct those who are rich in this present world. Ah, these are rich people in the church. He said, I want you to instruct those who are rich in this present world. Well, you can't be rich and happy.

It's not true. You can be rich and happy, just like you can be poor and happy. You can be rich and happy, but I want you to instruct those who are rich in this present world, first, not to be conceited.

Wow. Rich people are never conceited, are they? Not rich people.

Is there a temptation there? You see, the word conceited means do they get their significance from being rich? Do they think they're better than other people because they have money? There's a real temptation with getting your significance from your wealth.

He said, no, don't do that. Don't get your significance from being rich. And then he says, secondly, or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. That's their security. Don't think you get your significance and your security from having money. Now, none of us would ever fall for that, would we?

I mean, isn't that the whole key? We don't get any security from money. If we have more money, you don't want to face your retirement years.

You read our papers and stuff. You don't want to face your retirement years. Of all things, the worst thing, you could face it without enough money. And if you read the articles, I kept thinking, I'll never have that kind of money.

I mean, it's never going to happen. I'll never have that kind of money. Then I thought for a moment, wait, all the people I grew up with were all factory workers. My dad was, all my neighbors were. They all retired and they made it. But they said in the article, you can't make it unless you have all this money.

And so we try to acquire more and more to make it secure. 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 That's 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,

That's 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 For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word. ...
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-12 11:53:26 / 2023-08-12 12:03:40 / 10

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