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Love The Word - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2021 8:00 am

Love The Word - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. You see the big problem among the Hebrews is they were spiritual babies. They couldn't deserve right and wrong. That's why they were tempted to go back into Judaism.

Why is that the case? Because they didn't really know and love the Word of God. That's what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Not just to them, but he's saying it to all of us. It's astounding probably how many of us really are not mature in the Word at all.

We're simply milk drinkers as children. It doesn't matter chronologically how long you've been a Christian. It matters where you are in a sense spiritually. Because the whole idea of the Word of God is to discern good and evil. To discern good and evil is to give you wisdom.

The Bible talks about wisdom all the time. Wise choices. How do you live life to the fullest?

How do you make the best choices? You see, God says, look, I can help you with that. I can give you my word and this will help you discern good and evil. 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. Over the holidays, I read a book by a man named Greg Hawkins and he was one of the staff pastors at Willow Creek, a church in Chicago, a mega church in Chicago.

In fact, in the 1990s when Greg Hawkins was there, the average Sunday attendance at Willow Creek was over 20,000 people were attending. The church literally had hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of programs. The idea behind their programs was that they wanted their programs to be able to produce, quote, dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. They wanted people who loved God with everything they had. They knew that Jesus had said that love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, your neighbor as yourself, that that must encapsulate everything.

They realized, too, that Bill Hybels, who's their senior pastor, had said 90% dedication to Christ leaves you still, he said, 10% too little. And so they wanted to see how their programs were really doing. And they created a survey of questions, long and extensive. They surveyed over 9000 people from their own church. But then they decided maybe it'd be more important to survey evangelical Christians from all kinds of churches. And so when they had finished, they had surveyed over a half a million evangelical Christians in over 2000 different churches.

So the database here is just enormous. And when they had finished everything that they had done, the first sentence of the report to the leadership at Willow Creek was this. All your assumptions about what you are doing are wrong.

All your assumptions about what you are doing are wrong. Now, that must have been a shock to them to say the very least. You see, they had finished and they put everybody that they had surveyed into four groups. And the first group that they had is a person who goes to church or a believer in God, but they're unsure about the relationship with Jesus Christ. And the relationship with God is impersonal. If you were going to encapsulate them in one sentence, it would be this.

I go to church, but my faith is not a significant part of my real life at all. That was category one. Category two, if you were going to put it in a sentence, it would be this. I have a relationship with Jesus and I'd like to know him better. Category three was I have a relationship with Jesus and I look to him for help and comfort and guidance. I depend on him on a daily basis. And then they find there was a category four.

My relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in my life and it influences every single thing I do. Now, they found out something else then. There was no correlation at all between participation in church programs and which category you came in.

None. That's what shocked them. They found out that category four people were in small churches, as small as 10 or 15 people.

They were in medium churches, they were in large churches and they were in mega churches. But what really shocked them about the category four person was this. Remember, they had surveyed over a half a million people. Only 12% of Christians are in category four.

12% in category four. It was astounding to them to find this out. You see, they thought that all of the programs that they had and all the specialized ministries were all going to move people to love the Lord more deeply. And it wasn't true. So they decided then to look at these people who were category four people and that certain characteristics that they had that other people don't.

And the one I want to look at today is simply this. Category four Christians spent a lot more time in the word of God. But not at all because they felt obligated to. But because they actually loved to be in the word of God. What an interesting statement that is. See, that really shouldn't surprise us too much of how different they were.

Back in the 1950s, A.W. Tozer said, May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the kingdom, like children going through a marketplace, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the true value of absolutely nothing. Chuck Swindoll wrote this. We've all been in a hurry at some point and grab fast food instead of planning and cooking a balance meal. We barely stop to enjoy the food as we wolf-a-dine and on the go we are. He said it may satisfy our hunger for a while, but it provides little nourishment. Spiritual fast food presents the same problem. A quick glance at a verse or two on the way out the door doesn't give you long-term satisfaction.

Our spiritual food needs to be carefully prepared so it will sustain us and refresh us and satisfy our deepest longings of our souls. Looking back over all the years that you have known Christ, is there any measurable difference in your walk, your growth, and your depth? As a result of the years you've spent growing older, have you measurably, he said, spiritually grown up? It's a great question.

Have you asked that of yourselves? How much different than you are right now than you were five years ago? See, how much have you really grown?

How much have you really changed? You see, there's nothing new about biblically shallow Christians at all. In fact, over a half a million people in 2,000 churches say that about 88% of us fall in those categories. Open your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 5 and I want to illustrate that this is not new. The context of these, obviously, is in the book of Hebrews.

You've heard me teach on this book before. The book of Hebrews is about Jewish believers who are really being persecuted for believing in Christ. They've been disowned by their families.

They've been ostracized by friends. They've decided after 20 to 25 years that maybe it would be better to go back into Judaism. You see, go back in and still believe in Jesus. The writer of Hebrews says emphatically, categorically, no. You can't do that.

You can't go back. He also says to them, you have to understand that everything in Judaism that you would call holy or sacred is just a shadow. That Jesus is the substance of everything. Consequently, he goes through one stage after another telling them the superiority of Jesus Christ. Here in chapter 5, in verse 5, notice what he says. He says, so also Christ did not glorify himself so as to become a high priest.

But it is he who has said to him, you are my son, today I have begotten you. Just as he also says in another passage, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. His point is going to be that Christ is a Melchizedekian priest. He's not a Levite. He's not from Aaron.

He's superior to that. But he realizes when he says it to them, their response is simply, who's Melchizedek? I don't know who he is.

You see, I don't know what you're talking about. This great king of Salem, this king priest. So, notice what happens down to verse 10, he says, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Concerning him, we have much to say. It's hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing.

And that's the epidemic among Christians. Dull of hearing. In other words, they don't really listen. They do their time.

They go through the motions and they just simply don't really listen. He said, I'd like to say so much more about Melchizedek, but there's no point in it. Now, we'll look at verse 12. He said, for though by this time you ought to be teachers.

You've been walking with Christ for 25 years, you ought to teach people the word of God. He says, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk and not solid food.

I can't even give you the meat because you can't accept it because you're dull of hearing. He said, everyone who partakes only of the milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness. He's a baby.

He's an infant. He's talking about the word of God. He said, they really can't deal with it. They don't see it that way.

He says, solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained, and there it is, to discern good and evil. You see, the big problem among the Hebrews is they were spiritual babies. They couldn't deserve right and wrong. That's why they were tempted to go back into Judaism.

Why is that the case? Because they didn't really know and love the word of God. That's what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Not just to them, but he's saying it to all of us. It's astounding probably how many of us really are not mature in the word at all.

We're simply milk drinkers as children. It doesn't matter chronologically how long you've been a Christian. It matters where you are in a sense spiritually because the whole idea of the word of God is to discern good and evil. To discern good and evil is to give you wisdom. The Bible talks about wisdom all the time, wise choices. How do you live life to the fullest?

How do you make the best choices? You see, and God says, look, I can help you with that. I can give you my word, and this will help you discern good and evil. Turn with me now to 1 Kings. 1 Kings chapter 4 and verse 29. 1 Kings chapter 4 and verse 29. I want to see you to see one of the great dispensers of wisdom in Scripture.

You know his name. His name is Solomon. He is the son of David.

So verse 29 says this. Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breath of mind like the sand that is on the seashore. How much wisdom does he have?

He said it's infinite. He said God gave him a special endowment. He said Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than all men, and he said, then Ethan, he said, the Israelite, and Heman, and Calcol, he says, and Darda, the sons of Mahal. And he says, and his fame was known throughout all the surrounding nations. He says he spoke more than 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.

I love that end five. His songs could have said 1,000, 1,005. He spoke of trees from the cedar of Lebanon, even to the hyssop that grows on the wall. He spoke of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. His wisdom was in the real world. He knew all the wise things to say about life, a supernatural gift from God. He said men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon. He said from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

That's wisdom. Now I want you to see what Solomon wrote and then back to the word of God. I want to go now to Proverbs chapter 2. Proverbs chapter 2. Proverbs 1 is all about wisdom. Proverbs chapter 2. How do we acquire it? Like how do we become wise?

How do we stop doing stupid things? He writes this. He says, my son, if you receive my words and treasure my commandments within you and make your ear a tent of the wisdom and incline your heart to understanding, and if you cry for discernment and lift your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God, for the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.

You could tell by the emphasis when I was reading, what's the most important word? If. If. You see, it could also have said, son, if you don't do this, you're not going to be wise. You see, you're not going to be wise. If you do these things, he said, then you'll be wise. Each one of these things are what we have to do.

That's the most important word. Notice he says, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasure. Let me ask you, if somebody you really trusted told you something you never knew was possible, but it turned out to be true, that somebody had buried $10 million in your backyard, how would you act? What would you do? What would your yard look like? See, what would you do?

You see how foolish it seems to be saying nothing. I wouldn't do anything. You know you would. You know you would.

Why? There's nothing more important than more money. You see, that's something worthwhile. See, he says that's what Solomon says.

Remember, Solomon had all the money he could ever imagine. He said, but you have to seek wisdom. See, God doesn't dispense wisdom to lazy souls. He doesn't.

You have to go after it. We sort of have to be in a sense like Robert Ballard. He's the man who, by the way, discovered the wreckage of the Titanic off the course of Newfoundland. It was a life's work for him. He says this, my first direct view of Titanic lasted less than two minutes, but the stark sight of her immense black hole towering above the ocean floor will remain forever ingrained in my memory. My lifelong dream was to find this great ship. And during the past 13 years, the quest for her had dominated my life.

And now, finally, that quest is over. When Ballard found the ship, by the way, he took 53,500 photographs. 53,500 photographs of the ship.

Think of all the money. Think of the endless hours that he had spent. Think of how diligent and painstaking his effort was for a ship that sunk. Now, let me ask you how painstaking is your effort in the Word of God? You see, you're acquiring wisdom.

How painstaking are you? For so many of us as believers, we're not painstaking at all. That's not the way it works for us. You can never become the kind of authentic Christian you need to be by getting a sermon once a week. It's just not going to happen. You'll never be a cat four. It just doesn't work that way.

You just simply can't come and sit and listen to someone go on and on for 35 or 40 minutes and then go home and say, I've done all I need to do. You see, what he is saying is you've got to say a seeker. You've got to go after it.

It's got to be something that's important to you. And if it's not, the only person that really gets hurt by that is you because you never become what you should be. The Bible doesn't yield its treasures to the lazy soul. By the way, that's why we teach Bible study methods. Brad teaches Bible study methods over and over again.

What is that? So you can study the Word of God on your own. Now, by the way, the course is not an end in itself. Oh, I went through the course.

That's all I need to do. The course is a first step. I can't imagine why every person who loves Christ wouldn't want to do that so that I could go into the Word of God myself, figure it out for myself, seek it as treasure. You see, and finally, in a sense, be able to glean what the Word of God does and what the Word of God is. So what I want to do now is I want to show you through some verses in a psalm of just how spectacular the Word of God is and could be in your lives. I could have picked Psalm 119, for example.

I decided not to. It's 176 verses long. But by the way, Jewish children were required to memorize that psalm. 176 verses.

Why would that be the case? So they knew how important the Word of God was. That's how important it is. But I want to look at a psalm a lot shorter, written by David, Psalm 19. So open your Bibles to Psalm, or turning your Bibles to Psalm 19, just a few pages to your left. And starting in verse 7, in these next few verses, we see descriptions of the Word of God and what are the results. What does the Word of God do?

Why is this so important? The very first thing, verse 7. He says, the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. The Bible transforms you.

The Bible transforms you. Notice he says the law. That's the word Torah.

We get that from Moses. The law. The law for life. The rule for living. The law of the Lord. The law of the ownership. What law are we talking about? We're talking about the law of God. He said the law of the Lord is perfect. That Hebrew word means all-sided.

It's a very difficult thing to understand. It's all-sided. It's all-encompassing.

It's comprehensive in its scope. The law of the Lord is perfect. It says restoring, some translations say converts, the soul, the inner you, the real you. That's what the Word of God does. Word of God could take a person as unregenerate as I was before I came to Christ and transform him into a lover of God. That's what the Word of God does. It's a very important thing. It transforms your life. He said that's what makes it so magnificent and so wonderful.

He doesn't stop there though. He says the testimony of the Lord is sure. It makes wise the simple. The word testimony is interesting. What is a testimony? It's what somebody does who testifies. Well, what do you testify to? The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You testify.

Notice this though. This scripture says something interesting. The testimony of who? Of the Lord. It says the Bible is a testimony of the Lord.

God says I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. About what? Everything. About me, about you, about the world, about sin.

I'll tell you something about everything. I'm going to give my testimony here. It's the testimony, he says, of the Lord. He said the testimony of the Lord is sure. That word sure is a wonderful word.

You know it. Amen. He said the testimony of the Lord is amen. Amen means what? So be it.

It's true. He said the testimony of the Lord is sure. And he says making wise. He says making wise the simple.

Actually he says giving wisdom to the unguarded mind. We're so naive and so foolish. Jeremiah 17, the heart of a man is desperately wicked, is deceitful above all things. I can't trust me.

You can't trust you. You see the heart of a man is desperately wicked, is deceitful above all things. Who does it deceive? The man.

You see and he says look that's not the way this works. The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise. He said the simple where the unguarded mind is given wisdom.

Given wisdom about everything in life you could possibly imagine. 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. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-31 18:05:25 / 2023-07-31 18:15:08 / 10

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