November 17, 2021 7:00 am
Are you a follower of 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. By the way, read the Gospels. What happens with the disciples over and over again? Which of us will be the greatest? The night before he was crucified, they were still arguing about that. When the kingdom comes, which one of us are going to be the greatest?
I know he's number one, but who's going to be number two? Remember James and John, their own mother came and said, Look, when you sit on your throne, I want my boys right beside you. You see, they're going to use Jesus.
That's what consumerism does. I know what I want from you, and I want you to deliver what it is that I want from you. 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. During biblical times, Judas was a very common name. Jesus had a brother named Judas. Judas was a companion of Paul. In fact, when Paul went to Damascus, the man who hosted him there, his name was Judas. There was a revolutionary in Galilee, and his name was Judas in Acts chapter five. But today Judas is not a very common name. You see, it's all because there was another man named Judas in the New Testament. His name was Judas Iscariot. Iscariot wasn't his father's name or his last name. Iscariot means where he is from. He was Judas of Kerioth.
Kerioth, a small village about 15 miles south of Hebron. In fact, that made Judas the only disciple who was from Judea that Jesus had. Luke says in chapter six and verse 16 of his gospel that Judas became a traitor. In fact, he betrayed Jesus. It's not the normal word, by the way, for betrayed.
It's not that kind of word. It means he gave Jesus over. And we know the story also well. He was known as the son of perdition, which shows the eternal ramifications of the choices that he made. But Judas didn't start out as a traitor. He was one of the twelve. But somehow he went from being an apostle to an apostate.
George Messenger writes this. He said Judas was never in tune with Jesus. What is clear is that Judas was self-serving. He was a man who followed Jesus for personal gain by the relationship he had.
Not in tune, self-serving for personal gain. Judas's relationship with Jesus was that of a consumer rather than a follower. Sadly, there is a little of Judas in all of you.
Including me. And there was even a little of Judas in the other disciples. Open your Bibles to Mark chapter 8. And rarely will you find in the Bible anywhere that in about six, seven verses you go from really good news to really bad news.
Things that seem like they're going well and then they really sort of get out of hand. In verse 27 it says Jesus went out along with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he questioned his disciples and he said who do people say that I am? And they told him saying well John the Baptist and others say you're Elijah but others you're one of the prophets. And he continued questioning them but who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said to him you're the Christ. You're the Messiah. We know in the other accounts that also you're the son of God. He warned them to tell no one about him at that stage. And then watch what happens.
There's the good news. And he began to teach them. He said the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and the scribes and be killed.
And after three days rise again. Wow. They were all excited you know when Jesus affirmed like you know I got it right I got it right. He's the Messiah. He's the son of God.
Probably feeling pretty good. And Jesus okay now I want to teach you something. And I'm going to teach you the way it's going to work.
I'm going to be arrested and then they're going to take and they're going to kill me. And it's like the disciples are like no wait wait wait wait. We didn't sign up for that. That's not what we're here for.
We don't like that idea. You see what are they. They're consumers. They wanted Jesus to be what they wanted Jesus to be just like you often do.
I want Jesus to be the way I want Jesus to be. You see it doesn't fit their agenda. So look what happens. And he was stating the matter plainly.
I love that. Matthew said he couldn't have been clearer on this. He said notice rejected. He says killed and then I will rise. He said it couldn't be clearer. He says and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Wow. That word rebuke is almost always the word that Jesus is the one doing the rebuking. He's rebuking you know the scribes and Pharisees. But here Peter takes him aside and rebukes him. It's a really harsh word.
It's sort of like what are you talking about. There's no way that's going to happen. You see that doesn't fit our agenda. That's the way a consumer looks at Jesus. It's amazing that he could rebuke him. Well turning around and seeing his disciples. Jesus wants to make sure they all hear this. He rebukes Peter and says get behind me Satan. He says for you are not setting your mind on God's interest but man's. Let me put it another way. You're not setting your mind on my interests but yours. Notice how stern the rebuke is get behind me Satan.
It couldn't be more embarrassing for Peter than that. The consumer mentality. What is in this for me. You see how can God or how can Christ meet my agenda.
That's kind of what I'm hoping for. Sadly enough today there are whole ministries. That are dedicated to that proposition. That God exists to support your agenda. And people flock to it. We love this. Now I know what Jesus is for.
He's for me to help me fulfill all my dreams. Those are the words of a consumer. Certainly not a follower.
In America it's incredibly rampant. Peter Ward in Christianity Today wrote this. When we approach Christianity as consumers rather than seeing it as a comprehensive way of life. An interpretive set of beliefs and values as well. Christianity becomes just one more brand we consume.
Along with Gap, Apple and Starbucks to express identity. And the demotion of Jesus from Lord to label means to live as a Christian. No longer carries an expectation of obedience and good works. But rather the perpetual consumption of Christ. Ultimately we shouldn't be surprised that American Christianity has succumbed to pervasive power of consumerism. Alan Wolf a leading sociologist and the director of the Bosse Center of Religion in American Public Life. Has concluded that in the United States culture has transformed Jesus. As well as all other religions found within these shores. In every aspect of religious life American faith has met American culture. And American culture has completely triumphed. Consumerism. This idea that we want Jesus what we want him to be. But it's not new.
And it's not just in America. Listen as I read from Matthew 19 what Peter says. Peter said to Jesus. Behold we have left everything and followed you.
And then he says. What will there be for us? We have left everything and follow you now what do we get?
That's what I want to know what am I going to get out of this? Those are the words of a consumer. You see that's what happens when you want to use Christ in a sense for your own agenda. It may be pervasive but it's extremely shallow.
When Jesus was arrested and tried and sentenced and executed. All but John unfollowed. We're out of here. That's the way it is with consumerism. That's the way it works. I think there are two different types of consumers among us.
There is the minimalist consumer. You probably aren't here this week. You'll be here next week. OK. That's going to be your big day. You'll be out there.
Got a new pair of pants on and a new pair of shoes and you're going to walk into a church. And you're thinking this is the minimum that God would ever expect of me. If I can just show up on maybe two holidays Christmas and Easter. If I can just show up then I've got it covered. Whatever bad could happen to me God will cover it.
Because I've showed up twice. Now you may wonder like does that guy only ever preach on birth and resurrection? Doesn't he ever preach on anything else?
Because when you're hearing Christmas and Easter that's pretty much what you're going to get. That's the minimalist approach. You're just trying to cover yourself up so that if something bad could happen I just need God here for that. Then there's the sort of maximum consumer.
And that is what we end up doing. And by the way if you want to know if you're a maximum consumer just really listen to your prayer life. Listen to how you pray. You end up praying constantly for your agenda.
It's constantly for you. Lord I need this to happen. I want this to happen. I need this to happen.
I need that to happen. Over and over again you're going to pray in that way. And Lord I love you as long as you meet my needs of what I want to have happen in my life. But I want to go back to Judas and wonder about him. What happened to Judas? Well I think like the other 11 Judas saw Jesus as the Messiah. Just as Peter had said. Messiah means king.
He's coming back. And he's going to throw the Romans out. And then as the son of David he is going to set up the messianic kingdom out of Jerusalem. And all of us who are close to him.
You see all of us who are close to him are really going to get good jobs. By the way read the gospels. What happens with the disciples over and over again? Which of us will be the greatest? The night before he was crucified they were still arguing about that. When the kingdom comes which one of us are going to be the greatest?
I know he's number one but who's going to be number two? Remember James and John their own mother came and said look when you sit on your throne I want my boys right beside you. You see they're going to use Jesus. That's what consumerism does. I know what I want from you.
And I want you to deliver what it is that I want from you. I think Judas believed that he was going to throw out the Romans. But then as he went and walked with Jesus for three and a half years. He saw some things he didn't like.
There was a Roman of all kinds a centurion. And he came up to Jesus this Jewish rabbi. And he said can you help me? And Jesus should have pronounced a curse on him or something and he didn't. Jesus just said sure I'd love to help you. What can I do for you? That had to bother Judas.
Why is he doing that? The Romans are our enemies. Why would he be nice to the Romans?
Then on the other side of the coin it's just exactly the same way. We all know that the people who are most important. Those who sit on Moses seat. Those who are going to tell the whole country that Jesus is the Messiah and make it stick. Are the scribes and the Pharisees. They're the priests.
You see we need the temple behind us. And you know what Jesus is doing for three and a half years? Every time he meets with those people. He insults them. Every time he's around them. He ends up in conflict. He belittles them in public.
How long can this be? A man who is nice to a Roman centurion. And yet he is so sharp and degrading to our spiritual leaders. Everything seems to be moving so slow for him. And then I think there's an incident that brings about what I would call the straw that broke the camel's back.
And back there that would even sound better. The straw that broke the camel's back because obviously they had camels. But go with me to Matthew 26 and verse 6. The context occurs in the first five verses.
It's the Passion Week. This is the last week before Christ is crucified. In fact in the first five verses.
We see something is going on. It says in verse 1 when Jesus had finished all these words he said to his disciples. You know that after two days the Passover is coming and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion. Notice he tells them once again exactly what's going to happen.
He even tells them exactly how he's going to die. And then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest named Caiaphas. And they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and to kill him. But they were saying not during the festival. Otherwise a riot might occur among the people.
They had a problem. Jesus was so popular that when he's finally here at the Passover with all these tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem. Everywhere that Jesus went he is right in the epicenter of hundreds if not thousands of people who want to hear him teach. Who want to touch him. Who hope to be healed by him.
They said if we go in and arrest him in the middle of all those people those people will turn on us. Now Matthew goes backward to the previous Saturday. He says now when Jesus was in Bethany.
Now that's back to the previous Saturday the week before the passion that Saturday. Now when Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper. Now by the way I think he if you want to say it more accurately when Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon who was a leper. If Simon was a leper Jesus might not have any trouble with it but no one else would go in his house. In fact if he was a leper he probably wouldn't be allowed to own a house. But that's what he was. Apparently Jesus had healed him of leprosy. He is one of the men that was healed by Christ and totally out of gratitude and love for Christ invites him into his home. And it says a woman came to him with an alabaster vial a very costly perfume. We'll find out in a moment.
It was Nard but and that would be a vial that would be about this round at the bottom and then have a real skinny narrow neck on it because you never wanted more than a few drops to come out. We're going to find out that it was worth a fortune. It was worth one year's wages.
So whatever your wages are for a year you get an idea. That's what this cost. And so she has this and it says that she poured it on his head and as he reclined at the table. So you see this amazing scene. I couldn't imagine a drop of this could probably be smelled anywhere in the room. She's pouring it. She obviously probably inherited this.
This has so much wealth to it that she would have to be extraordinarily wealthy as a person or it's part of her inheritance. She's taking it all and she's pouring it on Jesus. But the disciples and here they are again. They were indignant when they saw this. And they said why this waste? Indignant.
Aganateo. Really an interesting word. It's a word that is used for intense grieving. So this wasn't just a little. They were like a person who was intensely grieving.
What are you doing? What a waste. These are the disciples. This is a week before the crucifixion. They spent all this time with Christ and they're still indignant.
They said for this perfume might have been sold for a high price than the money given to the poor. Wow. Isn't it great those guys always are thinking about other people. But notice it's the disciples doing this.
But you know what it's like in any small group when a whole small group of people are saying something together. Somebody started it. Somebody said it first. Hold your place here because we're coming back and go with me to John chapter 12. John chapter 12.
And now we know who and we know a little more. Verse 1. Jesus therefore six days before the Passover.
That's that Saturday. He came to Bethany where Lazarus was whom Jesus had raised in the dead. And so they made him a supper there. And Martha was serving. So we know Simon the leper and Lazarus and that family are close. Martha was serving but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him. And Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume.
A pure nard. And anointed his feet the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot. One of the disciples who was intending to betray him said this. Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarian given to the poor?
Wow. Now we know who started this. Judas said why not? Now remember he's the right guy because he was the guy they most trusted with money. Could imagine when they had to have a treasure because people gave them money from time to time and kept all 12 of these guys out on the road for three and a half years. They say look one of the guys is going to have to be the guy who handles the money. We need a treasure.
Now I don't know what the discussion was like. Someone probably said well not Matthew. He's not going to be the treasure. Who's the most trustworthy guy? They said Judas.
He's the guy. By the way when Jesus even said in the upper room someone's going to betray him. No one said Judas.
In fact most of the guys realizing just how shallow they were said is it me? You see it's a different kind of thing but Judas is the one that says this. Now notice what John writes. Now he said this not because he was concerned about the poor but because he was a thief and he had the money box and he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said let her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
He said for the poor you'll always have but you'll not always have me. Now I'm going to go back to the Matthew passage. Matthew again back where we were. Matthew 26. This is astounding.
Judas' personal agenda, his idea as a consumer to use Jesus, was so strong that he could be with Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three and a half years and still use Jesus to pursue his personal agenda. Look I got some money I can make here. If she's willing to give this to us I can make a lot of money off of this. So back here in verse 10 now Jesus speaks again.
A little different but similar. He says Jesus aware of this said to them why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to me. For you always have the poor with you but you do not always have me. For when she poured this perfume on my body she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I say to you wherever this gospel was preached in the whole world what this woman has done will be spoken in memory of her. That's amazing what I just read that last verse.
You know what I just spoke it. Now remember Jesus is the son of a carpenter. He's from Nazareth. He is nobody and he's kind of from nowhere. He's never been more than 50 miles from the epicenter of where he was born. It's kind of who he is. He doesn't have a passport all the countries he's visited.
No one's ever heard of him. Jesus said oh by the way in the future when they tell this story and what are they going to tell the story? Jesus said oh they're going to tell the story in the whole world. Everyone in the whole world is going to hear this story.
You just heard it today. 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.
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