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December 8, 2021 7:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ diagnosis is over where you and our economy is Lord. He said so sanctify set him apart as Lord in your hearts. Once I see him as Lord.
Everything else that falls in a place where work should, but I don't set them apart as Lord in my heart. Something else becomes joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows up on God's word. Our world fraction Western culture including the United States. The great irony of that statement is that according to the AP. 76% of Americans self identify them out. Chris. But if were honest, we can see the ever increasing chasm between our postmodern culture and what you and I would call biblical values each decade.
It becomes a little more obvious that they don't like us, and somewhere down the road, the persecution of believers may become the norm in the United States and that'll be great. That would be a time of great hope for the church and the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we respond to that persecution. The way that the Lord wants us to in the way that the Bible tells us to.
And if we respond the right way. We will have a platform to share the hope that is within us with those who so desperately needed.
Open your Bibles to first Peter chapter 3, first Peter chapter 3 as we continue our study on hope and Peter the context of course, as you know is that there's tremendous persecution already beginning their already suffering Nero is Emperor Peter will give his own life within about three years of writing this.
He is trying to encourage those who are being persecuted and he is trying to give them the what we all need.
He's trying to give them hope in virtually in every single portion of this letter Peter talks about hope this certitude that we have about the future and that how it should make such a difference. We dealt with it last time because in the last time we said that when they were persecuted by the government, they should submit if there persecuted as servants or slaves, they should submit even if there is that kind of unfairness in your family. You should submit any said whenever you do that, it would have really tremendous results and I want to pick it up in verse 13 where he lays out a principal, but it's only a principal the principle is this who was there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good, who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good. Now if you look back to verse eight through verse 12.
He gives us nine different virtues that we should have in it and some of them are that we would be harmonious and sympathetic and brotherly and kindhearted humble not returning evil for evil. All these things and he said you know if you prove zealous for good. Basically what will happen is people Connolly Villa. That's a principal and that principal is normally true, but there are exceptions to this principle and that's what he wants to talk about in verse 14 he says, but even if you should suffer but even if you should suffer. In other words we could do everything, we should be doing as believers we can live lives with the kind of character that he's talking about in verses 8 to 12 and in spite of that we could suffer and if we do what Peter tells us as this he gives us five pieces of advice how to respond. A hostile culture. How do we respond when the culture become so hostile that it's persecuting us, how should we use as a me just give you five things you remember these five things you can be just fine.
The first thing he says in verse 14 is this whenever the culture is making you suffer consider yourself blessed. He says, but even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness you are blessed.
Wow, that's an interesting thing is that the Bible always seems to do that to us. We never want to put the word suffering and the word blessing together. Not ever. In fact we say that blessing is almost by default. The absence of any suffering but that's not what the Scripture says he says you need to consider yourself blessed. You are blessed by what he say that well there's a few reasons. One is this suffering strengthens us.
That's why James wrote in James one.
Consider all joy, my brother.
When various trials come your way because you know what is going to do. It's going to make you stronger.
In fact, most of us know that most of the time. The greatest growth that we have ever had, spiritually, of come through really hard times. The reason it suffering strengthens us is that it makes us more dependent on God, suffering at a certain level gets us to such a point that we have no alternative but to go to God.
It's amazing but in you know this is true, but there is an intensity in your prayer life when you're suffering that is absent when you're not what you're praying you're asking everyone around you to pray because you're suffering.
God says I love that I love when that happens, Jesus said blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake wasn't kidding. He said blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake. Also, when we suffer for righteousness sake, especially under the persecution that they are what ends up happening to us as we need others for support because were suffering altogether and the one another's take place and you know what this is like when were all suffering together is an interesting dynamic. There was a dynamic. For example, even in this congregation that was post-Katrina that we never had before. We really haven't had since what happened. We all suffered. I drew us all closer together each other. It was amazing what the mutual suffering does suffering has tremendous benefit to us. It also the reason we are blessed or we should consider ourselves blessed is that when we suffer forces us to look forward what the Bible would call hope you see, no matter how intensely your suffering Paul look forward to such an extent that he called all his suffering momentary light afflictions. Now they want momentary from our point of view, and they certainly weren't light but Paul said looking at eternity ahead. When I try to compare the surpassing glory of what was waiting for me this is momentary and this is like it's a forward look is what we say over and over again that the worst thing that could happen to you can happened.
What should I do that you produce hope in your life. You see, that should produce hope in our life. Also the Lord says that there are rewards for us when we suffer if we suffer the way that the Lord would have us suffer the rewards he doesn't overlook anything so says, consider yourself blessed.
Secondly he says don't panic and don't worry, he says and do not fear their intimidation. Do not be troubled. Don't panic, don't worry that word fear is of course the word phobia. It still with us today is the kind of fear that makes you want to flee. That's phobia. He says don't let the persecution intimidate you is, and whatever don't be troubled. Worry Roman John 14. He said let not your heart be troubled same word. Let not your heart be troubled. Member they were really troubled because Jesus was leaving they knew he was leaving and it was going to leave them on their own. They felt tremendously insecure. He said let not your heart be troubled, he said what you need to do is believe in God and believe in me. In my father's house are many dwelling places. I would go and prepare one for you, so that where I am you be also and I'll receive you to myself all those things are true. He says don't panic and don't worry we have this tendency, especially in art at the national level in our country to be full of all kinds of panic and worry. You go to almost any Christian site and you start reading and it's so doomsday.
It's incredible how bad everything must be hold your place and go with me back to Isaiah chapter 8 Isaiah chapter 8 and verse 12 while she began verse 11. Isaiah says this for thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people.
Isaiah don't act like the people around you. He says you are not the say it is a conspiracy. He said in regard all. He says that this people call a conspiracy their sick thing of foot that were all doomed because the Assyrians are making a conspiracy and Robin to be doomed Robin to be doomed access. Isaiah don't believe that. Don't get certainly don't be fearful and troubled by.
I know so many of you in error. Many of you that always have a conspiracy afoot.
There's always a conspiracy look this is taken for granted since the Garden of Eden is been one conspiracy okay.
It's always impressed. It's always here… Taken for granted and leave it. But inevitably, what happens is when you begin to think about the conspiracy and propagate the idea of conspiracy you become preoccupied with the conspiracy.
That's what you talk about and you end up fearful and troubled. Notice what he says after that, he says, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it is the Lord of hosts, whom you should regard as holy and he shall be your fear and he shall be your dread. You want to be fearful about something be fearful about me I am a holy God.
Don't be fearful about what's going on out there all it's going to be terrible out there is what you need to do is just be fearful that you don't stay right with me.
That's what he told Isaiah. That's what Peter is telling the readers of first Peter and that's what they're certainly telling both of them telling us now.
Let's go back to first Peter, consider yourself blessed. Don't panic and don't worry, and then he says something that's interesting. Acknowledge Christ as Lord. He says, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts sanctify set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts melt clearly Christ is Lord. But the problem that we often have is even though he is Lord we won't recognize his Lordship and especially in suffering and difficult circumstances. You see, if I said that. How far does the Lord Lordship go is Lord of all you see is Lord of all is Lord over everything he's Lord over the politics of our country. He's Lord over you see the situation in the world. He's Lord over your diagnosis.
He's Lord over where you work in our economy he's Lord.
He said so sanctify set him apart as Lord in your hearts. See once I see him as Lord. Everything else that falls in place word orchard, but if I don't set them apart as Lord of my heart. Something else becomes Lord of my heart and it can be the persecution it can be the suffering. It can be the conspiracy. It can be anything else but that's what's rolling my heart.
He says don't do that acknowledge Christ as Lord.
The best way to do that is constantly in prayer constantly in prayer, declaring Christ to be Lord sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, and then he says this he said, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. How in all of these different things. Consider yourself blessed. Don't panic, don't worry acknowledge Christ as Lord and then all of a sudden he gets to what he really wants to say. Use this to bring people to Christ. Share your hope with the lost share your hope with those who are persecuting you share your hope with those around you as they see you suffer. He says that's what I want you to do, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.
Wow, a defense apologetics. That's the word is the word we get apologetics from apology. It is a legal term it means to provide legal testimony.
That's what apologetics is to provide legal testimony that a hold up in a court of law. He says make a difference to give an account that one things for sure if you are doing one through three of what Peter said you'll never do this if you don't feel that you don't consider yourself blessed. Your panic and troubled and you don't acknowledge Christ as Lord. But the circumstances, I'm pretty sure you're not going to be able to give an account for the hope that sinew because I'm pretty sure there's not much hoping you you have to do these things play each year when we talk about this time of year we talk about missions and outreach in the taken the gospel across the street around the world and supporting it is, is it. It's good. I mean, it's good to supported financially it's it's it's needed. But I want to tell you something applying it your own life is infinitely better. It's just much much better. You see, there are so many implications in this little part of one verse one implication is this apparently the lost are always watching in an interesting, lost her always watching. They want to see you see most of the time. I think when the loss looks at us besides a God of our hypocrisy.
They basically say that these are people who are just talkers, they just talk the proselyte hers and talkers and that's all they want to do is to talk.
In other words, we we often lack credibility with those who are watching us, there's another implication here. You have to have a relationship the lost people mean you have to. You have to have a relationship with lost people that will Christ was talking about when he said look I will leave you in the world. I just don't want you out of the world, but you need to be in the world so often.
As Christians our whole. Our whole mindset is isolate ourselves as much as we possibly can from them. You see, and then we sort of get or what is called historically the holy huddle and that's great for the for the huddle, but that's awful for the lost. You see, when he talks about that. You need to let your light shine. You can put it under a bushel. You need to be salt and if salt isn't salty anymore.
It's useless. He's talking about us. He says we have to be able to make an impact. We have to be in the world to make that impact so we have to have relationships. The other thing you said there was always being ready. You see, that's up to us. That's a choice you make.
God will not force you to do this will prompt you with his spirit. And if you take the step of faith. He will empower you, but he will make you.
You don't have to share your faith with anybody ever. That's completely up to you. Apparently Peter speaking to everyone so God is not looking for ability. He's looking for availability.
You see, sooner or later in your life and in mine as well. All of us individually and sometimes collectively suffer.
He system waste that is in no ways that people in the outside are watching you. You see, you may even be asked, how can you go through this what your suffering and still in a sense, have these kind of qualities like your harmonious and sympathetic and brotherly and kindhearted in your humble you're not vengeful you're peaceful how do you do this that's what is called the open door. It's not me that's the opportunity that I have never, if you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you just like to listen to the message one more time remembering a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the Fellowship in the Word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her previous audio program, had Fellowship in the Word.
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