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God With Us!

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2022 7:00 am

God With Us!

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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January 24, 2022 7:00 am

God became a man, in the form of Jesus Christ, to offer salvation to all of humanity.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Have you really beheld the glory of God with us?

Have you given a thought of what that... There's no religion on earth like that. No other religion would even dream to say something so preposterous. God with us. If I'm a Muslim, God's there.

That's Allah. We're here. It's always God's there and we're here.

But this is God's here. God with us. 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. In the book of Matthew, in Joseph's dream, these words were written. It says, Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us. Matthew's quoting Isaiah, the prophet. Isaiah wrote these words 700 years before Jesus was born. I want you to think about that. Just imagine that. If we go back 700 years, we're right in the beginning of the Renaissance.

We're about 150 to 200 years before Columbus ever set sail for the Americas. Imagine someone writing something that prophetic and it coming to fruition today because that's what happened when he wrote that. There's two remarkable aspects to what that verse says. One is a virgin shall be with child. And that's not what I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about the second one. It says, So call his name Immanuel, which translated means God with us, the eternal, almighty, infinite God is with us. All through the Bible, you see God sending people to us, great men like Moses, great kings like David, a great prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah.

But that's not what this says. This says God with us. If you think about it, you'll find it's incomprehensible. How does God become one of us?

How do you leave the throne of heaven and show up in a manger in Bethlehem? The creator becomes one of his creatures. And the question is, why? Because he loves us. He loves us so much that it becomes one of us. And had he not become one of us, all human beings forever be completely lost.

It's that big of an event. God with us. This infinite, magnanimous gesture is what gives the salvation to mankind. The creator of everything in the universe comes through a birth canal, born a baby.

It's an overwhelming thought. I want you to open your Bibles and go to John chapter 1. And John puts a little bit different spin on it. But I want you to see what John says. He writes about 40 to 50 years after Matthew writes.

That's like the end of his life. He's an old man when he writes this. And he's had a lot of time to think about it. And so John becomes much more philosophical about this truth. John says, in the beginning was the word. The word was with God.

And the word was God. The word there is the Greek word logos. The logos to the Greek philosophers was the most essential meaningful thing in life.

Logos would be the solution to the mysteries of life. And so John uses the term logos to describe Jesus. And notice he said then, he was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him. And apart from him, nothing came into being that has come into being.

He's the creator of everything, this logos from God. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Then down to verse 10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not know him. And he came down to his own, and those who were his own, they did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name, who were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. And the word of God became flesh.

It dwelt among us. And we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John's perspective just a little bit different. John's talking about the deity of Christ.

Matthew's talking about the humanity of Christ. Notice in verse 14 he said, we beheld his glory, his dolcza, the glory of God. Have you really beheld the glory of God with us?

Have you given a thought of what that means? There's no religion on earth like that. No other religion would even dream to say something so preposterous, God with us. If I'm a Muslim, God's there.

That's Allah. We're here. It's always God's there and we're here. But this says God's here, God with us. Some of the most gifted thinkers in Christianity have thought about this quite a bit.

C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity said, The second person in God, the Son, became human himself and was born into the world as an actual man, a real man of a particular height with hair of a particular color, speaking a particular language, weighing so many pounds. The eternal being who knows everything and who has created the whole universe became not only a man but before that a baby and before that a fetus in his mother's womb. It's profound. We're talking about God Almighty here, the infinite God.

A.W. Tozer, one of my favorite writers, said, The coming of Jesus Christ into this world is a truth more profound than any philosophy. All of the great thinkers of the world together could never have produced anything, even remotely approaching the wonder and profundity, he said, disclosed in the message of these words, God among us. The words are wiser than all learning, understood in their high spiritual context. They are more eloquent than all oratory.

They are more lyrical than all the music ever written. They tell all of mankind sitting in darkness that you have been visited by the light of the world. Max Lucado, contemporary writer, when God chose to reveal himself, he did so through a human body. The tongue that called forth the dead, that was a human tongue. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the women wept were calloused and dirty and his tears.

Oh, don't miss his tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours and mine has ever been. Frederick Buechner said the claim that Christianity makes for Christmas is that in a particular time and place, God came to be with us himself. When Corinnaeus was governor of Syria in a town called Bethlehem, a child was born who beyond the power of anyone to account for was the high and lofty one now made low and helpless. The one who inhabits eternity came to dwell in time. The one whom none can look upon and live is delivered in a stable under the soft, indifferent gaze of the cattle. The father of all mercies has put himself now under our mercy. That's what happened. Emmanuel, God with us, he's God.

I do know this and believe it, it's the best plan possible, as C.S. Lewis would say, because it's the one he chose. But my goodness, to grow up as a baby, God with us, totally incomprehensible. I'm kind of in the beginning, I'm just sort of left the way the Magi were, just full of wonder and awe.

I just can't understand it. I almost want to just fall down on my knees and worship him, that he became one of us. But as I understand, the reason for it is because he chose this plan so that on the basis of his love for you and for me, we have an opportunity to spend forever with him. But I thought about it more than that, and there's a lot more to it, God, with us than that. I want to say three things this morning of how important God with us should be to us. Because God is with us, you and I can endure all of the difficulties of living on a cursed planet, all of them, because God is with us. Hebrews 13.5, Jesus said, I will never leave you or forsake you.

What a thought. God's with us. Paul calls Christ in me the hope of glory. He says, look, I'll never leave you or forsake you. Psalm 27.1, the Lord is the defense of my life. Who would I fear?

Did you ever think about that? How many times did Jesus say, fear not? Why is he telling us that? Because you and I have no reason to fear. None.

Why? God's with us. Just imagine, you go into an operating room in a hospital, and you're laying there, and then you feel something beside you, Jesus, he's right beside you. You say, I'm right here. I'll not leave you. I'll never forsake you. Think about all the things you could be afraid of, and yet Jesus is standing right beside you with his arm around you. Now tell me, if he did that physically, would you be afraid of anything?

You wouldn't. Whenever we start suffering, whenever we go through difficulties, what do we begin to think? Where's God? I'm so alone. I have to go through this myself.

You never go through anything yourself. Not ever. He's with us. He's always with us.

That's what he says. Psalm 118 6, if the Lord is with me and for me, I will not fear anything. Isaiah 43, do not fear.

I have called you by name. You're mine. And when you pass through the waters, I'll be with you. Even after he finished work on the cross, he told the disciples and us, I'll be with you. To the end of the age, I'm right here. God with us. And this is something we often forget. And so we get full of anxiety and fear and worry, because we don't realize he's right here. And remember, if I threw another verse in there like Romans 8 28, he's with us, he's right with you, and he says, Oh, by the way, all things will work for your good. I'll see to that. Now, when you're going through something terrible, does it feel like that to you?

They should. You see, that's the point that he's making. I'm right here. I'm sovereign over your life.

I'm never going to leave you nor forsake you. He always shows up. Again, Max Lucado says this, God gets into things. He gets into the Red Sea. He gets into big fish. He gets into lion's dens and furnaces. He gets into bankrupt businesses and jail cells, into Judean weddings and funerals, and Galilean tempest. Look, and you'll find that everyone from Moses to Martha has already discovered God's right there with you in the middle of every storm of your life.

You have to believe that. Because remember, when the disciples went through the storm, remember what they said to him? Lord, don't you care we're perishing? He stilled the storm and looked at him and said, Oh, you men of little faith. And so because God is with us, we can endure the difficulties of life. Secondly, because God is with us, you can always expect God to answer your prayers. Go with me to Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 14.

And I'm going to read 13 because it gives a context for this sermon. He said, And there is no creature hidden from His sight. All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him whom we have to do.

That's sort of a general idea. That tells you about His capability. What can He do? What does He know is going on?

Anything. So then He says, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Now remember, a prophet represents God to the people. The priest represents the people to God. He said, No, we have a great high priest. He tries to tell them that Jesus is not like a Levitical priest. He's not Aaronic in His priesthood. He's Melchizedekian. He's like the King Priest of Salem in Genesis. That's what He's like. He's even much more than that.

But He is our King Priest. And so that should give us a real understanding of who He is and what He's done. Now what's interesting about this is that He says, who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses. Jesus not only sympathized with everything you go through, He can empathize with everything you've gone through.

He can do it in a very, very different kind of way. He experienced weariness, just like when we get weary. He experienced complete disappointment.

Disappointment in the leaders of Israel, disappointment in His own disciples, disappointment in mankind in general. He experienced desertion. He experienced it. He knows what that's like. He experienced hatred.

They hated Him. He experienced what that's like. And then He experienced what it's like to hang on a cross and pay for the sins of the world, which is so far beyond, I won't even waste words trying to tell you what that must have felt like. You want pain? I've had pain. You're facing death at a young age? I died at a young age. You want suffering, weariness?

I can feel everything you're feeling because I became a man. Emmanuel got with us. So He offers us so much more than sympathy.

He understands. But then it says there that He was tempted in all things just like we are. And I think what happens to us when we read that verse, you almost want to say, no, you didn't.

You don't know what it is. Look, you're God incarnate. You're without a sin nature. You never sinned. I know what temptation's like because I sinned.

Well, first of all, remember this. Temptation's not sin. Sin is conceived after lust gets involved and then you sin. Everyone's tempted. Jesus was tempted, it says, just like you were. And yet without sin.

In fact, I'm going to say this. He was much more tempted than you ever were. You know why you've never been tempted to the degree He has?

Because when you're tempted, what do you end up doing? Yielding to it. Did He ever yield to it? No. So does He know what the full blow of temptation is?

Yes. Because He got every bit of it. He got all the possible temptation you can have. He said, and yet He never yielded. I mean, when Satan tempted Him three times in the wilderness, notice the first one.

How many of you have been tempted to want to drink or eat after 40 days of fasting? And He was offered that. And I think that was for the idea, yet I didn't yield. What He's saying here, look, Jesus understands you. He gets you.

He's experienced everything you have. And then in verse 16, therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Wow, I love the King James here. The King James says, come boldly to the throne of grace. When you're experiencing something difficult in your life, He said, you come boldly to the throne of grace. That's amazing.

Think of Israel's image on this. How many people got into God's presence on earth? One. When?

Once a year. He could go in the Holy of Holies. He had to make a sacrifice for his own sin and then go in there and sprinkle, hiss up the blood on the mercy seat. They were so terrified that he would die in there if he had sinned between him and God.

That tradition is they tied a rope around his ankle so that if he fell over dead, they could pull him out. Because you don't go into the presence of God. Now, the writer of Hebrews says, you come boldly. Come right now to me.

Wow. Come boldly. If I use Paul's imagery, Paul says in Romans and call him Abba, Daddy.

No Jew would have ever thought of that. I'm coming boldly. I'm going to climb up in your lap and I'm going to tell you, Daddy. And he's going to say, how can I help you? And then you're going to pray. And you should pour your heart out.

Paul says in the Philippians, with great supplication, be honest with God. Tell him how you feel. Tell him you're afraid. Tell him whatever you want to tell him.

He's your father. Tell God exactly what's going on in your life. Now, here's where there's a little bit of rub for us. What we think is, OK, once I do that, what's going to happen? God's going to give me exactly what I want here. Will he? Maybe.

And maybe not. You see, the trouble when we often pray is what we pray for is what we want. So, if you're honest, we'll say to our prayers, my will be done.

Lord, that's why I'm here. I'm going to tell you my will needs to be done here. Jesus, even when he prayed to have the cup removed in the Garden of Gethsemane, said, nevertheless, not my will be done, but yours. And here's what he says, you'll get every time so that we may receive mercy and fine grace and help in a time of need. He said, I'll give it to you every time.

As to the particulars, I'll decide. I may say yes, no, or I might say wait, but I'll give you mercy and grace. Remember what he told Paul when he had the thorn in the flesh? Paul kept saying, Lord, please take this away from me. It's restricting my ministry.

I'm in agonizing pain. And what was God's answer to Paul? No. Wow, the Apostle Paul. But what did he tell Paul? My grace is sufficient for you. That's what he tells us. My grace is sufficient. Paul got it. He said, that's it.

I won't ever ask you again. I understand now. When I'm weak, you're strong in my life. When I'm strong, you're weak in my life.

So gladly, I'll take the infirmity. But he received the grace. The grace of God is always sufficient.

So he comes to that and he says, that's what I'll give you. I can always expect God to help me and answer my prayers. David Jeremiah says this, look, you need some help. You've got some issues, some problems since Christmas season. Some kids that are going south instead of staying on the straight and narrow. Some businesses that didn't turn out the way you thought they would.

Some physical issues that you didn't even know about until you got a phone call from your doctor. Where do you go? God said, I sent my son Jesus. Don to be one of you so that he could know everything and that you're going to know in life. And now he says, you've got somebody you can talk to. And you can go to him in your prayer and ask for help in your time of need. Christmas tells us that the primary interest of our Lord is always to help us. He's always about encouragement. He's always about grace. He's always about mercy. He, he said, is there to help us. He was touched with a feeling of our infirmities and he wants to help us. And so what he's really saying here is it's simply, God understands us. He gets us. He says to me, you know, you look, you're never going to do this. You're never going to be alone.

I'm here for you. I'll answer your prayer with my grace and mercy. The third thing, because of the incarnation, we never serve alone. Now, you might find this part hard to believe, but every once in a while, ministry is really hard. You go through so much deep pain with people, loss of loved ones, sudden deaths, terrible diagnosis. There's just so much suffering and ministry becomes extremely hard.

And a lot of pastors, they quit because it overwhelms them. I don't do that. I'm not going to quit.

I have a miniature pity party. OK, you know, woe is me, you know. But the point of it is simply this.

God says the same thing every time. Do you think you serve alone? You think you're doing this yourself? You're not.

I'm with you. You never serve God alone. No matter what you do, you're never alone if you're serving God. Never do we serve God alone. Remember Moses? He said, Moses, now therefore go Moses. I'll be your mouth.

Remember, Moses did what we often do when ministry opportunities come. He made up excuses. Oh, don't send me. They won't listen to me. I'm not eloquent. God says, that's OK. I got it.

I'll be your mouth. To Joshua, who replaced Moses, going into the land of Canaan, all of those ites are there. They are warlike people. His people have been slaves for 400 years.

They don't know how to fight. He says, have I not commanded you to be strong and of good courage and don't be afraid? He says, nor be dismayed, because listen to me, Joshua, I am with you.

The odds change. Jeremiah, the prophet, what a job description he had, a great prophet. He said, you were born to be a prophet for me to the nation. Oh, by the way, no one you talk to will ever listen to you. God told him that up front.

Now I find that depressing. No wonder he was the weeping prophet. You know, here I am again. He said to Jeremiah, do not be afraid of their faces. I'm with you and I'll deliver you. To his own disciples and to us, Jesus said, I'm with you always, even to the end of the earth. God with us. I'm standing in a pulpit, but I pray never alone.

You don't have to worry about that. God's going to be here. No matter how you serve the Lord, you are never alone when you serve the Lord. Because God is with us, we can endure all the difficulties of this life. Because God is with us, we can always expect him to answer our prayers with mercy and grace. Because God is with us, we never serve God alone.

All because God is with us. Philip Yancey, in a book, wrote, an excerpt in his book from the late Paul Harvey. One raw winter night, a man heard an irregular thumping against the kitchen storm door. He went to the window and as he watched, as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, were flying into the window, thinking that they could come inside. And they would hit the window, they would follow the ground and get up and fly and hit it again. The farmer was a very compassionate person and he was so touched that he decided to help these helpless birds. And he bundled up and he treads through this fresh snow to the open barn for the struggling birds. He opened the barn door, then he turned on the lights and he tossed some hay in the corner and he sprinkled a trail of saltine crackers to where the birds were to the door of the barn. But the sparrows, who had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, they hid in the darkness and they didn't come to the barn, so he tried some other things. He circled behind where the birds were and he tried to drive them into the barn. He tossed cracker crumbs into the air toward them, retreating to his house to see if they'd flutter into the barn on their own.

Nothing worked. He says because he was a huge alien creature and he had terrified these birds, the birds could not understand that he actually wanted to help them. So he withdrew to the house and he watched the doomed sparrows through the window. And as he stared, all of a sudden the thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky.

If only I could become a bird, if only I could become one of them just for a moment, they wouldn't be frightening me so much and I could show them the weight of the warmth and the safety. And at that moment, another thought dawned on him. He had just grabbed the entire principle of the incarnation, God with us. A man becoming a bird is nothing compared to God becoming a man. The concept of a sovereign being as big as the universe he created confining himself to a human body was and is too much for us to comprehend and understand.

And that's what happened. Emmanuel, God with us. The Christmas story is a whole lot more than shepherds and angels, wise men and a baby. It's about God loving me so much that he cared to come down and be just like me so that one day I could be just like him. Emmanuel, God with us. 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 / 2023-06-18 21:33:17 / 2023-06-18 21:44:38 / 11

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