Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. If you're 35 or younger, you don't even know what he's talking about. If you're 35 or older, you're beginning to find out. If you're much older, this is gospel truth.
You see, you know exactly what's happening. But Paul says, though the outer man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed day by day. See, he has this different perspective. He said, let me describe suffering to you from my point of view. For momentary light affliction is producing for us the eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. 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 1990. At the cost of one and a half billion dollars. The Hubble was placed in orbit, three hundred and forty seven miles above the Earth. The world of astronomers and astrophysicists was filled with frenzy and excitement.
With bated breath. The world waited for the first pictures to come in. And to give us a view of our galaxy. And to give us a view of the universe as never seen before.
And then. The first pictures came in. They were fuzzy. It turned out that the Hubble was nearsighted.
After a long investigation. It was found that the lens was improperly ground. In fact, it was off by less than one fiftieth.
The thickness of a single sheet of paper. Now, it wasn't the universe's fault. It wasn't the Milky Way galaxy's fault. It was the fault of the lens. Soon after the news got in, the marketing began.
In fact, in a 1991 movie, a character in the movie. Made reference to the Titanic, the Hindenburg, the Edsel and the Hubble in one sentence. The solution was found. They made it an additional lens. This lens was ground in the exact opposite way. Of the faulty lens. And then by it with astronauts was placed on top. Of the faulty lens. That's right. The Hubble got contacts.
And for the past 26 years. The most amazing photographs and images have ever been seen of our known universe. It's incredible what we can now see. It has changed mankind's understanding of the size and the complexity of the universe. Now, what I want to do is I want to move from the Hubble and its view of the universe to you. And your view of life. Your view of the way the world works.
How do you see it? You see, the problem that you have is exactly the same as the Hubble's. You have a faulty lens. Each and every one of us has a faulty lens. You see the world in a fuzzy way.
In fact, you're near-sighted. That's the problem that you have. And that has tremendous ramifications in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. You see, you'll never live the way God wants you to live until you see life the way God wants you to see it. This is evident, by the way, in almost every area of our life. Just think as human beings how many different ways we see all people. We categorize people. We have all of these different categories of people.
Based on religion and race, et cetera, et cetera. All these ways. How does God see people?
Lost and saved. That's it. You see, we're different. And it's not just with people. We see the use of things like money and time and success.
Meaning and purpose. Priorities. We see them fuzzy. We see them because we're near-sighted.
But there's one area in which we are really near-sighted. And I think this illustrates how badly we see life compared to how well we should see it more than any other. Suffering. Pain. Affliction.
And boy, it's much to our own detriment. I want you to begin by opening up your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. 2 Corinthians chapter 4. And verse 16. 2 Corinthians 4.
16. Now, by the way, if Paul could be an expert on something, he is an expert on affliction, pain and suffering. He has it on every level you can imagine. When he converted to Christ, he had to deal with all of the pain of being rejected by the Jewish community. Remember, he was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Everybody knew him. He was rejected by everybody. People think, by the way, that he was married at one time and his wife walked away from him.
There's no way to prove that. But it wasn't just that. When he first converted to Christ, even the early church didn't want anything to do with him. Because he was hunting down the people in the church, so they didn't want anything to do with him. And then he finally got going and he went on missionary journeys and every single place he went, he ran into resistance.
And that resistance caused him to be arrested. He was beaten with rods. He was stoned and left for dead. He found himself in prison. He was shipwrecked by the way.
He was bitten by a poisonous snake. And in spite of all that, he had a thorn in the flesh that it was so painful for him that he went to God three times and asked God to please remove it and God said no. Paul really understands suffering and pain.
But I want you to see the difference between Paul and perhaps you. In verse 16, he says therefore, here's his conclusion of his thinking, therefore, we do not lose heart. Now I was trained many years ago that whenever you see a therefore, you have to ask the question, what is it therefore?
And so you go backwards. And see, when you go back, what you find is verse eight. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. We are perplexed, but not despairing. We are persecuted, but not forsaken. We are struck down, but not destroyed.
Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus also be manifested in our body. That's what he's referring to. Paul says that's what happened to me, afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. And he says therefore, I do not lose heart. Isn't that what happens with pain? Isn't that happens when you suffer? Isn't that what happens when a husband or wife walks out of your life? You lose your job.
A doctor uses the word malignancy. You see, isn't that what happens? You begin to lose heart immediately.
You see these ideas, it almost sucks the life out of you. But Paul says therefore, we do not lose heart. He says, but though the outer man is decaying. Wow, what a way to describe it. Paul says the outer man, he said, you know what?
I hurt. I remember reading how many thousand miles Paul must have walked and it was probably in his 60s over really rough terrain. He said, you know, my outer man's decaying.
By the way, that's true. If you're 35 or younger, you don't even know what he's talking about. If you're 35 or older, you're beginning to find out. If you're much older, this is gospel truth. You see, you know exactly what's happening. But Paul says, though the outer man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed day by day. See, he has this different perspective.
What's going on here? He said, let me describe suffering to you from my point of view. For momentary light affliction is producing for us the eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
Momentary light affliction. See, you and I would call that a splinter. You see, that's not what Paul's calling it. He's calling everything I described earlier. He said, you know, that's just momentary light affliction.
But then he adds a word there. He said, it's producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. You see something? Paul sees life differently than you do.
It's found in that verse. He sees life far beyond momentary light affliction. He sees way beyond the present circumstances.
He said far beyond. And then he says, while we look, and here becomes the key for sight, while we look not at the things which are seen, we look at the things which are not seen. Now, there's a great word, not so great in English, but great in Greek. The word in English is look. The word in Greek is scapeo.
And it doesn't mean to look. It doesn't mean like, oh, I saw that. No, that's not scapeo.
Scapeo is a word to describe a watchman. It means to gaze, to fix your gaze. It means just to constantly stare. He says, I notice if you put it that way, it's interesting the way he says it. He said, while we fixate not on the things that are seen, we fixate on the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Paul says, I can fixate on that.
That's why I called it momentary light afflictions. I fixate. I see way beyond it. By the way, that's the greatness of the Hubble. You see, what the Hubble was able to do was fixate. They were able to put the Hubble in orbit. And one of the things they did with the Hubble is they took what we would call basically a dead or black area of space.
You don't really see much. And they took that big lens and then what they did is they left the aperture open and they just simply gazed at it. They fixated on it for a long period of time, allowing light to take a lot of time to come. And you know what they found? Thousands of galaxies, galaxies like our Milky Way, each with billions of stars.
Thousands. How did they find it? Because they fixated. The same idea that Paul says here, I fixate on that. You see, the old lens is temporal. When you look at your life from the old lens, it's temporal.
That's how you see it. You can't see past your circumstances. But when you put and look through the lens that God provides for you, when you're able to do that, you're able to see far beyond. You see, you can look beyond, is what he is saying. That's what happens.
You're able to see what the old lens can't see. I want to illustrate that now. Go with me to 2 Kings, chapter 6. 2 Kings in the Old Testament, chapter 6.
And here's the application of this. The context is going to begin in verse 8. Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel. And he counseled with his servants saying, in such and such a place, he said, shall be my camp.
I'm going to attack Israel, I'm going to destroy Israel, and I'm going to tell you where I'm going to camp to do it. The man of God, that's Elisha. The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans, he says, are coming down there. The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him, thus he warned him so that he guarded himself there more than once or twice.
Now I love this. Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing. And he called his servants and he said to them, will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel? Okay, let's have a meeting.
Which one of you guys are for the other side? Which one of you guys told them? You see, how did they know? One of his servants said, no, my Lord, O king, but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, he tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.
You got to love that. He said, you can't pull one, this guy knows. So he said, well, you go and see where he is, that I may send and take him, and it was told him, saying, behold, he's in Dovin. So he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
He sent a complete army, infantry, cavalry and armor, the chariots. He's after one guy. He said, let's get him. Now it really begins. Two ways of looking at the problems of your life. Now, when the attendant of the prophet or the man of God had risen early and gone on, behold, an army with horses and chariots circling the city, and his servant said to him, alas, my master, what are we going to do?
By the way, that's just the way you react when you look at life through your natural lens. What am I going to do? How is this going to work?
What's going to happen? He's full of fear and anxiety, just like you and I are when suffering and pain and affliction come into our lives. What's his problem? He can't see right.
You see, he can't help himself because he can only see what's in front of him. And so he answered, that's Elijah. He said, do not fear. One guy is frantic.
You got to see them, chariots, horses, everything. The other guy is like, don't be afraid. He said, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. By the way, Elijah sees them. But he also sees beyond them.
You see, he has the corrected lens. Elijah sees it differently. He sees beyond them.
He said, we have more more with us than they have with them. And then Elijah prayed the prayer we all need. Oh, Lord, I pray open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he saw and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire. Oh, rod, Elijah.
Wow. The thing that surrounded them was surrounded by God. Do you realize that? The things that cause you to fear, anxiety, worry, those things, they keep you up at night.
You see, those things that make you so upset, they seem so real because they're there. They're completely surrounded by God. Now, you say, well, maybe that's just a story about Elijah.
He was a prophet because he made that statement. There's more of us than there are of them. But in the New Testament, doesn't it say greater is he that is in you than he that's in the world? Doesn't it say that? See, isn't that the truth of it? You see, that's the whole point of it. See, how do you see it?
Which lens do you look through when you look at something like this? Do you know how many times, how many times you have faced something really difficult, suffering, pain, anxiety, fear, worry in your life, and how many times God wasn't there? Zero. Never once.
Never once if you're a child of God have you ever faced anything without God. He's right there. Can't you see it? You see, that's our problem. The problem isn't the circumstances of our life. I can't see it.
I'm like the servant. That's all I have. But there's something here now I think you already realize. If you're going to use the lens that God provides you to correct your view of life, you can only look through that lens by faith. There is no other way. The only way you can look through that lens is by faith.
Let's look at that further. Let's go to Hebrews chapter 11, the great hall of fame of faith, verse 1, Hebrews 11. Here we get the definition of faith in the scriptures. And I actually believe for us in our language, faith is a difficult word for us to understand. I think faith to us is a little bit too abstract.
It's too ambiguous, faith. That's why if I can, and we always do that here, but if I'm going to use the word that you understand what faith is, it's the word trust. That's what faith is. Faith is trust. And so that's what we mean and he says, now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Trust is the assurance of things hoped for. Trust is the conviction of things not seen. You see, when I evidence faith, I have assurance. The word for hope for, in the New Testament, any time you see the word hope, it doesn't mean cross your fingers and hope.
Hope in the New Testament means future certitude, something you absolutely know will happen. It's the assurance of your future. You see, I have assurance of my future. I have assurance, you see, of a certain hope that will happen to me. And I have conviction for the present. That's what he says trust is or faith is.
The assurance of things for the future, the conviction of things in the present. That's what Paul had. That's what Elijah had. They saw life differently. They didn't see it like the attendant.
They saw it through the new lens. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of 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 F-B-C-N-O-L-A dot O-R-G. 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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