Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is get it started and God will take care of the rest.
You see that? The Christian life is not a hard life. It's a supernatural life.
Apart from Christ, you can do nothing. 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. There was a couple that from Atlanta, Georgia, this is many years ago, and they were real fans of Broadway. And the hottest show on Broadway was My Fair Lady. And boy, they really want to see it. And so what they did is they sent off for tickets, but they found out when they sent off for tickets that it would be almost a year before they could get tickets to the performance. They said, wow, that's OK, though. I mean, this is My Fair Lady. And so they sent off for their tickets.
Well, many months passed by. Their tickets came due for the time for them to go to New York. They get on a plane, they fly to New York, get into a really first class hotel, and they go to Broadway and they see My Fair Lady. When they're watching My Fair Lady, of course, you know, they're just this wonderful thing. They're in the center section, seventh row in the middle, right near the orchestra.
It's just great. The man is looking around and every seat in the place is taken as it is for every performance, except the seat right next to him. And it's empty. So he's sitting there and wondering about that as time goes on, the first act ends, curtain comes down, and he's sitting there at this little time of a break or a pause, and he's wondering, why would this seat, one of the best seats in the house, be empty? So he leans across the empty seat to the woman sitting on the other side of it and says, ma'am, can you understand why this seat would be empty?
Why would anybody buy a ticket to this show as hard as it is to get and then not come? Or send somebody else in their place? And she says, well, I know the story of this seat. This seat belongs to me. He said, it's yours. She said, well, yes, I mean, sort of. She said, this was to be my husband's seat. He said, oh, she said to him, he died. He said to her, he said, oh, I am so sorry to hear about that. He thought about it for a moment, leaned back over the seat, he said, but I don't quite understand, he said, this is such a tremendously hard seat to get. Why wouldn't you just give this seat to one of your friends?
She looked at him and said, well, I would, she said, but they're all at the funeral home. We always make time for what's important to us. Always.
That's what happens when we become apathetic. C.S. Lewis says, put first things first and you get second things thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.
He's right. Let me ask you this question. What are your priorities? Don't answer it yourself because you'll lie, especially in church. God is my first priority. Then my family. You know, ask somebody who knows you well.
Ask, ask your spouse, ask a child, ask a friend. Say, based on what you see in my life, what's the priority in my life? You might be amazed what you hear. What do you think about? Knowing you're in that twilight zone that some of you are in right now. You know, when you're you're just sitting in a car and you're just sort of staring into infinity and you're thinking. I'm assuming there's thinking going on there. But when you're thinking, what do you think about? What goes on in your head?
What are the thoughts you have? What fills your thoughts up in the day? What do you talk about when you walk up to somebody or a friend or what?
What's the first thing? What's the thing you enjoy so much? You have so much passion talking about.
She tells you a lot where your heart is. I can remember when I was at Dallas Seminary, Don Sanuki. He taught preaching classes. He used to get so upset with us because, you know, we just had this we almost had this cadaver thing going for us. You know, you know, you pretty much get up in class and see a guy and say, you know, open your Bibles to Matthew 4, 15 today. We'll be looking at Jesus as he has a prelude to the Sermon on the Mount.
This was written and it would just go on and Don Sanuki and it was great professor. He said, what is wrong with you guys? He said, I was just out in the hallway coming to this class and the same guys who were doing that from the pulpit were talking about the Cowboys. The cowboy game the day before. And he said, and they got all this enthusiasm and passion.
Their arms are failing. He said, they've got all this energy and then they come in here and preaching class and just stand there and stare at us and preach. And he said, you know what the problem is, guys? You have more passion for the Cowboys than you do for God. He was right.
He was right. Because you are impassioned about you want to talk about what are your priorities? Are you apathetic to God?
See, our apathy seems reasonable to us. I just can't get around to it right now. Maybe later. And I have to take it out for myself. I mean, I have my own responsibilities. I've got my own paneling to do here.
Got to take care of my house here. It seems reasonable. Our apathy not only seems reasonable to us, but secondly, our apathy has consequences. See, in verse six, he says to them, you have so much, but harvest little. You eat, but there's not enough to be satisfied. You drink, but there's not enough to become drunk.
You put on clothing, but not enough to warm yourself. And he who earns earns wages and puts it into a purse with holes. Verse nine, you look for much, but behold, it comes to little.
When you bring it home, I blow it away. Why, declares the Lord of hosts, because my house, which lies desolate while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore, he says, because of you, the sky has withheld its due and the earth has withheld its produce. And I call for a drought on the land and on the mountains and on the grain and on the new wine and on the oil and on the ground on what the ground produces on men and on cattle and all the labor of your hands. Apathy has consequences. God withheld his blessings from them. And he'll do it from you and for me.
He will withhold. He was trying to wake them up. He did it on a national level.
There was drought. And boy, that's huge for them. For us as a culture, we watch Wall Street. We watch the investments, the stock market. We want to know if it's crashing or not.
All kinds of things are important to us. Words like recession scare us or word like depression terrifies us, but not them. They didn't look to Wall Street. They looked to the sky. They're an agricultural society. They live or die based on the rain. And when there's no rain, there's no prosperity. And God said, I turned the rain off. Said, I did that.
And that was on a national level, the innocent suffering with the guilty. But on a personal level, he says, notice what you have in your life. He says, you look for much, but behold, it comes the little when you bring it home. Sound like your paycheck? He says, yeah, you you harvest, but there's little to eat. You clothe yourself, but you're never warm enough.
The more you work, the behinder you get. What about us? He treats us a little differently than that, but it's the same thing. You see, God promised Israel that if they went into the land and they were faithful to God, they would go into a land that flowed with milk and honey.
There'd be phenomenal national blessing for them. But they weren't faithful to God. They were apathetic to God because they were apathetic to God. He withheld that kind of blessing. Jesus promised us to give us life. And he says, and I'll give it to you abundantly. A life that's marked with happiness and satisfaction and joy and peace and hope.
He says, that's what I'm going to give you that life. But I'm telling you, if you're apathetic to God, you're not getting it right now. You're not satisfied. Your life feels like it's in a spiritual drought. Things aren't going as wonderfully as you had hoped.
You find yourself despairing. You see, we just seem to fall short of these kind of things. I don't think we often think that the reason for that is we're apathetic to God. I want you to notice that in this whole book, he doesn't tell them that they're terrible idol worshippers. Israel did that at times. He doesn't say they're in some kind of gross immorality.
Israel did that plenty of times. He's saying that their only problem is that they're spiritually apathetic to God. And a little bit preoccupied with themselves. But because of it, their life is not what they thought it should be. And neither will yours be that way. You're apathetic to God. He withholds the blessing.
It's not there. There's no peace, but just some fear. There's no hope but despair. There's no joy, but it's kind of a sorrowy feeling.
But what Jesus offered us was so different than that. William Ward said, Real happiness is more of a habit than a goal, more of an attitude than an attainment. It is the companion of cheerfulness, not the creature of circumstances. Happiness is what overtakes us when we forget ourselves. When we learn to open our eyes in optimism and close the door in the face of defeat. We win happiness when we lose ourselves in service to others. As I say over and over again, happiness is giving yourself away because that's God's will for you. Is to give yourself away. Q Down said, A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
He's right. No matter what's going on, we are the people. Actually, this is amazing. We're actually to be able to attract unbelievers to us because we're so giddy happy. They should be drawn to us. Because they see this overflowing joy that we have. If we don't have it, I wonder if we're being apathetic to God or not. Walter Knight said, Joy is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts, announcing the king is in residence today.
Great. That someone sees someone new today, they think, man, there must be the king is in residence today in their heart. Because the joy is overflowing. You see, apathy to us seems reasonable, but it has tremendous consequences in our life. We can never get out of the life what we want or what God has for us. I'm hoping right up to now I've really depressed you.
But I wouldn't leave you that way. And the word of God never leaves you that way. I mean, it is kind of depressing that our apathy seems reasonable to us. Almost all of us are apathetic and apathy has its consequences of which most of us are experiencing. But he says something else in this chapter that's wonderful. Our apathy is curable.
Versus seven and eight. Thus says the Lord in verse seven, consider your ways. Look at verse five. Now, therefore, says the Lord of hosts, consider your ways.
Best translation in English I could come up with. Think about it. I think that's what he's saying. He said, look, think about it. Think about life. Think about you. Think about God. Think about it. Consider your ways.
That's how you start curing apathy. Consider your ways. You must repent in your thinking. You have to think differently. See, that's the trap of apathy. It's like sedates us.
And we just start sinking under it. He says, stop and rethink this. Now, what's he saying to Israel or to Judah at this time? What's he saying to them? He's saying, consider your ways.
Stop for a moment and think. Of all the people on earth, whose people are you? Oh, we're your people. Of all the people that are descended from so many others, who is your father? Abraham. What did I do with Abraham? I gave him a covenant.
Yeah. What's that covenant say? Well, it says you're going to be our God and we're going to be your people and this is going to be our land. When I gave a Palestinian covenant, I gave a Mosaic covenant. I gave David the great king a covenant. You're my people and I'm your God.
Have you thought about that? And what did you do to be my people? We didn't do anything. You did it all.
We inherited it. Did I give you clear direction? Oh, yeah. I told you what to do. Oh, yes. Did I tell you what not to do? Yeah, you did that too.
If you did do what you weren't supposed to do, did I have a way of helping you get through that? Oh, yeah. The sacrifices and all. We did all that. Yeah. Do I have all this figured out?
Oh, yeah. You got it pretty well figured out. Well, think about it. Now, how about us? Without Jesus Christ, where are you headed? Scripture says the lake of fire, we call it hell. It's separation from God and it's a terrible place that Jesus said is a place, he said, where the worm never dies. It's a place of eternal torment.
It's a horrible place being separated from God. But you're not going there. If you know Christ, you're going to another place.
It's better than this, infinitely better. And he says, not only that, but I can assure you you're going to go there because I'm going first. And I'll go and prepare a place for you so that where I am, you may be also. But while I'm gone, he said, I'll breathe my spirit into you and so that you'll always know that it's a down payment or a pledge of what's to come so you can have my Holy Spirit. And through the strength of that Spirit, you can do all things through him who strengthens you. I'll give you my word so that you can guide your life on the basis of my word. I will give each of you gifts so that you can all together have much greater strength than you would individually.
You'll be like a human body fit together. I will give you not only your future, but I'll give you your present. I'll give you peace beyond all understanding. See, I'll give you hope when everyone despairs. And I'll give it to you all based on all the work that I do or that Christ does at the cross.
All you have to do is believe me. Think about it. If you think about all that God has done for you and all that God's going to do for you, all that Christ has done for you and all that Christ is going to do for you, don't you think that just maybe he should be number one in your life? Just maybe he should be the one you live for. And to become apathetic about him who has given us everything, as Paul writes to the Ephesians, he's enriched us with every heavenly blessing. He's given us everything.
We give him back apathy. That's why he said, consider your ways. Think about it. Repent in the way you think. Then in verse 8, thought is always followed up by action. Notice the clarity. Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple. Could it be clearer than that?
Could it be clearer than that? He says, that's what I want you to do. That's what I want you to do in the beginning. Go up to the mountains, bring the wood, build the temple. Notice the result of that, that I may be pleased with it and glorified, says the Lord.
That is so wonderful. We have to change our priorities. That's what he's saying. You have to rethink your thinking. Repent of your thinking. And then you have to change your priorities. You see, if you're a Jew right now and you're in Jerusalem, what's the number one priority in your life?
Go up to the mountain, bring the wood, build the temple. That's what God is saying. Make me your number one priority. And I will be pleased and I will be glorified. And the inference is clear, and you will be blessed. It's a wonderful thing. He's just as clear to us.
Go and make disciples of all the people, baptizing them and teaching them. You see? It's the same idea. It's the commission of the church. It's our great commission.
A month or so ago we talked, we must keep the main thing, the main thing. It's real simple what he wants from us. And he gives us everything we need. God wants you to spend time in his word. God wants you to spend time with his people. God wants you to impact the culture. God wants you to go certain places. He wants you not to go other places. God wants you to do certain things.
He doesn't want you to do other things. It's real clear in the word of God what he wants from you and what he doesn't. That's what the word of God is.
It's his revelation. This is what I want. I'll be pleased. I'll be glorified.
And you will be blessed. The very things we're looking for, we find abundant life. What's keeping us? Oh, overt sin can, yes. Open rebellion can.
False worship can. But I'll tell you what, apathy can do more than any of those. We just become apathetic. And they became more apathetic after 18 years had passed. And the longer you are a Christian, the more vulnerable you are to apathy. It's an amazing thing to see.
Why? They become apathetic. They just become apathetic.
They just go through it as though they're going through some kind of dead ritual because they've lost their love, their passion, can be renewed. All they have to do is think about it and change their priorities and make God their priority. You see, it requires what we would call repentance, simply changing the way you live and changing the way you think, going the other direction. And I'm talking about real repentance, a true change in the way you think and live, not half repentance, not that kind of, Dear IRS, here's $550.
If I still can't sleep, I'll send the rest. Okay? That's not real repentance.
Okay? That's what we do often with God. I'll give him a little more than I'm giving. He doesn't want a little more than you're giving. He wants to be first.
And by the way, it's not hard when he's first. Jesus said, Take my yoke upon you. My yoke is light. Light. He said, It's light because I'll pull along with you.
It's light. It's not so hard to make God number one. We keep acting like, Boy, I'm really going to have to change if I make God number one in my life.
No, you won't. It's better. Our apathy is curable by repenting of our thinking and changing our priorities.
But it really gets neat. Look at verse 12. Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet as their God, and God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for God. Verse 14. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people, and they came, and they worked on a house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the 24th day of the sixth month of the second year.
He says, Darius was king. 23 days later. They changed. They said, We're going to do it. It's a wonderful thing.
And it was easy. You see, there's one thing I'm leaving out. It doesn't just require you to have a change in your attitude. Rethink your thinking about what God should mean to you and your priorities. But, verse 13, then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people and said, What? I am with you.
See, he didn't say, And I am pleased. Now get to it. All you have to do is get it started, and God will take care of the rest.
You see that? The Christian life is not a hard life. It's a supernatural life. Apart from Christ, you can do nothing. With Christ, you can do all things.
The point is, he does the work. You see, living the Christian life is just like getting into the Christian life. You get in by grace and grace alone, and you live by grace and grace alone.
It's God at work. I am with you. He said, I'll do it, but you have to allow me. You have to make me number one. Your will has to bow to me and say, Go ahead, Lord.
Take it. Let's do it together. That's what God wants. You see, he is pleased and glorified, and we are blessed, and he is with us. I am with you, declares the Lord. What's your excuse for not being all that you can be in Christ? What do you use as an excuse?
It's amazing what I hear. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. Neither did Paul. See, I have a really bad background.
David did a lot of things he was ashamed of. I don't have the kind of people around me to really help me. According to the Word of God, you have the body of Christ around you to help you. I don't know exactly what I should be doing. Well, he says that it's a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path. I don't know if I have the strength or the fortitude to make it.
He said, I'll give you my spirit. What's the excuse? Michael Green says, an excuse has been defined as the skin of reason, stuffed with a lie. And see, the lie is, I don't think I'll ever get off the dime. That's a lie.
I don't think I can ever really do all these things. That's a lie. It sounds reasonable, but it's not true. The one thing that may be stopping you from more than anything else in your Christian life is not terrible, overt sin. It is not that you're worshipping idols. It's to become apathetic to God. You've just become apathetic. It's dangerous, and it's reasonable to us, but it has incredible consequences in our life.
But what Haggai is saying is, not only has it got consequences, but it is curable. That's what it requires. And all that that requires is, Lord, I'm going to rethink it. Every day, I'm going to wake up and think about what you've done for me, what you're doing for me, and what you will do for me, and that the best I can, you're first in my life.
You're first. You ask, I answer. You point, I go. You'll be amazed the amount of joy and happiness and blessing that can flow into your life when you do that.
Don't let apathy hold you back. 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 / 2023-05-20 06:12:13 / 2023-05-20 06:23:37 / 11