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Mild Christianity - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2022 8:00 am

Mild Christianity - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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March 25, 2022 8:00 am

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. You see, we have a tendency never to think of God with that kind of power that He has. And I think what Haggai wants to tell them is, look, don't you understand? He is absolutely in control because of His power.

And He's also sovereign. What's going to happen to Israel is what God writes in His tablet of time. And when God puts a period at the end of that sentence, it's over.

That's the way it's going to be. He not only is all powerful, but He's a sovereign God, providential in everybody's life. 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. Pastor Bill Gebhardt says, I don't care if you're sons of Abraham. I don't care if you've been delivered from Babylon. I don't care if you're working on the temple of God. Everything you do and everything you offer me from my point of view is unclean. Why? Because you only have a mild case of believism. Your desire is far from me. You're thinking more about your own home than you are about me.

It's exactly the kinds of things that you see today. You see, if you're a Christian who is unhappy and joyless, if you're a Christian who's full of worry and anxiety, anger and bitter, unloving and selfish, greedy, unethical, apathetic and indifferent, and you think that every time you show up on a Sunday and you offer up to God your worship that he goes, I trust you, Cain. He's not. Unless your heart is right. He says, please don't be vaccinated with a mild case of Christianity. It is not something God will accept. It is not something God will wink at and let go by. If you belong to God like Israel belongs to God, he will deal with you.

That's the side effects that he goes on and describes. Notice verse 15. He says, But now do consider from this day onward before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the Lord. From the time when one came to a grain to a grain heap of 20 measures, he says there would be only 10. And when one came to the wine vat to draw 50 measures, there would be only 20. I smote you and every work of your hands with a blasting wind mildew in hell. And yet you did not come back to me.

What are the side effects? How do you know you've been vaccinated with a mild case of Christianity? The first is this. You have low spiritual resources.

You'll know it. You have low spiritual resources. Israel was a nation. In order for that nation to overcome the difficult times, times of war, times of drought, what they did is they took their excesses and they put it in a barn. So they put it in the vats. And so when the the hard times came, they would go into the resources. They would tap into the resources.

And we say it in principle, they saved for the rainy day. And so did spiritually in your own life. You see, do you have low spiritual resources when the drought comes, when the storms come up, the storms of life, when the difficulties come, when the thunder rumbles and the lightning strikes?

How do you do? You see, instead of having 50 measures, do you have only 20? Instead of having 20, do you only have only 10? And what you find is you just panic in the situation because there's no deep spiritual resource within you to grab onto this. If that's the case in your life, there's a good chance you've been vaccinated with a mild case of Christianity. It's a sad thing to see because a part of it is, is a drought and storms hit all of us. That makes us so sad as a pastor because I know what's going to happen eventually in your life.

It's going to hit. And if that barn is empty, it's empty. And all those resources you should be able to cling to and grab are gone. And that's why God said, I want you to come back.

And you did not. Notice verse 17 says something a little different. You have low spiritual resources in verse 16 and 17. He says, you never seem to make much spiritual progress.

I smote you in every work of your hands, blasting wind, mildew and hail, and yet you did not come back. For some of us, we never seem to make any spiritual progress. Where we were last year is where we are this year. Where we were five years ago is where we are now. Where we were 10 years ago, we're still there. It seems as though instead of moving on, we're not moving. We're just sort of sitting still.

Do you feel like that? Notice I'm not talking about what you do either. I'm not talking about how often you're in church, whether you lead Bible. I'm not talking about any of that kind of stuff. What I'm talking about is when push comes to shove and it does hit the fan.

Where are you? What's going on in your life? Do you tap into the Lord right then? Does it have meaning and purpose? Or do you find yourself spiritually bankrupt because you don't have anything to offer?

You see, that's a side effect of being vaccinated with mild Christianity disorder. First 19, he says, is the seed still in the barn? Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree is not born fruit. To understand this, you have to understand the culture and the month. This is the month of Chizulu. This is the month of what they call the early rain. This is the month that you wait for, that when it rains in Israel, you now plant the seeds. So that you can have a harvest in the summer and late summer. He says to them, where's your seed?

Is it still in the barn? You see, one of the side effects is not only do you have low spiritual resources, you never seem to make spiritual progress. But God is withholding blessing. He's withholding the rain.

You see, that's an amazing and sobering thought, isn't it? But he does. Now, he does it for a purpose.

Notice. He says it is not born fruit because he said before, you have not yet come back to me. But God withholds the rain. He's withholding rain in your life. Is your life sort of two steps forward, three steps back? It's kind of the way it's going. If it is and you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you really have to examine yourself.

Do I have this mild case? And am I reaping what I've sown? Because you cannot sow apathy and indifference with God Almighty and reap blessing.

It will not happen, and he's consistent about that in the Old and the New Testament. The good thing is there's a cure to it. And it's here in these passages.

And in order to be cured, it simply takes a backward look and a forward hope. That's what God says. In other words, I have to look back to what I have sown and forward to what God can do.

That's what I need to do. And that's what he's asked him to do. Notice verse 15. But now do consider verse 18. Do consider the end of verse 18.

Consider. Now, I'm not a prophet nor the son of one, but my thought here is if God says it three times, I don't think he stutters. I think it's important. It's sort of like Jesus saying he who has ears to hear, let him hear. I think he knew who had ears and most of people did. But what he meant was this is something to emphasize. And when he says here, consider, consider, consider.

It's exactly what he said in Chapter one, verse five. Consider your ways. Verse seven, consider your ways. What he wants you to do is say, assess your life.

Assess it. Look back on your life. When the worst times came, were you a spiritual fortress?

Or are you a sandcastle? You see, what happened in those darkest times? Were you able to rely on a tap under the resources of God or were you not? You see, that's what he's saying. And if you have, this is built into the whole biblical doctrine of repentance. Consider your ways as just saying, assess your life. Change your mind.

Flip directions. That's what he's saying. A Sunday school teacher asked a class of fourth graders, what does repentance mean? A little boy put up his hand and said, repentance means being sorry for your sins. And a little girl who always liked to correct him in class raised her hand.

And said, it's being sorry enough to quit. Neither one of them are exactly theologically online, but she makes a really good point. What it requires is a change in the human being. Hold your place here and go with me to First John chapter one and sort of get a New Testament view of the same idea that Haggai is speaking of. First John chapter one, right at the end of the Bible. John says in verse five, and this is the message that we, the apostles, have heard from him. That is Jesus Christ. And we announce to you, God is light and in him is no darkness at all.

What does that mean? It means exactly what we were singing all morning. And we sing, holy, holy, holy is the Lord. God is light.

In him is no darkness at all. Holy is not a word that should scare us. In fact, it's not really a holy word.

It's not being it's not about some kind of deep, mystical, religious thing. Holy simply means set apart. Holy means set apart. God is set apart from everything. Is there anything like God?

No. He is, as some say, holy other. That's what it means. God is holy. When we say holy, holy, holy, what we're singing is there is none like you.

There are no other gods like you. You are set apart. When he tells us that Israel is to be a holy nation, it means it's to be set apart by God to be his people. There's a holy temple. That temple is set apart to worship God. We are a holy people. We are being set apart by God. And so when God says in Leviticus and in Peter, Be ye holy, for I am holy. He means live and act differently.

Be set apart. That's what Christianity is all about. Notice sometimes we go into some form of denial with that. John's verse six. If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet we walk in darkness, we lie.

And we do not practice the truth. You see, I cannot say that God and I are close. God and I are buds.

We're together all the time and nothing in my life reflects it. It's not what I know about God. It's how I live in proximity to God. And he said, if we say, oh, I have fellowship with God, the Lord and I are close. But I live in darkness.

He said that I am a liar. Verse seven, he says, but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another in the blood of Jesus, his son cleanses us from all sin. Our only chance to have a horizontal relationship with one another is that we have a vertical relationship with God. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, does it mean we walk in perfection? No, but walk in the pursuit of holiness. We walk in the pursuit of holiness. What God says is most important to me.

What God wants is the priorities of my life. What God says is sin. I say is sin.

Where God says to go, I go. And what God says to not do, I don't do through his grace. Verse eight, if we say we have no sin, people sometimes say that I don't sin. If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Jesus had to make that clear. He actually ran across people who said they weren't sinners. That's why Jesus said if you've even thought in your head a lustful thought, you're a sinner. An angry thought, you're a sinner.

James writes that if you're guilty of one aspect of the law, you're guilty of all the law. That's why Paul wrote that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no one in this room that has never had a sinful thought. We're all sinners.

He says if we decide we're not, then we're deceiving ourselves. In verse nine, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That word confess means to agree with. If we are in agreement with God about the sin of our life, that's the key to our walk with him. If God says to me, Bill, I hate the sin in your life and I say to God, I hate it too, that's confessing my sin.

The sin that grieves God grieves me. This is not a credit card verse. This is not a verse that I can say, oh, boy, I know First John one night, I can sin next Friday night. I'm going to sin, but I'm just going to credit card it with God and I'll be fine with him. That's not what this verse says.

God is not that naive, even though we are. Verse 10, if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. Everywhere in his word, it's clear that we're sinners. Then he says, John writes, my little children, I'm writing these things that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ, the righteous, and he himself was the propitiation for our sins. He means satisfaction with God and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world.

What he is saying there is that the Christian, I write these things that we don't sin. But if we do remember, remember, God is always for us. We have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ. The love of Jesus Christ was not simply that Jesus came and died on the cross for you. The love of Jesus Christ continues this moment.

He says things like, I'll never leave you nor forsake you. But he's also your advocate. He states your case before God because he loves you. If there's one thing you can say about all humanity, about God in one sentence, you can say this. God loves you. If you don't know God yet, he still loves you. If you know him, he loves you. If you've failed him, he loves you.

If you're apathetic toward him, he still loves you. Man took his young boy up on top of a mountain and said to the little boy, he said, look out as far as you can see to the north. And he did. And he looks out into the horizon. He says, now turn to the east. Now look to the south.

Now look to the west. And the boy did it. And he said, look.

He said, you see how far out that is? That's how much God loves you. That's the love of God.

And the little boy looked at his dad and he said, is that true? If that's true, then we're right here in the middle of it, aren't we? And boy, we are.

We're right here in the middle of it. That's how God loves us. I don't understand it. I don't understand it. But I sure love it that it's true. I found this little poem this week. Isn't it odd that a being like God who sees the facade still loves the Claude he made out of sod? That wasn't that odd. It is. It is.

And I'm amazed how uncompromising his love is for me considering how compromising my life is for him. Now back to Haggai. We need to take a backward look, assess our lives. We need to repent, to change our thinking, to change the way we live.

We need to stop going one way and start going another. That's what he is saying. He said it before. He told him, look, just get busy with the temple.

Stop doing this and get busy. That's kind of what we have to do as a believer. That's one of the ways we cure this disease, this mild case of Christianity. But then he goes on and says, verse 20, Then the word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the 24th day of the month, saying, Speak to the rubble, governor of Judah, and say, I'm going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations. I will overthrow the chariots and their riders and the horses and the riders and go down every one by the sword of another. And on that day, declares the Lord of Hosts, I will take you as a rubbable, the son of Shealtiel, my servant, declares the Lord.

And I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of Hosts. This incredible passage, it's prophetic, really the only prophecy that Haggai makes. And he says it's time to come in the future when God is going to be the major of all things, when God is going to put a period on the line, the sentence of history, when God is going to establish total dominion and rule. He said he's going to do it through, by the way, through Zerubbabel, my son.

Jesus Christ is a descendant of Zerubbabel. This is a prophecy of the millennial kingdom of our Lord. Notice what this verse should do to us, this forward hope. These verses tell us of the power of God, the sovereignty of God, and the love of God.

That should always encourage us. Do you ever think enough about the power of God? What we say is, how powerful is God? He's all powerful, he's omnipotent.

But what's that? I don't know. That means he's got a lot of power. You see, we don't know that. Just consider the power of God, the same God, by the way, who calls you his child. Think of his creation.

Can you think of it? If you could travel at the speed of light, that's 186,000 miles in a second. 186,000 miles in a second.

You go to the moon about a second and a half. That's fast, right? If you traveled that fast and you were just across the creative universe, it would take you 500 billion years.

500 billion years just across the creative universe. No, I think you'd have to say, people, that's big. I mean, that's big. I could preach this in Texas and they'd say, that's big. That's big stuff.

500 billion years at the speed of light. That's what he created. No, think about it. That's the macro. Think of the micro. If you took one cup of water and think of the atoms in one cup of water, if all the people on earth began counting together right now, all of us, started counting, six billion of us counting, and we would count at a normal one, two, three, four, we could all together, all six billion of us, count how many atoms are in one cup of water in 180 million years.

In one cup of water. That's the micro. I don't know about you, but that's pretty impressive. You see, we have a tendency never to think of God with that kind of power that he has. And what I think what Haggad wants to tell them is, look, don't you understand? He is absolutely in control because of his power. And he's also sovereign. What's going to happen to Israel is what God writes in his tablet of time. And when God puts a period at the end of that sentence, it's over.

That's the way it's going to be. He not only is all powerful, but he's a sovereign God, providential in everybody's life. And then it says in the end, I will make you like a signet ring for I have chosen you. That's his love. Here it refers to his love for his people, Judah. Also, prophetically refers to his love for his son, Christ. But over and over again in the New Testament, you are called his chosen. You're his people.

That's it. That's us. We're his people. That's his love for us. He says, I make you a joint heir with Christ. We get the signet ring.

We are joint heirs. We have the authority. Not only do we win in the end, we win in an unimaginable way.

We get everything for having done nothing. Because we're recipients of his love. Now, considering his power and his providence and his love, shouldn't that just a little bit fire you up just a little?

If that doesn't fire us up, what can fire us up? The all powerful, all knowing, all sovereign, all loving God has a vested interest in you. And he wants that relationship with you to not only be now, but forevermore.

And he wants to bless you beyond your imagination. I'm just thinking maybe we should respond with, all right. All right. I'm going to I feel a love and passion for you.

I'm full of gratitude. I want to make a difference. I'm going to act in a specific way. I'm going to tap into your resources.

I want to know you better. That's Christianity as it is in scripture. It's amazing how we don't view it that way. When I first became a Christian, wasn't saved for very long. But I'll tell you this. I was saved. And I was really on fire for Christ. And the most disheartening thing was running into Christians because they thought I was nuts.

Their whole view was, don't. What are you so excited about? There's a place on Sunday morning you go, you give a few bucks, sing a few hymns, and that's it. So what are you excited about? I'm excited about the fact that the God of creation sent his son to die for me. And now I don't have to worry about hell and I can be rightly related to God and I can go to heaven and spend forever with him. That excited me. And so those with a vaccination said, I just don't get it.

What's he so excited about? Oh, people, we just can't do that. It's so easy to be vaccinated against a real disease. We become apathetic. Mild Christian disorder is epidemic.

And it's not pleasing to God and it's not good for you. I mean, if you want that life of peace and hope and joy, you want that life of meaning. You want to look forward to getting up every day and look forward to whatever comes your way. Look forward to the day you're born and the day you die.

You want to live that kind of life. Then you've got to deal with that disease. And you do it by first looking back and saying, what is my perspective of Christianity got me to this point? And it's usually nothing.

Except maybe a ticket to heaven. And then look forward to what God can do in your life. He is the God of the new opportunity every day. And then just come straight up to the Lord. And just as Paul said to the Romans in Romans Chapter 12, present yourself a living sacrifice. Here I am God, do with me whatever you want. I know it'll be fine. That's what he wants from every single one of us.

That's what he deserves. 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, 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 / 2023-05-18 01:36:42 / 2023-05-18 01:47:29 / 11

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