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The Power Of Grace - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2022 8:00 am

The Power Of Grace - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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April 6, 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.

Who are you? Who are the Ninevites in your life? Muslims?

Are they the Ninevites in your life? You see, we have whole classes of people like that. Sometimes it can be more generalized. It could be rich people. It could be poor people. It could be your sister-in-law, your brother-in-law, your ex-boss, your ex-husband, your ex-wife.

Does that describe you? You find it a lot easier to be happy about receiving the grace of God, but you have no interest in bestowing the grace of God. 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.

Chapter 6. Through Rahab we learn that grace is so powerful that it can erase your old labels and give you new ones. Through David we learn that grace is so powerful that in spite of all your persistent sinning, it is without limits.

Now we run into another character, a character a lot of us can identify with. He is known as one of the great judges of Israel. God raised up men and women at this period of time to judge the nation, to protect them from their enemies on the outside and their apostasy on the inside. And one of them was known as Gideon. You probably have seen his Bibles.

He's a very, very famous guy, but he's not very impressive. Verse 12. The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and they said to him, The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.

There's a new label. Now you've got to understand, Gideon's not even in the army. And the angel of the Lord, when you see the angel of the Lord, Theophany, it's the son of God. Oh, the Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.

Now watch this response. Gideon said to him, Oh, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles that our fathers told us about?

And didn't the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? But now the Lord has abandoned us and he's given us in the land of Midian wine, wine, wine, wine, wine. Oh, Lord, it's a lot. Wouldn't you be kind of impressed that the angel of the Lord is talking to you?

But I've got a lot of things on my mind here. Amazing. Just amazing. Now, notice the Lord looked at him and said, Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian.

Have I not sent you? You see, when the Lord says you're going to do something, guess what? You're going to do it. And he said, Oh, Lord, how am I going to deliver Israel?

Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh and I'm the youngest in my father's house. I don't think I can do this. What am I going to do here?

I'm not adequate for this. The Lord said to him, Surely I will be with you and you shall defeat Midian as one man. Let me be clear about this one more time. So Gideon said, Well, OK, how about this? And if I found favor in your sight, then he say, Oh, favored one. But I'm not so sure you know what you're talking about. So if I found favor in your sight, he says, then show me a sign that it's you who's really speaking to me. Please do not depart from here. He says, until I come back, I'm going to go make an offering.

I'm going to make it right here in front of you and let's see what you can do with it. So verse 21, the angel of the Lord put out the end of a staff that was in his hand, touched the meat and the unleavened bread and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.

When Gideon saw that it was the angel of the Lord, he said, alas, oh, Lord God, for now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said to him, Peace be with you. Do not fear. You shall not die. So he knew what was bothering him. He's afraid.

Now, that sounds like it's going to be a great story, and I would wish right there everything went great, but it doesn't. Verse 36. Then Gideon said to God, if you will deliver Israel through me, as you said you would, notice the if. If you're going to deliver Israel through me like you said you would, he said, behold, I have put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. And if there is dew on the fleece only and it is dry in all the ground, then I will know that you will deliver Israel through me, as you have said.

How about this? I'll put out a fleece. You put dew all over it. But I want everything around the ground dry because otherwise it could be just a dewy morning. And he wouldn't even know there was you because on a dewy morning there's dew everywhere.

But this is dew only on the fleece. What are we learning about him, beside the fact of his excuses? What kind of faith does this man have?

How does your faith stack up to his? You've got to feel pretty good about yourself. You have to. Well, and it was so when he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water, and it was dry everywhere else. That would do it, right? No. Then Gideon said to God, do not let your anger burn against me.

You think? You see, he says that I may speak once more. Please let me make a test once more with the fleece. Let it now be dry only on the fleece and let there be dew all over the ground. And God did so that night and it was dry only on the fleece and the dew on the ground. What do you learn from Gideon?

You learn this. Grace is so powerful that in spite of all of your inadequacies and your lack of faith, God can still do great things through you. Grace is so powerful that in spite of all of your inadequacies and your lack of faith, God can still do great things through you. By the grace of God, he went from being a coward to a conqueror.

I don't even have to use Gideon. I could have used Moses. Remember when the burning bush came to Moses?

What did Moses do? I don't think I can do this. He said, I lack integrity. I don't have a message. I don't have the ability. I don't have much faith. What's your excuse? What's your excuse? And don't go all pious on me because, boy, oh, boy, if I could have accumulated all of your excuses for not doing ministry over the years, you wouldn't believe it. I would love to have a church service of just putting up on the projector just the excuses I've heard you people make not to do ministry. It's an amazing thing. It would be funny until you saw yours.

But we do this all the time. Oh, I just don't think I could do it. I don't have a message. I can't. I just can't. I can't talk to them. I don't have the words. I don't know the Bible well enough. I know Jesus. I know the God, but I don't know. I just don't know what I'm going to do. I just can't. Wow, that's what I love about the grace of God.

It's so powerful that in spite of all of your inadequacies, real and perceived, and a lack of faith, He can still do great things through you. It's an amazing thing to watch. When I was in high school, I enjoyed high school. I enjoyed all the aspects of it. I didn't have anything that I really worried about much, didn't study very hard, didn't do anything like that, got through just fine though. You know, anything about high school was enjoyable to me and came easy, except one thing. There was one thing I hated, I had trepidation about, I didn't want to do, and both in my sophomore and junior years, I can remember just hating every moment preceding it, and that was to give an oral book report.

And I thought, if there's one thing I'm never going to do, I hate standing in front of people and saying anything. And that's the way I felt. So God's grace can be pretty ironic to say the very least. But see, when it comes to God, it doesn't work like that. That's the power of His grace. It's so powerful that in spite of our inadequacies, even our lack of faith, God will use us in a great way.

So Rahab teaches us that he can take your old label, erase it, give you a new one. David teaches us that no matter how insistent your sin is and how persistent it is, His grace is limitless. And we learn from Gideon that His grace is so powerful that in spite of your inadequacies and even your lack of faith in God, He can do great things for you.

And there's just one more. Near the end of the Old Testament, turn to the book of Jonah. The book of Jonah, right near the end of the Old Testament.

Again, a very familiar story, but I want you to see the idea of grace in this. In verse 2 of the book of Jonah chapter 1, God says to Jonah, Arise and go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me. Nineveh is the capital of the Assyrian empire. The Assyrians are as bloodthirsty and cruel as any dominant empire in the ancient world ever was. As I've told you before, the Assyrians, one historian wrote that from 30 miles outside of Nineveh, along the side of the road that takes the main drag into Nineveh, they would take people they had conquered, impel them on a single stake through their crotch, and stand them up along the road the whole length so that you knew who you were dealing with when you got to Nineveh. That's the Assyrians. Jonah hated them.

Everybody did. And so what you have here, he says, Arise and go to Nineveh. That would be northeast, verse 3. But Jonah rose up and fled to Tarshish.

That's as far west as a human can go. God said, Go east, young man, young man went west. We're going to find out later why. Well, you know the story. He gets out there, and he's in the boat, and now there's a big storm, and everyone thinks they're going to die, and they're a very superstitious group of sailors. And Jonah finally has some insight, understands the situation, and in verse 12, he says, He said to them, Pick me up, throw me into the sea, and then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you. And they didn't even want to do that.

They were good men. But Jonah said, Look, throw me into the sea. By the way, there's something bad about Jonah. Jonah says, I'd rather die right now. I'd like to go to Tarshish, but if I can't go to Tarshish, I'd rather die than go to Nineveh. So kill me. Well, he finally gets thrown in, and you know God prepared a great fish, and he spends three days and three nights in that.

That has a way, by the way, of sort of changing your attitude about some things. And he prays, and in verse 2 of chapter 3, God says, Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh. He's on his way, and he gets there.

It's a great city. Jonah writes it's a three days walk across the city, enormous city. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk, one day in, and here's the message. He cried out, and he said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown. That's it.

Now just imagine this. This is the Nineveh, the pagan Assyrian capital, the cruelest people on the planet. He's a Jewish prophet. He walks in one day, and all he does is yell out, Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown. And then the people of Nineveh believe in God.

So what's your excuse about you don't have all the words to talk to your brother-in-law about Jesus? I need to know more. Really? How much did he, what did he tell them?

Forty days, and you're going to get it. That's it. All the people of Nineveh believed in God, and they called a fast, and they put on sackcloth, and the greatest, the least of them. And when the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, and he laid aside his robe from him, and he covered himself with sackcloth, and he sat on the ashes, and he issued a proclamation, and he said, In Nineveh, by the decree of the king and his nobles, do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing.

We're going to fast. Do not let them eat or drink water, but both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth. By the way, that's not easy, getting sackcloth on every animal in Nineveh.

That wouldn't be easy. And let the men call on God earnestly, that each may turn from his wicked way, and from the violence which was in his hands. The greatest revival ever led by Jonah. It says, When God saw their deeds in verse 10, and learned that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which he had declared he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.

And it sounds like it's going to be a happy story, doesn't it? It greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. Now, notice what he's angry about. He prayed to the Lord, and he said, Please, Lord, was this not what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this, I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better for me than life. I knew you'd do something like this.

I just knew you would. Here's the great lesson that we can learn from Jonah about grace. Grace is so powerful that God will still bestow grace on you when you refuse to bestow grace on others. That's what you'll learn from Jonah. Notice the Lord said to him in verse 4, Jonah, do you have good reason for anger?

Do you have any reason for being this angry? And Jonah went out in the city and set east of it, and there he made a shelter for himself, and he sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen to the city. He's still hoping against hope. Maybe they won't get it right. Maybe they'll still get all burned. Maybe God will hit them with fireballs. Maybe it'll be a Sodom and Gomorrah event, and I get to see it all. So the Lord appointed a plant, and it grew up over Jonah to be shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. What is that? Grace.

He deserves that? Grace. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. Ha!

I love this! Now we're going to find out in a minute there's probably 120,000 children in this city. Some historians say as many as 600,000 people live there. They're not going to be destroyed by God. They have repented and have relationship with God. You think that'd make him happy? It made him angry. But he got a plant. He got a plant that gave him some shade on a hot sunny day, and that made him really happy. Isn't it amazing what makes you happy?

Isn't that amazing? And yet God will often not withhold it from you. He'll let you have it.

But notice something happens then. When he saw him being so happy about the plant, it says God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day, and it attacked the plant, and it withered. Everyone wants to see the great fish. I want to see the worm. That's some worm.

And it came about when the sun came up that God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that it became faint, and he begged with all his soul to die, saying, Death is better than life. What a doofus! What a foolish, foolish man he is. I want to die now.

This is hot. God said to Jonah, Jonah, do you have good reason to be angry about the plant? Notice how patient God is.

He's trying to teach him something. And he said, I have good reason to be angry, even to death. It's amazing how childlike we can talk to God, and I mean in an immature way. And then the Lord said, You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. It was all grace. That was me. And he said, And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who did not know the difference between their right hand and their left hand? It's an idiom which could be for children, as well as many animals.

In other words, Jonah, if you learn something, receiving grace is often a lot easier than bestowing it, isn't it? Question for you. Who are the Ninevites in your life? Who are the Ninevites in your life? Muslims?

Are they the Ninevites in your life? You see, we have whole classes of people like that. Sometimes it could be more generalized. It could be rich people. It could be poor people.

It could be your sister-in-law, your brother-in-law, your ex-boss, your ex-husband, your ex-wife. You see, does that describe you? You find it a lot easier to be happy about receiving the grace of God, but you have no interest in bestowing the grace of God. Philip Bianci says this, the gospel of grace begins and ends with forgiveness, and people write songs with titles like Amazing Grace for one reason. Grace is the only force in the universe powerful enough to break the chains that enslave us as human beings. He's right.

No disrespect to those scientists that say Tsar Obama was the greatest, most powerful demonstration of power that the world has ever seen. I disagree. It's the grace of God.

You know why? Because the grace of God is the only power that can change the world and the only power that can change you. Which of those characters do you most identify with?

Rahab, David, Gideon, or Jonah? Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound. It saved a wretch like me. I once was lost and now I'm found. I was blind.

Now I see. Let's pray. Father, I thank you for your patient grace, that you give it to us in spite of ourselves, never because of ourselves. It is unmerited favor. It is your riches at Christ's expense. Father, how I thank you for that. Father, I pray for all of us.

Who do we identify with? Are we people like Rahab who have a label that we have trouble overcoming, and yet if we would allow the grace of God to work in our life, we can overcome that label and live up to the new labels that we have. For some of us, Father, it is the persistent sin in our lives, feeling so guilty and unworthy, and yet we learn from David that your grace has no limit. Or is it Gideon that we feel inadequate, that we really can't do what you've asked us to do, and we have such little faith that we keep throwing out the fleece in one way or the other for you to prove yourselves to us, and yet you do because you can do great things through us, through the power of your grace in spite of ourselves. And, Father, I know there are some of us like Jonah that we love receiving grace, but we don't like bestowing it on anyone else, especially those who have hurt us, those who have made our lives miserable, and yet, Father, that is the true message of grace. Grace is bestowed on the undeserving, and that be all of us.

Father, I thank you for your amazing grace, and I thank you for our Savior who paid his price. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. 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, 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 For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-11 03:56:59 / 2023-05-11 04:06:49 / 10

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