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April 12, 2022 8:00 am
Today on the Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ came to her senses he said, how many of my father's hired men have more than a bread.
I am dying here with hunger. So I got up and came to his father, but why was still a long way off, his father Solomon felt compassion for him and ran and embraced him varies an amazing picture joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhart Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana when pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word meets my wife, and I were watching 4 July celebration in New York City.
It was spectacular.
They had five or six barges on the Hudson River. When they bought the fireworks for 30 straight minutes, all five or six barges were sucked like a finale for 1/2 an hour.
What they did is they used all kinds of music as the backdrop they used classical music 1812. Wonderful stuff like that patriotic music Star-Spangled Banner America the beautiful, very contemporary pop music event right in the middle of it all. Leanne rhymes saying amazing Grace.
It was kind of interesting because you have always barges and she singing amazing Grace and trying to go to the music shooting off fireworks and then millions of people are standing there wool and I am thinking of the words and am wondering what their thinking, like him, wondering what are they thinking, amazing grace, how sweet the site where they thinking what she thinking is I really wondered about that because it just seemed a little disjointed to me. I don't thing when John Newton wrote that song that he really had that in mind that we would put some barges in the river set off fireworks and one to what was done, but that song as great a him has ever been written is a song that has been always sort of in transition or changing. In fact, when Newton wrote it. He didn't title it amazing Grace. The title of the song was face review and expectation catching up be hard to imagine that that came later.
Even the tone in which we sing wasn't the tune that it originally went with all fact that came 50 years later British man named William Walker took it a song called New Britain and he took that song when he put the words to amazing Grace that that's kind of how we sing at the day in 1904 and when Othello Excel.
He added that very very famous last verse. When we been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. But he didn't like those words. He found those words in uncle Tom's cabin and when he found those words. He love them so much ended up putting it to amazing Grace, and that's normally not always, but normally the way we sing at the day. In the 1970s Judy Collins saying it and made a nationally hit out of it. Johnny Cash sang at the inmates all over prisons. It's used as Olympic ceremonies all over the world. When presidents are inaugurated we sing it. In fact, in 2004 Bill Moyers did a special on it and he just couldn't quite come to grips. He said you know it was never endorsed. Of course not, but by a pope had never really had much publicity, but it's got this endearing long quality to it. In fact, if you were to go to Amazon.com. There are 3832 different renditions of it right now. I think it deserves all the attention that it gets.
I think it deserves it. As I finish this series on grace. I felt that it would only be appropriate to use as my main text John Newton's amazing grace, so this look of the very first verse amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Well powerful words were to get that idea for that verse will open your Bibles to first Chronicles chapter 17 and two verses, Newton says were his inspiration first Chronicles chapter 17 verse 16. David is speaking.
Since then David, the king went in and he said before the Lord, and he said this, whom I he said. Who am I own Lord God, he said, and what is my house that you have brought me this far.
This was a small thing in your eyes. Oh God, but you have spoken of your servant's house for a great while to come and have regarded me, according to the standard of a man of high degree own Lord God in the words that penetrated Newton's heart whom I who am I Lord David couldn't understand it. He knew he was a sinner.
He knew he was in adulterer he knew he was murder and yet he received the Davidic covenant, whom I Newton was a slave trader whom I whom I Paul said that he was a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor and over and over again pulses whom I met you when might you when you're in the presence of the Lord you ever think that whom I to be here. What did you bring to the table. What did you offer God. How faithful of you. Whom I see when he says will mind is asked to respond.
Amazing grace outrageous.
It is absolutely amazing and sweet, amazing grace, how sweet the sound, you know you wonder. One contemporary singer sing the song what they think you see what they think was interesting.
Some of them spoken on it. Judy Collins said when she thinks of amazing Grace. She thinks this she thinks of. It's the time when you're trusting the universe. That's what it is.
Joan Bai has said that it's a state of mind that I would like to be in at least 30 seconds a day.
Pete Seeger said amazing Grace is harmony. It's like math today. Maybe singing it, but they may not be meeting what you're thinking their meaning when they're singing it, the meaning something else completely. And then he says that saved a wretch like me master how many times do you ever refer to yourself as a rich. I'm guessing that you see that's not a very popular word of wretch. In fact if you look at it now, what it means in the world only will we live in is a it means a miserable exile select the prodigal. That saved a wretch. Words like wretch sin, wickedness, evil, debauchery will use those words doing would never write those words now we use things like my unproductive personal habits. I have behavioral disorders and challenges we don't want to say wretch renewed seesaw was hard for what it was.
Think of the apostle Paul. We looked at him over the past few weeks. I am the chief of sinners. I am the least of all the apostles.
I am the least of all the saints is a Paul how could you possibly say that if you know what kind of wretch I was. See that's what Newton said he is revealing in a sense this wonderful plan of grace. The plan of grace is to save us. Those who have no way of saving themselves all because of the human heart Ivan Turgeon have the 19th century Russian novelist and playwright said this, I don't know what the heart of a bad manners like but I do know what the heart of a good man is like, and it is terrible to get it.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote.
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line of dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being who was willing to destroy a piece of their own heart. Chuck Swindoll said that if sin were blue. If sin were blue you'd be blue. Your skin would be blue your hair would be blue when they cut you, you would bleed blue. He said that's what it means amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me plan of God. In the second part of the first verse I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see the power, grace the power of grace finds you and changes you. That's what he said notice.
Notice how he changes I once was lost but now am found I was blind but now I see it with me to Luke chapter 15 Luke chapter 15 and the reason I want to go to Luke 15 is I am sure that Newton went better. It's all about being lost lost sheep lost coin lost son. The prodigal, and it's kind of interesting.
Here, because there are two kinds of people in verse one.
Now all the tax gatherers and the sinners were coming near him to listen them about the Pharisees and scribes began to grumble saying this man receives sinners needs with them.
Two kinds of wretches. Those who know the wretches and those who pretend they're not wretches where they are wretches and so Jesus sees this mixed audience and he loves to do what any good rabbi would do. He said I'll tell some stories. That's all they taught and Jesus wants to tell stories about the love and grace of God as of the first story tells. He tells about the lost sheep and that a shepherd leaves the rest of the flock behind and go to the lost sheep in a second. He talks about the lost coin and the woman sweeps at her house, which had dirt floors and looks much until she finds that loss going. I think that when the scribes and Pharisees were listening to this one getting. I think their view of the whole thing was well. The only thing that matters is when the shepherd ceremonially clean. Was the woman ceremonially clean.
Otherwise, it has no point.
You can get right with God. Unless you do some stuff and become ceremonially clean. Hence, we have the third of these parables, the prodigal, and Jesus brings the prodigal to bear. He says in verse 11 that a man had two sons, the younger of them said of his father he said give me my share of the estate that falls to me.
So we divided as well between them and not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and what on a journey to a distant country and there he squandered his estate with loose living, but 1/3 by the way the order somewhat. About two thirds the younger son one third very unusual but notice he spent it all, sorta like a lottery winner is find themselves spending at all and he spent it all and loose living. John Newton really understood that he was raised by a godly mother's father was mostly always at sea, but she died when he was 16. So at 17 he went to see it first tried the Royal Navy and didn't care much for that, but then gave the rest of his time to see in fact he said if you want to know what my religion was in those early years, it was simply wickedness. That's all I did constantly drinking and carousing everything that he could do squandering what his mother had put into his life. This is a now money and spend everything a severe famine occurred in that country and he began to be impoverished and so we went and he hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country and he sent them into the fields. The feed swine and he would've gladly filled her stomach with the pods of the swine reading and no one was giving them anything to him. But when he came to his senses the way that's the moment that's the moment when you come to your senses. When he came to his senses, he said, how many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread. I am dying here with hunger and I he says and I will get up and go to my father and I will say to him.
Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I'm no longer worthy to be your son make me as one of your hired men so he got up and he came to his father, but why was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him and ran and embraced him and he kissed what a picture of grace and amazing picture of grace I preach this many many times with Jewish men do not run public receipt.
You never exposure laser never lift the garment up the one in public but this father runs.
This is exactly not what you would expect if you understood their culture and five nerve cultural was a completely different thing. This young mom man had brought shame not only to his family, but even to all the people of this village and what he should've expected is what a ceremony that they did was call the Casazza and the Casazza literally means the cutting off and what you were doing when he came back, the people of the village would come in and take a pot and a take that pot look at him break it and drop it at his feet. Now, that meant you are broken off completely from us. Casazza and then they would turn their back on him and they would never speak to him again in our lifetimes. That's what he should've expected. That's not all. What he got. David Jeremiah rights and I am very very much indebted to David Jeremiah for this whole idea of this particular type of sermon with this him. He says God's grace finds an expression infinitely repeated in his willingness to accept our insults. Why is compassion to slow. He says I was blind but now I see in one sense that's what happens when were all converted. There is a big way in which we were blind and now we see, I was blind to how holy God was and how sinful I was. I was blind as to how feeble my own efforts are works in religiosity whatever restore reconcile my relationship with God. I was blind to all that and I'm sure he meant a lot of that.
But I don't think that's exactly what you're saying. The skills did fall off of the spiritualize at the moment that he converted a lot of things fall off slow as a believer in Jesus Christ. There a lot of things you don't see for long, long time. In fact, sometimes it takes years for you to see. See, I would like to say that when John Newton was converted moment he was converted he was done with slave trading completely, but he wasn't in effect when writer writes this Newton spent 10 years as a slave trader and I'm unhappy to say that most of them were after he was saved didn't write amazing grace by the way to 25 years after the point that he was saved in 1788, Newton did right and he wrote the thoughts upon the African slave trade a little pamphlet he wrote this and that pamphlet, I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart. Now shutters you see the thing about Newton that is amazing is that through a series of events. He ended up finding himself unable to go to see and so he ends up becoming a self-taught Christian teaching himself Hebrew and Greek. And after that, he decides that he is called by a church and only begins the pastor in the church and he does so for 16 years and then he is called to a church in London. The pastors there for 28 years back John Newton died at the age of 81 still preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ know what's amazing to me about this and what he did right though, when he was preaching there was a young man who heard Newton preach in his name was William Wilberforce and if you knew anything about William Wilberforce. You know he was, along with the Quakers. The key instrument of God to abolish slavery in England. In fact, in one step after another from about 1800. About 1833. First it was illegal in England and then it was illegal on English ships and then eventually even to the English colonies. In 1833 on July 26. They passed what they called the emancipation Bill in 1833 July 26 and this is what William Wilberforce wrote thank God that I have lived to witness a day in which he says England is willing to give 20 million sterling for the abolition of slavery with the English did from their own government as they paid all of the people when English colonies who had slaves. They paid for. He said that in July 26, 1833. Three days later William Wilberforce died. He saw them emancipated as a John Newton had done. Notice there.
The power of grace.
I once was lost but now am found I was blind, he says, but now I see the power of grace finds you where you are changing. Pastor broke apart on the radio ministry of fellowship in the world. If you ever missed one of our broadcast or maybe you just like to listen to the message one more time.
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