Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. Look at the poetry. These two lines represent the exact opposite. And the reason I say that is it says this. A tranquil heart is life to the body. An envious heart is rottenness to the bones. So what he ends up telling us when you look through this whole idea is that if you really want to have health in your life, you can't be envious. A healthy heart will make you tranquil. A heart will make you peaceful, joyful. But an envious heart will make you miserable.
And eventually it will consume you. That's how important God sees this whole idea. 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. You remember what Esau did? Esau sold his birthright.
For what? He was hungry, man. I just wanted some porridge.
I'm hungry. She does the same thing. She said to her, it is a small matter for you to take my husband.
She's resentful. She said, and would you take my son's mandrakes also? Rachel said, therefore, he may lie with you tonight if you return your son's mandrakes. Now, Leah needs permission to sleep with her husband from Rachel.
And it turns out that way. So it says at the end of the next verse, he lay with her that night. And Leah has another child and she names him Issachar. Leah conceived again and bore a sick son to Jacob, called him Zebulun. Afterwards, she bore a daughter and named her Dinah.
Now watch what happens. Now God remembered Rachel and God gave heed and opened up her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, God has taken away my repurch. And she named him Joseph, saying, may the Lord give me another son. So that's where Joseph comes. Now, think about this. You remember the story of Joseph? And how did his brothers feel about him? Do you think you know why now?
You see how this worked? You got to know why. They hated him. See, that's the only, this is the only son he ever wanted. And so all the others are not sons he wanted at all. So, showing her character, 3119, when Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father's.
Wait, what? They're idol worshippers. These are not believers. This isn't part of Israel. This is the beginning of Israel. These are all idol worshippers.
So she steals them. What's interesting about it, though, is you go on and he said that, verse 31 of the same chapter, Then Jacob replied to Laban and said, Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. The one with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what is yours among my belongings.
Take it for yourself. For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. Jacob just pronounced the death sentence on Rachel. The only one he loved in this whole story.
He said that's the way this is, that's the way this is going to be. Now this is quite interesting because they asked Rachel, did you read? And she lied and said, no, I didn't do it. Rachel has no more character than Jacob. No one in this story has character.
I mean, there's no one with it. So then go to with me to Chapter 35. As we get near the end, Jacob is going back in the land. And verse 18, 35, 18, It came about as her soul was departing.
Well, I should read 17 first. When she is in severe labor, the midwife said to her, Do not fear. You now have another son. She has the second boy. Then it says it came about as her soul was departing for she died, that she named him Ben-Oni, but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephraim, that is Bethlehem. So she has her second son, but she dies. So Rachel's dead. She has two boys. You have six for Leah. You have four to handmaidens.
And then you have Joseph and Benjamin. But what's interesting is they're on their way to Bethlehem back in the land. And where's Rachel buried? Side of the road. She's buried on the side of the road. Where's Leah buried?
Right beside Joseph. Isn't that interesting? A little bit of justice there. Everything about this story shows all of it is built on envy. All of it. All the choices they made, the handmaids, everything's based, I want what she has.
I want what she has. And there's nothing going on but sin and deceit, lying, treachery. That's all that's going on because that's exactly the way envy works.
Envy creates more sins because envy can consume you. Now, 20 years pass. 20 years. And at the end of these 20 years, you see something that's quite interesting.
And that is that they're coming home and someone shows up after 20 years. Esau. Now, from Esau's point of view, how did Jacob get the inheritance? He stole it.
He deceived my father. Esau hasn't forgotten, apparently. So Esau decides he's going to meet Jacob. And he puts 400 men with him.
That's not a good sign. He brings 400 men to meet Jacob. 20 years later. Now, Jacob has a strategy for this. Jacob decides what I'm going to do when I meet Esau is I'm going to line everybody up in a good, solid way that I believe in. So what Jacob did is the four children that were from the handmaiden, they're in the front. You see, then the six children that he had with Leah, they're next. Then Rachel and her two boys, or now Rachel's dead, the two boys, Joseph and Benjamin, are in the back. He was determined that if I'm going to save any lives here, I'm going to save their two lives. So you can just see when the story of Joseph starts how much a favorite Joseph and Benjamin were to their father. But he thought, that's what I'll be able to do.
I'll be able to protect them. It turns out Esau was not bitter, he had forgiven, and they were able to work all that out. But envy becomes a kind of motor that runs so many other behaviors. It always starts with a desire, and it's always there's something I want to have but I don't. Vicki Kraft writes this, envy starts with desire. We all want things we don't have. Money, a nice figure, a better home, more clothes. We long for a happier marriage, successful children, a secure pleasurable job.
There's nothing wrong with these desires as long as they're realistic, recognizing that they do not bestow value on our lives. Today's society, she writes, values people for their appearance and their achievements. It's very difficult not to be envious of a woman who has a beautiful figure while I struggle every day for not gaining another pound. It's hard to feel good about ourselves when we've been driving the same car for ten years and my neighbors every two years get a new luxury model. We don't accept ourselves as we are. He writes, we are unable to recognize our own strengths.
Instead, we compare our weaknesses with other strengths. Consequently, we become envious. That's what envy is like. Do you ever think envy is thoughts? I wish I had. I wish I had. There's a third thing. Envy has terrible consequences. I want you to go to Proverbs 14 with me.
Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 30. Now, those of you who have been here a long time, you know I've been very partial over all these years to the numeric and standard translation. There are a lot of good ones. ESV is another really good translation that's out now.
But I've always been partial. A book, a translation like the NIV, they translate ideas. A numeric and standard only translates words. So it's a little wooden and a little literal, but I always felt it was safer.
But let me give a disclaimer. Their translation in Proverbs 14 is the worst one ever. It's the worst translation I've ever read.
I don't know who did it working on the NASB. I don't know if they hated envy or someone called them envious, so they're not going to use the word. So they throw a word in there that doesn't even exist as far as a possible translation. So it says in verse 30, a tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones. That's not passion.
The word's envy. Wait, Bill, are you sure? I'll tell you how sure I am. I read 20 English translations this week. Twenty. Do you know how many translated passion?
One. The other 19, envy. Now, I'm just telling you, I've got a pretty good idea this must be envy. You see, that's what the word is because the word itself is kina. And it's translated envy all through the Old Testament. And why would passion be rottenness to my bones? We should have passion if it's good passion.
It makes no sense to me. But the verse is so important I was going to use it anyway. Passion or envy is rottenness to my bones. In other words, envy will consume you. Just like cancer. Except it works in your heart.
It will consume you. It is a disease. We even use a phrase sometimes that refers that way. You ever heard the phrase green with envy? You ever wonder where it came from?
Here comes your culture. Othello. Shakespeare was the first one to use that term.
And it's been with our English-speaking world ever since. He talks about it, a monster that can consume you. Green. And so, green with envy.
He's right. Envy is rottenness to the bones. Solomon also said, I saw all of the toil in the world. All the work.
And all the achievement. And it all springs from one person's envy to another. He says we use envy to motivate us. See, if I envy, if I envy, I always want what? More. I want more. And if I see you and you have more, guess what I want? I want what you have. That's the way we do things.
That drives the American economy. I want more. I saw what he has. Did you see what she was wearing?
Did you see what they were driving? Look at this neighborhood compared to mine. I want more. That's envy. And there's something else. Envy always has an ER with it.
Every time. Envy has, it lives in the world of ER. Bigger. Smarter. Richer. You see, it always has an ER, and that's what I want in my life.
I want more. I want what I know somebody else has, and I don't have enough, so I find myself being envious. Now, the first part of the verse, though, says a tranquil heart is lifed to the body.
That word tranquil heart is the word marpe, and that word means healthy, soothing, healing, peaceful. See, one of the things you can never be if you're envious, you'll never have peace. You know why? Envy has no finish line. You see, you'll never finish. If you're an envious person, you'll die envious. There's always more. There's always something else.
Someone else has it, and I'd love to have it. And we just become envious. But he says here that a tranquil heart is life to the body. Now, what I find amazing here is this is Hebrew poetry. I'll give you a poetry lesson.
I've said this before. When the Hebrews write poetry, they don't rhyme the words like we do in English. When the Hebrew writes poetry, it's called parallelism. When you see two lines in Hebrew wisdom literature, the point of the author is how these two lines relate to each other. Most of what you read in wisdom literature is what is called synonymous parallelism. That is, what's written in the first line is just like what's written in the second line. But this is not synonymous parallelism. These are antonyms. They are the exact opposite. So when you look at the poetry, these two lines represent the exact opposite.
And the reason I say that is it says this. A tranquil heart is life to the body. An envious heart is rottenness to the bones. So what he ends up telling us when you look through this whole idea is that if you really want to have health in your life, you can't be envious. A healthy heart will make you tranquil. A heart will make you peaceful, joyful. But an envious heart will make you miserable. And eventually it will consume you.
That's how important God sees this whole idea. Jordan Patterson gave some insight in his book. He said, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Stop comparing yourself to somebody, who somebody else is today. That's where envy lives. You see, I should compare myself with where have I come from?
How have I changed? Not look to someone else and say, look what they have and I don't. I'm envious. So the solution to envy is pretty clear. John 15, New Testament, last verse. Jesus speaking.
How do I overcome this envy in my heart? Jesus says, this is my commandment. You love one another just as I've loved you. That's a commandment. It's not a suggestion.
It's not a wishful list. It's a commandment. I command you to love one another and then he tells you how, just as I've loved you.
Wow. How did Christ love you? Did Christ give up anything for you? Well, how about the fact that he gave up all of his divine prerogatives?
He emptied himself. He's God. He did that for you. He bore all your sins. He screamed out to the Father, Eloi, Eloheinlach, Shabbat. He did that for you. He came, he lived, and he died for you and for me. He said, yeah, that's the way I want you to live, the way I want you to love other people.
That's what I want from you. Now, notice, envy is preoccupied with me. Love is I'm preoccupied with you. Greatest commandment, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
It all fits there. Greater love, he said, has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends. So, love kind of is part of the answer. Envy is a sin. Envy will consume you. Envy has terrible consequences in your life, but envy can be dealt with. Envy can be dealt with, and that's what I'll close with. We have five things that I think can help us deal with envy. One, confess it a sin. If you're envious, you'll know it. You know what you do in your heart.
You know what it's like when you see other people succeed, have more. What do you feel? Envious?
Or do you feel joyful for them? What do we do with it? Remember in Galatians, I read that in the beginning. It's called deeds of the flesh. You've got to deal with it. 1 John 1, 9, if I acknowledge or confess my sins, he's faithful and just to forgive it.
I have to confess it a sin. Secondly, 1 Peter, what I read earlier, I have to choose to get rid of it. Peter says, put aside all envy.
Lord, I have to get rid of this. This is part of who I am, and I think this way all the time. Thirdly, I have to develop a thankful heart. Does the Bible tell us we should only thank God for things we like or if we get something big?
I think it says for all things, doesn't it? I think we are to be thankful for all things. We're to be thankful in everything. See, if I'm constantly thankful for God, for my health, for my abilities, for my family, my friends, my gifts, my experiences, if I'm thanking God for that, I can tell you that Thanksgiving pushes what out of my heart? Envy.
I don't envy what other people have. Fourthly, I need to learn the joy of serving others because that's how I manifest the love just like Christ loved me. Every secular study I've read over the last 10 years, every one of them says the same thing when it comes to happiness. The happiest people on the planet are people who give themselves away to others. I read it. It doesn't matter what country it's in, who wrote it.
Modern psychology won't matter. The happiest people you'll find are people who give their lives away to others. That's an interesting thing because they serve other people. There's something absurdly selfish about the idea of envying for myself. And last, and I think by a mile, the most important is this. Live for an audience of one. It's a nice phrase, but it's a hard way to live. Live for an audience of one.
And I mean live. I mean everything. You see, I try to train myself every morning when you get up and you first wake up your eyes. I always think of the phrase, turn your eyes upon Jesus.
First thing, why? I like to have my eyes on me. You see, and then I'd like you to help me all day long make me feel better about me.
That's a good day to me. That's not the way to live. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. The things of earth grow strangely dim.
You see, that's live for an audience of one. Colossians 3 says this, set your mind on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and not on earthly things. Envy is preoccupied with earthly things. Of all the experiences you may want to have in your life, I can tell you one that to me, and I pray for you, will be the most important thing. The greatest experience I'll ever have and the greatest words that will ever be spoken to me will be at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.
We're all going there. We all go to the judgment seat, and he's going to look at our lives, not our sin, all the things we've ever done. Some of those, he'll say, are wood, hay, and straw. They're just consumed.
Others are gold, silver, and precious stones. When you read the rest of the Corinthians around that you realize the key to this whole thing is how am I motivated? He knows the difference between motivation for me and motivation for him, and he separates it at the judgment seat of Christ. So of all the words I could ever hear, because they will ring through eternity to me, is Jesus looks at me and says, Well done, good and faithful servant. That's more important than anything you've ever owned, anything you ever want to own, no matter what every human being's ever said to you. Those are eternal words.
Well done, good and faithful servant. That should be our motive to live. Don't let envy get in the way. Don't become envious of what other people possess. Let God do open-heart surgery on you.
Let's pray. Father, the problem that we have when it comes to envy in our lives is we're just not honest. We don't see it as a big deal, but apparently you do. We don't realize that it has tremendous consequences in our life and leads to a lot of other sins in our life.
But you do. We don't realize we can be consumed by envy but you do. Father, I pray that we live our lives for an audience of one, that we are thankful for what we have. We are thankful for where we are, who we are, what we are. We are thankful that we're a child of God. We are thankful for everything that happens in our life because we realize, as Paul said, all things will work together for our good. So, Father, we can be thankful for everything and in everything. And that's what I pray.
Use your word to drive envy out of our lives. In Jesus' name, amen. 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 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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