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Are You Looking Forward? - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2022 8:00 am

Are You Looking Forward? - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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May 11, 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. God's timing is God's timing and God is not restricted by time in any way. He said to God, and this is just, He doesn't mean this is the accuracy because it's not, but a thousand years is like a day. And a day is like a thousand years. And some people said, why did God pick a thousand years?

He didn't. God is eternal. He's timeless. You could say a day is like a billion years. It wouldn't make any difference to God. He's outside of time.

But let's just take it literally. So if a thousand years is like a day, how long have we been waiting? Two days.

Does that seem so long to you? 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. Have you ever noticed that people in the world, especially our world, are totally preoccupied with the future? That something terrible can happen in the future? When I was younger, the thing that really brought a lot of attention was the population of the planets growing too fast. And I remember reading that if we ever got to six billion people, we're likely all to starve to death. And there's over seven billion people. And here we are. But boy, that was a big concern.

How about this one? Y2K. Oh, my goodness. Were you one of those people?

What's going to happen to us all? We actually had a couple in the church, a family, actually. And they went to the mountains in Arizona and had all kinds of supplies that they took with them so they could live through it.

And the funny part was they didn't invite any of us to go with them. Fortunately, we really didn't need to. Then you hear people talking about that right now. Climate change. Oh, it's climate change. It's going to get warmer. Seas are going to rise.

And this is constant. What's going to happen to us? What's what's going to happen to us?

Well, I can say this much. I was reading an article online from a climatologist and he said that if we stop today worldwide, any fossil fuels at all, there'll be none used from today on. It would take at least 100 years to reverse the course of the Earth rising. So it's not really your problem in this sense.

It's about 100 years. But there's a one world economy. Once we have a one world economy, we'll have a one world depression. And everywhere on Earth will go sort of bankrupt at the same possible time. And then there's always that other group, that there is a rogue comet or asteroid out there with our name on it. And when it hits us, then that's it for all of us. It's amazing how preoccupied we are with a hypothetical situation that might occur in the future. But something is going to occur. It's going to be cataclysmic beyond the imagination of virtually everyone on Earth. Jesus Christ is coming again.

Oh, boy. What an event. The judgment of mankind.

No second chances. It's in the future and it's certain. This isn't hypothetical. The question is, because of it, what is the profile or the situation with the lost? But more importantly, how should that affect us? How should we think?

What should we think about this? So I want you to open your Bibles to Second Peter, chapter three. Second Peter, chapter three. And Second Peter three.

And verse three. It's interesting that Peter was already facing the same dilemma. The response of the culture when Peter was writing, when you said Jesus is coming back, is pretty much this. Not come. It's just ridiculous. You're not coming back.

It's the same today, but it certainly was then. Notice what Peter writes. He says in verse three, knowing this, first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lust and saying, where's the promise of his coming forever since the fathers fell asleep?

Paul continues, just as it was in the beginning of creation. He's not coming. You don't hear anyone say today in the real world that he could be coming, right? You don't hear that on the news. Christ is coming.

He's not coming. And it's interesting. There's a little phrase in there that sort of tells you why even at this time, he said mockers will come with their mocking. And here's the reason behind their mocking, following after their own lust.

What's that mean? Living their own life the way they want to, not being accountable to anyone, including God. I live my life for me. I do what I want to do. See, no one's going to ever judge me. That's not going to happen.

It is going to happen. But from their point of view, see, once I put God into the equation, once I say Christ is coming back, once I say we'll all be judged, well, that kind of squeezes me. So he's not coming back. I have nothing to worry about. And nothing has really changed in 2000 years with this.

It's the same way it has been before. Notice that he says then that where's the promise of his coming ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues as it was in the beginning of creation. That's a very sophisticated philosophy, by the way. The philosophy is called uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism means that there was an original creation.

They didn't know much about that. And that's all there is. And everything would just go on as it's going to go on. The creation will just, by its own natural laws, just function forever as it has. The fellow in the 19th century named Charles Lyell, he wrote a book called Principles of Geology. And that book set forth this whole idea. One of his readers, by the way, that had a tremendously profound, this book had a tremendously profound effect on him, was Charles Darwin. And so Darwin was able to come up with evolution on that basis. That it's just something that's here, it's always been here, and it's always going to be here.

And so what ends up happening is that as he goes through this, he goes on and he says this. That, verse five, for when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God, the heavens existed long ago and that the earth was formed out of water and by water. They ignore creation. They know there's no creation out of this water thing.

Now, what's interesting about that, let me just read from Genesis one, verses six through nine. Then God said, let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters. God made the expanse, separated the waters which were below from the expanse of waters which were above the above. And it was so God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning of the second day. Then God said, let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place and let dry land appear.

And it was so. So even then, the creation, they said, we ignore that, that's not the way it works. And in fact, for a long time since the scientific revolution, man's whole approach to the idea of creation is there wasn't one. That existed for hundreds of years with intellectuals, that it always existed.

Then they knew it didn't always exist. Then by the time someone like Einstein came along, he proved it. And he said, there is a big bang that occurs at one moment and the universe the way it is today is a result of that big bang. Now, there's a lot of things that are kind of funny about the big bang as scientists continue to move in this area.

One of them is that the original the original mass that started the big bang of the entire universe. Now, remember, billions and billions of galaxies, each with billions and billions of stars, OK, was about the size of a dot at the end of a sentence. That's how dense it was. It was. Now, I don't know how hypothetical that is, but that that seems a little bit far fetched for me to understand.

And then quite that dense. But the whole idea was people. And now there's been a change. Now there's very few people that believe in a self-existent universe.

Almost no astronomers do. In fact, so many of them are saying it's a creative act. There's so many perfections in the creation that they say this can't happen just the way it is.

So they're coming back a little bit from that. But the idea is, again, why would man say this even 2000 years ago? I'm not accountable to anybody. We're not accountable to anyone or any God. Then it goes on and he says in verse six, through which the world of that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. That's a description of Noah. Then he said, but by his word, the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire. God predicted that. He said, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

A judgment is coming. We know that through the second coming of Jesus Christ. He said, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. Now, remember back then, what are they saying?

Look, he's not coming back because everything's the way it's always been. Now, the early church really struggled with this. If you remember, when the people converted in Jerusalem, many Jews converted from all over the region. They didn't go home.

They all stayed in Jerusalem. Why? He's coming back. You see, we know that he told the apostles he's coming back. So we're going to wait for him.

Well, you know how that turned out. But now what happens is when you get to this part of it, he says, yeah, but you have to understand timing is God's timings, God's timing, and God is not restricted by time in any way. He said to God, and this is just he doesn't mean this is the accuracy because it's not, but a thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years. And some people said, why did God pick a thousand years?

He didn't. God is eternal. He's timeless. You could say a day is like a billion years.

It wouldn't make any difference to God. He's outside of time. But let's just take it literally. So if a thousand years is like a day, how long have we been waiting? Two days. That seems so long to you. But the interesting thing is that Peter tells us why God's waiting. Next verse. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness. He is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance. That's why he's waiting. He's waiting. He's waited two thousand years. You see, he has waited.

Why? He doesn't wish any be lost. He wish he gives man a chance to come to repentance. That's man's opportunity. The longer God waits, the sure it is.

You see, that's the whole point. He's just waiting. Nothing else, but just waiting. Now, what's interesting about that, but he's coming. He will not wait forever. He's coming now.

Watch. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The day of the Lord, 19 times that expression is used in the Old Testament, four times in the New Testament. The day of the Lord, the day of God's judgment on Earth is coming, he said. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.

What's that mean? When you don't expect it to. When you don't expect it to come. It's coming. He said, that's the way it's going to come. He said, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar of the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. He said, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Everything ends. That word roar is interesting. It's an automata Pia. It's in Greek. In Greek, it's roys of dawn. And roys of dawn means that's what it's going to sound like.

King James translators in numerical standards. It's like a roar. It's a roys of dawn. It's going to be a big loud noise. That's all he's saying. He said, since all these things are destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought to be what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness? The reason, like I said, everything I've said up to now is there's a whole group of people that say he's not coming. I don't have anything to worry about.

He is coming and they have a lot to worry about. But my interest is in what Peter next says, because of what it means to us. In fact, if you truly believed what I'm going to tell you today, if you truly believed it, your life would be forever different.

Forever. It would change your outlook on everything. You see, Christians have a terrible tendency in a certain way to do something like this. This is the only real life I have. And I know it's going to end. And when it does, I hope I go to heaven because I don't want to go to hell. That's that's a Christian view. You can't be more wrong.

You can't. You see, that's a perspective we have and it hurts us. And especially when we're in difficult circumstances, it's hard for us.

We don't suffer well at all. You see, we're only happy if things are going well. But what Peter is going to tell us here today is so interesting to me. He says here the idea of holy conduct and godliness is just a simplistic thing. The whole idea is holy conduct means external behavior. Godliness means your internal attitude. In other words, walk with God. That'd be another way to put it while we're waiting.

But then he says this. Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed and burning and the elements will melt with intense heat. But according to his promise, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless.

Now, I emphasize those things as much as I could. Looking. Notice how he starts out that he says looking for and hastening. Looking forward.

Do you do that? Is that how you see your life? All I do is I look forward.

That's what it remember. Paul said it this way. Seek the things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Do you frame your life by looking forward? Because let me tell you something, the best things that have ever happened to you are going to happen to you in the future. It is so much greater than anything that's ever happened to you on earth.

There is no comparison to it at all. You see, but you have to think about this. I have to look forward to this. So what I want to give you this morning are five things that you can absolutely look forward to. And it doesn't matter whether Christ is coming for us in the rapture or I'm going to him through death. Makes no difference. The first one is this. A reassuring welcome.

A reassuring welcome. Now, church history is always sort of painted. What happens when you die? And a lot of it of what they based, I think, is all based on a story that Jesus told about Lazarus. Remember he told the story of poor man named Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom and there was a rich man in Luke. And he said the rich man said, oh, could you go back and tell my brothers and all that? And it says in Luke in that passage, now the poor man died and was carried away by angels into Abraham's bosom. Now, that's OK.

I wouldn't complain about that. But I don't think that's the truth. I don't think angels, when you die, are going to carry you to Abraham's bosom. In fact, Abraham's bosom was in paradise. Paradise doesn't exist anymore. Jesus ascended and is in heaven right now. And so consequently, it's not that angels will carry me away. It's something much, much better than that. Turn with me to John Chapter 14, Gospel of John, Chapter 14.

And the context here is wonderful. It's death. This is the night before Jesus dies. Guess how his disciples feel? Horrible.

Awful. And they're full of fear. You see, and Jesus wants to address it with them. So he says, do not let your heart be troubled. Apparently it is. He said, do not let your heart be troubled.

What's the solution? Believe in God. Believe also in me. If you believe me, then you believe what I'm telling you. Let me tell you what I'm going to tell you, and ask yourself, do I believe it? In my Father's house are many dwelling places.

There are many dwelling places in God's house, in heaven. If it were not so, I would have told you. Then this phrase. I go and prepare a place for you. Interesting, you there is singular, not plural, not y'all. You.

I've told you in the past how overwhelming that is to me. That right now, in heaven, there's a dwelling place there. We'll put a door on it. I don't know if we need doors in heaven. But, you know what it says on the door?

Bill, 1L. It's mine. It's my place. You know who made it for me? My Lord. He did the same thing for you. He said, I'll go and prepare that place for you.

Wow. It's not a generic thing, always just a nice place. No, there's a place for you. There's a place for me. He said, I will go and I'll prepare a place for you. Then he said, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself. That where I am, there you may be also.

Wow. So what do I believe? The moment I leave this life and walk into the next, the Lord receives me. And I believe he receives you. I'm not dealing with middlemen. I'm dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome. Imagine how overwhelming that would be. I mean, just absolutely overwhelming. And by the way, not in all cases, but I can tell you something and I've experienced a lot as a pastor. I've experienced a lot as a pastor of people, believers I know who have died and their family describing to me what happened in the last minutes before they died.

I just had one not long ago and it's the same thing. All of a sudden there was a change and the breathing change. And there was just like a look, eyes open and a look. And there was a peace and I couldn't explain it.

Well, I think I could. You see, it's not like I die and I'm in the dark and I think, oh, now what happens? I believe as I'm dying and dying grace of God, Jesus says, come on. You know how reassuring that should be to us? I don't have to fear that.

That's reassuring. Jesus says, look, I'll receive you to myself. That's an amazing thing when you think about it from that point of view. 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 a 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 / 2023-04-20 15:02:54 / 2023-04-20 15:12:09 / 9

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