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The Idol Of Human Power - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2022 8:00 am

The Idol Of Human Power - Part 2

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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May 26, 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 is doing to him what he could have done to anyone who's ever led any group of people. He's putting them in his place. You see, he's putting them in his place. And it's an amazing thing. He made that incredible statement.

I mean, look at this. This is Babylon the Great, and I am the greatest. It's my power, my glory.

Not only is that the idol of human power, but that's narcissism. Me, I did this. And boy, he had a year to get it right.

And he didn't. 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. The British poet, W. E. Henley, he lost his leg as a teenager and it made him bitter. And so you know the words.

It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my faith. I am the captain of my soul. Where do you think you got that talent? Where do you think the talent for poetry came from? Was that in his control?

Not at all. Did he grow up in an environment that apparently encouraged it and allowed him to express himself poetically? By the way, a sidebar on that is after he wrote that, his five year old little girl died.

And it's said he never recovered. You see, God wants all of us like Nebuchadnezzar to learn a lesson, the lesson of our own limitations. Look down at verse 37. He says, You, O king, are the king of kings. And then this statement, To whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom the power and the strength and the glory.

Don't miss that. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to be always referred to that way. Nebuchadnezzar said, I'm not just a king, I'm the king of kings. You see, I've replaced Assyria, Egypt, the Babylonians are the power of the world and I am the power of the Babylonians. And notice, out of deference to him, You, O king, are the king of kings.

By the way, To whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom the power, the strength and the glory. So, where do you get your kingdom from? God. Where do you get the power from? God. Where do you get the strength from? God.

Where do you get the glory from? God. That's the fact. You see, now understand, Nebuchadnezzar is a pagan. He has lots of deities he believes.

Daniel says it doesn't even matter. God is sovereign. You see, God is sovereign.

In fact, look at verse 44. At the end of the image, he says, in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. And that kingdom will not be left for another people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms. But it itself will endure forever.

He says, by the way, you're just temporal help. When you think of the river of history, the history of all man, the levees are established by God. That river flows just the way a sovereign God decrees it. And by the way, it flows to the destination that he decrees. And all of these players are just players.

That's all that they are. You see, Nebuchadnezzar was being asked to change his perspective of the power of God and human power. What's amazing, he does. Look at verses 46 and 47. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did armies to Daniel. And he gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. And the king answered Daniel and said, Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mystery since you have been able to reveal this mystery. And then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts. And he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over the wise men of Babylon. Wonderful. Isn't that just great?

He does it. And, you know, this is a really hard lesson to learn. It's not only a hard lesson to learn for pagan kings, but it's a hard lesson to learn for believers in Jesus Christ, just like you and me. Hold your place here because we're coming back and go with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 3. 1 Corinthians chapter 3. In verse 18, the apostle Paul talking to the church of Corinth.

As I read on, we'll give you the context. He said, Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish so that he may become wise. He said, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that they are useless. So then, let no one boast in men, for all things belong to you. He said, Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come, all things belong to you and you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.

And what is he talking about? Well, what happened is the Corinthians decided that what they wanted to do is they wanted to be followers of particular men. They idolized certain men. And they said, You know, I follow Paul. I like the way Paul teaches and he's my guy. And the other said, Not me, I follow Apollos.

He is more eloquent. Apollos is amazing and he is unbelievable in the Old Testament, the way he handles. And others said, No, I really prefer Peter. I like to be a follower of Peter. Notice that Paul is saying, What are you doing?

Why are you doing this? By the way, doesn't that sound just like us? I hear it all the time. Well, I really follow Charles Stanley. I follow Chuck Swindoll.

By the way, if you want to know, I'm a MacArthurite. Now, those men would almost be embarrassed that you'd say that. You see, we don't make idols of even teachers of the Word of God. You don't make idols of them. And that's what Paul was trying to tell them.

Now watch. He said, Let a man regard us in this manner as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. He said, But to me it's a very small thing that I be examined by you, or by any human court. In fact, I don't even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted. But the one who examines me is the Lord. He said, Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who will bring both to light the things hidden in the darkness, and disclose the motive of men's hearts, and take each man's praise will then come from God. Look, I don't care what you think of me. I've got to be honest. I don't care what any of you think. The only thing that's going to matter is what does the Lord think of me?

And that's going to become clear at a certain time in the future. Then he says this, Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself on Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? Why do you think you're superior? What do you have, and here's the question, what do you have that you did not receive? What did you have that you did not receive?

And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? You see, you have to understand, I put myself up by my own bootstraps. You understand, I'm a self-made man. I've made myself what I am today.

Really? I don't think you did. I think a sovereign God allowed that to happen. You see, I think there were so many things out of your control that God orchestrated to put you exactly where you were at exactly that moment. I'm not talking about no absence of human responsibility. I'm talking about the sovereignty of God. I had a friend in the church that was a physician, an anesthesiologist, and we studied the word of God together a few times, and one of the times we were studying the word of God, he talked to me and he said that he wanted me to know that certainly not all, but a few or some surgeons, he said they have the God complex. He said they have a God complex. He said, because I'm the anesthesiologist, I'm in the room with them, and they believe life and death is completely in their hands. And he says it's a really interesting thing to watch them adjust. He said I've been in surgeries already where the diagnosis was perfect and the surgery was perfect.

They did everything right. Patient died. He said they are stunned. It's in disbelief.

It can't be true. He said I've been in other places where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and the patient probably should have died at least once or twice on the table, and they lived. And he said the lesson's clear. It's not in your hands. It's in God's hands. But it's so easy for us to believe in the idol of human power. We decide.

We don't decide anything. Here's the most powerful man on earth, Nebuchadnezzar. And he was taken credit to be king of this great new Babylonian empire. That's the idolatry of human power. Now let's go back to Daniel, Chapter 4 this time. By the way, the problem that Nebuchadnezzar had is the problem that you and I often have, and that is it looked like he was really doing well there for two verses. And then he kind of forgot about it. You ever do that? I can still remember one of my mentors and favorite men in the world, Howard Hendricks, said that you have to deal with the realization of people in your church. And he said for a lot of the people that come to your church, they're going to come into the worship, you're going to preach the word of God to it, they're going to fill up their spiritual thimble, and then they're going to spill it in the parking lot while they're getting in their car. And I thought that was mighty harsh.

But I didn't have the experience then that I have now. There's a lot of insight into that. Well, he starts having more restless nights. God's not finished with him yet. And he sees a new image. And this is an image, look at verse 11 of Chapter 4. Here's what he saw. He said, The tree grew large and became strong. And he said, And its height reached to the sky, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.

Its foliage was beautiful, and its fruit abundant. And in it was food for all, and the beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelled in its branches, and all the living creatures fed themselves from it. He said, I was looking into the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven. And he shouted out, and he spoke as follows. Now see, the first image was one Nebuchadnezzar loved.

He's a smart man. I think I'm the tree. I am that tree. I rose to the heavens. I cover all these peoples with my shade. Everybody gets sustenance off me.

And I'm sure it's one of those dreams he loved. But notice what happens now. He shouted out and spoke as follows. Chop down the tree. Cut off its branches. Strip off its foliage. Scatter its fruit. Let the beast flee from under it, and the birds from its branches.

Yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the new grass of the field. And now watch the pronoun changes. Him. And let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beast in the grass of the earth, and let his mind be changed from that of a man, and let a beast's mind be given to him. And he says, and let seven periods of time pass over him.

Now he knows it's him. What do you mean I'm going to have dew all over me? What do you mean I'm going to eat like animals eat?

What do you mean by that? Why would God do that to me? Verse 17. This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers and the decision of the command of the holy ones. Why is this all happening? In order that the living may know that the most high ruler over the realm of mankind, and he bestows it on whom he wishes, and he sets over it the lowliest of men.

Don't miss that. In order that the living may know that the most highest ruler over the realm of mankind, he bestows it on whom he wishes, and he sets it over the lowliest of men. Nebuchadnezzar. And I'm going to make you the lowliest of men. Do you understand that? If you're going to apply that first, please understand, he bestows it on whom he wishes, and sets it over the lowliest of men.

That includes both Democrats and Republicans. Do you get that? That's God.

I do this. It runs down the levees of my sovereignty, and it goes to the destination I've already decreed. That's the way it works. And that is a very, very hard lesson. You see, his first dream was more academic. God's power, my power.

The second one's personal, and I mean it's really personal. He's telling him something is going on here. Now, I find it interesting to me that he doesn't even stop there. Notice that verse 25, he said that you may have driven away. Daniel was talking to him, and Daniel says, you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be the beast of the field, and you will be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. And seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and he bestows it on whomever he wishes. You're going to have to recognize this. Notice, he's given, as we are, an opportunity. He's given an opportunity.

But again, he's so much like us. Verse 29, 12 months later, say nothing happened. Boy, that happens after periods of conviction to us a lot. You go into the Word of God, you're in a Bible study, you're hearing a sermon, and you get really convicted about something in your life, and you really say, I'm going to really change that, and then nothing happens. And you go by and you say, see, it must not be that bad. I mean, come on, nothing happened anyway. I mean, he was talking like God's really disappointed in the way I'm acting. He's not really, because things are going along just fine. 12 months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, verse 29.

The king reflected, and here's what he said, Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built, as a royal residence of the might of my power, and for the glory of my majesty? He's just like we are. We did this. We did this. When you look at this country, we did this.

That's what he said. And by the way, he really did, from a human point of view, do a lot. He's a dictator.

He does exactly what he wants. And while the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven saying, King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared, he said, it is declared, sovereignty has been removed from you. You're out. He said, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You'll be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize the most highest ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever he wishes. Once again, the same thing. Immediately, the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled, and he was driven away from mankind, and he began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagle's feathers and his nails like bird claws. Just imagine that sight.

What are the people thinking? Yeah, he's gone crazy. This great king, he went crazy. Look, he's eating grass. Look at his hands. He's all wet.

What is going on here? God is doing to him what he could have done to anyone who's ever led any group of people. He's putting them in his place. You see, he's putting them in his place, and it's an amazing thing. He made that incredible statement.

I mean, look at this. This is Babylon the Great, and I am the greatest. It's my power, my glory. Not only is that the idol of human power, but that's narcissism.

Me, I did this. And boy, he had a year to get it right, and he didn't. And so look what happens to him. You see, look what happens to Nebuchadnezzar. Now notice, verse 34. He says, but at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever. For his dominion is an everlasting dominion. His kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, but he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and I know now no one can ward off his hand or say to him, what have you done? What a great lesson. You see, what a great lesson for Nebuchadnezzar.

But what a great lesson for us. Human power is an illusion. You see, and ultimately, ultimately, it always fails.

You see, it always does. By the way, what's the whole point of that big image? The image is the history of man.

And he says it could be Babylonian, it could be Medo-Persian, it could be Greece, it could be Rome. But let me tell you something. Everything man does ends up in nothing. You see, it all fails.

There's only one, that stone that crushes the image. There's only one that succeeds. There's only one who has the kingdom that endures forever.

And instead of saying, I will ascend, I will ascend, look at my power, this is one that said I have all the power, I will descend. I will become one of them. I'll be a servant.

I'll die for them. Exactly the opposite of human power. We live in a wonderful country. It's truly blessed by God. And we get to participate. Isn't that a wonderful thing? I mean, if you were a Babylonian, you didn't participate in government.

That's Nebuchadnezzar. He decides. You see, but we get to participate. What a privilege that is.

We should take advantage of every opportunity to participate. But let me tell you something. The power that established where this country has been in the past, the power that establishes where this country is now, and the power that will establish where this country is in the future, that's almighty God. That's God. And boy, we have to stop putting so much more faith in people than we put in God. You see, that's the issue.

That's what Nebuchadnezzar had to learn, and we have to learn it too. Also, I think most of us live wonderful lives. I think most of us say, my life's been truly blessed by God.

And here's what's neat. We get to participate. You get to participate in your life.

And that's a privilege. And for many of us, we've taken tremendous advantage of the opportunities that God has given us. He gave us an opportunity to get educated. And many of us, we did. And we really worked hard at it.

It wasn't easy, but we took advantage of it. He gave us our choice. He gave us this opportunity to choose our life partner. We got to choose.

It's a wonderful thing. It flows within his sovereign levies, but we get to choose. We've got to choose our career opportunities, what we want to do with our lives, our investments. We get to choose. We get to be part of that. But speaking for myself, most of the good things that have happened in my life have been out of my control, but not his.

You see, I agree with Paul. What do I have that I've not received? Ask yourself that question.

What do you have that you have not received? Human power is an illusion. Ultimately, it always fails. Let's pray. Father, I pray for us that this particular idol, the idol of human power, is one that is just so much part of who we are. We believe with all of our heart, Father, that we are the captain of our own souls. We establish everything.

We take the credit because we feel we put in the work. But Father, you taught Nebuchadnezzar a lesson that we need to learn. You put Nebuchadnezzar in that position, a pagan king. Father, I realize that as people, we do everything we can in our own lives to always put ourselves on the throne of our life rather than you.

And there's probably no way in which we do it in a greater capacity than when we want to take credit for what we have instead of giving it to you. Father, I would pray that each of us would learn this lesson about human power without having to go through what Nebuchadnezzar did, but just by looking at the truth of the Word of God. Father, I thank you that there is only one power in this whole universe, one who is sovereign, one who accomplishes his will.

That is you. I thank you in Christ's name. Amen. 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,

That's 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 / 2023-04-14 07:04:30 / 2023-04-14 07:15:02 / 11

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