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May 13, 2022 8:00 am
Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. About three quarters of all Christian step all Christians live in a place that's very hostile to our faith.
And yet, in places that are hostile is where the church is growing their more Chinese this morning, Sunday morning worshiping Jesus Christ. Then there are in the entire continent of that's how many people under persecution, worshiping the Lord joining us today on this additional Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word meets our work on April 18, 2007.
Three Christians in Turkey were killed for their beliefs.
McCarty Aiden was one of them.
He was a 35-year-old pastor in the city of Malaga. He nearly didn't go to his office that morning. He been traveling for 10 days and his wife's MC.
I want him to stay home and rest. She fed breakfast to their two children Elisha and Esther and took them the school. Upon returning to walk softly so as not to awaken her husband. Even so, he stirred, squinted, open designs and admitted his wariness.
I want to get up today but he did.
There was so much work for him to do only 2/10 of 1% of the mainly Muslim nation and Turkey is Christian's an amazing stack when you think about it and she said that that my dear husband walked out the door at 11 and I was waiting for him to get me elevator. He smiled at me one last time and I didn't know that that was the last mile I ever see, that's what I'll always remember since he looks down and permits us officer but only one.
It's a bitter cup we have to drink it every single day. By the time the McCarty had reached his office to his colleagues had already received some visitors.
Five young men who expressed an interest in Jesus Christ.
Now, what's so amazing about that is that these inquisitors brought more than just questions.
They brought guns and breaded knives and ropes and tiles the attackers brandish their weapons and they told McCarty all he has to do is to pray in Islamic prayer of conversion. There is no God except Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. That's all they ask.
He refused, and then the torture began for an agonizing hour.
The assailants bound Integra gated and cut the three Christian men finally with the police pounding at the door. They sliced the throats of their victims. The last one heard from the office was a cry of a man who was an unswerving Christian Messiah Messiah. When I read that I don't know how makes you feel good.
I wondered about myself just to say that little phrase spell your life be with your kids will we be faithful to the Lord, what would you do in that situation what would you do see is an interesting thought. I think we all struggle with that in public because of who we are, were American Christians. If you look at the history of the faith. About three quarters of all Christians for 2000 years lived in hostile cultures. That's an amazing step you think about it.
Almost all Christians live in a place that's very hostile to our faith. And yet, in places that are hostile to our faith is where the church is been growing the greatest there more Chinese on this morning, Sunday morning worshiping Jesus Christ. Then there are in the entire continent of Europe. That's how many people under persecution, worshiping the Lord even in places like Lebanon, 39% of the population errors Christian. The rest is not in the Sudan 5%. The rest is not Egypt, 10% here in America notes different. You see, were not a very high percentage of people right now who were probably born again and know the Lord but were people who have never really struggled with persecution were spoiled. That's the way we think about it. I mean Christians here and I've heard him say do you you probably remember do you know when they took prayer out of school so that was term Mendez persecution to be under really that was tremendous persecution. Does that sound at all what these guys in Turkey are facing. See were spoiled by all this and so now we don't get spiritually persecuted. This way we do get spiritually up oppressed that happens clearly happens when I was studying philosophy of University of Pittsburgh philosophy professors. Not all them but a few of them just loved to have fun with me in class. I was born enough to tell them what I was therefore in what I believe that the they use that is a really interesting time to sort of mock me in a friendly way. But it was still there.
We have colleagues that can mock your faith. You have family members that do the same thing and what I want to say is this in America is going to get much much worse and I don't know for ready for that. Albert Mohler, in his book the gathering storm.
He writes this, he said. Actually, the storm is been on the horizon and working its way through history. For over a century now, but in our own day with a dramatic strengthening and acceleration. This is a gathering storm of the secular age and he said I don't know if Christians believe enough biblical truth to be able to withstand persecutions coming to only a matter of time probably ready for see and I don't think the question is, should be in this case of these young men in Turkey.
What would I do God's already given us an answer right when persecution began in the early church right when it started. God tells you when I what we should do, not what we would do, but what we should open your Bibles to the book of acts chapter 4 the book of acts chapter 4 now as you know, at least I hope you know the book of acts is about the early days of the church when the church was born, started, and in what way these first decades like in acts chapter 2. You have the day of Pentecost.
And that's when the church began was a phenomenal event.
The Holy Spirit comes rushing in.
You see into the early church and it's called the birth of the church.
Peter then gets up and preaches any preaches a sermon and he tells the people what they need to do and he said that you need to believe in Jesus Christ you need to repent and be baptized, and identify with Jesus Christ and 3000 men did at that time tremendous thing a Billy Graham Crusade, you know, he gets up there. He speaks of 3000 men in Jerusalem, except within in chapter 3. There is a man who is been lame since he was a child. He's probably been an invalid for 40 years. Also everybody at the temple site where he bade knew him and so Peter and John raise him and allow him to stand and walk so this is miraculous healing a lot like the Lord while that's when we get the chapter 4 and we get the chapter for what you're going to see is that something begins to happen and it never stopped for 2000 years persecution.
It says as they were speaking to the people. The priest and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came to them another on the temple grounds Peter and John are speaking, teaching, and it's interesting that the priest are just normal priest.
These are just regularly buy to doing her shift.
There is 24 orders a priest there doing errors, but the second one is the captain of the temple guard. He is under Julie standards a number two person on the temple site the high priestess, the high priest then there's the captain of the guard. He has a lot of authority. He gives order on the temple grounds and then it says there were Sadducees there in a Sadducees are a very interesting group of guys to say the least. There extraordinarily wealthy very very very well educated, they sort of run the show at the highest levels of the priesthood, the high priest's ascendancy. Every priest at the time of Christ were all Sadducees. In fact, all of them were very much from the same family and will get into that in just a moment and so as this happens if they want to talk to Peter and John and it says being greatly disturbed their upset were they upset about because they were teaching the people and proclaiming Jesus in the resurrection from the dead, and he laid hands on them and they put them in jail until the next day for it was evening, but says many of those who had heard the message believed in the number of men came to be about 5000. That's probably 2000 more men at those include women and children. So in these couple days or 5000 converts great sounds great but these people are disturbed now really disturbed because what is what Peter and John doing well there preaching about the resurrection of the dead and are using Christ as an example Sadducees even like the high priest don't believe in the resurrection they don't believe anyone will ever be resurrected.
They don't believe in angels their extremely liberal minded.
Maybe put it that way, highly educated, wealthy, and there also very loyal to Rome do not like Pharisees. The Pharisees would be insurrectionist that they could be, not the Sadducees, Sadducees or pad their skids with Roman approval and so they don't want anything that offset wrong. So that becomes the scenario. So then, whenever that ends it says this then it says that on the next day the rulers, elders, and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem and Annas the high priest was there. Caiaphas and John and Alexander were also the high priestly dissent development.
Again, let me just say this. These are the same people Annas and Caiaphas were involved in the arrest of Jesus.
The difference is this Annas is the real power and assisted by this horrible man is a man could be. He was a high priest of the best way to describe them is he is the head of the mob. He's ahead of the Cosa Nostra that Sylvia's that time he runs everything every high priest that he appointed was family members, he departed his own sons to be high priest to pull appointed Caiaphas to be high priest Caiaphas is a son-in-law.
Annas was so bad and had no scruples that Walmart removed him be in high priest.
Mom didn't want him to be high priest is or how bad he was seasoned made Caiaphas, I priest is he's just sort of running a show here making it as clear as he can and it says then and when they had placed them in the center. They began to inquire is is by what power or by what name may be done these things. This is the beginning of the persecution. This is going to be real type of persecution they're going to find it from here on in.
What you start seeing here is that in these verses. There are seven principles in God tells you and I what are we doing were persecuted by people. What happens when the governing authorities persecutors house.
It would be and what's interesting to me in that first section just five through seven.
What you gather, there is the all Peter and John were were cooperative and so they were submissive, they put them in jail. They had to put them in jail to hold him. This is funny if you understand what I'm saying they had the reason it's funny is they couldn't. They're not allowed by Jewish law to have a trial at night and not allowed so they put Peter and John and Jill to hold them so you get the Sanhedrin again and have a trial the next day you remember them doing a trial night.
I think they didn't day that be an illegal trial.
That's a day with Jesus. They try to mow my long. You see, but they won't do it with Peter and John so they hold Peter and John's view is okay that would be fine. One of the things you see with effective martyrs throughout the 2000 year history of the church is always submissive.
I mean think about in the Roman Empire. I mean thousands of Christians arrested some to the Coliseum. You see, they were crucified in high number because they identify with Christ crucified. Even Roman historians will write.
I still can't understand why they didn't resist. Why would they cooperate with that and that's what they had for that by 250 years of that kind of persecution and after that, guess what happened. They won the Roman Empire. The one you see that's an amazing thing and it was always because of moments can understand how these people like this one a fighting they would fight, so the first step is the sort of be submissive and that's why they asked by what authority or by what name she may means authority whose name I do, he will die what name what authority reviews member of the Sanhedrin and Sadducees. The reason I don't like Peter and John as they have no credentials there have anything, not educated at all. You see, they don't identify with the rabbinic school like a male or someone like that they have no reason they should be allowed to stand up in the temple and talk and then heal a guy like this. So what name do you use and of course Peter lets them know here in a moment. So be submissive and then the next thing is a very short phrase than Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit were filled.
There is passive in the Greek which means he yielded to the Holy Spirit. But if you want the spirit to control your life, you have to yield to whatever you say.
What's interesting about that is this is the fulfilled prophecy from Jesus hold a place here and go with me to Luke 12 Luke chapter 12 this holy place will be right back in verse 11. This is what Jesus says directly to them. Luke 12 in verse 11 when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities. And that's just what happened in acts chapter 4.
Do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say for the Holy Spirit will teach you in the very hour what you want to say and that's exactly what happens to something more to it than in an application way to us, though. I've had people say this to me.
You know Pastor, I had an opportunity to share the gospel and share Jesus with a friend, a colleague at work but I was terrified. I didn't even know what to say I just I don't comfortable talking about it I just didn't know what to say more. My view is don't say anything and that the Holy Spirit speak to me, let him speak. That's was going to do. Jesus said he'll do it, and some of you had that happen and actually said this to me. You know what one I started talking to this guy at work and was even me. I have words coming to my mouth. I wasn't sure what he meant. But I'm just talking away to someone in or listening to something. And while this is something that shouldn't surprise you. This of the business guides in you have to yield to the spirit of God sometimes and let him speak for you, and so the second thing, be submissive and then the second thing is be dependent on the Holy Spirit and then he says this to them. Rulers and elders of the people. If we are on trial today for the benefit done to a sick man as to how this man had been made well let it be known to you will to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by this name. This man stand here before you in good health while the third thing is, be aggressive and sees the opportunity does Peter have a history of bravery, which he will brave was he at the crucifixion unknown on my set another appointment. All in the night before Heidi act is strong. Now he wasn't member did three denials and he denied to who to the Sanhedrin.
Note the servant girls three times and the third time he curses. I never knew that blankety-blank what a coward. This is sonic a coward you anything that you want the name I tell you the name Jesus.
Wait a minute, could you don't misunderstand the Nazarene.
Now they know you see this idea that this is just yes or while this is Jesus the Nazarene all by the way who you crucified. You think you want to tell the high priest in the Sanhedrin. They crucified you see they don't like this. I did or said Gallus want to tell you that notice how aggressively is who you crucified, and then God raised him the dead. He said by this name. This guy's dancer in good health and he does this he said he is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, by which he said became the chief cornerstone, that is Jesus.
He quote Scripture to get hate this.
These guys are scribes and Sadducees. There expert on the Old Testament he quote Psalm 118 oh by the way you known the psalmist says that the he's going to come this don't you reject to become the chief cornerstone. That's what you did when you rejected him. This is unbelievable courage on his part. Then it gets even narrower. He says this and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. While that's amazing when you think about it, there no other name you don't believe in Jesus and I saved and you never will be. That's what his tone he stonewalled by Wayland. Your lost, there's no other name given among men, why would Peter say that within Jesus say in John. I am the way the truth and the life. No one will come to the father but through me, not some of you will. No one will seek one of the problems were having in our culture now as Christians and one of the reasons were going to be persecuted. Zero simple Christianity is exclusive not because we made it exclusively because the Lord made it exclusive. You see we live in an we have an exclusive faith in an inclusive culture and so our culture just hates it. Our culture's belief is pluralism. That's what the culture believes how many roads lead to heaven all they all lead to heaven. Everyone does matter what you believe as long as you believe everybody gets to go. All roads lead to the same place.
That's our culture you say no that's not right within your heater see in this culture, your heater then your senior ways.
The only way you misunderstood that I would say I'm not saying my ways. The only way my Lord said, his way is the only way I said that once the professor at University of Pittsburgh pretty said I was being too exclusive and I said I would never be exclusive whom I the Lord Jesus Christ is nice that I am the way the truth and the life basis. So if you have a problem you have of him taken up with him. Don't take don't say it's what I'm saying.
I'm not saying that at all. But seek we live in a culture that says now that Christina is too narrow. Pastoral never on the radio ministry of fellowship in the world. If you ever miss one of our broadcast or maybe you dislike listening to the message one more time. Remember the good a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online at that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of our previous audio programs as Fellowship in the Word.
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