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Trust God (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2021 6:00 am

Trust God (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 16, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 11:22-26)

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God has a personality, a character. It is Him we're after. It is Jesus Christ, the person, not the words, the person. You can take my Bible away, just don't take Jesus from me.

You see what I mean? He's everything. Of course, we use the Bible to learn Him. It's Christ who we're after in prayer. We're after Him.

Lord, what do you want? This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Mark.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called Trust God. He'll be beginning in Hebrews chapter 11 and then continuing in Mark chapter 11. Hebrews 11, 39, all these having obtained good testimony through faith.

That's what I want. When I finally leave this life, I want to have left this life with a good testimony through faith. And then he says all these having obtained a good testimony through faith did not receive the promise. They died before they saw their mountains moved, some of them, but ultimately they saw them all move when they got to heaven. So we get the impression that moving a mountain, again, will not take seconds.

If we don't doubt, it's a long ride whether we doubt or not. It took Joseph years. It took David years to escape those immovable problems in their lives.

Meanwhile, God was doing invaluable work in the lives of others. For example, Joseph's brothers, they weren't ready. I mean, these guys were cold. They sold their own brother. Some of them wanted to just kill him just because they didn't like, you know, his words, because he was a little naive. Hey, I had a dream.

I'm better than all of you. I mean, who's that? Well, let's kill him for that. By the time those men get to him years later, a decade later more, he has to vet them. He has to see if these guys have changed or not. And he'd go through some painstaking stuff to get to that conclusion. But God had been working in them through their guilt. How many times did they get up out of their tent and walk out and say, man, I just, you shouldn't have done that. You never know what God is doing in the lives of others. What's he supposed to do?

Give us a list and then update it? We trust God. That's what we do because it makes destruction from judgment not necessary. And there are rules, as I've mentioned. And don't forget, I would strongly suggest you don't forget, there are those that have problems with the church that has rules. Therefore, they're going to have problems with faith, too. You can't get away from them. Rules exist to counter bad ideas, bad people, sin, all sorts of junk.

And everybody has them. And it's remarkable how many people want to see you drop your rules while they keep their rules. Well, it doesn't work that way. And if it doesn't, they get upset.

But let's go back to this, if you ask for it, you get it, kind of thought. What about Noah and Moses and Samuel and Job and Daniel? Could they get anything they wanted? Did they lack faith? God held these men in such high esteem that after their deaths, God told other prophets to use their names to tell the people how special their prayers were, but how limited their prayers were. Jeremiah, chapter 15, verse 1. Then Yahweh said to me, and you can't challenge Jeremiah, I mean, this was an extraordinary prophet. Yahweh said to me, even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, my mind would not be favorable toward this people.

Cast them out of my sight and let them go forth. God is saying those powerful men of prayer, Moses and Samuel, you know Samuel, powerful men of prayer. God says even if they prayed with all the faith they had, my will would not be to answer their prayer.

So what do we get out of that? We get just that, that when we pray, it's God's will, not ours. No matter how much we insist or demand, we can't name it and claim it, which is a hellish thought.

How dare you go to God and say, I named it, give it up. I smack you across your mouth to stop you from making such foolish prayers. This is the difference between praying and saying, God, I believe you, nevertheless, your will be done. Verse 14 of Ezekiel 14, now Ezekiel gets his turn to name some warriors of the faith. Even if these men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, the city, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness, says the Lord God. God is saying those men are righteous and by their prayers they would be delivered. But their prayer would be limited to themselves. Abraham exhibited this when he prayed for Sodom. God listened to God, went and tolerated him, which is such a lesson.

God is saying, I don't mind talking to you in prayer. I don't mind going back and I don't mind you laying it out for me. But in the end, the terms will be set and I will set them. Abraham did not set the terms. He thought he was making progress. God knew where this was going. God drew a line at ten. Okay, fine, enough of this. Ten, if you find ten, I'll spare the city.

He couldn't find ten. God knew that. So he ended the conversation before Abraham got to five. I mean, it's a lot of wisdom in that.

It's a great lesson in that. God, you're not going to out move him. This is the big part of what we're saying. God has a personality, a character. It is him we're after. It is Jesus Christ the person, not the words, the person. You can take my Bible away, just don't take Jesus from me.

You see what I mean? He's everything. Of course, we use the Bible to learn him. It's Christ who we're after in prayer.

We're after him. Lord, what do you want? And he doesn't always open the sky up and say, I would like this.

I don't know if he is baritone or not. But Ezekiel again, chapter 14, verse 20, it's repeated, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it as I live, says Yahweh God, or the Lord Yahweh, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness. It's profound. There is a big part of the meaning about prayer and its power through faith.

The rules, of course, the metaphors are critical for getting us to understand the victories that will come our way. The fact that you're sitting listening to God's word is evidence that God answers prayer. And if we stop looking to change the landscape by moving mountains, focus on being faithful to the death, finding the will of God, which is really what Christ is saying, find that will of God and line up with it. Righteousness comes through faith. Righteousness is the adjusted life to God, to his truth.

There are many truths. If you buy a bicycle that comes with a manual of how to build it, that's truth according to the building the bicycle, but there's the truth of God, the spiritual truths. So you get into a car that's not yours, and you're going to drive this car, and the seat is not right.

You have to adjust the seat. That's what righteousness does. It adjusts itself so that it can be led by God.

It can be used by God. Righteousness is the life adjusted to God, as found in the scripture. And if faith, which comes with righteousness, if it is valued by God as being such a big thing, as Jesus says, have faith in God, trust God, it's valued by the believer, if that is true, then it becomes, by default, you could say instantly, automatically, by default, faith becomes a high-valued target for Satan. Why is it that many Christians are more problematic in church and in life than many unbelievers? Why is that? I mean, I used to be a shop steward on large construction sites with many men that were, they were rank pagans and heathens, yet they were easier to manage many times than Christians.

You could go up to them, you could reason with them. Not every time. I mean, there were those that were just, you know, looking for a fight, and there are Christians like that. Why is this? Well, one is we expect more from Christians, but we fail to remember Christians are also sinners, saved by grace, but sinners.

They're defective. The other is they are prized targets of Satan, Satan messing with them. They still, they remain Christian, they can remain useful, but it's still getting messed with on spiritual matters more than the world. And so, it's not a large faith we're looking for, but it's a living faith. And this is, again, the only destructive miracle of Christ targeting this faithless tree, this fruitless tree. It was a big deal to Jesus, it was a big deal to Peter, it's a big deal to God, and it's a big deal to our spiritual enemy, and it's a big deal to a serious believer.

It is a very big deal. So a serious believer can look at that verse and say, I don't understand it. I don't understand what's being said here, because I can't prove this in my life. But, I have enough of you, Lord Jesus, to trust you. You don't have to answer this for me. I'd like you to, because I'd like to know everything. I'd like to be smarter than everybody else, too, I should add. Is there anybody else who wants to be dumber than everybody else? Please raise your hand.

All right, a little sleepy. Let's speed it up. This destructive act, incidentally, was on the way to a reconstructive act. This is his last week on earth. Technically, he doesn't die, they don't kill him.

He departs this life at the technical side, but from the human perspective, of course, they murdered him in public. But this is part of the process towards redemption. This is the Passion Week. We're paying attention to everything he says and everything he does in a heightened way.

We've been doing it from the beginning, but even more so as he's approaching the cross on our behalf. Man suffered a great spiritual and moral catastrophe. Original sin. Mankind is visibly marred. You pick up a paper or a newspaper or go online, however you do it, you cannot escape it. You can see it.

It's right there. Spiritually, man is deformed. Morally, he is defective and visibly marred. When Jeremiah finally saw the ruins of Jerusalem that he had been prophesying about for years, he lamented over it. We have the Book of Lamentations. And what he said about Jerusalem can be said about mankind. This is what he says, Lamentations chapter 1, verse 1, How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow is she, who was great among the nations, princes among the provinces, has become a slave! He starts out his Lamentations saying, This is all wrong!

This is not of the opposites have happened to glory! That's mankind. When you look at another human being, you're not seeing fully what God created.

You're seeing the wreckage, the imperfections. And yet Jesus is reconstructing this ruined city. And that's what the salvation of Christ is all about. So Christ uses these terms such as foundations.

Luke chapter 8, verse 48, the man he's talking about who trusts in Christ, he says he is, oh God, I should say at this point because they're not fully there, his audience with who he is. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

Well that house is me. That is the house that the Holy Spirit enters in and dwells with me there. Ephesians chapter 2, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. Paul comes along because the church is now alive.

But it was not when Christ, he was in the transition stage, he was introducing the concept of the church that would include the Gentiles. And so if you become a slave of Jesus Christ, then you're not a slave of Satan. If you're not a slave of Jesus Christ, whether you like it or not, you're a slave of Satan, whether you believe it or not. And if you are Satan's slave, none of the blessings of Christ apply to you. Only the judgment, the condemnation to curse that fig tree. 1 Corinthians 16, verse 22. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.

And then he says, Maranatha, O Lord come. If that sounds harsh to you, it's because you still think Satan is a joke. If those words of Paul sound harsh to you, it's because you do not take Christ seriously. You don't take your own eternal state seriously. Unbelief is what is harsh. Don't blame God because he will not allow those in heaven who will get there and start trouble. And this life is where he filters them out.

And we're part of that process. And we're supposed to take any hit that comes our way, whether it is the decapitation through the sword of Herod, or some stoning such as they stoned the prophet Zechariah. Whatever it may be, we are supposed to hold to the truth because our lives have been adjusted to God. We are his to do as he pleases. And whatever pain may come our way, we face it in Christ.

Verse 25 now. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Well, you want to talk about having trust in God?

Well, here's what it looks like. You can't receive his grace and not be willing to let it flow through you at the same time. From hell's perspective, whenever we pray, regardless of the position we are in, we are standing. We are standing against hell. Ephesians chapter 6, Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, verse 14, Stand therefore. So flowing from faith is righteousness, that life adjusted to God's truth.

Nowhere does the Bible command us a special posture of prayer except the posture of a contrite heart. And he says here in verse 25, If you have anything against anyone, forgive him. Who thinks God is tolerant of those who are loaded with bitterness towards another?

That person is not getting what the mission is about. Forgiveness is not always identical to restoration. Just because I forgive someone does not mean the relationship is restored. But if there's no repentance, restoration is out of the picture. But without maliciousness, that's what Christ is saying. You can forgive without being malicious. And forgiveness lacks malice. Bottom line is not anything profound to say about this.

It is something profound to do. An unforgiving spirit is a great hindrance to effective prayer. Peter tried to tell the husbands that, but it's not limited to the husbands. Husbands likewise deal with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife.

And then he goes on to say, And being heirs together, you're both going to heaven, in the ideal situation of two believers, of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. There are rules concerning prayer. And if you don't forgive, the rule is broken. I must not retaliate against some offense. However, I am permitted physical self-defense.

That is not ruled out. And Jesus said, if he smacks you in the face, turn on the other cheek. But if he starts to try to beat you to death, he doesn't say, Well, go ahead and let him.

We can get into that. I'll just take a brief moment here. Here's a commercial on behalf of civil disobedience in the Christian. Just because somebody says this is the law, doesn't immediately obligate us to bow down to it, and Daniel demonstrated that. Daniel said, That's your law.

Here's my law. And he opened up the door as it was his custom, and he prayed. It would have been a problem if he said, Well, I'm going to do it today because you made the law. That would have been retaliatory. It was just not acceptable. This is how he did it.

And he's not the only one. When midwives were told to kill those baby boys, they said, No. They didn't come out and say it like that.

They just did it. And so these things require that we think through them. He says that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. You know that Greek word, therefore, forgive, means to send away. To forgive is to send away.

It's to send away the spirit of revenge, of retaliation. It doesn't mean you approve of what's happening. It doesn't even mean you've got to wait for the other one to ask to be forgiven. It does mean that you do not want a bitter root growing up inside of you of resentment.

Have you faced resentment? It comes easy to some of us, or let me correct that. It comes easy to some of you.

It comes easy to me, too, as certain circumstances. God shields us, though. And so, again, just because you forgive doesn't mean in every case that you resume or you restore the relationship.

Here's an extreme example. A serial killer that goes to jail and becomes a Christian. I didn't think they needed to stay in jail. Because, hey, brother, we'll pray with him, but I'm not trusting him in my neighborhood because I understand the powers of temptation and backsliding. It's just not worth the effort. But he's forgiven.

I even bring him a birthday cake. I could say that because I've not directly suffered from such a thing, but that's the idea as taught, as I believe, is even in the scripture. Verse 26, But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. Well, that's pretty plain and to the point. But for such an ultimatum to come off the lips of Jesus Christ, there must be some special benefit from forgiving.

Some Bible translations try to say, oh, this isn't in the original. Well, yes, it is. You're wrong.

They're right. And because it is truth, and there's other reasons, too. But we have to reconsider how we behave when someone does us wrong.

We have a right to defend ourselves, but we do not have a right to retaliate, and there is a difference. And Jesus made a whole parable on an unforgiving servant, and we'll close with this. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?

And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due him. So my heavenly Father also will do to you, if each of you from his heart does not forgive his brother his trespasses. And, you know, those who say, well, Mark 11, 26 doesn't belong in the Bible, they don't say the same thing about Matthew 18, 32 that I just read, and it's even more detailed. To harbor resentment, take the picture, a harbor, a safe place for resentment to exist, you are walking into harm's way with your own walk in Christ. Hebrews 12, 15, Look carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble. And by this many become defiled. Don't expect help from others when it comes to fighting your bitterness.

You have to learn to do it yourself. Others will oftentimes unknowingly contribute to the bitterness. I experienced that a lot as a pastor. I wish they wouldn't say that. I wish they wouldn't do that. It's reminding me of something that just makes me want to be bitter.

But I don't have the luxury of saying, what I have to do is just take the hit. And I'm happy to do so, because these are the terms that we face, and we are not left without an ability to carry out the Gospel as it has been laid out to us. Thanks for tuning in to Cross-Reference Radio for this study in the Book of Mark. Cross-Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross-Reference Radio. You can search for Cross-Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the Book of Mark, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 15:24:59 / 2023-08-22 15:34:14 / 9

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