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Battlefield faith (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2022 6:00 am

Battlefield faith (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 8, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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This woman is quite remarkable. Something the faithless simply will not do, she did and became faithful. Faithlessness, incidentally, is remarkable too.

It is quite staggering. Jesus was always puzzled by it. Indeed, I have not found such faith in Israel. He had to point to a centurion.

Or to a woman whose child was in need of his touch. In our own words, Joshua chapter 2 verse 8, She's not saying that. She's saying the God of the Jews is God and there is no other.

It's quite a powerful revelation. Facing death, she was. Because had she not entered into this agreement, she would have been slain with everyone else.

She knew her life was less than what it should have been, so she changed sides. Something we try to do on behalf of lost souls. We try to convert them from the fruit of sin and unbelief and rebellion against the God of heaven and earth. Convert them to the God of heaven and earth. Come into salvation.

It says here, when she had received the spies with peace. We're not made right with God by the work we do, even if it's for him. But we are made right for good works.

It is grace. It is the goodness of God that brings us to his side and keeps us there. We are supposed to behave as though we obey him.

That we're going to do something now. That we have been saved for a purpose. His purpose.

Not ours. His purpose. Whatever it may entail. We'll get next session about the side of faith that costs blood.

This side here, though, again, these are the war clouds over the people that they are facing. Ephesians 2, again, it needs to be reread with a little bit more to it. Ephesians 2 verses 8 through 10. For by grace you have been saved through faith. That's trusting God according to his word and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.

Not of works. Not of deeds. Lest anyone should boast bragging about, well, I did this for God. I really helped him out that day. Boy, God is fortunate to have me on his side. That would be the stupidest thing a human being could say.

And yet, it is said, there are those that think that God owes them something that somehow they're going to survive death. It's going to work out for them. It's worked out. They got them this far. We'll carry them the rest of the way. They are drunk with their unbelief. Don't say that as their enemy.

It's just true. Hopefully it will resonate with someone who may be falling for that. It continues in Ephesians 2 in verse 10. For we are his workmanship, his poema, his poetry.

We get our English word poetry from that Greek word translated workmanship, poema. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, good deeds, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So her good deeds did not save her as said. But we are created to do good deeds. God is expecting that from us. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks and the life moves on. Out of what's in the heart come all sorts of wicked things. But if the heart is touched by God, there will be fruitful things to come out.

You know, it's true. You've sat through sermons where the Holy Spirit has convicted you and you have felt yourself resisting. If you've been around Christianity long enough, some pet gripe that you don't want to let go of yet because you feel justified or wounded or whatever it is. You hear the Lord speaking of love and forgiveness and what he did for you and you harden up. It's your heart. Deceitful, desperately wicked above all things.

Who can know it? God. Yeah, and then God tells you about it so you can know it too. To do something about it. To shut your mouth and work it out with him instead of justifying yourself. I am no exception, but I work hard to reduce rebukes from the Lord. I try to stay a step ahead of him.

He's fast though. Should we not? What would happen if all Christians were determined to be perfect? You'd fail, but the pursuit of that perfection would take you to an altitude you would otherwise never come to in your own strength.

It does count. Don't be discouraged. Discouragement, again, it's like the silver was in the days of Solomon, like stones on the ground. Discouragement can be picked up anywhere.

It's so cheap. It's on your dashboard in your car. It's in your left shoe. It's in your right hand. It's everywhere. Anybody can be discouraged.

It takes a child of faith to work through this life, not without discouragement, in spite of discouragement. Yes, so what? I know you're there. I can't get you out of here, but I'm going to do what I got to do. You want to sit there? I'm going to sit there. But I have work to do. That has to be our approach or something like that. Maybe you're a nicer personality and you say, well, okay, you can sit there and you do it in that tone. Me, I choose my tone. Filthy animal, you're going to be there, fine.

I wish I could slaughter you. Discouragement, it's there. Well, Rahab is a type of the unbeliever converted to belief by the grace of God in the presence of those who refuse to be converted.

Here are some points from the life of Rahab. She needed a regime change. There's a ruler in our life.

You know, that old song, say what you want about the singer or the writer, but it's a fact. You got to serve somebody. It's either going to be the Lord or the devil. You've got to serve somebody. If it's the devil, you need a regime change.

The leadership needs to change. She recognized that. Another point is that while she was trapped in sin, she being a harlot, and approaching judgment until the people of God came. That's true with sinners, is it not? They're under the condemnation of Christ, of God, for being sinners. And then the righteous are used by God to bring them into the knowledge of Christ. Even Saul of Tarsus, he was not directly converted by other Christians.

Who is? But without those other Christians in their lives, he never would have been on that road to Damascus where the Lord intercepted him. So we count, every one of us. With Saul of Tarsus, of course, it was the faith and ministry of Stephen that he couldn't get out of his head. It was spiritually traumatic to him.

He suffered blows to his spirit and his soul because of Stephen. So he was enraged against Christians because he needed a regime change and he got it. She enters into a covenant with the spies. Christians, we are supposed to be a covenant people. Not an old covenant, but a new one. In fact, the word testament means covenant. When we say New Testament, we're talking about a covenant. We have entered into an agreement and so often it is difficult for Christians in the church to keep their word. Their yes is maybe. We can really count on that. Their no is too often.

It is not my aim to beat the sheep, but these things must not be swept under the rug for someone to stumble over and be injured. Maybe you say, I've been that way. You know, you can't count on me in Christ for anything. I've always got something else to do.

Who doesn't? We all have something else to do, but we learn to carve out time for the Lord. It's called devotion. We devote time. We don't come in, light candles and do rituals and say there, we've satisfied the quest for devotion. Dear God, here's your devotion.

I've just did something for you. No, we serve. We serve in positions that may not be glorious to the common heart or to the righteous. It is glorious work. Imagine if someone those who come and they clean the bathrooms in the church, the restrooms in the church. Imagine if they said, no, you know, I want a more glorious task. This is beneath me.

We would all find out about it very quickly. It is glorious work because of who it is for and why it is being done. She did not perish with unbelievers.

That is the saints. And she became, according to Matthew chapter one, verse five, the bride and wife of a good man. And she finds her place in the genealogy of Christ, of Christ Jesus. And so this woman is quite remarkable. It's something the faithless simply will not do.

She did and became faithful. Faithlessness, incidentally, is remarkable, too. It is quite staggering. Jesus was always puzzled by it. Indeed, I've not found such faith in Israel. He had to point to a centurion.

Or to a woman whose child was in need of his touch. Matthew chapter seven, verse 13. This is what Christ has to say to those who are still not ready to receive, to change. He says, Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. There are many who go in by it. Don't be one of them.

That's his word. Many go that route. Don't you be in that number. There's a narrow gate. That's the one you need to squeeze through. That's the one I'm calling you to. Before we're finished with Rahab, we have three excuses, at least three rebuffed by her story. One is, Oh, I'm not good enough to be saved. Well, welcome to the club.

There is no one in heaven, nor there will there ever be amongst humans who is good enough to be there. That's the grace God gives us. This may upset your personal pride.

It's supposed to. God has much to say against personal pride, self-esteeming, puffing yourself up. You don't come to recognize you're a sinner before a holy God. You want to keep on comparing yourself with someone else on earth and go on. You're just comparing yourself to another sinner. The comparison will be made to Christ who is sinless. And so that line, I'm not good enough to be saved.

OK, we all can say that. But if that's where you leave it, then you are doomed like those in Jericho. The other one is, Oh, I don't know the Bible very well. You don't have to know the Bible very well. You have to know enough of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And it is very simple, so simple that even a child can receive it. And Jesus stressed that point of such is the kingdom of heaven. And then the third point is that faith rebuffs this position. Faith does not require action. Oh, yeah, it does.

It's not just a theory that you side with, a philosophy that you endorse. It is a life to be lived out. By faith, she not only believed, but she acted on it. And so she put the scarlet cord on her window according to the covenant. And she and her household who submitted to this were spared. And the writer of Hebrews is telling his audience that you have a responsibility, that you are covenant people. And if you turn back from it, you will suffer the consequence as Rahab would have suffered had she not acted on her faith. So it wasn't enough to say your God is the God of heaven and earth. She had to act on it. Now, verse 32, we come to more exciting characters.

We only have two hours to go, so I'll try to get it all in. Verse 32, And what more shall I say for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets? Well, he starts off in what more should... Time would fail me.

So even those... It's scriptural for pastors to not have enough time to say everything they want to say. It's biblical right there. Now, he refers to four judges. Now, judges weren't, you know, those in robes sitting in courts. They ruled their section of territory in the land. They were deliverers from the peoples of that part of the world that would come against the Jews, the people from the east, the Amorites, the Philistines, whoever they were. God would raise up these individuals to oversee the victories and to also rule the people. He'll give us the four judges, a king, that would be David, of course, and the prophets.

And there you have quite an interesting group. But the judges, unlike the later prophets, with the exception of strange Samson, they all got to see their victories. The prophets did not. Jeremiah, poor Jeremiah, I mean, what a man of God he was. But last we know of him, he was taken to Egypt against his will. And so much stuff he saw that was just a failure. In contrast to the judges, they saw their victories.

That is significant. And so he's going to now talk first about Gideon, the frightened farmer. He's afraid someone's going to come and take his grain.

And so he's thrashing wheat in the wine press, knowing that, well, they won't look for me here. They would come in hordes like locusts, the people from the east, the Amorites, the Midianites. They would just come in hordes like locusts and just consume everything.

They couldn't be stopped. And they would leave the people of God starving. And so God would raise up judges. Now, the reason things got that way, because the people did not have faith. In fact, they turned to idols. They started worshipping, mingling with the people. So the Jews, they weren't taken out by the sword in the Promised Land. It was the fake gods that was taking them out. We see this in Christianity. We see Christians tinkering with things that are forbidden in Scripture and then becoming quite obnoxious and defensive about it.

Levin cannot be defended. Anyway, this frightened farmer would rise from his hiding place and deliver and judge the people of God. God discovered Gideon, not men.

There was no one that said, I got a good idea. We need to find somebody thrashing wheat in the wine press, and he'll deliver us. Man could not come to that conclusion. So God is the only one that sees this man doing this and then approaches him and goes through all of the things that Gideon required to trust. I'm not so ready to say Gideon was full of doubt, because within his apparent doubt, there was the determination to be sure. If I'm going to launch out in this, this has got to be God.

I can't make any mistakes about this, because the enemy will kill me, my family, and wipe us out. He was determined to get it right. God makes habit of finding people like this. Those who he would all pass by and miss, he makes habit of plucking them out of the crowd and putting them into such a position. And so before Gideon is sent as an instrument of God against the enemies of God's people, he is first sent to the enemies of thought amongst his people. Gideon, go to your father's house. He's into idols. I need you to destroy it, and I need you to use his choice bowl to do it.

At least the second choice bowl. And Gideon does it, and it begins a revival in the land. He was sent to march against that which was fake about God before he could march against that which was coming against God's people. He faced war. He went to war, and he survived. And then there's Barak. He is the underachieving general. He should have had more glory.

This one is going to be very appealing to all of us. He's very victorious on the battlefield, but he was cheated by unnecessary doubt. I mean, there are doubts that are just big, and they're hard to get around. But then there are those doubts that, you know, we need to dismiss that one.

And sometimes we don't. The encouragement with this man is that while he did have doubt and he did fall short of a higher glory, he accomplished much. He was victorious, very victorious, saved the people of his day.

In spite of the low altitude at that moment on that day, he still did much for the Lord and for his people because he had faith still. So in other words, what I'm saying is you may be called to do something, and you do not know Moses was this way. God wanted Moses to go without Aaron. Moses, you know, fussed and hemmed and hawed about the whole thing, and God said, fine, Aaron, he can speak.

He'll go with you. And so that was plan B of God. God often settles for that. Well, what's he supposed to do? If he said, no, I'm going to wait for the perfect servant.

That would disqualify us all. So we look at the life of Barak, and we see this lack of confidence that caused him to forfeit even more glory, and yet he's still used. He's still victorious, and that makes me say, okay, all right.

I don't always get it right, but I'll take what I get right. I will not let that cheat me from what I can do. So here's the story. Deborah is the judge in Israel at this time, and Barak is going to be dispatched with his forces to bring about the great victory against Sisera, the commander of the people of Canaan. And Deborah says, God's going to be with you. He says, okay, but I'm not going unless you go with me. She says, okay, I'll go with you, but a woman's going to take your glory. And he says, I don't care.

You've got to go with me. So they go off to war. He defeats the enemy.

Sisera, the commander of the army, the enemy's forces, running for his life, goes into the tent of this young lady. He's thirsty. He's hungry. He's asking for water. She gives him milk, probably warm milk at that. It was because they had refrigerators.

There's just no way to plug them in. Well, anyway, he goes to sleep nice and comfortable, and she takes a spike and drives it through his head and kills him. See that? It was supposed to say Barak has slain Sisera, but it does not say it. And so we look at our lives. We see that, man, you know, someone else got what I was going after, but I won't let that stop me. I will continue to serve nonetheless with what I do have and find my name listed amongst men like Gideon and David and Samuel and Joshua nonetheless. Quite remarkable. And then there's Samson. How does he get on the list?

If you have a black marker, cross his name out. That would be sinful. I am more afraid of Samson in my life than I am of Solomon in my life because I will likely never ever in this life become filthy rich, as Daffy Duck would say, independently wealthy with the whole, okay, I've lost you with the Daffy Duck thing.

But I think filthy rich, I think of him saying it anyhow. I won't have to struggle with what Solomon struggled with, but probably without an exception, every single one of us is susceptible to some charm, some romantic charm. It does not have to be sexual, but it will be sensual. There will be some lure that pulls us, that causes us to look at what God has given us as being routine and not exceptional. And then we begin to find ourselves in places we don't belong until finally we're blinded and enslaved because of our own stupidity in the faith. Samson, one small one, he's walking through a vineyard and he meets up with a lion, two things about that. He was a Nazarite from birth. That meant he did not cut his hair and he did not take up the vine. Why is he in the vineyard?

Why is he taking that shortcut? Was there not an oak grove that he could have gone through? See, the Bible is saying he's where he doesn't belong because his faith was lacking at this time in his life. And what meets him where he doesn't belong?

A lion that's more than rowing, this one's charging. God allowed him to defeat the lion nonetheless. And then, of course, Samson, we know the horrible collapse that he meets with. So we say, why is he then in the list of those who have faith that I should pay attention to, that I should learn? What can I learn from Samson?

He's here because God remembers the faith of the saints, not the failures. Do I need to say anything else behind that? You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply log on to crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Hebrews, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-10 00:40:10 / 2023-05-10 00:49:20 / 9

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