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Battlefield faith (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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April 11, 2022 6:00 am

Battlefield faith (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 11, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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It was one or two of them where they were praising the Lord without drawing all the attention to what God is doing for me. It's the warm-up hymns, me, me, me, me, me. I love praising the Lord. I love singing about His glory more than anything else.

And that's why that line, then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, my God, how great you are. 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 Hebrews.

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. Now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his message called Battlefield Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. 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, okay, 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 all 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, it 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?

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 aren'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 threshing 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 threshing wheat in a 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, 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, OK, 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, OK, but I'm not going unless you go with me. She says, OK, I'll go with you, but a woman is going to take your glory. And he says, I don't care.

You 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, just no way to plug him in. Well, anyway, he goes to sleep nice and comfortable, and she takes a spike and drives it through his head. It 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, 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 of 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 to 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 of 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?

The 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 his saints, not the failures.

Do I need to say anything else behind that? You're gonna be in heaven because God remembered your faith, not your failures. If God said, hey, let's parade your failures before everybody, the angels would chase you out of there.

God highlights the victories of his servants here in this 11th chapter. We know and God knows that in between the lines that have been recorded about their life are the things we wrestle with and struggle with. The fears, the failures, the hardships, the joy, the unanswered prayers, the answered prayers, all that we have to face, they face.

Being sick of life, being sick of this and sick of that, having good days where you're really up and then all of a sudden you're not the next one. They had the same stuff. And yet they walk by faith and God remembers their faith. Their faith outlived their lives.

That's the story. By faith you were saved and not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Samson knew who God was. He never lost sight of that. He lost sight of, he lost his physical sight, but he knew who God was and he went out in a surge of faith. God this one more time and God said, OK. It is appropriate at this point to read these several verses concerning your sin and God, because God's standard is high and holy and puts terror into us if we have to be perfect. Yet, yet he has a way, being perfect as he is, of making a place for us in the list of servants who will be in glory forever. Isaiah 43 25, I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake and I will remember your sins no more. That's why Samson's here. That's why Gideon is here and David and Samuel and Joshua and all the rest in the scripture and in life. God says, I will blot them out for my sake because if I don't blot them out, I will judge you. Psalm 103, I'm just going to take the Old Testament ones because they're more illustrative for my point this morning. Psalm 103, for as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward those who fear him. As far as east is from west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

That's why you can't find Samson's shortcomings in this section. He's removed them. He's going to do it for you and he's going to do it for me. The problem we have, my youngest daughter was telling me these lyrics to all these songs, Christian songs she's been listening to, and I've been pushing my buzzer as she does it. How about this one, dad?

You like this one? Because they're all about, oh, God loves me and I'm suffering and he picks me up. Okay, there's a place for that for sure, but when are you going to get to the point about his glory? When are you going to start singing about how magnificent he is?

Because if you get that one right, all the others fall subject to that. It was one or two of them where they were praising the Lord without drawing all the attention to what God is doing for me. This is the warm up hymns, me, me, me, me, me. I love praising the Lord. I love singing about his glory more than anything else, and that's why that line, then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, my God, how great you are. That is the Christian faith. That needs to be highlighted.

I'm not saying all the rest of the songs are bad or anything like that. I want to, but I can't do it because you'll come up with a good point and I'll have to pretend I agree, but I think the point's made and you either share it or not. I have many things to say to you, but time will not allow me. This beautiful one from Micah the prophet writing about all the mess ups in Judah, but saying, let me tell you about God in spite of these things. Who is a God like you? His name Micah means who is like my God, no one.

So he says, who is a God like you? Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage. He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us. He will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. How glorious is that?

Okay, two more. I blotted out like a thick cloud, your transgressions like a cloud, your sins returned to me or I have redeemed you. You see in the New Testament comes and supersizes all these verses in Christ Jesus at Calvary in the empty tomb. God says, listen to me, receive the salvation and don't perish or reject it. And you reap what you sow Galatians six. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap?

I am going to sow salvation according to the scripture so that I can reap salvation according to the scripture. Jephthah, we come to him very quickly. If there was ever anyone, if there was ever a man that you could judge by his critics, it was Jephthah. His critics had so much to say about him. He was born of a harlot. His step-brothers cheated him out of his inheritance.

He was socially an outcast, had to go live elsewhere if he was going to have any sort of a life. But he was tough. He was tough on the battlefield. He was, you know, kind of broad at the shoulders and narrow at the hip and everybody knew you didn't give any lip to Jephthah. So when they got in trouble, they sent to Jephthah, come help us out.

Nobody can beat these bad guys. In fact, they said, who is the man that will deliver us? He's the man, Jephthah. And so Jephthah comes along and he saves the day. And there, of course, were problems with him too, but God passes over them. Sometimes God needs a no-nonsense man to get it done. Nehemiah was such a character. Nehemiah said, I struck them.

I pulled out their beard. He dealt with those people that were wrong. He comes back to Jerusalem and he finds there in the precincts of the house of God this junk from these pagans, the enemies of God's people, and he threw it all out. Sometimes God needs that kind of man. David is the next character. David always saw God as big. David never saw God as small. His God was not inferior. He was not distant, common, or defeatable. That was David's God and he lived that way.

So there's this moment in time. David ends up in a confused state of his life. He comes back to his camp with his men, those 600 that had followed him, and he finds that the Amalekites had raided the village and taken everyone and everything. Pick it up in 1 Samuel 30, verse 6, Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God and then what did he do?

He chased down the bad guys, caught them, won everything back. No less than 24 times do we read about Saul involved in trying to murder David, either by his own hand or dispatching others. David lived through this violence, these threats, constantly on the battlefield. He stood before Goliath and dropped him like a bad tree. That's what David did.

I'm delighted he's in this list. I love that man, David. Israel was never the same after him, yet in all that David did. For Christians, there is a drastic difference between David's star and the cross of Calvary.

We can't forget that. David spoke of the Messiah whom we love so much. Samuel is the next one, the man almost not born. His mother was a woman of prayer. She was a dynamo in prayer. So much so that it influenced Samuel to be a man of prayer and he considered it sin to neglect prayer. First Samuel 12, Samuel speaking. Now he was a Nazarite too and there he is, an old man, his hair never cut.

No razor touched his head. Long-weight beard, long hair and there he's preaching the word. I'm glad we don't have Nazarite vows now because if I let my hair grow, I'd look like Bozo.

It just grows places that Bozo had hair growing and that's it. Moreover as for me, far be it for me that I should sin against Yahweh in ceasing to pray for you, but I will teach you the good and right way. If you make a decision in ministry without seeking Christ, are you sinning because you did not prayer?

I'll leave that for you to answer it. The pattern we're given in scripture is wonderful. Two books in the scripture bear his name, 1 and 2 Samuel. And finally he says and the prophets, the prophets were those who had something to say to men because God gave them something to say to men. From Elijah to Malachi, all of these were imperfect but their faith is remembered.

Every single one from Joshua right through the prophets, Isaiah down to Malachi, Elijah, Elisha, all of them, the unnamed prophets, all of these were imperfect but their faith is remembered. We close with this verse, 1 Thessalonians 5, 8, but let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love. And I ask you, if you have something going on in your life with someone, how are you going to handle it?

You do not have to do wrong to please the other person, you have to do right to please Christ. Are you going to be thin-skinned? Are you going to have faith? Are you going to seek the Lord for how you should respond? Are you going to do it in your own strength?

If you want to fight your own battles, have at it. But I encourage you to call upon the Lord. 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 That's 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 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 / 2023-05-08 17:33:40 / 2023-05-08 17:42:59 / 9

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