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Critical Reminders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2022 6:00 am

Critical Reminders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 4, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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After this life it dies with you and that's it. That's what she had. Which is why Jesus engaged her and converted her.

Led her to salvation. You cannot always know what God is up to. That's why we're supposed to live as though He may be up to something. Even when we're around people we don't know and they are engaging us.

Are we engaging them? The Bible gives us these instructions to follow. We will take verses 1 through 6. Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, those who are mistreated since you yourselves are in the body also. Marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness. Be content with such things as you have for He Himself has said I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear.

What can man do to me? Critical reminders that is what the writer is now bringing to the front with these Hebrew believers and for those of you who may not have been following along and understand what this Hebrew letter is about. These were Christians. They were Jewish.

Ethnically they were Jewish. They were Hebrews and they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were even persecuted for Christ. They ministered to those who were persecuted for Christ. And yet it was beginning to pile up on them the pressures of being a Christian in a society that was very much against Christ. And so some of them were thinking about going back to Judaism. Perhaps to escape the persecution to get away from being persecuted for whatever reasons they were thinking about leaving Christ. And the writer whom I believe was the apostle Paul. Writes to them and points out the superiority of Christ and the doom that follows those who abandon him who become apostates to Jesus Christ.

How irreversible it will be. Well, he has taken up a large part of the letter with just these details. And now he has some critical reminders for them as Christians. He's treating them as Christians throughout this letter because they were Christians. And I hope you and I, when we are treated like adults by God, when we are treated like Christians by God, that we receive it and not push back against it as unfortunately so many do. Truth throughout human history has often been overruled by self-will. What I want more important than what truly is. Well, that's why there's a witness protection program.

The gangsters, the bad guys, they don't want someone telling the truth about the crime they committed so they look to eliminate the witness who is looking to tell the truth. Self-interest is flat out in conflict with God. That's why we try to order our lives to be interested in God. God-centered, Christ-centered. Jesus summed it up in his prayer.

Nevertheless, not my will be done but your will be done. We are those that want to be interested in what God has. But when we are only desiring to satisfy ourselves, whatever the cause, whatever the matter may be, it is an injustice before God. And the Bible deals with this through and through.

And we need to deal with it. That's why we are ordered by God to attend the assembly, to receive the scripture. As Paul wrote Timothy, give attention to the doctrine.

Make sure you're preaching the word. Now that book of Judges we have in the Old Testament, most of us are familiar with this verse. It's repeated in the book of Judges by the writer because he's trying to emphasize the damage that this lifestyle of rejecting God, of living without his authority, of not being ruled by God but overruling God by the flesh, he wants to emphasize the folly of this. And so he writes in Hebrews, pardon me, Judges 17 verse 6, In those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Well, in these days, in some places, there is no church.

Oh, there's buildings with people that go in but many times they're really not interested in what Christ has to say. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Human beings come before God. Whenever that happens, it's a problem. That does not mean when God is first that human beings are treated as cattle or secondary elements in the universe.

Quite the opposite. That's why the Bible speaks so much about love. Everything good can be abused. That's the essence of sin, the abuse of something that is permitted.

And maybe we'll get back to that. But in these days, which we live, there is no God in the life of so many people. Everyone does what's right in their own eyes and therefore what is wrong in the eyes of God. Well, the Bible is very careful about this.

King Asa was a good king. We've been covering this, going through chronicles, and all of what I have to say has something to do with every single one of us. None of it is just Bible lecture.

It has to do with our lives, how we think, because how you think has something to do with how you live. And if you get the life wrong, you may find yourself alienated from God. Well, King Asa, when he had come back from a victory, well, actually a little later on, a second time, one of the prophets approached him. He says, this is at the time when Asa was not following the Lord.

He was a good king. But he goofed up towards the end of his life, and the prophet says, For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. God is looking for people who are loyal to him. It takes a little time for God to vet us, to make sure that, not that he needs to know, he already knows, but so that we get to know that we are committed to him. And so these critical reminders, they have to do with those who are looking to be faithful to God. And the instruction of the Word is supposed to really help with that. How many Christians just aren't interested in Bible teaching?

They just want to be told everything's going to be all right, whatever that means. Again in 2 Chronicles, this time it's King Jehoshaphat, a good king, the son of Asa, the king I just mentioned earlier. And whereas in Judges it says, In those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes, but Joseph took steps to make sure that wasn't the case while he was on the throne. He sought out teachers from the priests and the Levites to go and teach the people the Word of God, and we read about it in 2 Chronicles verse 9 of the 17th chapter there. He says, So they taught in Judah and had the book of the law of Yahweh with them.

They went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people. Because the consequences of living in darkness, spiritual darkness, should be unacceptable to every child of God. We are supposed to be children of light, the salt of the earth.

We're not supposed to spend our energy avoiding the difficult things of Scripture. In those days, in the days of Jehoshaphat, there was a king who sought to do the right thing by God. He was determined to take his people from darkness. You say he taught them what? Taught them the ways of the Lord. Because to teach about God is to learn about man. We have a whole world outside these doors that want to learn about man from men. We want to learn from the one who made us, from the Creator. Outside these doors, there are many who spend their energy insisting that we are not created beings. Well, no time to take on that.

It really is not a deep argument at all. We as Christians, when we consider these critical reminders from Scripture and then we consider how we fail, we're not to be discouraged when we fall short in spite of the teaching and the effort that we put into lining up, to being in God's formation. We're not to be discouraged to the point where we don't function for Christ anymore, which is what Satan is trying to get us to do. If we take no credit in whatever victories we have in Christ, we give it all to Him, we have to be careful that we do not think it's robotic because we know that through negligence we can mess things up. Therefore, we count. Each and every one of us count. We matter to God.

We matter to the work being done. God's work can go on without you. If you don't serve the Lord, God says, I'll just get somebody else. It doesn't mean He doesn't love you. It just means you're going to get somebody else.

You miss out. So Paul says we have this treasure in earthen vessels. That's our bodies. We have this treasure that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of ourselves. The treasure is the Holy Spirit.

So now we're considering lining up with God these critical reminders from this great saint of the Lord, how much the Bible talks about when there is no king, when there is no rule of God, the problems that come out of it. And so here in verse 1 now, if you would look with me, he says, let brotherly love continue. He's winding down the letter and he brings up love. It's just three words in the Greek. Brotherly love is one word.

Philadelphia. And so he says, let love, the love that flows from agape love, let it show up in brotherly love. The love, that deep love you have for Christ, it should be showing up in some form towards others.

It is a critical reminder. The Bible never separates doctrine from action, scripture from behavior. It expects that we're not to always learn and never come into the knowledge, but that we do learn and that we do something with it that is pleasing to God. And those who do not like that, they church shop. They shop for a church where the word is not upheld and they're not even taught. Or the word is taught, but it's not upheld. And that makes them feel like they're gaining ground, but they're not.

It's two steps forward and ten backwards if that is the approach. That word, again, Philadelphia, the Greek, rich in language, makes distinctions between types of love, whereas our English language does not. You can say, you know, I love ice cream and say, you know, I love God. It's the same word.

You have to figure out in context which one is more or greater or superior. But the Greek helps us out with that. There's a love for romance. That can be certainly abused, but the romantic love, eros, there's family love, stroge. When the Greeks used their language and they said, you know, I love my family, they'd use stroge. And you knew that this was the family they were talking about. Brotherly love, which is phileo, which has to do with just the love of things.

Nothing wrong. It's very deep. It's not to be trivialized. When we call someone, say they have a PhD, a doctorate, that PH stands for phileo. They love whatever discipline they have invested themselves in. And so when he says, let Philadelphia, let brotherly love flow from you, it's not, well, it's just a secondary love.

It's big. Jesus asked Peter, Peter, do you have that spiritual love for me, that deep highest love? Had Peter not stumbled before the question, he would have said, yeah, you bet your whiskers I have that love for you. But it was after Peter had been humbled and he realized that his sinful nature was a fierce opponent within him, a traitor within his own heart. And so he responded, Lord, you know, I have great love for you, but I can't say I have the greatest love. I want it.

I just can't get it. And that's why in the Greek, if you look at it in the Greek, in John's Gospel, where this exchange, this dialogue takes place, it's Jesus, do you agape me? Do you have the spiritual love? And Peter says, no, I phileo you. I don't have the big stuff.

I want it. That describes all of us. Yeah, we have agape love for Christ. Sometimes we behave as though we don't, especially in our treatment of others. So this is a big part of the letter.

This is holding them accountable to behavior. Let brotherly love continue. Don't abandon the faith. Stay in it and continue to love as Christ taught to love. Peter, when he wrote to the persecuted Christians, he was careful not to center all of his letter on awe.

Poor thing. I don't want to make that humorous because I don't want to be under persecution and someone making humor about it. But I want to point out that there's more to our faith than just relief from whatever it is that hounds us. So he writes, be hospitable to one another without grumbling.

And the word he uses for hospitable has phileo in it again. Be loving to one another and kind without grumbling. Well, I better love them.

Let somebody else find out I don't love them. J. Vernon McGee makes this comment. He says, we are to love not like brothers, but because we are brothers.

That is true. We are to behave as though we belong to the family of God. Not just drink in the blessings of belonging to the family, but letting some of those blessings flow through us to others also. It's going to call for commitment, action. You're going to have to step up.

If you insist on sitting on your hands, you won't be called off the bench. But if you apply yourself, you watch what God will do. I think there is a lot of brotherly love in this church. That won't stop immature Christians or people from objecting because the immature really think love is a self-centered thing and they measure love by what you give them and not by what they give others. So critical is brotherly love that when it is missing, everybody knows it. Jesus said, you're the salt of the earth. Without salt, there's no flavor.

Something's missing without salt. Its absence is noticed. Its presence is then in demand. Well, it's the same with us, with how we behave. When love is missing, it's noticed.

There's a demand for it. And think about the loveless things that have been done to you by someone else. Then think about the things that are loveless that you have done to someone else. Then think about the loving things you have done for others and others have done for you, how love flows from you. And then this exhortation, let brotherly love, is very important.

Verse 2, if you look with me at verse 2, he's continuing with this. Everything he has to say is going to be built on those words. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing, some have unwittingly entertained angels. Don't forget the salt. Don't forget the spiritual element of your life. He's saying, let the brotherly love continue.

Now, I'm from, I'm born and raised in New York City. Strangers are not to be trusted there. And he's not saying you didn't just go out on the road and say, hey, I don't know who you are, why don't you come over to my house, we'll have a good old time. But he is saying, you better be careful when you are around people whom you don't know. Just don't lock up and become cold and calloused. It's so easy to do. I have to work at it, actually. Someone comes up to me and says, excuse me, do you have the time? I'm like, what are you doing? You don't know me. Where's your buddy?

You got another guy in this kind of club me in the head or something? You suspect of people approaching you, you don't know. Well, in the scripture, of course, Abraham, when the three men showed up, there Abraham was in the tent in the cool of the day, in the cool of the shade, and they show up and he is very careful how he treats them. And it turns out two of them are angels, the other one is an appearance of God himself on earth. Of course, there are others, there's Lot, there's Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson, and Gideon, one of the more comical ones, Gideon's threshing wheat in the wine press because he's afraid and the angel of the Lord shows up and he's, you know, greeted as a man of valor and God is with you and he's questioning everything of where, if God is with us, then why am I threshing wheat in the wine press, hiding out like, then the whole thing is going somewhere, we're not going to take it further than that. My point is, the scripture is, it gives us examples of those who entertain strangers who are actually sent by the Lord. One of my favorite ones, or probably one of my favorites, is the woman at the well. She did not know it was Jesus Christ that initiated conversation with her, asking her for a drink, what is this Jew talking to me, a Samaritan?

What is a man without a chaperone doing talking to me? She had religion, she just didn't have salvation. Ooh, that should get a lot of people that we come in contact with in our life. You can have useless religion, good for nothing.

After this life, it dies with you and that's it. That's what she had, which is why Jesus engaged her and converted her, led her to salvation. You cannot always know what God is up to. That's why we're supposed to live as though He may be up to something.

Even when we're around people we don't know and they are engaging us, are we engaging them? The Bible gives us these instructions to follow. And so, we need to be careful because some have entertained angels unaware. They weren't aware at the time those were angels, and it can happen to you. God can send someone, a messenger, it doesn't have to be an angelic being. God can send a person into your life and you can mess it up or not.

Well, how do you not mess it up? Just be loving, be obedient, be on guard for the will of God to use you. Verse 3, he says, Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, those who are mistreated, since you yourselves are in the body also.

What are you saying? You're Christians. These are Christians he's talking to. They're not almost Christians, they're not thinking about being Christians, they're not giving Christianity. These are solid Christians saved by the blood of Christ and now many of them are in trouble thinking about leaving Jesus Christ. Now, if you don't believe in free will or you think your free will goes away when you're saved, then you may struggle with that.

I don't share that view, nor am I afraid of it. I'm honored. Learn to be honored by what God brings into your life, the good or the bad. Job put it this way, The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I don't know if he put an emphasis on that, but I want to.

And when we get to the end of this section, maybe we will find another emphasis along those lines. But this is brotherly love now to prisoners. What if it was your brother in prison, your real brother?

Maybe a brother that you love because it's very, there are those that have brothers and they're not very close, but if it's a close brother, of course, you feel it. Well, the writer's not asking them to feel it, he's asking them to obey it. He's telling them, look beyond this life, put yourself in their place.

Now, this is a little history here with them. In Hebrews 10, he says, For you had compassion on me in my chains and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. You suffered for your faith, you suffered for me. When I was a prisoner of Christ, you did not keep me at a distance. He's a convict now.

He's part of the criminal element. Yeah, he was for the causes of Christ. And they did not turn away from him. And he calls them out, he says, Remember, remember?

It's a victory on their side. It was an honor for them to show honor to one of God's prisoners. In Hebrews 11, he says, Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 2 Timothy, this is about a man named Onesiphorus. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me. Catch that part. Do you refresh anyone?

Or do you just drain it out? Oh, man, here they come. 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 / 2023-04-23 11:11:27 / 2023-04-23 11:20:47 / 9

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