The Word of God, prayer, other believers, walking with Jesus Christ.
This is Acts 2.42. You know, the Hindus and the Muslims, they won't tolerate you bringing junk into their religion, junk that they call junk. They won't tolerate it. Christians will.
Christians will tolerate anything you bring in oftentimes if it makes them feel good. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Hebrews chapter 13 as he begins his message, Conclusion of a Masterpiece. We are continuing and concluding the letter to the Hebrews.
We are in chapter 13, verses 18 through 25. Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a good conscience in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen. And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in a few words. Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints, those in Italy, greet you. Grace be with you all.
Amen. And we have our 13-year-old and up in the sanctuary with us for a reason. We want you to be exposed to the word with your parents. There are things you don't understand, you need to ask. We want you to know what's going on in here and not just be sitting with the adults.
You are every bit a part of this assembly. You are to receive the word, to be held accountable to it, to rejoice in it, to use it as a sword of God. We encourage you to get understanding, broaden your vocabulary, keep up with what's being preached, lay hold on eternal life and the ministry God has for you. Well, this morning's consideration out of Hebrews 13 is the conclusion of a masterpiece. Whose masterpiece is it? It is the masterpiece of God through the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ. This writer is the scribe and he is inspired by the Spirit of God.
His knowledge has been imparted to him both directly and through study and through experience and exposure and he is finalizing what we know as Hebrews, the letter to the Hebrews. In verse 18 he says, Pray for us for we are confident that we have a good conscience in all things desiring to live honorably. Now he would only ask believers to pray for him. We would not say to an unbeliever, could you pray for me? Because they have nowhere to pray to.
Nowhere that we would respect or honor. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.
So how could we make such a request? So we have to remember and whenever we read this Hebrew letter that is written to believers. Prayer as we know it in our lifetime, it is not fully explained to us, to man, to mankind. We have enough information explained to believe and to practice prayer and prayer is a practice. You develop it as you, the more you pray the better at it you get. If you're praying according to the scripture, if you are praying with understanding which the scripture insists that we do, we know that prayer has resident forces within it to change outcomes.
It is not just this exercise in speech. It is going right to the presence of God's throne and talking to him directly. Otherwise, why would Satan put so much effort into keeping us from praying? Why would our sinful nature without effort always try to keep us from praying?
Because it counts. There are consequences to neglected prayer, not only in the life of the individual but in those whom he or she could have been praying for. The consequences of neglected prayer, shallowness is one, just here are a few of them, being irritated. Irritated by a sense of guilt because as believers you know what you're supposed to be doing and when you don't pray, when you have no prayer life it kind of sticks with you. Regret, guilt, sense of under-achievement in the spirit, low-grade faith, low-grade service, these are the consequences of not praying.
There are just some of them. But there are victories to be gained by praying also. Those of you who have developed your prayer life, you know this full well.
No, you do not get everything you asked for. The goal is to be in the will of God, to get what God wants in the lives of whomever it is we are praying for, whether it is the assembly or individuals or ourselves. Prayer is not an excuse for disobedience and it is sad to report that there are many who feel that prayer is an excuse, that they get a pass to be disobedient because they've prayed about something. Praying, singing, claiming to love the Lord Jesus Christ, all of those are cancelled out if you embrace heresy. If we entertain heresy, entertain in the first and second definition of our language.
Picture having a party for heresy, inviting it in, serving it, making it feel comfortable, interacting with it, chuckling with it, dialoguing with it, hugging it goodbye or hello or whatever it may be. There are a great many in Christianity that think that when they say, oh I'll pray about it as though that covers everything. Well, oftentimes they live in complete opposition to the scripture. So we read the scripture verses concerning these matters. Paul writing to Timothy says, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.
There were such people in the church that were always, oh tell me more. What's the latest fad? What's the latest teaching? What's the latest Bible study?
But never going out and entering into it. Practicing the faith, genuinely loving and kind. 2 Corinthians 11, 4, for if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we've not preached or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it. He wrote that to Christians. Christians who were exercising gifts of the spirit, who were speaking in tongues, who were administering all the other gifts. He said to that church in Corinth, you lack no spiritual gift.
And yet he was very concerned about them because they were putting up with those who were bringing in false teachings, teachings contrary to scripture to the foundation that has been established through Christ by the apostles and the prophets. And then there is the Galatian letter, a whole region of believers. I marvel, better said probably I'm amazed, that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel which is not another.
There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed for do I now persuade men or God or do I seek to please men? Or if I still please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
See that last line, if I still please men? I really don't care who doesn't like the truth that I am preaching, but this truth that I am preaching has care for you. But if you reject it, there's no more hope. And that's what he said to the Galatians, that's what he preached to the Corinthians and that's what he told the preacher to preach. Always learning, never coming into the knowledge, the faith that we claim must be genuine, it must be real to us in spite of our shortcomings. Encouragement to pray is necessary, not because God is reluctant to give us what we ask for, but Satan is out for blood and nothing less. And our line of defense, the perimeter around us, the Word of God, prayer, other believers, walking with Jesus Christ.
This is Acts 2.42. You know the Hindus and the Muslims? They won't tolerate you bringing junk into their religion, junk that they call junk. They won't tolerate it.
Christians will. Christians will tolerate anything you bring in oftentimes if it makes them feel good, if it's something new and bubbly. That's why we have churches singing secular songs and the day we assemble to worship God. Worship is not entertainment. Those who lead us in song and with music and instrument, it's not a presentation. It is worship.
It is falling down before a holy and righteous God who loves us and wants to be loved in return willfully. And so when we see these things happening in churches, we say, what is going on? And it's spreading everywhere. In India, they're just reading one of our newsletters from one of the missions that we support. They are chasing the Christians out now, the orphanages, all the Christian care for those who are suffering and in need, physical needs as well as spiritual. The Hindus are the ones that are driving this. Do you know that they have orphanages in India for cows? Because they view them as sacred. If a street cow is sick or old and dying, you can take them to the orphanage where they can get care. Never mind the human beings. This is madness, but it's not new.
Maybe a new brand, but it's the same thing. In Egypt, they worship cats and reptiles and other wacko crazy things. Look, read the last four chapters of the book of Judges and see what sin can do to human beings. So I threw them my concubine because I didn't want them to get me. Men are supposed to protect women, not throw them away as though they were chattel or a pet or some possession. And then he chopped her up and sent her out to the tribes.
How grotesque, how revolting. Sin is serious business. And we're to be serious about how we worship God because we're left here to deal with sin.
And for really no other reason. Otherwise, take us home and we can worship there in heaven where there is no sin. We are here where it exists, in manifold forms. And so when he starts out closing up this letter, he says, pray for us. We need spiritual artillery.
We need to bombard the enemies in bankments and fortifications. He says, for we are confident that we have a good conscience. That word good, very important.
It is in the Greek used also for honorable. We have an honorable conscience. Paul said it this way, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report. If there is anything praiseworthy, if there is anything virtuous, meditate, think on, develop in your head in your lives these things. When the Bible says meditate, it does not mean go into some quarter and go um, or try to contact some spiritual you.
It is to put concentrated energy into what has been preached, to think about what God has said, to consume it, to eat it, to devour it, to get it inside of us, so that we can do something with it. And so he says, I'm in the will of God, pray for me. He's not saying I'm perfect, but he's saying I deal with my shortcomings, my sin, the way God would have me deal with it. I'm striving for perfection with every step I take.
Please pray for me. I'm not hounded by guilt. So many Christians are hounded by guilt, one, because they're guilty of something they're not dealing with, impenitent sin, blatant sin, and they want to sing it away oftentimes or get somebody else to just wink at it or support them nonetheless, but don't you hold them accountable. And then there are other Christians, some, and they're just guilty and they don't know why they're guilty, because they don't understand the grace of God is the touch of God on sinners, as sinners. He doesn't say I will touch you, I will love you, I will be your savior once you clean up your act. He says I won't wait.
I'll do it right away. Instantly I'll put my hands on you if you will repent and own the sin that you're born into. A good conscience. It's honorable conscience. Elsewhere translated godly, that word. If you refuse to deal with your sin, to face it, to bring it before the Lord, you will clog the lines of prayer.
That's why he's connecting to the Holy Spirit through the writer. Pray for us. We have a good conscience. We're not up to no good.
Our motives are pure. And if you don't have pure motives and clean up through repentance, that which is wrong before God, you clog up the prayer line. Proverbs 28, 9. One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer, is an abomination. Those who say I don't want to hear the word of God, they have no prayer life. God said, well, you don't want to hear my word, I won't hear your prayers. It goes both ways.
A double-edged sword. Ungodly motives deflate prayer. But God is looking for those who are genuinely interested in everything that he has to say. So Jesus said to the woman, God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth, not lies. What should Jesus have said? It's okay to have lies about Christ?
Of course not. He says here in verse 1, in all things desiring to live honorably. There's that word, honorably. How many Christians live comfortably without honor?
How many? Honor is lost when truth is ignored, vilified. Dishonesty is not honorable.
We know that, but how many of us think about that? Some behave as though dishonesty is an honorable thing. It is not a virtue, nor is it an asset. When honesty is cast away, the control of good is compromised, and we don't need that.
We do not need good compromised. It's hard. You young Christians, it's hard, but it is worth it, and the way without the hard way of truth is even harder. The way of the transgressor is hard, says the proverb, because it is true. Your life is difficult because there are resisting forces, and as you grow, as you mature, you're going to find drives and desires pressing upon you to go the opposite way of Christ, and you must fight against it. You are expected to fight against it.
You're expected to win. You're not expected to excuse these things any more than the adults, and if you saw mom and dad give up on their faith, you'd be disgusted. Why should you be allowed to give up on your faith? Simply because you're facing temptations in life, so be ready for those things as you're maturing.
If you are 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 years old, you'll be ready for these things. They're coming for you, but you should prevail. You should give those temptations a beat down, but you've got to do certain things to win. You cannot expect to win just because you are adored by your parents. You're going to have to get involved. You want to be treated like an adult, and you're going to have to start fighting like one. There are many adults, however. They do not fight as though they are mature in faith.
They don't fight at all. In verse 13, he says, but I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. So he believed prayer yields victories, and he emphasizes his prayer requests.
I want to be back with you wherever they were. We have some hints. This church is a Jewish church for sure, but it's more than likely in a Gentile environment, say Antioch or Galatia, a region like that. We'll come back to that towards the end of the letter, but he's eager to see them. He wrote this to the church in Rome also, that church in Rome before he had visited them, and he writes the Roman letter to them. Years later, when he arrives in Rome in shackles to stand before Caesar, the Christians come out over 40 miles to greet him, no doubt carrying flowers and fruit and vegetables and water just to love on the apostle Paul as they marched him towards Rome. So when he wrote to that Roman letter, the Christians in Rome, they knew he loved them and that everything that he said to them was right spot on.
They loved him back. The same thing's happening to these Jewish Hebrews, believe it or not. I'll save that for the end, but Romans 15, he wrote to them, he says, now I ask you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me. It was a man of God saying, as much as God has used me, all the revelations he's given me, the scripture he's allowed me to write, I need prayer from you.
I need you to pray for me. We're part of a brotherhood, the brotherhood of faith, those who believe in Christ, not a universal brotherhood where everybody is God's child. Everybody is not God's child because they don't want to be God's child. You can only be his child on his terms.
You cannot live in his house as a rebel. That's why Satan was booted. In verse 20, he says, having made his prayer request to them, he's closing up this Hebrew document, and then he says, now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Now we're stopped midway through this benediction, this closing prayer on the people. That is every bit as valid as Moses being told to tell Aaron, when you dismiss the people blessed in this way, the Lord bless you, the Lord keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you. This New Testament blessing is just as valid. I used to use this as a closing blessing. I'm a little rusty on it.
I might try it before we end. I don't know. Adam, he placed peace with his wife above peace with God. The story of Eden. So when the writer now says, may the God of peace, God is also a warrior. He's a warrior against his enemies and that which would hurt his people, his children, but he wants peace. The peace is disturbed by created beings first by Satan and those who followed him and then by his beloved Adam.
Whatever peace Adam thought he was preserving fell to pieces. 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 / 2023-04-19 20:01:00 / 2023-04-19 20:09:21 / 8