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Witness Tampering (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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June 18, 2021 6:00 am

Witness Tampering (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 18, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 9:38-50)

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The first steps to growing is submission to the right authorities. The world gets this. I mean, I remember in the, you know, in the military up on the walls, body and spirit I surrendered whole to harsh instructors and received a soul. Well, I don't agree with that, but I understand the mindset and why it was on the wall.

Because they understood that if they were going to make progress, submission was necessary. Well, we in Christ are supposed to know that before then. And we're supposed to know it better. 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. Today, Pastor Rick will begin in Acts chapter 20 with his study called Witness Tempering.

I don't know. I think this congregation, from what I can understand, I think we get it. But I also know there's a lot that don't get it. They don't see how complete it is, how necessary it is not to back away from this scripture alone idea. Some of you have to learn the hard way, the younger ones. You just can't take the word of the righteous for it. You've got to go out there and make a wreck of your life and then come back and take—I mean, hopefully you come back and then take it. Skip that step.

Be righteous from the beginning. What's this talk about depression in youth? Am I missing something? I was a youth once. I had a lot of anger.

I didn't have too much depression. It was a lot of anger, though, and the Marine Corps just poured gasoline on that. You think you're angry now?

You wait until these drill instructors get through with you, and then you wait until you get out into the fleet. You're going to really be an angry man, and I was. So looking back at that life, what would I have done if I had just adhered to Christ? I was raised to love Jesus Christ.

Why did I walk away? Many of you men and women, you are Naomi's to other men and women, and of course, make it fit. I mean, the women are Naomi's to the girls, not them. You become Samuel's to you men, to other men. You become this influence, and that's what we were looking at the life of Saul. Saul had Samuel and he threw it all away.

He threw it just away to the point where he would have killed Samuel. And so you young men, you young women, why not be bold in Christ? Why not take that energy and be bold in Christ?

Why not get the answers? One of the first steps to growing is submission to the right authorities. The world gets this. I mean, I remember in the military up on the walls, body and spirit I surrendered whole to harsh instructors and received a soul. Well, I don't agree with that, but I understand the mindset and why it was on the wall, because they understood that if they were going to make progress, submission was necessary. Well, we in Christ are supposed to know that before them, and we're supposed to know it better.

And that's why when we get to the end of this, this verse as we stood and read a moment ago, Christ will end it with, have peace with one another. There is a hierarchy. There's nothing wrong with that. There is a chain of command in life. There's nothing wrong with these things.

If the leaders be noble leaders, these are very good things for all of us. So when Jesus says it would be better, again at verse 42, for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, that should make anybody say, well, I want to make sure this is not what's going to happen to me. Luke 10, verse 16, he who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.

There is a chain. There is a link to the throne of God, and you can either be on that link, part of that link, or not of it. When I think about the youth here, you are 13 years old and up and you're in the sanctuary, do I have to say, do you understand what I'm saying? Because I happen to think it's very simple. I go out of my way to keep the syllables short, in a language that everybody can understand. When my son was three or four years old, instead of reading him about, I don't know, children's stories, I go verse by verse with him, and he understood it all, because it was my responsibility to get him to understand it all, at the time he was reading, as I was reading these things. And I would read right through the Gospel of John, and when I got to words that I knew he wouldn't understand, or ideas and concepts, I'd either move past them or explain them. I think that the Word of God is very understandable, and as far as you hearing the pastor preach, I don't look at anybody when I preach. I look at the corners of the room. I mean, it would be terrible, it would be terrible to be talking about adultery or something like that, I'm looking right at somebody.

So don't go think that I'm picking you out, maybe because I wear these spectacles, you can't tell where my eyeballs are focused, but I'm telling you they're at the corners of the room. Because I want you to get God's Word. You won't have an excuse, you won't be able to go out into the world and say, well I never heard that before. I didn't know God said that.

No, it would be the other way around. You heard it. You had a choice.

You were encouraged by people who loved and cared for you. What are you going to do with that? Oh, I'll have one millstone please. You go have it. I almost had, I had one lugged around for years, it was like the pilgrim's progress, he had that burden on his back. Well I had that transmission tied around my neck. Speaking of which, we've got time.

I can get through the rest of this pretty quickly. There's a story about these three teams and they're walking around and they see this transmission out in the field. And they pick up the transmission, first they come across a well, an old well, and they see this transmission, let's throw the transmission in the well. So the three of them get the transmission up and they lug it over to the well and they drop it in. And out the corner of their eyes they see this goat running towards them faster than they've ever seen a goat or any other animal run in their lives.

Right into the well. And they're scratching their heads and a farmer, they see a farmer coming and a farmer says, hey you boys see my goat? I said, mister, you won't believe it, your goat came running past us right into that well, running faster than any animal we've ever seen run before. And the farmer said, that's impossible, he was chained to a transmission. So, you think the three dummies would have noticed the chain? That's how we are in life.

When we're young we don't notice things, it would cause damage. The poor goat running as fast as he could because he's being towed under. Well anyway, I didn't intend to tell that joke, I told it before and I love telling it.

Maybe you'll get it again next week, we can all laugh. Well anyway, this again, not disconnected. He says, if your hand, verse 23, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, it is better for you to enter into life maimed rather than having two hands to go to hell into the fire that shall never be quenched. Okay, he's just upped everything with this kind of talk.

Everything has gotten more serious at this point. If your hand causes you to sin, of course that's a vehicle for the heart to get the deed done. It's an outward thing that is operating on the strength of something that's inside. This is still central to being right with Christ.

It has other applications, but it's all connected. And he's saying, if you're right with me, if you believe in me, that's one thing. If you don't believe in me, whatever's keeping you from not believing in me, you need to cut that thing off. If you want to get into heaven, you've got to start severing some things from your life. That is the main point.

It has other applications, and you can read them in your study Bibles, but this is the application that I see standing out as we're considering this. Otherwise I have to fragment it from what he's been talking about and I see no room for that. He's making a distinction. And this is a big distinction. Everything in the preceding verses had to do with tampering with a witness. He says cut it off, take radical measures.

It's better to cause yourself fleshly pain, not getting what you want, and that's pretty tough, than spiritual judgment. And that now might be a time to bring up Thomas Cranmer, who was a reformer in the 1500s. And he is one of the Oxford martyrs. There were three men, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer. These men were all, I think the youngest was mid-50s, the others were in their 60s, and they were burned at the stake, each one of them.

They were part of the reformers in England during the reign of Bloody Mary. And Cranmer, he was the archbishop of Canterbury, but he was against the pope. Well, he recanted. He said, okay, I'm not against the pope anymore.

I'm not against the mass. He wrote this out and signed it. Well, he saw what happened to his buddies. They made him watch as they burned Ridley and Latimer at the stake. They made him watch, and they imprisoned him.

They put a lot of pressure on him to break him. And after he signed, okay, I don't resist you anymore, they said, we're going to kill you anyway. We're going to let you have your last public statement, submit your sermon to us, read it out, and then we're going to kill you.

Illegally, this was done, but it was done. Anyway, he makes his public statement and his prayers, and then towards the end, he renounced his renouncing. He said, you know, I take it back. I am not on the same page. You're going to kill me anyway, so let me tell you what I really think, that I should have done it the first time, but I cowered under the pressure.

But now I have a chance to redeem myself. And he said, as for the pope, I refuse him. He's Christ's enemy and the Antichrist with his false doctrine.

Well, that didn't help. They snatched him out of the pulpit when he started speaking these things, and they carted him off to where six months earlier these other two men were burned at the stake. And he had said that he would put that hand that signed these recantations of the faith, he said, I'm going to put that hand in the fire first. And that's precisely what he did as he was burning at the stake. He yelled out, that unworthy hand! And his last dying words were, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, as it was with others who were being extirmerted under the henchmen of Bloody Mary. Anyway, we're talking about if your hand causes you to sin.

And Cranmer illustrated that for us literally, just straight out. His hand caused him to sin. It was a mistake.

It was wrong. And he repented. And so Christ says, continuing in verse 43, it is better for you to enter into life maimed rather than having two hands. This is logical if you believe in the spiritual world. The Lord is asking us to consider painful obedience. But he's saying to the unbeliever, it is better for you to cut off those things that keep you from getting right with me.

That's the main thrust of this. And he says, having two hands to go to hell. That Greek word there, gahana, it comes from the Hebrew. It's a translation of the Hebrew, valley of Hinoam. And Christ uses the word 11 times for hell. James uses it once.

It doesn't show up from anyone else. It's a metaphor for the wrath of God. And Christ is telling us, listen, Satan hates humans. And you should expect him to do what hurts humans. God loves them.

You should expect God to do what you would expect from someone who loves them. And so he says, into the fire that shall never be quenched. Hell and eternal fire here are used interchangeably for the same thing. So we know that hell is a real place and it is in contrast to eternal life. But there's more that comes out of this in verse 44.

He says, where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. He's quoting Isaiah 66 and he's going to quote it three times. And he's quoting it three times for emphasis. You say, Pastor, you're repeating yourself.

Well, so did Jesus. Here he is repeating himself. Because it is that important.

Because he feels that if he doesn't repeat it three times on this subject that somehow his message is going to be lost on the ears of his listeners. The fire and the worm. Of course, they are not literal because a worm could not endure the fire. I mean, it's just this metaphor. Together they depict an eternal hell. It is eternal. It is gnawing.

It is horrific. And it is the state of consciousness for those who do not believe in Christ, who have rejected him, who have heard the gospel message and said, I reject it. God has no right to those people to dictate terms. They can dictate terms to God. And that's what idolatry is. Idolatry says, I don't want to hear what God says about himself. I want to tell God what he is. So I'm going to make this little man with a goat head or something and say, that's what my God is. And God is going to say, well, that's kooky, but okay.

There's going to be a punishment for that. Second Peter 3, verse 9, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. That's our message. And the world tampers with that, tries to make you afraid to say that.

Any of you afraid to say that to somebody if you get into a conversation in their workplace? Any of you afraid to say Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is no other way to heaven? You've been tampered with. You're a witness that's been tampered with. And you say, I am afraid, but I do it anyway. Well, you've overcome the tampering. So Paul writes, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, 2 Corinthians 5, 11.

We persuade them because there is a terror. Verse 45 now in Mark 9, and if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame rather than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched. And so if you're not a believer, it's better for you to take steps to become a believer and cut off those things that lead you down the wrong path.

Thus the foot, the metaphor of the foot, where you stand. Verse 46, where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. This is the second time, and it refutes annihilation. There's a teaching that goes around that unbelievers will be annihilated. That's not what this is saying. This is saying it's ongoing.

It doesn't stop. Otherwise, I mean, if the worst thing I had to worry about is I wouldn't exist anymore, where would be the incentive to obey God? There would be no punishment. If they are tormented, then they are not annihilated. Verse 47, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Does anybody want me to apologize for these things? Any of you who want to say, that's a little harsh, Pastor. Okay, let me mark it out of my Bible. And you mark it out of your Bible. Well, I'm not marking it out of mine. I will not stand before God and say, you know what?

You needed to be edited. And so I took out these things that I didn't care for. Because I want to live my life my way.

What's it to you? If that's your approach to eternity, then you're going to go and hold to a judgment that won't stop. Verse 47, and if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. What did you learn in church today after hearing Jesus say these things?

You met Peter going to bed and his wife. He said, so what was the Lord talking about? Well, he said, if your eye causes you to sin, rip it out.

She wouldn't forget him hearing him say that. This is a very shock and awe truth. None of this is to be taken literal as far as the hand and the eye and the foot, but it's metaphor. Because if you pluck out your right eye, as Jesus says, you still have your left eye to sin with. If you cut off your right hand, you won't have another hand to cut off your other hand. I mean, it's just, that's not the solution.

Who would care for a maimed society, a bunch of people walking around blind and maimed? It's not literal. The righteous look at this and say, this is severe, but I'm not too concerned.

Why? Romans 8, 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. They've hacked off the flesh.

They've cut off the foot and the hand of the flesh. They are now lining up with Christ. Salvation is a gift to the guilty. That's what salvation is. And Christ says, I know you're guilty, and I also know this, that you just knowing what not to do is not enough to keep you from doing it. You're still going to sin. So, I'm going to forgive you in such a way that Satan can't get to you. That as a Christian, now it's not an endorsement to sin, because the love of Jesus Christ will compel you to fight such feelings.

But the fact is that there is a real temptation at cost. David in Bathsheba is just one of many stories. Samson, the life of Samson, is yet another.

The blood of Jesus Christ washes it all away from the believer. Daniel chapter 3 illustrates this. The three men that were cast into the fiery furnace, the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the king's counselors together, when they saw that these men whose bodies, the fire, had no power, the hair of their head was not singed, nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. They were in the fiery furnace.

They didn't even smell like smoke when they survived it. That's going to be us in heaven. This life is a fiery furnace for us, loaded with temptations and failures. And yet, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from the smell of the smoke, from the evidences of temptation and failure. That's what makes our faith so powerful. Verse 40, I'm going a little late here, let me speed up.

That's because of that joke you were begging for. Verse 48, where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. So much for indiscriminate rest in peace, brother.

Well, it depends. I mean, you're going to rest in peace if he walked with Christ. The world hates that. They hate it until they repent.

I can understand. I can understand them rejecting Christ. I cannot understand continuing to reject Christ when the evidence is so astounding. Verse 49, for everyone will be seasoned with fire and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.

In other words, no one goes through life without testing. Everyone will be seasoned by fire, the fires of temptation. What is the greatest temptation?

To not believe in Jesus Christ, to reject him, to say it's not so. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Which is what Christ is doing here, reasoning with them. And so that's the contrast. For everyone will be seasoned with fire and every sacrifice.

There's a contrast there. Everyone is tempted, but not everyone brings a sacrifice that is acceptable. Just ask Cain, because Abel brought the one that was acceptable. Jesus said to him, speaking to the thief on the cross that submitted to him, but surely I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.

If that guy can get in by just receiving Christ, then anybody can get in by just receiving Christ. He was more than a thief. He was a full-blown outlaw. And he surrendered. It came down to a choice. And that man severed his hand, his foot, and his eye to get into the kingdom.

He cut himself up. His rights to himself were waived, and he gave them to Christ. Proverbs 18, 10. The name of Yahweh is a strong tower the righteous run into, and they are safe. Everyone is tested, but not everyone brings a sacrifice that is seasoned with salt. And that's in line with Deuteronomy 2, 13.

You can look that up. We don't have time. Closing now, verse 50. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another. Salt is a metaphor here. A metaphor is flying all over the place with Christ because the lessons would stick that way.

As we do when we talk to little children, we try to tell them stories in a way that it sticks with them. Well, that's what Christ did. Salt, of course, it resists rot and decay. And Jesus is saying, resist. Resist the devil. Resist the flesh. Resist the world.

We know that from the rest of the scripture that he has authored through his servants. Saltless life. What is that good for? Salt can't be re-seasoned. The only way I know that you can literally make salt flavorless is if you overwhelm it. You know, one speck of salt in a bucket, you won't even notice it. It's overwhelmed.

And that's the point that Christ is making. Salt is good. It's not supposed to lose its flavor. It's not supposed to be overwhelmed. You're supposed to have this resistance towards those things that are not wholesome and correct. However, when you're young, you've got all of these hormones flying around, you want to do things that Christ said, don't do this.

It's going to be bad for you in the long run. And when you're young, you know, you just, even when you get old, it's not like, there's a lot of old dummies too. But there are a lot of righteous old people and there are a lot of righteous young people also. You say, pastor, you sound harsh. Who's got time to slow it all down? You know, we've got to wrap a bow around every comment.

You can't do it. Well, I'm out of time and have salt in yourself. He says at the bottom of verse 50, that is life against a corrupt culture. My pastor liked to say any dead fish can swim downstream or float downstream.

It takes a live one to go against the current. And you younger believers, as you face the world, they're trying to lure you in. Go against them. Learn how to enjoy serving Christ. There is a joy in serving you and have peace with one another. And that goes back to their argument that started the whole thing.

They didn't have peace with one another when they were arguing about who was going to be the greatest. 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, 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 / 2023-11-02 17:43:25 / 2023-11-02 17:53:30 / 10

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