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God Is Reliable (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 10, 2022 6:00 am

God Is Reliable (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 10, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews


The promises to Abraham are alive to this very day. Look at Israel, multiplying, I will multiply. They're all over the world.

It's kind of funny sometimes to see a Hasidic Jew speaking Chinese in China, but they're all over the place. A testimony to that. So Abraham is given as the example of a one who experienced God's faithfulness when we lay hold of God's promises and fight to keep them.

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, here's Pastor Rick with his study called God is Reliable in Hebrews Chapter 6. Do you know David Livingston, that great man of God that went through Africa with the gospel and succeeded in doing so? So many of those Africans loved that man. He was a man that died on his knees in prayer.

They found him dead on his knees. He's talking to God, and then he's talking to God. You know his favorite verse that shows up in his journals whenever he meets with something that is huge? I mean, he writes things about, I slept at the tree that night because the lions and stuff, man.

His favorite verse is, lo, I am with you always. Very simple promise from God. We'll get back to that as we move through the promises. But Matthew Chapter 4, this is some sticky stuff that messes up our approach to Christianity. This is Jesus in the wilderness, Satan. These are the words of Satan, the voice of the devil. If you are the son of God, doubt.

He starts out with doubt. Command these stones to become bread. Then Matthew 4, 6. If you are the son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, he shall give his angels charge over you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Now, he may not have been using that tone, but that was in there. Matthew 27, 40. You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, this is the Pharisees, the murderers of Christ while he's hanging on the cross, this is what they're saying to him. Save yourself. If you are the son of God, come down from the cross. What does all that have to do with me?

Just this, Satan's tactics are not new because the old ones work just fine. And he comes to us and he says, if God is God, then he'll deal with this for you. He'll take this pain away. He'll give you what you want.

Expect a miracle. That's not accurate. That's not the whole story. That's not the whole word of God. If it were, Saul would not have gone to the axemen for Christ.

Peter would not have been martyred for Christ. Jesus told him, Peter, when you get old, they're going to take you and you're going to stretch out your arms and that's going to be it for you for my name's sake. And so all these verses, Satan is saying to the individual, make sure you prove God. Make sure he does it your way. If you're on the cross, get him to get you off the cross. If you're hungry, get him to make bread for you.

If you're falling, get him to insulate you. See, that's only some of the truth and that's what a lie is, some of the truth. It has to have an element of truth in it to work. The fact is, we serve Christ unconditionally once we've met him and nobody else deserves that but him. That's what makes him worthy.

Unconditional because he will never do wrong. And the devil will stir us to demand God repeatedly prove himself to us over and over and over again. If you are the son of God, then get me off this cross. Jesus said, take up your cross.

I put you there. And so may it be lined up with scripture and he says these things, verse 10 now, we have gotten to the second verse. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward his name and that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And so he says, God is fair. Even though he's called you to be sheep among wolves, which on the surface doesn't seem fair but in the spiritual world is very fair.

He says, God calls you to function in an unfair life. That's where the contest is. That's the arena.

That's where the fight is. It becomes a test of loyalties of who we will serve in this life. Hebrews 11, 6, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. See, that's by faith.

You have enough information. Faith is never a jump in the dark. It is a leap in the light.

You have enough light, enough information to make a move on it. And saints have been doing it since they've been saints. Do you ever feel that you put more into your Christian service, especially those of you who serve, then you get back? I do. Oh, I have. I don't think I'm right when I feel that way. I know I'm wrong. I know how to handle that.

I have to work through it in my head on one hand, but all the time. You see, the difference is, I will say to God, I haven't gotten this, that, and that, and I've put this in and I've done that. Now, Lord, understand, I know because you've taught me, these are my feelings, but here is my faith. Whatever you want, here I am.

When I wake up tomorrow, may you find me that man that says whatever you want, here I am. From a Christian perspective, there is nothing wrong with that. 1 John 3.14, we know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. See how important love is? Love's pretty important in Christianity.

That's a scary verse. If you've been harboring lovelessness towards the brethren, Christians can be the most difficult to love. One reason, in all fairness, is because we expect more from each other, maybe sometimes less from ourselves. In this sense, we expect others to forgive us, but do we forgive them?

Do we really forgive them? You've been cut deep. It's not as easy as 1, 2, 3, but it is doable nonetheless, so we ask God to help us believe the things that we claim to believe and help us to believe nothing but the truth. Verse 11, and we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope, and here it comes, until the end.

See, that's that endurance. This is not high rhetoric. This is not, oh, it's just good talking and high talk, but it's not reality.

It is reality. There's no other way. But to finish it, you say, I've tried a hundred times.

Well, you've got a hundred more times maybe to try. That's what separates you from the unbeliever. The unbeliever's not trying to please Christ. The unbeliever's not trying to take hits for Christ. The unbeliever's not trying to love people for Christ's sake.

We are. That you fail is secondary, but that you go at it is primary, and Satan knows it. And that's why he's trying to knock you out of the race and get you to start living in a fantasy world about your faith, make you comfortable with things that aren't true. You know what happens when Christians become comfortable with things that aren't true? They turn off unbelievers so you can't save them now because they know it's a lie. You start preaching things that just the world knows is not true, and then you want people to come to Christ. I have found when you give them the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God, they listen. They might not like you.

That's not for you unless you're just being unlikable. But you'll find people come to Christ that way. People can come to Christ without us. But how much better that we're part of the process? How much better when people come into the church and they find genuine people and not a bunch of fakos?

Not a bunch of people just smile in your face because it's expected of them. But people who are smiling because they serve the Lord and they know what they're supposed to do, they understand the benefit of it, they know what they like to receive, and they know that it is, in fact, due unto others as you would have them do unto you in the presence of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 9, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. That means run hard. That Greek word for diligence there means haste or effort or diligence or work or eagerness.

All of those things are in that one Greek word, diligence. It says until the end. What if I get tired, take a little break? I don't know if any of you have ever been on a forced march or made just a hard job, have a hard job. You get a little break. You want the break to not end. You don't want to go back to work.

You don't want to go back to the to the march. Well, that's again how life is. Work hard, serve right, in the blessed hope to the end, verse 12, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. So there is a goal. There is a goal and there is a finish line, a reward.

It happens. Galatians 6, 9, let us not grow weary while doing good. Pause there. I have gotten weary while doing good. But I see it happening and I don't agree with it and I fight it. And before Jesus Christ, I didn't do that. If I got tired of something, I stopped doing it.

But not now. Now I know my duty. I know where I belong and I go do it.

And sometimes I don't do it as well as other times. You all have never seen that. You just see a perfect sermon every single Sunday. Never misspeak a word, never get a scripture verse wrong, never confuse Moses for Noah or something like that. I can't tell you. You know what? A little mistake in the pulpit lasts all week. Just a Sunday, the adult study a few days ago, I got a little twisted. I shouldn't tell you that.

It wasn't a big point. But that was part of my conversation driving home with the Lord. It's your fault. I prayed.

Alright, back to reality here. Galatians 6, let us not grow weary while doing good. For in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. There's the key, don't lose heart. Verse 13, we've made it to the next paragraph.

And we're not even rushing. For when God made a promise to Abraham because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself. Verse 14 saying, surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you. He's quoting Genesis 22, 15 through 17, especially verse 17. He's talking now about God's promises.

He's saying we have better things that belong to our salvation. We've got these promises and this precedence. There's evidence that these promises were fulfilled. And if they weren't fulfilled in Abraham, they weren't fulfilled, there would be no Jews. The promises to Abraham are alive to this very day. Look at Israel.

Multiplying I will multiply. They're all over the world. It's kind of funny sometimes to see a Hasidic Jew speaking Chinese in China. But they're all over the place. A testimony to that. So Abraham is given as the example of a one who experienced God's faithfulness when we lay hold of God's promises and fight to keep them. And so the swear here though, I should say, when God swore, it's not to be taken in the sense that we do it. See, when humans and Christians, we're not to swear. We're supposed to say yes or no. But when humans use the word swear, they mean super yes.

There's a yes and then there's a super duper yes. And that is not what's being meant here. When God swears, he's saying I'm making it law.

This is not revocable. And so it's emphatic. We don't want to say condescending because that carries the thought of insulting.

You're lower than me. We are, but God doesn't treat us that way. So we use another word, anthropomorphic. It's God coming to us, approaching us in human terms, in terms we'll get it, we'll understand this. And so it worked. And if you were to say to Abraham, who promised you these things? God.

Oh. The unbeliever won't get this. The unbeliever cannot, you cannot just throw down the word God and Jesus Christ and expect them to go, oh, okay.

We who believe, we know what's in back of all that. Our work, part of it is, helping the world with their wrong definitions. They have wrong definitions about Jesus Christ, about God, most of them. Some of them have the right definitions, they've just flat out rejected them.

There's nothing to do with them. But others have allowed Satan to write their dictionaries for them. And we have to come along, hopefully, and turn the lights on and show them the flaws in that sort of thinking. But verse 15, so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Ha ha ha ha, patiently endured.

Let's talk about that patiently endured. It would be 25 years before that promise was answered. Before Isaac came along, after God gave him this promise, it would be 25 more years. And then God would say, bring him to the altar.

Present him a burnt offering for me. It would be 15 years after that Abraham would die. It would be 60 years before his first grandchild was born. But God's word came out true. In spite of all of the work waiting. Let me tell you, Satan tells me as a pastor, when are you going to build that church?

No one having started construction and not finished, you can't count the cost. Well, we haven't really started, number one. But number two, God then comes along and says, what do you lack that the building's going to give you?

Well, here's my list. I have all I need to pastor. There is strength in just letting God do it.

Even as the years tick by. It's his, it's not mine. It's his church, you're his people.

It's his pulpit, I'm his person as best I can be. So we wait. Now I don't want to for one moment make that sound like it hasn't been painful. It is painful. It's painful to the senses of reason. It's painful to want, to desire. But there's something superior within us that overrules all of that and puts it in its place.

Sometimes daily, sometimes not. But I can say that everything in this place that we have is God given through God's people. Every single thing. And there is joy in that and satisfaction.

But then here comes the devil. Doesn't that make you better than the ones that don't do it that way? Yes. No, it doesn't. Of course not.

That would ruin everything. But the joy is in, I don't, I plow my field. Not theirs.

They plow their field and not mine. And when we can keep it that way in our private lives, we are stronger. But when we start coveting, when we start judging, when we start analyzing everybody else, we drift into trouble. Okay, another sermon coming up here.

Let's move on. Verse 16, for men indeed swear by the greater and an oath of confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Well, when you make a promise, it's by someone higher and better. I mean, in those days, in that culture, you wouldn't, you know, a rich man wouldn't swear by his slave.

That would be, you know, throw the whole thing out of line. But when you made an oath and the oath was taken by the one that you were making it to as serious and valid, that was enough. We're supposed to have that response with God. When God says something, we're supposed to condition ourselves to say, okay, that's how it's going to be. Now, God has a way of speaking to us, of course through his word, but also taking something out of his word and applying it right to our lives and saying to us, this job is for you. I've opened these doors, for example, and this is where I'm going to put you. And then we get a lot of courage oftentimes.

Yes, that is what the Lord has done. We're very grateful for our job. And then the trouble comes.

They hire somebody that we really don't like. And we have to default back to that promise. God put me here. Not to run away from the circumstances of the people I don't like, but he put me here and to talk with him through these problems. These things belong to our faith. Verse 17, thus God determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise, the immutability of his counsel confirmed it by an oath. The immutability means changelessness. God does not change.

Okay, I changed my mind. That's what that word means and he's saying God does not change. That's why Livingston again had that promise as so important to him. I am with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you. He knew the one who made the promise was worth trusting and it showed in his life. That does not mean he did not suffer in life. Verse 18, that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Two unchangeable things.

His counsel, which is his will communicated through his word, it does not fade. And the other one is he doesn't lie. Those two unchangeable things should encourage us. So bottom line, a promise is only as good as the character of the person who makes it. If a dirty, rotten, no good liar makes a promise, it's useless. And yet, if God makes a promise, it is invaluable. 2 Corinthians 4, we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, not destroyed. What kind of man says such things?

Someone who's looked into the eyes of Jesus Christ. You say, yeah, I'm the apostle Paul. You'd think I'd get out of these things. You'd think I would be excused.

Quite the opposite. He suffered, and he suffered faithfully. And he left it as an example, as the writer has told us that we are to watch their faith and to follow those guidelines. He says in verse 18, in which it is impossible for God to lie as fact, we might have strong consolation, there's force behind that, who have fled for refuge. Now, when we're new Christians, we are eager to embrace these things. But as the years go by, we just take enough hits, we might not be so ready to embrace them.

We need to work on that and be as eager as we was in the early days, just wiser. Where he says have fled for refuge, he's talking about the city of refuge for the Jews. You accidentally killed someone, you could run to a city of refuge, and the family could not inflict revenge on you. You'd be safe in that city. You'd stay in that city if found innocent until the high priest died.

Now, here's the lesson behind that. Who is our high priest? Jesus Christ. He has died.

And what has happened with his death? Our guilt has been taken away. We are free.

And this is where he's going. He says we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge in Christ to lay hold of the hope set before us. A strenuous action to lay hold of something. We have to lay hold of the kingdom of God with both hands. Verse 19, this hope we have is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, which enters the presence behind the veil. The hope of God's faithfulness. Life, life is the sea. The soul, your soul, my soul, that's the ship on the sea of life. The anchor is hope in Christ, embracing what he has said, believing him no matter what, understanding this life is not all there is, understanding that if I too die on a cross, there's more, that's not the end of me, that's not a wasted life, there's no wasted life when we do for Christ's sake.

Anchors fight the drift. They hold the ship where the captain wants it held. Who is the captain of our salvation? According to Hebrews 2 10, it's Jesus Christ.

He is called the captain of our salvation, or translated as captain. He wants to hold us in holiness, not flowing with the latest fad, with cultural opinion that is so often misguided, even idiotic as we see today. Hope for us is more than a wish. It's a reality that's going to be. It may not come again as smoothly as we want, but it's going to be. One hundred years from now, where will you be? What is going to happen to you? What's life going to be like for you a hundred years from now? For the Christian, that hope is settled.

For the world, they just make it up. I'm going to be walking through the poppy field. There'll be serpents in that poppy field. Verse 20, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. The forerunner is the one who arrives first.

The followers arrive second. That is our Christ, the firstfruits of the resurrection. 1 Samuel chapter 2, God speaking, says, Then I will raise up for myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house. He shall walk before my anointed forever. God's high priest is higher than any of the priests in the Old Testament.

We know what God's will is for us. Thoughts of peace, thoughts of love to bring us into that heaven that will never fade, will never go away, which will be rich and joyful forever. 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 / 2023-06-06 20:48:15 / 2023-06-06 20:58:01 / 10

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