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Christian Living (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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April 18, 2022 6:00 am

Christian Living (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 18, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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Lord, do I run from this beast?

Maybe somebody can do that and pull it off. Me, I'm on the roof of a car right away. Jesus, of course, promised. He promised that He would speak to us.

And He promised. He doesn't chatter. Understand, God does not chatter.

He doesn't walk every five minutes. What are you doing now, Bunkie? He is high and holy.

This is very important. Jesus says, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. 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. Christian Living is the title of Pastor Rick's message, and today he'll be teaching in Hebrews Chapter 12. These are the children of God, the ones that are led by the Spirit. What about those who are led by the Spirit? Well, what are they led by then? They say Jesus is Lord, but they're not led by Him. The Lord leads. He's Master.

He's Commander. Who are you led by? Your own wisdom. You have enough Bible knowledge, I understand.

You do not need to check with Jesus Christ because you know enough. Everybody's doing it that way. That is a blueprint for gossip and disaster and self-will, being an irritant to everybody around you.

If I asked, which one of you has ever irritated someone else and been on the wrong side of the irritation? Everybody should raise their hands. And then if I said, well, which one of you have sought the Lord to stop doing that and to redirect your energies into something that is profitable for Him, which would be profitable for others?

And I hope everyone would then raise their hands also. In Acts, we find this ongoing, this concept of being led by God. Paul, that great apostle, you would think that while he had seen Jesus, he received instruction personally, homeschooled by Jesus in the faith.

You would think he just could be on automatic pilot now, just fulfilled the imperatives laid on him at the beginning. But all through his life, we find Paul dependent on the Holy Spirit. Paul wanted to minister in a certain area and instead of saying, well, the gospel's not there, we've got the gospel, we're going, what else, you know, what could be wrong with that? Instead of doing that, they sought the Lord and this is what Luke writes about that moment. He says, after they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

Not bad weather, it may have used bad weather, but they knew this was from God Himself. We're talking about laying aside those things that cause us to not gain altitude and one of them is not being led by the Lord. Now there are times where the Lord says, you know, there are just certain formulas that are out there that you don't need me to lead. If a dog is chasing you, then it's wise to run from him. You don't, Lord, do I run from this beast?

Maybe somebody can do that and pull it off. Me, I'm on the roof of a car right away. Jesus, of course, promised, He promised that He would speak to us and He promised, He doesn't chatter, understand, God does not chatter. He doesn't walk every five minutes, what are you doing now, Bunky? He is high and holy.

This is very important. Jesus says, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. You can't follow Jesus and someone else at the same time unless you're ubiquitous and you're not, but what happens when you've been following the Lord, you know it's Him, or at least you think you do, and you act upon it and it fails.

Was it Him or not? Well, sometimes it wasn't, sometimes it may have been. The point is the next time you might be a little bit more sober-minded and you're following and that's what God wants. He's not glorified by silliness. Christian immaturity does not do honor to Christ. How does He burn that out of us? Failure, mishap. I've been led by the Lord in my life as a pastor many times, but there are times that I was led, I know that was Him and it didn't happen the way I thought it was.

Was it still Him? So the next time I'll be a little bit more careful, but I hope I do not become so careful that I become timid and cowardly. Striking that balance requires an ongoing relationship all the time that does not demand from Christ, but expects that I follow His demands. And often waiting is part of that process and it can take years, but if you're not laying aside every wait that so easily ensnares you, guess what?

You're going to be ensnared. It tells us that next clause and the sin which so easily ensnares us. There it is, the sin. The cause of all sorrow and pain in creation, in humans and animals and insects and anything. All death is wrong. It is because of sin.

That is the problem. But sin is not something removed in this life. Oh, it's judgment is for the believer, but sin remains in this life.

It is to be grappled with, to be engaged, to fight against. It's so easy, so easy for the Christian to sin just like that. Who can deny it? You're sitting in your car or you're riding on your bicycle, so you're listening to Christian songs. I must put this here. Listen, you listen to Christian music done in a studio with people who get paid to get better and better at doing it in a studio. And then you go into a church and you're frustrated that they're not as good as a studio performance. Watch that. That is sin.

That is wrong. Don't do that if that is you. Become the critic of the musicians.

I mean, it would be different if they sung like me. Then you could criticize them. But back on course, so you're listening to Christian music in your car or your, or your whatever it is. And the next thing you know, you're in sin, angry at somebody else because they don't have enough turn fluid signal.

Turn fluid in their signal. You can use, I hate that guy. That's a bit much, don't you think? Well, it depends if I'm in the flesh or not. Because if I'm in the flesh, that's not a bit much. It's not enough. But if I'm in the spirit, I am convicted instantly. The sin it so easily besets us. And that's a mild example. I don't need to intensify it.

You can do it on your own. And so if others live by faith, let us get serious about doing likewise. That's what he is saying to them. Therefore, let us lay aside the things that are holding us back.

Let's respond to the challenge. But pastor, I've responded and I fell. Okay, then lie there. Just lie there.

Go ahead. Satan will be merciful to you. Of course that's a lie. Satan will never be merciful to you. And if you think he is, he's setting you up for something worse. And maybe he is saying, you know what? I'm going to be merciful to this one so I can destroy all those. We see it when pastors stumble, do we not? Some sin the pastor stumbles into that is a disqualifying sin.

And whole congregations are turned upside down. And so, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us. Now one other thing about that clause, and the sin. That is the definite article. The. The sin. It's a particular sin.

He's saying let us lay aside. Each one has a particular one. For you it might be, you know, you like cereal without milk. And for you it might be, you know what I'm saying. Each one has to struggle with something. There are sins that have just never been a problem for me. They're a problem for others, but just don't bother me.

And then there are others that may bother me that don't bother others. And so you know which one is the sin that so easily ensnares you. Trips you up. Snare a booby trap.

Next thing you know you're dangling from a tree upside down because you've been snared. He says let us run with endurance. Who's going to be your running partner?

I don't mean politically, I mean to go running with through this life. Endurance. But I'm all alone.

No you're not. Endurance is going to be with you. Oh, comforting. Endurance is discomfort with hope if it is endurance with Christ. See you can just endure. Unbelievers endure.

You go, I'll just grin and bear it. But to do it with Christ is to do it with hope of better things, to target victory according to his directions, according to him as the scripture has said. And so Paul writes to the Corinthians and he says, therefore my beloved brethren, that is not to be dismissed. Knowing what we know about that Corinthian church. I almost can never read a Corinthian verse without commenting on that church because I am so glad I do not pastor the church at Corinth.

They had padded walls. No they didn't. But they should because they had enough kooks there. And so we read this, it's not high minded like we're better than them, we just read the Corinthian letters and say this is Christianity. It's not perfect, it's imperfect. But our Lord is perfect. And that's where we're going. And right now we'll work through these things. And as for me and my hells, not in Corinth.

But back to this. Therefore my beloved brethren, who had given him such grief, he still loved them, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not for nothing in the Lord. That's what he says, your labor is not for nothing in the Lord. Inside the Lord there is nothing. Inside the Lord it is everything.

And so we run with endurance being steadfast, immovable. You know there have been times in my Christian walk I felt immovable. That's the Lord. But then there have been times that I haven't felt so immovable, that's me.

And yet here I still stand, that's him. That is the process. Otherwise we'd be insulated from all trouble and we just might as well take the shortcut and go to heaven. Because that's where there is no more trouble. But endurance looks forward if it is set in hope.

It looks forward, critical point, not backwards. Forgetting those things which are behind. Some things behind need to be remembered, but not those things that will drag you down and pull down altitude. Kind of constantly remembering, well you hurt my feelings that day, well you did this, well you said that, well I failed and I did. Some of that stuff needs to be put in the trash heap and burned forever.

Taken outside of the camp and buried. Not drudged up every time you feel like you're in the mood to drudge it up. Forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to those things which are ahead. Said by a man who had been stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, chased. He knew how to forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead. We have scriptural example of these things, so none of us are with the excuse, well I didn't know how to do it.

You can look in the scripture and you can seek the Lord and together you will figure it out. You're going to take hits in the process, that's alright, you're tough enough, you can take it. That's called endurance. Endurance is discomfort. Endurance hurts. It's never fun.

I don't think anyone who runs a marathon while they're running it can say, this is wonderful. Hope I make it. Anyway, it looks forward to better things. That's what hope in Christ is. Hebrews 6 verse 9, Beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you. Yes, things that accompany salvation. How many Christians are sourpussed over salvation? Well, I thought Christ was going to do so much more for me.

Like what? What were you going to do for him in return? I was going to spend whatever he gave me. That's what I was going to do. I was going to live it up.

I was going to be the best preacher mankind has ever seen. We tend to think of hope as an anemic word when it is compared with words like truth, faith, and love. We like that, don't we? Truth, hate lies. Faith, without it, you know, nothing gets done.

Love, oh I want to receive it and I want to give it. What about hope when things are apparently hopeless? Because that's when hope kicks in. Anybody can have hope.

It's sunny out, hope it's sunny, well that's kind of silly. But what about when things look down? Where's your hope then? Again, hope targets victory. We cannot endure in Christ without hope. We can endure like the world without hope in Christ, but we cannot endure like believers without hope in Christ. And we're not always hoping for relief, we're hoping for testimony. That we can come through this, honoring him, whatever this may be. So what happens between hope happening and hope fulfilled is revealing. That's what you discover, how strong or weak you are. And it could take from hope having, from having it, until you get to heaven before it is fulfilled.

What are you going to do in between all of that? If you don't understand grace and you try to follow Jesus in your own strength, not only will you fail, but you will bother other people a lot. You will be an irritant. Great confusion and disappointment await those who confess Christ and never enter into grace.

They're always serving by the law, truth. This is what Jesus said. Well, we're not going to diminish that at all. However, it takes more than just add truth. And if it were any other way, then we wouldn't have things such as faith, hope and love.

But we do have those things. Yes, love is critical, but you can't have Christian love without Christian truth. You cannot have Christian truth without hope.

What's the sense of having it? If there's no hope that satisfies it, ultimately gives you satisfaction. And all the things that happen to us, that sin that so easily besets us, what are you going to do with that? If you don't understand Christ's grace towards you, then you won't be able to let it flow from you.

How are you going to do that? How are you going to let come from you what is not in you? Unless you believe in magic? I hope not. And so, too many suppose that grace is a pass for disobedience.

It is not, not ever. Grace is what happens when I run out. I have nothing left. I can't obey.

I can't get it done. I'm too weak. But Christ is still strong and He does not toss me into the trash. He doesn't cast me out.

I'm not evicted. If I still love Him and want Him and am determined to serve Him no matter what, I don't care what all the naysaying voices on earth may say to you. Christ speaks louder if you will listen. That's what allows us to stand in the face of opposition of the naysayers, of the antichrists, of the atheists, of the agnostics that allows us to stand in front of them and say, you may not have heard His voice.

I have. And I haven't given it up for you. I would like to give you some of it, but I'm not giving it up for you. There's nothing about you more appealing than Jesus Christ. When I read of Him dying for me to take my sin away, I don't read about you dying for me. In fact, I don't even read about you being good enough to die for me. And the truth is, you know and I know that no one is good enough to die for anybody else to take their sin away.

You may be strong enough, brave enough to die for someone else to save their physical life, but you can't take away their sin. And so we run to finish. And if you're not running to finish, why bother enduring? Because the alternative is unacceptable, undesirable.

It is worse. I'd rather endure in my suffering than be delivered from my suffering without Christ. And that's what persecution is all about, to try to get the Christians to say opposite, to try to get us to cave in and say, I renounce Christ because I don't want to suffer anymore. And so we do well, as I mentioned earlier, to study the lives of those who suffered whom the world was not worthy, so that if it comes our turn to suffer, our magazine is already loaded with determination, with faith and grace and hope and truth and love and everything else we need to still be a Christian. You know, in other parts of the world, people are coming to Christ knowing what's waiting for them in this world. We come to Christ here and we say, well, you know, what is mom and dad going to think or what is my wife going to think or what are they going to think at work or my friends? That's pretty much the extent of our pressure.

It's increasing. But in places like Syria and other parts of the world, Korea, you give your life to Christ, if anybody finds out you will be given your life for Christ, very good chance in a very brutal way. Remember those who are in chains as though chained with them. Well, what about those who are persecuted? Remember those who are persecuted as though persecuted with them.

Run to finish. Now, I have to pause here for a moment and ask, is anyone thinking, well, you know, preaching's overrated. It sounds good when you're getting it.

What's the purpose? Well, let's put it side by side, you know. Let's look at the trash that's coming out of Netflix, how they're trying to reshape what is moral and what is not moral, how they're calling evil good and good evil. See, those are people not sitting under sermons. Those are people not coming under the preaching of the Holy Spirit. Those are the people of the world that have stiff-armed the Creator of heaven and earth, the hero of Calvary, Jesus Christ.

That's what you get. Go on the internet and to any news site. Just look at the headlines, and you tell me if those people are sitting under Christ. I mean, of course, there are one or two stories where there is a champion for the cause of righteousness, but overall, it is all that will bring you down, and then it gets even better. Read the comments. Read what's out there in the heads of people. You're terrified. Not only the anger, but the stupidity. It's like, man, these people are, they're so different from God. They're so not interested in anything He has to say. They've got all the answers. They attack people.

They speak without any platform of truth as though it is the final authority. And it is not something that you look at and you say, well, I'm better than them. We don't do that. We just see it for what it is and say, truth matters. This cannot be something that goes unjudged. Well, we need to get through this.

We've still got time. He says, the race that is set before you. Are you going to like this, some of you? Now, remember, your Bibles, your New Testament was originally written in the Greek language, and then it's translated into other languages. Well, that word in the Greek, race, the word is agon, from which we get our English word, agony.

Now, all of a sudden, the rich language begins to break through. So you can say, the agony that is set before us, that's life. Oh, it's not all agony.

But it has, it does kick in from time to time. There are things that it's like someone just has a wrench inside of our heart or our stomach or our lives. So he is dealing with them to deal with life in Christ, the conflict that will come their way, the contention, the violence, the fighting. Only Paul uses this word, another evidence. He let us, showing up so many times in his writing as opposed to not others, and then this word, agon.

He uses it in Philippians 1, 30, having the same conflict, that's that word agon, which you saw in me and now hear is in me. And then 2 Timothy, he says, I have fought the good agon, the good agony, the conflict. I have fought the fight.

What fight? The fight of life in Christ. And he's saying this, he's on death row. He is about to leave this life. It is believed. He says, I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

And then he goes into that, finally, there's laid up for me the crown of righteousness. And so the race is set before us, and that is the race of life. Well, who are you competing against? Satan?

No. He's the enemy. He will come against you. We do fight him and his forces.

The life is me. It's my sinful nature. The Christian is not into competition in the life of Christ. We are at war against our own sinful nature.

There's no getting around it. None of us have a choice. We are cast into this life. We don't volunteer to be born.

Only one has ever done that. We all have to face this life and then after this life, we must face God about this life. 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 / 2023-04-30 09:58:40 / 2023-04-30 10:07:58 / 9

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