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A Final Warning (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2022 6:00 am

A Final Warning (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 29, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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In verse 25, 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 12 as he begins his message, a final warning. Much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth, but now He has promised, saying, yet once more, I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.

Now this yet once more indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire. Well, this is the final warning in the Hebrew letter, the intensified warning. There's been five of them. And as we're going through this last section of Hebrews, he's been pretty intense.

It's not been what we would say a touchy-feeling time. It's been a time of getting serious about the things of God. Some of you may remember that childhood prayer, now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I still remember it. And though theologically I've got some reserves about it, it gets to the point even for a little child that the salvation of the soul is everything. If anything happens to me in my sleep and gets me out of here to you, Lord Jesus, to you, I will come. And that is what this Hebrew document has been all about.

What happens to you after you die? There is such a thing as salvation in this life from danger and various other things, but there is the salvation of the soul. And that's what the Bible deals with from cover to cover. And so in this last warning passage, the final warning is given. Attention to salvation. So we look now at the 25th verse.

And there's quite a bit here. And we need this. We need intensification or intensified presentations of God's word. Or else we'll tend to go with the sections that make us feel good without getting work done.

And we need the work done. Verse 25. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks, for if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven. Well, regardless of what some might think or want or say or teach, people can sour when it comes to Jesus Christ. They can be in love with the Lord for a long period of their life, and then they can sour. This is something that happens.

It should not terrify us, but it should certainly be a concern or something we are aware of. King Asa, we'll be covering him again. He was a king that started out well, serving Yahweh in Israel. And towards the end of his life, he soured. He never, he did not depart from the Lord, but he was not as passionate.

In his faith and attentive to his responsibilities in the faith as he once was. Then there is the prophet Balaam. Balaam was an apostate. God spoke through Balaam. God spoke to Balaam. Gave him miraculous signs and Balaam threw it all away because of his greed. Peter said he was insane.

The mad prophet. Then there, of course, we all know Judas Iscariot, but then there's Demas. Paul wrote, Demas has forsaken me. You can hear Paul's heart break.

Demas forsook me, having loved this present world. So, his warnings that come to us from scripture, they're not to be passed over because they make us uncomfortable. They are to be examined, embraced, so that we can benefit, so that we do not sour, but we remain strong in the faith. And so, this intensification where he says, see that you do not refuse him who speaks. Well, he's talking about God speaking. He is linking it to their history as a people. What we know to be in the book of Exodus at the giving of the Ten Commandments, at the giving of the law, and this was a drawn out event when God gave the law to the Jews. It was not an instant thing on one day.

It was over a period of time. In fact, one segment of it, Moses, is up on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. We read this in Exodus chapter 20 in verse 19 on the heels of the Ten Commandments.

The people. Then they said to Moses, you speak with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die. And Moses said to the people, do not fear for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you so that you may not sin. The Bible does not let that, it doesn't slack off on this important issue. And so where he says, see that you do not refuse him who speaks.

Then he goes on to say, well, they did not escape. Well, that's going to be drawn out throughout the book of Exodus and through the Old Testament. In Hebrews chapter 1, the writer began this letter by saying, God speaks, God talks to us. Jesus said, my sheep know my voice, they hear me, they follow me. Well, let's talk about that just for a moment, because how many times could I have gone to the Lord and said, Lord, did you hear that so and so is leaving the ministry, a ministry in the church, or leaving the church, or so and so is getting involved in the church?

And Jesus could say to me, that's odd, they didn't say anything to me about that. I don't talk to him. Lean not on your own understanding, but all your ways, acknowledge him. Acknowledge in that context does not mean give him a nod, it means engage him. Find out what he wants.

Make sure what you want is what he wants. So many Christians, again, they talk about the voice of the Lord, they don't listen and he speaks. And so Hebrews 1, God who at various times spoke to the fathers, he spoke to them, he spoke to the prophets. God who at various times in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us through his son.

He still speaks to us. Never in contradiction to the scripture, that is a critical point. There's no private interpretation. We all have the word of God. And when someone claims to speak on God's behalf and it contradicts scripture, they're not speaking on God's behalf. Continues, through whom he made the worlds, the one who made the worlds, the creator of the universe, he speaks to his people.

In the scripture, there are over 783,000 words. I would say God speaks. We often hear in scripture, thus says the Lord.

So when he says, see that you do not refuse him who speaks, it's very serious business. God can be known. It is all there to know if you will come to the text and then act upon it. Not cherry picking your favorite passages, the feel good verses, that is a recipe for destruction. If you are a Christian and you're only interested in those passages that allow you to walk away feeling good about yourself, you are in trouble. It is the whole word that makes the Christian whole. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he says, for since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God. It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. Not through the preaching of foolishness, but the world's perception of a foolish message. It says, for since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom, you see the contrast, God's wisdom is the world's wisdom.

The world by definition is mankind apart from God, doing their thing apart from the true God. They will never discover Jesus Christ through human wisdom. Man cannot stumble into salvation. It is divine revelation, it is an act of God. Jesus said, I will not leave you orphans, I will send the comforter. He said, the comforter who is the Holy Spirit, he first comes beside a person and he ministers to that person. When that person receives him, he enters the heart of that person. As that person serves the Lord, he comes upon that person, giving them and energizing them for ministry.

Because you can't serve in your own strength, not right, not properly. We are dependent upon God, a God who interacts with us, who speaks with us. Usually when God is not speaking to you, he's already spoken. And so often times, he has ordained a situation and you just have to go through it.

When you come out the clouds, he'll get back to it. You are in the path of obedience. David said, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for you are with me. He makes that statement based upon the foundation that God is with him, that was something spoken and communicated before he started going through the valley. Now that he's in the valley, he is walking by faith. Faith is a substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is built upon something.

What is that? It is built upon contact with God. And we wrestle not to lose sight of these things. When someone speaks on a critical matter, we consider the source. If you were to pull up to the church and someone walks up and says, you know, your car sounds funny, I think we should put three quarts of oil in it right now. Well, if you don't know this person is an auto mechanic and knows what they're talking about, you'd be a fool to listen to them. A real auto mechanic would probably say something like this. That sounds a little funny there.

Pop the hood. And then he turns into a dipstick commando and he goes in and he checks to see. And so you consider the source. And if you don't consider the source, you will have problems. The writer is saying, see that you do not refuse him. Who speaks? He's talking about God Almighty, Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon, a great, great pastor of a century ago, over a century ago, he writes this about the speaker, about our message. He makes it clear that what we speak does not come from us.

That's not what gives it power. It's the one who is the author and finisher of not only our faith, but the word that allows us to have faith. Spurgeon says, although it comes to you through a feeble tongue, this is the message he's talking about, the message of God's word. Although it comes to you through a feeble tongue, yet the truth itself is not feeble, nor is it any less divine than if Christ himself should speak it with his own lips.

See that you do not refuse him who speaks. These words right out of the mouth of God, to this very day, at this very moment. Now, a feature about scripture that we cannot ever lose sight of is that the Bible, in this sense, is much like Adam was at creation, just a sculpture out of the clay, just something out of creation, shaped, but lifeless. Not as Adam, that God had put his hands on the clay, the earth, and fashioned the shape of a man, but it was still just a sculpture, nothing more.

Even though God had touched him, it was not until God breathed his life into him, put his breath into him, that Adam become a living being. Well, scripture is like that. Take this and put it in the hands of an unbeliever, and there's no benefit to them. In fact, it becomes condemnation to them.

So many of them have read it and said, I don't care for it. They were not careful to heed him who speaks. The Holy Spirit has to come upon the reader, breathing life into them, so that they can embrace and cherish and act upon the things that they read in the Bible, and not refuse him who speaks, and with us we call it the Word of God. It continues here in verse 25, For if they did not escape, who refused him who spoke on earth?

We have to stop mid-sentence right there. If they did not escape, that's the Jewish people. He's writing again to Jews, to Hebrews, Christians, Christian Hebrews, and he's saying to them, okay, words come to me. Some of you are thinking about leaving the faith going back to Judaism. If you do that, you will not escape judgment. You will be judged with the unbelievers. You might say, well, my theology doesn't like that. Well, it's not your theology that counts. It's what the Scripture says.

We cannot tailor our doctrine to suit our theology. We get our theology, what we think about God, from his Word, and it's been clear throughout this letter what he has been saying, and it's been clear to me on this particular subject of their salvation. And so he says, listen, if they didn't escape when the law was given, those who rejected it, what makes you think you're different?

What makes you think you're going to escape? God does not change. He'll get to that next chapter. God is the same yesterday, forever. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He changes not. And so this contrast between heeding God and refusing to heed him. Well, we go again to Exodus, and so the law, the Ten Commandments has been given. God has brought the elders up on the mountain. They have witnessed the presence of God. They saw God, not in his full essence, of course. Moses and the elders, and then they go back off the mountain, and then Joshua and Moses go up some, and then Joshua is left back a little bit, and Moses goes into the presence of God. And then God gives him more of the law. And then after 40 days, again, the people said, as to this Moses, we don't know what, and God sends him back to the camp. And so we pick it up in Exodus 32, verse 25. When Moses saw that the people were unrestrained, for Aaron had not restrained them to their shame among their enemies, then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp and said, whoever is on the Lord's side, come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and about 3,000 men of the people fell that day.

They were killed. So when the writer says, for they did not escape, who refused him who spoke, what makes you think you're going to be different? Are you willing to take this chance? Knowing the history and the ways of God, are you willing to jeopardize your soul? Now you've got to understand his audience is hearing this, and they're, as we would say, sweating bullets. Or they're dead in their soul, and they could care less about what God and his servants have to say.

I believe that they responded to this. I believe that's why the letter is preserved, because it was a victory. He continues in verse 25, he says, Much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven. He is relentless with this.

He's been hitting it all the way through. I mean, chapter 6, you know, he slams it, and then he comes back again and again until, again, the final warning. When pastors hopefully make points, sometimes, I'm sure other pastors can overdo it, there's a tendency to say, oh, he's on his hobby horse.

Well, why is that? Where did he even get the hobby horse? Why is he on it? Because there's something he's after that God has put on his heart, hopefully, ideally speaking. There's a critical point that has not been registering, and he's trying to drive it in. That's what the writer to Hebrews is doing with them.

That's why he has hit this five times with, again, critical warnings. And since those who refused the Old Testament message did not escape, those in the New Testament cannot expect special treatment. This is good for us to hear. Refuse Jesus Christ, and you reject the highest possible authority there is to reject. Matthew's gospel. Therefore, I say to you, Jesus speaking, every sin in blasphemy will be forgiven, men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. I mentioned earlier that the Holy Spirit comes beside you, and he comes beside a lost soul, and he begins to share Christ.

If that soul should say, I don't want to hear it, get away and don't come back, and that soul perishes in that state, there's no forgiveness for sins. And there's a message that I've been thinking about, but again, I can't share with that unless the Lord opens it up for me, but it's been concerning the rapture. I don't think Christians should let it get out of hand wanting the rapture, and here's why.

I'm not saying we should shut down to it, of course not. We should have this expectation and excitement for it. Jesus left that with us, but at the same time, it has to be balanced. It has to be balanced with we have work to do, and we're not looking to get out of work. We're looking to save lost souls.

We know who they are, many of them. We know family members, loved ones that are lost, and we want time to reach them. That balances out. You have to have a purpose in life. You have to have a meaning. Even in Christ, if you're just kind of wandering along, that's a tough way to live. There's a better way. Purpose.

Focus on something. Understanding that what you are doing is leading to something that is worth doing. Who wants to do something that's not worthwhile? This is one of the reasons why I get so irritated when people expect pastors to just check a box, but they really don't need him or want him there, but just check the box. I don't like, sometimes you have to because the immature state of the believer is not worth irritating, but other times you want to say, listen, this is not real stuff. This is not real ministry.

Let's not waste our time with this and let's move forward because the things that we handle are very serious. We understand the judgment of God. Again, another Spurgeon quote. You may close your ears to the invitation of the gospel, but at last you will not be able to close your ear to the denunciation of wrath. If you will not come to hear of Christ on the cross, you must one day see for yourselves Christ on his throne. Now I'm going to use a verse or two to tell you where he got that from. And you know, when Spurgeon preached these things, many people were coming to Christ. They weren't coming to the Metropolitan pulpit or the Metropolitan tabernacle there in London just to have a good time. They were hungry for God. You can go to the bookstore and you can find the book that is a journal actually that documents what the people were going through and when they were exposed to the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, which was the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 2, he says, How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which was at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him? How will we escape? Again, he's talking to the brethren.

He calls them that. He says, Brethren, if you walk away from the faith, how are you going to escape? And so when Spurgeon makes a comment, when he says if you will not come near the cross of Christ, you will come to the throne of Christ.

He's talking about the great white throne. Revelation 6 shows us what's happening with, you know, we hear this nowadays, the masters of the universe, all the big money and the big decision makers of the world getting together and sort of steering humanity in whatever course and direction they want to steer them in, at least making an effort to do that. Well, Jesus addresses that. Revelation 6, and the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb, for the great day of his wrath has come and who is able to stand it?

No one. The stern warning from scripture, final warning. Revelation 20, then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. See, we need this. We have to be jarred back into this.

That's right. What I preach has everything to do with the salvation of a soul versus the destruction of a soul. I need to be stirred from time to time, to be reminded that when I preach Jesus, I'm preaching to souls who are lost.

I'm not just sharing my faith. 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 / 2023-04-25 08:43:13 / 2023-04-25 08:52:38 / 9

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