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Spent (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2022 6:00 am

Spent (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 18, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick has a topical message from the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:31)

Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram
Grace To You
John MacArthur
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Alistair Begg
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Dr. Stephen Davey

Waiting without alternatives is often God's solution.

That's the answer right there. God, just tell me. I'm telling you. I need you to wait. I need you to take this.

You can do this. I believe the value of waiting. I believe in the Lord. I believe in his word.

Okay, then you have to also believe this. It's what Job said. Should we not take good and bad from the Lord? He knows what he's doing.

Today, Pastor Rick will conclude his study called Spent as he teaches through Isaiah chapter 40. Men, to wait for God is what? What is that strength? What is that strength that allows me to wait for God? Well, the short answer, of course, would be faith built on truth. But that's not the whole answer.

There's got to be more. It is love. It is my love for God, which requires that I receive his love. Not in theory. Not like I like that God says he loves me, but I really believe it too.

And I love him back. Yeah, the psalmist wrote, Yahweh preserves all who love him. Again, so I got a problem with that promise. It is written again. It must be balanced. The scripture must be balanced as we go through this life, trusting God as the savior that he says he is, that his eternity is bigger than the finite, the right now.

I struggle with this too. You know, Solomon wrote, in much wisdom there is grief. The more you learn about the Bible, the tougher it can be, because you're looking for these things to take place in your life and they're not unfolding as you anticipated them. You thought the Lord would show up on a seed with a sword in his hand and slay the opposition, and he does not always do it just like that. In hours of darkness, love still brings light. It is why Paul and Silas were singing songs while they were hurting, having been caned. It helps us to know God's word addresses, even in the darkest hours, God's word addresses our soul, our deep needs. In Psalm 73, the Psalmist just couldn't, he just, you know, the rich, they just get away with murder.

Their kids do better than my kids. They care nothing about, not all the rich, but the rich that he had in mind. He's just lamenting before God how unfair it is. Then he writes this. He says, when I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then I understood their end. Well, there's been times that I've come into the sanctuary of God, and I've understood their end, and I still feel pretty bad. But I know, I know God. I know he's invested in me, his love and his care, and that I love him, and I'm not going anywhere.

I'm going to stick with him no matter what. So to wait, to wait, it does not insist that we do nothing. Just sit down like, you know, the proverbial bump on a log.

We do sit, but we do something in the meantime. The very act of waiting spends physical, mental, and emotional, spiritual energy, but it is to be used because the cause is worthwhile, and that's another part of it. Love makes the object worthwhile. God is worthwhile to me. He's worth suffering for. 2 Corinthians chapter 12, again, Paul saying to the Corinthians, the church that he started is a church that had a large contingent or a large enough contingent of those who turned on him. He says, and I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

That's the treatment he got for loving them. Making the work real, keeping it real while we wait, it counts. It matters.

It's a valid concern. Is my serving God and being spent and exhausted and out of resources, is it worth it? You who usher, you who serve in the children's ministry, you who succumb and clean the church, you who serve in any capacity for God, when you don't feel like serving anymore, when you don't feel appreciated, you've got to ask yourself, is it worth it to you? Because it's worth it to God.

Galatians 4-11, Paul says, I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. His concern was, I don't want to do things for nothing. I need things to be useful in my life. I'm not built to where I can't reason. I am built to where I do reason.

I do think things through, and I need to know that what I am doing is not for nothing. Well, at some point, the logic and the reason begin to become obscure, and we then have to default to faith, because that faith is not in vain. That faith is real. When we came to Christ, it's because we met Christ.

We know he is real, and that allows us to move on. Isaiah 49, verse 4, speaking of the servant of God, the Messiah. Then I said, and this is just drawing us into the dynamics of logic and reason and concern and value, all bundled into this. Then I said, I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain, yet surely my just reward is with Yahweh and my work with my God. Oh, God is going to reward those who wait for him.

God is going to build them up. We accept this by faith. On the cross, Christ knew this wasn't the whole story. He knew this was the will of God, and it was so senseless.

He committed no crime. He helped people, and this is what he got in return. To belong to something meaningful is inspiring, but to belong to something meaningless is disheartening.

To think that you're serving and it's wasted, to think that, you know, when Paul says, I love you, but you don't love me back, he could have said, this is just not worth it. But he continued to love them. He continued to invest in them. He continued to hurt and to reach out to them, because the Spirit led him to do that. The Spirit, in other words, said, Paul, I brought you to Corinth. I strengthened you in Corinth when your life was in jeopardy. I brought two people into your life at a critical point to keep you alive.

I invested in these people through you. This is my church. You are my servant. I need you to fight for this one, and that is what he did. He did the same thing with the Galatians. They went behind Paul and tried to undo all the preaching he did, and Paul said, this is a fight that I must answer. And he writes to us the Galatian letter, and just these six chapters, he covers all that needs to be covered. But in the middle of that, he says to the believer, you who are spiritual, restore such a one, because that's what we need from each other too, not just from God. When God restores us, when God builds us up again, when God renews our strength, very often he uses people to do it. Being a hermit is not part of Christianity. Being isolated is not part of Christianity. We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and wherever you find yourself is all the world where there are others to reach.

To belong to something. If I'm going to writhe in waiting, may I somehow make it count and not just have suffering. I don't want to just suffer, and it doesn't count.

I don't want to suffer at all, but if I am going to, may it build up the kingdom. Sometimes, in life, we find our backs against the wall. We're trapped. Have you ever felt trapped as a Christian? Where it seems that God won't help you, you can't help yourself, and there's nobody else that can help you. You're trapped. Your back is up against the wall. Well, God knows that. He's already explained it time and time again. I see it all. Why are you saying to me that I don't care? I do care.

Some known enemy or enemies stalking us over a long period of time. Meanwhile, we wait on the Lord by faith in love. What good is trying to wait by faith if you have not love? You have to, again, you have to love God. You've got to get past thinking that if he doesn't help you, he somehow doesn't love you. God loved you and drew you to him when you were full of sin, without repentance, without Christ.

He still loved you, and he still called upon you. Waiting without alternatives becomes part of God's solution. I should repeat that. Waiting without alternatives is often God's solution.

That's the answer right there. God, just tell me. I'm telling you. I need you to wait. I need you to take this.

You can do this. I believe the value of waiting. Why do I believe there is value in waiting while I am hurting? Because the Bible teaches it. That's why I believe it.

If you stand up and say, I believe in the Lord, I believe in his word, okay, then you have to also believe this. It's what Job said. Should we not take good and bad from the Lord? He knows what he's doing.

Job did not understand what it was all about. We do, and we read the book of Job. He finds out much later. If it is useful to God, then it will be to his people.

It will be to his causes. I make no guarantee apart from Scripture, and you shouldn't either. It is to the law and to the prophets. That's whom we turn.

Precept upon precept. Don't think I came to destroy the Lord, but to fulfill the law. The word of God, living and powerful. God breathed. It is a big deal.

Without it, you're doomed. Even Abraham got the word of God, not in printed form, but vocal. God spoke to Abraham. He spoke to other prophets, other people of God.

He spoke to Hagar. I make no guarantee apart from Scripture. When we come to Christ, unusual categories of joy and sorrow emerge.

Is that not true? Categories of sorrow and joy that you did not know before Christ, now you come in contact with. You're almost, you know, apart from Christ, you're almost a free spirit. You make up your own rules, you make up your own God, and you just sort of dance along until you die and aren't judged. But when you come to Christ, everything changes.

The lights turn on. Now everything is filtered through His word, through His Son. Failure to obey, failure to be, failure to overcome, failure to realize, failure to endure.

Now these things are big. Whereas before you could evade them with greater ease. And these can cause me to wonder if my waiting is punishment. If I'm not as obedient as I should be, am I therefore suffering for that disobedience? Though my heart wants to obey.

Though I would give almost anything to just be that obedient servant, but I cannot be that person. So when I suffer now, what happens? Well, the accuser of the brethren, Satan himself, comes along and begins to accuse you.

Yeah, that's why you're getting it. That's why you have to wait and he's not going to show up because you're guilty. It is a flawed logic and it is a lie. It is a flawed logic because I could then say, Satan, if God was punishing me for doing some, for failing some commandment, then He should be all over you.

You see the logic behind that. We have to learn God's undeserved kindness. We have to understand that God is so ready to forgive and love on His people. Not excuse a wrong, not dismiss it as being, ah, it's okay, it's no big deal. Sin is sin.

It costs the death of his son and it costs the suffering and harm to countless multitudes of human beings and animals alike. 2 Corinthians 12, and he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness. And Paul could have said, I like that, but it's not enough.

He doesn't say that. He says, therefore, therefore, because of the kindness of God on my life, most gladly I will rather boast of my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Well, I've been to that place, I've preached that, that the power of Christ may rest upon me and been in some situation where I can't feel the power of Christ. But by faith, I know it's there and hell hates it. Without inspired strength, we decline, we deteriorate, we fall apart. Now back to that rollercoaster ride of faith.

It does its divine work, you know. When Job was at one minute saying God is attacking me and at the other minute saying I know my Redeemer lives, that's the rollercoaster. One minute he's low, the next minute he's high in his faith. Satan fears that rollercoaster in us. Satan is afraid when you are up one moment, down the next moment. Why? Because it prevailed with Job.

Job was that way and he won. Satan hasn't forgotten. It proves we're doing more than just, I dread this phrase when someone says I'm hanging in there. I don't ever want to hang in there. It makes me feel like I'm on a cliff. And if I can stop hanging, I plunge. I don't want, I mean I understand it and I don't, I mean, if you say it I'm not going to say, oh you said it.

But for me, I've never liked it and I'm not going to like it. I don't want an angel to show up and say how you doing? Oh I'm hanging in there.

Even if I can say the same thing a different way, I'll take that. I'm fighting. I'm struggling. I'm struggling to trust God. I'm struggling to feel comfortable in my faith, but I am struggling nonetheless.

I am still kicking. Nahum chapter 1, Yahweh is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and he knows those who trust in him. That can be condemning, can it not? He knows those who trust in him and I'm not trusting in him right now. And yet I'm talking to him. I'm asking him.

I must still be trusting him. The definitions begin to move a little bit. Let me say something about definitions.

It's kind of off target, off topic, but still very important. You get an old dictionary and you find words that are now obsolete. When you get to heaven, they're going to be words that are obsolete.

They'll be gone. Sorrow, suffering, jealousy, envy, covetness, meanness, murder, gone. That's the God we serve. And he says those things happen to them, these things will happen to you. You will be in heaven. He said it to the thief on the cross and he says it to you and me. Today you will be with me in paradise. That man just got the time and he got the date.

Our date is to be announced in most cases. So take that up and down movement, that roller coaster away and what do you have? If you take the up and down movement away, what do you have?

You have a flat line. That's what you have. No more waves of faith to register that you're still in it. Satan hates our faith and he hates that we fight from faith. Philippians 4, Paul said rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice. Notice the emphasis and the always. He says it twice. Rejoice in the Lord.

Again I say rejoice. Why would he have to say it like that? Why doesn't he say hey have a nice day?

Because the language that he is using here has life to give it its definition. He's saying don't back down. Keep moving. God will renew your strength. Right now you feel that you're at the end of yourself.

You're flying on fumes but you're flying. It is not to the Christian's credit that we should be weak. No one wakes up, boy I sure hope I'm a weakling today. And so Paul says finally brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. And I would add to that, today if you are not cornered, if your back is not against the wall, be strong because you're going to need that strength if you do get cornered.

We should learn how to wait. We must learn to fly off of the fumes that I mentioned if it comes to that because Christ is worthy. God is not only worthy because he is sovereign but he is worthy because he loves us. He is worthy because he cares. Will I serve God? Even if I don't think he cares.

It can come to that. God is too great to not care. That's what the Bible tells us. God is too great to not care. If that were the soul when they were doing what they were doing at what became the Tower of Babel, God would have just let them get away with it. But he said now we have to go down and take care of this because if we don't, there'll be no end to the evil that they're doing.

And that's where we're coming with technology. At some point God is going to say okay this is enough before they start really getting some crazy things going. God is actually puzzled by our doubting his care. We read this in Isaiah 40 if you still have your Bible. Verse 27 of Isaiah 40. Why do you say, and I'll skip to the point, my way is hidden from Yahweh and my just claim is passed over by my God. Have you not known, have you not heard the everlasting God Yahweh the creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might he increases strength. Now remember the ministry of Isaiah was in the shadow of the Assyrian Empire that conquered almost everything except Jerusalem. And so it wasn't though the prophet had days of peace and was just wonderful outside.

I'm going out to the garden and I'm going to pray and I'm going to write some prophecy for future generations. He wrote these things again in hard times. Some of the kings that he served under were wicked men.

In fact the history says that he was himself martyred by the king Manasseh. Duty is the pathway to glory it has been said and there's a lot of truth in that. It's okay to have a surge of faith, to rally faith. It is encouraging and your weakest times all of a sudden you get this surge of faith. It only lasts for a little bit.

But it's enough to carry you to the next time you get that surge and have need for it until you're completely out of the problem. You look around you see all the things that God has brought you away and put in your place. And you say okay the Lord is working those are signs of his activity and his presence. At this point in the sermon I can lie to you. You who are waiting and hurting.

I can say don't worry it'll be alright but I have no right to say that to anybody when they're struggling. Instead we give the truth from scripture. That sets the besieged heart free to serve.

We don't know if we're going to survive some stoning in life but we can face those stonings as heroes. This is what preaching is for. This is the stuff that comes across your mind from preaching that would otherwise not get there. God has ordained this.

This is not a man-made thing. Acts chapter 7 we have it illustrated for us and just like the Old Testament events happened for our strength so the New Testament events. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice Lord do not charge them with this sin.

And when he had said this he fell asleep. He's still ministering as he's dying. Instead of saying you know Lord into your hands I committed my spirit and that's it. He's quoting his Lord from the cross.

He also says don't charge them with this. That's grace and love. Charles Spurgeon said the gospel which I preach to you is good to live upon and good to die upon.

Do you believe that? His will be done we say but don't look for feelings to stand in truth that's built by faith. The human will is the throne of the soul. It is your will. That's where you are. And the intellect and the emotions are to be subject to your will.

But those subjects are fully capable of rebellion. Your intellect and your feelings can rebel against your will and thus the fight of the spirit in the flesh is on. Spurgeon tells a story. Spurgeon tells a story of a man that was dying in his congregation not during the service. He's an attendee of his church, a member of his church. And he went to visit the man as he was dying. And the man you know Spurgeon as the pastor is supposed to do he wants to see where the faith is.

That's primary. The doctors will do their thing. The pastor has to find out where is this person's faith. And the man tells Spurgeon. He says 15 years ago sir said he.

Spurgeon telling the story. One Thursday night I dropped into the tabernacle to hear you preach. And blessed be the day I looked to Christ and found salvation. I have had plenty of ups and downs but Jesus has never left me nor forsaken me and I am not going to think that he will do so now. His word stands fast forever.

My strength is in God. That's the testimony of the righteous. That's the testimony built on the testimonies of scripture. He never would have gotten to that place without the religious record that we hold so dear. So I would say as we leave today remind us all to be kind because everyone you meet is facing some battle.

And if they're at a time of peace in their lives they'll face one later. God does not want us to suffer but he wants us to be able to suffer. And we trust him with that.

We have to trust him. For those of who reject Christ there can be no happy ending for you. You will go through your life suffering in your own strength. The world has its own brand of facing trouble but it is only good for one lifetime.

And there are no second chances after that. Sinners may oppose God's ways but they cannot oppose his wrath. And so considering the things we've been talking about they are for the believer. The unbeliever has a bigger problem.

He is an unbeliever and to resolve that Christ makes the invitation. I want as a believer of Jesus Christ the same defiant spirit exhibited by Habakkuk the prophet when he said this in Habakkuk 3. Though the fig tree may not blossom nor the fruit beyond the vines.

Though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food. Though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in Yahweh. I will joy in the God of my salvation. That is a defiant faith and that's what we should be shooting for. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in God's Word. If you've missed any part of this message or would like to explore more teachings you can hear them by going to

Pastor Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more about this ministry visit our website Again that website is We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio that we upload. It's a great way to stay connected to God's Word. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. That's all for today. Thanks for joining us here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 21:46:41 / 2023-04-16 21:56:42 / 10

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