Share This Episode
Cross Reference Radio Pastor Rick Gaston Logo

Believer’s Basics #5 – Fellowship (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2022 6:00 am

Believer’s Basics #5 – Fellowship (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 917 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

November 7, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick has a topical message

Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown

So, when the role is called of those who do not love the church, you will be glad you are not in that number.

When they're lined up for judgment at the Great White Throne, you will rejoice that you are not in that fellowship of disbelief that you were a believer. The church, assembled in fellowship, has survived. Her message of truth is still going forward. 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 his series called The Believers Basics.

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 brings us the conclusion of his study called Fellowship. He'll start in 1 Peter 2. Our purpose is found in what Jesus has done. He has called us, that's what he says in verse 9, again of 1 Peter 2, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Not always been his people, he tells us in verse 10 of that second chapter in Peter. We are described in this present age as sojourners and pilgrims, those traveling through but with a destination in mind, and the destination is the place of absolute worship, heaven. And so the history of the assembly, we should know about these things because it adds meaning and purpose to what we do.

It makes us better at doing what we do when we understand these things more clearly. In the New Testament, we encounter the Jewish synagogue everywhere, everywhere in the book of Acts, there's a synagogue, both in Israel and throughout the Roman Empire. Wherever Paul went to preach, he looked for the synagogue to preach there, that was his launch point. If he didn't find one, well then he'd preach on the street, but if he found a synagogue, that is where he would go. Now before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed their temple, that temple was the central place of worship for the Jew.

They were not to bring blood sacrifices or grain sacrifices anywhere else but to that temple. That place was central to their worship, Psalm 122, which is a song of going to church. See, when you read this in a song of a sense, they're going to church, they're going to the temple, they're going to worship in the congregation.

We read in Psalm 122 verse 1, it is a Psalm of David. I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Maybe you're having a tough time with your church, and you're really ready to throw it all away because maybe you're not as glad as you used to be.

Maybe you have to outfight the enemy, maybe you have to outfight your flesh is worth it. Sometimes Christians will say, Lord, should I leave this church and God says, yes, but he doesn't give them all the information because they didn't ask. And the rest of the information is this, because you're messing it up. Don't be that guy and don't go telling somebody, yes, I prayed to the Lord and he says, should I leave? And he said, yes. What's the rest of the story?

Maybe you were the troublemaker or maybe that's your past history, we'll all make it your present history. And I know there are people that are going to listen to these messages online or on the radio and many of them are going to be guilty of these things and hopefully they're going to benefit and say, you know, I need to rethink this in the presence of the Lord and presence of his word. Synagogues were the outcome of the Babylonian exile. You see when the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar came and sacked Jerusalem and they took the cream of the crop of the people away into exile to Babylon while the Jews were in Babylon and spread throughout the Babylonian empire, they began to assemble so that they could worship God together so that they could read the scripture and pray together and fellowship together wherever there was a group of Jews, this is what they would do. And if they had 10 men, 10 men, it became what we call a synagogue. The Jewish word means assembly. It's all very simple. It became formalized into the Jewish synagogue that we know today is a synagogue that Jesus preached in. It's a synagogue that Paul, it's an assembly that Jesus preached in, it's an assembly that Paul preached in. Psalm 111 verse 1, praise Yahweh, I will praise Yahweh with my whole heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. You see it's very clear.

Assembly should be very attractive about these things. Going through a lull with your assembly, go through it again and it's not your signal because you've met with hardship or opposition or your feelings have been hurt, that's not your signal to sound retreat. We sing that song in the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never sound retreat. Well, that's good for Jesus, just don't ask me to be part of that.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be our attitude if we're not careful. Well, blood sacrifices were central to the worship of the Jew before the Babylonian exile, but when the synagogues came up after the exile began, guess what became central? Teaching the scriptures, which is just why again, Jesus goes into the synagogue, he opens the scroll up to Isaiah and he says, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach. So this history is rich and belongs to us because God used the Jews to form the church, the assembly of the saved in Christ Jesus. That pattern has been set forth and we are following it to this day. And as a matter of fact, even Islam follows the pattern of the synagogues because that's how solid it is.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they just lockstep with it in that regard. It certainly does not justification of Islam, but it makes the point that the synagogue as the assembly of the Jews has had a great influence on people who worship of even other faiths, our faith being one of them. And any male present in the Jewish synagogue could be invited to come up to the pulpit and speak to the congregation. This is why Paul and Barnabas, when they entered into various, went to various cities in the Roman empire, such as Antioch or, or, or Ephesus or any place they found themselves, they were invited up to speak and they would preach Christ Jesus to the congregation. They would say, he has fulfilled the criteria of our Messiah and they would lay it out from their own scripture.

Just why? So the first century Christians assembled to pray, to sing, and to fellowship. The first Christians, the first ones out of the starting gate, what did they do?

Well, some didn't forsake the assembling, but most did not. Acts 2 42, they continued steadfastly. That word steadfastly means they met with opposition. What is the opposition?

Mood, dislike, persecution, from within or without, whatever the cause, whatever is going to cause resistance, you're going to have to be steadfast against it if it is worth being steadfast against it. When you're not in the mood to go to church, you have no reason to miss formation and you're not here, who do you think is cheering that on? Do you think the angels who rejoice over the conversion of the soul are saying, yes, that's the way to do it, buddy, the call of all the little angels, come watch.

So when you grow up to be, I'm not teaching that there are little angels and big angels, but it makes for funny points. Or is it hell? Is it three cheers there? Yoo hoo, hip, hip, hooray, hip, hip. We got another one sitting home off the flight deck when we're having flight ops. Why aren't you taking off?

I'm in the state of late last night. We'll get up early this morning. Acts 2.42, they continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. We call our cafe, our fellowship area, the 2.42, based on this verse. It is where the congregation gets to make announcements.

It's where they get to interact and touch each other, not physically. There are blessings in the fellowship of the saints that are not found anywhere else on earth. I have been sitting in the rear of the sanctuary before service for the last few months, maybe a year now, and I enjoy so much seeing the congregation sing and worship the Lord. It is such a blessing. You don't get this anywhere else.

There's not a bunch of hired actors and actresses coming in and playing a role. These are believers in Jesus Christ, who are blood-bought and they know it, and they are fulfilling the role of the saints. Colossians chapter three, verse 15, let peace, the peace of God, rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body. And be thankful, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord, to one another, again, not family members, so you can do that with them too. They're not excluded, but these are other believers and I'm almost done.

Now up to the last hour of the message. A moment about the disassembled, who miss out, and that's what's happening. They're missing out. They think they're not, but they are.

And no, you may not be able to turn them around. You can avoid becoming that way yourself. Yes, again, there are challenges that belong to the body of Christ, but you show me a place on earth where there are no challenges. Show me one place on earth where there is paradise. Maui is not close to it. It appeals to the flesh, bumps up your comfort zone, but once you get that bill, what you spent on Maui, you realize this ain't paradise.

This is expensive. Certainly the devil chart targets the church, and if he cannot target it from without, he gets it from within, he'll take it any way he can get it. Carnality in Christians is often found in churches.

Various degrees of development that can be a clumsy process. Then there's maturity. There are those that are solid, they have it and we appreciate that, we applaud that. Christians can be snide, they can be snarky, they can be sinister, they can be spiteful, they can be self-centered, they can be high maintenance.

They hear high maintenance, complaining about how the people in church aren't friendly to you, how they don't spend enough time listening to you talk to them about you. Listen, enough talk about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think about me? What are you going to get me? What are you going to do for me? That's high maintenance, and the folks that are like that often blame other people.

Don't do that. If you be friendly, you will make friends. It doesn't take much. Paul, he was a tiger when it came to defending the faith and those in the faith. Christianity almost died were it not for Paul. There in Antioch, where it was beginning to expand in a very special and wonderful way. It was threatened because there were those who were confused about Christian behavior. Christianity was almost absorbed into Judaism. When they came up and said, no, the Christians, if you're going to be Christians, you're going to have to do this, you're going to have to do that, you got to follow this rule, you got to follow that rule. This was an obedience, this was ritual. And he stepped forward and he said, I'm not going to give you an inch. You get nothing. You're wrong, and I'm not going to compromise.

I'm not going to meet you halfway. Truth is truth. It does not have to include a little bit of wrong to be truth because then it's no longer truth.

And he succeeded. But the point is that there were problems in the church that the apostle Paul attended and worked in. Other Christians came from outside and they brought their troubles in.

Paul said at one point they came to spy out our freedom. They inserted themselves to cause trouble, not because they were looking to worship with us, but they were looking to find fault with us. And so yeah, Christianity is full of trouble. All the letters, all the letters in our New Testament are about correcting aberrant Christian behavior or sin in Christians. To this day, Christianity is still being threatened by things that are not compatible with what we believe.

And what we believe is because what we are told to believe in the scripture, what has been revealed to us. People trying to mix in yoga and meditation and other religious junk. We don't need that stuff.

We're good all by ourselves on this point. Our doctrine, we are still out fighting these attackers. Some suppose that because people in Christ are flawed, that they can disassemble themselves and be justified in doing so.

They are wrong. You're wrong if you meet with trouble in the church and you say, that's it, I'm running. The devil, again, picks off the idol and the isolated. Just like a sniper, he just picks them off.

And this comes in family or individual sizes. So be careful. He makes useless critics out of them. These hold in contempt what Christ loved. Again, our text, as Christ also loved the church, he gave himself for her. Don't be a Christian or let me put it this way. If you are around a Christian that is giving you that universal church gobbledygook as an excuse why they do not fellowship, stand up and say, hey, look, Christ loved the assembly. He addressed the assembly. We are to fight for it.

We are to understand how special it is. We are to know just by looking around at history and current events what happens when there's no solid church in a community. I can take you to places from my background where there were no solid churches. You wouldn't want to live in that neighborhood. You wouldn't want to visit that neighborhood.

Driving through, you'd lock your doors. The role of the church has been significant in Western civilization, allowing men to criticize her who benefit from what the church has brought in to those various societies, which they otherwise would not get to criticize. They go sit in places, far places and tropical places where they used to eat people like them. The Christians came along and gone was cannibalism.

We make a big influence. The ladies, you know, so much of human history, you were treated like chattel by men. You were reduced to just objects of pleasure and that's it. Christianity is what dealt with that.

The world does not want to give it credit. Men isolated from God and God's direction is incomplete. God looked at Adam. He says, it's not good that he is all by himself like this in Genesis chapter two.

And then of course the New Testament carries it all forward in Acts two forty two. There is strength in fellowship. You don't have to feel it.

You don't have to. We don't feel when we when your hair grows, at least I don't. There are things that are happening that you don't have to feel it to have the benefit of it. The outcome, you'll know it by its absence or you will be sensitive to its presence because you paid attention in the righteous number. There is strength due to heightened levels of accountability. The flesh doesn't want to be accountable, but the spirit does because the spirit understands what accountability is, what it means, what happens without it. One reason why those who have an agenda when they come to church don't last in good churches is because of the accountability of the brethren.

Not holding them under a microscope, just loving the word of God and seeking to follow it. And so within the walls of a solid church, blessings abound. Fellowship is not, it's not enough to fellowship because with fellowship comes serving, serving the body. One of the illustrations we have once a month on the topic of serving is the communion table. You see, you see the men get up and they serve the articles.

That's just a picture. There are greater services that go on that are required, that are necessary, but that's just a picture for everyone to see, to serve, to do something on behalf of someone else, to be where you're supposed to be. Fellowship includes joy in serving others, understanding the benefit before Christ, understanding that this is what your God, your Savior wants from you because it is good for you. There is also a transforming influence in public worship that is formed by interaction. Without coming around each other, there are things that will not be shaped in you.

I can tell you straight out. If it weren't for becoming a pastor, I would have missed out on so much Christianity. I would have missed out on watching the Christians be sick and overcome it by faith. I'd watch, I'd miss out on seeing how many of them go on to glory believing in the Lord. I'd miss out on how they intend to raise their children and they bring them up to dedicate them before the congregation of lords say, as for me in my house, this is where we stand. I'd miss out on the weddings when they say, as the first act as man and wife, they take communion before the Lord. I would have missed out on how many Christians forgive other Christians for wronging them, for being unjustified and there be treatment of them. I'd miss out on how many mothers and fathers pray for their lost children and how many children pray for their lost mothers and fathers. I wouldn't see all the things that I see as a pastor if it were not for the assembly of the body of Christ.

I'd miss out on a lot of irritation too that comes with it. And so my closing points, I told you we had an hour left and we're now 40 minutes, five minutes. This is a constructive comparison with Christ who loves his church versus those who hate her. We can love the church because of the enemies she's made. We can look at the enemies that the church has made and say, yes, I know them right now. I know I'm right because I'm not on that team. I'm not with that army. I know that is darkness, that is evil, that is wickedness.

I can see the rotten fruit hanging from their vines. Herod, he sought to kill the church with the sword. It's still here. He's gone. The Roman emperors sought to drown the church in its own blood.

They're gone. The church is still here. The political evil crazies of history who have despised the church in its endeavor to choke it out and the church is still here.

Look at the current spiritually dark and evil mayor of New York City right now. The church is going to be here after he's gone unless the Lord calls the church home. Then the martyrs will take our place. Those who will suffer and die for Jesus Christ will take our place. Remember that mayor in Houston that wanted pastors to submit their sermons? I had to submit a sermon.

Here you go. Then there are the Stalin's, the Mao's, the liberal politicians who hate Christianity, spiritual reprobates who seek to exploit human ignorance and human weakness and human passions through drugs and all the other manipulative tools that they find at their disposal. All those who engage in evil matters.

These are the enemies. These are not part of the church. When Jesus said, on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail, that you are here is proving that verse prophetically true. So when the role is called of those who do not love the church, you will be glad you are not in that number. When they're lined up for judgment at the great white throne, you will rejoice that you are not in that fellowship of disbelief. You were a believer. The church assembled in fellowship has survived.

Her message of truth is still going forward in countries where we are free and in countries where we are not free as well. Even the underground church gathers in the shadow, in the valley of the shadow of death, the underground church assembles. What does that say to those who say, well, I don't have to go to church.

I belong to the universal church. But yet you have Christians risking their lives so they can come together and pray and have the word and sing songs even. Very quietly, I should add. Missionaries and those who work in those parts of the world tell us about the churches that gather there and they sing songs to the Lord, almost like lip sync.

You can hardly hear them. They're whispering the words, but they're singing with their whole heart. So what Jerusalem was to the Jews of the kingdom age. And we read about it, for example, in Psalm 87, verse seven, all my springs are in you. They said about Jerusalem because that's where the temple was. To the church, to the church or to the Christian. So is the church. What the temple was to the Jew, the church should be to the Christian in this age of grace. It goes with this verse, our text, Ephesians five, verse 25 to 27, as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word that he might present her to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she should be holy without Jesus Christ looks at the church that is the believers that assemble the individuals that make up the assembly.

When he looks at you, he sees the finished product without spot without blemish. There's nothing like it on earth. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on cross reference radio, the daily radio ministry of pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary chapel mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this believers basic series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone, you know, please visit cross reference We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit cross reference and follow the links under radio. Again, that's cross reference That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of God right here on cross reference radio.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 08:47:39 / 2022-11-07 08:53:05 / 5

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime