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Believer’s Basics #12 – The Virtuous Life (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2022 6:00 am

Believer’s Basics #12 – The Virtuous Life (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 30, 2022 6:00 am

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For doctrine, because you don't know it automatically.

You need to be taught. For reproof, you need to be corrected. For correction, for instruction in righteousness, how to stay right. And then here it comes, that the child of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 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 Believer's 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Ephesians chapter 4 as he begins his message, The Virtuous Life. This is the last of our Believer's Basics topics, the 12th session.

Our reading will introduce the text. The reading will be in Ephesians chapter 4. If you have your Bibles, please turn to Ephesians chapter 4. We will take Ephesians 4 verses 17 through 24, one of the best parts in the Bible.

There's about 2,000 of them, but this is one. Would you stand for the reading of God's Word? This is a passage which you would do well to memorize at some point in your Christian walk. This I say therefore and testify in the Lord that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart, who being past feeling have given themselves over to lewdness to work all uncleanness with greediness, but you have not so learned Christ if indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus, that you put off concerning your former conduct the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and that you put on the new man which is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. What a beautiful passage and he just writes it out under the anointing of the Holy Spirit for us all. Now our text is one letter over Ephesians chapter 4 verse 8, another verse that Christians would do well to memorize at some point in their walk. Philippians chapter 4 verse 8, finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. Many Christians I think shy away from a sermon that has to do with the virtuous life, with the Christ-like life and I think the reason that is, if it is true and I believe it is, often the case, I think the reason is because the sinful life comes naturally to all of us.

It is the natural man. It is our sinful nature. We are born with it and it does not yield to the spirit. The spirit must force it out of the way.

It fiercely opposes eviction. And so when a pastor wants to speak on holiness or the virtuous life or the Christ-like life, we may feel like we are outgunned, that we're just going to have an hour of rebuke, that we are defenseless. Well that is not the case.

It is not the case at all. Again, if you want the Christian life, you're going to have to invest yourself in it. It will not happen naturally. It has to happen spiritually and spiritually speaking, you have to squeeze through the narrow passages.

You have to fight for it and take it. This verse would be what I would say to a new convert or one who has been converted to Christ for 50 years or more. This would be the one verse that I would have no problem picking out of Scripture and saying, finally, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just and pure, those are the things that we should be pursuing as Christians, should it be any other way.

It is a list of Christian virtues, high standards. These matter to God and they should matter to us. And because they are so hard to attain and sustain, does not give us the right, nor is it beneficial to us, or those around us, to shy away from it and concentrate on verses that just say Jesus loves me.

God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that it's true, it's wonderful, it's beautiful, but there's more to that story than just that verse. It is a struggle, but there's a way to struggle. Virtues are assets. They're not liabilities. They help us.

They help us and they help others also. The Holy Walk is the path of obedience after we are converted. In fact, in the Jewish holidays, you know, the prophetic calendar of the Jews started off with the day of selection. The lamb to be slaughtered was separated for four days to make sure it was not going to get sick, to be observed, to make sure there were no blemishes that were unacceptable. And then, of course, would come the day which is matched by Jesus' triumphal entry into the city as being the lamb of selection, God's lamb, but then comes the Passover when the lamb is slaughtered. And while the Passover meal was taken, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread would be celebrated. They would join together.

They would be merged together. And that feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, speaks of the Holy Walk, the sanctified life, the life in pursuit of righteousness and obedience, the life that plans to please God. And so the significance of having the leaven taken out, that which corrupts, that which is invasive, that which can be overwhelming, the Feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of the Holy Walk, the lifelong development of the Christian sanctification. In the Old Testament, it was said this way by King David, Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law he meditates day and night. It takes a lot of time. In spite of what's going on around you, in spite of setbacks and failures, in spite of the fact that there may be others you believe are walking better away than you, not excused at any point, Jesus said, Be perfect as your Father in heaven is.

How do you do that? You have to go at it. Grab the bull by the horns, you could say, and be ready for him to try to pin you, be ready for you to resist and make preparation for further resistance. Some suppose that a verse like our text is of little value against sin, against Satan, against self and temptation in the world. What good is a verse that tells me whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, just pure, lovely, good report, what good is that against the flesh, the world, all these things that come after me?

It is very good. Satan will say it's no good. Your flesh will say it's no good, but the opposite is true, because Satan would never tell you such things. He would never pull you aside and say, Whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, magnanimous, noble and high, virtuous, whatever things are just and pure, he'll never say that to you. That alone is proof that this is the route we are to go, we are to follow. What good are the believer's basics if it doesn't show up in conduct at some point? So, we review the eleven basics that we've covered so far, remembering this is our flagship verse for the study. 2 Peter chapter 1, I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Peter says, I know you know these things, but you need to hear them again and again and again. Paul said the same thing.

I have to keep staring you up. It is a good thing for all of us to go through this process of repetition of righteous things. And so, again, our text starts off finally, brethren. He's planning to close his letter now.

I love the Philippian letter so much. There's one section in it that says, Paul says, following this verse, he knows how to suffer need, to suffer need. He looked at reality, stared it down in the face. Instead of always looking for an escape, he looked at it and I know how to suffer this. I know how to deal with this. I am trying to get that in my life. The little things throw me off, not the big things.

I'm ready for the big bad monsters, I think I am. It's the little things that are at me. The stupid things that don't have to be, but they are. So much knowledge, spiritual knowledge, built into this one little Philippian letter where he says, finally, brothers. Because he starts off the letter to the saints. In Christ Jesus, verse 1 of chapter 1. He goes on to say, who are in Philippi, but they could be anywhere. The saints are not those who have been dead and voted into some status of goodness.

Saints are anyone who has given their life to Jesus Christ, converted to Christ from a world of sin and doom to the love and the light of Jesus Messiah. Jesus was our first topic, the Son of God, God the Son. Of course Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. That buttons down everything. That is sort of a deal breaker for every false way.

It can't get in, it locks it out. I am the way, not your way, not this way, not that way, not any other way. I am it. No one goes to heaven unless they come through me. And so our text was Colossians 2. For in Him dwells the fullness of God. In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead, the Trinity as we know it.

Everything that there is to God is fully in Him. When we speak of Jesus, we speak of Him as He spoke of Himself, the Son of God. And when He says the Son of Man, He means the Son of God that came up close to sinful man to rescue sinful man. Our next topic was repentance. Jesus said, unless you repent, you will perish. There were those that had died and one of the apostles, they died in tragedies, two different events that were singled out. And they asked Him, were these men more evil than everybody else for this to befall them?

And Jesus said, they were just like anybody else. Unless you repent, you will likewise perish. You'll have a judgment fall on you.

Our text for that study was Acts chapter 3 verse 19. Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Satan's not going to take that lying down.

Times of refreshing from the Lord? He is going to activate His minion, His armies, His forces against anyone that dare convert. And we have to have the attitude of so be it.

Reverse the statement. Repent not, convert not that your sins may remain that times of refreshing never come from God. See that's Satan's desire, his goal. He may not say it right out to you because he's full of deceit. That's what he's up to.

When he slithers up close to you, you know it's no good. To repent is to get to work under God's authority. That God is the final authority and He expresses that through His word. And He reinforces it and applies it through the Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit. And so we learn from the New Testament and the old. Keep your sins confessed. To be careless about that is to guarantee trouble. Even as a Christian saved and you goof up, we say it to the Lord. Lord I'm wrong. I repent.

I should not have done that. If you become one of those Christians that becomes careless about how you hurt others for example. Trouble awaits you. Peril awaits you. And so we stay joined to the Christ as much as we can.

Our next topic, well let me add to that. We stay to Christ as much as we can. He stays to us as much as He can. And that is infinite.

It is immeasurable. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Yeah you will come to times when you will feel like I'm not there.

When the pain and the suffering and the fear and the paranoia and all the junk that goes with those experiences seem to be winning. But I am there so a man like Paul can say I know how to suffer need. I know how to do it. I know how to abound. I know how to do well as a Christian.

I don't get puffed up and arrogant and look down on others and become self-righteous and judgmental. I know how to abound. I know how to suffer need in all things.

In all things. I know how. Because the Holy Spirit taught him. He says I can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens me.

I can do it all. Our next topic was faith. Faith in a nutshell defies unbelief. It goes against those things that goes against God. That's what faith is.

Hebrews chapter 6 was our text. Without faith it is impossible to please him for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. You catch that word.

What stands out to you in that verse? Don't answer it out loud. But answer the question. Without faith it is impossible to please him. One hit.

For he who comes to God must believe that he is. Boom. Another hit. That he is a rewarder of those who diligently. Boom.

Another hit. Who diligently seek him. Diligent.

It's an understatement. It means to work hard over and over again by the sweat of your brow. To work hard to get the fruit that you desire. Anything this important to God better be important to me.

Should it be any other way? Faith stands at the entrance of friendship with Christ. With friendship with God. The same Jesus that said unless you repent you will perish. The one that said I am the way the truth and the life. Faith stands at the entrance.

It is the token that allows you in. There's no becoming a Christian without it. There's no being a Christian without it.

I don't mean the times when you're struggling. I'm just having a hard time trusting. Lord help my unbelief. He wasn't asking him to help him not to believe. He was asking the Lord to be merciful. Because he couldn't find the strength to trust.

He wanted to and he voices it. I want to trust you. I don't want to doubt. I want everything to be given to you. I just can't find the strength. And Jesus blessed him nonetheless because he understood.

He always does. So we don't want a big faith. A large faith. We want a faith that is alive. A living faith.

That's what Satan fears in us. Our next topic was the word of God. God still speaks through what he has spoken incidentally.

He hasn't walked away. Paul wrote to Timothy our text for that topic. All scripture.

All of your Bible. Is breathed by God. Just like God breathed life into Adam. He breathed life into the pen and the hearts and the minds of those who we use to write down what he wanted said.

Through their lives and through their personalities and through the things that they had experienced. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. It is a benefit.

It is an asset. For doctrine. Because you don't know it automatically. You need to be taught. For reproof.

You need to be corrected. For correction. For instruction in righteousness.

How to stay right. And then here it comes. That the child of God. May be complete. Thoroughly equipped. For every good work. Not every gossip. Not every petty thing.

Good work. Virtue. Christ's likeness. The Bible is man's great friend. I don't believe the angels understand why it's rejected. I think they shake their head.

I also think they're too busy to waste too much time on that. Scripture forms one continuous story of God loving man. And dealing with those who refuse to love him.

To receive what he has to say. Our next topic was fellowship. And not just being with other Christians but assembling to worship.

They go together. You cannot amputate fellowship from attending public worship. You cannot say, well I don't go to church but I hang out with Christians. And you can't say I go to church but I don't want to be anywhere near Christians either.

Some of them, some of them it might be okay. Scripture. Fellowship, pardon me, that's where we are. Ephesians chapter 5.

This was our text. As Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her. We could have taken our text from Acts 20. That he bought the church with his blood.

He died for us to assemble in his name. You want to know how important church is? Ask those in countries that are not free to worship publicly. How much they wish they could sing in the congregation out loud. Worship together without worrying about someone kicking the door in and taking them all away including their children. There are transforming influences that are available in routine public worship. Routine is part of life.

There's no getting away from it. And you are happy, your heart beats routinely. And if it doesn't, you're either no longer here or you got problems. So when we think of routine, some things, you know, chores. They are the sweat of the brow but they have to be phased. And when they're not, well, you know what happens.

That exercise equipment that's in our clothing rack because the routine of exercise. Okay, that's my one joke for the morning. I'm going to stay right on, well maybe, I'm not promising. There are blessings in a Christ-centered church found nowhere else on earth. But you have to cooperate. If you have no interest in a Christ-like spirit, you're not going to get them. They will hide themselves, those blessings, from you.

But if you come as a new wineskin and you let the Lord do to you as He wants to, not only will you be a blessing, but you yourself will be blessed. Satan, because of this awareness on his end, hell knows this. And so he fights to take over a church so it is no longer Christ-centered but people-centered or heresy-centered or something. He hates the church and he hates you.

We don't have to guess about this. And he'll never show you mercy. We are called to out-fight him. How do we do that? When he seems evil, he gets such the advantage.

I mean, if I were allowed to complain to God, I would say, you give them too much and us too little, but it's pointless. How do we then beat such an enemy that has such an advantage and we're at such a handicap? We out-fight them. How do we do? We stay to the end. That's how.

We endure. You can't flee from Satan. And you cannot boycott the church, a Christ-centered church, without suffering yourself and causing others to miss you and shake their heads and say, what a shame. You should be in formation. You're absent without leave.

You cannot justify these things. Our next topic was heaven. Man dies.

Where is he? Because death is not the end of existence. It's not the end of consciousness. When people die, they continue to exist somewhere else. Well, heaven tells us where the righteous are.

And by default, whether they're unrighteous or not. Colossians 1.5 was our text. The hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the Word, the truth of the Gospel. 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 Believer's Basics 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 We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's 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: medium.en / 2022-11-30 10:57:34 / 2022-11-30 11:06:35 / 9

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