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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2022 6:00 am

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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 1, 2022 6:00 am

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Pastor Rick Gaston

Jesus knew that Peter would prevail because he told him, when you return, when you have prevailed, when you're done with this junk, because I have prayed for you, then I want you to strengthen your brothers.

You're going through some drag of a thing in your life, or maybe you have in the past, or will in the future. Once you get through it, God wants to take you and use you on His timetable, not yours. 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. The Virtuous Life is the title of Pastor Rick's message, and today he'll begin teaching in Mark Chapter 9. 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 and so 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 their lives.

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-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're happy, your heart beats routinely. And if it doesn't, you're either no longer here or you've 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 now a closing 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, which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. What we talked about at that point was, as new converts, they were told about heaven.

Years ago, I heard a pastor say that he had gone to one of the then Soviet-bloc countries where there was a lot of just misery and poverty, and he was giving a series of teachings. He was teaching about the word and other doctrines that are special to us. And the people at one point said to him, When are you going to tell us about heaven? Because to them, life was hell. They wanted to know where they were going.

It was that important to them. By faith, they knew there was a better place because Jesus promised it. And so when these believers at Colossae heard of God's plan for salvation, they heard that it included a place where sin was not. And that's a basic part of our faith, where our faith takes us in the end.

Will you land on your feet or on your head? Satan will bruise your heel in this life, O Christian, but you will bruise his head. And the great abyss that he's cast into forever, that lake of fire, is proof. Prophecy was our next topic. The prophets, they spoke as witnesses. They were there. They saw it. They experienced it. It was real to them.

They could touch it. They did not speak as philosophers. They weren't guessing about God. God had spoken to them and they made it clear. We are to be used in a very similar way in that we are to speak what God has given to them. 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 19 was our text for that consideration. Peter writes, we have also a more sure word of prophecy, which you do well to heed.

That's what he said. You do well to listen to it and to do it to the best of your ability. What about my weakness? God will deal with that in a very loving and gracious way if you are sincere. But if you try to make God a fool, you will destroy yourself. So basic to our faith is the knowledge of God speaking to man.

It includes his telling the future, yes, and so many other things about us, about himself, things to come. Hell is populated by countless multitudes that don't want prophecy of the Bible to be true. They don't want what God said to these prophets and apostles to be so. So they have pushed it away. They've stiff armed God.

And in the end, they will receive the judgment for that. Our next topic, the eighth session, was Satan and spiritual warfare. Try to follow Christ and you will find Satan following you. You will be stalked and you will be attacked, but you will not be defenseless. At times you may feel like you are, but you are not. Paul could write with abandonment, we're not ignorant of his devices.

We know his strategies and his tactics. There is a spiritual realm that hates mankind and Satan leads it. The text for that is Luke 22 verse 31 where Jesus spoke to Peter and said, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you like wheat, that he may shake you up and see what comes out and where do you land, in the pile of chaff or fruit.

Jesus knew that Peter would prevail because he told him, when you return, when you have prevailed, when you're done with this junk, because I have prayed for you, then I want you to strengthen your brothers. You're going through some drag of a thing in your life or maybe you have in the past or will in the future. Once you get through it, God wants to take you and use you on his timetable, not yours. He's not asking you to put out a sign, open for business, give you advice whenever you need it about the hardships you're going through because I went through it. He's not asking for that, that would be very unfortunate.

Like people who write books because they know what a sentence is. It's like we don't need this. But anyway, God will use you, God will use you if you abide in Christ through whatever it is you're going through.

The day will come when this shall come to pass. God will use. He does not waste. So there's nothing peculiar about Satan asking for us, that he can sift us. As we considered in that study, he just succeeded doing it to Judas Iscariot.

And so now he picks off one, let me go at Peter now. He desires to have him and desires to have us. And as I mentioned, all attempts to flee him is useless. But his purposes can be defeated and the fact that you who are here, who are believers, you are proof of this, the fact that you believe in Jesus Christ, you demonstrate the enemy can be defeated because he has thrown everything against the soul to not believe in Christ.

And yet, we do anyway. So the work of the church that is so avoided by so many who profess Christ, the work of the church in this world is to make war against the kingdom of hell, the kingdom of Satan. How do we do that? The virtuous life is the first step. The desire to be like Christ is the first step.

If you miss that step, you've stepped away from the war, from victory. You're doing your own thing. We must resist his existence. Our ninth session was that of the Holy Spirit. According to the New Testament, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is God.

We know him as the third person of the Trinity. Our text for that was out of 2 Corinthians chapter 13. And I hope the text, the verses that I'm reading, I hope they mean something to you. They mean something to God. They meant something to the men who wrote them down. They meant something to the people who listened to them and preserved them and kept in circulation the manuscripts that we have that form our Old and New Testament, known as the Bible. There Paul wrote to the Corinthians, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Amen. The Trinity is built into that verse. We are dependent on the Holy Spirit as our only spiritual source of power. Jesus has set it up that way. This does not separate us from Christ. It joins us to him when he says, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

The Holy Spirit is all over that. He is every bit of that. He is equal with the Son. He is equal with the Father.

He currently is the substitute on earth for the physical presence of Jesus Christ. Our next topic was assurance. A lot of Christians struggle with this. The bottom line, I think, the reason why if you struggle with your assurance, Am I going to heaven? Am I truly going to heaven?

It's because you are eating baby food and you're not getting off of baby food. That's why you would continue to struggle with that. Eternal security of a believer, not the unbeliever, of the believer. I believe in that. I do not believe in the eternal security of the apostate, the one who has claimed to believe and then claims no longer to believe. 1 John 5 was our text. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. This is the introduction to Philippians 4-8, by the way.

We still have another two hours to go. Some, again, are not sure about this. Even though the Bible lays it right out, this should not be.

You should not be foggy about this or unclear. The Bible's not vague when it comes to saying, these things I have written to you who believe in the Son that you may know that you have eternal life. True Christian assurance is not a matter of guesswork. It is declared in God's Word. Are you willing to say you don't believe His Word? But again, if you live on milk, especially if you've been claimed chrysal for a long time, and understand it maybe in those who are babes in Christ, but those who have claimed Christ years ago, decades ago, if you're still struggling with this one, it's because you have a baby's diet.

If you sound like you hear it, then change it. Eat something else. Eat food. The food of the Word. Rather than fretting over your salvation, reflect on our text whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, praiseworthy.

Meditate on them, not the transcendental junk that's heresy from hell, but to reflect and concentrate on what it means, what it says, and you will eventually delight yourself in what the law of the Lord is all about. Our next topic was the second coming of Christ. Christ's second coming, or the second Adventist.

Some like to say, I don't like to use it. Who uses that word, Advent? Well, the Adventist. I don't know, but second coming, I like it. That's to the point. I understand that.

I don't have to run to my dictionary. When I first became a Christian, I didn't know what an Advent was. In the event that I didn't know what an Advent, okay, his second coming will be literal, it will be visible, it will be local, and it will be personal, and it is in two phases. The first phase of Christ returning to earth is for his church, where he does not touch down, but he calls his believers, who are truly his, up, and they go up. It will be a miraculous event. The second coming, the second phase of the second coming is when he comes back to earth seven years later with his believers and the mighty angels with him to take the world, this earth, back and eliminate human government and establish his kingdom there in Jerusalem, and we will be his servants throughout the world. And things will change.

That great desert in Siberia and Antarctica and all the other places that are inhabitable will become places that will be developed, have a hospitable environment. Our text for that was James, chapter 5, verse 8. Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

He is saying to them, James is, be strong. He has come already. He's coming again.

He is everything he has said he is. We have no reason to doubt him. We talked about the early Christians would say, Maranatha, he's coming again. He's come once, he will return. Everything that he said was going to happen up to his coming, happened.

We have no reason to doubt after that. Two thousand years have passed away. It's irrelevant. It doesn't matter.

So what? Another two can go by. He's still coming. That's up to him when?

I don't believe it's going to be that long. I don't think man's technological advances are sustainable. In other words, man is creating an environment where he's going to destroy himself.

He's got too much knowledge, more than he can handle if it continues at this pace. Because as technology increases, righteousness does not increase with it. Man remains a sinner. And it will be unexpected, his second coming.

It will be final. It will be rewarding and glorious to the righteous and not to those who are unrighteous. That brings us now to our text having reviewed what we've been talking about these last eleven sessions. Philippians chapter 4 verse 8. Written from jail, incidentally, he says, Whatever things are true, truth is supposed to move us to action. It's not supposed to just be a theory or a philosophy.

It is concrete. It is absolute. And it is vital. Salvation and religion should be based on truth.

Who wants it based on philosophy? Well, I'm hoping that it's going to be that. How many times do we hear people say, I'm hoping to go to heaven. Why would you have to hope in the sense of I'm not sure? I mean, I'm hoping to go in the sense I'm looking forward to going. But I'm not. I wonder if I'm going. Listen, he died for me. I'm not going to say that was a mistake.

That wasn't enough. Or somehow I'm going to mess it up. As long as I want to follow him, it can't be messed up. Truth rules out all the world's religions. It declares them as false.

And we are hated for this, so be it. Those who know the Lord love his truth. The first sin that was judged in the early church was deceit, the absence of truth. An element of truth is necessary in a lie that disqualifies it from being the truth.

That ended in the death of a couple, the absence of truth in the early church. Reject we are. We are to reject any unity that considers truth a menace, something that interferes with what our objectives might be, with what we want.

No, we hold to the truth. Jesus said, sanctify them by your truth, God's truth. To sanctify means to separate to God, which also therefore means to separate from those things against God.

There isn't the initial sanctification that belongs to salvation. For those of you who must hear it, that's the justification part, salvation, and then the sanctification that happens at that moment continues to develop through the Christian life, which is our subject this morning, the virtuous life. 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 crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's crossreferenceradio.com. 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 / 2022-12-01 09:45:52 / 2022-12-01 09:54:50 / 9

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