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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 2, 2022 6:00 am

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

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 2, 2022 6:00 am

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Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

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, the salvation, and then the sanctification that happens at that moment continues to develop through the Christian life. 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. Now, here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called The Virtuous Life in 1st John, Chapter 5. 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. 1st John, Chapter 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 and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. This is the introduction to Philippians 4 or 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 Christ for a long time, you can 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.

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, I'm like to say. I don't like to use it. Who uses that word, Advent? Well, the Adventist. Well, 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, 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 11 sessions. Philippians chapter 4 verse 8, written from jail, incidentally, he says, whatever things are true, truth is supposed to move us to action. I mean, it's not supposed to just be a theory or 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 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 is the initial sanctification that belongs to salvation, for those of you who must hear it, that's the justification part, the 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, the Christ-like life. And so Jesus says in speaking to his Father about the followers of himself, of Christ, sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth, and that's true. Virtue and honor, they are lost when truth is ignored, or if truth is vilified. Some think the truth is overrated, so they lie. They think the consequences of telling the truth are too painful, so they opt out. Dishonesty is dishonorable.

I don't know, you know, I think life is better with things that are honorable. I remember when I graduated from boot camp, you don't see this anymore, but I had my uniform worn for the flight, all the way home, so did most of my fellow Marines. We strutted through the airport like we were going to take it over at any minute. We didn't know anything, we were just a bunch of kids, 17 years old, 18 years old, but I made it. I didn't get booted out, I didn't mess it up, and I was very proud.

Now you see them in their dungarees, for those of you who don't know what that is, in their military jeans, utility uniforms, uniforms that we couldn't wear off the base back in the days that I was there. My point is there are things about Christianity that are honorable, and you should know it, and you should not be ashamed of it. When you're in the workplace, yeah, I'm a Christian, what do you want to do about it? No, you can't, that'd be a little bit too much. It'd be better to, anyway. Yeah, I'm a Christian, I love the Lord Jesus Christ, you don't, what a fool.

You can't, that'd be a bit much, but you can think it. Honor comes, it belongs to truth. You say, yeah, but I compromise my testimony, then you've got work to do. It doesn't make truth, honor something now, okay, now I don't want it, because I can't do it. Take it, Lord, I keep it. Keep your honor, I don't want it. No!

Stay at it. Truth corresponds with the revelation of God's light. When God gives light, it is truth.

He's showing us something that is there that is true. Grace, grace corresponds with God as love. We have to have them both, but you can't have grace without truth, or else it's a counterfeit, it's a mirage, it's a trap. Truth for a Christian comes before love, not without it. But if you don't have truth, then what love do you have? What love is this? You're calling it love, and if it is based on lies, it cannot be love, not the love of God. Together these bring honor. And when honesty is cast away, when honor is cast away, the voice of truth and good is compromised.

And if you've done this, over and over again even, work to correct it, don't give up. Those who diligently trust Him, seek Him, want Him. You know, I want it this way with my Lord, with whatever I'm going through in life. Lord, not only do I love You, but I like You.

You catch that. Because what makes us not like Jesus as Christians is the stuff we've got to go through. And so I return to Paul's words in Philippians 4-12, I know how to suffer need. Now would be a good time to read this verse. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and all things I have learned, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need.

Abound means take off. I know how to fly, I can get altitude. And when I can't, I know how to live with that too. And so he says whatever things are noble, that is worthy of respect.

How many people demand respect though they're disrespectful? It's something you have to earn, virtuous life, the pursuit of it. It does not mean you have to be perfect, well, let me correct it.

We are told to be perfect, knowing we are not. But saying I can't do it does not allow us to discontinue our pursuit. Don't be frightened by these things, be encouraged by them. Satan will chase you away if you let him. Christ will call you forward. How easy it is to sink and to dishonor by just giving up.

That's all you have to do. And so this nobility belongs to pursuing a high moral character in the face of things that drag us down, elevated behavior, under pressure. That's why we say, Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

That is virtue. Well, we're running out of time here, so I'm not going to give you the other 500 words on nobility, except to say resisting lower things is part of the Christian life because we are to set our mind on higher things. That's what Paul wrote to the Colossians in chapter 3 in the second verse.

Set your mind on things above, not things on the earth, not worldly things. I like to read 2 Peter, chapter 2, verse 23, who when he was reviled did not revile in return. No, because he was too honorable.

When he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously. Any of you known for retaliation, a counter-puncher? You insult me, I'm going to insult you even harder. You do something wrong to me, I'm going to get you for that.

I won't forget 50, 60, 80 months from now, I will still remember as though it happened yesterday. That's because your feelings got hurt. And now you're just going to be perpetually in the flesh, not diligently seeking the Lord, diligently seeking self-interest. We're all susceptible to it, except me, of course, I'm up here. Chuckle, chuckle.

Not funny. I wish I weren't susceptible to everything you're susceptible to, but we all are in this together. And so he says, whatever things are just. How many come to Christ and are unjust still? They're not looking to be fair and right.

They put little effort into doing the work, that corrective work, in their own lives. They gossip, they're mean, they're spiteful, unforgiving, self-willed, selfish, paranoid, you name it. Except just, you can't name that one. Don't let that be you. You say, well, I do one or two of those. Well, what are you doing about it? Well, I've learned to live with them. Well, that might not be wise.

Well, I've learned to live with them while I'm fighting them off. Well, that's the way. That is, as we would say, that's the ticket. Whatever things are pure. Purity is clean energy. And spiritual energy. It is strength. It requires routine purging. It's not a one-time thing that you, what is?

Do you name something in life that you claim once and never have to go back? This is, comes with the nature of the beast. Many Christians request God to give them power, to bless them with power. But they won't let his word correct them.

So they don't get power. So if this is you, you understand you must receive correction. Doctrinal purity is essential.

You cannot believe in Christianity and bits and pieces of something else too when it comes to spiritual matters. He says whatever things are lovely, pleasant and enduring, endearing, like me. I'm lovely and pleasant and enduring.

I don't know. I'm more like, I don't know, an unplained piece of wood. But, all right, I know.

I lost you back five or six points ago. Whatever things are lovely, to achieve that you're going to have to fight gravity. Don't gravitate.

Don't go down so easy. Years ago when I first became a Christian I got a job in the steel industry and I was a new Christian and I wasn't ready for. I came in as an apprentice. That means I was the gopher.

Go for this, go for that. Just a low man on the pole, disrespected, just insignificant. In fact, one of the titles, the monicures for an apprentice in that industry was the punk. Where's the punk?

The punk means the insignificant one. The one we can do without except when we want someone to go get our coffee. Well, to kind of overcome this I found myself entering into the world's conversation and the shanty and the place where you get dressed before you go to work, the place you change back into your street clothes when you're going home. And I found, I called out to God, Lord I'm cracking here. I cannot maintain this.

And God sent, within a couple of days if that much, He sent a fellow worker and changed everything. Don't become that snarky, critical, abrasive, petty, you know what, you know what, and I do too. Don't be that person. This is a joke that I haven't told in a long time about this parrot that was on this newsstand right outside the subway. You'd come out the subway and this lady, she would come by and just the parrot just singled her out and he would say, lady, you're ugly. And he would just keep doing this until finally she complained to the owner. She says, listen, your parrot keeps insulting me. And he says, he will never say those words to you again.

The next day she comes and walks by and the parrot goes, lady, come here, come here. And she goes over and he says, you know what, we know. We don't have to have it explicitly stated all the time.

There's enough evidence to connect the dots. Whatever things are lovely. And you know what that is because you appreciate it when someone is lovely towards you.

Some might resent it and make them their enemy out of jealousy. Whatever things are a good report, too many love, bad news. I stopped listening to the news since November sometime and woo wee, life is sweeter.

I don't miss it because I can't change anything. If the news said, you know, headline was Rick Gaston, please come and change this stuff, then I would read it. But it never says that. And so here Isaiah 33 verse 15, he who walks righteously and speaks up rightly, he who despises the gain of oppressors, who gestures with his hands refusing bribes, I don't want that, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil. That's a picture of a righteous man, a virtuous life. And so he says if there is any virtue, Boaz, can't say his name, you just can't say Boaz, it's Boaz. Boaz, what did he say of Ruth? We talk about the virtue of a woman, the virtue of womanhood, you young ladies lock onto this, Ruth chapter 3 verse 11.

Write it down somewhere for yourself where you can see it. This is what Boaz said about Ruth, to Ruth, all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Everybody knows it. It's no secret.

You are a good person in the Lord. She had no advantage. She wasn't even Jewish. She was born in a pagan culture, lost her husband at an early age. God gave her a Naomi. She never met anybody like Naomi before. She didn't want to leave Naomi when given the option. She clung to her, made that great confession of faith, your God will be my God. You've got to love Ruth.

I mean, if we're allowed to visit these people in heaven, which I believe will be all over the place, she's one of them I want to see. You know, pride can grow on virtues as well as vices. Be careful of that. You can be proud about how obedient you are. You're not obedient any longer. You can be proud about how humble you are.

You can love to be a pain in the neck. And so we watch these things. We want to be the kind that is like Christ. We want to be kind to one another, not the kind to avoid. This Greek word here for virtue, it actually means in the Greek manly.

You know, strong, a picture of strength. And so he says whatever things are strong in the context of goodness, praiseworthy is next. That is your behavior. Profane speech is not praiseworthy. Are you a Christian and you think there's nothing wrong with coarse, jesting, and profane speech?

You're wrong. Tighten it up. You can do it.

You just have to make a commitment. You know, it makes us feel in control of ourselves when we can bellow out profane words with strength. Well, what does that accomplish except it sets you backwards. If you don't want to hear it from the pulpit, then don't you say it.

That's a good rule. And finally, meditate on these things. Concentrate.

Focus on this. Two scripture verses and we're closed. And that word meditate, it speaks of careful reflection, to go over something.

That's what he's talking about. When he told Timothy how to pastor, he said, meditate on these things, give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all, that virtuous life. And then Philippians chapter 1 verse 9 through 11, and this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ through the glory and praise of God. Should we want anything less?

Should we expect anything less from the pen of an apostle? 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 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 / 2022-12-02 06:25:22 / 2022-12-02 06:34:31 / 9

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