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The Man Who Was There (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 25, 2023 6:00 am

The Man Who Was There (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 25, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Joshua was told to be strong and very courageous in service, and these realizations come from that perpetual presence of God that is recognized by man. What good is it to us if God is there but we don't recognize it? The one that knows that God is always there with them. No matter what, as did Stephen, that is the one whose faith will not be overrun. And now, here's Pastor Rick with part two of his study called The Man Who Was There, in Joshua Chapter 5.

Why aren't you taking them out? He doesn't say it like that, but he said, well then, if you're such a great people, go take the hill country. Conquer them there, where there are no chariots.

There was no comeback they could give to that. But when his time came, he practiced what he preached. And he took this territory of Timnath-sarah, which is in the hill country. He practiced what he preached.

He took what he told them to take. And that very hill country that he conquered and took as his possession, he turned it into a city. He put it on the map. We pick it up in Joshua 19. According to the word of Yahweh, they gave him the city which he asked for. Timnath-sarah in the mountains of Ephraim. And he built the city and dwelt in it.

Did the victor go the spoils? Remember, these people that they were taking out of the land were wicked people. And they were the instruments of God to judge them.

Just as years later, the Assyrians would be instruments of God to judge the Jews and then the Babylonians. Because he was sure of God's presence, he could do all the things I've been talking to you about him. And that is the thrust of the man who is there. He knew God was there. And so he could be where he needed to be. He was never a side-liner. We don't read of Joshua sitting out anything. He was there for it all.

In the midst, we might even say, in the thick of it. God retrieved Moses from the wilderness because there Moses had to learn just how insignificant he was. That's the one that God uses.

The one that gives the glory to God and knows that every good thing that they may enjoy comes from him. Joshua, on the other hand, was not in isolation. He was the man there already. He was amongst the people. God did not have to retrieve him from anywhere.

What made Moses and Joshua stand out amongst all the people, what makes them stand out to us to this day, is both came to understand and value highly the known presence of God. Do we know God is present? But do we believe that he stands there with his sword ready on behalf of his causes? As Joshua stood before Jericho wondering how to take the city, God knew that Joshua knew there was no way humanly possible to take down Jericho. And so God comes to him and he reveals himself to him. He says, I'm with you and I am the commander and I am here over the interest of God. Of course, being God, the manifestation of God. Joshua got that. And how do we know that?

How do we draw this conclusion? Well, because he falls down and he worships him. And the worship is received. And had it not been any other way, it would have been blasphemy. It was not blasphemy.

It was perfect. This is what made these men stand out. This is what made them remarkable and still they are remarkable to us. Moses, Joshua, and apostates. We are confronted with these things when we come to scripture. There are others, of course, other than Moses and Joshua. We're talking about these men this morning and the apostates because it has everything to do with not sensing the presence of God. Moses, that great servant, the presence of God meant everything to him. In fact, at one point when God was going to send his people forward and send his angel to go with them, Moses protested. Then he said to him, Exodus 33, 15, if your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. What tone did he use? What was happening there? I think he was very reverent.

But I think on the inside, the passion was intense. Please don't ask me to even go if you don't go with us. Exodus 3, verse 5, God doing the same thing to Moses as he would do to Joshua. Then he said, do not draw near this place.

Take your sandals off your feet. The place where you stand is holy ground. And so there, both men have this encounter, this visible encounter, at least in Moses' case, the bush that did not burn but the voice that did speak, they have this encounter with God, that God was present, that he was there, and as Christians we must never lose that sense. No matter how defeated we may feel, no matter how neglected, passed over or cast down we may feel, we are going to be the servant that is there because the master is there. It was identical for Joshua as we read in Joshua chapter 1, as I was with Moses, I will be with you.

I will not leave you nor forsake you. This is New Testament language also. And then chapter 5, verse 15, then the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, take your sandal off your foot for the place where you stand is holy.

And Joshua did so. You see, identical. These identical experiences. Both men experienced them and both men went on to serve as examples for us.

It is identical for us. The presence of God realized in the New Testament. Well, one place that stands out is at the stoning of Stephen. Stephen knew that God was present.

That is why they could not refute him. Acts chapter 7, but he, as they are in the process of killing him, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. See, he had that realization that the presence of God was there even, even as he was dying. Then there is the thief on the cross. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Well, it didn't start out that way. That thief was a naysayer just like the other one. And then the realization came to him. As he watched, as he observed, as he, you know, it was just too late for him.

He wasn't going home that day. He was no longer under the influence of anybody else's teaching. It was that outlaw on the cross and the facts that were in front of him. And the fact was for him that this is the Son of God. And he submitted in the presence of God.

Then there's Paul the Apostle, a man going around persecuting Christians. And God confronted him with that. And Paul said, who are you, Lord? What do you want me to do? Well, you only come to that kind of, those kind of questions when you understand the presence of the Lord. I think every Christian, it would not be bad to start every day to say, who are you, Lord, in the sense that I want more knowledge, not in the sense that I don't know you because we do know him. But also, what do you want me to do?

And if not, what do you want me to do because I already know what I'm going to do, please help me do what you've revealed to me. What makes it happen for Moses, for Joshua, for Stephen, for Paul? Truth and love alloyed into faith. I think this is very important. You know, it's very easy to talk about love, Christian love.

It's very difficult to always, always flash it forward. But people are going to make it hard for you. Life will make it hard for us. This blend was found in heavy concentrations in the life of these two men and all the saints that we admire. Truth and love alloyed into faith. I don't know how you can get faith if you don't have truth and you don't have this agape love, which is an exotic love. It is the only love known to man that comes directly from the throne of God.

The unbeliever cannot have this kind of love unless they become a believer. It is imported, you could say. It is not common. You don't stumble upon it. You don't earn it. It is given.

And it is a blend. Truth, Joshua chapter 1 verse 8, speaking of what belonged to this man, what made him tick, we might say. What can I learn from him also that I can do? This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth. In other words, this Bible.

You need to know it. He says, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. You can have bad success. This is the problem of the psalmist in Psalm 73. The people that did not love the Lord were having worldly success, but that wasn't the good success. He discovered that in that psalm. This book of the law shall not depart. You need to know it, Joshua.

Just not know about it. Not just know what other people think. What do you think when you come to the word of God? I think this is vital for all of us. The truth, I have to have it. Joshua also was exposed to love. You see, when we come to the Old Testament, we might miss that because it's not as pronounced as it is in the New Testament, not that it isn't there in any less force. Joshua chapter 22 verse 5. But take heed, Joshua says to the people, to do the commandment, that is the truth, the word.

The law which Moses, the servant of Yahweh, commanded you to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him, to serve him with all your heart, with all your soul. He is saying there it's not enough to have the scripture. You've got to have the scripture, but you've got to have more. That more is love, and I'll develop that a little bit more in a moment because the Bible develops it. In chapter 23, he again tells the people, this is so important, therefore take careful heed to yourselves that you love Yahweh your God.

You take that love for God out, and you're left with a Judas Iscariot, because you wouldn't treat anyone the way Judas treated Christ if you loved them. And then there is faith, which is the product of the truth and the love, the outcome. Joshua chapter 1, again, verse 6, Be strong, God said to him, and of good courage. Bad courage is courage that doesn't need God. It's courage. The world produces men who are courageous, but good courage comes out of faith.

Those who are brave because they trust the Lord. He continues here, Be strong of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Be strong. Only be strong, he continues, and very courageous that you may observe to do according to the law which Moses my servant commanded you.

Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left. That would make him straight, and that would make it narrow. And then he says that you may prosper wherever you go. Spiritually speaking, Joshua was told to be strong and very courageous in service. And these realizations come from that perpetual presence of God that is recognized by man.

What good is it to us if God is there, but we don't recognize it? The one that knows that God is always there with them, no matter what, as did Stephen. That is the one whose faith will not be overrun by circumstances, by pain, by defeat of the world, by suffering, whatever you come up with. No matter what it is, you fill in the blank.

You're not going to find something that will say, yeah, that will overrun truth, love, and faith. Joshua saw him with his sword in his hand. Not indifferent. You're not indifferent with your sword out. He was not passive. He was not reckless. He's not whimsical.

But strong, armed, ready, and most important, poised, in total control. Truth without love tends to morph into unbelief. I want to take a passage from Matthew that is an end times passage. But you may be, ooh, ooh, end times, I'm very curious about that.

But that's not where the craving's going. We want to talk about faith, because what good is it if you know the end times, but your faith is raggedy? And so we always want to build up the faith. We want to know what the Bible has to say about the end times, the prophecies.

We do want to know those things, but there's more. Matthew chapter 24 is Jesus telling his disciples what's going to happen in the future. And he says, then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. Now he's looking beyond his apostles.

They're included in this, but it's down through the ages. And then many will be offended, will betray one another and will hate one another. Who is offended? The make believers or the apostates?

They're not the same. A make believer never believes. An apostate falls away. And so he is saying when the pressure comes upon the church and persecution arises, there are going to be those that are offended against God because he's not protecting them. And they're going to walk away from the faith. You see, they may have had truth, but they didn't have the love, and they therefore did not have the faith. And then he says, then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

How can you deceive people unless you are loveless? That's what the false prophets are going to be doing. They're going to be using Jesus' name to do it. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many, and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold, but he who endures to the end shall be saved.

How am I going to endure to the end? Well, my love can't grow cold. The martyrs, when they go to their graves, they love the Lord. They don't go to their graves calling on the Lord and disliking him at the same time. They're sold out for Christ, and they're not giving up.

Why did these turn away? Because they lacked love that belongs with truth. You can't separate the two. It is the heart and the head.

You can't live without a head, and you can't live without a heart, though I've met people who have really tried. You must join the love to truth, and you know it. There's not a Christian here that would object to that.

I don't believe it. I do not believe there's a Christian who says, well, I don't need the love, or I don't need the truth, but there may be some who lose sight of the fact that they're moving forward without one of those two, and therefore their faith is clumsy. To back this up from Scripture, and to not take it out of context, but to leave it where it belongs, love never fails. 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 8. You see, those who saw the church being persecuted, and left the church, and became apostates and unbelievers, love never fails. They would not have failed if they loved the Lord, as did Moses, as did Joshua, as was emphasized by me this morning from the Scriptures. He continues, Paul does, but whether there are prophecies, they will fail. Whether there are tongues, they will cease.

Whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. And so he's saying, the love is the thing. And if you have that love built on truth, then these other virtues of the Christian faith will shine. Love of truth is vital, but it is not enough by itself. What would happen if you found somebody who knew the Bible and inside out, could quote any part of it at any time, but had not loved?

You'd be standing in front of Satan, would you not? Because that's what he did with Christ. He's misquoting Scripture.

You think any love was coming out of his heart? Agape love, again, the only imported love. You can love your family, you can love your profession, you can love pizza. As a sinner, as a carnal person, as a natural man, you can do that.

But agape, that's different. You must be born again. If I only have God's truth, then I don't have the truth.

That's all I have. Now some of you may be recoiling at this, saying, Why are you saying I have truth? No, listen to what I'm saying. Because the Bible is saying that.

Now I'm coming back to that. If I only have God's love, then my love is defective. I need truth, too. Or else how would I know what to love and how to love? How would I know what is sin? Without this blend, gains from God are voided out. Where is that in the Bible? 1 Corinthians, again, chapter 13.

Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing, end quote. Now who would come up and say, Well, Pastor, I disagree. I think you can have truth and you don't need love.

And you'll be fine. Who would come up and say, Ah, no, no, I disagree. I think you can have love, but you don't need any of the truth. Well, then what goes back to what God was saying? Love the Lord your God.

Meditate on his word. What is the outcome of putting those two together, truth and love? Faith.

I want to point out some of those things, too, and I'm almost done. Truth with love builds genuine faith when the winds beat on us. Remember Jesus said, because it was founded on a rock, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because of that rock. Peter said that the genuineness of your faith, faith in the context of persecution and suffering, that first letter of Peter's to persecuted Christians, that the genuineness of your faith being much more precious, that Greek word for precious there also means beloved. Being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, the very thing the people are not doing in Matthew 24 in the end times when they fall away because the church is being persecuted. The 144,000 Jews that will preach the word, the converts that will come, and the beheadings that will take place, they will allow themselves to be subject to persecution because they love the Lord, because they know His truth.

We can have God's promises in our hands and refuse to believe them. The other day I'm walking across my backyard, and I had a little cluster of grapes and I'm reminded of this. I'm reminded of the Jews that had the promises of God in their very hands, Numbers chapter 13 verse 23, then they came to the valley of Eshkol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes.

They carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. They were loaded with the fruit that God promised was in that land and promised for them to take. By the way, it was not Moses' idea to send in these spies.

That was the people's reasonable input. Doubt disguised as prudence. Well, we should spy the land out. Moses should have said, no, we're not spying out anything. We know where we're supposed to go. If we want to spy it out for military objectives, that's one thing.

But there's no need to spy it out for anything else. And Joshua will come along. He will send spies in for that reason, spy out the land, find their fortifications, bring in information back. But the people, see, the people's church is the church at Laodicea. That's what that word means. It's run by the people in God's name, even though he's outside trying to get in. We have to be very careful about that.

Who needs anointed men in the pulpit if you can just do whatever you want according to the reasonable devil? Truth, love, and choice, what it comes down to. And this is how Joshua closes it up. Chapter 23, verse 11, he says, take careful heed to yourselves that you love Yahweh your God. How do you say that without passion? Even if it's not in your tone, it's in your heart. How do you say you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind? Can you say that casually?

I don't know that you can and mean it. Joshua 24, 14, fear Yahweh, serve Him in sincerity and in truth. And those who worship the Lord will worship Him in spirit and in truth, Jesus said to the woman at Sycha. Joshua 24, 15, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

But you can't do a study on Joshua and leave that out. There are always wrong things and right things to serve. Find out what God says about them, make your choice, and make your move. That's what the Bible tells us, and I'm very grateful for it. 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 / 2023-10-07 09:30:14 / 2023-10-07 09:39:50 / 10

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