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Evicting Useless Religion (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2024 6:00 am

Evicting Useless Religion (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 23, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter of James 1:2-5

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Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds and put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him. Why do Christians have to be told not to lie, but it's repeated in the New Testament? Why do Christians have to be told to lay aside filthiness and wickedness? I thought that came with the rebirth, but a lot don't get it.

They don't want to get it. 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 the book of James.

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 James chapter 1 as he begins a new message called Evicting Useless Religion. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

But he looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, and is not forgetful, a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work. This one will be blessed, what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless, pure and undefiled religion before God. And the father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Evicting useless religion is our emphasis this morning.

Any true believer of the Lord certainly wants to evict from their own heart, their own lives, that which does not belong there. Can church be regularly attended by professed believers, and they still miss the point of Christianity? They just never get it. They go to church, they participate in church functions, serve in the church, but just never get what Christ is all about, what the faith is.

Sadly, yes, the answer is yes, very easily. Someone can become very satisfied with religion. It's all fake. Now, there are those that really just don't care. They are dragged to church, maybe. But I'm talking about those who say, I'm a Christian. They don't get Christ.

And they, very difficult to get them to understand that. You younger Christians, you very younger ones, the youngest ones in the sanctuary right now, work to understand Jesus Christ personally, not just because your parents love the Lord and bring you to church, but because you love the Lord, and you want to be in His house with the believers in spite of the difficulties. Well, if you look with me at verse 21, therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

Well, should it be any other way? Should He have said, therefore retain filthiness and wickedness? God once again puts it in writing that depravity is to be evicted from our lives, that which is immoral. According to His standards, He's the one that decides what's moral and what is not, what is acceptable, what is not, what is perverted, what is not, what is depraved, what is not. Only through His word do we understand these things.

And we who love the Lord, and love makes you want to obey, makes you want to please the one whom you love. James here says, lay it aside. Paul, he talks about the same thing. As we've commented earlier in James and other studies that James and Paul echoed each other with different emphasis, but they arrived in the same place. James here says, lay it aside. Paul says, put it off.

It's the same thing. Colossians chapter 3, verse 9, do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. Why do Christians have to be told not to lie? But it's repeated in the New Testament. Why do Christians have to be told to lay aside filthiness and wickedness?

I thought that came with the rebirth. But a lot don't get it. They don't want to get it. They want what they want on their terms and expect somehow they're going to survive the final judgment of God.

That's a lie from Satan that they have swallowed. Now, all of us, every single one of us, we are at a disadvantage because of our Adamic nature. Adamic, like Adam, the nature of Adam after his fall. Every born-again believer has two natures, whether you like it or not, whether you see it or not.

You have the old man as referred to already, by Paul, in the Colossian letter. That part of us, the old man, is the untouched nature of man. It's a sinful nature. It does what God would not have you do when you lose your temper, when you seek revenge, when you're greedy, when you're loveless. Those are not attributes of the righteous. It is the nature, the old Adamic nature, the Adam-like nature, the sinful ways. But when we are born again, of course, we now have a spiritual nature. That's the God-touched side of us, the Christ-likeness in us, and those two fight it out to the end.

Expect that. But you should prevail. You should get the upper hand, the flesh. The old nature should not pin you time and time and time again. And if it does pin you, make him work for the pin.

Don't just lie on your back and say, go ahead, have your way with me. Now, in the Bible, in the New Testament, when it refers to the natural man, that is the one that has never been born again, that has not been touched by God, that has not had their sins taken away, that has not confessed the lordship of Jesus Christ. That is the natural man. He's born natural into sin. The spiritual man is the born-again man, the one whom, as I've said, God has touched.

That one has been reborn. Then there is the carnal man, saved but behaving as though they're not saved. The Adamic nature gets the upper hand on them all the time. They live in that place. They know who Christ is. They believe him.

They want him. 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to them, he says, For you are still carnal, for where there are envy and strife and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? Are you not behaving as though you don't even know Christ? That's how the natural man goes about his business.

Why are you doing that? We're supposed to be separated from those things, at least in agreement. So we have to watch out. When he says, Put aside filthiness and wickedness, well, filthiness and wickedness are going to say, Okay, you served them their eviction notice. You're going to have to shove them out, a door, a window, anything. And then they will try to come back in onto your property and squat there. Well, what are you going to do about that?

There will be no law enforcement to call upon. You're going to have to get them out. And so my fallen nature is the old man, but that old man is not a dead man. Man, we know that. Just try to live the righteous life. Try to live the Sermon on the Mount.

Again, James' letter is a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. It has been around since I've been around my old man, my old nature. Since I've been on earth, it's been with me. And it will stay with me until I die, and then it will be gone, and I will be glorified. All believers will have that. He says here in the first verse, And received with meekness the implanted word. Meekness in the believer is recognizing that our strength is God's strength. If we have any success in the Spirit over the carnality and the sin, the filth and the wickedness, it is because of God. 2 Corinthians, and I again, I love cross-referencing Scripture. It is the authority to the points that the pastors make.

You take away the Scripture and you call for, you know, it's just opinion. And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Well, Lord, your strength is going to be real perfect with me. Therefore, Paul says, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Not my own power and my own strength to live the Christian life, to beat out these wicked things, these filthy things, depravity, but his strength to do it. Biblical meekness is found to be something that is for the strong, not the weak. The world thinks of meekness, they think of weakness, and therefore they're not interested in it. Might is right is their opinion.

But in the end, they are wrong. Meekness accepts all that God is doing and how he deals with me. Meekness is strength that is reserved for purpose. It's not just, well, I'm just going to be meek because Jesus told me turn the other cheek and that's that.

It's a purpose behind these things. And once we begin to see this, that means the old man is moving out of the way and the new man is seeing Christ, his will, the Christ's likeness is beginning to get in there. All of a sudden we're getting the point behind Christianity is Christ. Christ is the point of Christianity.

His holiness, his perfection, his love, his judgments. I want that. I think you who believe want it too, but I don't know who I'm always, you know, anytime you speak in public to an audience, you don't know every single person there. There could be someone here and you've been again dragged into church. You don't get it. Maybe again you insist on not getting it and so you won't have it.

But it shouldn't be that way. God Almighty stands and he holds his nail-scarred hands out to you and says come, take your place amongst those who belong to me. And so when he says on the Sermon of the Mount, I tell you not to resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. It is about the spirit of retaliation. I wouldn't advise you try this with some people. You smack them on their cheek.

They might turn your cheek even harder. But the point of course is the prohibition against revenge. You can't get to this in Scripture if you're just dilly-dallying with the faith. This is for those who are actually trying to be like Christ. Was it not Christ that said for I am meek? And of course, he is God Almighty in every sense of the word. Now this implanted word that James talks about here indicates just as it sounds in our English, there's something that has been planted, something that has been dug into, put into.

You get it. The seed of the word, the plant of the word in our hearts. He says, which is able to save your souls. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. Saving faith comes by hearing what God says. Serving faith comes by doing what you heard God say.

Serving the Lord. And it is the blood of Christ that cleanses the guilt and neutralizes the judgment that goes with the guilt. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins, the Bible says in 1 John chapter 1 verse 7. The water of the word helps wash away the defilement, Ephesians 5 26, that he might, that is Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit's work in our lives through Christ, that he might sanctify and cleanse her, that is the church, the believers, with the washing of water by the word. And so God wants to wipe away the filthiness and the depravity and have embedded in our lives this obedience that runs deep, that would otherwise not be there without a confession of Christ, unless you don't get it, unless again you just don't get it. Why not? You know the seed that fell by the wayside, Satan plucked it up. Jesus did it because they didn't understand.

Why not? The others did, why did they not understand in the parable? Because in real life there are those that don't understand and they don't want to understand, that is why.

But if you were going to pay them money to understand, they'd get it then, that would be something that would be incentive, their motivation. Christ says, I want your motivation to be me. Salvation.

Life with me forevermore without that old nature, that fallen nature. In verse 22, he says, be doers of the word and not here as only deceiving yourselves. Be. Do it.

Get it done. Doers of the word. Bible doers. Not a new commandment. All the way back in Ezekiel we read, Ezekiel 36, I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will keep my judgments and do them.

Now again, when we got into the beginning of James, we said James is a hard, he throws very hard fastball. No whining is allowed in the presence of this exposition of James, of Christ, of the word of God, because that won't help you. Understanding the mercy of God will. God's standard is high. He does not lower it. It's up there.

He said, but I can't reach it. That's what the mercy and grace is for. But what happens if you're not serious about the standards of God?

Should you still be a recipient of his grace and mercy if you just don't care? Every Christian that falls short of the high standard of God, who wants that obedience in their life, God will bless and forgive and work with and strengthen and use. No Christian ought to be intimidated by the standard. Though we have great deference for the one who lays it out, that our God is a holy God.

He is not to be trifled with. Luke and Jesus said, blessed, this is a beatitude. Not in the beatitude of the Sermon on the other hand. It is a beatitude stands alone. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Yeah, that is true. Even though we stumble.

This will take up not only your, all your time in your life, but all your lifetime. Because you get it. You understand the Lord.

Your motivation is him. Romans, Paul wrote, for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified. So again, Paul and James, you know, the two different characters, two strong characters, two men that could not be ignored. And they didn't really like each other too much.

Well, that might be a little bit too far. They were never really comfortable with each other. James wanted to hold on to as much of Judaism as he could get away with. Paul wanted to get rid of all of it. James was a necessary character for the transition of Christianity from Judaism. Paul was too strong, too quick for so many that could not handle it. They would never say that. They were too proud.

But it was the, it's the fact. And so God in his mercy raised up James. And there will be many of those first century Jewish believers in heaven because of James. Who would have gone back to Judaism completely.

Would have turned against Paul completely. So that hopefully clears up some of the confusion of these two dynamic personalities. Both of them, of course, lovers of Christ. And James is not bashful about laying out our mission that is before us. What is expected of us?

What is expected of you as a believer? Quite a few things. It's a long list. And it's not static. It's current. There's a, there's a current. It flows.

Some of it is static. Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall bow down to idols. There are some things that this is fixed. It's not moving.

Then there are other things. You should do this. I need you to do that. I don't want you to do this now.

Wait till later. All those who belong to the Lord hear his voice. His sheep know his voice. Well, what's the purpose of knowing his voice if he doesn't speak? Well, he does. It's just that he doesn't speak when you pull his cord.

Not that kind of an arrangement. We wait for him to speak. We are to speak to him all the time. I think I speak to God a lot more than I hear him speak to me. But his actions are steady.

They're far greater than mine in my own life. What he does. What he allows and disallows directly by his touch. Matthew 3 verse 8. Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. You've given your life to Christ. Okay, act like that.

Is it too much to ask of anyone? Let's not undervalue our personal willingness to obey even though we may fail. He says not hear us only. The old Scottish phrase for that were the sermon tasters. They would go in and just, you know, taste the sermon.

But they'd never do anything with it and never get deep inside. They are the some of the, that was their way of saying there were those that attended church but they did not get it. So, Matthew 7. Christ speaks about this.

We all know this section. Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house and it did not fall for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain descended the floods came the winds blew and beat on that house and it fell and great was its fall. Well, I don't want to be a hero only.

You say okay but I don't want to be a hero but I hear and I still fail. That's part of the fight. We've already covered that. Don't go back and act like that wasn't said and say oh Christianity is too difficult for me it's too difficult for all of us. That's no excuse because in the struggle to cast out to evict that which is useless and against our faith there alone is victory. That's what separate one of the things that separates us from those who don't believe in love Christ.

A person can be a moralist. They can evict from their lives many things that are not helpful that are unclean and still reject Jesus Christ. That house is built on sand and great will be its fall because they did not love the Lord. That love of Christ was not their motive. So that motive that love for Christ is very important. Satan doesn't want you to keep that.

You're going to have to keep it and it won't be that difficult if your love is genuine and so we conclude that faith expresses itself in worship yes and song for example but obedience too is one of the disconnects with hypocrisy of someone who wants to come into the house of God and sing praises to the Lord and yet have no intention of evicting the things that Christ said don't belong there. Even if you're not successful the fact that you're trying to get those things out is success in Christ's standpoint. He says deceiving yourselves. Now you know we covered again we come to the letter of James he's going to be hitting us all all the way through right up to the end and how does he end it anyway? He who leads a sinner covers a multitude of sinner to faith covers a multitude of sins.

In other words there's an abundance of forgiveness with God. Elijah that great prophet was like us he's careful to point these things out and that's why he says my brethren my brethren throughout the letter he's trying to say I'm not talking down to you I'm one of you but we cannot ignore these things this filth and this immorality that is so easy for all of us even though we love Christ it still wants to come back in we cannot let it rest it won't let you rest. Thanks for joining us today as we took a deeper look into the book of James here on Cross Reference Radio. Cross Reference Radio is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We're blessed to bring you God's word with each broadcast. If you'd like more information or want to listen to additional teachings from Pastor Rick please visit our website crossreferenceradio.com. If you've been blessed by this program we'd love to hear from you when you visit the website simply click on the contact us link at the top of the page and leave us a message. That website again is crossreferenceradio.com. Please join us again next time as we continue our study through the book of James right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-23 09:04:57 / 2024-04-23 09:14:02 / 9

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