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Evicting Useless Religion (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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April 24, 2024 6:00 am

Evicting Useless Religion (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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April 24, 2024 6:00 am

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

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If you have been struggling with things all your Christian life, you keep on struggling with them. That does not mean God is not working with you. It does not mean that you have failed. It is quite the opposite. It's the one that stops struggling and slides back and then turns into apostate.

That's the one that should be sick with worry. So he says, to be doers of the word. Be doers of the word, not just hearing sermons.

You'd be tricking yourselves. 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. Today, Pastor Rick is continuing through the book of James chapter one and his message called Evicting Useless Religion. Now again, when we got into the beginning of James, we said James is good because 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 Mount, but 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, they're 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. And so that hopefully clears up some of the confusion of these two dynamic personalities, both of them, of course, lovers of Christ. 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 current. It flows.

Some of it is static. Thou shalt not lie. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt 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 here is 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 separates, one of the things that separates us from those who don't believe and 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. The love of Christ was not their motive. So that motive, that love for Christ, it 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, in song for example, but obedience too is one of the disconnects, 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, from Christ's standpoint. He says deceiving yourselves. Now, you know, we cover it again. We come to the letter of James and 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, a 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. I cannot emphasize enough, if you have been struggling with things all your Christian life, you keep on struggling with them. That does not mean God is not working with you. It does not mean that you have failed. It is quite the opposite. It's the one that stops struggling and slides back and then turns into apostate.

That's the one that should be sick with worry. So he says to be doers of the word. Be doers of the word, not just hearing sermons. You'd be tricking yourselves. And again, another quote, Ezekiel 20.

I am Yahweh your God. Walk in my statutes, keep my judgments and do them. Too many Christians are more talk than walk because they don't want the walk. They want a pass. So you go up to say, listen, that's a sin for what you're doing.

It's not too much to ask for you to stop doing this. And they say, no, it's okay. God understands. It's not okay. God understands. He can forgive you for it.

Sure. But don't say sin is okay. And it is, again, frequently practiced and it makes it difficult to correct them because one reason is those who do the correcting don't feel superior. Well, I'm better than you, brother.

You've got to be good like me. That would be hypocrisy. But to still say, hey, this is a sin. It is a blatant sin. It is a sin that needs to be dealt with. And I always joke and use this one so I don't get too close to some and hurt them unnecessarily. But again, if you're out robbing banks and some Christian says, listen, you've got to stop doing it. No, God understands. He knows I could use the money. Well, I could use it too.

But that doesn't mean that I'm going to rob you after you rob the bank, although that's a good idea. Verse 23, 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. You remember in the book of Exodus, the women took their mirrors that were polished, bronze, alloyed metals. They polished them that they weren't glass mirrors. And they donated them to Moses for the building of the articles for the tabernacle, the place of worship, particularly for the laver where they would, it was just a big birdbath, but it was for the priest to wash their hands in. And so you'd come to the temple and you'd see the brazen altar with the blood sacrifices were being slaughtered, butchered, and presented. And then if you move toward the priest, would then move towards the tabernacle itself, there would be the laver in front of it. Well, that one laver of Moses was again made from the donated mirrors of the women.

It was so symbolic. It's not what I look like that counts, not on the outside. It's what's on the inside. It's about my worship. That is what is meaningful. I sacrifice my outward appearance, my care for my outward appearance so that I can care for the inward person. Now that does not mean they did away with all their mirrors, and that was the end of it.

They walked around with their hair a mess, and that's not the idea. It doesn't take much to understand the symbolism behind that gesture, how a pagan people would not have done that, how self-centered people would have made no such gesture. So Paul writes the Romans, for I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. I want to get into the inside.

That's where the things are happening. God changes us from the inside out. So the Bible acts like a mirror. You open the Bible up and you see yourself, and there are those that close it and don't want to look back again.

They forget it as quickly as they can. No matter what you do with your Bible in the sense that if you read it for devotions, for analysis, for teaching, for preaching, you still come away understanding that you are expected to obey what you read. There's no getting away from that, not without hypocrisy again. That's why many churches have done away with their Bibles.

It hurts too much. I'd rather just tell people God loves them and everything's going to be alright. When you hide sin from sinners, you do them great harm. You're helping the causes of hell when you do that.

It does not mean you have to be abrasive in the presentation of truth, but you have to present the truth. Would God say to you, don't tell him about sin. You know why I came and died and all that.

Just tell him it's all about them. Whose voice would that be? The devil. Verse 24. He talks an hour about this man who goes to the mirror. He observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. Again, you go to the scripture.

But it doesn't matter what you read there because you don't want to deal with this. Now forget there in the Greek is actually neglect. It's not, oh, I forgot.

That's right. It's not that kind of a forget. We all have that with scripture. You can't memorize all the verses that you want to memorize and years later you forget the ones you did memorize if you don't keep using them. But this is that negligence.

This is not failure to remember. This is a lack of desire to be mindful of. And so he says that kind of person comes to the scripture, sees who they are and acts as a mirror. Tells them what's on the inside. Points it out to them. But the mirror has no power to correct. It just points out.

You know that. You look in the mirror. If you see a crumb of food on your face, the mirror's not going to take it off. Even if you use the mirror to take it off, it's you, not the mirror, doing it.

There's always a wise guy that will say, well, what about? And so through the ages, the saints have looked into this mirror of God's word and it has changed their lives and you who were born again, it is because of the word of God and what is inside of it. Whether you like what you see or not, it has to be addressed. The mirror tells the truth. It does not lie. And if you hear a sermon and the Holy Spirit points out something in that sermon that is just for you and you neglect it, you're the one looking in a mirror, walking away, forgetting what you just saw. This does not please God.

It does please the enemy. A big problem is you get better and better and better at doing it. You've let the proverbial camel's nose in the tent and now he is completely in there. And so you come to church and you've heard, many people stop going to a church because, you know what, I don't want to hear anymore about what I should be doing because I've made up my mind I'm not going to do it. Well, then let's all stop with you. Let's not read the Bible and see what God has to say because you have gotten good at blocking God. Let's all block God with you.

Of course not. So what do you do about this? How do you overcome this?

You have to learn to commit yourself to things. You know, the public finger of shame. There are things we would not do because it would be shameful and people would point at us and they would be correct and we couldn't bear that. I mean, you know, when Peter says about women, you know, don't adorn your hair and the gold. He's not saying don't fix your hair because in that same section he says and the wearing of clothes. And of course, you know, he's not saying don't wear them. If eating meat makes my brother stumble, I will not again eat meat.

If wearing clothes makes my brother stumble, he can fall right on his face for all I care. So there are just things that are shameful that we avoid. So if you're in the body of Christ and you're just one that just won't serve, how do I overcome it, Pastor? I hear you preaching it.

I don't want to be the one that looks in the mirror and walks away because I see what the Scripture says about it. What practical advice do you have? Sign up. Get on the roster so that if you don't show up, the public finger of shame will be at you.

Without anybody even pointing, you'll know it's there. That's how you overcome. Don't just take a sign up, you know, I'm going to take an application and then it ends up in the trashcan in your home. Get on the wall. Do something with your faith. Coming to church is not serving the Lord. Don't fall for that.

I want to say this kindly and gently. Just attending and sitting in the pew, that is not serving. That is attending and sitting in the pew. What you do with what you've received from sitting in the pew, that could be serving. You're actually becoming a slave, a bond slave, a willful servant. It is not a position of shame.

It is a position of honor. And there are many of you who do this. Again, I'm not trying to, I'm not going to sweep under the rug what the Scripture says when we are on it and here we are on it. And you may be saying if you don't serve, I wish you'd hurry up and get off of it so I can again forget what I saw in the mirror.

You make a lot of jokes about that. I'm not going to. I'm tempted to, but that would take me out of the Spirit and put me in the flesh.

And so to obligate yourself, why don't you? What do you think the word testament means? It means covenant. What is a covenant?

It's a contract, an agreement, a binding agreement. We are a covenant people. And again, don't say, or let me put it this way, you can start low. Go into a ministry that's not heavy action like the kid's ministry. Go into the kid's ministry. It's easy. I'll hold my nose in Pinocchio. No ministry is easy without Christ.

They are all doable with Him. When are you going to get sick and tired of wanting to serve and actually do something about it? When you evict those things that interfere. We've got servants here, they serve almost too much because they've learned, they've got it. Well anyway, I made those points over and over and over again. Verse 25, but he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hero but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. Now again, we started off James in the introduction weeks ago, we said James is a man you cannot ignore and is he not living up to that? Of course he is. But he who looks into the perfect law, that word for look there means to stoop down and really gaze at it, not a glance.

The man who took a deep look into the mirror of God's word, that one will see not only themselves but their Savior and when they see the Savior, they see the solution. You know, when my dad was in the Second World War and I was a little boy, dad what did you do in the war? He never wanted to just, you know, well I shot a bunch of people up, watch their guts hang out and he never did anything like that. It just would get me onto something else. Aren't you supposed to be cleaning up your room? Change the subject like that.

And I don't know what point I was making now, I'm back now in my home over fifty, sixty years ago. But here I am here, so let's just pray because I don't have a clue what I was talking about. So you see the Savior and we just move on and give those who edit the messages for radio something to do. Oh share it on the internet, let everybody find out how goofy the pastor can be. So the one that looks into the Bible and allows the Bible to look back into them and then to do something about it is very serious business.

The one who sees the marks of sin and finds that the sole solution is Christ because sin's work is deadly on multiple levels, not only physically but spiritually. How strong people get when they see you showing up to do what you've committed to do? How strong when the church has an event and there's a large turnout? How strong is it when the sanctuary is full with people wanting to hear the Word of God?

It makes others stronger because the opposite of that is disappointment, oh it's too bad nobody came, oh it's too bad we don't have enough, oh it's too bad. Don't undervalue what these things mean in your life and don't for one second think that you're going to get to heaven those of you who serve and I know you don't think this way else you wouldn't serve the way you do. But when you get to heaven Christ is going to say yeah yeah that's fine okay go ahead.

He is going to say yes well done, good and faithful. You think that's going to be a monotone yeah well done I'm so right, I've seen better, not at all. That's what faith lays hold of. I know who I work for, I know who he is, I know how he conducts business. I am not going to bury the talent because I see him as being unfair. I'm going to invest the talents because I see him as holy and fair and loving and not only fair but generous.

You see fair is okay it is your day's pay, generous is I'm going to give you a bonus. That's Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians says we all with an unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord into the same image of Christ. 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 / 2024-04-24 08:42:17 / 2024-04-24 08:51:38 / 9

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