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Scandalous Behavior (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 16, 2024 6:00 am

Scandalous Behavior (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 16, 2024 6:00 am

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

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We quote the verse without the first part of the verse so often. Resist the devil, brother, and he will flee.

Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait. He is not going to flee if you are not submitted to God daily, moment by moment. Satan's always pressing, looking for a breach in the wall of our defenses, and he finds them when we're not submitted. God knows all these things, and the mercy of God is there, yes, for when we are struggling to submit.

The Bible, when it talks about pride, it certainly covers so many characteristics of that one word, arrogance, being self-impressed, self-centered, selfish, always wanting your way, self-asserting, carnal. The bottom line is you're not submitted to God's word, which is God's will. That's what the Scripture is. God's saying, this is what I want. I don't expect you to guess, so I'm going to tell you, and I'm going to write it down for all the generations.

And we have it today. Anyone here not submitting to God? Anyone here pushing back against God, resisting him, because you want to do your thing, your way, with a little bit of Jesus sprinkled on it? Put a little ribbon with his name and it should be okay, but I want to be the leader. I want to fashion God in my own image. I hope not.

That happens, unfortunately. We submit to God when we pray, your will be done, which means at the cost of my will, but I pray that my will will match your will, not your will matching mine, that I would submit to you and not you to me. Now, does it hurt to submit to the will of God many times? Let's ask Jesus, Lord, did it cost you anything to submit to the Father? Well, the cross and all the shame that went along with it. Was it worth it? Was the cross worth it?

I don't know. I know what he would say. I have no doubt about that.

Of course he would say yes. The Bible tells us that in Isaiah 53, that he suffered the shame, that he saw the value of it. But what about to me?

Of course it is worth it to me, but it's not worth it to everyone. And our lives as Christians is very much centered in trying to get others to see the value of the cross of Christ. That empty tomb, the ascension into heaven and his promise to return, the eternity that he prepares for all those who adore him, and that includes obeying him because that forms worship. The rebellious heart does not adore, does not obey, does not worship according to the Scripture. It may adore Jesus in its own way, but it's not obedient, not careful, forming its own type of worship.

This is idolatry, but it doesn't have to be that way. So by submitting to God, we are resisting the devil, and there's a lot to this story. This one verse is packed with theology, real life, infighting versus our own flesh, and again that revolting enemy of the people of God, Satan. The devil is the original influence to put people against God. He is the original source of interfering with being obedient, with being submitted to God. Eve did not submit after a conversation with him, and her husband did not submit to God after a conversation with her.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Now I know many of you are saying, I have read that verse enough times in my life to always come away thinking it doesn't work. Well, we're going to talk about that because it does work, but first we have to understand Scripture makes no attempt to hide the fact of evil. The Bible does not cover it up or pretend it's something else or downsize it. It does not try to take sin out of sin.

In fact, it makes us face these things. In Christ, the Bible exposes Satan as the foe, the manipulator of the human race. The word Satan means enemy.

That is what that word means. He is the enemy of human beings, and he always resists our resistance. We find that out not early on in our Christian walk.

We find out that there is resistance against my resistance. Daniel chapter 12 gives us a picture of the spiritual war that is around us, that dimension that we cannot see with our eyes, but by faith we know full well it is there. Daniel 10 verse 12, then he said to me, do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come because of your words.

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me 21 days, and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the king of Persia. Here is this angel, this messenger of God, dispatched by God, and rather than God just overruling the devil and forcing his messenger through, he allows them to do combat, to enter into conflict with each other. For whatever purposes that God has not fully revealed to us, but he has revealed enough, this happens. And he says to Daniel, from the moment you prayed, God heard your prayer. But things are bigger than this, Daniel. There's war going on because of human beings, because God wants believers to believe him.

He is allowing this to play out as awful as it can be from time to time, which often seems like most of the time. God has said on his purpose, even in his fallen state, Satan is stronger than us in our fallen state. That's a fact.

I don't know that there's anybody that would disagree with this. The devil is not afraid of us. He's not really afraid of our resistance against him unless it is according to the scripture, and we're going to get to that again in a moment. Satan, we know, is not going to spook easily. He's not going to just flee us because we resist him, because we quote scripture, because of our intentions and our desire and our feelings.

We can resist him as much as he likes. As much as we like, we can resist him, but when he puts forth his power, there is trouble, and it is real. Michael, the archangel, just referenced a moment ago, even Michael was cautious in dealing with Satan, that fallen angel, Jude 9. Yet Michael, the archangel, in contending with the devil when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, The Lord deal with you. The Lord straighten you out. The Lord rebuke you. A lesson for all of us in dealing with this fiend, this hater of humanity. Underestimating the power of Satan is just reckless and dumb, but to exaggerate his power is paralyzing. He's too big to beat.

I can't do anything. That's wrong thinking in the life of the believer. In Revelation, the end of this dispensation, well, the one that's to come, the great tribulation, which we'll issue in at the end of the great tribulation, the millennial reign of Christ. John writes this, he says, Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and locked him up.

He bound him. So he's not invincible. God needs to. He just creates stronger angels than Satan.

We have to get this in our head. We're not dealing with an opponent that is invincible. And yet he is fierce nonetheless. Now if we leave out this first part of the verse in our attempt to gain the second part, we are doomed. And this is why we fail when we come to this verse. We leave out the first part, submit to God. We just resist the devil, but the submission to God is not really taking hold. With regard to resisting evil, there must first be submission to God, and it must be sustained.

It's going to take all you have. James is getting at this. This is why he's going to say, Listen, let's just sober it up for a moment here.

Stop it with the laughing and giggling about sin and let's get down to business. So the Holy Spirit does not say, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Not just like that. You say, but it says it right there. Yes, but that is a text out of context.

And any text out of context is pretext. It's wrong. It's not right. It's not what's happening. And this is what we tend to do.

In fact, we quote the verse without the first part of the verse so often. Resist the devil, brother, and he will flee. Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait. He's not going to flee if you are not submitted to God.

Daily, moment by moment. Satan's always pressing, looking for a breach in the wall of our defenses, and he finds them when we're not submitted. And God knows all these things, and the mercy of God is there, yes, for when we are struggling to submit. And God is still gentle with us, but the fact remains in spiritual war, which is without interruption in this life. We are to submit to our God. So what the Holy Spirit, again, does say is submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. That changes the formula and the equation.

The outcome is totally different now. Many of you are saying, when I leave here, I'm going to submit to God, and then I will resist the devil. Yes, that's how you do it. But you must train yourselves. You must be prepared for the entire fight, not just landing one good punch. It's not enough to win. You must fight all the way through.

And so the change in this formula comes in this way. By submitting ourselves to God, we leave the devil face to face with God, with him. Let the Lord deal with him. The Lord rebuke you.

The Lord deal with you. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he laid down a pattern for us, a formula. Satan had said, break your fast before the Lord. Make bread from these stones.

You can do it, lad. Jesus answered and said, Matthew 4, verse 4, it is written, the Bible says, don't get tired of saying that because the world gets tired of hearing it. It is written, man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That's important to understanding scripture. We don't live by the quotations of Satan in scripture.

We live by the word of God. And then it goes on in that exchange between Lucifer, the fallen cherub, and the Lord. Then Jesus said to him, away with you, Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. Away with you. And away he went.

That was the end of it. God is in control. He sticks by the scripture, and he sticks by it in context of what God intended it to mean. Because Satan was rattling off scripture, but he was rattling off scripture out of context. If Satan never fled, if the saints' resistance against him was useless, then we would never have victories.

We would never experience gains as believers, but we do, and the church is still here to prove that. Don't be discouraged. Fight on.

Get up and keep going. There is no other way. Christianity demands submission to God to oppose the devil. The word devil means the slanderer. The one who lies to you about God and lies to God about you. We understand that.

How do you deal with somebody like this? We have to oppose them, stand up against them. And thus Paul, writing to a church in the city of Ephesus, said, Nor give place to the devil. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. He says in Ephesians 6, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

All of the fiery darts. The shield of faith. That's that part that submits to God, that will trust God. That says not my will, but your will be done even if there is a crucifixion waiting for me. Satan can't do anything against that. Maybe right now, as I'm speaking, Satan's messing with your head, trying to get you to object to the simple preaching, reading of the scripture verses. He hopes that our resistance will cause fatigue. And we stop resisting because we've stopped submitting to God. Because God takes a long time. Look, God works mysteriously and slowly. Sometimes it's boom. Most of the time it's weight. And while the weight is taking place, the life of the believer is being formed. It's being matured.

It is being worked on. To find out if indeed you have submitted to God so that you can resist the devil so that he will flee because they will then be facing God and not the believer. Many Christians after a while even stop detecting when Satan is doing the work behind the scenes. They become snooty. They think because they don't like their job and feel awful, that justifies them being nasty and spirit and snarky in the workplace.

It does not. Never are we justified for performing as though we did not believe that Christ has us where he has us. Satan never stops scouting us, constantly looking for opportunity. Even the best of the best believers get scouted and attacked. It is the story of Job. Job chapter 1 and Yahweh said to Satan, from where do you come?

Now, catch this scene. Here are these angelic beings coming before God and Satan is in that number. God does not ignore him. God does not let him walk by without addressing him, dealing with him. Very significant. From Job's end, who did not know this at the time, that doesn't bring much comfort, especially what lie ahead.

Where do you come from? So Satan answered Yahweh and said, from going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it. Scouting, reconnaissance, looking for an opportunity to attack. Then the Lord said, have you considered my servant Job?

And the short answer is, you bet I have, but you protect him so I can't get my talons into him. And so it was on. The contest began. And Job was the battlefield for us, so that we can see these things, so that we can better understand. So Paul could write this in 2 Corinthians, lest Satan should take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.

We know how he wages war, and he knows how we do it too. If he's going to attack, let's make him earn it and defeat him. And so Peter says, and we're coming up to Peter soon. Well, not when you only get three or four verses on a Sunday morning maybe, but... Peter, that man just endured so much. He says, be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, Satan the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith. How do you resist him in the faith? You submit to God. Whatever God has put into your life, you're supposed to live like we believe.

God is indeed sovereign and knows what he's doing. Resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. There are other believers going through junk too. So you have a job.

You don't like it. And you're going to let everybody in the workplace know that you are a Christian and that you are also miserable on Monday morning. But you're justified while your brothers are locked up in gulags or other places in the world being persecuted.

They don't have that right. We need to hear these things, all of us, me included. I'm not beyond having my pity parties. I want more from ministry than what God gives me. And I know who is the one that's fueling that flame. There's a difference between ambition and getting into the flesh, and the mature Christian figures it out and acts accordingly. What does it look like, this resistance, this long haul of resistance? We have a flash of it in the life of Gideon. Gideon is crossing over Jordan, going east and deep into enemy territory, out of the promised land, because he's got to deal with these enemies.

When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and 300 men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit. I love that verse. I love it because I have been exhausted in my attempt to submit to God, and I love it because I'm still in pursuit of it. After all these years, I'm still standing. And it's because of God. But it's not without me and it's not without you.

You will not still be standing if you don't want to. You have to want it. So by submitting to God, we automatically resist the devil. Sometimes resistance means run for your life, flee, especially in the face of sexual lust.

That is a bear. One of the strongest drives in the human being to procreate or just borrow pieces of it in the name of sin and carnality. Paul says, flee youthful lust.

Now pause there. You can be old and still have this youthful lust. The lust is still young and strong and full of energy. Flee youthful lust, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Again, any of you here have a reputation for being rude as Christians? You won't even say hello to some people in the church unless you want something. I hope there's no one here that behaves that way.

But I know they're out there. Other Christians come and tell me more times than I care, but it's true and I've seen it myself. If you have this problem, you need to come up and ask the pastors for prayer. In Genesis, Joseph was confronted with a temptation that she caught him by his garment. She wanted to sin.

But it goes on to tell us, but he left his garment in her hand and fled and ran outside. You see, some sins require that you run for your life or else it's going to take you out. And so we say we believe. We say we want to be stronger. We say we want hope from God.

Well, here it is. 1 Timothy 6, fight the good fight. There are many fights out there. Fight the good one, which is obedience and Christ-likeness, pursuit of righteousness and adoration of Jesus Christ. Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life. Grab that thing. Hold on to it.

Don't let it go. To which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I hope that is all of us. I hope every Christian has made the confession in front of witnesses, not ashamed to name Jesus as Lord and Savior. And Paul says after all the years of his struggles, we talked about Paul last week when he talked about all the things he had to face in sharing the gospel.

But he was submitted to the will of God, not the will of Paul. And he said, I burn with indignation when brothers and sisters stumble in sin. I have all the cares of the body of Christ in my life.

I can't get away from it. And the same man said, not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. He owns me. I am his. I am not only his servant. I am also his slave. When he says do something, I do. When he withholds, when he makes me wait, I do it.

I don't have to like it. I do it. Because I know his promises, every single one, are true. They are trustworthy. When he says I go to prepare a place for you, he means it. When he says the sufferings of this life are nothing compared to the eternity that I have for you, he means every word of it. You either believe it by faith or you miss out.

Those terms, those, they are good. And now we look at what we call verse 8. Having said, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee. Draw near to God.

He continues to develop this battle plan. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 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 / 2024-05-16 08:53:09 / 2024-05-16 09:02:27 / 9

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