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Scandalous Behavior (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 17, 2024 6:00 am

Scandalous Behavior (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 17, 2024 6:00 am

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

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Even if the pain does not stop, circumstances are not reversed or halted, he is with me. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. A serious business is the shadow of death. It's part of the curse that's on humanity.

For most, it's not going away. Only for those who are raptured. But draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 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 continues his teaching in the book of James chapter 4 called, Submit to Resist. 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's 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 are 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. And 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. Before the fall in the Garden of Eden, there was no distance between God and man. God was just there. Then sin came and man distanced himself from God and God distanced himself from man who was now a sinner.

Submission closes that gap and it can close it drastically and instantly. The closer the sheep are to the shepherd, the safer are the sheep. He is the fundamental of our faith. He is the good shepherd. Draw close to him.

We tend, our flesh tries to get us to draw close to other things. Hebrews 4, let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Grace when it counts, even if it's just the presence of God. Even if the pain does not stop, circumstances are not reversed or halted, he is with me. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. That's serious business, the shadow of death. It's part of the curse that's on humanity.

For most, it's not going away. Only for those who are raptured. But draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Again, Hebrews 10, 22, let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

It's the same thing James is saying here. Cleanse your hands, purify your heart. The Lord, his arms are extended to every single human being. He says come. Anyone with the earshot of the gospel, come. But the world also stands up and says to anyone, especially those in Christ, come.

Change teams. Belong to us. We will give you a warm welcome. You will be free of all of this pure living, pursuing righteousness. That's what the world says to the Christian.

And unfortunately, some fall for it. Psalm 119, that Psalm which just lifts up God's word so high by singing it out. I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes forever to the very end. I am not going anywhere.

I am going to stick to your word. When Nehemiah was talking about the behavior of the Jewish people and how they landed in judgment, he mentioned that they were proud because of their pride, their self-serving pride that caused them to forsake the statutes and commandments of God. In the ninth chapter of Nehemiah, verse 16 and verse 26, for those of you taking notes, here the psalmist says, but I have inclined my heart to perform, to do it, to carry it out, to go beyond the philosophy of scripture, the theology of scripture into action. You know, widely practiced in this country and in Europe is that awful system of ecumenicism which pretends to draw near to God, but it actually draws away from him. It promotes cooperation and understanding between those who claim to be Christians and other religions, even other Christian groups.

It is leaven and it is rebellion. They will hold hands, they will pray together, they will say that they are still serving the same God and they're not. The God of the Hindu is not the God of the Christian, the God of the Muslim is not the God of the Christian, the God of the atheist, yeah, the atheists have a God, it's themselves. That controlling influence in their life or maybe it's the education, whatever it may be. There are a whole bunch of things you can put in the place of God if you want.

The heart has the capacity to hold a lot of wrong things. We read in the gospel that 2,000 pigs could not handle as many demons as two men. There are those that are more interested in coexisting with other religions than coexisting with God's word, with God himself. Let's coexist with each other. Who needs God? As for this Moses, we don't know what's happened to him.

Make us gods like we had in Egypt. The Tower of Babel is all about man coexisting independent of God. It's not a call to be at odds or abrasive or loveless towards enemies and those with opposing beliefs, but it is a call to remain separate, the very thing that we're discussing this morning from the scripture. Truth belongs to a holy God. It's what makes him holy. If there were lies that belonged to him, he'd no longer be whole.

It would be forfeited. And those who engage in ecumenicism, they meddle with the truth in his name in front of him, to his face. Paul says, what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? It's right there in the scripture. And yet they walk around with the crucifix or the cross on their neck, take your choice, insisting that they are Christians, while they go against such verses as what part has an unbeliever with a believer?

It's a very simple question. There's no tone of anger in that. Maybe come across when I quote it because of the passion. Proverbs 30, every word of God is pure.

He is a shield to those who put their trust in him and not another. He says, cleanse your hands. Now, this is not a literal cleansing of the hands.

He's not saying go wash your hands. That is made clear because he's also going to say go purify your heart, cleanse your hearts. The hands symbolize the outward life, that which other people can see what we do. The heart speaks of the inner life, what God sees, what's on the inside.

You put them together and you have what we are, the hands and the heart. Proverbs 4, keep your heart with all diligence or out of it spring the issues of life. That's eternal life too.

The heart, deceitful, desperately wicked above all things. And yet God says I'll give you a new heart. So it's not enough to draw near to God and be careless about your conduct at the same time.

That's what he is saying. You want to resist the devil? You want to break away from being scandalous believers? You're going to have to submit to God, fight the devil, draw close to God.

He'll draw close to you. You're going to have to clean up what you do and how you think about life and everything else. Everything now must be filtered through the king's court, not your own. Take care of your character and the Lord will take care of your testimony, your reputation before others. He says you sinners. Again, these are those he had been addressing throughout this letter, but recently in our consideration, verses 1 through 6, those scandalous acts of the flesh that were being committed while they claimed Christ. It was an abrupt reminder singling to them that God means business in what he's saying. Submit to God, he says, draw near to God and then he says you sinners. It's a reminder God is serious about this stuff. In Isaiah, which much as if you go through these prophets and these apostles of the scripture, you find out how linked and connected they are, you come to the conclusion only a sovereign, omnipotent, loving being of truth, self-existent could form such a book as this Bible.

No one's got anything like it. Regardless of how much they insist they do, when you look at it, the facts will speak for themselves. Isaiah addressed this very behavior in the Jews during his day. He says, when you spat out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. You have not cleaned up your act.

You walk around, you go to church, you go through the rituals. But your heart is not with me. In vain you worship me. Jesus kept that idea going. He said, in vain. Rightly did Isaiah say, in vain they worship me. There is such a thing as vain worship and ecumenicism being one of them. So he says, purify your hearts, the thoughts, the motives, the desires.

It's going to take you all your life to work that. You're double-minded. You are free to stand in the middle of the road and be double-minded and face traffic confirming from both directions. Not a good place to be. Those who are divided in their heart between the love for God and the love for the world and they really weren't doing much about it. So he says, sinners clean up, double-minded, clean out.

Purify as you would get the leaven out before the Passover. Verse 9, and then he says, lament and mourn and weep, let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Lament and mourn, that is the outward and the inward expressions of sorrow. Sorrow over sins handiwork. But it's not a blanket statement for all of our walk. Ecclesiastes, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance.

You have to know when to do it. You can come to church, this church, and you can mourn. But during service, if you start dancing, we will take you out because it's not about drawing attention to yourselves. It's about the ministry of the word right now. But you can go home and you can dance all you want in Christ.

There's a time to do these things. The reason why he's saying lament and mourn and weep is because this was an adulterous generation of believers in the church, in the body of Christ, that he is going after and he wants them to stop being that way. He is not saying to them, oh, go drop dead.

He's saying, I want you to come to life, but you're going to have to clean this up. You are mocking God by lacking any serious attention towards sin. Sin and its damnation, it is not comical to God. But they were blowing smokescreens so they could hide from the severity of the judgment on the very things they were doing. They were religious people careless about sin. So, from Monday to most of Sunday, they would close their eyes about what Christ wanted. Now you sit here and you say, I don't do that.

I want Christ all the time. That's how it should be. It's doable.

It's possible. Or maybe you sit here and you say, ah, that's me. The only time I really focused on righteous things was when I'm forced to hear a wonderful sermon by you, pastor. You know, the older I get, the less humorous I feel.

Isn't that funny? Okay, let's move on. Well, let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. In other words, no cracking jokes about that which puts the soul in peril before a righteous and holy and pure God. Proverbs 14, 9, fools mock at sin. That's what the Bible says.

Fools think it's a joke. And James is trying, he's talking to this audience, that group that is behaving just this way, and he's saying, you need to just stop this and get very serious. You need to weep over your adulteries, your behavior, your pride. God resists the proud. Do you want God to push you away from him?

No, you don't. So draw near to him. God, you cannot do it with levity of heart over things that are wicked and come out of hell. Every soul has got a ladder that can go down to hell. James is saying, don't use it. Not everything is okay. And sin does not fix itself.

It requires that the heart deal with it seriously. Have you ever been called out on something you know you're guilty of? Do not our children often defend themselves when they are busted?

Do not adults do the same thing? Don't do it. You are caught guilty.

Fix it. Don't repent and then later on take back your repentance. You'll never grow stronger. You'll never be better off that way. You will fall into the hands of the devil.

You will be his sucker. It's up to you. It's up to me.

All of us. Sin does not fix itself. The devil's approach is live and let live as he dam souls as many as he can, destroying lives. Romans 6 23, for the wages of sin is death. What's funny about that? Nothing. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That's glorious news. But I can't enter into that if I think sin is something that is just cute. Isaiah, again dealing with this behavior in the people during his day in Isaiah 22, and in that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for the grinding with sackcloth. But instead joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine, let us eat drink for tomorrow we die.

Then it was revealed in my hearing by Yahweh of hosts, surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you even to your death says Yahweh God of hosts. They were partying, having a good old time, indulging, going deep into the shallow life. I know a mixed metaphor, but it serves the purpose. The Bible speaks of laughter in the life of a fool is something that's irritating.

Ecclesiastes 7, 6, for like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool. This also is vanity. This is junk.

This is a waste. It's not right. The word gloom here at the end of verse 9. In the Greek it means to cast your eyes down.

We have a picture of it in Luke's gospel, not the same Greek word, but it is the picture. Luke 18 and the tax collector standing afar off would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying God be merciful to me a sinner. That's the man drawing near to God. That's the man resisting the devil because he's submitting to God. In spite of his behavior, in spite of what others think about him, in spite of the high-minded and the proud Pharisee that was around him, that kind of attitude James is dealing with throughout his letter. Verse 10, humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up. Admit it. Admit that without God there's a problem that cannot be resolved without him. The only way he's going to resolve the problem is if he finds a submission, and that submission will include adoration. And when you adore something, you want to draw near it.

You want to get there. When you sing songs, any Christian songs, the words should move you the most, the meaning of the words. If the words have no meaning, don't sing it. But if they have, we were just singing a hymn. If ever I love you, my Jesus, it is now.

Those songs are worth memorizing. There's theology in them. There's ministry in those words.

There's power in those words because they're built on what God said. When the death do lies cold upon my brow, my Jesus, my Jesus, it's an adoration. If ever I love thee, my Jesus is now. Death cannot take me away from Jesus. Psalm 16, the psalmist wrote, O my soul, you have said to Yahweh, you are my Lord.

My goodness is nothing apart from you. And so when he says humble yourselves, because you've got nothing else, you've got nothing to bring to God to boast about except God, it falls to us to do something about a wrong opinion of ourselves in the presence of God and others. He says, in the sight of the Lord, though we're undeserving of his friendship, though we're undeserving of his love, it's there for us through Christ and only through Christ. We talked about Satan sending out his scouts. God does not have to dispatch scouts. He sees it all. And so the writer James says, in the sight of the Lord, 1 Peter 3.12, for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous. What makes a person righteous?

The blood of Jesus Christ, nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ. His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Well, should it be any other way? Should God be cheering on some so-called doctor who is murdering the unborn?

I'm sorry, you're not a doctor. To you, I don't know what it means, but to me, a doctor is a person you go to to make you better, not to make you worse, and snuffing out life before it can live is just plain old evil. But the world wants to reinvent what sin is. We're aware of that. When we stand up against them, we say, no, I disagree with you.

I disagree with you fully. And finally, last clause of verse 10, and he will lift you up. Well, since we are all spiritually defective, we cannot lift ourselves up.

We need someone stronger than ourselves, stronger than Satan, stronger than the world, and it is our Jesus. And if we are... Well, let me put it this way. You and I are free to be self-impressed. We are free to be self-centered. We are free to be shallow and ungrateful.

Husbands and wives, is it not easy, too easy, as the years go by to not appreciate your spouse? That is Satan. Don't hand it to him. Fight that. Look at the good things. Look at the greater things. Keep your eye focused on the Lord. Malachi tried to tell that to the people of his day.

Don't forsake the wife of your youth. 2 Timothy 2, verse 19, Nevertheless, a solid foundation of God stands, having this seal. The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We're going to get to the next session, if things go as planned. We're going to get to that part where we're not to walk around judging each other. And of course, those who are guilty will try to spin that to mean that you cannot hold them accountable.

We'll cover that next time. But here, as a coming attraction, let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. So the God of grace allows us to be involved in our future.

He lets us participate in it, have a say so, in this life right now. I'll close with these words concerning the life of David before he was king. He was the leader of a group of men who had a bad day. Their wives and their possessions were taken away.

And they didn't know what to do at first. One of the things that came to mind was, let's stone David. Let's kill him.

He's the leader. And what did David do in the face of this? He does what every believer should do when they feel like they are being stoned by something in this life. Maybe you feel you're being cheated by God. Maybe you think God should have given you more. He gave others more.

Why can't he give you more? Whatever it may be, David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Short and to the point. 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 / 2024-05-17 08:37:29 / 2024-05-17 08:46:51 / 9

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