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The Tongue, Tomorrow and Today (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 21, 2024 6:00 am

The Tongue, Tomorrow and Today (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 21, 2024 6:00 am

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

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
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Pastor Rick Gaston
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Gregory N. Barkman
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You say that you are going to buy and sell and make a profit. Legitimate plans. Nothing wrong with that. As a business person, if you are making these plans illegitimate unless God has not been factored in.

Now it becomes a problem. So what elaborate plans for the future you may have without God are Godless plans. Verse 14, whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow, for what is your life?

It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. 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. And now here's Pastor Rick in James chapter 4 with his continuing study called The Tongue, Tomorrow and Today. He says speak evil of the law and judges the law.

Well who needs scripture? If I can have my sanctimonious criticisms hurled at whoever I'd like to have them hurled at. So by refusing to submit to scripture, which speaks of not backbiting, which speaks of loving your neighbor, the Old Testament I'm talking about, becoming slanderers above what God says they make themselves judges. Now slander going by Webster's 1828 definition. I think it's a richer definition. I looked up the definition in modern Webster's editions and it didn't come close to this one. A false tale to slander, a false tale or report maliciously uttered, intending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens by exposing him to impeachment and punishment or by impairing his means of living, defamation. You probably get about eight words in modern translation, but that's what the slanderer does. And of course the word devil means slanderer.

Though it's a different Greek word used here, still same meaning. So we're not supposed to behave this way. Who can say we should applaud James?

Thank you brother for dealing with this. I'm sure there were those Christians that when this letter was read in the congregations they said, thank you Lord that somebody has the mettle to stand up in front of Christians and tell it like it is. So he says, but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. Doing God's will, it is always our goal. It is supposed to be paramount. It is supposed to lead us in our lives.

The law says love, but they subjected scripture to their opinions. Leviticus 19 verse 16, you shall not go about as a tale bearer among your people, gossiping, backbiting, chopping down, slandering. It really is not that hard to keep your mouth shut when you think about it. I've been working on not complaining, simply not complaining. I haven't been at it long enough to report to you any more than to say so far it's smooth sailing.

But a lot of shipwrecks started out that way too, so I'll keep you posted if things go well. If not, we'll just act like it never was said. Romans 10, they being ignorant of God's righteousness and seeking to establish a righteousness of their own have not submitted to the righteousness of God. There are people that do these things and Jesus said, you'll know them by their fruits.

You just look at them and see stuff hanging off of them that is either attractive and appealing or revolting, repulsive. Jesus made us witnesses, not judges. And if we can remember that, it helps us in so many areas, not only in our interactions just with other people and in people within the church, but also as witnesses of Christ. I no longer feel like I have to win every argument for Christ when I'm sharing the faith. I'm just a witness.

I tell what I saw and they take it or leave it. Acts chapter 1 verse 8, Jesus speaking to his disciples, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria to the end of the earth. That's the kind of power. See, a lot of Christians think that Christ, well, he's going to give us power to speak in tongues and to run around crazy and, well, he does give power to speak in tongues, but not to run around crazy.

He gives power primarily to understand who he is and be able to communicate it. That's what that means, to witness Christ, not impress people. Well, look how spiritual I am. I've got the spirit.

Brother, you don't. You shall be witnesses. You shall receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit, the Greek word for power there in that verse is dunamis, from which we get our English word dynamite, and it is an appropriate application of the word.

I want to have dynamite for Christ, or for some of you familiar with the children's programs that are out there, dynamite. Verse 12, there is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

It sounds so out in the street like, well, who are you? Who are you to judge anybody? Again, the guilty cannot use that. They've forfeited the right to say you cannot judge me because their actions or their words have already done it for them and we've just pointed it out. Here he is quoting Isaiah chapter 33 because, again, James is a man of the scripture. He knows the Bible and he knows how to apply it. And he wants these believers to be better at what they believe, or at least what they claim to believe. What is wrong with that?

Everything is right with this. Who are you to judge another? Again, we are permitted according to words and deeds. But if we were not able to, that would create chaos in the house of God, would give license to mean people to be mean and not kind. But still, of course, I've found most mean people want to be treated kindly. They are very quick to treat others the way they would never want to be treated themselves. But then there is this also, Christian, when we feel justified in executing revenge. We've tried to be nice, now they're going to get the wrath that we have stored up for them.

Be careful of that. Be careful, as John Wesley used to say, of the reasonable devil. The devil that reasons it out for you but still causes you to sin. Matthew 18, 15, Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. And if he hears you, you have gained your brother.

That's the goal. To gain, not to destroy. Samuel, he had to put Saul, King Saul, in his place. But Saul wasn't going to receive it. God explicitly told Saul to go and attack the Amalekites as an instrument of his judgment. And not to leave any survivors, to wipe out everything, including the animals, Saul was not to take with him. But Saul did not do all that God said. He did just what he wanted to do and no more. And Samuel called him out on it. But Samuel said, 1 Samuel 15, verse 14, when Saul denied, I've done like God has said, and Samuel says, and what then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? We won't say it like this. Are you crazy? I've done all that God said. Are you out of your mind?

What is this? And so Samuel went on to set him straight and pronounce judgment on him. God's judgment, not Samuel's judgment. In contrast to the behavior of King Saul, we have King David who committed an egregious series of sins. Lying, adultery, murder from the sweet psalmist of Israel. Understanding that should all press us to walk more upright in Christ, not to excuse our behavior with, well, David failed. Well, when you can start writing psalms like David, come back and use his name with me. And that does not give David a pass. God did not. Anyway, another prophet, this time Nathan said to David, when David was confronted, Nathan the prophet said, you are the man.

He risked his life. As close as David and Nathan appeared to be in scripture, David was still king. And how would Nathan know how far gone in his head David was?

He'd already bumped off one man, but he knew he had to deliver the message. But here's David's response in contrast to Saul. So David said to Nathan, I have sinned against Yahweh. Nathan said to David, Yahweh has also put away your sin.

You shall not die. The mercy of God. It's right at the door, knocking, always ready to show mercy as God, but also judgment to those who will not repent, as King Saul did not repent. God is the lawgiver. And so when James says in verse 12, there is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Only you to judge another. God can save or destroy.

It is up to the individual. Verse 13, come now, you who say today or tomorrow, we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell and make a profit. Well, before I comment, I feel pressed to make one more remark concerning verse 12.

Some of you or maybe someone you know or someone listening. You've struggled with sin so often. You've been defeated so often. You've lost your edge. You now begin to make excuses for your sin before God.

Don't do that. That's a trap. Accept his grace and his mercy and forgiveness and get stronger off of that rather than excusing the sin because you cannot defeat it. God understands that. But what he does not understand is when we look to reduce the size of sin, any sin. All sin is big. It is big.

The little, the apparently the small ones are big because of their potential to quickly grow into something unstoppable. So I am encouraging you who may struggle with the same sin over and over to be strong, depend on the mercy of God. It is there for you. But don't, don't ever allow yourself the false luxury of supposing that it really is not a big deal. Verse 13 again, I will not reread it for time's sake or read some of it. Come now, you who say today or tomorrow. Abruptly he changes gears, does he not? And one moment he's talking about judging people and then he said, now about you people who make all these plans. He turns to those who are presumptuous.

They come to a decision without the proper considerations. And in this case, God. And so he invites them to be honest, to honestly reason. Come now, you who say, that's an invitation, let's talk about this, but no nonsense.

Don't, please don't insult me by coming before me, making excuses for trash that doesn't belong in the center of this discussion. He says today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there. Now many Jews at this time in history, even to this day, but in this time in history, they were engaged in commercial enterprise throughout the Roman Empire. Something that started after their captivity in Babylon. Before Babylon, they were pretty much centered in the promised land. After Babylon, they began to become merchants and was spread throughout the world. Many of them did not want to go back to the promised land. They stayed in Babylon.

They had their businesses there. You read the book of Acts in chapter 2 and you find out that there were so many Jewish men that had come from all over the Empire of Rome to worship at Jerusalem. And so this is going on in his day. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Just the background to what's happening here.

In fact, James' letter is not so much to Jews in Jerusalem where he is the leader of the church, but it is to the Jews who are dispersed throughout Rome, Rome's Empire. And he says, you say that you are going to buy and sell and make a profit. Legitimate plans.

Nothing wrong with that. As a business person, if you are making these plans illegitimate, unless God has not been factored in, now it becomes a problem. So what elaborate plans for the future you may have without God are Godless plans. Verse 14, whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow, for what is your life?

It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. The future is hidden from your sight, he says to them. He says, whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.

But you're making all these big plans, like you know what's going to happen. Proverbs 27, again, a basis for what he is saying to them from their own Old Testament. He says, do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. And so he had talked to them already in verse 10 about being humble before the Lord, letting the Lord lift you up. And so he really comes back to that again and says, remember where you are in this universe.

For what is your life? Verse 14, it is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Your eternal perspective, it is critical, it is one of the things that separates us from everybody else. Psalm 102, verse 3, for my days are consumed like smoke. Psalm 39, 5, indeed you have made my days as a hand's breath and my ages as nothing before you. Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor, selah. So if you read that Psalm, if you're using it as a daily consideration, reluctant to use the word meditation because it's so today associated with transcendental meditation or some spiritual sin.

So I'll just use the word consideration. If you were using the Psalm as a consideration and you read that and you got to the selah, it was the Holy Spirit saying, now think about this, just stop for a minute and think about what I just said. If you were using the Psalm in song, you would read that status but vapor and that was very likely the cue to the musicians to hit it, to play the music while you reflected on what you just did sing. So these things in the scripture, the Holy Spirit says, these are important things and I want you to think about them.

I don't want to go brushing over them. The uncertainty and the brevity of life should lead us to a humble dependence upon God. We were just singing, pass me not, O gentle savior. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by. I remember when God called me to the pastorate, it took him 13 years to just begin and that was a disaster.

And the feeling of being passed by, of other people serving and not me. So the short time we have here, I want to spend whatever I can for the king. He'll give me pit stops. He'll let me rest and refresh so that he can use me again. He doesn't hide this fact about us, that we are to be spent for the kingdom and not for ourselves. A.W. Tozer, he writes, the Christian religion has to do with God and man but its focal point is God, not man.

He just, he annoys me so much, A.W. Tozer, because I can't say things like that. The Christian religion has to do with God and man but its focal point is God, not man. Get behind me Satan, you're not mindful of the things of God but of the things of man.

That's where Tozer would have total authority to make such a statement. To set our lives, in the short time we have, to be mindful of the things of God and not of the things of man. We all do battle with this, every single one of us. The problem is, is when we stop doing battle with it. At least we're all, every single one of us is given that opportunity. In verse 15, instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.

If you are going to subject yourself to the will of God, you're going to say, I want to be led by the Holy Spirit, then be ready to do these things. Number one, these aren't all of them but these are the three I'm sharing with you, wait a long time. How long?

I do not know. There are some things I'm still waiting for. There are other things I'm no longer waiting for because they've been fulfilled in waiting for him. So if you're going to be led by God, be ready to wait, be ready to do without. You may never get it. And then get used to those who do not want you to wait or do without. There will be others that will be irritated because you said, look, God has told me to wait and I'm going to wait. This proverb is very nice on a coffee mug apparently but not too nice in the lives of some. Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.

You do not have the answers. And then he goes on, in all your ways. Oh no, let me read this the way some might want it read, in some of your ways. Of course it says, in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.

And I'm not reading that to say to you, I always get this one right, but I always try. And I think many others do too. I think a lot of other Christians do, but I think so many of us also do not. God's will, as I mentioned, paramount.

It should always be first in our minds. Not only to find out what his will is but to actually do it as James is so want to do in this writing of his to tell us to be doers of the word. Joshua, this is from the book of Joshua. It is about the man Caleb who at 85 years old, Joshua and Caleb, they were two of the 12 spies that went into the Promised Land. Ten came back critical of God's will.

We can't do it. Joshua and Caleb said, we can take these giants down. And the others, oh we're grasshoppers. Caleb says, speak for yourself. I'm no grasshopper.

I like a good burger. And so here he is 40 years later in the Promised Land, over 40 years later. And he still, I'm no grasshopper. That land that was promised to me is mine. And the same giants that were there back then 40 years ago, I'm going to take down today.

I told him this wasn't over. What kind of attitude he had. So he goes to Joshua. He says, now therefore give me this high land of which Yahweh spoke in that day. For you heard in that day how the Anakim were there and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that Yahweh will be with me and I shall be able to drive them out, as Yahweh said. You see the humility in such a courageous man, 85 years old. I'm still tall in the saddle.

I can still fight. Maybe God will give me what He promised. As opposed to, well God owes me. Or not even consulting the will of God.

He brings that right front center. Paul the apostle. He writes, I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return again to you God willing. In 1 Corinthians he says, but I will come to you shortly if the Lord wills. And I will know not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

Now the second part really has nothing to do with my point. I just wanted to read it because there are those who need to hear that too. So I'll re-read 1 Corinthians 4 19. But I will come to you shortly if the Lord wills.

And I will know not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. Paul is going to clean up the house of God when he gets to Corinth, but only under the will of God. Presumptuous sins on the other side of this. On the other side of following the will of God, knowing the will of God. Psalm 19 13. The psalmist prays, keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and I shall be innocent of great transgression.

What the humility in that psalm. I don't want to get ahead of you. I do not want to act without you, make critical decisions apart from you. Save me from that.

I don't want these things to rule over me because that's what they do. Again, the book of Joshua. This time it is Joshua. This is when Joshua was tricked. Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions. The men of Gibeon had come and said, we're strangers in the land.

But they weren't. They were lying because Joshua was commanded to wipe out anybody in the promised land that was there when he got there. The Gibeonites concocted this plan where they were going to act like they were out of towners. And they said, look at our moldy bread and our worn out shoes. We've been just trekking around the desert trying to find peace. And Joshua and his leaders looked at all the provisions and said, yeah, that looks true to me. They did not ask the Lord. So we read about it.

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions, but they did not ask counsel of Yahweh. 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, 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 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 / 2024-05-21 09:11:15 / 2024-05-21 09:20:28 / 9

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