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The Tongue, Tomorrow and Today (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 22, 2024 6:00 am

The Tongue, Tomorrow and Today (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 22, 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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Earlier, the man was saying, I will do this, and I will do that, and I will do that, and about seven I wills in that one section of this parable in Luke chapter 12. The point is that he was exercising his will, self-will, not God's will. Controlling influence of his life was material gain, not spiritual gain. His bank book was his Bible.

His portfolio, not scripture, gave him courage. 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. Today, Pastor Rick continues in James chapter four with his message called The Tongue Tomorrow and Today. For 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 two 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 make it 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.

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.

But 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 you 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 oh 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. Tozier, he writes, the Christian religion has to do with God and man but its focal point is God, not man.

He annoys me so much, A.W. Tozier, 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 Tozier 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 have 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's 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 them this wasn't over. What kind of attitude he had. And 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. And 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. But 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. So Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live, and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. That brought about big trouble. But here's an even bigger one. In Numbers 14, this is after the spies came out of the land, said, of course, we can't do it.

The other two, we can do it. And God said, because of your unbelief, now you're going to live out in the desert for 40 years. Well, then a group of them said, well, okay, we repent. But it was not genuine repentance. It was worldly repentance.

Ah, we want a do-over. But God said, no do-over. And they decided they were going to attack anyway. And so Moses warned them, Numbers 14, verse 44, but they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant or Yahweh nor Moses departed from the camp.

Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites, who dwelt in the mountain, came down and attacked them and drove them back. The Bible makes habit of holding up a warning. It does not always hold up the warning multiple times, sometimes just once or twice. It's almost as though God is saying, I don't have to repeat myself.

You should get this. Don't be like that. Sometimes He illustrates it, sometimes He says it straight out.

Here it is illustrated for us. To not go and attack, to not preach, to not do anything without consulting the Lord. Some Christians don't get that.

And as a result, they become presumptuous and wonder why they are so fruitless. To fight without God is really to end up fighting against God. And again, as I mentioned, some will not make this easy for you to be led by the Spirit, but Christ has not left you or me or any other Christian with a do-it-yourself kit. It's with Him as God and we as followers of God. And this is good.

The alternatives are not good. Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches. You're just a branch. And He goes on to say, He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. It's very clear, is it not? He called one successful businessman a fool.

Why? Because he made his plans without God. He lived his life without God. Luke chapter 12, but God said to him, Fool, this night your soul will be required of you.

Then whose will those things be which you have provided? Earlier the man was saying, I will do this and I will do that and I will do that and about seven I wills and that one section of this parable in Luke chapter 12. The point is, is that he was exercising his will, self-will, not God's will. The controlling influence of his life was material gain, not spiritual gain. His bank book was his Bible. His portfolio, not scripture, gave him courage.

And in the end, it forsook him. In Deuteronomy, God was careful to warn Jews about this. He was saying to them essentially, look, I'm going to bless you a whole lot, but I don't want you going around here strutting around thinking that these blessings you have are because of you, because they're not. I could have left you in Egypt. I could have let you die in Egypt, but I did not. Deuteronomy 8 verse 11, beware that you do not forget Yahweh. And then he fast forward to verse 17. Then you say in your heart, my power and my might of my hand have gained me this wealth. You shall remember Yahweh your God for it is he who gives you power to get wealth. Boy, that's a real tough verse.

What could it mean? These are simple things of our faith that are profound. To keep the faith simple is to make it strong. But to start piling on our faith, all these things that don't belong, most of the time found in all often in tradition, man-made traditions, is to clobber the faith and end up with something that is neither simple nor profound. Granted, our own flesh and the interference from the unseen spiritual forces will interfere with reception from heaven. It's hard to learn the will of God, but that process of discovering God's will is beneficial to you. You may lose friends over it. Pastors have lost parishioners over it. I'm not doing this until God tells me to do it.

That can cause problems, as I mentioned earlier, with those who do not want you to wait and do not want you to do without. It takes discipline. Well, that's what the word disciple means, does it not? The word disciple means discipline. To be able to hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes, which means they're close enough to hurt you, too. Verse 16, but now you boast in your arrogance.

All such boasting is evil. Again, blunt, right? This is what you are. This is diagnosis. No beating around the bush with James.

He's about fed up with some of his behavior. Braggart talk. The self-dumb parade. You have the crown on your head. You have the scepter in your hand. You are riding the steed, not God, not Christ. We all have to watch out for this.

It's so subtle sometimes. Daniel, in chapter 4, talks about how Daniel had warned Nebuchadnezzar to stop it with the self-dumb parade. Stop acting like you are the one that has achieved all these things, Nebuchadnezzar.

God's going to deal with you if you don't. Well, Daniel 4, verse 30, the king spoke, saying, Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? The Bible says, While the words were still in his mouth, the voice came, O king, it has departed from you.

The kingdom is gone. And he went out of his mind. Pride can do that, drive you crazy, and others, too. But now you boast in your arrogance. Well, arrogance should not be found in Christians. So we started out saying that James had discovered behavior in professed Christians that did not match Christ, but it did match many of those outside of Christ, even those who are anti-Christ. And he did not sweep it under the rug. He took them to task. And he's been taking Christians to task ever since, every time we read from the letter of James.

I've compiled a list of verses that I plan to read when we conclude our study of James at the end of chapter 5 to just show how grateful we should be for how God has spoken through this man of God. He says, All such boasting is evil. Again, no beating around the bush.

It's evil. He doesn't say, Well, you know, it's not the best choice. He says, It's from hell.

That's what he means by that. As Paul said to the Galatians, This persuasion does not come from above. Don't say God did this.

This is you doing this. Psalm 10 verse 4, The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God. God is in none of his thoughts. Now I know, as most Christians that I know that attend here, I think they're very conscious, so you are very conscious of the Lord. But there are also those, not necessarily here, but other Christians, who just aren't until there's a need, until there's a problem, until they want something from God, until they're sick or they can't make their mortgage payment. Then all of a sudden God becomes important, it seems, on the surface, but not deep down. Romans 8 14, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God. To be led by the Spirit is going to cost you.

You are going to have to do without certain things. Now that does not mean you say to your children at Christmas Day, I didn't get any gifts because I wasn't led. It has nothing to do with my message. It just popped in my head and I figured I'd share it, but it did not go over well. We're working on getting a laugh track in the sanctuary for corny jokes.

Verse 17, Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Oh, man. James, can you just lighten up a little bit? No, we can't. Why?

Because your flesh doesn't lighten up a little bit. Again, he's emphasizing doing. Read with me, verse 17, Therefore, that's because of everything he's been saying. To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. He's talking about those things under the commandments of God. To know the will of God and to not act on it.

That is a sin. That is what James is telling us. Who in all the Bible is the poster boy for this one? Hmm, Jonah. Jonah is the personification of the violation of this verse.

He knew what he was supposed to do. The prophet who rebelled against the compassion and the mercy of God. Are there any Christians here who have rebelled against the compassion and mercy of God, not only on someone else, but maybe even on yourself? You have a grudge with God because you can't get something. And you're missing out on his compassion and his mercy because you're too busy complaining about what you don't have.

And you can't see it. The self blinds us, that carnal nature, the sinful nature we are born with. We are born with.

We are saddled with. It never helps us. It never dies on its own.

It never goes away on its own. When Jesus said, take up your cross, it's the cross to crucify your flesh, your self will, your sinful nature. It's so bad that God has said, you know, I want services, Sundays and midweek, to constantly battle this junk because without those things it gets the upper hand and the outcome is ugly. So I close with this verse with an encouragement again for those of you who genuinely want the blessings of the Lord on your life according to his word, but you struggle to understand the mercy of God is always there.

But to those of you who have come to dismiss the mercy of God, you seldom have ever show it to anybody else when you're under pressure. You need some conviction. You need fear.

You need the shadow of the razor strap. Fear makes people do things. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But I close with this verse. He has shown you, O man, what is good and what does Yahweh require of you, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 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 / 2024-05-22 08:53:37 / 2024-05-22 09:02:55 / 9

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