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The Greatest Word (Part B)

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

The Greatest Word (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 6, 2024 6:00 am

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

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Our secret weapon is, it's not just prayer, it's long-term prayer. You know anybody can make a prayer? I would encourage you, don't say to somebody, I'll pray for you and then don't. If you say, I will pray for you, back it up. What inspired you to say that in the first place? It should be prayer. It should be the same spirit that inspires you to carry it out. And if you say, well I'm just too busy, well that's the problem.

You're too busy. Now here's Pastor Rick with part two of his study called The Greatest Word in Acts chapter 13. And what about this and what about that? How about we just leave it with what about God and what He has said. The worst words you could ever hear, the worst words a human being can ever hear, I never knew you, depart from me. Matthew 7 verse 23. Can you imagine standing before God without forgiveness, a holy and righteous God with a flawless memory, with total recall? Matthew 25 30. Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. They will be weeping because they are cast out and they will be gnashing their teeth because they're angry. How dare you be God?

How dare you treat me like this? Those are the words when I came to Christ, discovering Christ, just amazed that this is the Lord. And when I got to that section, oh man, the conviction, mixed in at the same time with a sense of that's not going to happen to me. Or else He wouldn't be speaking to me right now. He's now my friend, He's now my Savior. I will not be cast out with weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What an illustration. This is what Paul was preaching for them to avoid. So people could avoid that day that our text brings up, through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.

Well, what's the opposite of that? What's the other side of the forgiveness of sins? It's just sin rests upon you. First Timothy, again Paul writing later in his life, he said this is a faithful saying and it is worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Because that's the only kind of people there are in the world, sinners.

And that day changed the world, whether they know it or not. So in the context of Jesus Christ and therefore reality, sin is the worst thing that has happened to me. Forgiveness is the greatest. For it kills the wages of sin, which is death. Forgiveness instills hope.

It invigorates the soul. That's the story of Zacchaeus. He was well hated by his countrymen in his neighborhood. He was rich. And yet Jesus singled him out of the crowd. He said to Zacchaeus, it's time for me to eat at your house with you.

And that was a revolutionary moment for Zacchaeus. Salvation came to that house, said Jesus. He said the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Sin, the worst that has befallen us, forgiveness, the greatest response. God's forgiveness is the outflow of God's love and action. God is love. Forgiveness shows me that.

Victorious against all the odds. Where sin thrives, grace. And here, here in that verse from Romans 6, grace is another word for forgiveness. Because grace has multiple applications and meanings. Kindness, undeserved kindness.

But that doesn't always go far enough. Sometimes grace means, you know, you're well balanced and fluid. But then it can also mean forgiveness as it does there in Romans 6. Where sin abounded, where sin thrives, grace or forgiveness did much more.

But it is an exclusive membership. You've got to come through Christ. Revelation 1 verse 5, to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.

Question. Are you the one who will report to Jesus before his great white throne, the very place no one wants to be? Only the unforgiven will stand before the great white throne of judgment without forgiveness. Jesus will only condemn you by then.

There'll be no more opportunity. Revelation 20 verse 12, then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away and there was found no place for them. No forgiveness. That great word, that large word, forgiven. Christ ever ready to give it, to extend it, to bestow forgiveness on a sinner who doesn't deserve it. And no sinner deserves the grace of God.

But again, Satan always ready also to steal these things. Jesus gave us parables. The sower went to sow and some of the sea fell by the wayside.

The beaten path where everybody goes, where all the traffic is. And the birds of the air, they came and they plucked up the seeds. And metaphorically, the birds of the air are Satan in that parable and the seeds, the word of God.

Satan is ever ready to sneer at the promises of God so that when someone goes to a church on a resurrection Sunday and they hear the word of God and their hearts are moved towards repentance, Satan will follow up with them and steal everything. Are you just emotional? You don't believe that, do you? What about this?

What about that? Until finally the word has been plucked out of your heart. Forgiveness is not yours and you will stand before the great white throne of judgment and it will be too late. There's no more appeal at that point.

There's no more opportunity. God tells two stories in his word, particularly in what we call the gospels. Stories about him forgiving sinners. Not only by abstract reasoning but concrete illustration. There's a paradox. Concrete illustration. There's a man paralyzed that his friends wanted to bring to Jesus so that he could be healed.

But the crowds were too dense. They couldn't get into the house where Jesus was so they came up with an idea. They would go up on the roof and in that culture, in that time, almost all the rooftops were flat. So they went up to the roof and they began to peel it open and lowered their friend down in the midst of Jesus. Luke chapter 5 picks up the outcome of this event. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, man, your sins are forgiven. Well, there were those there that would sneer at this.

They belong to the deep state of their culture. Who does this man think he is that he can forgive sin? When Jesus said, well, anybody can say your sins are forgiven, but not anybody can make you get up and walk if you've been paralyzed.

The purpose of the healing was not just to heal somebody, to demonstrate that he was Messiah, but to demonstrate that he has the power to not only take a paralyzed soul and have him walk, but to take his sins away, to forgive his sins. Then there was a woman prostitute. She couldn't stop weeping at the feet of Christ. She never heard anybody preach like that before. She never saw that kind of love in another human being. She had never been in the presence of such greatness without even thinking about it.

She just knew she was there. The religious leader whose house it was that she was in weeping at the feet of Christ, he had just as much dirt on him as she did on her. But Christ, being the gentleman that he is, bypassed that, and he said to her, Luke chapter 7, 48, your sins are forgiven. This is what he wants to do.

This is what will make that great white throne judgment so intense that they trampled, they trampled the grace and goodness of God in the face of truth. Man knows he's dirty. Man knows his conscience is not right. He needs no help. He discovers that on his own. He may get a little help, but then he begins to build up barriers to keep his conscience from being disturbed.

And one of the ways, as he tries to silence the voice of truth from scripture, and we who love the Lord, we face this all the time. Our secret weapon is, it's not just prayer, it's long-term prayer. You know, anybody can make a prayer. I would encourage you, don't say to somebody, I'll pray for you, and then don't. If you say, I will pray for you, back it up. What inspired you to say that in the first place should be the same spirit that inspires you to carry it out. And if you say, well, I'm just too busy, well, that's the problem. You're too busy. So that's just a word for all of us. When I say that, there are times I won't say to somebody, I'll pray for you, because I have no intention to, for whatever reason.

Not that I dislike them, but maybe it's like, I already have 40-11 that I got to go with. I'm just overwhelmed here. Don't judge me. I'm trying the best I can just like you.

Well, maybe you're not trying as best as you should. Love from God only finds satisfaction in the soul by that single word, forgiveness. The words of Christ from his cross are documented for us. They're recorded in seven statements. The first three hours, he spent six hours on the cross. The first three hours, he agonized before men. The statements had to do with people.

The last three hours, he agonized before God. Now talking to his Father in front of people. We'll start with the third one, then we'll come back to the first and second, because for our consideration, they're the ones that have the punch. The third one was woman, behold your son, and then to John the apostle, behold your mother. And so he's taking care of those relationships on earth that he's going to leave behind now.

And he says to Mary, his mother, that John's going to take care of you, and he says to John, you know what to do. The fourth word, when he now turns his attention in agony before his father, he says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Well, because you have taken all the sin of humanity on you, and I'll have no part with that.

But that's going to circle back around. Then he cried out, I thirst. His humanity was being dismissed in stages. And then he cried out, it is finished. I've done everything I need to do. All that I said through the prophets that would happen concerning the salvation of man, I've completed it. There's nothing you can add to salvation.

You can't earn it, you receive it. And then the last word from the cross was, father, into your hands, I commit my spirit. You see, it went right back around, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Father, into your hands, because the work's done now. The sin is not upon him anymore. And he dismissed his spirit. Had he not done that, he would not have died.

No man takes my life, I give it, he said. Nobody could do these things. Nobody would follow somebody who'd said these things and could not back them up with a resurrection.

But he did. He hung on that cross disowned and dishonored between two outlaws. So hated for defying that culture that they would not even let him die in peace. Now they won't let him live in peace. They taunted him.

At the behest, again, of their deep state influences, they taunted him. If you're the Christ, get us off this cross, because it's all about us. His first and second words from the cross were words to forgive.

Don't lose the point of they being his first and second words as he hung on the cross. They were centered on forgiveness. First, to his crucifiers, the ones who hammered the spikes into him, Father, forgive. Forgive them. They do not know what they do. They don't know they're crucifying the only begotten Son of God. They went on to gamble for his clothes, further mock him, but Maxhew makes a strong case in the end for their salvation.

He makes a couple of statements that are worth investigating. Then to the criminal. Well, there were two criminals with him. One was dismissed, Barabbas, a revolutionary or insurrectionist, one trying to attack the Romans. He was dismissed and Christ died in his place just like he died in your place and my place. But these other two outlaws, and outlaws they were, to them he said, to one of them who asked, who at first taunted him and then came back and said, can you grant that I be with you in your kingdom?

And Jesus said, I promise you, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise, which is his kingdom. That assuredly I say to you, you will be with me is forgiveness. I'm forgiving you.

You're just mocking me a second ago. You've got a life littered with rebellion against me, but now you've come. Now you recognize I'll take that because I'm ready to forgive.

I'm eager to pardon. The other guy did not make it. He opted out. He will stand before that white throne. It's too late for him. But it's not too late for anyone who hears a sermon like this. If these could be forgiven, those crucifiers and that criminal, if they could be forgiven at the cross of Christ, then anyone could be forgiven at the cross of Christ, a place where he died in my place and took my punishment. Luke chapter 15, likewise I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents because he's been snatched out of Satan's hand. Satan's handiwork has been shattered in that individual. Even if you go on to struggle in your life, and you will with sin and temptation and all those other things that God detests, he still loves you and you're still forgiven if you abide with him.

If you don't deny him, I should say it that way. Romans 5, God demonstrates his own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Well, Paul, he was out crucifying sinners when Christ saved him. So he can make that statement, God demonstrates his own love towards us and that while we were still sinners, if God waited for you to be good enough to be saved, you'd never be good enough to be saved. You'd be lost.

You're done. There's nothing about you from heaven's perspective that is good enough to be saved. The goodness is in Christ, but God is love. The outcome of that is forgiveness to those who recognize him for who he says he is. Is there anyone listening who is ready to ask Jesus for forgiveness, who has not asked him for forgiveness? Maybe there's some lost soul watching online. Maybe some unbeliever has been brought to church and you're ready.

Maybe somebody will listen to this message some other time when it's posted online. I'm going to close with this little story. The ancients, they had a legend about a magnetic mountain claiming it had power to draw ships from afar off that were on the sea and men traveling by land. While theirs was a myth, ours is a fact. We have a magnetic mountain, the mountain of the Christian faith on Calvary. I don't believe the place we was crucified was on a hilltop other than Jerusalem itself being a hill.

Christ said not long before his time on the cross, before his time of crucifixion, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to myself. There's our magnetic mountain. There's a fact. It's not a myth. It's not a legend. It's a fact.

It's a legend born out of fact. So all who in the ages to come shall be drawn to this Christ. We have witnessed that in our history, especially Western civilization, drawn by the magnetic power of his death on the cross.

How crazy is that? A strange thing is that, that the cross should have power to draw men to it. The place of crucifixion, the place of death. Had these words come from one who did not rise again, that would have been the end. Christianity would have never been. Any hope for it would have died at the tomb unless he rose again. It would have been instantly ridiculed.

It was still ridiculed, but not based on fact. Who would be drawn to anything associated with such a death? The cross is a natural repellent. It was to someone crucified. It was to someone who was watching the person hanging there crucified. And again, when the Romans crucified a person, they posted him at eye level, not up high.

They wanted you to look into his face. They wanted you to see the blood and the agony and the grotesque picture that was before them, and they crucified many people. Of course, you've got two other people crucified beside him. So for Jesus to say, if I am lifted up, speaking of the cross, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to myself.

The invitation would be sent out. Mary and the lovers of Jesus, they stood with her. They saw the whole thing. And yet they continued to preach the cross of Christ after he rose again. This is the paradox of Calvary in the Latin, Golgotha in the Hebrew.

He draws those by the Holy Spirit to God so that God can forgive them so that they can be with God forever. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 says, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise. Not the foolish things, but the foolish things by the world's estimation, not God's. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. So when Pilate hangs over the head of Christ, the king of the Jews, look what we've done to the king of the Jews.

Regardless of what his intention was, that's how it was taken, as an insult. This is a fine thing for a king to be crucified. It's a foolish thing of the world. God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

The days we live in right now are darkening days, and the Antichrist to come is almost here. If the loss will not come within the walls of the church to hear about being forgiven, then the church must seek them outside of her walls. America is your homeland mission field. Make no mistake about that.

Yeah, there are foreign missions, but there's also a homeland mission. And to be useful on this field of missionary work, you're going to have to be faithful, and you're going to have to be brave, and you're going to have to know what you're talking about when it comes to salvation. And it is the easiest part of Christianity to understand the crucifixion, the resurrection of Christ, the salvation offered to sinners. We'll close back with our text, Acts chapter 13, verse 38. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins, and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things, is saved from all things. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to Once more, that's We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. You can also connect with us through YouTube. We hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue spending time reading God's word and learning together. Make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick again right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-06 08:08:48 / 2024-06-06 08:17:36 / 9

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