We see it with other things than just our eyes. You don't need my eyeballs to see what God is doing. I have a spirit that is alive.
I can see in other ways. Fanny Cosby, who wrote so many hymns that we sing, in hymn books. She was blind. And she just loved on the Lord.
And of course, she's not the only one. Peter, in his letter, one of his letters, they followed Christ, they were chosen by Christ to lead the church, and they wrote things to the church, and the Holy Spirit has preserved them, and they have become scripture. The Bible. And now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called Urgent Needs, as he teaches through Acts chapter 4.
I'll pause here again. Maybe you're not a believer in Jesus Christ, maybe you don't get it yet, that Christians want to follow everything we're taught to do from scripture. We don't say, never mind God, I'll run my own life. Then he is not Lord. See, that word Lord means he's the master.
He's the one that directs my steps and my light. When David brought the Ark of the Covenant, that chest that represented the presence of God to the Jewish people, when he brought it to Jerusalem, they walked six steps, and they stopped, and they worshiped and sacrificed unto the Lord. Six is that number in scripture that speaks of man, and it was David saying, we only go but so far, without worship. We've got to stop to worship. And David, the consummate man of worship in the scripture, we'll be covering him on Wednesdays, where we discovered he is the most named human being in all the Bible. Well, so you're getting these scripture verses, that's because that's the authority behind what we pursue as believers.
They're not just these little snacks we throw out and say, isn't that cute, should be on a t-shirt. This is God's word to us, and it's to direct our lives. And when God says, if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven.
We quake in our shoes, or cowboy boots as I prefer, because it's true. The mercy of God is something that is not to be dismissed. Verse 33, and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Think about how many believers, since these ancient Christians came along, have suffered and died for preaching the gospel because they believed this, because they fulfilled this. If we were looking for a verse to summarize the entire book of Acts, this would be a good one, would it not?
Let's see it again. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. The apostles are referred to 30 times in this book of Acts. This is why it is mostly referred to the Acts of the Apostles, interchangeable with the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
Either one is fine, because these men were chosen by Jesus Christ himself, and it is showing us the actions they took after Christ was risen and then ascended to heaven. These are the actions of the followers of Christ. It has 29 chapters. If you look in your Bible, 28 of them are posted. We are the 29th chapter.
Every church after the apostles is the 29th chapter of Acts. It is still going, the Acts of the followers, the disciples of Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful book, and we haven't even started yet.
It is going to intensify very much. It would be easier to read these things that are coming than it would be to have lived them. So, here again the emphasis is on preaching the resurrection. That's what is clearly stated, because the resurrection of Jesus Christ encapsulates multiple doctrines.
The sovereignty of God, the love of God. Because you have to say, well, what precipitated? What happened before the resurrection? Well, there was a death. There was a death of God the Son.
Why? For sinners, to pay their penalty. Because we're all sinners, every single one. There are sinners that are saved by grace, and there are sinners who are not saved by grace. There are saints, and there ain'ts. And a saint is someone separated by God. It's not someone that the church voted on.
Okay, this guy, we really like what he did. We're going to make them a saint. That is unbiblical. That is anti-scriptural.
And you say, I'm offended by that. Well, then you're offended by the scripture. A saint in the scripture, when Paul says, to the saints at Colosseum, they were living individual Christians. When he says to the saints at Corinth, they were Christians who were a problem.
You know that emoji with the hand over the face like, oh boy. That goes on Corinth, because that was the church. Thank God for that letter. But I tell you, I would have moved out of Corinth and moved to Philadelphia, not Pennsylvania. Philadelphia and Asia Minor. I don't know if I would have wanted to go to Smyrna where they were killing Christians, but all right, well that's just a little side note. Maybe you would have stayed in Corinth. They were kooky. I mean, not all of them, but a great many of them had hijacked the church, and they broke Paul's heart. So much so, one of the Corinthian letters we don't even have.
It wasn't preserved, and Paul just, you know, it was a real tough fight for him. Anyway, their eyewitness account made them what? Witnesses. We see it with other things than just our eyes. They don't need my eyeballs to see what God is doing. I have a spirit that is alive.
I can see in other ways. Fanny Cosby, who wrote so many hymns that we sing, in hymn books. She was blind, and she just loved on the Lord, and of course, she's not the only one. Peter, in his letter, one of his letters. See, these men, they followed Christ.
They were chosen by Christ to lead the church, and they wrote things to the church, and the Holy Spirit has preserved them, and they have become Scripture, the Bible. Well, Peter saw Jesus, used to walk with him, dine with him, saw Jesus angry, saw him happy, saw him in all of the facial expressions and mannerisms, gestures that go with that. And yet, he finds himself amongst believers who never met Jesus Christ, never saw him with their eyeballs, but loved him just as much as Peter loved him. And this had to have been something that one day in the congregation, singing with the congregation, realizing these people loved my Lord, and they'd never met him. 1 Peter 1, verse 8, whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see him, yet believing you rejoiced with joy inexpressible and full of glory. He saw the glory.
He saw these people are at it. When we were singing, we're not singing to the ceiling. We're not singing to the singers. We're not singing to some lover on earth, a romantic ballad, not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that. We're singing to the one we love, Christ, God the Son on the throne of God and here right now, and that's what we believe, and we're not ashamed of it. In fact, not only are we not ashamed, we're eager to tell it.
We're excited about it. And great grace was upon them all. And grace is love in action, among other things. It is undeserved kindness. When you show grace, you're not saying, listen, you deserve this niceness I'm showing you. Most of the time, you're saying, not every time, but many times, you're saying, you don't deserve this, but here.
Maybe you're just letting an insult fly by when Jesus had turned the other cheek. That's grace. Psalm 90, verse 17, and let the beauty of Yahweh, our God, be upon us and establish the work of our hands for us.
Yes, establish the work of our hands. Oh, man, dependence on God, and it's painful sometimes. However, with all this grace flying around, there's chapter five. We're ending chapter four this morning, I think.
How much time we got here? Anyway, chapter five's coming. Every time in the Bible you find grace and love of God, there's the rod. There's the stick. Like, don't forget, if you abuse this, I'm going to use it. Now, you parents, the rod is not only for striking, it's the rule. If you discipline them early, you won't have to deal with it so much later on.
They'll get the rule. You know, physical punishment sometimes is necessary for on a child, but the ideal is to have them respect the rod. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Not only is the rod a staff used on the wolf, it can be used on me, too. Not to the same degree of intensity, of course. So, as we're talking about the giving and the loving, in chapter five we get these two Christians that want some of the attention, and they lie to Peter, they lie about who they are, and they are struck dead.
And we'll open that one up next week. But verse 34, "'Nor was there anyone among them who lacked, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,' verse 35, and laid them at the apostles' feet, and they distributed to each as anyone had need." Well, that's not going to last, but for the moment it was very necessary. In Deuteronomy, Moses promised material blessings to reward those who were obedient to Yahweh. And again, Yahweh, Jehovah, Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. The goal became amongst the Jews this need to acquire material wealth as a sign of God's blessing. Not all of them, but many of them felt, if I'm obedient, God will bless me with material gains. And that will be proof that God is blessing me and I am in favor with him.
Now, there's elements of truth to that, but certainly not the whole truth. Lazarus died a beggar, and the angels took him to Abraham's bosom. Couldn't take him to heaven yet, to paradise. Christ had not yet died in that parable.
Whereas the rich man was in hell, and he just, you know, there tormented. So, you know, the context belongs to everything. Anyway, if I say, hey, just make sure when you leave here, you drive between the lines. Well, it doesn't mean in the wrong lane.
I mean, going the opposite direction. This context is very, it's critical to understanding, of course. So, material wealth gave many of these Israelites a sense of security and self-righteousness. They felt they were better than other people. And this explains the arrogance of the Sanhedrin, those who had Jesus arrested and got Rome to crucify him. Their thinking at this time was summarized, whom the Lord loves, he makes rich.
Sounds familiar? Still thinking, taught in false churches today. Many gave alms to beggars as to gain merit, favor with God.
But here's the point. The Christians here are giving out of love. They're not giving to get. They're giving to help. That's what they're getting in return. They're not saying, well, if we give, then God's going to bless that seed offering, brother.
If I put a dollar in, he's going to give me a hundred dollars back. Why should God do that? Anyway, verse 34. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked.
So the material needs were met. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. But the clock is a ticking. They need to get to work.
And evidently, they don't. Eventually, because this is unsustainable, and it becomes a hindrance to preaching. When we get to chapter 6, we'll see that. The people will be distracted from the word, and it will be the loving welfare that they begin to look for. And Peter, under the Spirit, says, uh-uh, we're not going to be doing that anymore. We're going to give ourselves the word into prayer.
This is a fundamental. I have noticed many times Christians who are into, you know, pantries and soup kitchens kind of a thing. You know, good work. Nobody's disputing that. I'm not. But if you're doing it without the word, then I have a big problem with it. And if you give the word, you'll have less people to minister to in that way, because they'll become stronger. And the ones that I've met, well, two that I can remember here, that, well, I do this, and, you know, maybe the church could use it. And, you know, I mentioned in the Scripture, and they just kind of dismiss that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. How does that work? I mean, this is not Mother Teresa's paradise, where you can just, never mind what God's Word says, I'm going to help people who need things. In fact, I'm going to help them believe in things that God forbids, if it makes them comfortable. That's the kind of thinking that we're not with, and that brings persecution on us. People think, oh, you're not loving? Shut up. You talk about I'm not loving.
What is that, your secret weapon? It's like, once you tell me I'm, you know, we're seeing this with these people who are saying, I was born this, but I'm now going to be that, they, them. We're seeing them, if you don't agree with them, somehow you're not loving. Well, how does that, a one-way street? I mean, are you not loving by not agreeing with me that Jesus Christ is Lord, and you're a sinner, and you need to repent and abandon that? Aren't you the loveless one towards Him? Well, of course, reason doesn't matter in those arenas, does it?
But it does to us, and we stand our ground, and just telling the truth does not make us loveless, though telling the truth requires love, or else you're just clobbering people. Well, there's no mention here of the apostles as they oversee these funds. There's no mention of the people specifying where the funds are to be spent.
There are no strings attached. You can't give to the church and say, this is for. You give to the church, and the leaders take it from there. That is the biblical template.
If you say, well, my church does it differently, well, that's them, but this church tries to follow the template as we understand it. If they understand it a different way, then they should get some of my CDs, and, no, I'm kidding. Yeah, anyway, there's more to say, but Jesus said this. When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. If you give it, don't say, oh, and by the way, just you give it, and you leave it with the Lord. It is a gift to Him.
You may be doing it on behalf of people, but it is still to Jesus. When you did it to the least of these, you did it unto me. There's this sort of a story that a man gets to heaven, and he sees Jesus wearing his jacket, and he says, where'd you get that? And he says, you gave it to me.
When? You remember you saw that beggar that had no clothes on? You took your jacket off, and you put it on him? You did it to the least of these, you did it unto me. That's a good little story. I should take credit for that, but there's no money in it, so why bother?
Anyway, that's a lampoon. Anyway, this is not socialism. It was love. It was not forced, number one, and it's not communism either. They only contributed as need arose and in preparation for need voluntarily.
And they continued to grow their personal income and spend it as they wanted to. So there's anybody that says, well, this is communism, and no, it's not. There are times when people do things like that as Christians, you can use judo on them. It's somewhere in the Bible you can use judo on people that you don't agree with. For those of you who suppose that tithing was for the Old Testament, here's the New Testament pattern. Sell everything and give it to the church. Yeah.
You're a cheapskate and you need to be shoved, if that's the truth. And Joseph, who is also named Barnabas, verse 36, by the apostles, which is translated son of encouragement, a Levite of the country of Cyprus, verse 37, having land sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. This is a critical character in the New Testament and in all the Bible. Humanly speaking, had Barnabas not been who he was, there'd be no Apostle Paul as we know him. There would have been a Christian living in Cilicia, doing church, and that would have been pretty much it.
So we'll open that up. We will comment that the name Josès here is the Greek version of the Hebrew Joseph. The name Joseph means God will add. That's the idea behind the word. And this man added to every environment he went into, and he is worth studying and learning from, and he will rebuke all of us without even trying, in a wonderful way, not a harsh way.
So I limit my comments on him. It says that the disciples named him encouragement. They noticed him because he could build people up and the disciples had enough discouragers that this guy stood out. Huh?
What? You mean he's actually encouraging us? You think because these men were handpicked by Christ and did miracles that they did not have those snarky, snide remarks go their way? Jesus would have never done it like that. You know, they just, you know, and so here's Barnabas like, man, the Lord would have done it like that.
I mean, he must have told you how to do it. He just comes with good news. He just brings sunlight into the room. The other ones, they're closing blinds and nailing them shut.
Empty barrels make the most noise. And so if you're sensitive, you'll pick up that here's a man that's actually encouraging us, and God takes notice of that. So does Satan.
Remember the armor of the Christian who your flesh is armor to for every action is a reaction. You know, Newton's the third law of physics. You know, there's John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace. There's Isaac Newton, who was a Christian and came up with these laws of figures, physics. And then there's Fig Newton, whom we all love. So, all right.
A Levite of the country of Cyprus. He and Paul, then he and his cousin Mark will visit Cyprus. We're out of time. We'll get to this as we move forward. His first visit with Paul was powerful. His second visit with Mark came from a near, from a big fight that he had with Paul. And we have to open these things up.
So, I'm going to close with this. Catch the emphatic events that happened after the apostles prayed in verse 31. The place quaked. When they prayed for boldness, the place shook. And they were all filled with the Spirit in verse 31. They spoke the word of God boldly. In verse 32, there was unity in the church.
There was availability. You know, if you say, oh, look, I really, I can serve the church. I do this and I do that.
But you don't make yourself available, then it's a wasted talent. Great power to witness, verse 33. Great grace upon them, verse 33. Contentment, in verse 34, and generosity throughout, here in verse 35. And so, when Barnabas became a Christian, he gave his life to Christ. He gave his money also to Christ, not all of it.
We pay attention to such men. Acts 13, 2. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
It was up last night saying, maybe I should do a topical on this. I was so moved by the things that were just coming out of the Scripture about this man. Anyway, let's pray. Our Father, your word, so exciting, so real.
And yet, there's still that life to live that also is real, but not always so exciting. You are the one that has these two meet together. And that's where work is hammered out. And we thank you for the privilege. We who believe thank you for the privilege to serve you, to be used by you. Indeed, may Christ Jesus in our heart increase. And may our own self ways decrease. May you increase.
May we decrease. If you've been listening and you've not opened your heart to Jesus Christ, why not? What about Christ makes you put him off? Is it the appetite for sin? Perhaps you've followed some lie about Christ and you don't believe he is who he says he is.
You have a chance. You have a chance to have all your sin, past, present, and future, washed away. The recurrent grace of Christ. But it only is for those who will come to receive it.
You cannot earn it, but you can receive it. If you want Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you want to be a child of faith according to the word of God, then come. Open your heart. Make this prayer with me right now. God will receive you.
You will be his. If you say, Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I've broken and break your commandments. And I come to you and you alone to be forgiven.
Because only you died for me. Only you rose again for me. And only you will bring me into heaven. Now, Father, if anyone has made this prayer this morning, may they act on it. May they not be ashamed of it. May they come forward and share with the pastors. I've opened my heart to Christ and accepted him as my Lord and my Savior. These things we commit to your hands in Jesus' name.
Amen. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-27 02:37:39 / 2023-03-27 02:47:31 / 10