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Simon the Cyrenian – A Good Day to Be African (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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October 12, 2022 6:00 am

Simon the Cyrenian – A Good Day to Be African (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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October 12, 2022 6:00 am

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When these men were writing scriptures, they were writing to other human beings, to other sinners, to other saved sinners, to people who had jobs and who were slaves and who had horrible things, sicknesses and all sorts of problems like we have today.

They were writing to each other. They weren't always saying, well, I better say who Rufus is for 2000 years later so we can all understand this. The Holy Spirit says, I'll take care of that.

And he does because as he tells us in Ezekiel, I've done nothing without a cause. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.

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. Now here's Pastor Rick in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 with the conclusion of his study called Simon the Cyrenian, a good day to be African. When Moses was told to take Isaac to Moriah, which would become Jerusalem.

And here, here is the crowning moment. He had missed his teachings, his healings, his miracles. He wasn't there at the Passover table when Jesus institutes the communion for us and he does it in a matter-of-fact kind of way. He's just talking with them and they're eating and he tears the bread and he says, take this as my body, do this in remembrance. He doesn't say, hey, everybody can I have your attention? It's just a matter of fact.

It's commonplace to him. It's a part of dining to commune with God. And then he says, takes the glass after and when you drink this, remember me, the blood that was shed for you. Simon missed that. He missed the great Hallel, the Hallelujah to God, those psalms that the Jews would sing at the Passover season. He sung those songs, but not with Jesus.

There was no connection for him. Simon's first view of Christ was a distorted one, one of a defeated felon and failure. That oftentimes is the same view we have before we become Christians. That's why we don't become Christians.

We humans. We see Christ as a failure or something else, a distorted view. Because once you get a good look at Jesus Christ, you're never the same again.

Even if you reject him. I believe this was the case with Nero. I believe Nero received the gospel from Paul because God told him, you will confess me before season.

I take that literally. And it was about that time that Nero went wild. Yes, his mentors were out of the way.

There was no one there to constrain him. But deeper than that, there was a man that heard the gospel, looking the apostle Paul in the face and he rejected it. And Nero was never the same ever again. It's just which side are we going to be on? And so he did not know that he was looking at the sacrifice.

You catch that. He's going to Jerusalem to sacrifice the Passover as part of this worship experience. He's looking at the sacrifice.

He doesn't even know it. This is the Lamb of God. This is God's substitution. This is the one dying in my place as the scripture brings out so clearly in so many places in our New Testament. The great one, is it not appropriate that this is in the chapter of our resurrected bodies of the rapture? In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians and the third verse, Paul says, I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the word of God. I love that.

And I know you do too. And so let's kind of look at how this is in the word of God from just one place. Leviticus chapter 1. That first chapter with the Holocaust, the whole burnt offering is given to the Jew as to how it is to be presented. And in that section, here's the specification in the 11th verse of Leviticus 1. He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before Jehovah.

And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood all around the place of sacrifice, the altar. Now I have no doubt that Golgotha is located. It's known today as Gordon's Calvary.

General Gordon, the British general, is the one that pinpointed this is the spot. And the key feature for it being that spot and not the other place that the Roman Catholics say, no, this is a spot, is this verse. Gordon's Calvary is north of where the altar would have been according to the scripture. He being the high priest, his blood was sprinkled around the place of sacrifice, outside the city to the north. When Moses wrote that scripture, he knew nothing of Simon the African, nothing about him. When Simon the African took up the cross, he knew nothing about. He was part of the fulfillment of Leviticus 1.11 in its relationship to the Messiah.

Amazing. Life comes at us fast. No one can carry the cross of Christ and remain the same, and that is one of the reasons why I also believe that this man, Simon a Cyrenian, is the same Simon the Cyrenian known as Niger found in Acts chapter 13. And again, he is the father of Alexander and Rufus and the mother whom Paul said, your mom and my mom. And so all of this making Simon the conscript, that man who came out from the field that day who would have bypassed it all, all of it making him into someone else. Again, he almost missed it.

It's that close. Look with me again at our text, Matthew 15 at the bottom, it says, and he was coming out of the country and passing by. I don't want to see that, but the centurion saw him. God saw him. You see, it reminds us of the story when Jesus said, I have to go to Samaria.

Why? Well, because that's where the Samaritan woman at the well was, and Jesus needed to save her soul and her village. Jesus needed to save Simon too, and he knew he was going to save Simon, and he knew this would not be a waste, and he knew the man that touched his cross on this day at that moment would be touched by him in return.

Not against his will, but with his will. He knew Simon was obedient. He knew Simon was looking for truth. He knew Simon came out of the religions of Africa.

He came into Judaism. It made much more sense. It was closer to what he knew was the truth, and it hadn't even begun yet. Simon lingered long enough after taking that cross to Calvary, after it was then transferred to the soldiers and Christ was placed upon it, and then after nailing him to this cross and erecting it, and remember, when the Romans crucified, they wanted the public to see it. There was nothing about it that was shrouded.

Everything about it was public. It was supposed to be a deterrent to crime, and so when they crucified them, they wanted them to be eye to eye with anyone who stood in front of them. It was not up on a hill. It was in this quarry from where they cut the very stone, probably to build the temple or at least contribute to its building, certainly to the houses of the city and the roadways and the walls, and so that means he would have not only have heard the words had he lingered at Calvary, and I believe he did, but he would have also caught the facial expressions that went with the words. All of this would have been drilling deep down into him. He would have been getting in there, touched by the suffering. His humanity was stirred. It might have been one of the reasons why he was passing by. He didn't want to see this. I don't want to see that stuff.

I saw it before. It was disgusting what Romans do with condemned criminals. God didn't let him get away, and while he was touched by the suffering, he was further touched by the sacrifice. How many of us in our past knew about the cross of Christ, and maybe we felt, you know, it's not a good story, but then once we became believers, we had a whole other view.

Everything was sweeter, brighter, more brilliant. Everything reached deeper into us. When you mention the cross, we perk right up. We understand that it's a cross of Christ, none like it. It's my cross. That's mine. Nobody else's.

Get your own. And so he was touched by the sacrifice. As I said, Simon was looking at the sacrifice in Christ Jesus. He was looking at Isaiah 53 right in front of him. Isaiah 53, verse 3, he is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and we hid, as it were, our faces from him. Is that not Simon walking by, not looking? He's passing by, that little thing put in there by the Holy Spirit to connect to Isaiah 53. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and we hid, as it were, our faces.

That's what Cain did. He hid from the sacrifice and the blood and the gore. God's holiness flashed out like the flame on the altar. There was no flame at the cross, no physical flame, but there was fire.

There was much of it. And so, again, we return to this idea that over 20 years later, since that great day when it was good to be African, because had he not been African, somebody else would have been picked. We see his own family won to Christ. Again, Romans 16, 13, greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother in mine. So, you know, again, the Bible, when these men were writing scriptures, they were writing to other human beings, to other sinners, to other saved sinners, to people who had jobs and who were slaves and who had horrible things, sicknesses and all sorts of problems like we have today.

They were writing to each other. They weren't always saying, well, I better say who Rufus is for 2,000 years later so we can all understand this. The Holy Spirit says, I'll take care of that, and he does, because as he tells us in Ezekiel, I've done nothing without a cause. When God writes a name down, there's something happening.

It's for us to find out. And so little did he know that day that he was being identified with Christ's cross. Who doesn't want that? What Christian does not want to be identified with the cross of Christ? So much so, we wear it around our neck, we put it on our jewelry, we inscribe it on our books, we have it everywhere. The cross of Christ, we want to be identified. That's our identity. That's who we are. That is what has happened to us. It is no longer I who live, it's Christ who lives in me.

The cross, on the cross, off the cross, out of the tomb. That's who we are identified with. That is what is happening to this African man. I think when Luke wrote Simon, who is called Niger, I think it was a term of endearment and respect.

I think everybody knew who he was talking about. He's still alive. He's in ministry in Antioch now.

He never went back to Cyrenia. He did not stay in Jerusalem. He went to Antioch where the action was. He got away from the uppity Jerusalem crowd and he found Jews in Antioch that were humming with the Holy Spirit. And if you know your New Testament, if you know your book of Acts, the church at Antioch was the church to go to.

That was the church in Philadelphia before the church in Philadelphia in the Revelation chapter 3 came to life. They were fasting and waiting on God. What does that mean? They just want, God, what do you want? What do you want from us? Just tell us what you want. And God said, alright, separate Paul and Barnabas.

Your number one and your number two. Send them out of the church. What? Why don't we send Meneus? It's a hard name, right? Send him out of here.

The number one and the number two? God should have also said, and I didn't mention Mark, don't bring him. They did bring Mark. And that was a flash of failure, but only a flash.

Mark recovers. And after that moment, every Christian that ever fails can look at Mark and say, if he can fail and recover, so can I. That's why God let that happen. I love the scripture.

It is so, it is, it is so right. The problem is, is that these things do get in deep to us, but then God stops at a certain point and says, now you have to carry out the rest. That's the part I don't like. I want to just stay huddled with my books. I just want to study and be left alone at the beach.

I want to have servants bring me grapes, keep the air conditioner running, and just take care of me. That's the flash. And it's a hateful opponent and it's very serious. You ever see, well you have, a policeman going after somebody? He means business. He's focused. You say he's going to get him.

And you're secretly saying, I'm glad it's not me. Because we would have a hot pursuit. In many ways, that is the flash. It's going after us. It's got its lights and sirens blaring. It's coming after us. And we're not guilty. And it's coming after us. And all we need to know is that it's not the law.

It's the flash. And we can go after it also. We can turn the tables in this situation. We can force hell to understand. We mean business too.

And that's why they fasted there in Jerusalem. I don't like fasting. I try not to do it. But I do.

This is not confession time. But I haven't in a while. So I'm listening to Alan Redpath.

Let me just random, put the CD in. We have him in the bookstore, incidentally. And he's all fired up and I'm saying, I'm glad I don't preach like that. You might say, yeah, you haven't heard yourself. But he's talking about fasting. And I said, oh, great.

How come I know this is God? How come? You know, he said, look, he doesn't say bro to me. He says, you don't have to do this. And he just walks away. Oh, man. You know what that means?

I got the book right here. He didn't say anything because he knows I already know. He teaches me like an adult.

Who does he think he is? And so I'm manning up to it again. All right, you know, I'll pick that thing that I like the most and ask somebody, one of the pastors, to not do it for a week. Well, you've got to delegate. But anyway, God knows how to get us and he gets me too. He doesn't, when he sees me, he doesn't say, good morning, pastor. It's like, you know, somebody who goes and becomes, you know, the president of the United States or any kingdom, their mom and dad don't see them that way. Hello, Mr. President.

It's like, boy, get your feet off that. Did you come in the front door? No, you didn't.

So anyway, my mom would always, and she was about that big, and she would always, you're never too old enough for me to knock teeth out of your head. Okay, mom. Anyway, back to this. He didn't know that he was identified with the cross and that was what I was trying to express. We are identified with Christ.

We can't get away from it. It's called the conscience that God uses. It tells us when we're wrong. Jesus was about not only to die for him, but as for him. Again, the picture of him carrying the cross. Why does Jesus need Simon to carry the cross?

He doesn't need him. But he's preaching to us centuries later. Simon, that is your cross. You need to die on it. But I'm going to die on it. I'm not going to die on it as me. I'm going to die on it as you. In fact, I'm going to die on it as everybody around here that has ever been, that ever will be. That makes it a substitutionary sacrifice as we read from Corinthians.

We'll take one more because we've got a little time. 1 John chapter 2. Ooh, I just came to 1 Peter 2, so we'll take one there too. 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 18, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold from your aimless conduct, received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish, without spot. And then he goes on to talk about this was God the Father.

He was totally on board with this. And then John's first letter. Oh, there's two of them.

First one is chapter 2 verse 2, and he himself is our propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours only, but also for the entire world. Now, when he says for the entire world, you say, raise your hand. Okay, John, do you mean people living now, later, in the past? How do you mean that?

And he just says, get out to class. You can't be that dumb. No. Of course, it's for the world. Dead and gone, coming, all of them. John chapter 4 verse 10, in this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. He sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. Simon, while you're passing by, you're passing by the sacrifice for your sins. God loves you so much. He loves you first, Simon.

He's not going to let you pass. This verse will never be the same to me. I never saw this. I went back in my notes in Acts and Mark and in Romans, make sure I didn't say anything I want to contradict. And so I just kind of, kind of just left it, you know, there's Simon, hi.

But now it will never be the same. Because I see my skin in that crowd being picked out by God. Whatever color your skin is, God's picking you out of the crowd and said, carry the cross. Carry it with me. I'll die on it. You carry it with me. That's the Christian faith. That's what we preach.

It's a time to die. For me, as me. Forever, this African would be remembered as the man who carried the wooden cross of Christ. And so, reaching Calvary, Simon put down the cross, but the cross never put him down. That's how it is for anybody who's convicted. That's the meaning of conviction. You can't put it down.

It's yours. You're convinced. There's no escaping conviction if you have any degree of integrity, of righteousness in you. Not two months from this time comes harvest, the Pentecost. In one day, we're told in Acts chapter 2, 3,000 souls were added. 3,000 people came to Christ.

Cyrenians were in that group, incidentally. Where was Simon? He was soon to be with that number, soon to be baptized, soon to be identified with the risen Lord, just like us. And so it was a great day for Simon when he picked up the cross because he was picked. He was picked to pick up the cross, and he did it, as it is with us. And it's a good day for anyone to pick up the cross when they are picked, when their conscience is picked.

That's the old King James idea. Saul, Saul. You know, when God calls you twice, it's serious stuff.

Why are you persecuting me? Isn't it hard for you to kick against the pricks, the sticks in the conscience? Isn't it hard for you to get Stephen out of your head? Didn't Stephen get deep down in you? Didn't he mess with your head and your mind? Aren't you still having flashbacks of the look on his face as he preached the truth and as he died for the truth? Didn't some part of you die with that too, Saul, Saul, of Tarsus? And that's why he said, who are you, Lord? What do you want me to do?

I'll be finished in one moment. He obviously lived to tell his boys about the day he was picked to pick up the cross. He talked about the experience. What an experience in Christ with Jesus standing there, and I'm leaving out much of my notes where we could discuss that too. But here's how his sermons to his sons went. Here's what Simon the African preached to Alexander and Rufus and his unnamed wife who became a mom to Paul. The words are found in Galatians 6, verse 14. They're Paul's words, but they're the words of every believer.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.

As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit That's 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 do so at or search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-11 21:19:27 / 2022-12-11 21:28:32 / 9

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