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To Hear the Word of God (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 30, 2023 6:00 am

To Hear the Word of God (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 30, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

It was the Word of God that drew these Gentiles in this synagogue to want to know more about Jesus Christ and it should still be the same today. There's no reason we should say, oh the Word of God was enough for them, but we're too sophisticated for that.

We need some sort of theater, some sort of circus inside the church. If we're going to believe, all that does is distract us. To distract you from the truth creates terms and conditions that God never meant for you to assign any kind of value to.

The Gentiles attending the synagogue knew that Judaism was much closer to the truth than anything that ever came out of paganism. Hosea, when he writes, for I desire mercy not sacrifice. There are bigger things than ceremonies and rituals that belong to religion and those things are the practice of what those things represent. And every sacrifice, every blood sacrifice, every grain sacrifice is God saying to man, I can be approached on my terms. You can come to me and I will receive you.

It's going to cost something, but not too much. Because I desire mercy, not sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. This is profound. We shouldn't forget it. Christ has fulfilled all of this for us. He is our sacrifice.

He offered himself in our place, took our judgment upon himself. This is real religion and not man's religion. And hearing the words of God, that's not enough. It's not enough to hear the word of God. It's not enough to hear the word of God just to fall in love with him, but falling in love with him comes only from hearing his word or else what are you hearing?

There's no other way. Faith comes by hearing. That is a fact and that's why the Bible has recorded and preserved that scripture verse. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.

And we love that it's so. We are here to hear the word of God so that we can hear from God. That's the purpose. Whatever junk I may have going on, God knows how to sort it out and bring it to my attention. Maybe it's something I wasn't even thinking of. Maybe it's something I don't really want to hear.

Maybe it's something I was hoping somebody would say to me. Whatever is going on on the inside, God knows. Preacher doesn't know. He just tried to listen to the Lord. He's the messenger. He is the angel of the church. He goes up and tries to deliver that message. He is the messenger, not the angelic messenger, but the word angel means messenger.

And so that is true and it is proper. Those who killed Christ, they heard his sermons. They saw his miracles.

They still, not all of them, remained hostile to him. Judas Iscariot traded on him. Mark 14, Jesus said, I was daily with you in the temple teaching. You had all your chances to arrest me then.

Why are you doing it now? And, of course, he held everything under his control. But the point that I am making is not enough to hear the word of God, yet without hearing the word of God, how do you know anything about him? You're left in a position where you just start making stuff up and, of course, that is idolatry. It is something God detests. As hostile as they were, as hostile as they were to Jesus Christ in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he never gave up on them. He never gave up on Jerusalem. Oh, Jerusalem, the one that kills the prophets and stones those who were sent to her. After his crucifixion, the violent death, that public death, then his resurrection, this is what he tells his disciples about Jerusalem. He says that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, which means all peoples. Beginning at Jerusalem, Luke 24, verse 47.

What kind of lesson is in that? People that shove me around and bully me, I still look to give them the gospel. I still look to offer the gospel. I don't have to like them, but I have to love them.

And that love is a deeper thing than liking them. It means that I am ready to share with them the way out of hell and the way into heaven we know is the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jerusalem is where his killers were in power, and they were to start there. And he's not finished with Jerusalem.

The Bible makes this very clear. He's not finished with the Jewish people. He's not finished with those who have not heard the gospel, and there are many in this world.

Though I fear there aren't many in this country. There are many in this country who have heard the gospel and reject it nonetheless. Zechariah the prophet said, chapter 1, verse 16, Therefore thus says Yahweh, I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy. My house shall be built in it, says Yahweh of hosts, and a surveyor's line shall be stretched over Jerusalem.

That has a near and a far fulfillment. This was said, Zechariah and the prophet Haggai, they were there in Jerusalem to get the temple rebuilt, the temple that was destroyed because of the people's faithlessness. It was a judgment, and yet God wanted that temple rebuilt, and he sends these two prophets to light a fire under the people, and they got it done, and that prophecy is the temple will be built. But it is also the millennial temple that is in mind.

That temple will be built too. The world that Paul preached in was subject to Roman government, Grecian philosophy, and Hebrew religion. This is the audience that Paul is dealing with in this synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, and this Antioch of Pisidia will be responsible for following Paul to Iconium and then on to Lystra and stirring up the crowd, and they stoned him to death, but he got up. This is very serious stuff, religion.

We know this. None of this, the Roman law, the Grecian philosophies, the Hebrew religion as it was at the time, not because of the scripture, but because of how the people administered the scripture, none of it satisfied the soul. Not like the gospel. Philosophy asks more questions than it answers.

Listen to the philosophers of human history, and they just have all these, and a lot of them, that's just crazy. That is wrong. That is not right. Still don't have the answers.

They may get one or two right. That's not enough to pass the test. Government. The government of Rome allowed as much corruption as they looked to stop. In fact, even more, because they certainly were corrupt against the smaller people to help the bigger people.

That's a pyramid scheme, you could say. Religion, the Jewish religion, it was incomplete, and it was unwelcoming. The Jews, they made the Gentiles feel like outsiders the whole time, and hopefully we Christians will affirm that if you have not received Jesus Christ, you're not a Christian. The communion table is not for you, but you're still welcomed, and you are still offered the gospel. We don't want to make you feel like we are enemies of each other, though our outlook may be enemies, and there are some that are blatant sinners, and we have to treat them like enemies. They'll come into our churches, they'll snatch our kids up, and they'll do them eternal harm if they can. It's getting now, especially our little girls, so targeted by sexual perversity, the mutilation of infants and people in the name of sexual perversion, it's getting so it's another one bites the dust.

Don't that be you. If you are a young believer in Christ, don't you be another one that bites the dust due to the world's violent attack on God's truth. When Christ was crucified, they nailed to the cross that he was the king of the Jews. It was not divisive, it was inclusive. That's why it was in the three most dominant cultures and influences of the time in Jerusalem. It was written in the Greek language, again the world's philosophies, which the Romans embraced.

The Romans embraced the Grecian religion. They took their gods and made them change their names with the same gods. It was written in the Latin, the language of human authority. That authority signed off on the execution of God the Son. It was written in the Hebrew language. Of all the religions in the world, the Hebrews had the only revealed religion that was maintained because before them there was revealed religion in Noah and Enoch, but that had all been washed away.

It had all evaporated. It had all been assimilated into idolatry, but not the religion of the Jews at this time. The whole world is the point. Written in the Greek, the Latin, the Hebrew, the whole world endorsed the crime of Calvary and killing the Son of God. The whole world had the blood of the Son of God on their hands.

They were guilty. And so is every sinner guilty of violating God's commandment and therefore his authority, his purity, making an offense against God. God is merciful. He says, yeah, I know. I understand. But you need to understand, too. If you're going to come to me, it's on my terms and no other.

That is fair. God does not tell us to walk up steps on our knees or to shave our hair and move to someplace we don't want to live. God calls us to believe in his Son.

And we labor. We labor to meet the world's deep spiritual needs by preaching Christ according to Christ, which is from the beginning of Genesis to the conclusion in Revelation. It was the word of God, not the wonders, not the signs and the miracles. It was the word of God that drew these Gentiles and this synagogue to want to know more about Jesus Christ, and it should still be the same today. There's no reason we should say, oh, the word of God was enough for them, but we're too sophisticated for that.

We need some sort of theater, some sort of circus inside the church. If we're going to believe, all that does is distract you from the truth. It creates terms and conditions that God never meant for you to assign any kind of value to. Not signs, words, and words of truth. This is what drew them to Jesus, and this is what we're supposed to do to this day.

I don't know about you, but I know about me. I came to Christ through the word of God. It was the word of God that broke my heart. It was the word of God that said to me, you're a sinner. He didn't scream at me.

He sort of just like pulled back the curtain and let me see for myself without a word. I knew I was guilty before a holy God who could squash me instantly if he so chose, but he did not. He chose to die for me instead.

What a surprise. Truth decides our allegiances. Let me tell you, as a pastor, God is according to me, according to my flesh. God has let me down a lot of times, and he's still worth all of my service, every bit of it, because he is true. If I think I'm let down, it's because he has a good reason. His ways are higher than my ways.

His thoughts are above my thoughts, and often past finding out, so I submit. Twice God spoke directly to the great prophet Jeremiah, who suffered probably more than any of the Old Testament prophets, repeatedly, for years, for decades. Twice in jail he speaks the word to this man. That tells Jeremiah that God is on the throne, that he is real, that he is in control. Twice he spoke to him, twice he left him in jail. Where's the omnipotence in that? Why is it that I'm still suffering, praying to you, you're still ministering to me, I still love your word? Because he is worthy. Jeremiah 33 one, Moreover, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was shut up in the court of the prison.

You see, if I could dictate terms, if I didn't want to be let down, I would say, okay, let me out of jail, then speak to me. But that's not how it is. And by consent, we who love the Lord, love him, because we hate lies. We hate lies about God. We hate lies about eternity.

We hate lies about the Bible. And the way we show it is that we take whatever is thrown our way, no matter what. Just because Satan gets away with murder doesn't undo the sovereignty of my God. He's far beyond all that. And in the end, he's going to beat the snot out of him. Well, at least that's what I'm hoping for.

I want to see it, too. Anyway, I stand in line for that one. God had the power to deliver the prophet from jail as he delivered Peter, but he did not. But Jeremiah served nonetheless. And so much did he serve that he wrote, if you put Jeremiah and the lamentation of Jeremiah together, you have the longest book in the Bible. Well, the Psalms is not a compilation. It is not just one Psalm.

There's 150 of them. They had something to sing about. I guess we should ask ourselves as Christians, do we have something to sing about in the faith? In fact, the word of God is so powerful, the longest Psalm, 119, is singing about God's word to man, that God would even speak to you is worth singing about. And David got that. He was able to articulate that more than anyone in the Old Testament. Verse 43, I forgot we're in the book of Acts. I was having a good time. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

So after service, the service is over now. People are out in the chariot lot. Whatever they were driving. The devout proselytes were Gentiles fully converted to Judaism. They had become, you know, converted to Judaism.

Gentiles that were fed up with, again, the irrational and irrelevant gods of the cities that they lived in. If it's not made in heaven, have nothing to do with it. When it comes to faith, when it comes to what thus says the Lord, if it's not from the throne of God and have stamped on it, made in heaven, leave it alone. Who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. To continue. Well, that would be a meaningless encouragement unless there was the risk of not continuing. Because we all know someone who started in the faith and they have not continued. Romans chapter 11, verse 22, therefore consider the goodness and the severity of God.

You like that? God can either clunk you upside your head if that's what it comes to or he can just embrace you. It's your choice.

It's not arbitrary. It's not like, well, you know, today I'm just in a bad mood as God. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God on those who fell severely, but toward you.

Goodness. He says this, if you continue in his goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off. Those who follow the Calvinistic religion, they hem and haw over that, try to tell you it doesn't mean what it says. Because they have to uphold their man-made religion. Too bad Jesus and Paul and Peter didn't have Calvinism.

Anyway, I'm going to hit that again before we're out of here this morning because it needs to be hit. And you really can't win an argument with them. They're too arrogant.

They think that you're not analytical. You're not intelligent enough that you can't see the king's clothes, even though he's naked, verse 44. On the next Sabbath, the whole city came together to hear the word of God. Now, this is not a little hyperbole. It's an expression because Antioch is a sizable city, and you couldn't fit the whole city in a synagogue. It wasn't a stadium. But of those who were interested amongst the Gentiles especially, and this is what stirs up the envy of the Jews, and we've never had a full sanctuary like this before. All these Gentiles are coming in. They didn't care for that.

They didn't care that whatever it was that they were doing was not drawing such attention. So we're a week later, a week after the sermon of Paul, they come to hear the word of God. That's what it says in verse 44, and the place was packed.

No mention of music or mention of tongues or programs for my teens. They came to hear the word of God. The synagogue, the word means assembly. It's what the church does. The church assembles. Do not place the local church in second position to the universal church.

This is a common practice. Well, the church is everywhere, said by people who don't want, who don't plug into the local church. It is the local church that Christ preached in, the synagogues of his day. It is the local synagogue that Paul preached in. It was the local church that Paul rented to use for the church the place of Tyrannus. We'll get to that later in Acts where he rented a facility so he could have a local church.

Learn to fight for the local church instead of a flight from the local church. Satan hates it. He hates that we have a local place to gather to hear the word of God.

And he does whatever he can do to upset that. There's little criticisms, a little whisper here, a gossip there, I don't like this and I don't like that. You'll notice at the pews there's no suggestion box. And that's not a bad thing.

It's not an insult. Anyway, back to this, they were not there to read the best-selling Christian book. They were not there to hear about politics, though political things come up sometimes. They were not there to get rich by putting more money in the offering plate.

They were there to hear the truth, whether it convicted or not, they were there to hear the truth. And what was supposed to be a day of rest, the Sabbath was going to be a day of unrest. Jesus said, do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth.

I did not come to bring peace but a sword. You're going to upset people. When you tell them, you know, what group do you belong to? Do you know that sin? Do you know that that group is against God in the scripture? That causes trouble with people, especially some who think that they're devout Christians.

And they belong to groups that they don't need to be with. Jesus condemned the rabbi's teachings of his days when those teachings went without the word of God. And so we hear him say, you have heard it said, but I say to you, you have heard it said that you shall hate your enemies and love your neighbor, but I say to you, Jesus went on to say that the scripture might be fulfilled. This is how he did business preaching the word of God. His constant reference to the word and he delighted quoting it. Luke chapter 24 verse 27, beginning at Moses and all the prophecy expounded to them in all the scripture, the things concerning himself. Luke 24, 44, and 45. Then he said to them, these are the words which I spoke to you.

You get that? These are the words I spoke to you. That's the word of God to you. He continues, while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me. I love this stuff.

After all these years, after all the let downs and setbacks and disappointments, I love this stuff. And I don't plan to stop. When someone doesn't agree with me, I pray that they won't be so stupid. No, I'm kidding.

Some of you didn't think that was funny. Anyway, back to this. And he opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures.

What? You mean I don't have enough on my own to know what's being, you don't. You come to Christ, you come as a pauper. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You are a pauper, spiritually. You don't know anything when it comes to God until God comes to you. The phrase in the Greek, we say born again, and that's proper. But it also can be equally translated, born from above.

Made in heaven, touched by God. It's not enough to think you're smart enough to understand without the Holy Spirit, you can't do it. Jesus said, without me, you can do nothing of yourselves. To the point to me, again, Luke 24. Again, Luke 24 is Christ risen now. And this is what he has to say to his disciples. Thus it is written, there he goes again. He's off with the scripture stuff again. Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day. If the church is not preaching the word of God, she's not doing her duty.

She's derelict. From the temptation in the wilderness to his death on the cross, constantly quoting scriptures unapologetically with zeal for his father's house. Now I can't offer that much zeal, but I can muster up more than I would have had I made no effort.

It does matter, it does count. Verse 45, and when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. There's better things to be filled with than envy. And there's a good envy, you know, boy, you got to raise, I envy that, I got to raise.

Good for you! Then there's that mean envy. I hate you for getting all the better things that I have. That's the one that Satan wants to use. Isaiah said to the Jews in their scripture this about Jesus Christ as Messiah. Isaiah 53 verse 2. When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. That's the world. That's not just the Jewish people that rejected their Messiah and blasphemed and contradicted as we read here in verse 45.

That's every lost soul. 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 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 subscribe at 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 / 2023-01-30 09:16:02 / 2023-01-30 09:25:35 / 10

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