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Give ’em Jesus (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 1, 2024 6:00 am

Give ’em Jesus (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 1, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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If you are Christian, that's yours.

You understand this. You love the fact that the Bible predicts the future and fulfills it. That's one of the enduring parts of Christianity. If you don't believe that, if you challenge that, then you've got some heavy issues concerning your eternal state. Are you now in a position where you pick and choose what parts of the Bible you are going to believe and what parts you are not?

That makes you the judge. And in the presence of God, it's not only laughable and not in a humorous way, it damns the soul, potentially. He continues here in verse 23. 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 Acts.

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. And now here's Pastor Rick with part two of his study called Give Him Jesus in Acts chapter 26. It says, And then to the Gentiles.

That inflamed the zealot Jews of his day, and they never forgot this and will look for any chance to kill him that they could get. That they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. He's giving them Jesus Christ. This is part of the process. Turn from Christlessness.

That's what he's saying. Repentance is a change of mind in how I view things, how I see things now. It is essential for salvation. You cannot become saved without repentance, without saying, Yes God, you are right. I am a sinner.

I confess my sin. Regeneration, which is being born again, that is a change of heart. So repentance is a change of mind.

I'm boiling it down. Regeneration is a change of heart. The whole of me, how I see life, how God has taken from me that hardened heart against the Christ and given me a new heart. And redemption overall is a change of destiny where I'm going. And so again, repentance is a change of mind. Regeneration is a change of heart. And redemption is a change of destiny. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things pass away. Behold, all things become new.

Well, there it is laid out for you. A new mind, a new heart, a new place to go. Together these make up genuine salvation.

Ephesians 4, that you put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. Verse 21 now, For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Well, there again, as we covered already, their hatred for him was intensified by the fact that he was a former rabbi. He was one of them. He had no right to trade. Now he's running off all over the world telling Gentiles they could enjoy the identical salvation that the Jews enjoyed. They hated him for this. And that's what he's saying.

This is what I was doing and this is why I'm standing in front of you. Through faith in Jesus Christ who they detested. It's just to be piled up offenses like we do. When we come out and say we're not for this, you know, men trying to be women, women trying to be men. We're not for sexual perversity. When we stand up and say we're not for these things, we have attacked their church. We have attacked their doctrine.

These things are sacred to them now and we become the enemy. Well, Paul was going through that in his world also. Now Festus, who is the Roman governor, he realizes Paul is innocent but he caused this mess by playing politics with Paul. You know, I'm going to send you back to Jerusalem and there you can have your own people deal with this.

Paul said no way. I appeal to Caesar because if you send me back to Jerusalem they're going to kill me. And so Festus is in a spot now and that's why he's asked Agrippa to come and hear Paul out so that they can figure out what charges to send him to Caesar with. Well, Paul takes the opportunity and says well here's why I'm on trial and then he gives them Jesus. He gives them the gospel. He's more interested in their salvation than he is in his emancipation. How do you get to this level of Christianity?

Well, may we pursue, may we chase it, may we go after, find out. And if we never attain to this level we'll still be better off by just trying to do better in our faith. Verse 22, therefore having obtained help from God to this day I stand witnessing both to small and great saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come. Paul said they tried to kill me but God helped me. That's why I'm here now. He says I stand, I'm firm to this day.

I'm not backing down, I'm not caving in, I'm not going to appease anybody when it comes to the gospel. Then he adds witnessing both to small and great as he was doing at this very moment before them. He saw them as lost souls. He was not interested in their social status.

He was not impressed, he was not intimidated. He saw lost souls and that's what he dealt with. And that's a pattern for us because when you get caught up with who this person is you're not focused on who Christ is so much.

It doesn't matter who they are in life. What matters is you preaching what the Holy Spirit has given you to say to that person. And you can't do that if you're not knowledgeable about the word, if you don't know what you believe, if you're just following somebody else. But if it's yours, you understand the basics of Christianity, then you become very useful to God and a threat to the kingdom of hell. Saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come.

There it is. He said I just preached the Bible, that's it. The difference between the rabbis and the preachers of the gospel was the rabbis used the teachings of men and all their doctrines and all their funny words. We still have this in Christendom.

We've got all sorts of titles for you. Whether you believe in the rapture or you don't believe in the rapture, whether you drink decaf or a regular, they got a word for it. You spend so much time trying to figure out their words you're not spending time in the word. And if you've ever had to deal with one of these people, you understand they filter everything by those definitions and not what the scriptures saying all the time. I mean some of them are, you know, hold it together, but a lot of them, they're just, it's disappointing that they can't get past pigeonholing everyone. Jesus doesn't pigeonhole me.

Why would I be so quick? I just want to know what the scripture says. You're going to have a pigeonhole as one giant one. What does the Bible say? Paul is saying to this audience in front of him and it was the kings and their commanders and the other VIPs of his day. He says, I taught scripture, the fulfillment of what was already declared and in publication, some of it over a thousand years. I mean the words of David were a thousand, written a thousand years ago.

Throughout Acts, the gospel is presented as fulfillment of Old Testament scripture and the prophecies there. And the reason why he is doing this and saying this is because it's just fact. He deals in the facts. He would have made a good engineer. You want an engineer to deal in fact, do you not? What if he just came up with a good idea and didn't run it by numbers, you know, to do the formulas and find out, you know, how much stress this could take. What would happen?

You'd be at the bottom of the deep blue river every time you went on a bridge built by somebody like that. Anyway, I digress. It's saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come. Well, we should take a couple of these scriptures. Psalm 40 verse 7, this is a thousand years before this event, and that would make it three thousand years from our time. Then I said, behold, wrote the psalmist, Psalm 40 verse 7, I come in the scroll of the book.

It is written of me. Well, now who could say that in the future? Who could point to that verse and say, that's talking about me? Well, John the Baptist to some degree could, but he would be out of context. That's a messianic verse. So when Christ comes along, he applies it to himself.

You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me. Not just that one verse, the scriptures. And he says, but you're not willing to come to me that you may have eternal life. Well, Agrippa, he respects the scriptures. He knows the scriptures.

Paul's going to point that out. Yet he's not willing to come. You can be dying right next to Jesus Christ. You still have a self will.

It's still going to be up to you. What did Jesus say to the outlaw that asked for forgiveness? He said today you'll be with me in heaven. What did he say to the other one? Nothing.

That's the point. You do not want to be in a spot where God has nothing to say to you. He can't say well done.

He can't say work on it. There's nothing he can say because your choices have made it impossible for God to talk to you, to minister to you. Micah chapter 5 verse 2. But you, Bethlehem, out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting. That is the eternal feature of deity.

You have to be divine. You have to be God to have an eternity past. Well, Christ has that. And he talks about it as he went through and dealt with the rabbis, dealt with his apostles. He talked about his eternal state, especially in, you read John chapter 17 where the Lord is praying, and it is inescapable. And so there are just some of the scriptures. There are many, many Old Testament scriptures. We'll come to, well I'll reference them.

They'll take too much time to read them all or even to read a lot. Verse 23, he's continuing with what the scripture says, that Christ would suffer, that Messiah would suffer, that he would be the first to rise from the dead and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. Well, that's Psalm 22, that's Psalm 69, that's Isaiah 53, that's Isaiah 9.

It's all over the place. If you are Christian, that's yours. You understand this. You love the fact that the Bible predicts the future and fulfills it. That's one of the enduring parts of Christianity. If you don't believe that, if you challenge that, then you've got some heavy issues concerning your eternal state. Are you now in a position where you pick and choose what parts of the Bible you are going to believe and what parts you are not?

That makes you the judge. And in the presence of God, it's not only laughable and not in a humorous way, it damns the soul, potentially. He continues here in verse 23 after saying that Christ would suffer. He continues that he would be the first to rise from the dead. He's only using scripture, not giving any of his opinions. Psalm 16 verse 10, for you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. His body would not decompose. He would rise again in a glorified body, in a glorified state. I love that the Bible is good enough for Paul.

I just love that. He doesn't say, well, a rabbi so-and-so says, well, there's two theories to this. This is what the scripture says. This is witnessing. In the Bible teaching, you know, you have a wider margin, but witnessing you don't need a wider margin.

You need to tell what you've seen and point out that this is how it's been presented to us. No other religion on earth has this. Now, I find it amazing that in a largely anti-Semitic world, an anti-Jewish people world, you have Gentiles worshiping a Jewish Messiah. That is the Gospel overcoming, breaking down walls, partitions. Paul talks about that in Ephesians chapter 2.

Satan tries to keep these divisions up, these walls up. He says, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. So Paul says, that's what I was doing, just what Isaiah says. And well, Genesis chapter 12, that from Abraham would come a blessing to all people. And then Isaiah 42, 1, 42, 6, 49, 6, to be a light to the Gentiles. How does a Jewish person say, well, I'll take these prophecies of Isaiah because I like them, but I won't take these because I don't like them.

Well, hopefully you see the folly of that. You see the quagmire, the spiritual quagmire that places you in. Why not just accept the scriptures for what they are? Now, one of the Jews would say, yes, he's going to be a light to the Gentiles to make the Gentiles Jewish. Well, that's not what the scripture says.

Not at all. Verse 24, now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself. Much learning has driven you mad. And that word mad is, in the Greek, crazy.

We get our English word mania from it. And he does it with a loud voice, this outburst of blindness so that everybody can hear. Festus sought to break the momentum. You know, you just, I don't want this. I don't want to hear this. Now is not the time for truth.

Now is not the time for religion. Paul has taken over the court, incidentally, if you haven't noticed it. He's got them on defense.

He's on the offense. He is attacking the gates of hell. They don't know what to do. They would come right up to the wicked gate to the brink of salvation and not go a step further. Paul first said this, verse 20, repent, turn to God, do works befitting repentance. See your guilt, turn to God for the solution, and then live as though you've been dealing with that guilt, the things that have made you guilty.

You're not sure you're trying not to do them anymore. Then he says this, that he would, verse 23, that he would be first to rise from the dead. Give him Jesus, Paul, because Satan will give him hell. As a Christian, I have never tried to give him hell.

I have tried always to give him Jesus. And I think every Christian should. Fact, sinners are free to deny God and withhold their love from him. They are free to do this. It's their choice. I know there are those that say, you don't have any choices. I categorically disagree with that. Many of them are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

But on this point, I vehemently disagree. I don't see that in the scriptures. God says, throw down your weapons of war against me, and open your heart and receive me. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they're spiritually discerned. Well, that's not the whole story, because if it was, nobody would get saved. The natural man cannot unless God invites him. And we have a God who's willing that none should perish.

So the invitations abound. Peter had no idea that Satan was working behind the scenes, influencing him as a disciple of Christ. He had no idea when he said to Jesus there in Caesarea Philippi, don't, you're not going to the cross, Jesus.

Just get that out of your mind. You're not going to, he didn't know he was saying, you cannot die for sinners. He was ignorant.

He was ignorant of a lot of things, oblivious to the fact that he had become the devil's instrument, the devil's voice. And Jesus was not having any of it, because God was there too. In Christ, in the Spirit, Father is always present, and Peter and the disciples were going to be taught a lesson at this point. Mark chapter 8 verse 33, but he turned around and looked at his disciples. When he heard Peter say this, Jesus looked at the disciples and he said, class is in session.

Don't miss any of what I'm about to tell you. And this is what he said, and nobody ever forgot this, get behind me Satan, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men. That's the world. That is the world.

That is the person that comes to a church and doesn't want to hear the Bible preached, because they are mindful of the things of men, and that will damn your soul. We don't hear enough of that perhaps today. Do we preach to people there is a damning of the soul?

Maybe it was overplayed at certain points in our history, but now it seems to be underplayed. There is a hell. There is an eternal death that is not going to go good for anybody who dies in that state. And that's why the angels rejoice when one sinner converts.

They understand what these things mean. Such is the story of spiritual blindness, the devil at work, and the instrument oblivious, not willing to admit it. I mean, where would you get the name Satan from the Bible? And is Satan not the character that loses?

He's thrown into the abyss in the end. Why do you have Satanists siding with that team? Why would you have anybody attracted? Well, I'm a Satanist. No, you're just stupid. That's all you are.

You put any of the titles that you're insulting. No, you're insulting yourself. You're born with more intelligence with that, but you have overrode the system.

So now you're defective, and nobody can fix it, because you've installed booby traps. This is the world we live in, and it is important to stay focused, and one of our examples is this man Paul. He is staying focused. So Festus, the Roman governor, says to him, Paul, you're beside yourself. Now, that is sort of an idiom, I guess. You're walking down the street talking to yourself like there's two people there.

I mean, we all talk to ourselves sometimes, but not carry on an argument. There's two separate people there, and so that's what it means. You're beside yourself. You're not right. The audience had a good laugh at that.

When he said that, you can bet there was a yukking it up going on in that room. Why? Because a crucified king, a crucified savior, was unappealing to the Roman mind. A risen savior was unbelievable, and that's what you're getting with Festus. I don't believe this risen stuff. Yeah, but Festus, if we talked about what you believe in versus what I believe in, you would have to admit, I mean, the gods beating people up, attacking each other, getting drunk. I mean, come on. Your mythological gods are pathetic.

I'll hopefully get back to that one, too. Anyway, well, we'll stay on a little bit more. The gods of the Greeks were adopted by the Romans. The Romans said, we like those gods, but we just need to make them ours, give them our names, and that's what they did. And that's why Zeus becomes Jupiter, for example.

Those gods were violent, they were vindictive, they were petty, and Rome preferred those gods over the god that said, I love you so much, I'm going to deal with your sin for you. I just need you to side with me. That's too much to ask. Yeah, well, because there's a real devil there in the background.

And John 3, verse 19, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. They're up to no good. And you've got to face that.

And if you don't face it, you try to sweep it under the rug, you've just created a trip hazard. It's still there. You are accountable. What's the difference in our theology? The kophar in the Old Testament covered the sins until Messiah came, then the sins were removed.

They weren't covered no more. They were actually washed away in the blood of Christ. It is significant. These parallels in this created universe, they make a lot of sense. They make points.

Much learning has driven you mad. 1 Corinthians 1, 23, Paul already wrote this letter, he says, we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block to the Greeks' foolishness. And he's living it out right now.

Well, not all Greeks, because Luke, who was the author of the book of Acts, he was Greek. And Luke loves pointing out the beauty of the Jewish scripture, of the Jewish Messiah. He comes to Christ, there's no racism anymore. He understands where everything is coming from, where everything is going. He understands who's useful to Satan and who is not.

And he has recorded it for us. The devil never puts up with truth. Never. If you say, I'm going to stand firm in Christ, that is a truth that comes from the scripture, we just read about Paul saying that, the devil's going to say, I'm not standing for that.

I'm going to attack it. John chapter 10, many of them said about Jesus, many of them said, he has a demon. He's crazy. Why do you listen to him? Satan is still saying that. Why do you go to that church that preaches the Bible? That's why I go to that church. Do they preach the Bible? Why do you stay out of that church that preaches the Bible?

Because your deeds are evil and you love the darkness. 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 podcast, 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 / 2024-03-01 08:31:28 / 2024-03-01 08:40:48 / 9

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