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Well Meaning Interference (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 26, 2022 6:00 am

Well Meaning Interference (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 26, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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That the women were with the men here praying was remarkable.

Christ did that. Judaism did not do this. To say it's not Judaism, to make the distinction, is not anti-Semitic at all. I mean, I don't know how you can be a Christian and hate the Jews or anybody as a people goes. But when we come to the Scripture, we have to call it like it is.

The rabbinical Judaism was brutal. And Christ took every chance he could get to go against it. And he left his apostles to have to deal with it also. We are in the Book of Acts, the Acts of the Holy Spirit, the Acts of the Apostles. The actions taken place by the believers after Jesus ascended. We will take verses 12 through 26, Acts chapter 1, beginning at verse 12 in under three minutes.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying, Peter, James, John, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. And in those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, altogether the number of names was about 120, and said, Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his entrails gushed out, and it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem. So that field is called in their own language a keldama, which is field of blood, for it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his dwelling be desolate, and let no one live in it, and let another take his office. Therefore these men, who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when he was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.

And they proposed two. Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justice, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two you have chosen, to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Please be seated. What a magnificent book. A lot to give you to think about. Of course, I want you to agree with me 100% all the time about everything, every decision, every teaching, and yeah, that's not going to happen.

But let's see if we can get close. I will certainly differ with a lot of Bible teachers on several things in this section of Scripture, and I think it's going to be kind of exciting. The title for this morning's message is Well-Meaning Interference. That is something that we all must guard against in our own service towards Christ.

Sometimes we mean well, but we just get in the way. Looking at verse 12, Then they returned to Jerusalem, on the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. Well, where it says, And they returned to Jerusalem from the mount of Olivet, that they were on the eastern slope facing Bethany, where the Lord ascended. I don't know if I put enough emphasis on verse 3 when Luke tells us that Jesus showed himself to the apostles with many infallible proofs. Not just the resurrection, that fact, but the miraculous appearances and what he would do.

It's just too much for them to record. So suffice it to say that when they returned from the mount called Olivet and watched the Lord ascend, they were loaded up with faith and trust. We would say they were stoked, but still not enough. There was more to come. And we're at that phase right now in this chapter where their believers, they have the Spirit, they're just not overflowing with the Spirit.

That will come later. A Sabbath day's journey, that's how the distance they traveled from where Jesus ascended back into the city limits of Jerusalem, about a half mile, that would be the longest distance a Jew was allowed to travel without breaking Sabbath. Though it doesn't explicitly say that it was the Sabbath. Luke just says it's about a Sabbath day's journey.

The rabbis had put standards in place and more standards and standards on top of standards and just ad infinitum. But anyway, near Jerusalem where they crucified and entombed the Lord and he rose again. Verse 13. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying.

Peter, James, John and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the zealot and Judas the son of James. Well, this upper room, not necessarily the same upper room where the Last Supper took place. I know we read it and we just kind of think, oh, this is the upper room. Well, that's where the Last Supper was. We've got to be careful here because if we want to stay true to the facts and understand what was really going on in the lives of these believers, we can't skip over the numbers of participants. That upper room, for example, some would think that the upper room was where when Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit manifested himself with tongues of fire. That wasn't the upper room. You're not going to get 3,000 people into that environment. So things like that.

I'll come back to that in a moment. But if we glance down at verse 15, for example, which implies that they were moving around at verse 15, and in those days Peter stood up, the implication is there was a lot of activity in that probably the last 10 days before Pentecost. They're moving around. They're at the temple. They're in upper rooms.

They're just very active, very excited. By Acts 2, it will be a different place when the Spirit falls on them. Otherwise, subsequent events become problematic. If this is the same upper room as the Last Supper and the Spirit then comes upon them there, again, you have 3,000 people responding to Peter's message.

Just the ones that respond to the message, 3,000 almost, about, too many for a local city block. However, the temple, that would be a perfect venue and many available spaces and portagos for them to be. I'm setting you up for when we get to chapter 2 because it's such a big chapter for Christians, for Christianity. It is not a chapter to be dismissed or just rushed through. Luke tells us this.

It's very insightful. Luke 24, verse 52 and 3, And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

You see, that's where they stay. That would accommodate the amount of disciples that were gathering, waiting for the promise of the Father. And, incidentally, Peter will tell us when the Spirit comes that it was the hour of prayer. It was also the Passover, which mandated the men be there. So, Jerusalem, at about this time, was going to be buzzing with a lot of male activity because, again, it was mandated. Three feasts the men had to be at and Pentecost was one of them. Well, it mentions Peter, always at the very top of the list.

He was a natural leader. And, though I strongly believe he blunders in this chapter, it doesn't take away from the value of the greatness of this man, Peter. The Holy Spirit just endears us to this man and at the same time says, Hey, look, he's just like you, messed up.

And yet, loved and used at the same time. Some of you may think that you just, in public ministry, you may be afraid to enter public ministry or to serve in the church is what I'm talking about because you may fail. Don't let that stop you.

You know, that's part of life and God will be there with you and that's where much growth will take place. Bartholomew. I don't get to say his name about four times in a morning, but I have so far. Many scholars equate Bartholomew with Nathanael. We can't spend too much time on these names. The story is about Christ. His friends and believers are here, but we could be here a long time if we zoomed in on each name.

So I'll just pass over a couple of them. Matthew, the tax man. In parallel passages in Mark's Gospel and Luke's Gospel, the name of the tax collector that was called from his office of collecting taxes was also Levi.

They had, it was not uncommon for them to have a Gentile and a Jewish name in those days, dual names in the Roman Empire. Simon the Zealot. Well, he served with Matthew and that's kind of odd. Zealots viewed tax collectors as traders, but Christ entered their lives and all that changed.

If any man is in Christ, he's a new creation. So to kind of just talk about this zeal that Simon had before Christ for his nation, the nationalism that was in his heart, zealots eventually, that group that he was no longer a part of, they degenerated into a group of assassins known as the Sicari, the Latin for the dagger man because they became assassins. And that fanaticism contributed to provoking Rome and landing everyone in the Roman-Jewish war. The zealots took control of Jerusalem in 66 AD and four years later, of course, the Romans, well, they besieged the city and then eventually they took it with much bloodshed and retribution from Rome and of course the destruction of Jerusalem.

Their last stronghold would be the fortress of Masada and again the Romans, it fell to the Romans in 73 AD. So brief story about that group that he belonged to, they became fanatical and violent, but Simon was no longer a part of them, but he was remembered as one who was there. Again, the contrast between Matthew, the one working for Rome in the eyes of the zealots, and Simon and they served together and the church has been doing that for centuries. People who would otherwise be enemies have come together as brothers and sisters. Verse 14, these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

These all continued with one accord. God's truth is a separating force or it's a uniting force. It's up to the individual how they respond to the truth of God.

Here they are united, they're in one accord. And, you know, the end of God's word is not wisdom so valued by the world's learned, that's their goal. The Greeks, when Paul begins to expand into Gentile territory, the world was so cherished wisdom, but it is holiness that the Christians are more concerned with. And, you know, when we sing songs about the holiness of God, the hands go up, the hearts go out to the Lord. We love that purity of our God. It is not without wisdom, but God's wisdom is never without his holiness.

And the world, they don't understand that and hopefully we'll be able to share it. In prayer and supplication, well, scripture and fellowship and scripture fellowship prayer and the presence of Christ, these were dominant within the early church and they're supposed to be with us to this day. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians opt out of the scripture part.

Well, they'll say they like the scripture, but they really are kind of bored by it. But the church, without the Holy Spirit, it was good. And this is what we're looking at, these 40 days, the good church, but it was not great. I hope that resonates with us. The church, without the Holy Spirit upon it, filling it, overflowing through it, was good. It was not great. It lacked passion for the Samaritans and the Gentiles.

I offer that as exhibit one. But by Acts chapter 2. Acts chapter 2 will birth Acts chapter 8 and chapter 10, where the Samaritans are reached and where the Gentiles are reached, and it just keeps going from there. And that is because of what takes place at Pentecost. Here, it says, with the women. Now, this is critical also, because the women did, you know, they went to the marketplaces, they prepared the meals. They weren't always available to be in this number, but this time they are. As we move through, we'll see that they're not, and when they are it is mentioned.

There's no slight. You know, just reject that feministic view of having to somehow always have men and women equal in their activities. We are equal in value to God. God does not see men above women or women above men.

They are equal in value, but they are separate in their assignments in some areas. Women give birth to children, men are to leave the house, not as tyrants, but as beloved leaders. And this is the pattern that the world hates, but the Bible teaches.

Satan hates it very much, and so he spends a lot of energy coming against it. Anyway, it's with the women who were very supportive of the Lord's public ministry when he ministered there in Israel. And this would suggest that where they are now meeting is not at the temple area. The temple area had the court of the women, the court of the Gentiles, and all of the, again, the porticos. It's just all these little areas to meet, and they pretty much stayed separate to this day in many of the practices of Judaism in some of the synagogues.

The men sit on one side and the women sit on the other. You should know this because the apostles had to deal with this. That the women were with the men here praying was remarkable.

Christ did that. Judaism did not do this. To say it's not Judaism, to make the distinction, is not anti-Semitic at all. I mean, I don't know how you can be a Christian and hate the Jews or anybody as a people goes. But when we come to the Scripture, we have to call it like it is. The rabbinical Judaism was brutal, and Christ took every chance he could get to go against it. And he left his apostles to have to deal with it also.

And much of this separation is because of the rabbis. Anyway, here are the women praying alongside the men. When we get to Pentecost, the emphasis will be on the men, not intentionally, it's just the way it was. The women, again, home, doing things, and the men were there at the temple. Pentecost, again, as I mentioned, likely occurring at the temple. Just for example, chapter 5, verse 14 of Acts, to make my point. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.

And so they make that distinction because of the things that I just pointed out, the differences and how the genders had their assignments and kept to it. It says here, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, wait a minute. They're here praying, Mary is present, but no one's praying to her. That's not little.

This is big. She would have considered it blasphemy to pray to her. She would have called you out. No one would dare be so foolish and sinful to pray to her at this time. Is anyone so anti-Scripture to believe that they are saying, do you really think that that was going on at this point? All the Scripture is against such a thing. Mary is called the mother of Jesus, never in Scripture is she referred to as the mother of God. How can God have her mother? The mother of Jesus. And now listen, no slight on Mary. Mary was blessed among women, a virtuous woman, and I'm looking forward to meeting her. We don't vilify her because others have injected into pseudo-Christianity Mary worship. And I'm not going to put a gag order in place and say, well, I might hurt somebody's feelings. I can't speak the truth.

Nonsense. This is what the Bible is teaching, and there are those who would like to believe that she is co-equal with Christ in our redemption, which is blasphemous. There are those who take the names of Jesus and Mary from the Bible and leave all its truths behind.

They just cherry-pick the names and do what they want to do. It is, again, flat-out blasphemy to pray to Peter, to Mary, or to anyone except God. And Jesus, of course, is God the Son. Mary worshiped, invaded the church about 250 years, a little more than from this time in the Book of Acts. And once that came in, bringing all the pagan practices with it, the ridiculous, baseless stories, it is astounding what people will believe once they overrule Scripture, once they just sort of, as I mentioned, take the names out and forget everything else associated with those names in the Bible and begin to put other things on them. It is astounding.

I mean, Joseph Smith with the Mormons, you put these glasses on and you can see all sorts of stuff. And people believe this. To this day, they believe it. Anyway, we do not read of virtuous Mary again in the Scripture after this, meaning she played no leading role in the development of Christianity and the church. And it's not an insult.

It is an honor. Her position in Scripture is very honorable. So it says here, with his brothers, Mary had other sons and now they're saved.

In Scripture, it says she was no perpetual virgin. To try to say, well, those were Joseph's sons, come on, that's not what the Bible teaches. You make your choice. You choose what the Bible says or what someone else says. And it always comes down to that. But the question is, his brothers were there, Mary was there, where were the multitudes that Christ had healed and laid his hands on and taught?

Well, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. In fact, the 120 we'll come to in a minute. This is a different event. And still, there were the 500 in Galilee. There were others that believed, but just the 500, just take that for an example. Imagine going into a courtroom with that many witnesses on your side.

500 people said, we saw him crucified and then risen. And these were credible people also. But the world does not want it to be that way. Well, as a whole, but there are individuals for whom it is going. They are going to believe the message.

We just don't know who they are. Before I got saved, there were many people who said there's no way. He's super lost. And then I get saved. So, they didn't know I was going to get saved. I didn't know I was going to get saved. And to this day, you don't know what unbelievers will come to Christ, so don't lose heart.

Keep at it. And don't think that it's going to be necessarily the one that you've been praying for. It could be somebody else. We don't want to interfere. We want to be usable instruments in the hand of God. And He is no respecter of persons.

That is not a scary thing. That's a sobering thought that God is going to adhere to His truth and His holiness, no matter what people might feel. Verse 15, and in those days, we've got a lot more here. Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples.

Altogether, the number of names was about 120 and said. Now, so what he says, and in those days, it's a disjunctive. It breaks from what he was talking about. And he's now coming to another event within that ten day or so period before, between the ascension of Christ and Pentecost. Remember, Luke is writing 30 years after these events to a Gentile named Theophilus. And he says, hey, in those days, this is old school, he's saying to Theophilus, in those days, Peter stood up. So, again, this verse is separate from verse 14, and you'll miss that, at least I have at times in the past.

You kind of think, well, this is the 120 that's named with the apostles and Mary, but it really is not. Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples. What a wonderful phrase.

I'd like that to be said about me. He stood up in the midst of the disciples, not doing service, not like there's no standing up now, except the preacher man, but just in life, to stand up in the midst of the disciples. Anyway, that's a bit of an allegory, but we move on. Altogether, bottom of verse 15, the number of names is about 120.

And again, it would be difficult to accommodate that many people in the local upper rooms of the city. They're likely back at the temple, as I read from Luke's Gospel, where that's where they tended to rove before Pentecost. Verse 16, men and brethren, this scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 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 / 2023-04-13 22:52:20 / 2023-04-13 23:01:37 / 9

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