To open one's heart to Christ is a beautiful thing. To close it is to forfeit that beautiful thing, is to forfeit His pouring forth, His pouring upon. And the older Christians don't get stale because you've been taking hits that should work the other way around.
Make those hits, turn them into action, get busy, be down to business, pray. I mean, there's just so much to do as Christians. 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. But for now, here's Pastor Rick as he continues his message called Down to Business in Acts chapter 2. Once the church is raptured, that means public ministry according to the scripture because the apostate church will be left behind to join Antichrist. The ecumenical church will join Antichrist. But the true church is begun because if it was not taken away, it would be slaughtered. And that's why Christ said, I'm going to spare you the wrath that is coming on the whole earth. And that wrath of not only the hatred towards Christianity, which the two witnesses will experience, but the wrath of cataclysmic events in nature, global warming, but not man-made, God-made. So once the church is raptured, further outpourings of the Holy Spirit will unfold.
That's what Peter is saying. And all the work of the two witnesses and 144,000 Jews and the nation of Israel finally coming to repentance, it's the work of the Holy Spirit. It's according to the prophecy of Joel.
And Peter again is saying, this is layer one. This is God now reaching, he will reach the Gentiles with this and the Jews alike. It culminates in the Messiah's kingdom after the day of the Lord, the wrath of the Lord. And the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy occurs then, the fulfillment of what Peter is now reciting to them, verse 17. I think there's more excitement coming. And I think as Christians, if you're not excited about the Lord using you, then you might be just a little bit too centered on this life.
I don't want to sound harsh because life can throw at us some nasty stuff. And yet, we are called still to shine as beacons. Verse 17, and it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your young men shall see visions and your old men dream dreams.
And it shall come to pass. The Old Testament prophets knew nothing about the New Testament church. They heard of the new covenant, but they've progressed no further. Paul points this out in 1 Corinthians 2.
The eye is not seen, the ear is not heard. He's not talking about heaven, he's talking about the development of this new covenant that we call the New Testament. Testament means covenant. This new arrangement of God that is a binding arrangement. And so packed into Joel's prophecy are future events to this moment that Peter is speaking and events right at the moment.
So you have this dual and separate fulfillment by over 2,000 years so far and still counting. The portion fulfilled is the Holy Spirit indwelling believers. Acts chapter 2 verse 39, we're in Acts 2 verse 39, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are afar off as many as the Lord our God will call. So Peter is saying this outpouring of the Spirit that Joel talked about, this first layer is for everybody who is in Christ. It's available to every believer. When Paul gets up to Ephesus in chapter 19, he's going to come across believers in Christ who aren't filled with the Spirit and he's going to bless them. But they weren't excited. They were believers intellectually.
They got it, but there was this one feature missing. And we'll wait till chapter 19. He says here, and it shall come to pass in the last days. Well, the last days began with the coming of Christ. You can cross reference Hebrews chapter 1 verses 1 and 2, God in these last days who was spoken by the prophets has in his last days spoken to us by his son. First Corinthians 10 and 11 also a reference to the last days coming with Christ. We live in the last of the last days as we look at the technology. You know, when God, when man was building the Tower of Babel, God looked down and said, now, you know, nothing's going to be held up from them.
They're going to just continue to develop to their own destruction. And God interfered. Well, now the Tower of Babel has been rebuilt. If you metaphorically look at it this way, man has now hurtled the barriers of language.
He has crossed over mountains and oceans and rivers, and man has now come together without God. And they're building their tower of technology and their tower of whatever else that they want to do to the point where they're messing with, you know, creation, artificial intelligence, which really has been around a long time. You should read some books. Anyway, God, at some, man, it can't be sustained. How they're messing with unborn, you know, the human body and all sorts of, the words are escaping me.
That means the Lord. No, you need to finish up on chapter 2. Don't go to Genesis right now. We see the Frankensteins, what they're doing in laboratories, what they're attempting to do in laboratories. The human race cannot sustain this. And I think that's just a rational view. Even unbelievers are saying the same thing. Anyway, here in the last days that we live, he says, I will pour out my spirit and that Greek word, epi, upon all flesh.
Of course, it's not happened. That remains to be fulfilled. Otherwise, we would all be saved, but it will happen. The remnant of Israel that comes with the tribulation, regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of social status, God has made his spirit available. Joel's prophecy cannot be fulfilled until after the day of the Lord as it's coming to an end. Zechariah chapter 13 verse 8 tells us that only a remnant will survive of the Jewish people in the great tribulation period.
But that remnant will be converted to Christ. And it shall come to pass in all the land, says Yahweh. Zechariah 13 verse 8.
Two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, and one-third shall be left in it. Whether you like it or not, that's what the scripture says. But, Zechariah 12, and I will pour on the house of David, the Hebrew people, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication.
Then they will look to me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son and grieve for him as one grieves for a firstborn. And there's a spirit going to be poured out in the last days as Joel's prophecy is being completely fulfilled.
These things, they won't happen instantly in every situation. Some of it will. A lot will be going on and taking place. The main point is, these Old Testament prophets, they're right. He says, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. They will proclaim. They will speak forth God's word. Prophecy is the movement of spiritual information.
It is not limited to prediction. I mean, there's that type of prophecy that predicts. There is a type when the Bible uses the word prophecy.
It also uses it when it speaks of praising God and or singing songs, preaching and or reading of the word of God. These are all forms of prophecy as used in scripture. So there is foretelling, telling the future, as Peter is doing here. He is saying, this is what the prophet spoke of.
Your sons and your daughters will dream dreams. And he's quoting Joel. Jeremiah chapter 28 gives us an example of God foretelling, predicting the future. Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, here now Hananiah, Yahweh has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. Therefore, thus says Yahweh, behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die because you have taught rebellion against Yahweh.
So, verse 17 of Jeremiah 28, Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month. He predicted it. And that is direct prophecy also. He's saying, no, you, you are sinning.
You are doing wrong. That's the direct part. Then he says, and here's what's going to happen.
That's the predictive part. So Jeremiah is there foretelling and telling forth, speaking forth, as Peter is also doing here. Acts chapter 19, I mentioned the Ephesian Christians when Paul arrives, verse 6, and Paul had laid his hands on them. The Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Well, it would be a little far-fetched to think that when they came to Christ they had all these predictions.
And, you know, milk will be sold at a dollar a gallon. I mean, it's not in the context of scripture at all. What is happening is they're praising God and quoting scripture more than likely because they were already believers. They were Jewish believers.
That's forthtelling. We know in Psalm, 1 Samuel chapter 10, is not Saul amongst the prophets? Well, what was Saul doing? He was singing with them. Praises to God. 1 Chronicles chapter 25 verse 1 really drills down on this.
Moreover, David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, Haman, and Juduathan, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments and cymbals. Again, it would be kind of silly. Look, we want to tell everybody that, you know, milk's going down at its price, but we need to sing it to the people.
That would just not be, I mean, you've got to use your head. But there they are singing to the Lord, and it is referred to as prophecy. So the context is everything. Edification, 1 Corinthians 14. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. Again, I keep using the milk, you know. He's not saying, you know, I'm going to speak comfort to you.
Milk's going to go even lower than a dollar a gallon. I mean, that's not what's going on. We prophesy in this sense when we speak the word of God, when we encourage according to the scripture. Acts 21 verse 9. Now, this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. They're likely daughters that love to sing songs to the Lord and could sing.
But again, to think that, oh, that's predictive prophecy again is, I think, misguided approach. Witnessing, Acts chapter 10 verse 43. To him, all the prophets witnessed that through his name, whoever believes in him will receive remission of sins.
And the church continued to do this. Revelation 19, 10. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. So prophecy is the movement of spiritual information, spiritual things. It is not limited to forth-telling or fore-telling.
It includes exhortation and joy and building up others. So Peter says here in verse 17, your young men shall see visions. Who would object to this, I should ask?
Who would say, no, no, no, no. Whenever it's a prophecy, it's got to be a prediction. Well, then you've got a problem with referring to the prophesying with instruments. Anyhow, your young men shall see visions. God-given revelation while the person is awake. Your old men shall dream dreams. A revelation from God while the person is asleep. Visions for the young men watching. Dreams for the old men resting.
It's not gender specific. Old men and old women believers is the idea behind that. Verse 18, and on my men servants and on my maid servants, I will pour out my spirit in those days and they shall prophesy. And so that belongs to the previous statement with the visions and dreams that they are filled with the spirit and they are also speaking the things of God. Christian men and women. Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16, do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you? Verse 23, and you belong to Christ. Ownership.
Those are the men servants and the maid servants. The ones that are owned by Christ by consent. And I assure Calvinists, it doesn't make a difference. You've been demanded to be a Christian and you've got nothing you can do about it. I don't believe in Calvinism and I always hope my audience says, what is that?
And just leave it at that. I will pour out my spirit in those days. He's quoting the Hebrew prophet Joel throughout this. He's saying you make room for the Holy Spirit and he will make room for the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a fact.
That is a discovery also. You come to Christ, you're all excited about these things and they're happening but your doctrine is not formed yet. You don't even know it's happening. You can't say, well this is what the Bible is, because you're just a new Christian. When I came to Christ, I was like loving the Lord, telling everybody, prophesying.
Again, not about milk. Man, I've been reading the Bible. You got to see what's in the Bible. I didn't know I was missing all this. Why didn't anybody tell me this? How come they were so busy lighting candles and walking around telling you what was happening in the neighborhood?
How come they weren't telling me about Jesus Christ? And so in that sense, I was prophesying. I was filled with joy. I'd weep.
I'd laugh. I was so happy to be saved from the hell that I was going to. And just again, anyway, is not Rick amongst the prophets?
Yeah baby, I am. So to open one's heart to Christ is a beautiful thing. To close it is to forfeit that beautiful thing, is to forfeit his pouring forth, his pouring upon. And older Christians, don't get stale because you've been taking hits that should work the other way around. Make those hits. Turn them into action. Get busy.
Be down to business. Pray. I mean, there's just so much to do as Christians. And you younger Christians. All right. Younger Christians, you come to church.
Wake up now. And maybe it's this Old Testament and some of it might be heavy duty and you're going, huh? What? Huh? Look, if you are only celebrating Christ when you come to church in a church that goes verse by verse, you're going to miss it.
You're going to be so out of shape that you can't keep up. And so the solution is, is have your devotions. It doesn't take much. I mean, the time it takes you to, you know, stare at a video game for 10 minutes, you could have been just having a paragraph of the scripture. And you will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will take it from there.
There will be times when he won't take it from there because he's doing something else with you. But open your heart to Christ. Don't think you're a Christian because your parents are Christian. What about you? If your parents weren't Christian, does that mean you can't be a Christian?
Of course not. It comes down to a personal relationship with Christ. Be people of the Word. Matthew 13 38. Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
They just didn't believe it. You have to open that heart and they shall prophesy. Be filled to speak forth. One more verse. First Corinthians 14.
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. But he who prophesies edifies the church. Verse 19. And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath blood and fire and vapor and smoke. These are catastrophic events that will be taking place just prior or prior throughout the tribulation period to the return of Christ. But this in particular is toward the end of that great tribulation period. Blood and fire and vapor of smoke is God's day of judgment and wrath on an antichrist world. Joel starts off by saying it's the day of the Lord. The wrath of the Lord is coming. That's how his prophecy starts off.
And he develops it throughout. We're not centered on saving the planet. As Christians we are centered on saving souls. And it is okay to point that out to those who think that the earth is, again I don't get it. They talk about the ice melting and we all getting flooded out. But to me a scientific experiment is ice in a glass of water. I mean when that ice melts it goes down.
Am I missing something? Is there another law of ice melting that I don't know about? Maybe you can help me with that. Well this is different ice. It has polar bears on top of it. I don't know. It just seems that you know you want to trust scientists but you can't. Some of them you can.
They give you facts but others they come along you know anyway. You know butchers and scientists dress in the same kind of white coat don't they? Think about it. Anyway verse 20. I don't want to offend the butchers or the scientists. That's not what I'm trying to do. Verse 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming and great and awesome day of the Lord. I don't want to see that. I don't want to live through that. I don't mind seeing it from heaven because I'll be above it all. But you know some have put so much into this.
The blood moon. Remember we went through that a few months ago and I'm sure they're not going to let it go. They're going to come backwards. Look just preach the word. Love the lost. Even and love the saved too.
You're supposed to figure it out. You know some saved people are really hard to love. Anyway these cataclysmic events going on. Demonstration of God's power and sovereignty. The completion of Joel's prophecy is wrapping up. Taken in its fullness the passage of Joel promises more to come. That's what Peter is saying.
That's why he's quoting all of it. He's going to pour out his spirit. That's happening now. But there's more to come. And this is the first layer. There are other layers.
How exciting. They knew that. Otherwise they would have rejected what Peter was saying. And so Peter is saying there's more beyond the church age. There's more to God's prophecies beyond this life. It is the identical power of God in action that is allowing these men to speak in tongues as they are and also wrap up the universe. It manifested at Pentecost as preached by Peter. Look with me at verse 16 again. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel. And so don't be surprised he's saying the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood.
Do we really need a lengthy exposition on that? I like just accepting that it's going to happen and I won't suffer through it. I don't want to see the sun turn to darkness.
We need the sun. Matthew, I know some of you are saying, what does that, how does that fit in? Matthew 24 verse 29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. The stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And Jesus is saying, you think when the Holy Spirit came upon the church it was dramatic? Watch and see what happens when I come back to earth.
This is going to be dramatic. Verse 30 of Matthew 24. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. It's going to be just incredible. The angelic activity, the saints that come with him, the judgments, the remnants, the conversion of the nation of Israel, all the Jews, all Israel will be saved, said Paul. So these exciting things, they're beyond study in some ways.
It's just awe, it's awe-inspiring. Verse 21, almost done. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls in the name of Yahweh shall be saved. So Peter says, watch and see. Whoever comes to Christ will be saved. Notice that's an Old Testament reference to God, Yahweh, and Peter is applying it to Jesus Christ as we know Acts 4-12, nor is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. And he sends his messengers, us, to do it. If you remember nothing else this morning, you've got to have love. You've got to have love.
You cannot be just caught up in the culture and the silly petty things of the world. Anyway, New Testament churches to be down to business. I close with this verse from Ezekiel chapter 3. We're focusing on when Peter said, heed my words. Moreover, he said to me, God's speaking to Ezekiel the prophet, son of man, receive into your heart all my words that I speak to you and hear with your ears. And that the construction of the Hebrew is, and how Peter used the word in verse 16, is to act upon what you've heard.
And that's for all of us. 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.
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