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Converting Lost Souls (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2022 6:00 am

Converting Lost Souls (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 14, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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There is a definite mention, however, that they continued steadfastly in the Word, in fellowship, in communion, and prayer, which we'll get next session, which I fear many Christians are not mindful of, as though that's just a little phrase in Scripture, but it really doesn't, it characterizes what the Church should be, both local and universal. Truth is to dominate the believer.

It is to dominate our faith. Today, Pastor Rick will continue teaching through the book of Acts, chapter 2, and his message called, Converting Lost Souls. If baptism were necessary for salvation, then nobody in the Old Testament is saved. And we know they're in heaven because the Bible tells us these things.

You know, just Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus saying, what are you going to feel pretty bad when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom and you left out? So we understand that Old Testament saints were saved apart from water baptism. Water baptism is not a condition of salvation. It is an admission that Jesus finished the work for my salvation. Messiah's death has canceled my debt, sin is remitted, and they understood it that way. Peter said, when they said, what do we do? Repent. And right after that repentance, because we've been commanded, your first act as a Christian is to be baptized.

When, and I'm not the only one, but when I conduct a wedding, I offer the couple as their first act of marriage together, now that they're husband and wife, I offer that their first action be communion. That they start off that way. Yeah, not a rabbit's foot. It doesn't mean, okay, now that you've done that, your marriage is just going to be perfect after this. No laughing. But it does mean, hopefully, well, what if you get a couple as Suzanne now? We'll pass on that.

You got sandwiches? You see, that would be a great indicator that they're missing the value of the things that belong to our faith, and Peter's not having any of that. 1 John 1-7, the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us of all sin. Not water baptism, cannot cleanse. Had water baptism been necessary for salvation, then Paul would never have said these things. 1 Corinthians chapter 1.

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius. You see, I mean, he couldn't make that statement if it was necessary. He could not say the same thing about the cross of Christ. He does say, for Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. And he goes on to say, not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made of no value.

That's pretty powerful. He doesn't say, lest the cross of Christ and the baptism be made of no value. You say, okay, we got it.

I'm not so sure. To believe that one must be water baptized to be saved is to believe that ritual contributes to your salvation. And what I am saying, of course, is the conclusion is, we are to be baptized, and water baptism in water cannot save us. Because that's not the only baptism available to the believer. Jesus said that he would immerse us in the Holy Spirit. That's not water baptism. That's the gift of the Holy Spirit being poured upon the individual. So, let's take some more verses, because we are in God's house, and what a delight to be able to speak God's word.

Neither John the Baptist nor the apostles understood water baptism as necessary for salvation. John, in the Revelation, chapter 1, verse 5, he says, Jesus Christ, the faithful witness to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. If water baptism had anything to do with it, he had a great time for him to say, who washed us in the water at the baptism.

Matthew 26, verse 28, Jesus speaking, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for remission of sins, end quote. Then Acts chapter 10, verse 42, this is Peter, he's preaching to Gentiles, and again the Holy Spirit interferes, well not interferes, interrupts. But in a blessed way all the time, and Peter's not finished his sermon, and they start, you know, speaking in tongues, praising God. Acts 10, verse 42, and after this, and he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is he who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the apostles witnessed that through his name whoever believes in him will receive remission of sins. If you are a Christian and you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and you know that there's no other way into heaven except through him, and you have not been baptized, you need to get with one of the pastors so we can arrange that baptism.

And if you had no witnesses of your baptism, God witnesses it, the angels witness it, Satan sees it, and don't be surprised if there aren't others that you don't know about that have witnessed you being baptized. He continues here in verse 38, and your sin, pardon me, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is salvation, this is what Paul had in mind, 1 Corinthians 12, 13, for by one spirit we are all immersed into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves are free, and have all been made to drink into one spirit. The giving of the spirit in obedience, Acts 5, 32, we are his witnesses to these things. You see how that keeps coming up with these men? We are his witnesses.

We have seen these things. Those who believe, believe because they have seen the gospel in their heart. They have seen the Christ of the gospel.

You can't unsee him. This does not mean there are not apostates, because there are, but it does mean that we who are saved are supposed to be those who tell people what we have seen to get us saved. And you do not need a theological degree to do that. You don't have to know one word of Greek to be an effective servant for Christ, in leading people to Christ, or praying that someone you know can lead somebody to Christ.

I mean, what if you were just confined to your home and you don't get out? Well, I don't get to preach to anyone you could say. Well, you could pray for those who you know are out there on the battlefield.

You can lift your arms up, as Aaron did for Joshua there on the battlefield, submitting to the truth of scripture is obeying God, which is what they were doing. Jesus said this, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? If you have never been filled with the love of Christ, if you have never been filled with this desire to share him, but you say, I believe I am a Christian, I believe in the cross.

If you've never been filled with love, if you're one of those, you know, booby-trapped Christians, you know, you just accidentally bump them and boom, they go off on you, then I suggest at the service you get with the pastors, you come up and you say, could you pray that I receive the Holy Spirit, that I would love the Lord, that I would value witnessing his name, and that I would be filled with love, that I could at least resist my own, my personal obnoxious attitudes, because I claim Christ. Or are you ashamed to say something like that? If you are ashamed, it's evidence you're not filled. Verse 39, would anybody object to that? Oh, I'm filled, even though I'm obnoxious, I'll come and punch you out, pastor.

Yeah, you're filled all right. You're about to be carried out. Anyway, verse 39, For the promise is to you and your children, and to those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. What has happened to this man, Peter?

I mean, he's just laying everything out perfectly. He's saying, look, this is not only for you, this goes beyond you. Many of them are pretty self-important, but not those crying out. The offer and the message of salvation, accompanied by the immersion in the Spirit, reaches all future generations if they will have it. I don't think there's ever been an unbroken witness of Christianity on earth.

Somewhere there's been a remnant, somewhere at the very least, there have been those who are saved and filled. Jesus said this in his prayer, John 17, I do not pray for these alone, that's his apostles, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. He just made what they're going to say scripture, before it even happened. That's why we consider everything after the Gospels just as much scripture from God as the Gospels, likewise with the Old Testament, and to all who are afar off, Jew and Gentile alike. When Paul was witnessing, he had the hard task of trying to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles without letting certain Jews Judaize the Gospel and ruin it.

He did a great job. And when he writes in the Ephesians, he says, and he came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. He's talking about Jews and Gentiles. The fact that there is such a thing as Jew and Gentile, the fact that there's this distinction from one people, one race of people and everybody else should alert anyone that something spiritual is going on. How do you do that? How do you just take one race and sort of set it aside from everybody else and then preserve this for millennium?

Well, you don't. God did. That alone should make everybody say, why is there this distinction? Why is it preserved? Why is it honored?

Not honored honorably all the time, but honored in the sense that it is preserved. And why are the Jewish people targeted by so many Gentiles for something they didn't do wrong? I mean, during the plague, many of them were blamed because they weren't getting the plague. Well, they were cleaning themselves. Their lifestyle, their hygiene was a lot different than everybody else.

That's one of the reasons for that. Nazi Germany, they hated that the Jews were so isolated from everybody else and doing well without them. You think somebody would say, well, when I was a Gentile, I'm not a Gentile anymore. I stopped being one some time back. I opted out when I came to Christ. Now I'm a Christian. I'm not a Jew. I'm not a Gentile. I'm a Christian.

But I didn't make that connection. Not that I was anti-Semitic, because I was not, but I never thought that. Well, that could be part of your witnessing to start the conversation with someone.

Any time a Christian hears somebody badmouth a Jew, you got an opportunity to preach, and I suggest you strongly look to preach it. Don't bow down to them. They get to say their nonsense. You get to say the truth. That's how it works, equal time.

Sometimes it works that way. Well, we can go on on that, but let's go to verse 40. And with many other words, he testified and exhorted them, saying, be saved from this perverse generation. When he says, and with many other words, he testified and exhorted them. That's why sermons are long. There's always more to say about Jesus. And, you know, what are you supposed to do?

You're preparing, and God is showing you things. Are you supposed to say, well, I need to bury that. I need to hide that under the rug. I need to skip over that.

You can't do it. You just have to take that section and try to share, and hopefully it was the Lord. Saying, be saved from what? When I was in my teens, I'd hear that, be saved. I mean, I was so into baseball. The relief pitcher was the saver.

He was the one that came in and saved the game. And I just thought, what do they mean, be saved? Why didn't a Christian tell me what that meant? We say these things as Bible language, and we expect the world to understand. We have to have a walking glossary.

You know, we walk around. Let me tell you what that word means, how it is applied to you. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. They don't know what that means.

What does that mean? They hear it so much, they become numb to it. Only begotten, there's none like Him. He comes from God. He's God the Son. And He gave Him to be slaughtered as a lamb for us. And that's, you know, we get to preach these things. Saved or not, God has allowed humans to achieve quite a few exceptional, even extraordinary feats except salvation.

Man, you know, a man can put a man in, he can take a man and put him in Ashland. He thought I was going to say moon. What he can do is just extraordinary things.

But he can't, he has nothing to do with salvation apart from Jesus Christ. And some hearts that we come in touch with are black holes. There's so much gravity in there. Light can't get out. It can't be reflected. The moon, the moon has no light of its own. It reflects the sunlight. That's a metaphor, an allegory for the Christian salvation.

You see any light in me? It's not self-originated. It comes from me reflecting Christ. Well, a black hole won't do that. And they are black holes in this sense because they are disinterested, preoccupied or insincere about Jesus Christ. That's the parable of the sower.

The shallow ones, you know, the rocks, the ones that Satan plucked up and the other ones who couldn't handle the pressure. They become the apostates. They enter Christianity expecting God to do things for them and he doesn't do it as they thought.

And they become disillusioned and no longer do they want Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. The first question in the Bible from God is where are you? First question from Satan precedes that. Has God really said that? Doubt came first. And then God shows up and says, what did you do with the doubt?

Well, those black holes. It's an excellent question to ask somebody. Disinterested in Christ, preoccupied, insincere? Which one of them?

Where are you? Or are you ready to receive the gospel? Or do you want to wait until there's a real heavy grief in your life? Then you want to come and hear all the blessings from the Bible without repenting. He says from this perverse generation. That's Jesus, mankind, the Jesus haters for us. In those days, it was those, as Peter said it, those who are rejecting their own scripture of Messiah but it first shows up in Deuteronomy and there Moses applies it to everybody outside of the covenant or against God because Job was not under the covenant of the Jews and Job was right with God. I mean, there's no greater boast in the scripture. I know about a human being's righteousness than God laid on Job. I mean, I don't believe God can be impressed in the way that we're impressed.

He can be pleased. One old saint said, God is easily pleased but never satisfied. And that I believe is true because when Jesus says, be you perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, I can't be perfect.

But it's the pursuit of that perfection that counts a whole lot because take that pursuit away and what are you left with? The pursuit of unrighteousness. Deuteronomy 32, they have corrupted themselves. They are not his children because of their blemish, a perverse and crooked generation. Proverbs 30 verse 12. This is stuff you can read to unbelievers if they let you. Proverbs 30 verse 12.

A generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness. I mean, you can bring that up as literature and then segue right into the gospel. Ezra, they come back from captivity in Babylon.

Not a lot of them. Most of the Jews wanted to stay out of Jerusalem because it was, you know, razed, destroyed. And Ezra brings a remnant back.

And we read this. Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all those who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek Yahweh, God of Israel. Well, for the Christian, separation is not isolation. It's contact without contamination. That's the Christian life.

I liked A.W. Toja's analysis. He says like a ship having contact with the sea but not being filled with the sea. Philippians 2 15. That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world. Well, it goes back to that reflection of the light on the moon.

It goes back to that whole black hole thing. Humanity worsens morally as we approach the last days. And we're warned about this. 1 Timothy 4. Now the spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

To depart from the faith is to be an apostate. 2 Timothy 3. But know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come.

And then one more. 2 Timothy 3 13. But evil men and imposters, those are make-believers, will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. The internet is helping all that along. The internet is babble rebuilt.

That doesn't mean you can't find sales and use it for good if they have your size. But it does mean it has become a superhighway for the trade of foul thoughts. And every unclean beast you can imagine is there. And that is babble. The tendency of the universe is always towards decay. It's not towards evolution.

It's proven all the time. Just take a piece of fruit out and leave it out too long and it will decay. It will not get better. Boy, this is vintage. Now, some of you may say, well, what about wine? Well, who said wine is good?

Okay, don't start whining. You leave that too long and it becomes vinegar. Anyway, that's nature and that's our nature too. Left to ourselves, mankind will decay. Peter exalts them to fight the natural tendencies. Again, Romans 12, 9. How many of you Christians are familiar with this? Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.

We're almost done. Verse 41. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them. He's preaching an expounding scripture and he got fruit from that.

It doesn't always work that way. They were baptized as commanded. That day about 3,000 souls were added to them. That's a reversal of what we read at the giving of the law when Moses comes down and he breaks the stones because the people are in debauchery.

And about 3,000 of them were killed. Exodus 32, 28. So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses and about 3,000 men of the people fell that day. That is in judgment from God and so there's a lot there to ponder. Peter promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit. If they believe Jesus Christ was Messiah and they believe. And of the 3,000 converts, there's no mention of a single one of them speaking in tongues.

Pretty interesting. There is a definite mention, however, that they continued steadfastly in the word, in fellowship, in communion, and prayer, which we'll get next session, which I fear many Christians are not mindful of, as though that's just a little phrase in scripture, but it characterizes what the church should be, both local and universal. Truth is to dominate the believer. It is to dominate our faith, not what we want to be true, but what we realize to be true by the Spirit of God. And you may not like it. You may not like that God has given the pastor authority in the assembly. You may not like that, but you can't get away from it. And this has caused so many unnecessary, it just hands Satan victory.

Time and time again, with some people. Here, this is the Feast of First Fruits. The church makes her converts, but Jesus grows the church. And we'll cover this again, but we need to start it here. Jesus grows the church. Not people, not marketing agency, not tactics.

How about we put, you know, a little piece of candy in the chair of everybody, we announce it in the paper, there's candy, just come and get it, it's free. Matthew 16 18, Jesus said, I will build my church. John chapter 5 verse 5, without me you can do nothing. Psalm 127 verse 1, unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor to build it in vain. Galatians chapter 3, have you begun in the Spirit to become perfected in the flesh?

Of course not. Now Stephen will, he will have a deadly reaction, a fatal reaction to his preaching. Acts chapter 7, when they heard these things that Stephen was preaching, they were cut to heart and they gnashed him with their teeth and of course they murdered him for preaching the truth. This sermon by Peter, I believe, put it in the hearts of some of the Jews that they would have no more of this Christianity and they wouldn't tolerate another Pentecost.

And that's one of the reasons why I think they turned on Stephen. Also because Stephen frustrated their arguments and in declaring Christ the Messiah, they could not outwit him, they could not beat him in debate, they could not take away what he was saying from the scripture, they either submitted to Christ like these 3,000 or they rejected Christ and they rejected Christ and he was stoned. And of course the fruit of his death, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit. Jesus said that about himself.

Well, Stephen died and he brought forth much fruit from a single tree and that is the life of Paul. This is God at work. 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 / 2023-04-05 11:07:17 / 2023-04-05 11:17:16 / 10

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