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Unintimidated Preaching (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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June 24, 2022 6:00 am

Unintimidated Preaching (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 24, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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John 12, verse 39. 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, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts, chapter 4, as he begins his message, Unintimidated Preaching. The Book of Acts, chapter 4, the first 22 verses. Now as they spoke to the people, the priest, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed, that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

And they laid hands on them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. And it came to pass on the next day that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priests, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power or by what name have you done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man stands here before you whole.

This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone, nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled, and they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go outside of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, What shall we do to these men?

For indeed that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name. So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you, more than to God you judge, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what he had done. The man was over 40 years old, on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. Unintimidated preaching.

They weren't reckless in that they were fearless. This is the beginning of persecution against Christianity. And this chapter, of course, continues what began in the previous chapter, in the first verse, as they were going into the temple and they had healed this beggar, this lame beggar, and caught the attention of the authorities and they were arrested. So looking at verse 1, now as they spoke to the people, the priest, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed, verse 2, that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Well, as I mentioned, this is the first persecution of the infant church. The religious leaders, particularly the Sadducees, they were in great conflict with what was being preached.

It's been an information war since the Garden of Eden, since that serpent engaged Eve. The priest, they were present for this arrest because of where Peter was preaching. He's on the Temple Mount. The Sadducees, they're present because of what Peter was preaching.

And, of course, they have the temple authority, the police, that are doing the arresting. These Sadducees, they are the largest antagonists in the book of Acts. They did not believe in the supernatural. They did not believe in angels. They did not believe in the resurrection.

They did not believe in miracles. They were the modernist of their day and they also rejected scripture, scriptural tradition from the prophets, the things that were taught. However, they did acknowledge Moses because they had to have just, you know, enough religion to be accepted by the people.

They were usually wealthy, had a lot of power. They were skeptic scoffers. They were not only skeptics, they scoffed also, as I mentioned, pretending to respect Moses, but really they were about themselves. And the fact that they denied the resurrection from the dead, the very thing Peter and John were preaching, got under their skin. This is documented, their position against the supernatural in the Gospels. Paul will deal with them in Acts chapter 23.

He pitched the Pharisees against the Sadducees quite wisely. Anyway, these Sadducees, they relished all the natural answers of human beings without God. This is important to us because they're these type of people. They're always around. They're here to this very day. Those who think that they're, you know, well I'm very analytical and I'm very logical and well the rest of us are not and you've heard me go through that spiel before.

All of this is relevant to me. Peter's teaching on the resurrection clashed with their beliefs. Well, there are other things we preach that clash with beliefs of others and we are to still preach it, unintimidated preaching. And since the resurrection, the keynote of the apostles preaching is that Jesus Christ was murdered and he got up. After he had died, he rose again. Charles Spurgeon in 1888, he preached this in one of his sermons and the religious establishment did not care for Charles Spurgeon. He was too successful at preaching Jesus and not successful enough at preaching religion and ritual.

And what he has to say, you be the judge of how relevant it is to this day. Again, preached in 1888, the Sadducees were the broad school, the liberals, the advanced thinkers, the modern thought people of the day. If you want a bitter sneer, a biting sarcasm, or a cruel action, I commend you to these large-hearted gentlemen. They are liberal to everybody except to those who hold the truth.

And for those, they have a reserve of concentrated bitterness which far excels wormwood and gall. They are so liberal to their brother error-ist that they have no tolerance to spare for evangelicals. Even with the clumsy reading, I think you get the point. This is what Spurgeon had to deal with. We have to deal with it. The apostles had to deal with this. So as a Christian, I shouldn't be so shocked when I find things in the headline and in the government, why are Christians so all over, they're taking our freedom. Well, what do you expect the enemy to try to do? What is going to be our response to this?

That's what I'm more interested in. The Pharisees, they led the nation against Christ, but the Sadducees are leading the nation against the church. And that is one of the differences between the book of Acts and the days in the Gospels when Christ walked. The facts prove the resurrection to those living in Jerusalem at the time of the resurrection. Or else it would have been no discussion.

It would have been absurd. The resurrection is authority. It is a threat to the unbeliever. If Christ did rise and you don't believe, what's going to happen to you? That's what the resurrection preaches. He was crucified for sinners.

He rose again because he's the Son of God. And if you don't bow to him, it's not going to be good for you. The wrath of God will abide on you. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.

But for many of those, it will be too late. They'll have no choice but to bow before God. After 2,000 years, those refusing to bow to Jesus are still greatly disturbed that the followers of Christ still preach that he is not on the cross. That's why the crucifix is an insult to the scriptural teaching. He's not on the cross.

He wasn't on there but for about six hours, not 2,000 years. It is a very important part of what we have to say to those who don't believe. Now, we shouldn't expect them to just say, oh, okay, thanks for explaining it to me.

Now, I am a believer too. It's not that easy. Satan is very protective of his territory. And we should be very much protective of what the Lord wants us to do in spite of it. And that's why these men are unintimidated. They're so focused on preaching their message. Verse 3, and they laid hands on them and put them in custody until the next day for it was already evening. Well, it was three in the afternoon when they first engaged the lame man and then give time for the preaching so the sun is going down and the day is ending, the Jewish day from sun up to sun down. They are now arrested and they will spend the night in jail. These rulers, Sadducees, many if not most of the Pharisees and scribes, because some did convert, but they became a problem too.

Old habits are very hard to break. These rulers long ago forfeited their right to rule Israel. And not because people say so, but because they won against truth. They protected their position instead. Now, believers may struggle with truth.

We struggle to get it all right. But these chaps, they stopped struggling and they were satisfied with being anti-Christ. They were satisfied with seeing a miracle performed and trying to get rid of all the evidence. And they saw many miracles performed. Jesus, when he was preaching in Jerusalem at the triumphal entry, he goes into the city riding on a donkey.

We understand that Palm Sunday moment, as we call it. The Greeks then wanted to see them and, you know, he likely did not. But there's an interesting statement that John makes about all this. That Jesus did all these miracles in Jerusalem and around Jerusalem and they still, some of them, many of them, of the people, would not receive him. And John says this in John 12 verse 39, Therefore they could not believe.

They could not believe. This is not Calvinism. Calvinism is a twist and an abuse of what the scripture teaches. It abuses the idea of sovereignty. It turns it into tyranny.

It just does many things like that. But what is happening here is John is linking what was prophesied by Isaiah to the behavior of the people who decided to go to the point of no return. That after all God had done for them, there was nothing that was going to sway them back. And God warns of this in his scripture. This is what happened with Pharaoh.

Hardening of the heart, hardening of the heart until finally there was a point of no return. So once again John 12, 39, Therefore they could not believe. That is spooky that a human being can be so determined to be anti-Christ that the tale has been told for that individual. Now we don't know when these times come. John writing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

But we certainly can say it's coming for many people. Truth is the foundation of the authority for the religious leaders. Truth is the foundation. But when you decide to build on some other foundation other than truth, you fall into this category. They discarded that very thing.

Their disinterest in truth allowed them to be corrupt so that they could hold to power. I've said it many times, if you decide you are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, you're going to make some enemies, if not ruffle friendships with believers. With believers. There will be believers that won't like you saying, no I'm not led to do that.

What can be wrong? Why not? I need you to do this. I need to listen to God.

And they're not going to like it. And this is an integral part of our faith is being led by the Spirit of God and not only by what seems to be right. And so we put it on our t-shirts and coffee mugs, you know, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge the Lord. Well, being led by the Spirit says I'm not leaning on my own understanding. I can say many times God just speaks to me and I don't. So when we saw Peter walk into the temple, I'll get back to that.

I'll finish it up. He walks into the temple and he looks at this man. Where does he get the gall to tell him to rise up and heal him?

How do you do that? There are plenty of beggars and lame people around but he did it to this one. Well, when God wants his servants to move, he gives this to them. And I can say in leading the church there are times that God just tells me things. I just know this is what to do. And it's a tunnel vision after that.

I don't care about what anybody thinks. This is what has to happen. So, for the individual Christian, you too, there are times you just know this is what I have to do. I've got to get to so and so.

I'm not going to do that. This is being led by the Spirit. Anyway, their arrest did not undo what the Holy Spirit did do in the conversion of this multitude. The number of the men came to be about 5,000, verse 4. Now, the Greek word for men is gender specific. It is male.

These are males. Because that's how they counted in those days. It does not mean women were not being converted.

Wives, sisters, moms, neighbors. But it's just saying these are the men that were converted. You combine this, however many were converted at Peter's preaching here after healing the lame man, the lame man, with Acts 1, 15 where there was 150, and then Acts 2, 42 where about 3,000 were saved. And you have probably a universal church now of about 10,000 people. That's universal because it's not just in Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost, many of those pilgrims who were converted went back to where they lived. Many stayed.

And that becomes a problem. We get to chapter 6, a logistical problem, which Satan was trying to twist into a spiritual issue. So the church, it is growing. You have the Galilean Christians that are not in this number, and the churches spread out. They will then build these local churches.

The church at Antioch will be a thriving church. And why that church thrives is because it has Jews and Gentiles alike in that church. And Satan tried to bust that up by sending Christians up there to investigate them. I mentioned that there's still a lot more action to come. When the Holy Spirit said, separate to me Saul and Barnabas or Paul and Barnabas, eventually Satan was going to come at that relationship too.

And we're getting ahead of it. Anyway, who can tell how many people have been saved since the apostles were unleashed on Jerusalem and then the world? Today's liberal news media, had they been around for this, they would have criminalized the converts. They were there to cause a riot. Their fingernails are dirty. They have split ends in their hair. Just so stupid things they would just, and there would be an audience that would go, who tells more?

Just like we see it today. My wife took a picture of someone at the gas pump yesterday that had a Biden sticker on the car, and I don't want to mock the person, but they look like the Cousin It. They had the hair, you couldn't see their face, I'm not trying, I'm just describing the first thought. And there was no one around and they had the mask on, of course, and road cones around them. And you just say, there are people that love Kool-Aid.

They just will drink anything. This is spiritual. There's demonic activity.

In the days of Christ, you say, boy, he threw out a lot of demons. I'm glad we're not like that today. Well, slow down there.

Maybe we are. The problem is they vote. That's why I vote two or three times. Fight back. Anyway, verse four, and it came to pass on the next day that their rulers, elders, and scribes, verse six, as well as Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem.

Luke does a magnificent job. He is saying, let me show you what these men were up against. And this verse does it. These are the nation's supreme leaders. This is like the Supreme Court and lower courts all gathered together. And they're all cronies, the family of the high priest.

Come on, are you kidding me? If you've ever worked somewhere in a family-run business, some families, they do it better and they have certain rights. It is their family.

But certain other families, man, the nepotism is just too much to deal with. This, what I want to bring out of this, where it says, as well as Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander. Okay, we know the first two, Annas and Caiaphas, were very much part responsible for the arrest and crucifixion of Christ.

The devil's duo, they're at it again. Annas is the father-in-law of Caiaphas. He was the high priest, but Rome didn't like him, so they appointed Caiaphas in his place. But he's still the people's high priest, and so they're in cahoots, these two. And the rest, John, Alexander, whoever they were, they were no doubt present for the murder of Christ. And they tried to rid themselves of Jesus, and now they're trying to rid themselves of the disciples of Jesus. Peter had already charged these men and the nation with killing Christ in chapter three. He will do it again in this chapter, and he will do it again in chapter five. Peter did not like them. He loved the Lord, and all he could seem to think about is, you guys are killers of the one I love, and I'm supposed to love back.

And to do that, I'm going to point out how creepy you are, because I can't heal you if you don't acknowledge that there's something wrong with you. Anyway, it is unfortunate that the New King James version here, the translators, omit two of the conjunctions, and, A-N-D, chi in the Greek. It may be pronounced differently and good for them. It's that repetition of conjunctions, polysendon, that is supposed to make the point. It emphasizes the point. I'm going to read it from the King James version, which captures it. It retains the conjunctions.

Acts chapter four and five, they're rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kin. You see that? And, and, and.

So Luke is pouring it on. He's saying, listen, these guys are indicted. These are the guys, and they're lined up.

And so he deliberately uses that repetition to emphasize the turnout against two fishermen for healing somebody. Yeah, the world is insane, and they think that they're not. They think, you know, it's like the, the, the inmates have run the asylum, and the same people are locked away. Opposition in high places.

There's the message. This opposition is responsible for the blood on the cross. And yet they knew about the empty tomb and looked the other way. And you say, how can people be so messed up? Look what's happening in Ukraine. There is a very real Satan, and he loves world leaders.

He'll take anybody he can get, but he can do a lot of damage through one person. And history is replete with this. It says here in verse six, and as many as were of the family of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem.

There's another conjunction. And as many, the family of Annas, they voted any way he wanted them to vote. He made him rich with wealth. Verse seven, and when they had set them in the midst, they asked, by what power or by what name have you done this? Now this was a fair question, but this court of inquiry was corrupt.

Coming from honest men, it would have been a nice, just a wonderful opportunity to share. Deuteronomy 13 tells that if there are signs and wonders done and it's not in the name of Yahweh, then that person's a false prophet. If they have dreams, even if it comes true, because there are spiritual activities. So they're using the law of Moses to go against men who actually have seen Moses. There's no one in Israel that has seen Moses that is alive except John, Peter, and James, John's brother. And this is Peter and John, of course. I think James was pretty much a stabilizing force amongst the apostles, not James, the brother of the Lord, James, the brother of John. His death was really a big thing, but he was, because he's very quiet, you don't hear him say much, but he's always there. Why is he always there between Peter and John?

You can't keep them separated, I don't know, but I do think it was just a, he's not even replaced after he scaled, he can't. I mean, he just thought, well, I'm going off track. We'll get to that when he is martyred, but these leaders were notorious for covering up facts. I'm glad that doesn't happen anymore. The devil at this point didn't have to lift a finger. He had enough corruption in these men. All he had to do was just nudge him and they're off. And it's the same thing. You probably know people like this in the workplace, in this universe, in the neighborhood.

The devil doesn't have to do anything with him. They're just on the payroll now. And they're hauling the chili for the enemy every chance they get.

Every time they're behind the wheel, they are on his errand. 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 / 2023-03-29 22:10:52 / 2023-03-29 22:20:28 / 10

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