Tribulation, distress, persecution, starvation, nakedness, danger, death, sword. Shall any of these things separate me from the love of Christ?
Wait a minute, if he loves me, isn't he supposed to be sparing me? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword? Yeah, by Earth's terms, sure. By Satan's terms, of course.
But not by the kingdom because there's more to come. 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. Acts chapter 4 is where Pastor Rick will be teaching today and the title of the message is Obedient Disobedience. Acts of the Apostles chapter 4 verse 13 through 22. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men. They marveled and they realized that they had been with Jesus. Seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out 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 may 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. 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 the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done, for the man who was over 40 years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. Obedient, disobedience, that's the title for this morning's message.
I guess the world would call it civil disobedience, which is acceptable many times of course. This is going to be two sermons in one, two teachings in one, two expositions in one, a lengthy introduction, and then we'll take the exposition of the verses that we just read. I don't apologize for using as much scripture as I can use in the pulpit or anywhere else as a matter of fact.
I think pastors who don't use scripture should apologize to God and to their congregations. Paul telling Timothy how to do church, because it doesn't come natural to us to know how to do church. The Bible talks about this, and this is one example in 1 Timothy. Paul says, till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. I want you to read scripture to them.
I want you to encourage them to be obedient and be faithful and to persevere and to endure, and I want them to understand what God wants us to understand about himself and his relationship to sinners and sinners saved by grace. Who came up with this, Paul? Well, Christ did. Man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scripture the things concerning himself. This is our pattern. This is what's been taught to us. This has become doctrine. These are the things we read and we exhort with and we believe. Peter and John, going into the temple, encountered this lame man who was lame from birth and a beggar, and the man was healed.
A great wonder. And then Peter began to give the word to explain what had just taken place as the crowds begin to draw near to Peter and John where this event took place. Peter and John were making scripture and didn't even know it.
What they were doing was becoming the word of God through their actions and through their preaching and through their lives. Why preach about the power that was available to the apostles of Jesus Christ when that same power seems unavailable to us? Why bother? Why go verse by verse? Why expound on scripture? Why spend time in your private devotions? Why buy reference materials to understand as much as we can understand from every jot and tittle of God's word if the same power is not available?
I want things to be meaningful. I don't want to just study the Bible, just to study the Bible. Gideon had such a problem, and he voiced his problem. Judges chapter 6, the angel of Yahweh appeared to him, that is to Gideon, and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor. Now Gideon is in the wine press thrashing wheat. He's hiding. That's what he's doing there. The Midianites will come and take his wheat, and so if he is a man of valor, he's thinking, why am I hiding? He's not being modest. He's saying this doesn't fit.
This doesn't make sense. Well, to the natural mind, it does not, but God, of course, is nothing natural about God. Everything about him is spiritual, divine, holy, sovereign, love.
The attributes continue. Well, Gideon responds, and this is what we call a Christophany. This is an appearance of Christ in human form in the Old Testament, long before the virgin birth. Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt? But now Yahweh has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. You see, he said, what about all these Bible stories we've been getting from our fathers about how God miraculously came in and dealt with Pharaoh and took the people through the Red Sea and did all of this stuff? How come, if this is so much a part of our relationship with God, our belief, our Bible, how come it's not happening to us? Why am I here hiding? Well, Gideon wanted to know the purpose of Bible study without miracles.
That's what he was asking. Why study the Bible if I can't have the same miracles as the people who were used to create the Bible by God? As I mentioned, Peter and John, they're creating scripture.
Well, when Moses was doing his work in the wilderness and into Egypt and out of Egypt, it was creating scripture. God was authoring this. Well, the short answer to Gideon as well, Gideon, in that very scripture that you boast in front of me, Deuteronomy 31 and other places makes it very clear, if you forsake God, he's going to forsake you. First, God says, I will not forsake you. Joshua comes along in chapter 24, that section, As for me and my house, we love that verse. And then he says, If you forsake God, he's going to forsake you.
And these things are going to happen to you. So the short answer to Gideon is, well, you're hiding thrashing wheat like that because the people have been idolatrous and they have been judged by God. This is a judgment on them to correct them, to get them to repent and turn to God. This is part of God's solution. Bible tells us about believers suffering as believers without devaluing their scripture. There are other believers in scripture that have faced hardship without miracles, but they held to the Lord of God because it is true. Of course, the short answer without questioning God's goodness. Instead, they remain loyal to him and his word, his purposes.
Instead of blaming God for withholding miracles, they demonstrated faith in the face of hardship instead of, you know, God, you had 10 years to fix this and you've done nothing. I'm through. I'm not reading my Bible anymore.
I know you're still there. I know you're still God, but I'm just not going to put myself through this anymore and try to expound on the scripture when I can have a physical benefit to it. Well, that's not faith. Those are terms dictated to God by perhaps someone who's in great pain but wrong nonetheless. Those in the scripture were ready to die for obediently disobeying evil laws. They were willing to die if those are the terms that God had laid out before them for their life. You know, when Abraham was told, take Isaac now, your son, your beloved son, your only son whom you love, take him now and offer him a burnt offering to me.
Abraham chops the wood, takes his two servants with Isaac to the land of Moriah far away, tells his two servants, wait here, the lad and I will return. Abraham did not know how God was going to do it, but he knew God was going to do it. And of course, God never had it in his mind to allow such a thing. He even covers that with Jeremiah as the other people are sending their children into the furnace, other pagan religions are aborting their children. God says, that stuff never crossed my mind. Total test for Abraham.
He passed it. He believed God by faith. Paul says, Abraham did not waver.
Man, I have wanted to be that, but I waver even in the little things, but not always. God is faithful. No matter how much I may suffer or be disappointed by faith, I have enough information to conclude God is faithful. There is more to my sufferings than this lifetime. Daniel chapter three tells the story of Azariah, Mishael and Hananiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I just want to impress you.
I hope I've done that. Anyway, there are these three Hebrew men and the law says, you have to bow to my God. And they say, no, we don't. Daniel chapter three, responding to the king, they say, our God is able to deliver us, but if not, if he doesn't choose to do it that way, Daniel 3 18, let it be known to you, punk.
No, they didn't say that, but that would have been a good place to put it if they could say it. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. They knew they were going to suffer and be cast into the furnace for this.
Or worse, the people in Persia had some pretty mean ways to put people to death, slowly and painfully. But here it is, they did not need wonders and signs to believe God or to be delivered. They just needed to obey God.
And that's what they did. Then there's Daniel in the same book. Now this is at a time when the people of God are judged. They're under judgment as a people, not necessarily as individuals go. But as a people, they're in captivity for disobeying God. And here we find them in captivity instead of whining, oh, this is not fair, we're the people of God, where is the answer of our fathers and all that other stuff.
Instead of doing that, they are like lilies among thorns. They're letting their light shine in the dark place. Darius the king loved Daniel as a testimony to the benefit of letting that light shine in the dark place. Daniel 6, when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home.
And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Here's a man saying, the world is falling apart around me, and the world wants to fall upon me. I have to do what I do, they're going to do what they do. God is my God, they're not going to stop me from praying to him.
This is magnificent stuff. These are the things that make the Bible real and help us, encourage us to, you know, when Admiral Ferry said, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, we cheer that bravery on. Why can't we do that with our faith? Stephen saw the stones, and that was his response, full speed ahead. He kept preaching while he's stoning them, he's forgiving them while he's stoning.
I would have been looking to catch one of those rocks and throw it back. And Stephen is, Lord, you gave us a pattern. Forgive them, they don't know what they're doing. This is why we come to the Bible and expound on it, verse by verse. We want to absorb as much of it as we can so God can use us as much as he can. And Satan says, yeah, that's all fine and dandy. You take the big verses, you take the big faith, I'm going to trip you up with little things. Because I believe, Satan says, you are shallow enough and stupid enough to fall for it. Now you sitting there listening to me, you tell me if this does not happen in Christianity, in churches, amongst church goers, otherwise decent believers, getting tripped up over shallow and stupid things. It is painful to watch.
I can't stop it. I've been preaching against it for 30 years and it seems like I've gotten nowhere. And yet, I come across the scriptures that expound on these things, we must preach them. Justin, for instance, you know, you actually boast that there's somebody in your flock committing immoral acts and you think it's grace to let this continue on. Paul had to deal with that too. I got more to say about Paul because he's a big part of what we're going through as Christians, New Testament Christians. God expected trusting faith from Gideon. He didn't find it, but he didn't walk away from them either. He stayed with Gideon and Gideon became a hero of the faith. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11. God expects us to have trusting faith, just like what he was looking for from Gideon, he is looking for from us.
Perhaps not on the same scale, perhaps on a larger scale. He's always looking for us. How many times did Jesus say, how is it that you have no faith?
Oh, you of little faith. He expects more from us all the time. God is easily pleased with us. He's just never satisfied because the work demands this.
That's why. It demands that we continue on until we get to heaven. Why trust a Christ who lets me suffer as a sheep amongst wolves, in fact sends me out as a sheep amongst wolves.
Why would I trust him? Paul had to deal with this too. 1 Corinthians 15, and why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? Paul is saying, why am I putting up with this life in Christ? Why am I getting stoned?
Why am I being chased and hounded? Why are people arguing with me? Why would I make a point from scripture? There's 10 Christians that have to come up and say, well, you said, why do I do this? Well, the 15th chapter of Corinthians is all about the resurrection. And the reason, what upset the apple cart for John and Peter here in Acts chapter three and four is that they preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ and salvation in his name. But there is no salvation in his name if there's no resurrection. So Paul comes along and he says, why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? Because of the resurrection. Because Christ is true. Paul had as many wounds on his hearts from Christians as he had on his back from unbelievers.
But he knew what to do with these things. He also had friends who loved him and faced peril for his sake in faith because God expected to find faith in Aquila and Priscilla and he found it and he dispatched them to come to the aid of this great apostle Paul. And all the churches were grateful for this because had that not happened, God would have had to have redirect, redirected his energies and efforts to get some Hebrew apostle to dare to go to the Gentiles and say to them, you do not need to be Jewish to be right with Jesus Christ.
They tried to kill Paul for that. Romans 16 verses three and four, greet Priscilla and Aquila. You can hear the love come out because by the time Paul mentions them later on in his writings later years, he says, greet Prisca. That was that personal relationship. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus who risked their own necks for my life to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
See how far in scope that is. Paul was suffering. God was saying, but I'm going to use you to reach the Gentiles.
He told him from the very beginning. He said, Ananias, go tell Paul the things he's going to suffer for my name sake that I'm sending him to the Gentiles. Paul probably had no understanding of how difficult it was going to be, but he also learned how God stayed with him throughout the whole thing. So we, we confront powerlessness with faith, which is powerful. So we conclude true is God's word. True is my Bible.
Gideon, my response to you. God's word is true. God's word and God, the God of the word is worth serving. The word, the single word for worthwhile for us is worship. That's worship means he's worth it.
Excluding everyone else. The hardships are worthwhile because the scripture is true and the scripture is the mind of God, the word of God, the will of God, all packed into the scripture in various forms. We conclude that love, the love of God for sinners is a miracle. Can you explain it any other way? What's so special about you or me to a holy God that would make him love me?
Why should he do anything for me? Romans chapter eight. We love this verse 35 who shall separate us from the love of Christ because it's miraculous. It's not manmade.
It's not made on earth. He says tribulation, distress, persecution, starvation, nakedness, danger, death, sword. Shall any of these things separate me from the love of Christ?
Wait a minute. If he loves me, isn't he supposed to be sparing me? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword.
Yeah, by Earth's terms, sure. By Satan's terms, of course, but not by the kingdom because there's more to come. Should you ever find yourself feeling forsaken, forsaken by God, but still clinging to the Jesus who loves you to save your soul, then remember this, clinging to Christ is the very thing that defeats Satan. It is the very thing that sends him back to hell in the end, and it happens in stages.
Revelation 12. This is Satan still has access to the throne of God to accuse the brethren. He's called the accuser of the brethren. He was accusing Job. You boast on Job because you protect him.
Let me get my hands on him. We'll see how much faith he's got. Well, Job won.
It was a tough fight. Well, in Revelation, Satan is finally cast out. No more audiences to accuse.
This is the end. The culmination is coming, and what does he do? He persecutes. He persecutes Israel.
He persecutes believers of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12 tells us the response of those believers being persecuted by an angry Satan. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. They knew there was more than this life. They knew that the suffering in this life had a time limit on it, and once this life is over, it is paradise. It is so wonderful, God doesn't even really bother to try to explain it.
He just says, trust me. There's no crying there. There's no sorrow there. To trust God no matter what demonstrates that you know he was slain for you, and he is risen. Everything I'm trying to say this morning has as its foundation the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are things in our culture that are traditional, and you really can't, you know, make too much of an issue of it, be too dogmatic, but as for me personally, I'm very uncomfortable with calling Resurrection Day Easter, because that name belongs to the goddess of fertility, comes Ashtoreth, and I don't see the association well I know how it got there, I know how it crept into Christianity, and a little disturbing why it has been retained. I don't even like calling Israel Palestine as many scholars do.
It's not Palestine, it never was Palestine. Well, the resurrection is what I'm saying is a big deal, and that's why these men were in trouble. Revelation 5, 12, saying with a loud voice, typical of the book of Revelation, there's so much thundering and loudness in the book of Revelation, you can't miss this, it draws, you know, sound, it's loud enough, it physically involves you. Revelation 5, 12, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. Well, if he's slain, how can he receive these things? Because he was slain, but he is not slain now. He is risen, and hell hates this.
Evil is busy being evil in this life. We watch it, it's always going on, sometimes it's a little bit louder than at other times, but we are to deliver the word of God even in the hail of stones as referenced Stephen. I like this section in Revelation 13, this is Antichrist is on the scene, he's been granted the ability to do lying wonders, they are miraculous, but they are false, they are lies. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.
What? What do you mean the saints are getting beaten by Satan and God granted this? He must have a big plan, he must have a bigger fish to fry than to swoop down and insulate and isolate me from these things. And authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue and nation. Antichrist's reach is going to be global.
Incidentally, there's more to the book of Revelation than prediction. 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 / 2023-03-29 04:14:18 / 2023-03-29 04:23:43 / 9