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Signs and Wonders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
July 12, 2022 6:00 am

Signs and Wonders (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 12, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

And so he's reading along the power of the Spirit and all his healing, and then he comes to chapter 5.

What is he thinking? Well, that's no way to make converts. That's no way to build the church. God says, oh, yeah, it is.

So we have this doctrine of non-accommodation to the defiant. Luke then inserts what we call verse 14, if you look with me, and believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. 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. And now here's Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts chapter 5 with a brand new message called Signs and Wonders. We'll take verses 12 through 21, Acts chapter 5.

This message is entitled Signs and Wonders, beginning at verse 12. And through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were done among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly, and believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter's passing might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up and all those who were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, and they were filled with indignation and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together with all the elders of the children of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. Looking at verse 12, And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. Now, through the hands of the apostles the many signs and wonders. Well, the last sign and wonder we had was slaying of two people. They were filled with Satan. Well, Satan filled their heart to be hypocrites to the church, Sapphira and Ananias, and they were dealt with. We look back at verse 11, So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. That was a sign and wonder too. I want to be careful to not pick on too much those who go around claiming signs and wonders.

I think in most cases they don't know what they're talking about. I want to stick to what the scripture has to tell us. And the scripture tells us things not only to write out in a text, but collectively through context of events and just various ways.

It's so thorough if we would avail ourselves of it. But God's stern response to Satan's influence of hypocrisy produced respect. Unbelievers respected the church. And now it's going to produce compassionate healing for the presence of the Lord, that is.

But first there had to be this purging. This statement had to be made early in the church's existence. When James wrote this in his third chapter, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable.

I wonder if he had these events in mind. It is important that we read all of that verse because you just can't fragment James 3.17. This wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the willing to yield does not mean to yield to impurity.

It reduces greatly the spirit of strife and contest in believers. So the story shifts from the slaying to the healings. Now in the face of illness, we all want healing.

We all want to be delivered from what is hurting us. We want divine healing, if we can get that. But I'd also like to see other kind of miracles. The miracle of no complaining.

That would be a big one. The power to divinely impart loyalty into churchgoers who are not only churchgoers but born-again believers, disciples of Christ. I'd like to see the miracle of the Holy Spirit multiplying conversions through his people and making more disciples.

These things to me are miracles. When I consider the people that serve here in this church, for example, I think it's just miraculous the quality of care that they give because it is God's house. We want the church magnified in a good way, respected, and this is what was happening at this time in church history.

We want to see the scripture embraced by Christians and not just said to be embraced. I mean there's a lot of Christians that say they believe in the Bible but then they behave in church in a contrary way and signs and wonders being one of the abuses that takes place. God uses signs and wonders often in scripture.

Well, I should put it this way. God uses signs and wonders in scripture in the beginning of a great work that he is doing and of course this is one of them. Aaron's rod butted right almonds to attest to the authority given to him when that authority was challenged by Dathan and those who were with him and that is a miracle. It was just a stick, a walking stick.

It was completely dead. And yet God made it clear by having it bring forth these ripe almonds that Aaron was God's choice. It attested to the authority as these signs and wonders at this time in history are attesting to the authority of the apostles. What would have happened to the church if God did not do these things? What would have happened to the church at this early stage if God did not do these signs and wonders through these apostles?

Here's an interesting thought. In the book of Genesis, we don't read of any human performing miracles. Of course, God is in the beginning God created out of nothing everything that we know in physical creation but not until the birth of Israel and the giving of the law and the giving of the prophets and the coming of Christ and the birth of church were signs and wonders very pronounced at these special times when it was the initiating of a work that God was doing.

As I mentioned, the law, the birth of Israel, the law of Moses given to the people, the prophets when Elijah and Elisha came along, they were really the first of the miracle working prophets long before Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. And God makes a statement through these things and they're in the scripture for us to identify why is it that there were signs and wonders at critical points in biblical history and not every day for us. And I'm not one of those that's ready to blame believers. I don't believe, well, it's because we don't have faith. I don't believe that at all because the Holy Spirit can give us faith. I think that God is doing other things and they are there for us to discover and join and get things done. Every day the Christian wakes up, the Holy Spirit is saying to you, get her done.

Go out and get her done. Be righteous. Be the Christian.

Preach the word in season out. Be my witness. Be filled with the Spirit. Today we have the completed scripture, the canon of scripture, the rule of scripture. Paul wrote this to the Corinthians. For the Jews request a sign and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. To the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are being called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. There's no mention of signs and wonders being performed by them.

It's preaching. Even though there was this craving for signs and wonders, there was this craving for these so-called sayings, the wisdom of men, but Paul is saying we just gave him the gospel. And here we are today because of the work that these apostles did. The Jews received their signs and it eventually became, now you just have to receive the truth.

I'll get to that in a minute. And the Greeks received their wisdom. Well, the Jews were receiving the sign right here in our story.

The Greeks were receiving wisdom when the apostles began to take the gospel to other countries, other parts of the world, other societies, other peoples, and then we have much of it remaining in the form of the letters, the epistles. And so we test a preacher's message, whether the preacher is a person preaching Christ to some lost soul or encouraging another believer or it's a preacher from a pulpit. We test those messages, not by signs and wonders, but by truth according to scripture. Is what they are saying true?

This is the whole thing. Deuteronomy 13, God is saying, listen, it's not the sign or wonder, it's are they agreeing with me? In fact, God said, I'll let some of these people come along and do signs and wonders who will take you from the word of God and you should identify them and stay clear from them. I have found all other religions fail the truth test. That's why I don't belong to other religions.

That's why I belong to Jesus Christ because the Bible has passed the truth test. He says here in verse 12, And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. There's been an emphasis in these early chapters in Acts by Luke on the accord, the unity amongst the apostles. Now it will be challenged, of course, when Paul goes up to Antioch and James sends people to, Paul said they came to spy out our liberty. He's so frustrated with them because it was very difficult for many of the Christians who came to Christ to break from rabbinical Judaism, not biblical Judaism.

There is a big difference. The rabbis had so bloated the teachings based on their culture that they boxed God's word out and this is one of the reasons why they couldn't receive Messiah when he did come. Well, here they are at the temple and this portico is surrounded by the court of the Gentiles. It was a common place for Jesus to be, to teach when he was in Jerusalem. John 10 23, Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. So there's that connection that these apostles had to this particular area on the temple mount. In fact, the angel, when he delivers Peter, he's going to send them to the temple to preach.

The church had no building of its own. They had to preach in public places at this point in history. In verse 13 it says, Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. This is in reference to what happened to Sapphire and Ananias. Very eye-opening this is.

Where do I begin on this one? Well, it starts out with the opportunistic people, Sapphire and Ananias, what happened with them sent a message to other opportunistic people not to dare go to the church and play games. The church should be like, nothing else in the world should be like the church. Do you have the same feeling when you go shopping in the grocery store that you do when you come into a church?

I mean, shouldn't there be this reverence? Maybe you don't like some of the people there. Maybe you don't like the pastor if you go to another church. But this God's house is beyond the people. There's more to it than just the people. And this reverence from outsiders looking in is admirable because today people look at churches and they say they just want your money.

They default on loans. They don't preach the word. They've become social centers. They have political infighting. We talk about the structure of this church, for example. We don't have political issues, not that I know of.

We don't have to lobby for somebody's desire to have a certain wall painted a certain color or some outreach. That's not how it is handed to us in the New Testament with the apostles. They had this pastoral authority that is essential.

It is not a dictatorship at all, but it is the rule in the house of God. And word got around that you could not rip off the people in God's house and this caused this reverence. Prosperity teachers dare not pretend to be Christians like they do today. This is so shameful that people step into pulpits with authority and try to get in your wallet. So that commercial you may say, what's in your wallet?

A prosperity teacher. If you're not careful, that's who's in your wallet. Pastors don't have to come up and tell you to give and how much to give. We know what the scripture says. When we come to it, we discuss it. That's enough about that.

I can go on a rant on that one very easily. Anyway, those sincere about the invitation of the Holy Spirit did not stay away from the church. They did not stay away from the church because of what happened to Sapphira and Ananias.

In fact, that brought people in. The point is that the death of those two served to filter out make believers. Here's a Spurgeon quote.

C.H. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers in the English language. That which is offensive in the gospel is just that which is effective. What men oppose is what God uses. If the offense of the cross has ceased, the power of the cross would have ceased also. It is not left to us to cut and carve the doctrine of Christ. We ought to preach all the words of this life.

We'll be coming back to that. The church had a repelling power at this time as well as an attractive power. And that is true today. A church that stands up and says, no, this is how we're going to do it. This is what God is leading us to do. This is very attractive to many believers. And to others, well, we don't like that. We want to have a say.

So, well, then you're repelled by that system, that approach to the assembly. Here, it appealed to those, as I said, with a contrite heart and frightened the rest away and that filtered out those who would cause damage to the early church. It wouldn't stay this way. The church would have to figure this out. Many have. Many have not.

There was real gain to this. Still, there should be a measure of hallowed thinking, hallowed intimidation in God's house. You know, do you see yourself, you know, just waltzing into God's house eating a big sandwich, you know, sipping on a Coke or something? Does that fit your picture of reverence?

But there are people that would do that if they're not trained in the Spirit. What did Theophilus think when he got to chapter 5? Remember, that's the person that Luke is addressing in the book of Acts 2. O Theophilus, of all the things Jesus began both to do and to teach. And so he's reading along the power of the Spirit and all his healing, and then he comes to chapter 5.

What is he thinking? Well, that's no way to make converts. That's no way to build the church. And God says, oh yeah, it is.

So we have this doctrine of non-accommodation to the defiant. Luke then inserts what we call verse 14, if you look with me. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. So that stern leadership of Peter was used by the Holy Spirit to grow the church, to save souls, to help populate heaven with believers. Those who thought Peter overdid it, they were wrong. Peter did not damage the church, he purged it. God using him, of course.

It's all God. Peter's the vessel, unwilling vessel. He's a servant, he's a slave of Jesus Christ. Multitudes of both men and women. Well, in earlier accounts, of course it was just the men, but now Luke is saying this is the men and the women now are coming into the church. Not that they weren't getting saved before, but that kind of gave us an idea of where these events were located at the Temple Mount.

Now this is just all Jerusalem and the surrounding regions. These that were coming to the church, both of men and women, were not recruited by well-meaning church people, but they were won by spirit-filled church people and there's a huge difference. I don't think, again, we should be trying to get people to come to our church.

No, we're not trying to stop them either, but the motive is to get them to Christ. Of course we can invite you. Why don't you come to church with me? You know, you should get roughed up just like me sitting in the pew.

I'd be the only one. I do believe we should, of course, invite, but it's Christ we're upholding and not the church and it's very tricky, you know. You go to some churches and you feel like they're all just coming at you with a sales pitch. You know, oh, happy to see you. Never seen anybody like you.

You're like the most wonderful person in the world. Oh, they never told you that. Well, they told me that. I think many of the people that I am privileged to pastor, they do it this way. They'd let the Spirit lead them. Their motive is Christ, and I think in some places it's gotten away from people.

They've lost their identity or maybe they've never learned that our identity is to be Spirit-led. As many as are the sons of God, these are led by the Spirit of God, wrote Paul. Well, verse 15, So that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Well, Peter does not stop the people from doing this, and what happened with, again, Sapphira and Ananias, because the story is related on purpose. We have the slaying and now we have the healing. Here, the people drawn to him are drawn to Peter. It singles him out of the twelve that the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on them. They never know what God is doing until he reveals it, and when he has laid a course of obedience out for us, we follow that course and say, I don't know what he's doing, but he's the leader and I'm going to follow him.

That's called loyalty. Remember, in those days, they did not have the hospitals and the pharmacies as we have today. Hope for the injured was just very small. We remember the woman that said, If I could just touch the hem of his garment. She had spent her life savings looking to be healed. Well, that still goes on. People spend a lot of money looking to be healed.

The point is her desperation was not just hers. There are others who are sick and desperate for relief. Now, God is absorbing their superstition as they come to Peter.

What does that mean? Because God certainly doesn't endorse superstition. Christians will have to address this at some point.

We have no reason to doubt that they did not address this. In the book of Numbers, there's this Moses, his leadership, leading the people in the wilderness. Because if they're unbelieved, they're in the wilderness. And they begin to complain and fuss at God and Moses about this manna every day.

We're sick of it. God led us out into the wilderness to kill us off. And the Bible is very clear that they complained about God and Moses. And so God sent serpents amongst the people.

Vipers, poisonous snakes. And the people were dying. But it got them to repent, many of them. They began to reconsider their blasphemy. And God told Moses this.

Numbers 21, verse 9. So Moses made a bronze serpent, because God told him to, and put it on a pole. And so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

You exercised your faith and obedience to the terms of God, God would heal you. If you were bullheaded, and I'm not looking, I don't believe it, then you would die. The serpent's bite would do you in.

And that is true to this day. The serpent's bite will put you in hell unless you look at the cross. And so Jesus said, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

And so now we have this parallel. We have this teaching that God had ordained that moment. It spoke of a greater moment. But it became a superstition among the Jewish people. Centuries later, when King Hezekiah is on the throne, we find the Jewish people using this brass serpent of Moses as this superstitious kind of idol. 2 Kings 18, verse 4, speaking of Hezekiah, He removed the high places. This is his reformation, an attempt to get the people back to God away from their idols. He removed the high places and broke up, and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it and called it Nehushtan. So there the people had become superstitious.

They had taken a work of God, and they had devolved into this superstitious idol. 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 / 2023-03-25 19:00:14 / 2023-03-25 19:09:52 / 10

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