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Signs and Wonders (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
July 13, 2022 6:00 am

Signs and Wonders (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 13, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Should you just know the Bible because you showed up to church? You gotta pay attention.

You have to apply yourself. I tell you teens and you adults also, if you're not familiar with the section of scripture and you're coming to a verse by verse exposition of scripture, read up before you get there so you can follow along at least a little bit. How many of you started attending here and you couldn't follow along? You were like, what is he talking about?

But in time now you're able to keep up. Specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Pastor Rick's message today is titled Signs and Wonders.

He'll be teaching in Acts chapter 5. There the people had become superstitious. They had taken a work of God and they had devolved into this superstitious idol. Hezekiah comes along and says, this thing is nothing. It's nothing.

Nahushtan, it's nothing. And he destroyed it. Properly so. Well here in the book of Acts we see the people saying, the shadow of Peter. The shadow of Peter. Well there's no power in the shadow of Peter.

There's nothing ordained but the people were struggling, the Jewish people were struggling at this time in their history to receive Messiah because they were not getting it from the leadership, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were anti-Christ. And God is helping them along. God is meeting them where they are. He's absorbing their superstitions saying, I'll deal with this.

I'll take them in for now but I'm going to deal with this. Paul, when writing to the Colossians, he had those people that were going around trying to use religion and the law and commandments and things like that, rituals to live the Christian life. They were boasting about these things and Paul wanted to deal with these people. You know, they were saying, well I don't eat this and I eat that and they were acting this self-righteous stuff. Paul says, these things indeed have an appearance of wisdom and self-imposed religion, false humility and neglect of the body but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

He said, there's a real fight going on and these things aren't going to win it for you. I do believe Jesus breaks chains but I also know He does it very slowly. And I also know that sometimes those chains aren't broken until you leave this life and get to heaven.

And I also know that no matter whether you are chained or not, you and I are expected to be witnesses for Jesus Christ of greater things and a greater work. And I'll come back to the greater work in the believers in a little bit. Paul says, by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Salvation is received, it's not earned. And so to kind of get back to this, when they brought their sick out to the streets and laid them on beds and couches, God says, I'm going to honor this because this is where they are. And the church is young. It will stall, the church will stall if I don't breathe life into it and this is the method He chose. It says that, here in verse 15, that at least a shadow of Peter passing might fall on some of them.

This is the shadow of life as opposed to shadow of death in Psalm 23. Peter's link to Christ was circulated. Somebody said, this guy has got power.

He's got the power of Christ. And again, linking this to Sapphira and Ananias. Superstitions, they abounded in those days and a superstition is a baseless belief in some unseen power, some unseen force. It's irrational but it is often deep-seated. I mean, it's okay if you fall out of an airplane with no parachute as long as you've got a clover, a four-leaf clover in your pocket, you'll survive. Of course, that's the craziest thing.

That might be a bit extreme but it's along those lines. And Christians aren't supposed to be buying into this stuff, throwing salt over our shoulder. Ooh, don't step on the crack or, you know, don't, don't, don't. Baseball is infested with stupid superstition and if you're a Christian baseball player you shouldn't be buying into any of that stuff. Well, it also speaks of a person's desperation but again, without truth. And in those days, people believed that the shadow of an evil person could affect you.

And so you would avoid the shadow of an evil person. Well, here they've reversed it. They've said, well, this is the shadow of a righteous person, let's have some of that rub off on us. And again, God is saying, you know, this knot is really knotted up and to undo this it's going to take time. Are some today so desperate for the miraculous that they no longer listen to scripture?

Yes. There are many who claim to be Christians and they don't want to hear what this Bible has to say. They just want the miracles.

And we, you know, have to face the world and straighten those things out if they think that is the church. Is expositional Bible teaching boring to you? If it is, you may be a sensation seeker. It's too much to just go by verse by verse, line by line, precept by precept. You don't see the value in that. You want to feel something. You want the path. Adrian Rogers was good for these catchy phrases.

I can't do any of them. I mean, I'm not bashing Adrian Rogers. He was a man of God. He preached the gospel.

Did some things not my way but I do things that are on his way and mine are better. But anyway, you know, some Christians, they just got to have that. Okay, that's not the worst thing. But can you endure the word? It is hard work.

Should it be easy? Should you just know the Bible because you showed up to church? You got to pay attention. You have to apply yourself. I tell you teens and you adults also, if you're not familiar with the section of scripture and you're coming to a verse by verse exposition of scripture, read up before you get there so you can follow along at least a little bit. How many of you started attending here and you couldn't follow along? You were like, what is he talking about? But in time, now you're able to keep up.

I think, I hope there are some. Scripture does not say here that Peter's shadow explicitly healed but it says they were healed. You know, it doesn't connect it to the shadow. Luke is being careful with this. He's telling us what happened. He's not endorsing it. He's saying God did this but he is not saying this is how the church should be.

You can stand in the shadow of a good person all you want and nothing's going to rub off on you except shade. So, of course verse 16 will tell us about the healing. There are always those who like to listen to expositional teaching but they're never learning to. That's another problem. You hear it. God has made it very clear and yet you just go into something else and you can drink out of a clean glass or dirty glass.

It makes no difference to you. You're always learning and never coming into the knowledge. When you come into the knowledge, you can't drink from a dirty cup anymore.

It has to be right. This is unfortunate that there are people that can listen to some of these charlatans that are out there. Then they can come to a church where the word is just being taught and they can listen to that too. Something's wrong with that. That spring is giving up sour and sweet water at the same time.

That's not right. If we're learning, what are we doing with it? Do we ever ask ourselves, what am I doing with all this expositional teaching? What now what happens, Lord? I love that about the Apostle Paul. Who are you? What do you want me to do?

Then he goes and does it. We are to follow these examples and it takes work. Anybody who thinks the Christian life does not involve suffering and pain and hard work and sweat of the brow doesn't understand the Christian life. You're going to become disillusioned when you name it and claim it and it's not yours. It's a very sad, sad teaching that somebody ever came along with thinking they could name something to God and then claim it as though they have this power to make God give them what they're claiming and yet it is widespread.

Sincerely is not enough to validate it as to what does the Bible say. The prophets of Baal were cutting themselves in front of Elijah. They were very sincere and very emotional and very much blasphemers and very much wrong. And in the end they were killed.

They died. Verse 16, also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities of Jerusalem bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits and they were all healed. And so there is this ministry taking place here through the apostles. These are Jewish people at this time. These are not Gentiles.

Maybe some proselytes in there. Gentiles converted to Judaism. But these are the Jews. And as I mentioned, had God not done these extraordinary miracles by the apostles, would Christianity have stalled, even failed?

I think so or else God would not have done this. Because of the people's inability to think outside of rabbinical Judaism, saying this twice. Rabbinical Judaism misrepresented God.

What is rabbinical Judaism? Well, the rabbis, the teachers, they began to teach things about God that were actually, many of them, contrary to Moses. They began to come up with their own ideas and their own rules and they began to lay them on the people and enslave the people.

And they became these celebrities. And Jesus went right at them. In the days that Christ walked, he targeted the Pharisees. Paul and Peter in Jerusalem, they will be dealing with the Sadducees and we'll come to that in a moment. But this was God's mercy at this time, not God's approval.

Mark chapter 6 verse 34. And Jesus, when he came out, he saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them. Because they were like sheep not having a shepherd, so he began to teach them many things. Where were the rabbis? They were supposed to be the shepherds, but they didn't have them. And this is why the Sermon on the Mount was so fierce in their face. Christ said, unless your righteousness exceeds the Pharisees, the scribes, you're not going to get into heaven. What a statement that was. That's how you make an introduction with your ministry is you go right at those things, those sacred cows, those wrong things that everybody wants to protect and nobody wants to notice. Does an elephant notice the people in the room?

That's random, but it's a thought. Anyway, how different is the beginning of Christianity? Where God is looking to heal, God is looking to help people. How different from our or what characterizes the beginning of Christianity, truth and love and healing and a firm hand versus Islam. Islam's beginning was through threats and violence. Allah has hit men and that's it. You either convert or we kill everybody and that's history. That is fact.

That is not taking a cheap shot. It is that way to this day. There are those religions that when they are not in power, they're like a fox. They're real slick. They fly beneath the radar. But when they get power, they are tigers. They are abusive. They persecute. The whole Spanish Inquisition was just that.

They were in power and they persecuted millions of Jews and anybody else that disagreed with them in the name of Christ, no less. Beware, the devil not only makes himself appear as an angel of light but sometimes just as an outright killer. So, could Christians today handle this type of spiritual power? I think not.

That's what I think. What if the church had this super power where they get the signs and wonders because remember this is mainly in the apostles, not the common Christian. The apostles are the main ones doing this. They have some, you know, Philip is quite miraculous with the things that Philip did, not a bunch of them but one I have in mind.

What about today? What about obedience? What if you could obey Christ all the time? Would you become one of those that would cast the first stone? You know, when Jesus said, let him without sin cast the first stone, they were going to still stone her.

It wasn't until he started writing in the sand, probably laying out what he knew about them, that they dropped their stones and left from the oldest to the youngest. I think God leaves sometimes these moral struggles in our life to keep us in place because we would become self-righteous and judgmental. Why is that? Because we're sinners. That's our nature to get it wrong. Already you can get a person that, you know, is a perfectionist. They work really hard to get things right and they're very intolerant of anybody who messes up. Well, where does that come from?

I'm talking about Christians too. Maybe you are successful at this or that and that you think that that gives you the right to look down at other people, to belittle them. You don't have that right. If you take that right, you're a thief. And so we fight these things. We say, man, I'm struggling with pride. I'm struggling with, you know, greed. I'm struggling with road rage, whatever it may be. I've never had road rage. Is that Pinocchio thing true?

It is one of the best proving grounds for your faith. You think you're going to grow out of it, you know. When I get older, I'm not going to be like this.

You're wrong. You better learn to keep that thing corralled. And that is much of what, so you struggle with a sin. Much of the work that you are assigned then is to contain it. If you can't cast it out, contain it. That is a lot. That is not a little bit.

You know, we have, you know, bite your tongue kind of a thing. Restrain yourself. God honors that. God told David, David, it was in your heart to do this right thing.

And God applauded David for that. If you don't learn to do that and you continue to fail, Satan is going to swallow you up. He's going to tell you religion doesn't work. Christ doesn't love you.

That you are the exception of wrong, not right. And so we learn to fight the devil. We become skilled at being a Christian.

And if you're the same Christian you were ten years ago, what's wrong? Have you progressed? Are you doing better in any other areas?

I hope. It's very difficult. That's a difficult question because we don't want to boast. We don't want to brag.

We don't want to set ourselves up for a failure tomorrow. Yeah, actually I'm getting this pretty good. Just a minute, a little while ago, we were in my office with the musicians. I was saying, you know, I cough almost all season long from the pulpit. Now it's pollen allergy season. I'm not coughing. But all of a sudden, you know, I could feel some stuff.

It's like, well, Lord, come on. I was having fun with them. I wasn't serious.

Well, a little serious, but not a lot to bring. So my point is, I know, you know, in our fight, we want to be compassionate. We don't want to be self-righteous. That's who the Sadducees and Pharisees were and they were deadly. They killed the Lord. And this is who our apostles here are dealing with. These signs and wonders did not continue with them in the latter years of their ministry. What became dominant was their preaching and praying, their teaching, preaching and praying. That became the dominant characteristic of the apostles' ministry. As I mentioned before, Paul said, I left Trophimus in Miletus' sick. I couldn't heal him.

How educational that is. So this goes back to my point in verse 12 about God using miracles before a large undertaking. Jesus and the apostles, they performed signs and wonders to launch the gospel, to launch the church. Two separate events, because the church, as we know it, was not yet when Christ walked. There were the ecclesia, they called out the righteous people, but not the church as the New Testament church. That did not happen until after the resurrection and then Pentecost. God was not doing a single thing, but a couple of things to bring about.

And if you don't track that, you miss a lot. It's hard to understand the Sermon of the Mount if you don't really understand New Testament theology. You go right back to the Old Testament, and that's Old Testament only to define what is going on.

And that should be a lot of fun. I hope I'm not confusing anybody. I'm pretty good at doing that. Spurgeon said, a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew. I can't stand that saying. Because I know sometimes it's a mist.

It's hard. Is it dealing with topics that have different views and you're trying to say, okay, which view do I go after? Who here believes in the signs and wonder movement? Who here doesn't get that emotions are good when they are kept subordinate to the scripture and to the brain? But when they take the lead, they will terrorize others. The person who is very emotional really doesn't care about the other person's emotions. They care about their emotions.

I've noticed these things over the years. God has also been exceptionally protective over new work. Not only giving miracles, but protecting it.

I'll give you an example. Two men named Nadab and Abihu. These were the two eldest sons of the first high priest of Israel, Aaron. And on the day that God was going to bless the priesthood and bless the altar, they were struck dead.

Why would that? Why was God so intolerant? What did they do? They tried to mix the fire of man with the fire of God. And that's what got them killed. And my point is, this was at the beginning of the Hebrew priesthood, the Jewish priesthood, the Mosaic priesthood. God was very intolerant. But yet we have a high priest here that's persecuting Christ.

See, he made his statement back then. Achan is another example. Slain for stealing and lying at the early conquest of Canaan. I'm sure as time went on, we know from scripture there were others who did evil things on the battlefield. And they weren't slain like Achan because God made his point.

This was the beginning of his work, as with Ananias and Sapphira. And so because of these things, we learn them and we become more skilled at what we're doing. Do you want a dentist that is not skilled? Oops, sorry, oops, sorry, oops, sorry. I don't want you to be sorry. I want you to stop hurting me because I'm going to hurt you back.

Anyway, moving on. Instead of looking to walk on water in a storm, I think it is better if we learn how to preach Christ even if we're stoned. That is a sign and wonder that I would rather have. Given the choice, which would you rather do? Show off that you could walk on water in a storm or preach Christ when you were called to preach Christ? I'll take the preaching of Christ. John's Gospel of Jesus said, most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in me and the works that I do, he will do also. And greater works than these he will do because I go to my Father. And we read that and we say, greater works? Oh, he must be talking about miracles, signs and wonders.

I don't think so. I think the works that Christ is talking about there are greater because we are going to win souls without miracles. He saw down through the ages that the apostles would lay the foundation for the church to function, survive and be effective without signs and wonders as a routine part of its existence. I believe in miracles. I just do not believe that they happen like they happened in the book of Acts. I think the Lord has walked that back on purpose and hopefully I've explained why. By truth and by witness through the Holy Spirit, we do greater works.

I mean, think about it. Christ could do miracles because he was God the Son. We can lead people to Christ not being God the Son, being sinners. The value, not the volume, that's what Christ was talking about. None have done the mighty works to Christ.

I mean, he was going through whole villages just healing everybody. The apostles have never achieved that level. So it cannot be volume that he is talking about greater miracles. It is the value of the miracle. When the angel lets Peter out of jail, that we will get to in a moment, where is time gone?

Time flies. When the angel lets him out of jail, how come the angel does not go preach the gospel? He is forbidden. He is not a sinner. He is not a sinner. It is for us, those saved by grace. A lot of emotional Christians will struggle with what I am saying, but it is true.

It is a fact. And if you look for less miracles and more effective ministry, I think it would be a greater blessing. You don't have this burden because I have watched people over the decades who claim these miracles and they don't happen and they keep claiming them.

They don't go back and say, I have to change this. I must be getting something wrong. Verse 17 will be done in a minute, I think. Let's see.

Well, maybe not. We have got doctrine to go through, Hugh Latimer to quote. We have got just, I think we are going to have to stop there. We have got to get into the words of zeal and envy and jealousy and there is a lot coming. Peter, Peter is the one that started with this word of life. We have to get to that to see that here is the angel using Peter's phrase in the Bible.

He coined, where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life. And then the angel says, go out and preach the words of life.

And it is just exciting to see that and I don't want to rush through it. So we will stop there at verse 16. The next session we will pick up at verse 17 and I don't know what will happen after that. You have 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 is We would 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 11:04:43 / 2023-03-25 11:14:43 / 10

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