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Zeal vs. Zeal (Part A)

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

Zeal vs. Zeal (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 14, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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In the book of Revelation, of course, they thunder throughout its pages. With all that angelic power, that angel was not called to preach the gospel.

With all that force, with all of his knowledge and holiness in the presence of God, sinners saved by the grace of God were called, were delivered from bondage, from jail, to preach the gospel. 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 5 for a new message called, Zeal vs. Zeal. I just want to make a brief comment about what's going on concerning what is called abortion. If you have been guilty of such a sin, God is ready to forgive you, completely forgive you, and sometimes I think we fail to communicate that. In our denouncing sin, it's important that we also make clear a door is there that is open. You must repent. It's not enough to be sorry for your sin. You must admit it before God and work to turn from it. And unfortunately, many of those who are protesting what they don't even know what they're doing, I think, none of them have been aborted.

And they just can't connect the dots because Satan has blinded them. And so we stand firm in what we believe. We preach the truth and hopefully with love.

That's what I wanted to start out by saying. Well, we are going to stand and read in a moment from the book of Acts chapter 5. We overlapped from last session, but we will read again verses 17 in addition to where we stopped last week on verse 21. We'll take it to verse 31. This message is entitled, Zeal vs. Zeal.

It is a contest of passion. Would you stand please for the reading of God's word beginning verse 17, the book of Acts, a little long but worth it as it all is. And when we come to these long sections to stand and read, just be grateful we're not in Leviticus. 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. Verse 22 now, but when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported saying, indeed we found the prison shut securely and the guards standing outside before the doors.

But when we opened them, we found no one inside. Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priest heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. So one came and told them saying, look the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.

The captain went with the officers and brought them without violence for they feared the people lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council and the high priest asked them saying, did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name and look you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man's blood on us? But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.

Him, God has exalted to his right hand to be prince and savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. We are his witnesses to these things. So also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him. Well the devil is zealous too. We're not the only ones that are zealous for Jesus Christ.

The prophet Isaiah said concerning the Messiah when he came that zeal for his father's house would consume him and Christ repeated that. And when we come to Christ we get some of that fire, that zeal, that passion for the things of God. But Satan was also passionate in his insanity and he finds those who are still in their sin to be his vessel, to do his bid. They don't have to believe in Satan to be his flunky. They do not have to believe in Satan to go to hell. All they have to do is reject Christ, reject God. And these Pharisees, they are very, well Sadducees at this point, they are very passionate about their lifestyle, their religion, their views, and their hatred for the Christ.

And let's not forget that. We may lose some of it in the print but in reality they brought about the crucifixion, the violent and gruesome death of the Christ. Looking again at verse 17, then the high priest rose up and all those who were with him, which is the sect of Sadducees and they were filled with indignation. So the various leading groups of religious authorities and they were also civil authorities, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they were the leading ones. And here the Sadducees, they had more money really than the Pharisees and they were not as spiritual. And they became particularly hostile towards the church after the crucifixion. Jesus, when he walked, he went straight at the Pharisees, that sect. But in the church, as the church was born and moved forward, the Sadducees were the ones that came against us.

They were the spiritual liberals of their day. They did not believe in the angels, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, they did not believe the spiritual things. And they were quite indignant at the report of demonic activity being dealt with by the apostles. Now if you have not been following preceding verse 17, the apostles were there in Jerusalem and they were performing these miracles. They were delivering people from the bondage of Satan. They were preaching Christ and the resurrection. It's pointless to deliver someone from the bondage of Satan physically if you're not delivering them spiritually.

What does it profit a man if he gains his health and still goes to hell? And this is something that we never lose sight of as believers. Well, the teaching of the resurrection was a death blow to what the Sadducees believed. And they were threatened by the reception that the apostles were receiving. As, for instance, today to preach that God created the universe from nothing. That is a death blow to those who believe in the evolution of the species and want to kind of block God out. It's just bringing it up to the time we live in. And they were filled with indignation.

Well, they weren't filled with the Holy Spirit because if they were it would have been on a whole other matter. This word, now if you don't know this, the New Testament was originally recorded in the Greek language. And it is translated into various languages. That word in the original language, indignation, is zelos in the Greek from where we get our English word, zeal, and jealousy. It is equally translated jealousy or envy.

And it takes a little time to get into the difference of the two. Envy involves more covetousness and jealousy, possessiveness. Well, this zeal, this indignation, describes their jealousy, how it showed up. And it means in the Greek zelos, hot, to be burning hot. And they were hot.

We use it, boy that guy was hot. He was angry at something. And how dare these nobodies defy us? Do they not know who we are? And so the high priest, supposedly the high priest, the spiritual leader in Israel, is jealous over Satan's work being defeated. What a defective way to think. He was infuriated because sick people were being healed by other people.

What difference does it matter? Well, the heaven mattered everything. Verse 18, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in common prison. So they arrested them for this. The officers doing the arresting.

You know, you look at them today, sometimes, I'm pro-police, but you certainly don't want to see them put in a situation like this, especially the believing Christians. It's just real, it is real. That's the point I'm trying to get. We're not reading a fairy tale.

We're reading about real events that can happen and do happen again. These men were in prison for doing good. They committed no crime. The hope was to discredit, to discredit them. See, they're criminals.

To discourage them. You've heard me reference, and well you might know yourself, about the Oxford martyrs. These three scholarly men, now this happened in the year 1555. This is the year that they were burned at the stake, 1555 and 1556. One of them, Hugh Latimer, he wrote, whenever you see persecution, there is more than a probability that truth is on the persecuted side. These men are being censored.

They're being shut down. Now Hugh Latimer, one of the scholars, the Oxford martyrs, that was burned at the stake for daring to challenge Bloody Mary, the Queen of London at the time, and she was a devout Catholic, trying to reverse the English Reformation, and violently so. Hugh Latimer was the oldest of the three martyrs. He was 68 years old when they burned him at the stake.

Nicholas Ridley was 55 years old, and Thomas Cranmer, who was burned several months later, he was 66 years old. The hatred, the hatred over what somebody believes that's different than what you believe, expressed in this violence. I mean, this wasn't a crime. This was not civil justice on people who were murdering people. This was just, we hate your religion, we hate you.

And religious hatred is a special hatred. Well, these men, for them, these three men, the Bible was not only to live for, but to die for. And this is what got them in trouble, that they stood by what the scripture said, and not what supposed church authority said. Church dogma, they went by what the Bible says. Don't think for one minute that those days are gone forever. And the book of Revelation makes it clear they are coming back, and they are coming back with a vengeance.

And we'll get to some of that if you let me speed up here. Verse 19, 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. It would take verse 19 first. Again, the Sadducees, they didn't believe in angels. That's why they were sad, you see. So sad we don't believe in angels. Anyway, God uses an angel to deliver the apostles.

I mean, it's ironic, it's humorous. It's God sort of defying their approach to whatever it is they were approaching. Yet, with all of the, you know, the angels are very powerful. We talk about, we look at them, for example, in the book of Isaiah, one angel wipes out an army, a thousand men, in just a single night. The book of Revelation, of course, they thunder throughout its pages. With all that angelic power, that angel was not called to preach the gospel. With all that force, with all of his knowledge and holiness in the presence of God, sinners saved by the grace of God were called, were delivered from bondage, from jail to preach the gospel.

That should register with us. Now, this is an angel of the Lord, not the angel of the Lord. So in the Old Testament, you come across the angel, the definite article, the angel of the Lord. Well, that is a Christophany. That is an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, long before the virgin birth, because he is the eternal son.

He is God the son. Now, looking at verse 20, the angel said to them, go stand in the temple and speak to the people, all the words of this life. Well, it was a waste of time to speak to their persecutors at this point. The people, to the people, they were sent. They returned to the very scene where they were arrested.

And this is very important. It wasn't because of some self-determination or they were just defiant men. It was because they were commanded by the Lord to do this. The angel brought that message. Here's your orders.

Here are your orders. Go back to where you were preaching, where they arrested you. Now, going through Kings on Wednesday night, we talked about that powerful prophet, Elijah. God told him, you need to get out of here.

Go to the book, Keirith, and hide out there. The point that I am making is we must be led by the Lord and not some passion or view that is homegrown, that comes from within. It's what is God leading me to do? Now, that's never going to lead us contrary to Scripture.

But He will, and often does, lead us contrary to what we might be thinking. These men, when they were delivered from jail, they might have thought, well, we're going to go home. That's not what was happening. And they probably did go home first.

Anyway, their return to that spot, the place of arrest, will land them an honorable beating before this is all over. He says, and speak to the people all the words of this life. Well, servants, that's what they were, and they weren't called to be free. They were called to preach. We have come to expect this from these apostles as we've moved through. We've watched them mature from the days that they walked with Christ in Galilee. There are times to flee.

There are times to engage, directly engage. Let's go back to Kings again with that prophet, Elijah. At one point, they come to arrest him, and he said, man of God, come with us.

You're under arrest. And he says, if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven. And they were gone. That is a pretty powerful prophet. But before that, going back to his great escape, God said to him, get away from here and turn eastward and hide by the brook Kirith, which flows into the Jordan. And he wasn't ashamed to hide at the command of God. That's what was called for. And he wasn't ashamed to go stand in front of Ahab when that was called for either.

But it's this reference here. Speak to the people all the words of this life. Okay, Christians, what do you speak to people?

Well, I hope that when you do speak the words of life, it is at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Peter has the honor of coining this phrase in the Bible. The words of life in John's Gospel when Jesus didn't ask people to come back to church. When they decided to leave, he said, okay, see you. And then he turns to the ones that stayed. Do you stand or are you going?

Two. And this is a pattern that I think the churches should follow. Well, at this point, Jesus preached a sermon that a lot of people didn't like. So much so, they said, we're out of here. We're leaving this church.

We're not coming back. I don't know if they always talk like that, but you get the feeling that they do. Some of you have left other churches. Did you say that to you like that? I don't know. Anyway, just having a little fun.

Don't get uptight over that. But you won't because the anointing is on. Anyway, Jesus said to the Twelve, do you also want to go away? And Simon answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. I love that.

Where are we going to go? Nobody's got this. Just you. And we're not giving it up for anybody. Some of those people that left, I like them, but this is where I belong.

I wish we would catch more of that. So Peter is the one. And later he will write, his divine power has given to you all things that pertain to life. It is one of the scripture verses that a lot of Christians bypass, even reject. They don't believe that the scripture gives you all the words that pertain to human behavior.

You want to know how to behave, what to do. I think one of the setbacks or great causes of Christians crumbling is that they're not ready for the opposition. God says, I'm going to be with you, but he does not say you will not be opposed.

He promises all those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution in one form or another, be it from your flesh, be it from somebody else. It's coming. And when you know this, the hit is not, you're not sucker punched. You're ready for this.

And thinking that God is just going to sweep all of your bad feelings, your moods away, your depression away, your anger, your road rage, it's not going to happen like that. More than likely. What is going to happen is you're going to have to draw your short sword because the enemy is going to be that close to you. Your longsword is going to be useless at that point.

You need both. And I think that it is the role of the pastor to ready the sheep because he's got to be ready himself. So I'm not just telling you some ivory tower words where I'm just up in some ivory tower and I don't have to face these things. I face them too. There are things that give me a knot in my stomach.

There are things pastoring. Oh gosh, I've got to deal with this. Well, that's the heat in the kitchen and that's where you've been called to. Take it. Okay, I'm going to take it, but, but I don't want to take it, Lord, if you're not with me. Well, I'm going to be with you.

Alright. Everything gets better after that. It's an ongoing process. It's not a one-time deal. It's not I'm strong today and I'm going to be strong forever in this life.

This is not how it works. It works as I'm strong today and I can be strong next time if I follow the basics and stick with the Lord. Well, they are told, give the words. That is the complete gospel. Do not leave out that which hurts and make sure you don't leave out that which helps.

This is what they're told to do. You know, a half-filled prescription can kill somebody. We do not have a half-filled gospel. We have the whole thing. The worst results follow keeping back the doctrine.

What are you saving them to? Well, you know, I'm not going to tell them the truth. Paul said, because I tell you the truth, am I now your enemy?

Well, it has to be that way because I'm not going to lie to you to be your friend. We may not see the results of holding back doctrine from preaching our faith and being witnesses, but they will follow. They will come. The damage will happen if we withhold the truth and the teaching. Maybe the next generation will parade the damage for us. Maybe some of that is what's going on. The churches have been withholding the truth, withholding the doctrine. Preoccupied, not all churches of course, but many of them, preoccupied with just getting people into the pews and getting attendance and building on that edition or whatever else it is they're trying to do except preach to Christ.

Maybe that next generation will parade the damage done by truth concealed or withheld. Unsaved people are sinners under the blanket of darkness and therefore they are blind and to help them get out of that, there's that witness of our life and there's the preaching of the truth. Let's just consider some doctrines that you should know. The advents, plural, of Christ. That is his first coming and his second coming, which has not yet occurred. The virgin birth.

Do you know how to preach about it? It's a miracle. I don't believe in a virgin birth.

It's crazy. It doesn't happen. Well, that's the whole point. The whole point of the virgin birth is saying this is unlike anything you've ever seen before and it's only the beginning of what's coming. The virtuous life of Christ, that he and he alone was sinless. No one else, no one else of human beings is sinless except the Christ. His death in my place, doctrinally called the vicarious death. The death of Christ for me. Christ died on the cross as a sinner being sinless though, taking my punishment for my sin. He died for me, as me. Covers all sinners. His victorious resurrection. Don't leave that out.

He's the one that died and got up again. The deity of Christ. Do we preach that? That Christ is the son of God, therefore equal with the father, not counting it robbery to be equal with the father.

Or are we preoccupied with our own problems? That we can't get to these doctrines. Maybe that's why God doesn't bring the unbelievers our way. The doctrine of justification. How God sees me because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. That he doesn't look at my sins, he sees what Christ has done. That he has washed them all away. That this justification does not belong to everybody but only to those who come.

Sanctification, the processes of Christianity and the development as a Christian becoming more and more like Christ. 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 / 2023-03-24 23:40:16 / 2023-03-24 23:49:32 / 9

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