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July 22, 2022 6:00 am
Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts
That's discipleship that's Christianity in action want this what Christie doesn't want to see this happen. What Christian does not want to be a part of another persons life in Christ coming to Christ. The minute you step into the church you're on you. You are a part of God's process. It is a big deal. Otherwise Satan in the world would not invest so much in trying to keep you out of a church.
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 6 as he begins his message Christianity's close call. Take verses one through seven in the book of acts chapter 6 acts chapter 6 verses one through seven.
You will begin now in those days when the number of disciples was multiplying their roles a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution, then the 12 summoned the multitude of the disciples and said it is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We may appoint over this business, but we will give ourselves continually prayer and the ministry of the word, saying please the multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith the Holy Spirit and Philip prosperous Micah more time on par me, us and Nicholas a proselyte from Antioch when they set before the apostles when they had prayed, they laid hands on them, then the word of God spread the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priest were also obedient to the faith. In this chapter as in the preceding Satan's two master methods are deployed again, endeavoring to upset the progress of God's work. There is the outward persecution in the M inward dissension as we have here problems from within how many of you, and how many Christians are aware of how close the Bible came to becoming a secondary thing in the early church.
What would've been the outcome. If, when the apostles were faced with serving the body meals. What would've happened if they said okay whatever you need prayers in time in the Scriptures that can wait.
What would've happened to Christianity. It would have been scriptural to make Scripture secondary. Could you imagine it would've been put into our doctrine. Who realizes this, how many Christians are ever mindful how many people do you know know this. I'm not saying that the sale you didn't know what I am at the same time trying to stress this point Christianity as we know it from the Scripture almost wiped out with the Old Testament teaches about God's word and almost left us with such a secondary Bible works being more important than words of God. This is a big deal Christianity faced three death threats in the days of the apostles. Three outstanding death threats to our faith. This being the first one. Later at Antioch Judaism almost snatched Christianity into it and reduce would've reduced it to being a sect of Judaism had Paul not stood up to Peter and Barnabas and said not so that would've been a death blow to our faith. The Judaizers we may come across again before this session is over at the end of the session the other death threat to our faith came by way of the Gnostics, but the apostles were there to deal with it and we have it in their writings is one of the reasons why John's first letter is so difficult to follow because John's audience knew he was addressing Gnosticism. He did not have to give them a class on Gnosticism. Today we look back 2000 years we have to put the puzzle together. We will we realize that okay this is what John is dealing with letter makes a lot of sense.
This, of course, the first of the three here calling the pastors away from the essentials. That's what was happening in this section, the apostles saw the people did not see the apostle apostles and waited for the people to see you then. Christianity would've suffered and would never have recovered all three near death blows were halted by the apostles of Jesus Christ, and for a reason. One of the reasons. Obviously, I think once we we get them out in front. Where did this come from and how did these men get this winter.
They learned that their role was not to be overruled by social programs. When did they learn this, they just make it up that they just perceive it. Got it from our Lord. One of the first episodes of someone trying to reduce the word of God.
And this was involuntary business was built by people who love Jesus people who love Jesus were trying to reduce the word of God didn't even know enough.
One of the first ones was Martha. That story is in Luke chapter 10 I wish we had the time to dig into a little bit more autistic excerpts from it.
The Bible says Martha was distracted.
These apostles were almost distracted and of course she protested to the lawyer she confronted him.
My sister Mary is there enjoying a Bible study and I'm making all these meals by myself. You could hear the pot slamming the doors click In the doors. He wasn't happy, but she brought it on herself. No one was it. Hey, be nice to have some food. Martha runs run the kitchen with cook something up. What was Jesus response to Martha's complaint that the word was primary to Matt to Mary and Martha wanted that to stop. Jesus said this to her. But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. This does not give license to the abusive Bible teaching where works mean nothing, we just teach the word, that would be that would be silly, but this is an echo of Job's passion Job in the midst of all of his pain-and-suffering I is Amanda just had come to hate life was so confused about what God was doing God was not confused. Job's that I have not departed from the commandment of his lips.
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. That's a pretty heavy statement I need God's word in my life more than I need food I rather die than not have God's word man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word, every word, every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And yet this is not practice is widespread.
The disregard for these truths are widespread in Christianity, with take fragments of the Scripture that they like.
I guess. And just to do away with the rest. This teaching about the importance of God's word is crystal clear. It is as clear as the 10 Commandments. There's nothing about the 10 Commandments that make you scratch your head and say I wonder what that means. Thou shall not kill, that shall not steal unmissable that of any other god what is that mean they're all very clear and yet this is routinely bypassed. Ever see a church where the pastor does everything but invest himself in the Scripture you ever attended a church like that, especially long-term. Satan knows this but many Christians miss otherwise it wouldn't be prevalent. It wouldn't be all over the place.
There many churches in session. Right now they're not preaching from the word of God. Thank God there are others that are preaching compassion is still expected from us as Disciples of Christ. But when the church gets too involved in human needs. Failure is certain, it is certain to gobble that church up and make it into something Christ never wanted it to be the tail right here in this section of Scripture is ready to wag the dog, then I can. I have far less important would have become dominant dictating behaviors and reversing the roles that were God-given. You younger Christians are you understanding that I'm giving you bullets.
I'm giving you bullets for your weapons for Christ. Learn these things at an early age, and develop them for the rest of your life. Don't miss out on it. Don't be preoccupied with when is the service going to end occupy yourself with what is this man saying to me because of his coming from the Scriptures it is for me God singling you out at your age saying to you by name. This is for you.
The subscription the apostles. I'm confused the church about her assignment because the people were now you know. Hey we will get to why these people coming into the church why the situation was created. We got to the back in chapter 4 were covered again God will use this attack and this is an attack through otherwise good people Satan in subtle ways. He uses this attack. God does to raise up gallant servants, Stephen and Philip of course being the two most prominent. These this service that God brings out of his continues to this day. Now we look at verse one with all of that. Hopefully in mind when hopefully going to lose sight of any of that because it is critical Christianity had a close call. It dodged a bullet on this day. Now in those days verse one when the number of the disciples was multiplying.
There arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenist because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution now is typical in the Bible. The riders alternate between events and stories not being too mindful always of of the timeline. This is still in the very early probably the first year of Christianity, goes back now after the whole thing with the apostles for healing people being put in jail and in getting out of jail taking a beating for standing up to the authorities. This was an exciting and dangerous time to be a Christian in Jerusalem. It was exciting physically. It was exciting spiritually. It was dangerous physically. It was dangerous spiritually. Not much different than now hear the prayers of Scripture, the court of the believers. The growth of the church, the conflict the persecution the prisons. The signs and the wonders prayer.
Prayer is interdependent. If you think prayer makes you dependent then you're missing.
I believe very strongly in this because I can pray, but if there's no action on my part in God's is one of what can I get this done.
Now I am supposed to use your hands. I'm supposed to use your mouth, but if it's just all on me.
God then is a breakdown. Prayer is interdependence truth through this preaching God's word God's will fax from him to us your core.
That's the unity the growth these things were happening that was the fruit and then the conflict that was the confirmation that they were doing the right thing that Satan was not going to take this lying down.
This is what was happening in Jerusalem at this time and in the midst of all that Satan says I got a great idea. Let's get the leaders to not value what God says so much. This just reduce it to shrink it down. Let's get them to stop praying before they start studying.
When the number of the disciples was multiplying. It says here in verse one. No less than nine times in the first 12 chapters of the book of acts does Luke draw our attention to the Christians growth to the growth of the church, the Holy Spirit was moving in the lives of the people in it that was happening in your community, you would draw attention to it.
Also, a lot of folks are excited about a church that's growing yes but what is the quality is always going to be. Hopefully quality over quantity. You can draw a crowd a lot easier than you can grow church that bears the qualities of Scripture. Luke mentions great growth twice in this chapter alone. Sheep help the sheep be getting sheep. That's discipleship that's Christianity in action. Who doesn't want this.
What Kristin doesn't want to see this happen what Christian does not want to be a part of another persons life in Christ coming to Christ.
The minute you step into the church you're on you. You are a part of God's process. It is a big deal. Otherwise Satan in the world would not invest so much in trying to keep you out of a church of courses presupposing that the church that is pursuing things that have been given to us in Scripture. But it is unrealistic to expect that the one accord that the apostles would enjoyed in the early days would go uncontested. It would be unrealistic. Same with you doing great, Christianity would be unrealistic to suppose that you're not going to have some kind of attack come against you could be internal. You could just get bored with Scripture.
That's a big attack doesn't feel like it when it's happening, she noticed if you are perceptive enough you know it's a big attack. Says here, there arose a complaint. The Greek word are grumbling.
Faith fertilizes criticism, sterilizers the wilderness Jews in all the ones came out of Egypt didn't want to going to the promised land didn't believe God's word. They were sentenced to 40 years of wandering those Jews complained regularly and what happened to them.
They became expert.
Grave diggers in the desert. That is what happened to them. What a lesson is Paul didn't want the Corinthians. Going that route, so he took. He said to the Corinthians in chapter 10 of first Corinthians is he says nor complaint as some of them also complained and were destroyed by the destroyer. He parks it here for a minute. This is a big point is moving along and make his point and he stops here and then he says, making this pertinent to us as long as we are in this world. Now all these things happen to them as examples. They were written for our ad my mission upon whom the ends of the ages have come these things are preserved. Paul said, for we the church in the last days, which began with the Christ, and now we are in the last of the last days as signaled by all of the technology in world events, Abraham, Abraham left in Canaan alters everywhere. If you wanted to find Abraham you just follow the altars lead you write to him what his offspring in the wilderness.
All they left were forgotten. Graves you can't find one. To this day because they had become good at complaining now that's not entirely. What's happening here with these folks.
These folks have a valid complaint but it is an opportunity for us to address something that pops up in all of us. The ease to criticize it so easy that our lives are we to be talking about.
Eliza hitches that came very easy to realize it is criticizing everybody.
I'm the only one in us that anyway back to what is happening here. Often the first evidence that Satan is about to strike is through a complaint, especially petty one. There is no mention that these people rebuke for their complaining about what was happening because again if there was an injustice taking place. It was valid and Luke leaves out any details that he filters out you know they don't need to hear the need to just understand there was a problem in the early church and the apostles sprung into action and the people went with them and they got it done. That's what Luke is telling us problem came up and everybody in one accord resolved, says against the Hellenist by against the Hebrews by the Hellenist and still in verse one, who got the extra scoop of ice cream weathered the Jerusalem Jews, the Jews from Judea goes native to Jerusalem and Judea. Those that were really keeping there's much distance as possible from the Roman Greco culture that was surrounding them and they looked at other Jews who did not live in Jerusalem or Judea came from around the world, or even up in Galilee. They lived with them with suspicion, saying to themselves in a Jewish enough that compromise their compromising our heritage didn't even speak the Hebrew and clumsy with the Aramaic they speak fine great though that how they criticize and this happens to David you know I there's some some of the Jews for Jesus are a little like this radio you're not a Jewish Christian okay you go sit over there is a good guess falling major and we all have to watch it.
I mean my judge people a little bit about you. Not bald like me don't do that nor nor do I rejoice when I see someone older than me.
The Hellenist Jews. These were ethnic Jews who practice Judaism they were doing just as devout and their love for Yahweh as the other ones, but they had adopted much of the habits from the great Russian culture. Aristotle was one of the teachers of Alexander the great and Alexander went around conquering places ourselves in a assimilate the people to the aggression call to make the whole world. Greek and it had he did. By doing this you give us a common language to spread the gospel world and even though God was using them. The Romans were laying down roads everywhere, so Paul could come along and preach the gospel and build churches using the aggression language in the Jewish faith is his foundation. God always knows what he is doing well.
These Hellenistic Jews the most of them spent much of their lives outside of Jerusalem and Judea and it showed in. This is the problem and saw it here at Pentecost.
Remember, the Jews came from all over, and thousands of them got say and many of them simply staying here now that we found this new faith was going to stay here with the apostles are, and this created overcrowding.
Many of them did not have a means of income. Many of the windows that were accompanying them as family members could not be supported. This was a serious issue and that the church sprang into action. But there were dangers with it. In the end. That's why to this day again of the church become sidetracked and she's no longer upholding God's word. First and foremost would start getting into social program seasonal. She stopped becoming a church not of course I'm going to return to that this morning is that I think is that important this distribution. The church became a distraction because it was nudging the church very slowly very deliberately away from her assignment, we can take away social programs from a church and still have a church but you can't take the Scripture out of the church and still have the hard lesson you can't take away the teaching and the preaching of God's word and still call it seriously. The church, the ecclesia, the Lords, it's not for people to dictate on this God has spoken and that they ignore this.
I would encourage you ignore them.
Another back you disagree with God's word. I disagree with you. I don't want hearing more. You may ask what what I love Jesus taught in all of a goal. Of course he did but balanced everything was balanced.
Jesus said, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me and I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me when you did it to the least of these, you did it to me what he speaking to individuals, not the church. Individuals make up the church, but they still remain. Individuals talking about the assembly. Mark chapter 14 verse seven Jesus said, for you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wear this you may do to them. Good but me you do not always have. We can say that about Scripture man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of the mouth of God.
We would look we had this adoration for the word of God because the Bible does. That's why it's not something like what you know and like this one. Let's take this one better to put a Bible study in a soup kitchen in a soup kitchen in a Bible study. Would you disagree with some Don some don't get it. They don't understand this because they looking the looking at people first to define God instead of looking at God to define people is the church supposed to fix leaky faucets to me what is it that if the church is about the people in that way we are about the people what is it profit a man of his faucets on bullying and he goes to hell now were keeping things in perspective. Satan will do one standing for this urgent needs should be met by born-again churchgoers first. That is the first line. Sometimes the church can and does help overlooking fellow believers who were being slighted in their culture what's happening here in acts chapter 6 presented a very serious problem. Again, injustice could not be given a pass say well you know these issues. Jewish Christians are taking care of those Jewish Christian more than the others, and that's the way it is.
That would've been terrible. That would've been another crisis Christian faith that would've had to been dealt with, move you've been listening to cross reference radio daily radio ministry 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 cross reference radio.com that's cross reference radio.com 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 could subscribe to cross reference radio.com or simply search for cross reference radio your favorite podcast to the next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of acts right here on cross reference radio