We can lay hold on things, you know, the psychiatry and psychology world. They boast of the sixth sense.
Well, we've got one. It's faith. And it's the substance of things told for, the evidence of things not seen. And by it, the elders found favor with God, obtained a good testimony.
And we could see how they lived. By faith, as Stephen is, he becomes one of those elders. And that's why we're here today to share with you the message from Pastor Rick's radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, here's Pastor Rick with part two of his message called The Angelic Face in Acts chapter 6. These Greek influenced Jews had their own synagogues.
Stephen attended that. That's why he became overseer of the Hellenistic Jews. Paul is in this group, Paul of Tarsus, even though he was raised at the feet of Gamaliel, and they're in Jerusalem. Acts chapter 21 verse 9, Paul said, I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a city of, no mean city, no average city. All cities are mean, but not all average. Incidentally, for those of you who are, look down on city slickers, which they make it easy, the Bible starts off in a garden, but it ends in a city. So, just keep that in mind.
Good restaurants in cities. Back to this. They quarreled with Stephen because he dared to disagree with them about Messiah. But the difference is, he used the Scriptures and he used current events together, and they had nothing but tradition.
That's all they had. They had Scripture, but it didn't carry it to its conclusion. Again, to be a Christian is not to value, value the approval of those who disapprove of your Christ. I mean, in other words, you don't believe Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God? Well, maybe you got a point. You got no point. I don't agree with you on anything. I'm not giving you an inch on that. And if you think you've won the argument with me, you're still wrong. You've lost.
Because there are greater facts, and even if I can't pull them out, somebody else will. I'm going to go get my big brother. I'm going to go get my pastor. You're going to clean your clock, man. Pastors, one of the disappointing verses in the Bible, pastors are not to be given to violence.
Man. I got to remember that sometimes, because, you know, poking, poking. Anyhow, the first century Jewish Christians, they had to demonstrate from the Scripture that Messiah fulfilled the prophecy, and that Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth. That was their struggle.
The first century Gentile Christians, the ones that became Christians because of the work of men like Paul and Silas and Barnabas, they had to debunk the false teachings of the Greek soap opera. You know, that's what it was. The gods were just, they just tacked on another story. It was all dramatic. It was never-ending.
It was a lie. Again, you know, humans on spiritual steroids, that's the Greek gods. But us, we, what are we facing? What sticks out? Because those two things stuck out with them.
For us, it's keeping out the leaven. That is a full-time thing. You've been a Christian, you say, where did you get that?
Well, online. Where did we get all our theology from? I got it from the comments section. I can't stand the Christian comments section. I don't ever look at those things. I always walk away with my knuckles dragging.
I say, man, I feel I'm going to read the Bible, all of it, right now. Fix them. Revenge is sweet. Anyway, it is not. It is not.
It just creates a condition that you can't satisfy. Anyway, even if your marriage, your health, your wealth, your happiness is failing, you are still required to keep the leaven out. You are still required to say, here I am, Lord, what do you want me to do? What we tend to do is say, we've got all these fires, not right now, Lord. I've just got too much going on.
Well, with that approach, nothing will get done. Satan wins. All Satan has to do is light a fire in your life.
You're out. We overcome. We overcome by keeping the major things major and the minor things minor. In verse 10, they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke. So, of course, the Bible is saying, it's not that he was just wise. That wisdom that he had came from the Holy Spirit.
He's not just a smart guy like Gamaliel. Failing to see the truth is not as lamentable as failing to be moved by the truth once you are faced with it. That's their condition. They were faced with the truth.
They couldn't defeat him. They're like, man, he's got another point. Oh, he's winning the argument. Maybe he's right.
Maybe you need to stop trying to win the argument and listen to what he's saying at some point. These opponents could not overturn the truths that he hurled at them from their Bible, but they refused to allow truth to convert them. That's fanaticism, an irrational dedication to something.
In verse 11, they secretly induced men to say, we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. It's Calvary all over again. It's the same thing our Lord faced. Well, we can't beat him with righteousness because he's out-righteousing us.
So, let's try to come up with some unrighteous stuff and get rid of him. Who wants to belong to that kind of religion where their truths are better than our truths, so let's kill them? And there are religions like that. Islam won.
We've got everybody afraid to say it, but it's true. They refused. Verse 11 says they secretly induced men, officially now rejecting the Spirit of God, falsifying charges. Way to go, zealots.
That's how you do it. Stick to a religion that can't win the truth test. Lying in order to murder in the name of religion. What does that make that, what does that religion become? If you belong to a religion where you say we can lie and we can kill to protect our religion, what does it make that religion? They hated Stephen in the name of God, conspiring to kill him in the style of Jezebel.
That's what Jezebel did in 1 Kings 21. Her husband came, but I want an AWOLS vineyard. I love that.
I just got to have those grapes. And you're the king, she said. What are you sulking about?
Don't worry about it. And she hires, of course, these ratphinx and they go out, and I'm sorry, that's giving credit to them. Anyway, they go out and they do the same thing. We heard Naboth blaspheme and they took him out and they killed him and the king took his field. And for that, the prophet Elijah was dispatched to tell them that King Ahab would die and Jezebel would be eaten by dogs and I like telling that all the time because it's just gory Bible stuff that's true.
Anyway, I would not want to be a religion that resorted to silencing people who they could not defeat with truth. And so, unable to prove him wrong, unwilling to admit that he was right, they said, let's take him to court and let's have the courts do him in because that's what it meant in those days. And not only in these days, I mean back in the 16th century, same thing. If you lived in England during the English Reformation and you didn't agree with Rome, you would get killed if you were too successful.
William Tyndale was one. You know, they strangled him at the stake and then they burned his body. That's hate. Or maybe someone said, that was mercy. You know, we keep hearing from others coming later didn't enjoy that kind of mercy. Mercy would have been letting him go.
That would have been mercy. Well, anyway, back to this. Exalting the Lord Jesus Christ can drive Satan's people crazy. It makes them mad.
Mad as in insane. And here it is here. Spiritual deception is the worst thing that can befall a human soul. Satan is again, he is after your soul, the soul of human beings.
If he cannot keep you from coming to Christ, he will try to attack your body, which includes your life, of course. Right now Satan is ramping up again his UFO delusions. My bottom line on UFOs, I believe that they can be seen and are seen. I also believe they are demonic. They are strong delusions. I do not believe people who say, I've been on their craft. I believe they are under the influence of Satan. And this will be a strong argument.
You can read about its judgment in 2 Thessalonians 2 11, because they don't receive the truth, but follow the lie. I will give them over to strong delusions and it's going to get stronger. So if a UFO landed, the first thing you'd have to ask them is if they've had their vaccinations. I mean really, who knows what kind of germs they brought in here.
How long do you plan to stay? Are you planning to take jobs from Americans? You know, just questions.
Why should they be exempt from these? Anyhow, against Moses, there's a lot of questions you'd ask them. You know, just come on. Who has that much ability to travel phenomenal speeds, make right-hand turns or right-angle turns, right-angle turns without slowing down, and yet they don't bother us. Yeah, right.
They just show off, that's what you're saying. Anyhow, now if any of you have been abducted, you might want to see one of the pastors and he'll help you out. Now I'm not saying if you've seen UFOs, I mean I believe people have seen them. Some people I like very much have seen them. Anyway, and I believe them.
Where was it? Oh, against Moses and God. Okay, so now they're charging him with altering the permanence of the law. God said the law is not permanent. God said through Moses and Jeremiah collectively, my law is not permanent, the law given to Moses, that is, from Mount Sinai. It is not permanent. God's law is permanent.
And there are elements of it that would be modified. And this is what Christ came to do. And he said, think not that I've come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
And they perceived that as, no, you can't do that. Well, let's go to, we'll get to Moses later in a couple of verses. But now we'll take Jeremiah. Behold, the days are coming, says Jehovah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
So that's all Israel. And this new covenant that he is speaking of, this new testament, because that's what a covenant, that's what it is. This was something that they conveniently looked past. It says against God. Well, because they were exalting Christ as the Son of God.
So that's against Yahweh, according to them. Verse 12, and they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. So the Hellenistic Jews managed to get the Jerusalem Jews to side with them against Stephen.
That's what's going on here. We saw that, you know, that rift between them amongst the Christians in the first part of this chapter. Well, it also existed amongst the practicing Hebrews also, the Jerusalem Jews looking down on those who were influenced by the Gentile cultures. It says they came upon him, seized him, brought him to the council.
They arrested him. Saul, again, is part of this number. We see him in chapter 7 when they stone Stephen that Saul is guarding the clothing, because as a member of the Sanhedrin, as a Pharisee, he was not to participate in the actual stoning, but he could watch everybody's garments and go through the pockets.
That was the benefit of it. Anyway, verse 13, please don't think that that's true. Maybe there was one or two that couldn't resist the temptation, but no, they didn't have pockets like that. Anyway, verse 13, they also set up false witnesses who said, This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law. So, another wave of liars. Being religious does not make a person good. That's what we're seeing here. These are all religious people, and they ain't good.
Not this batch. They valued religion over righteousness. That's why they resorted to lying and murder, to shut up the opposition, because they couldn't get him on the law of God. So, they come up with rabbinical law to get him. They also valued tradition over truth. So, you know, as much as I love Fiddler on the Roof, of course, that is the problem. They are tradition-minded, as portrayed in that movie play, et cetera, and not truth-minded.
And that is the disappointing part of the whole experience. Verse 14, For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us. Well, this is Herod's extended temple. He just, you know, expanded Zerubbabel's temple, which was the second. When Solomon's temple was destroyed, Zerubbabel comes back, builds the temple. Then Herod, who was a monster, he comes along and he expands it and turns it into this one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Josephus writes about how beautiful and the gold on it, how you couldn't look at it a certain time of day directly because of the sun shining off of the gold and the marble, et cetera. They are twisting Stephen's words, words that Stephen got from Jesus concerning the work of Christ. Jesus never said that he would destroy the temple. He said it's going to be destroyed.
And in about 35 years from the point of these events, it will be fulfilled. So Christ predicted its destruction. He never said he's going to destroy the law, but he's going to take it to the new covenant level. And that is exactly what he did, the law of grace. So according to their testimony, Stephen publicly proclaimed God's transition. Well, that's important for me as a Christian because I don't want to see anything, you know, fall off the table as I'm reading the story.
I want an unbroken witness from Adam to Revelation. So that's why we're interested in, well, what does that mean? What does this mean?
Unless you become like little children, you can't enter the kingdom of heaven. Well, little children do that. What's this? What's that? It's bedtime.
That's what it is. So anyway, I can even remember annoying my brothers, my older brothers, you know, the man, was this kid going to go to bed? They had to take shifts with me. That's serious.
At one point, they tied me to the sofa, so I stayed up bouncing around and they slept on the sofa because I wouldn't go to sleep. Anyway, sorry I didn't come here to hear about me. He, Jesus, announced and performed that Mosaic law would be subservient to Messiah and his grace, which is part of the law from God, the new covenant. He proclaimed the coming judgment to destroy the temple in Jerusalem, but also gave that law. Now here it goes back to Moses, Deuteronomy 18, 15. Moses said, Yahweh, or Jehovah, your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. And then he pronounced a judgment.
If you don't listen to him, you're doomed. Well, Christ is that prophet. Stephen understood it. Paul will get it.
The others who didn't receive it, what's their problem? Peter had already preached this back in chapter 3. Stephen will get back, he will quote this verse again in chapter 7, part of why they were so enraged with him. Jesus warned, he said, I have come in my Father's name and you did not receive me. If another comes in his own name, him you will receive. Well, that's anti-Christ. The Jews are going to fawn over anti-Christ. When Christ said he comes in his Father's name, he means, I'm not breaking the law.
I'm fulfilling the prophecies. Messiah's work goes beyond the Jewish people, and they weren't ready for this. In fact, when they become Christians, they weren't ready for that. It was Paul's whole struggle with trying to say, listen, we're no longer trying to live like Moses as Jewish people.
They came to this agreement, it's okay, just don't eat things, strangle things, sacrifice, stay away from this thing, because it's just too much for the Jewish culture to go to church with Gentile Christians who are doing these things. We'll get to that in Acts 15. But Jesus said this about the fulfillment of Jeremiah and Moses' words to the woman at the well, the woman of shattered romances. She had five of them, and Jesus pointed it out. He said, the one you're with now is on shaky ground too. Jesus said to her woman, believe me. Now that wasn't derogatory.
He was getting her focused on him. The hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You know, she's part of that Sumerian religion that worshiped on Mount Ebal, I believe in Grism.
Anyway, he's saying neither that one nor Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know, we worship. We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. That's why Paul said to the Jew first and to the Gentile.
It's that natural progression. It is that unbroken witness from Adam all the way through Malachi, given to us by the Jewish people. And without that, there's a major breakdown.
But we don't have to be without that. And so, yeah, he's saying the Jews, the righteous Jews, they know what they're talking about. Then he goes ahead and says, but the hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is seeking such to worship him.
God is spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. You see the emphasis there, that born-again spirit and the truth that goes with it. For announcing this transition that Jesus said was coming, Stephen was killed. And the New Testament church is just getting started. At Stephen's death, the church does not close up.
It's just beginning. Wait till they make Gentile converts and they start coming into the church. And wait till Paul starts saying, Sabbaths, diets, circumcision was not important. What is important is the meaning behind those things, what they are intended to tell us.
That's what is important. And they followed Paul around trying to kill him for that. Verse 15, all who sat in the council looking steadfastly at him saw his face as the face of an angel. Again, it's the face of an innocent person.
The angels don't have this, you know, if they weren't innocent, they couldn't see the face of God in heaven, in his throne. It is the face of one, the face of one who loves God. The God we have not seen with our eyeballs, but we have seen with our spirit nonetheless. Why is it surprising that we have other senses, you know, that we can sense things in the spiritual realm by faith. That we can lay hold on things, you know, the psychiatry and psychology world they boast of the sixth sense.
Well, we've got one. It's faith. And it's the substance of things told for, the evidence of things not seen. And by it, the elders found favor with God, obtained a good testimony. And we could see how they live by faith, as Stephen is. He becomes one of those elders.
Not necessarily meant in Hebrews, but to us, yeah. The face of one who could not be swayed because of love. That's Stephen's face. They could not intimidate him, they could not break him down, they could not sway him. Neither man nor devil could move him from Christ.
That's the face, that's the angelic face of Stephen. Yet it was not enough for them to repent. But, it haunted some of them, one of them, Saul of Tarsus. These people were zealous for wrong things.
But that face, you just can't get it out. This is one of the reasons why Saul, it says, was still breathing threats of violence. And Saul worked havoc against the church because of that Stephen guy.
I have seen such a face. I like telling this story because it's how I came to Christ. So, my second oldest brother drew close to Christ, born again, and he wasn't very knowledgeable yet of the word, but he knew enough of the gospel. And my reaction was, Oh, you think that God has us here for him?
How selfish is that? That was my stupid theology. Where'd you get that? Oh, the trash can. And what was his response? He just looked at me. He just, like, he's sitting on the steps, and he just looked at me with this face I've never seen, I'd never seen this face before. Not even in my mom.
Your moms are like angels. And it bugged me, it haunted me. I'm going to wipe that smile, that smirk, whatever that thing was, I'm going to get it off his face, I'm going to show him his Bible is a bunch of lies. Where to start, where to start, where to start? So, I got a Bible, and I started reading it.
I'm going to find it. I don't know how I ended up in one of the gospels, I'm not sure if it was Matthew or Mark, it was one of those two, but that was God. God was just saying, well, well, well, doofus, instead of leading you to Amos the prophet, which you would get none of, how about we start here? And so, as I'm reading, trying to wipe the look off his face, I see that Christ is God. That nobody can make this stuff up.
Never has anyone spoken this way before. I got saved, right there, just reading God's word. So I know, so I have a personal experience with the face of an angel, because that is what it was to me. It was a messenger, an agent of God. It was the face of, I love Jesus, and I love you. I can't have that for my brother.
The neighbor can do that, but my brother? Anyway, I close with this verse, 2 Corinthians 4. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shown in our hearts to give the light, the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. That's what they were looking at.
The face of Jesus Christ, that angelic face. 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 / 2023-03-18 22:58:28 / 2023-03-18 23:08:20 / 10