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Satan’s Blunder (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
August 2, 2022 6:00 am

Satan’s Blunder (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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August 2, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Remember that He is God the Holy Spirit and He is not co-equal with us just because He chooses to be with us, permitting false doctrine or moral evil to go unaddressed. This is how we quench the Spirit. And a church can continue to say it's a church when it has very little interest in what the Holy Spirit is doing.

And it just seems to want to tell people all the positive things about what's going to happen to them. We will start at verse 51. who foretold the coming of the just one, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to heart, and they gnashed at Him with their teeth.

But He, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and ran at Him with one accord, and they cast Him out of the city and stoned Him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul, and they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not charge them with this sin.

And when he had said this, he fell asleep. That's Christianity in action, unleashed. That angelic face, though, did not save him from this stoning, but it sure blesses us. He was preaching to those who were fanatics. What made them fanatics was that they had become willfully blind to what God was doing. Their religion blocked God out.

That can happen. Well, if you are surprised by that, then you are a novice when it comes to Christianity. But if you've been around the faith a while and you've been around your scripture, you know that this is not something that is uncommon or unheard of. And they had put themselves against God's Son, the Messiah, when they had no excuse. They pretended to be devoted to God and their scripture, but they weren't paying attention to what the scripture was saying. Question to we Christians, do we know of Christians?

And we have to ask ourselves the same question. Do we know of Christians who claim to love God, but pay no attention to the Bible? Pay no attention to the New Testament.

I have come across them. They think that somehow their passion makes up for disobedience or for ignorance, and it does not. Satan will use those things against us. Peter, years later, writing to Christians, brings this up. He says the chief cornerstone was Christ. They should have recognized him.

There's no excuse. The cornerstone had a look all by itself, distinguished it from everything else. And then he set a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumbled, being disobedient to the word to which they were appointed. It's mind-boggling.

How could they have the scriptures pour over the scriptures so much and still not get it? So it is possible. That should put all of us on alert. Did I say e-lert? That's some sort of thing that hides in the closet.

It's an e-lert. Steven wasn't having it. He just was, you know, the spirit surges up. It wasn't a spirit, I'm fed up with you people.

It wasn't that. But he was fed up with the lies, and he gave them the truth. And it is startling and it is alarming how many professed Christians cave into the culture. We've always done it, but now more than ever, it seems, especially our youth, Satan is trying to pick them off, to recruit them, to convert them. And they go to church and they think that, you know, they're being loving when they're putting up with the enemy's doctrines and teachings and the enemy is getting to spread their propaganda. But Christianity remains silenced in the face of this. If you, listening online or maybe here in the church or later on, if you are faced with friends in a sexually perverted culture, are you roving with them without standing against sin?

This is becoming more and more of a problem of trying to, you know, make them feel comfortable while they are making you uncomfortable. And they're doing that by having you be silent concerning their sin. For example, I stand in a pulpit and I tell you right out that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

Stealing is a sin. Lying is a sin. But today, if you say that, there are some that go to church and they don't want to hear that. They think it's unloving to tell the truth.

Stephen was not unloving. He was just giving them God's word, what God was doing. And if you're holding back the truth from people who desperately need it, you're being more cowardly and compromised and converted than anything else. And this leads to many people fussing at the pastors. Fraternizing with the enemy comes with consequence. You cannot get too chummy with those who are blatantly engrossed in sin and who trample the word of God. And at the same time say, well I'm being loving. Do you turn on pastors who stand in the pulpit and tell you to your face that you are wrong if you do these things? They do.

They turn on us very quickly. One of the prophets, well I'll just read it, 2 Chronicles 19. This is about King Jehoshaphat. Again, Jehoshaphat loved the Lord. He was a good king, a righteous king. But he had this thing where he had to be around bad boys.

And it almost cost him his life. And finally the prophet confronts him, 2 Chronicles 19. And Jehu the son of Hanani, the seer, that is a prophet, went out to meet him, that is the king Jehoshaphat, and said to King Jehoshaphat, should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord, therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you.

This has not changed. We're considering this atomic sermon that Stephen is giving is that he wasn't making anybody feel comfortable in their rejection of Jesus Christ. And to attack him and make him the bad guy in this is to do the devil's work.

And yet, it happens. Jesus, his estimate of sin was to cross, to die a cruel and shameful death. But he felt it was worth it. Hebrews 12, too, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So here is Stephen. He is sealing his loyalty to Christ with his blood. These lessons are preserved for all of us. And if you are upholding the faith, if you're not fraternizing with a perverted culture, you still have to stand guard that you do not become self-righteous, that we do not become wrongfully judgmental. We have to be careful that we do love, but love does not mean we withhold God's word.

So with that brief introduction, we look at verse 51, and there he says, You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do you. There's no way to make that sound nice. Maybe if you gave him a British accent, it would soften it a little bit, but this is what it is. It is not tactful.

And how many would be offended? Well, it's how you said it. Never mind how I said it. What I said, is it true or not?

Does the shoe fit or not? That is the bottom line, because that will not be a defense when you stand before the throne of God. Well, it was how those Christians said it.

Because the fact is, the guilty who want to remain guilty, no matter how you say it, won't receive it. There is a time to present the gospel in a very soft way, and there is a time to use it as a hammer. It is not by accident the word of God is referred to as a sword, but it is also light.

It is also sweet as honey. And the Holy Spirit will lead us. Stephen used God's word that condemned the wilderness generation because of their unbelief. And he's using it on his accusers now.

Remember, he never went onto defense. At no point is he defending himself. He went straight on the attack, said, this is what we believe, this is why we believe it, you should believe it, this is why you're missing it, and this is why it's inexcusable. And he says that they are as much against God as those who God condemned in the desert.

And he's just getting warmed up. Prophet mode is activated in this man. Christianity makes a disturbance when it tells the truth about a world that is in sin.

It rocks the boat of an anti-Christ culture in any age, and we should understand. That doesn't mean we're looking to be offensive when we go out. We're just not backing down. You know, the police don't back down. Do you think, okay, you know what, let's just go away.

No, they just call more of them, and they just keep coming. We want them to be that way, if the good people do. Well, what about we Christians? Are we going, okay, I'll just go away, I'll just change what I believe because you don't like it, because you're going to put pressure on me.

You younger Christians learn how to stand up for what you believe. You say, no, this is what I believe. I know what you believe, and I don't believe that. I don't share that view. This is what I believe, and I will not be moved from it by you or anybody else.

I find that to be a great motivator. Churchgoers can destroy their own influence simply by getting too cozy with the world. We don't want to tell the truth anymore. There's always something to fight for, there's always something to die for, but Satan has the same teaching for his side also. Consider the abortion activists, especially nowadays. Many of them, they're ready to die for their cause.

Look, if they don't care about the innocent unborn, they certainly don't care about those who are living either or opposed to them. So to match this, we have to know what uniform we wear and wear it proudly. Don't be ashamed of being a Christian. Just flip that around. Oh, you're not one? Hmm. Maybe you should be one.

Maybe you would be better off if you were one. But the invitation is there for you to receive Christ or to reject him because God will respect your opinion. Do you want it any other way?

Would you rather if God did not respect your opinion? Well, this mob that he is facing is stubborn indeed and that's why he says they're stiff-necked. So picture, you've got a rope on your donkey and you're pulling him to go right and he's pulling back the opposite way, stiffening his neck.

And that is the picture that is being given to us here. But let's not confuse determination for stubbornness. Determination works to achieve the right course. Stubbornness works to continue on the wrong course.

That's the big difference. When God says they're stiff-necked, he says you know what is right because I've told you. And Stephen is doing the same thing. You have the word of God and you still ignore what it is saying in favor of your traditions and religion. And so to say, you know, he is so unloving in this message. Read the sermon of Stephen.

Read just this section we stood up and read just a moment ago from 51 to 60. How many people would accuse him of being unloving and yet how much fruit came out of this sermon? Satan thinks he's got them. When they kill Stephen, he says we've got them and it was a blunder on his part and we'll come to that soon. And so, you know, there's a nice section in 2 Peter. For those of you who are churchgoers but you really think the gospel is to throw paper tigers at people or just something that's, there's no consequence involved. Just consider Peter in the second letter.

He says, where do I begin? Verse 4. For if God did not spare the angels of sin but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment and did not spare the ancient world but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness.

That's Noah. He continues bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly. We're in the afterward state. He's not finished yet, Peter does.

He continues on. He says, and delivered righteous Lot who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked. Righteous Lot, if your Lot made so many blunders, if he could understand that there is a such thing as consequence to iniquity, then we are also. I don't know, maybe you, maybe you say, yeah, right on, I see it too. Maybe you don't. Maybe, maybe you don't see that our teens are, particularly our teens and our young adults are trying to find something that is salvageable about the other side.

The sexually perverted culture, this broke woke generation. They have nothing to offer you but hell and you've got to be able to identify that. Put your uniform in front of them. Wear it in front of them.

As for me and my house, we don't believe this stuff. You say, but they might turn on me. Well, then you'll be in Stephen's company, will you not? Christ will stand to receive you as he stood to receive Stephen. He says to them, you always resist the Holy Spirit.

May it not be us. Three ways in which the Holy Spirit can be opposed that are outstanding in our New Testament. Well, he can be resisted as is here. Sinners resist the Holy Spirit.

They stiff arm him, get back, get away, keep your spiritual distance from me. He can be grieved as we're told in Ephesians 4.30. That one is for believers, not so much for unbelievers. Grieve is a love word. You grieve over someone that you love, someone that stands in a special and close relationship to you. The Holy Spirit has that relationship with believers and he can be grieved. And I think he is grieved when we take the word of God and we hide it because we want to fit in.

We don't want to be offensive. The Christian message is offensive to sinners. Well, I was a sinner apart from Christ. I heard the Christian message. I was given a choice by Christ to submit to him or to resist him.

Well, I submitted. So I don't buy that argument that it's too harsh of a message. It is an ultimatum. The Christian message is an ultimatum. Take it or leave it. But this is the gospel.

This is the consequence of not receiving it. The Holy Spirit can be quenched. This again belongs to believers, especially an assembly as we're told in 1 Thessalonians. A church can quench the Holy Spirit.

I love the background noise. This is the kind of sermon you preach during a thunderstorm. I didn't choose that. I didn't go in the weather.

What's the weather going to be Sunday? I'll preach on this. Thank you, Lord. All right.

So now that we have your attention, coming back to this. A church can quench the Holy Spirit by allowing men to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit. How does the church usurp his authority? By refusing to be led, by refusing to submit, by refusing to remember that he is God the Holy Spirit. And he is not co-equal with us just because he chooses to be with us, permitting false doctrine or moral evil to go unaddressed. This is how we quench the Spirit. And a church can continue to say it's a church when it has very little interest in what the Holy Spirit is doing, and it just seems to want to tell people all the positive things about what's going to happen to them. Well, that wouldn't have worked if you gave Stephen that kind of sermon the day before he stood before this crowd. Oh, it's going to be okay, Stephen.

They're going to love what you have to say. Just preach nice things, okay? Well, he didn't preach nice things from hell's standpoint. Verse 52, Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the just one, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers.

Ooh, maybe he's just loose on them, atomic. Well, if you think I'm being harsh, you wait to see what happens in hell, that's number one. And number two, fine, if you don't like my comments about this, read the section on your own. You tell me if you can downsize what he is saying. What part of when Stephen says, Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And then he says, You killed Christ. First Thessalonians chapter two, Paul writing to new Christians. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God, which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us. And they do not please God, and are contrary to all men. Paul wrote that.

Paul is standing in this crowd, listening to Stephen, and guards the garments of those who are hurling stones at Stephen. And yet, and yet, he becomes a preacher of the things Stephen preached. What a blunder on hell's part, thinking that they shut Christianity down by shutting down this atomic preacher. It backfired. God saw the religious habitually killing the righteous.

He sees, he saw this, it happened all through his history. The Spanish Inquisition also was, there are not many others. There's just one of religious people killing righteous people. The world has no idea how much it owes righteous people.

It has no idea. There'd be no Red Cross if it weren't for Christians, just for an example. Salvation Army. I mean, when these institutions came up, they were dynamos.

Eventually the leaven gets in, and then it becomes another thing. But their fathers killed the ones who prophesied. Amen. That was amen.

And they killed the Messiah. That's not a, I mean, how was the sermon today? Lightning, man. It was thunderous.

It was, man. Verse 53. And if you have not received Christ and you're here, I think you've got some incentive to reconsider.

And notice the punctuation to certain points. Anyway, verse 53, who have not received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it. Well, in other words, Christianity is a spiritual feature that belongs to all of what we have, going all the way back to the days of Adam and Eve and to the end. And that's where the angels come in. God employed them. He doesn't give us details, but suffice it to say it's echoed throughout the New Testament and Old Testament alike. Stephen pulled their religious arrogance into the light. He is their messenger.

Oh, Stephen, you're so negative, said the man. That was kind of a joke. I would appreciate a little lightning and thunder on my jokes, too, just to balance it out, make me feel good about myself because, you know, anyway, we are not to make people feel comfortable in church so long as they are comfortable with sin. And I think a lot of Christians think that we're supposed to do that. The apostles did for a while with Christ. Lord, you're offending them.

Well, that's what I'm trying to do because that's what has to happen. If they're going to be saved, they've got to feel the sting of guilt before God because they won't turn to you. Do you know anyone who does wrong and will not listen to any?

You can't reach them. You say, you know, how come you don't have any friends? Well, because they're all nuts. Well, maybe, maybe, maybe it's you. I don't want to hear that. Well, then nothing changes.

So, it could be that way with us. I have to, you know, listen to myself because I don't want to listen to anybody else. But, no, I mean, sometimes I've said this before. God speaks to me through people from time to time in the flock, usually not when they think they're trying to tell me, you know, pastor, you should do this and that. I don't get that too much anymore. But sometimes someone will say something and it will be God.

And they don't even know that they did it. I do remember one, one person said, when you read the scripture verses, can you slow down a little bit? I said, no, I'm from New York, I can't.

But he was right. 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 / 2023-03-17 14:32:04 / 2023-03-17 14:41:18 / 9

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