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Power to Preach (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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August 15, 2022 6:00 am

Power to Preach (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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August 15, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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The word of God, along with the servant of God, equals salvation.

That's the formula. And here the scripture, faith comes by hearing, hearing with the word of God, here is the word of God. But Jesus didn't go to the cross dragged as a victim. He engineered the whole thing, the author and finisher of our faith. He went in submission and he was eager. How I wish it was here, he said to his disciples before he was arrested.

It goes without protest. 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. And now here's Pastor Rick as he continues teaching through Acts chapter eight and his message called Placed to Preach. Philip was in this great movement there in Samaria and he's redirected elsewhere. What a flexible spirit that is. And so the desert, the desert where life is both scarce and struggling, he is to go to this Gentile caravan and be ready for instructions. Human reason would have balked, it would have said, wait, look what's happening in Samaria. People are getting saved here, the Samaritans.

He wants me to go to the desert. So he leaves the 99 for the one. That principle is employed here.

Not always, but it is here. God will send us to places where we would otherwise not go, but he can only do that if he finds a willing heart. Verse 27, so he arose and went.

There's that willing heart. And behold a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch, great authority under Candace, queen of Ethiopians, who had charged over her treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship. Well, remember earlier in this chapter in Samaria, Simon the sorcerer, or magician really, sought to have God work for him out of ignorance. Philip is here seeking to work for God.

So he arose and he went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, another Gentile that is being brought to Christ. Now there were other Gentiles, Nicholas, we read about him in chapter 6, a proselyte of Antioch, likely from that region, well from Antioch, it's in Syria. But here this is an African, this Ethiopian man that is being pursued by this servant of God. At this time in history, Ethiopia's northern border touched the southern border of Egypt. Today the Sudan is there and you've got to go further south to get to Ethiopia.

The Candace is a title like Pharaoh or Caesar, that's not her name. She's probably coming from the region of Khartoum, which is not Khartoum, that would be all folks. But this is in the Sudan today, about 300 miles away, and a hard ride too.

There's not any little rest stops on the way and things like that. This is a large caravan, soldiers and servants, those who are hitchhiking along, could be a hundred people in this. This chariot he's in is large enough to have seats. Not all chariots are just, you know, two wheels.

Some of them were four-wheelers, some of them were large two-wheelers, but anyway it's a sizable chariot. And this Ethiopian is a convert to Judaism, so he's looking for God. That's why he was in Jerusalem, like Nicholas. Although as a eunuch of great authority, he's a big shot.

There's not a little position. He's a gentile and he's a eunuch. That's really not going to go well for him, he's going to look down upon when he gets to Jerusalem, now he's returning. But eunuchs were denied full access to the Jewish temple, but they were never denied full access into the Kingdom of Heaven. And Isaiah makes that clear.

And he seems to have accepted his position in life without bitterness. Romans chapter 8, for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin. He condemned sin in the flesh.

And so there we have what the law could not do. The law could not really bring this eunuch into the temple, but the grace of God brings him all the way into a relationship with Christ. The one preacher said, one very good preacher said, not me. I know when I say a very good preacher you immediately think of me because of my humility. But anyway, God does not love populations but people, not masses but men. I agree with that. I mean, he loves the individuals, not the groups.

Couple of groups are made of individuals. He can love a group of them at one time. But God singles us out. This Ethiopian is singled out. So when you are leading someone to Christ, you know that God singled them out long before you got there, even from the foundations of the earth. Romans 3, 23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

This was a trustworthy man. His position in a pagan government did not stop God from reaching him. And God knew he was ready because the Spirit was working in him and that's the only way people come to Christ. Verse 28, he was returning and sitting in his chariot.

He was reading Isaiah the prophet. Verse 29, then the Spirit said to Philip, go near and overtake his chariot. Well, no one stumbles into salvation.

Even if they think they do, they do not. God is the author and the finisher of our faith. He not only designs it, but he follows it through to the kingdom of heaven, to when we are in heaven. Philip is told to share Jesus and Christ is already at work in the man's heart. Jesus said this, my father has been working until now and I have been working.

And that is true to this day. God wants all people saved, but they're not all going to get saved. And yet, this is what the Lord wants.

All can get saved who want to. First Timothy, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. First Timothy 2, 4. Here in verse 29, then the Spirit said to Philip, go near and overtake. In verse 26, remember it was the angel. Now it's the Holy Spirit.

That's how this is unfolding for us. Go near and overtake his chariot. I mentioned that this is a sizable chariot, probably a four-wheeler.

The specific and clear instructions. Catch up and join up with this person in the chariot. I think Philip knew when he saw the caravan who these folks were. I think he knew that these were Ethiopians headed to Ethiopia.

Not a factor for him. Verse 30, so Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and said, do you understand what you are reading? You've got to look at that zeal. He's excited. He's acting on orders. He knows where he belongs, like Elijah knew he belonged with Elijah.

He's excited. So Philip ran to him. When those things are in the scripture like this and your eye catches them, it's intentional. The author and finisher of your faith is working in your life, saying something to you to get you to be better, to get me to be better at what we do as Christians. And so here, Philip not only had he made a pledge of allegiance to God, he is acting on his pledge.

And that's a big thing. Later, Paul's going to write to the Corinthians. You pledge to help. Don't embarrass me. Don't do this. This is your opportunity to act upon what you said you would do.

And they did. Well, this Bible of ours, because we read here in verse 30, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. Well, the Bible is the road of knowledge to God.

Of course, that road is loaded with robbers. We've got to be careful of that. You know, you go to send our Christian children off to universities, and they hear the professors begin to coin phrases as though they created light. And if the child is not ready for this, you're going to get sucked in. If this is a, just going along with the story, if you've got a non-believing professor, and he's saying, well, this is called so-and-so when people do this.

And the child is like, wow, that's interesting. There's a name for this. Like, shut up. So what? There's a name for it. Is there a solution for it? And so we're just, one of these phrases, and look this one up, if you'd like, and see how goofy it is that they've come up with, microaggression.

What is that? Is it so teeny, the aggression, that you can't see it? So this is not aggression, is it?

And it's like, you can't win. You agree with me, but you really don't. And so they come up with these phrases, they coin these things, and people are supposed to be impressed. Wow, they're pretty deep. They put a name on a behavior.

I should listen to everything this person says, and they forget all about their Christianity, and they start drinking the Kool-Aid, and the next thing you know, they're atheists, or doubting the faith, instead of standing up and saying things like, what? Where'd you get that? You just made it up? You and your buddies just made this up.

I know, you can't do that when you're 17, 18 like that, but at my age, you certainly can. Anyway, I feel myself getting in the flesh. I don't know if it shows, but inside, anyway, coming back to these things, Jesus said, you searched the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me. All about Christ is the Old Testament and the New. The Bible is about Jesus Christ, and those robbers on the road have been sent by Satan to try to, you know, John Wesley said, beware of the reasonable devil, where he tries to act like he's real smart, and he's figured things out, and again, he's named things, so therefore he must know what he's talking about.

Watch out for those guys. Not a better Old Testament verse about Jesus Christ than this one. In all the Old Testament, not a better one. This passage is about the suffering Savior, one of the greatest messianic predictions in the scripture. Isaiah 53, it's just the only person in history this could fit, is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and again, the New Testament is being developed. There are few apostolic writings in circulation at this point. The Old Testament was it, and it was sort of an updated version.

They were using the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. This Ethiopian is serious in his search for God, but he needs help, and that's important to understand. He, God says, needs help, and so Philip was called to help. When you are called to help on a serious thing, you get stronger.

It makes you strong. That you're needed, that there's a need here, and you can be part of that solution. I don't mean when somebody's calling you to do things they should be doing.

That can be annoying, but when you know that you are a critical factor in what's going on, it makes you stronger. It said to him, do you understand what you are reading? Now, he doesn't take this as being impolite or intrusive. Imagine if you're sitting in a coffee shop somewhere reading your Bible, and somebody says, do you have any idea what you're reading?

I mean, you might be a little offended. But, Philip knew that's what he was called to do, verse 31, and he said, how can I, the Ethiopian speaking, lest someone guides me? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

You love this guy. I mean, in his position, it said he has great authority, and he doesn't look down on this guy that comes running up to his chariot. He's not arrogant. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Well, we're seeing that acted out here. He has a teachable spirit. You know who else had a teachable spirit? Esther. One of the adorable things about Esther, you know, what stands out is usually her beauty. Now, let's see, after Nehemiah comes the book of Esther, and there in chapter 2, she was teachable to two people primarily, Mordecai and Haggai, who was over the eunuchs.

And so I want to take two verses from the book of Esther, chapter 2, verse 15. You don't have to be a know-it-all in life. In fact, if you're open like this guy, you get filled up, and you begin to know things you otherwise would not have captured. Who likes a know-it-all? Show of hands.

Hopefully, if I said, who doesn't like one, everybody raise two hands up. Verse 15, Esther, chapter 2. Now when the turn came for Esther, the daughter of Abbahel, the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter to go into the king, she requested nothing but what Haggai, the king's eunuch, the custodian of the women advised, and Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. So here she is in the harem, and she gets the advice from the eunuch in charge of the women there, and she says, you know, you should wear this. You look good in this. Don't wear that.

That's tacky. And she is like, okay, whatever you say. And then we come to verse 20. Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him. So she's a young woman now, and she doesn't think, I got it.

I don't need you anymore, Mordecai. These things stand out about her character. Her beauty was more than skin deep.

It was in her personality. No one else on earth has caught this but me, and that's because I am humble, and when you're humble like me, God gives you special things. I know. It's stupid, and it's meant to be, to draw attention to anyone who just thinks that there's safety and arrogance.

There's not. I don't know why arrogant people are arrogant except to say that sin is doing its thing on them. We don't have to be that way. So here, this Ethiopian man, he has a willing spirit, a teachable spirit. Psalm 69 verse 2, the humble shall see this and be glad, and you who seek God, your hearts shall live. And so the Ethiopian doesn't say to Philip, have you been to seminary? He just wants to know, have you been in the word of God? That's good enough for him. He doesn't make this complicated as we tend to do. You know, there's nothing wrong with digging deep and going deeper.

There's something wrong when you begin to make that the normal for everybody else, and you go so deep that you've lost your way. Verse 32, the place in the scripture which he read was this. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. This, the word of God, along with the servant of God, equals salvation.

That's the formula. And here, the scripture, faith comes by hearing, hearing with the word of God, here is the word of God. But Jesus didn't go to the cross dragged as a victim.

He engineered the whole thing, the author and finisher of our faith. He went in submission and he was eager. How I wish it was here, he said to his disciples before he was arrested.

He goes without protest. What if he opened his mouth in protest? Revelation 19, 21, speaking of Jesus. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of him who sat on the horse and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

That's what could have happened. This is to antichrist and his armies, that's what this is speaking about, the forces of antichrist. Yeah, he could have called twelve legions of angels or he could just did it himself. Verse 33, in his humiliation, still reading from Isaiah, his justice was taken away and who will declare his generation for his life is taken from the earth.

Well, in his humiliation and the son of God, if he can give us, so Christ says, I want you to do what I'm doing. I'm washing the feet, your feet, I want you to do this to each other. We have no problem washing the feet of Jesus. Is it Peter though? I don't know if I want to wash his feet. The person in the pew next to me, don't look.

You know, I don't know if I'm ready to do this. Well, this is the thing that Christ calls us to do and when you start disobeying those kind of commandments, you start disobeying other kind of commandments a lot faster than what you should. You shouldn't disobey any but then it becomes easier is my point. So here, the Lord Jesus in his humiliation, there was no justice. It says his justice was taken away, meaning there was no justice at his trial.

It was a kangaroo court. His life was taken away because he was the substitutionary sacrifice. He died in my place as me on my cross. That is the substitution like the lamb out of Egypt, the blood of the lamb was put on the doorpost of the house and who will declare his generation? Well, he had no children. He was cut off and we would have not have because his ministry was not in that direction but this is clearly a reference that there was no generation. They killed him. So Isaiah adds in this section, which is not here, for he was cut off from the land of the living. For the transgressions of my people, he was stricken and we are his people, incidentally. Verse 34, in other words, the Jews, yes, and then beyond as we're seeing in the book of Acts, verse 34, so the eunuch answered Philip and said, I ask you of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man? Again, no attempt to cover his ignorance like, oh, I knew that or I should know that.

No, he's learning. I don't know. Well, who's this guy talking about? Now, the Ethiopian more than likely heard the rabbis debate this verse because it was a verse that they did debate. Some believe that the slaughtered sheep here, the lamb, represented Israel but that really is a stretch.

It does not fit. There's too much personification that belongs to the character in Isaiah 53. Others thought Isaiah spoke of himself and certainly he couldn't come close to what Isaiah 53 talks about. Others knew this to be Messiah, that Isaiah was talking about the Messiah, the Christ. The Hebrew word Messiah in the Greek is Christ and this is, of course, what Philip is going to tell him. We're not getting everything Philip told him.

We know that just by the events that take place. Verse 35, then Philip opened his mouth. The Lord did not open his mouth on the way to the sacrifice but Philip's going to open his mouth to preach because the door is open. And beginning at this scripture, preach Jesus to him. Remember Christ on the road to Emmaus. He opened the scriptures that all about himself. He gave them the scripture and where he was and here we see Philip beginning at this verse.

Ephesians chapter 3, Paul said that I should preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ. You know when you're struggling in life all the time, you don't see those riches of Christ as so wonderful. You just want relief and God is saying, I need you to do both at the same time. I need you to suffer and serve at the same time. That's what it takes. If you're not suffering, good. Serve. If you are suffering, serve.

In season, out of season. All the time. Colossians 1, 28.

We just read this one but I like it a lot. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ. How many churches out there are not preaching Christ? But call themselves churches still. We're prohibited from slapping them and things like that because the flesh says, ooh, ooh, I know what to do.

And the spirit says, no you don't. We don't do that. We focus on the field. You know, a liberating thing for an individual Christian is to focus on the field you've been given. To plow the field you have. To take the lot that you have been assigned. Remember the tribes of Israel?

Each tribe was assigned a lot. Not a bunch, but a lot. So you got to, you know, some signs, you know, you've heard me say this before, you see signs of say a lot for sale and there's nothing there. And they're lying to you.

There's another one that's kind of irritating because who wants to hear something, tell me something I don't know. Fireworks. I know that. Every July they go around saying this. All right, initial laughter moment.

Back to work. Included in what Philip told this Ethiopian is water baptism, which is unique to Christianity. The Jews had their mikvahs, the baths, but they were for cleansing.

They didn't bear the symbolism of the water baptism. Go into all the world, Jesus said, and make disciples. Make students of the word. Because it's more than just, you don't just convert them.

They need more of all nations. Philip is engaged in this. And Jesus said baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Well they were commanded to do this and therefore we are commanded to have this done to us. And since the next verse tells us that the eunuch sought baptism, verse 36, now as they went down the road they came to some water and the eunuch said, see here is water what hinders me from being baptized? Well he didn't just pick that out of a rabbit's hat. Philip had to tell him about this. Obviously Philip made it clear that a public confession was part of Christianity.

Remember this is a large caravan, could be a hundred people in this caravan. And he says, what hinders me from being baptized? Well I'll tell you, impenitence. 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 / 2023-03-11 23:08:50 / 2023-03-11 23:18:21 / 10

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