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Deemphasizing Miracles (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 16, 2022 6:00 am

Deemphasizing Miracles (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 16, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

When Peter said, How is it that you lied to the Holy Spirit? Well, how did you know, Peter?

Well, God told me. Well, it continues, Paul does. He says, To another, faith by the same spirit. Now, this isn't saving faith. This is trusting faith for the moment. This is that ability to know what God is going to do because God has shared it and we're seeing it in action. When he says, Jesus heals you, but he's still in the bed. You can't do that. Let's see you try.

Then the person stays in bed. Now you're a false prophet. 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. Today, Pastor Rick continues in Acts Chapter 9 and his study called De-emphasizing Miracles. Love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, recognizing this great reduction of miracles, it is a fact. It's not faithlessness at all.

It's faithfulness to look at the realities before them and work within the confines of those realities. And may we not blame ourselves for God using us through the Word and not miracles. Boy, it would be so nice if I could just do this and so-and-so would come to Christ.

Of course it would be, but that's not how it's going to happen most times. And so now, with that background to miracles, so that we don't feel left out, but we'd rather feel summoned, summoned to the throne of God to perform as the apostles, but without the signs and wonders, except the sign and wonder of truth and fact from the Scripture. Verse 32, Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all the parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwell in Lydda. Well, the Jerusalem Christians were chased up to this region at the persecution that started with Stephen, Acts chapter 11 again. Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, Antioch, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the Word to no one but Jews only. Well, Philip also, in chapter 8 we read, Philip was found in Azotus and passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea. So if you track, if you look on a map and you look at the places that the Christians were scattered to, to the north and to the west of Israel, and then you track from Azotus to Caesarea, you find Philip went right through Lydda, he's going right on that track. So there's a harmony taking place between what Peter is now going to do and what the other Christians and what Philip had done ahead of him, not a lack of trust. Peter valued his contribution to Christianity because he understood the investment Christ made in his life. And you may say things like, well, it's not me, it's the Lord. Well, we all know that. But do you understand that Christ has invested in you and now it is yours to work out, to implement?

This is an action required. So we have servants in this church that have been serving for years, especially some of the leaders. And God has invested in them. They've learned things from serving so long.

And it's not easy to replace them with a rookie and expect to still get the same quality of results. And so knowing that God has invested in you is meaningful. Peter knew that God invested in him. He didn't say in Jerusalem, well, I can't be used, you know, I denied the Lord one time.

It was really a horrible sin. And oh, why would God use me? No, Peter's in action, no matter what. He has the truth. He's going to put it to use. And we see the results. Paul wrote, he said, I planted, Apollo's water, but God gave the increase. It's a harmony.

It's sort of a tag team kind of thing for you wrestling fans. All right. Coming back to this, that he also came down to the saints who dwell in Lidda. Well, this Lidda is a difficult word to pronounce in English, actually.

It just doesn't flow off the tongue. However, it's a village in the plain of Sharon. And here we see again the New Testament classifying all Christians as saints. There is no superclass of Christian. There is no elite team of Christians. Even those who are assigned to be apostles, evangelists, prophets, and teachers, that's their calling, that's their work, but they do not belong to a superclass.

They have their role, and those that aren't in their position have their role to perform also. And it is troubling when you find folks that think that, you know, I'm a messianic Jew. Some of them, not all of them, say that as though they have a higher classification, that they're closer to the cross. And I just wish they would say, I'm a Christian, and leave all that other stuff out. I'm sure it may have its meaning used somewhere, but overall, we're just all Christians together. Isn't that enough?

Why would we need more? Verse 33, chapter 9 of Acts, there he found a certain man named Aeneas who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. Now, that's a Greek name, and he's probably a Hellenistic Jew.

We've covered that already in sessions past. No reason to doubt that he was a believer, but if you said, well, there's no evidence that he was a believer, I would say to you, then, how come it's not mentioned when he is healed that, you know, you don't leave something like that out. I believe he was one of the believers in Jesus Christ, and certainly the way Peter will handle him. Telling us here that he was bedridden eight years. You look at that and you say, ah, man, it's a long time to be dependent on everybody else for life. Just to have the humbling experience, the misery that goes along with that. Metaphorically, we might find ourselves bedridden for a long period of time because of problems in our life through no fault of our own. The Bible doesn't beat him up and say he was bedridden because he was lazy or something like that. It just says this was his condition, and nor should we beat ourselves up unless we're guilty. And then if we're guilty, there's a way to address that also without remaining or having the guilt remain on us. A lot of folks have a hard time getting past the guilt because, you know, sin is a serious thing.

It leaves a heavy scar, but this should be healing nonetheless. By faith, imagine if Paul said, I can't answer this calling to be an apostle and go to the Gentiles. I was very much part of Stephen's death.

I'm just too guilty. Well, you know, these things are there for us who are guilty to look back at our guilt and say, well, I've given it to Jesus Christ and he's big enough to handle it and I believe it. And then move forward in harmony with Christ. Well, verse 34, and Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise, make your bed. Then he arose immediately. Peter makes this fact very clear before he takes another step. Jesus Christ heals you.

It's no doubt that I don't have a special touch. It's not Peter the apostle. It is Jesus Christ.

And now it would be silly to suggest that any created being has this particular power. Christ crucified dead, buried, risen, alive and loved. Jesus is Lord. From heaven, he is still healing people. He is still functioning.

It is exclusive to him. He could not say, Aeneas, Michael the archangel heals you. Mary heals you.

That would be blasphemous to say such a thing. This belongs to God. You have to be divine to qualify to be the healer, the great physician. The only way Peter could know that this man was going to be healed before he was healed, the only way that he could guarantee it is if he had the gift of faith. Now, this gift of faith isn't permanent. It is explosive. It is, you know, for the moment.

It is activated for the moment. However, it is up to us to remain ready to receive the gift because we can certainly eliminate ourselves, be bypassed, and God uses somebody else in our place. 1 Corinthians 12 verse 8, For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit. Now, that person may give a wise saying, but next time have nothing to say because the Spirit's not giving them anything. To another, the word of knowledge through the same Spirit. Again, the word of knowledge that is something God gives, that we don't deserve, ergo it is a gift, and God is telling us something that we otherwise could not possibly have known without him telling us. When Peter said, How is it that you lied to the Holy Spirit? Well, how did you know, Peter?

Well, God told me. Well, it continues, Paul does. He says, To another, faith by the same Spirit. Now, this isn't saving faith. This is trusting faith for the moment. This is that ability to know what God is going to do because God has shared it and we're seeing it in action. When he says, Jesus heals you, but he's still in the bed.

You can't do that. Let's see you try, then the person stays in bed, now you're a false prophet. Unless, unless you know God has spoken to you and gave this to you at that moment. And then Paul says, To another, faith by the same Spirit. To another, gifts of healing by the same Spirit. Well, Peter's going to exercise that one. He's going to heal this person.

But we'll come back to Peter and his healing in a little bit. And so here he gives him, gives to Peter, a knowing faith, knowing what God is going to do, because we want to be careful. We don't want to say to someone, God is going to do this and God is, well, how do you know that? Did God tell you this? Or are you, you know, signing assignments to God, giving him assignments so that, because you think they should be done.

So we should be a little bit careful before we go ahead and start writing checks on God's account. The gifts, again, simply means God's provision for the moment. For instance, if you're being chased by a lion, do you want the gift of tongues? I mean, I don't know, I want the gift of speed. Or really, I'd just move it like a hand grenade. So, you know, to look at the Bible sensibly is very much important.

We're going to come more to this as we open this section up. Arise, make your bed, he says to him in verse 34, then he arose immediately. And Peter saw his master do this. The believer does not use God's power. God's power uses the believer. If it's not, you know, God's power is not like a tool on the wall that we get when we need it done, to get something done. It's the other way around.

When God needs something done with a tool, he gets us and we perform it. And I find that liberating. And I happen to like liberty.

I like freedom. Paul said they came here to spy out our liberty. James sent them up there to find out how, if they're eating pork, and Paul knew it. And we didn't yield to them an hour, because once you've had bacon, you're not giving it up. That's what Paul really wasn't, but it would have been a fun conversation.

Verse 35, so all who dwelt in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Smart people here. There were other smart people off doing other smart things. There were Roman engineers and just philosophers and people, you know, astronomers. There were other smart people on the planet when this was taking place in this little place in Lydda.

And here are the Christians engaging souls. Which is more important? Well, they're both important. We want engineers. We benefit from them, all sorts of engineers.

Mechanical, structural, all sorts of them. Right now, we are really enjoying this HVAC, this air conditioning. Well, because some A student got hold of it and did the right thing. Now again, you can be an A student and be really stupid. By the way, I should remind you, speaking of A students, pray for your president. Pray for his health, that God guards his health. Because if anything happens to that man, you know who we get.

So, anyway, that's more true than you care to find out in reality. Just pray for his health and that he doesn't get re-elected. Anyway, listen, this is biblical. There's a pastor that died and a politician.

They died at the same time. They both go into heaven. I'll find it in the Bible later.

I'll have to write it on a piece of paper and stick it in there. Anyhow, so the angel says, I'm going to take you to your quarters. It's going to be your abode now that you're in heaven. So he takes the pastor to this relatively humble dwelling. And it's sufficient. He says, I'm so grateful. Thank you.

This is nice. Nothing special about it at all. He takes the politician to this palatial, this palace. It's got servants. It's got fountains and landscaping and marble.

It's just incredible. And the politician says to the angel, I don't get it. That godly man gets this modest abode.

Why do I get this palace? And the angel says, you don't understand. You're the first politician that ever made it up here. That's a Ronald Reagan joke.

Anyway, all right, back to the work at hand. 1 Corinthians chapter 1, speaking about Christians engaging souls while the world is doing their important things, we're doing more important things. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. So those engineers, those Roman engineers, when they all rose lead to Rome, they don't all lead to heaven. Only one way goes to heaven, and that is Jesus, right?

The way, the truth, and the life. However, when those Romans were building all those roads, they did not know that God was using those civil engineers and structural engineers to make a path for the gospel to be taken throughout the world, but then the Roman Empire at that point. So we work together. We work together to some degree with what human beings are doing who don't know Christ, and we take advantage of it without being rude, and we use it for Christ because all knowledge comes from him and he owns it all anyway.

Remembering that here in Lydda where Peter is working, as I said earlier, no New Testament Bible in those days, and the emphasis is on the Word. We can't just get people out of bed anymore, but we can preach to them in bed. In fact, if they're confined to bed, bedridden, it's harder for them to get away from us. No, we don't want to do that ever, but I thought it was kind of cute.

Unless you're bedridden, you say, that's not funny, and I'd be guilty. Verse 36, at Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. Now Peter, of course, at Lydda, he heals the paralytic man. Many come to Christ who knew his story, now they know the story of Christ, and now away in Lydda, some miles away, ten miles away there about, it's an important city at Joppa. At Joppa, there was a certain disciple named Tabitha which is translated Dorcas. From this verse through chapter 10 of the book of Acts, we have a contrast between Jonah and Peter, because Jonah also went to Joppa to get away from taking the truth to Gentiles. Well, Peter is going to be summoned by Gentiles to come up to Caesarea, where Philip is, and give them the gospel, and he is going to do that.

There are plenty of ships still in Joppa, it's an important port city, and Peter doesn't run in the wrong direction, he goes in the right direction. This name, Tabitha, Aramaic for antelope or gazelle, Dorcas being the Greek rendering, this woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. So she's a beloved, hard-working, serving woman in the church, and they're likely many of the poor were benefiting from her making garments for them. The gift of helps is what she had, and it includes a heart given by God, the gift of helps, that not only sympathizes with those in need, but has the means and the know-how to take action. And this is what we see in this servant.

This is what she could do, and so she did it. 1 Corinthians 12, 28, God has appointed these in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. After that, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, administrations, people who know how to handle the finances. You can't have someone who, you know, who still thinks two plus two is nine, you can't give that person the position of an administrator. But others are savvy enough.

They can figure out the laws and work through it. This is a gift, something God gives to the church. And when it is absent, we ask for God to gift us with this.

We need this, Lord. Verse 37, but it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room, verse 38, and since litter was near Joppa, the disciples had heard that Peter was there. They sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Well, the Jews don't embalm. And so the urgency, Peter, you've got to hurry up and get here.

She's dead, and we haven't buried her yet. And so Peter, without delay, he takes the 10-mile trip inland to Joppa. And when it says they sent for Peter, of course, wouldn't you? I mean, if you were in this situation, you know Peter and the apostle Peter in the next town.

I'd send for him. And they sent for Peter because the Holy Spirit put her on their heart, whether they knew it or not. It was God at work. God does not need us to recognize that he's using us.

It's nice when that happens, but it's not essential. And we have many stories in the scripture of people being used by the Lord and really not conscious that he's using them. Verse 39, Then Peter arose and went with him. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room, and all the widows stood by weeping, showing the tunics the garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.

This is quite human, is this story. God is not after Tabitha. He already has her. He's after the souls that know her.

That's what God is after. And so the widows, those who had dealt with the lethal touch of death, that's who they are. They knew this pain, and they're presenting her with the evidence of Tabitha's love, love that was inspired by a full heart. And I ask myself when I read this, what will I leave behind?

What sort of legacy? Here, this woman clearly left a lot of broken hearts. They wanted her back. Verse 40, But Peter put them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, Tabitha, arise! And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. Now, I started this whole thing with why miracles have been de-emphasized, because, you know, when we're in this situation, we want God to leave our loved ones with us, and He quite often does not.

And that's not, should be a surprise. Well, I'll get back to that a little bit, but putting everybody out of the room to perform this resuscitation, it's the third time. Elisha did it, the Lord Jesus did it, and now Peter is doing it, and he's sort of shutting the world out. Turning to the body, he said, to Tabitha, arise!

So this is interesting here. I think it all is, but Peter, when he's praying, he's facing the Lord, not the dead body. Otherwise, why turn to the body?

He has to be facing away from it. Only Jesus, in raising someone from the dead, spoke to the dead body, and that is because He is divine. We are not to speak to the dead. And so when you read about the prophets, or Peter or Paul raising the dead, we've been covering Elijah and Elisha raising the dead, they never spoke to the body, they spoke to the Lord. Peter's not going to address her until she's up.

And this is significant, and I want to be just as gentle as I can be without losing any of the firmness. Peter did not talk to the dead as those who pray to Mary do. When you talk to Mary, you're talking to the dead, and that is forbidden. I don't point out the anti- and subscriptual practices of Roman Catholicism for sport. I do so to expose the unabashed sin, and that means it is very dangerous to share in the sins that I am pointing out because the Bible says so. Roman Catholicism, by doing such things, deny Christ of His supremacy by creating co-equals. There's no co-equal with Christ, except the Father and the Holy Spirit, that's it. And it is unpardonable because it disputes and it rejects the teaching of the Holy Spirit in Scripture in the name of Jesus.

They do these wrong things in Jesus' name when Jesus has forbidden it. 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 / 2022-12-17 23:37:46 / 2022-12-17 23:47:42 / 10

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