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Deemphasizing Miracles (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 19, 2022 6:00 am

Deemphasizing Miracles (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 19, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

Well, what is now coming is a Gentile that is not coming to Judaism, and that will complete the Jew, the mixed Jew and the Samaritan, and then the Gentile. So God at work. All of this to make us say, what am I supposed to do with this information, Lord?

I've got all these problems in my life. I come to church. The Bible is taught.

Why? What am I supposed to do with this information? Well, it's for God to know and for you to find out. Apply yourselves and let the Lord work in you. 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. De-emphasizing Miracles is the title of Pastor Rick's message, and he'll be teaching in Acts chapter 9 today. 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 was, 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 reelected. Okay. 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 on a piece of paper and stick it in there. But 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 and 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, I 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 roads 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 take, 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, 10 miles away, thereabout, 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, hardworking, 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, administration, 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, the apostle Peter is 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 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. And I don't point out the anti and subscriptural 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. Well, a lot of them are just ignorant of this.

The higher ups are not. Jesus Christ of the Bible is not the same Jesus Christ of Roman Catholic dogma. They are not the same person. You cannot say this Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible and he doesn't mind us praying to Mary. Christ disagrees with them and I agree with Christ.

He never approves of prayers to people. Mary or the saints, they are people, they were sinners. Christ was sinless. The only person in Scripture said to be sinless. That's a big thing.

Now, let me give you an example how certain things are outstanding and cannot be bypassed. If Peter was 11 foot tall, do you think they would have left that out of the Scripture? No, it would have been like everybody would have been going to the chiropractor because their neck would hurt from looking at Peter.

It'd be a big deal, but he's not 11 foot tall so it doesn't even matter. If Mary was sinless, it's such a big deal, Bible would say it. The only person sinless, even unborn, the unborn are born in iniquity. Their codes are all in place to sin and should they have lived their life, it's not possible that they would have sinned. It is guaranteed that they would sin. That is not the case with Christ and when Christ is gone to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, the lesson is he could not sin. He could not get to say, well, what if Jesus had sinned? He couldn't do it. That's the whole point. He is divine.

He's unlike everybody else. And so the Jesus Christ of the Bible never approves of these things. Why not have a seance then?

Why not approve seance if we can contact the dead? Well, these things again are forbidden. We're not to do these things. And if you don't care to hear this, I don't mean to be malicious, but then attend their church where they teach these things. But don't dare come to a church that opposes it and try to get us to conform or expect me to chill. That would be just rude and impossible, Lord willing. So I close this section against Roman Catholic dogma that which I mean, I'm not saying that there are not people in Catholic Church that just don't know better.

But there are those that do. Roman Catholicism cannot be fixed. It must be renounced. It must be abandoned.

You can't, it's just so, but you don't, how do you do that? Well, you leave. You go with Christ.

And that's it. And this would apply to others too, but mainly to them because they are certainly letting people think that this is Christianity. They represent Christianity. How many times do you hear somebody say, I can't stand Christians because, and they'll tell you what the Roman Catholic Church does. You say, wait a minute, don't put me in that group because the nuns did that to you.

They did none of that to me. So, you know, it counts to clarify these things for people. Again, once again, for the record, the great difference between Roman Catholicism and Christianity is that Christianity believes in the Bible as the source of authority, the sole source of spiritual authority. Rome does not. They believe in the Pope and the Cardinals and the bishops.

That's their source. And that is where the divide comes in. So now that we've clarified that, and those of you who have not been part of Roman Catholicism, you might, it might not be much, but those who've come out of it, it means a lot to them.

I've met quite a few of them over the decades and some of them are still pretty angry and they should be. Personally, I have a chip on my shoulder too, because the Lutherans that I had, the church that was across from my house, they never told me the gospel. They could light candles.

They could tell you who was sick in the hospital. They could sing hymns, but they couldn't give you the gospel. And I was pretty angry when I got saved.

And I hope I retain an element of that indignation towards not giving the gospel according to the scriptures. Well, back to this, verse 41, then he gave her his, gave her his hand and lifted her up. And when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. Well, Christ did this very thing with Peter's mother-in-law years ago. Mark chapter 1 verse 31, so he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and immediately the fever left her and she served them.

Now, you can make jokes about that, of course. Christ heals us so she can fix lunch and things like that. And that was part of it. But on the real side of it, she couldn't wait to serve. She could not wait to thank him, to go into, I feel great. In fact, you got to be hungry and you're going to get something to eat.

Just sit right there. I'm going to fix it. And that kind of spirit is love. And that is really what was taking place. So one other thing, remember, everyone raised from the dead returns to suffer death again. And so God knows what he's doing as much as it is our enemy. And it is. It is the last enemy, the Bible says. But we have to do something with this life.

And that should keep us pretty busy. Verse 42, and it became known throughout all Joppa and many believed on the Lord. Well, this surpassed the healing of the bedridden man. Where, of course, people came to the Lord there in verse 32.

This was incredible. Yet, I said I'd return to this healing matter with Peter. Peter was not able to revive Stephen.

He won't be able to revive James. See, the gifts do not belong to us. They belong to God.

Gifts, we can only use them as God allows. He is Lord. He is Master. Verse 43, so it was that they stayed many days in Joppa with Simon a tanner. Well, because there's a lot of work to do there now. He started on this trip. He knows there's activity for the people who are coming to Christ. He goes up there as the apostle to teach and to make sure there's no more Simon, the magicians roaming around.

I'm sure that was part of it. But in harmony with the other believers, not, oh, I've got to watch that fill up. He doesn't know what he's doing. He's gullible. And nothing like that.

He stays here so he can do the work. It's not enough to convert somebody to Christianity. They must be discipled. And there are many ways that can happen. A person can be discipled just by rubbing elbows with people who are more mature in the faith.

This offends the pride of some. If you are a believer and you have people in the faith that are ahead of you, be a sponge with them. Absorb as much as you can.

Just take it in. Let that be your seminary, your education in the Spirit, a part of it. Matthew, this is something Jesus taught us. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations. There's a difference between a disciple and a convert. You have to be a convert to be a disciple. But it's not enough to be a convert. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things as I've commanded you. So there's the emphasis on what you believe and not what you perform by the way of miracles. Well, now coming back to this Simon the Tanner. I disagree with the many good Bible commentators. I say that more and more.

By the time I'm 95, I'll be disagreeing with all of them at this rate. But anyway, they say, well, the Tanners were unclean and the Jews, you know, you couldn't touch a dead body. Well, how'd you cook meat? I don't agree with many of the commentators who cast Simon the Tanner. I mean, he holds a lot of cards in the village. You get on his nerves, you make your own shoes. Because, you know, they were all leather.

I mean, you know, he carried a lot of clout. Granted, the dyes and the chemicals, I mean, it is said that they used dog dung to get the hairs off the leather, scrubbing it. That's a bad job. So, yeah, maybe not the highest work around, but they got the job done.

Dog on it. So, yeah, corny jokes are safe. Anyway, so what? They work with dead animals. The prohibitions came on animals that were unclean or died of natural causes. If you touch those animals, then ceremonially you were unclean. But you weren't a leper or treated like that. You just had to, you know, go through the certain waiting time and ritual before you could be ceremonially clean.

So this is a noble profession. There are some writings of rabbis that disdained them. I'm sure they did.

You know, the city slicker type, they wouldn't get it. They may have cast the tanners in a bad light. But overall, these were not bad people. They were hardworking people.

Peter is very comfortable. This Simon could have been retired. He could have had his shop elsewhere because of the odors that would come from their trade. Anyway, all of this is preparing Peter to take the gospel to Caesarea where Philip is, and the Gentiles will now, by we get to chapter 10, before the Gentiles that were saved were already proselytes. They'd come into Judaism.

Well, what is now coming is a Gentile that had not come into Judaism, and that will complete the Jew, the mixed Jew and the Samaritan, and then the Gentile. So God at work. All of this to make us say, what am I supposed to do with this information, Lord?

I've got all these problems in my life. I come to church. The Bible is taught.

Why? What am I supposed to do with this information? Well, it's for God to know and for you to find out.

Apply yourselves and let the Lord work in you. 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 cross-reference radio dot com. That's cross-reference radio dot 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 cross-reference radio dot 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 / 2022-12-19 10:28:25 / 2022-12-19 10:37:55 / 10

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