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Resisting the Holy Spirit (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2022 6:00 am

Resisting the Holy Spirit (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 30, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Every single thing that we see in the negative in scripture, we are capable of. And that means there's a lesson. If we want to be more Christ-like, we want to be better at Christianity, we pay attention to the lessons. But you will find out that reality is more skilled than you nonetheless. And you're going to have to take hits. You're going to have to get wounded if you're going to serve Christ effectively.

Expect a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in Acts 11 as he begins his message, Resisting the Holy Spirit. and ate with them. But Peter explained it to them, in order from the beginning, saying, I was in the city of Joppa, praying. And in a trance, I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners, and it came to me.

When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, Rise, Peter, kill and eat. But I said, Not so, Lord, for nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth. But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God has cleansed you must not call common.

Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing.

Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If, therefore, God gave them the same gift as he gave us when he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should withstand God? When they heard these things, they became silent, and they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted the Gentiles repentance to life. How many people would pick this chapter to read? It's the beauty of going verse by verse.

There's just so much the Bible offers to us. At this time in Christianity, almost the entire church was Jewish. The Gentiles will, of course, take over as far as that demographic goes. Almost all of the church, therefore, still living under the distinctions made by the law between Jew and Gentile. They didn't have a problem with this. Peter himself admits that he struggled with this, and he boasted that, not so, Lord, nothing unclean has touched my lips. From childhood, they were trained to be more interested in the violation of Judaism than in what God was doing. From childhood, they were more interested, they were trained this way to uphold Judaism, to be more concerned with Judaism than what the Lord was actually doing. And this was a problem the entire ministry of the Lord Jesus when he ministered in Israel. This was their big stumbling point.

They were inflexible. The whole point of the parable and the teaching that Jesus gave on old wineskins. Luke chapter 5, verse 37, No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.

But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. The first Christians had to learn that the gospel cannot be patched or poured into Judaism. They're irreconcilable.

They cannot function at the same time successfully. Something legalistic Christians still don't get, and it's rather widespread. We Christians are notorious for resisting fresh things of God.

Some on a very petty level, but very serious about it, and some on a larger scale. Of course, not with the essential doctrines. We're not looking to be flexible with the Trinity, with the deity of Christ, the sovereignty of God, the unchanging nature of God, the immutability of God. Those things, we're not looking to have a fresh teaching, and experiences are different.

Just to be blessed by the understanding of what God has revealed to us. The Jews, like many professed Christians, they had this track record of resisting the Holy Spirit of God, God the Holy Spirit. He's not an outside partner. He's not a lesser partner. He's not like, well, he only has 10% of the shares of the corporation. He is fully God, and I think that this largely is because not paying attention, not listening, missing the key points. God is not asking us to violate the word.

He's asking us to understand it. Think not that I came to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. And it's all connected back to the promises, and when I close, I'll hopefully quote from Isaiah this matter of Messiah, being the servant of God who would take the light to the Gentiles, something the Jews were not doing. You could ask a Jew today, which of you really has taken the light to the Gentiles?

None. Just Jesus. Jesus Christ did that, and so did his apostles, and they struggled to do it. And so this not listening caused Jesus to say, oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. That was a lamentation.

The one who kills the prophets and stones those who were sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Stephen called them out on it, and they killed him for saying it. It was true. No one could deny it.

You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. You always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Now Stephen was talking to not Jewish people who had received Jesus as Messiah. He was speaking to Jewish people who had not received Jesus as Messiah. But the point that he makes that is relevant for Jew, Gentile, and Christian, is that we have the capacity to resist the Holy Spirit of God, and that is not what God wants.

And we shouldn't want it either. In Galatians, Paul, going into the Gentile world, penetrated the Gentile world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. You should know how hard that is. Try penetrating the workplace where you are. Try making converts where you live. You know how difficult that is. And then others would come behind Paul and try to undo his work.

Try to make them Judaizers. Try to get them to convert to Moses' law before they can convert to Christ. Paul wrote, scratching his head and breaking his heart, and his heart breaking at the same time, Are you so foolish having begun in the Spirit? Are you now being made perfect in the flesh? You received Christ based on faith after hearing the truth preached to you, and now you're going into all these rituals to somehow find favor with God? It's by faith.

Resisting the Holy Spirit simply means I tell God no. Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, canceled Judaism. That's who it took to do it. That's the way it was supposed to be done, and it was fiercely resisted. His own apostles didn't get it at first. They did eventually get it, some more than others. James never became as gallant for it, nowhere near as gallant for it, as Paul.

It was really hard for them. Again, they were raised this way. And so now we look at verse 1, understanding hopefully somewhat what we're dealing with here, because every single thing that we see in the negative in Scripture, we are capable of. And that means there's a lesson.

If we want to be more Christ-like, if we want to be better at Christianity, we pay attention to the lessons. But you will find out that reality is more skilled than you nonetheless, and you're going to have to take hits. You're going to have to get wounded if you're going to serve Christ effectively.

Expect it. But you are expected also to prevail, to persevere, to endure, to overcome. This is spiritual war, and I don't personally care to boast about it. I personally do not care to say I'm a spiritual warrior because it hurts too much. But it is worth it.

All of it is worth it. And I have to tell myself that sometimes, because that's my theology. That's what I've come to learn and love about the God I know personally. But again, there are realities that challenge every single doctrine. If you stick around Christianity long enough, and if you apply it, Satan will test you.

Our teens went up to camp. The Holy Spirit moved amongst them at one of the bonfires. Well, Satan, he's going to say, I'll just back off. He might say this, one of his tactics, I'll back off for a little bit, and then I'll get them when they don't expect it. If you learn how to worship that moment, if you learn how at that moment to pour out your heart to God in song, don't lose it. Look to do it again. Invite him in. If you've been serving Christ for years, but you've grown stale in your faith, fight back. Take it.

It's well worth it. And that's why we have the single word, worship. Worship means worthy.

He is worthy of this. Well, looking at verse 1, now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. Word traveled fast, some 55 miles from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

And Peter lingered a few days in the house of Gentiles while word got back to Jerusalem. This would cause an uprising. There would be outrage in the ranks.

How dare he do that? Well, they were resisting the Holy Spirit, didn't even know it. They thought they were doing God's will. Jesus had even warned his disciples about that. But word spread, as we would say, like wildfire, but they couldn't wait to confront him. They were so waiting for Peter to get back to Jerusalem.

Instead of saying, the Gentiles have received the word of God, praise God. Oh no, no, no. That is not what was going to happen. As I mentioned, outrage, and they would demand that Peter explain or else. These guys were fierce. They weren't these nice little churchgoers. In fact, I don't know that there's such a thing. They are nice, they're wonderful churchgoers, but in those ranks there can be some pretty mean ones too. May it not be me, may it not be you. Well, verse 2, and Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him.

Yeah, it seems so, you know, academic. And so we debated, they were looking at him with a hatred and contempt. He knew they were waiting for them. On his 55-mile trek back, his days while he spent, he's saying to himself, I'm going to have to answer for this to these people.

We're going to get back to that in a minute too. Again, these are the Jews who accepted Jesus as their Messiah, but they were not accepting that their beloved Messiah was doing away with Judaism, which really was the product of the rabbis taking the law of Moses and bloating it with rules and regulations that God never put on people. And as for the rules and regulations that God gave to Moses, many of those would be moved aside also, but not all of them, certainly not the moral code, thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal.

It's more forceful when you use thou than you, because it sounds like you're talking about the guy next to you in the pew. Thou shall not, but you shall not. Well, hardened against anything outside of rabbinical teachings, that's what they were. They suppose all of Moses' law would remain and therefore felt obligated to uphold it.

They weren't listening. Christ had preached on these things. So far, there was no New Testament writing at this point in history. Matthew's gospel, the Thessalonian letter, they did not exist.

They only had the Old Testament and the oral teachings of the apostles and those who had been around Christ when he walked. But as I mentioned, they were upholding the rabbinical teachings. For example, you're not supposed to eat with Gentiles. Well, that's not Moses' law, that's rabbinical law. The rabbis came up with that one. However, Jesus was a rabbi. So, if you're going to listen to the rabbis, which ones? Because in the Mishnah and the Talmud, their writings, they argued with each other, as even Christian commentators do. Which rabbi are you going to listen to?

And that's what it comes down to. Did the writers of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the critics amongst the Pharisees and Sadducees, did they do the miracles that Christ did? Not even close. You could add up all the prophets of the Old Testament and they couldn't come close to what Jesus did. And the main reason Christ did the miracles was to announce, I am the Messiah. Nobody comes close.

There was no reason to say, He can't be. Well, did they die for sinners? Absolutely not. Did they rise again from the dead? Of course not. Did they baptize anyone in the Holy Spirit? No.

Did anybody do this? Yes. Jesus did them all. And we love Him for it. And when I love the Word of God, but yet reality starts punching me upside my head, I'm going to stick to the Lord no matter what. When I don't understand it, I thought you'd never leave nor forsake.

I feel pretty forsaken right now. I'm just going to trust. I'm going to trust you. Because you are big enough to trust and nobody else is. And others have done it before me.

And I admire them for it. To them, the distinction between the Jew and the Gentile, clean and the unclean, was forever. That's why Peter, even in the vision, said, not so. Nothing unclean has touched these lips, buddy. Well, Christ was not talking about food.

He's going to sweep that away, too. But the food fighters will track down the believers who didn't like that. So they did not see a benefit to Messiah outside of Judaism. Otherwise, they never would have tried to lay this on the Gentiles. We hope they learn their lesson by the time Peter was done.

They're not. Chapter 15, we'll get back to it again. It will heavily impact Peter, what he's going through on this day before his accusers, those contending with him. The apostles were surrounded by these types in the church. They even sent them up to Antioch, where the Christians were first called Christians. Where the Gentiles were flooding into the church. Where Barnabas recognized a need for solid Bible teaching and somebody that could do it to the Gentiles. And went to Tarsus of Cilicia to find Paul, Saul at the time, and bring him back.

James would respond to that. According to Romanism, you might know it as Roman Catholicism. But the word Catholic means universal. And if you say, well it's Roman universal, that's a contradiction. It is either Roman or it is universal. But that's how they do it.

It's also known as Romanism. And they say that Peter was the first pope. And therefore infallible on spiritual matters.

Well these guys didn't get the memo. Because Peter is answering to them. They would not have dared question Peter if they viewed him as the first pope. They would have accepted whatever he said as a papal edict.

But they questioned him. There is only biblical opposition to the idea of a pope in Christianity. Not only does the Bible not agree with it, it disagrees with it.

It's a little emphatic. The Bible demands that we follow the scripture. Faith alone, in Christ alone, through the scripture alone. Here they are again demanding he be accountable to their understanding. They were disproving that Peter was the pope. That's what's in our Bible. Later, as I mentioned, when James sends those up to Antioch and other... Well, let's do Galatia first. In Galatia, Paul will write, Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be blamed. So Paul is writing to the Galatians and he's talking to them about these things.

About the law and Judaism and Christianity being distinct. And he says, Peter, the beloved apostle, he got tripped up. And I had to deal with Peter on this.

Well, why did Peter get tripped up? He and Barnabas. Because they were sick of it. They were so tired of the Jews that were sticking to Judaism, trying to inject it into Christianity, and putting them on trial for everything they did that was free in Christ. Paul at one point said to James, They came to spy out our liberty. They came to report back to James, Do you know they're actually eating pork up there?

This was from fierce times. The Bible refutes any who hold subscriptual views or unbiblical views in Christ's name. The Bible calls them out on it, rejects them. And those who know the word of God will do it hopefully in truth and with love. And the early church did not regard Peter as having supremacy in the church. And here's the evidence for it.

And this is just one because he's going to go through it again. And if he were the pope, how could Paul ever put him in his place in front of everybody? Well, we've settled that.

If you say, you know, I don't care to hear that. There is a Catholic church not far from here. That's where you should be. Because to say that you have to line up with someone else's doctrine is unfair and unwise even and unkind. I don't mean that in a mean way, but these are just the facts.

Reality comes at you, does it not? Anyway, verse three now saying, You went into uncircumcised men and ate with them. Yeah, well, you're going to hell now, buddy. Well, that is how they thought. Peter rendered circumcision irrelevant to faith and the relationship with God through Christ and that relationship surpasses all the rights in one sweep.

They're all gone. The blood of Jesus Christ is that powerful because it is the blood of the Son of God. And the mean faces thought they were right. Again, back up to Galatia. Paul points to a case, Titus. He says, yet not even Titus who was with me being a Greek was compelled to be circumcised.

It was never part of Christianity. And Paul is leading people to Christ. He's leading Gentiles to Christ. He makes a compromise with Timothy because Timothy's father was Jewish and we'll talk about that when we get to it later on in the Bible. We might get to it in Acts anyway. But there's so much more to talk about here.

Let me get back on course. So he went to the house of those who were Gentiles and he ate with them. They're the food fighters. In those days, people ate with their hands.

Some of you do, too, I've noticed. Well, certainly there are finger foods. But all the food was a finger food then.

And double dipping was unavoidable and there was no effort to even stop. There were no napkins. You used a bread as a napkin. And so you dip it in the sauce, you take a bite and you dip it in again. Disgusting. You know it is disgusting. And if we went out to dinner and you dipped on my plate, that would be the end of my meal.

Check, please. Anyhow, you touched the same loaf of bread, you dipped and re-dipped in the same sauces, you handled and tore off the same pieces of meat from the same part of the animal. When you shared your meal, you were sharing DNA. That's what was going on. It was a big deal to them, the Jews, sharing DNA with the Gentiles. Well, it's a big deal to me, too.

As a Gentile, well, used to be, sharing DNA with any of these guys is gross. But that's how life was back then. And another reason to appreciate being born sometime in the 20th, 21st century.

Because you get air conditioning and heating and you don't have to double dip. Peter shared this view with them. Before God got hold of him, he had the same view. And God had to unseat that view, thus the vision.

And all the little satellite emphasis that were hitting Peter at the same time. So when Jesus said to the Jews, Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and give it light. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Well, the Jews said we're doing that to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. And let me tell you, if there were any other people called to be the people of God and not the children of Jacob, they'd be doing the same stuff. So none of this stuff about, well, those Jews are all messed up. People are messed up. We've been defective since Eden. And just, you know, don't fall for Satan's little racial moves because he's evil, he's wily.

Anyway, they didn't take the light to the Gentiles even though they were surrounded by Gentiles. 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 / 2022-12-30 13:20:16 / 2022-12-30 13:29:48 / 10

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