What about Mark, Luke, and James, and Jude? They were not apostles of Jesus Christ, yet their words are scripture. And so space for God to do what He is doing, I will add, there's to me a great difference between somebody who wants to teach and not be with the sheep, and somebody who teaches and is with the sheep.
I'm just not a fan of somebody who just sets up in their, you know, living room with a camera in front of them and is not, because you gotta take hits. You'll become self-righteous and judgmental if you're not with the people. 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. Two neglected distinctives is Pastor Rick's title of his message, and he'll be teaching in Acts chapter 13 today. Two things I've learned about the sheep, which I am also one. One, you have some sheep that are a pain in the neck, and you have other sheep that are a blessing in the heart, and that's just the facts, and you cannot give, you know, different attention to them.
They're still the sheep. In fact, in pastoring, well, let me finish the quote from John, then I'll give you a proverb about this very element of public ministry. As I mentioned, Jesus said, feed my lambs, tend my sheep. Jesus said to him, feed my sheep. And so you have lambs, you have sheep, you have them in different stages and different levels, and the pastors are to minister to them all. Well, these men that we're talking about here in Antioch, they were pastors of the church in Antioch, these five men, and they were about to send two of them out because of their burden for the lost souls in the world, primarily the Gentiles, but not only the Gentiles.
In Proverbs, we read in Proverbs 14, where no oxen are, the trough is clean, but much uncreased comes by the strength of an ox. That Proverbs means, that Proverb means that if you are in ministry from time to time, you're going to step in it. And without the people, there's nothing to step in. But with those people, in spite of the things that you have to deal with, there is much increase, there is fruit, there is damage done to hell's agenda, and the church is at the center of that. What's the church doing in Afghanistan?
Trying to survive if they're at all. And we understand the importance of the church because we just look at places where she does not exist, or a counterfeit church exists. In the days of the kings, we read constantly, but the high places, they couldn't take away the high places. What were they?
They were hybrids. There were these centers of worship that were forbidden, and at those high places, they mingled in the teachings of Moses with something else that Moses forbade. The fact that they showed up there to worship and not in Jerusalem, the indication of that. You say, well, where does that exist today? The Roman Catholic Church is notorious for this.
They just take the name of Christ, they mix all other stuff up in it, too. And somehow we're supposed to be quiet about that? Well, you be quiet about that. I'm not going to be quiet. You know, no one's got a gun to your head.
I don't have a gun to their head. So there. I'm just being childish to break the tension a little bit.
I hope I'm not childish all the time. But anyway, these are just the way I see it as a Christian. God gives teachers because no one automatically knows. And discipleship is a part of teaching, because not you have to see it in action to develop your theology.
You can learn something on paper, but really not learn how it functions. I learned loving the sheep from watching my pastor in New York, Mike Vinizio, just had such a heart for the people. And then, you know, they talk about pains in the neck in a big city like that. You're going to have a lot of them. And just learning from observing. Watch out for those who like to learn but do not like to be taught. That may be pride.
There may be exceptions also. You may say, well, there's nobody around to teach. The essence of prophecy. The essence. When we talk about there were prophets and teachers in this church, the essence of prophecy is information from God. When you quote scripture, that information comes from God. But does the life match the preaching? Because the devil can preach scripture. We know that. Of course, Jesus being in the wilderness tempted by Satan tells the church, looky, looky, you can suffer this too.
And be ready for it. In the New Testament, as I mentioned, prophecy not so much foretelling, but speaking forth the truth of Christ through preaching, through scripture, through song, through encouragement. The prophets giving application to the life in the church. The teachers, if you want to distinguish the two, the teachers would give further meaning because as the Gentiles were coming into the church, they didn't know the Old Testament. They didn't know anything about Isaiah or Haggai the prophet.
Who was Nehemiah and Ezra to them? Well, how were they going to learn? You give them what, five or six scrolls and say go learn this?
Well, the teachers would teach them these things. And the prophets would be overseeing it, part of the teaching staff. And this is how the church began to get her sea legs in the world. And when we get to the epistles, we're going to see it in action. We're going to see Paul having to straighten out bent things repeatedly in the churches. Again, the New Testament is critical to Christianity. Warnings should be more pronounced in Christianity to those who attack pastoral authority. If you attend a church and you don't like it, then don't go back. But to try to stay there and create a problem, you are the problem in every case. It's just not a person's place to do such a thing. We would call it rude in other circles of society. Dathan, as I mentioned, and there are Dathan's today, they have a problem with authority in the church.
And they probably have it out also. Although, although, get this. Sorry, I forgot I was here. There are those that, you know, they don't like pastoral authority, but they demand it in their homes. They demand that the Dathan the dad, I'm the father, but they want that authority, but they don't want to give it up. And as we have taught, Christ was a man of authority. My father has said because he was a man under authority. That's one of the great lessons of the life of Jesus as he walked. Well, Aaron's rod that budded, that was a sermon.
It was an object sermon. That object, that staff said to all Israel, this is my high priest and you better line up with him. And that's why we read in number 16, here's Dathan, he didn't like this. He didn't like that Moses and his brother were the leaders. And he comes up in number 16 and says, they gathered together against Moses and Aaron and said to them, you take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them. And Yahweh is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the ability of Yahweh? I would have liked to whispered in Dathan's ear, you know Moses has killed a guy before?
You might not want to, you might want to rethink what you're saying. Anyway, there he is. We're all Christians.
What gives you the right? That's what he's saying to Moses. And of course, what happened? A sinkhole sucked them all down and the advocates with them. God got rid of them in front of everybody. That there'd be no mistake. Dathan didn't, you know, go and die of a heart attack or something.
He was swallowed by the ground. Nehemiah, we're talking leadership, because that's what these men were, distinctives of Christianity. And if you've got a problem with the leadership that God has anointed, you got a problem. And it's for me too. I have to, you know, the church is self-correcting.
It's not a totalitarian rule. The people will stop coming if you start pulling, well, actually, the people will come more. You're just, you're just be a, you won't be a church anymore.
You'd be something otherwise. But anyway, not the same people. The righteous will vote with their feet and say, I am out of here.
But those looking for something else, of course, seem to not have a problem. Nehemiah, one of the great leaders in the Bible. Nehemiah was dealing with those Jews that were saying, we are Jews, we worship Yahweh, and we want to be received as Jews.
Yet, we're going to intermarry, which is contrary to the law of the Jews. And Nehemiah dealt with these guys, because he said, you know, you're going to spread through the congregation with this. And this is what he writes, so I contended with them, cursed them, struck some of them, and pulled out their hair.
Now, that didn't happen to me, the hair part. But my point is, you see this, when this kind of stuff shows up in Scripture, it causes the reader to pause and think about this. Why is this in the Scripture?
Why is this acceptable or unacceptable? These are where the lessons are, and we should not be afraid of them, we should embrace them. And if you are one that has pastoral, a problem with pastoral authority, I suggest you learn how to throw your weight behind the pastors, support them, pray for them, and you will find other doors open up for you, and it is just what Satan doesn't want to hear. And just think, what is the antithesis of what I am saying?
It is not good. So, this is a collective interpretation from the overall teaching of the Scriptures. And I did not get to where I am, wherever that may be, by ignoring my teachers, or by defying them. These offices in the church that are in the New Testament, there are some distinctions made, again, they have been sort of absorbed into various ministries. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he says, and God has appointed these in the church. First, apostles, now the apostles have all gone, the apostles of Jesus Christ. Second, prophets, those were the next layer of leadership.
Third, teachers, which does not mean the apostles and prophets were not teaching, they were teaching too. And we still practice this, there is one pulpit in this church, there is not a special needs pulpit, except in the kids ministry. They have to be, we want to meet them, we want to, as Verna McGee would say, put the cookies where the kids can reach them. And that is why the kids ministry is there. We have competent teachers who are ready for those kids. Hopefully, if they go back there thinking that I do not need to study these kids, what do they know?
They are going to get their clock cleaned. Because those kids are taught by moms and dads, when they come to church, they have a knowledge of the scripture. When Paul makes this distinction, God has appointed these in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts, healings, helps, administration, varieties of tongues.
He throws in the other ones, kind of matter of factly. We still have special groups of teachers to some degree, theologians, apologist, I never liked that word. It carries to me the idea that I am saying sorry for something that I am not sorry for.
That is not what it is, but it just sounds that way. For instance, God has given the church men like C.S. Lewis. He has given men like John Lennox. They can minister to people that pastors really can't. A pastor can't give a pass to some people that maybe an evangelist can. You can say something a little kooky to an evangelist and he'll just kind of like, well Christ is it and you know, you say to a pastor, whoa, whoa, whoa. I am not letting you get away with that. That is heresy.
So, there are differences. Dave Hunt was a prophet to the church. If you don't know who Dave Hunt is, now you do. He was a prolific writer with impeccable research. And when he made a charge against heresy creeping in the church, he documented it. He put it in the bibliography, his sources, his end notes, just meticulous.
You don't believe me? Here it is in their own language. And these aren't the only ones. I am just using these as a few.
A.W. Tojo was a prophet to the church to tell Christians, you need to clear up your act. You can worship a holy God. You can't just go in there all sloppy with your faith.
You put it together when you come before the throne of God. Well, God taught that to Moses, did he not? Take the sandals off your feet, the ground you stand on is holy.
Don't just come sashay up here like that. Alright, maybe you don't see it. Then, what about Mark, Luke, and James, and Jude? They were not apostles of Jesus Christ. Yet, their words are scripture. And so, space for God to do what he is doing, I will add, there's to me a great difference between somebody who wants to teach and not be with the sheep, and somebody who teaches and is with the sheep.
I'm just not a fan of somebody who just sets up in their living room with a camera in front of them and is not, because you got to take hits. You'll become self-righteous and judgmental if you're not with the people. If you're with the people, and you love them, and they stumble, you look for solutions, not for condemnation. If they don't repent, then you got to be firm. But you get someone who gets tripped up in sin, and they come meet with the pastors, and the pastors discover that this person is contrite. They repent. Well, we're going to look to restore that person. I point this out, because over the years of ministry, we have had several cases like this, of course. And I remember one, one outstanding is the person stumbled in sin, and it was a sin that the whole community knew about. I might have made it into one of the papers, anyway. Well, that person did repent, and repented here, within the confines of this ministry.
And we looked to rebuild them. But word got back to me about people saying, can you believe it? Can you believe he goes to that church? What do you mean that church?
This is why I wanted that grenade launcher. We, what, shoot our own wounded. Is that the alternative? If a person is going to work with Christ, we're going to work with them. Well, you can't get to that level of ministry unless you're in public ministry. Well, you can in some other circles. But really, this is, you know, the dream job of a pastor. A.W.
Toja got it in the last years of his, he died somewhere, I think he was like 62 years old, something like that. And in the last seven years or so of his ministry, someone, you know, invited him, you come up, I think it was Toronto, you come up to Toronto, and all you have to do is be in that pulpit Sunday and preach. You don't have to do the weddings, the funerals, the counselings, the bar mitzvahs, we don't do the bar mitzvah. Anyway, and he, that's what he did as just a side load to the flexibility that belongs to the preaching of the word. And so, these are some important things about the leadership in the church that was developing in the first church into what we have today. It was not just, boom, you got it, it came into place, as there are other things in the assembly that is a development of the New Testament times. Now, Luke names the prophetic teaching staff, Barnabas is first, this is a man that was embraced and named by the apostles the son of encouragement. How do you get on the radar of men like Peter and John, and when you're singled out, a man full of the Holy Spirit, he is like the Job of the New Testament in that sense.
You know, God saying, you know, have you considered my servant Job, a righteous man, not into evil, eschews evil, that's Job. And that was Barnabas, the kind of reputation, the testimony he developed there in Jerusalem and now in Antioch. Then there was Simeon who was called Niger. Well, Niger comes from the Latin word black, and evidently he was a dark skinned African, there are light skinned Africans too. Likely first converted to Judaism and then to the Messiah of Judaism, which we know as Christianity. Some connect him with another, Simon from Africa, Mark chapter 15, Simeon, Simon that helped bear the cross of Christ, but there's no direct evidence to confirm that, so you just cannot be dogmatic about that. Lucius, which is Luke of Cyrene, Luke also from Africa, present day Tripoli. Now, I know most, all the branches know from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, right? Anyway, Tripoli, that is Cyrene, there in North Africa. There is no mention of a skin color because it is irrelevant and in fact, Simeon who was called Niger took that as a compliment. You'd say that today, oh brother, the race mongers, they'll come out the carpet and we'll be waiting for them with that grenade launcher. Alright, you know what the Bible says about pastors, they're not to be given to violence, and I've struggled with that one.
Alright, I have not, I mean I don't have any blood on my hands or anything like that, but I have fantasized from time to time. Alright, Menaen who has been brought up with Herod the tetrarch and Saul. Well, Herod, this is Herod Antipas, the killer of John the Baptist.
You mean this leader, in fact some translations record that Greek word as a foster brother, where it says brought up a foster brother and it can go comrade or foster brother. It doesn't matter, he was in very close proximity to that monster Antipas, who is the single man in Scripture that Jesus felt his questions weren't worth answering. And man, what a, theology is in that. To get to a place where Christ is just, I have no interest, no interest in dealing with you.
How do you get to that place? Well, make sure you don't, he did. Menaen was an aristocrat, he came from the upper class, and here he is in the church ministering along everyone else, and all they say is yeah, he was brought up with Herod.
And move right on to the next guy, which is a wonderful way to do it. These men, this man raised in a palace became, one became a ruler in the world and the other became a ruler within the church. Don't be afraid of these words, they're not, they're not tyrannical. When Paul talks to the Hebrews in chapter 13 he says, those who rule over you concerning the spiritual matters of the assembly, because they weren't as tight as we may have become. But this man becoming useful to God, this Menaen, a pillar in the church, a friend of God. Now Herod Antipas, he gladly heard the preaching of John the Baptist, he just wasn't moved into the presence of conversion, or presence of Christ to conversion. He wasn't changed by the truths, they just tickled his ears. And when his illegitimate wife heard John's preaching, what he was saying, she was filled with scorn.
She is the mastermind of John being beheaded, but Herod has blood on his hands, he is guilty. Jesus does not save us on contact, but on consent. There were those that looked in the face of Christ, Herod Antipas was one of them. Just because he had contact with Christ doesn't mean he's going to get saved. You have to consent to the message, to the authority, to the lordship.
You have to say, Jesus, you are Lord, my Lord and my God. And this is the Bible story we ought to take to lost souls, who are going to hell in first class, many of them. Many people that are going to be judged by God and condemned are very comfortable in this life.
But they will not be comfortable after this life. Luke chapter 23 tells a story, a similar story of two people in proximity to Christ and having a different response. And when they had come to the place called the skull, that's what Golgotha, Calvary is, the place of death.
Death to my old life, so that I can have life in the new. There they crucified him and the criminals, one on his right hand and the other on his left. And we know the story, one of them repented and a solution was received. He gained salvation. Today Jesus promised him, you'll be with me, today you will be with me in paradise. And the other one, he went to his own place, he went to where he wanted to go.
His road did not lead to heaven, it went to hell. Verse 2, as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Well compared with verse 1 where it says, and they ministered, this is actively serving, and the Greek word connotes public service.
And that's just, you know, just staying away and doing his own thing. This is public ministry and it means to give attention, to give care to the people of God in some form. There are many ways we can minister. Intercessory prayer, praying on behalf of another person, that's part of ministry. Maybe not limited to pastoral ministry, it is Christian ministry. Hebrews 10 verse 11, and remember Paul is teaching them how to be New Testament believers because they were struggling with that. He says, and every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
And that word ministering there is the same in the Greek and he is saying to them, be the priest of the Old Testament active in ministry. 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 crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.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 crossreferenceradio.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.
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