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Two Neglected Distinctives (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2023 6:00 am

Two Neglected Distinctives (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 19, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Wisdom is justified by her children, Jesus said. And as these men went out, we look at their ministry, we say, yep, that was the Lord. Look at the fruit that came, the lasting fruit that came from that first missionary trip and the subsequent ones with Paul. They wanted to find out what God had to say. God has no problem speaking to his people.

He just never has that problem. We know the voice of God when he rebukes us. Do you know when he encourages you? 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 who wants to learn. 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 got to take hits. You 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, you know, 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. 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 that's what he did as just a side note 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. All 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. All right. You know what the Bible says about pastors, they're not to be given to violence and I've struggled with that one. All right. 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. All right. 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 the 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 what, man, what the theology is in that to get to a place where Christ is just not had 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 moved right on to the next guy, which is a wonderful way to do it. These men, this man raised in a palace, 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 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 of 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, compare with verse 1 where it says, and they ministered, this is actively serving and the Greek word connotes public service.

And you're not 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, the priest of the Old Testament active in ministry, in public ministry.

But then he adds, that Old Testament system doesn't work and that's what he's talking about there. But I wanted to draw attention to the use of that word ministering. Then, now moving away from the word but to the concept of serving, we have a little cute Samuel with a little ephod. 1 Samuel 2, this is his father Elkanah, went to his house at Ramah but the child ministered to Yahweh before Eli the priest.

What does that mean? He made himself available. As a little child, he was God's gopher. He would go for this and go for that. Eli would say, hey, go get more oil for the lamps. Hey, go sweep out the courtyard. Hey, go dust this. And he would go do it. Oh, I forgot the shears for the wicks and the lamp stamp.

Go get them. And that's how he started ministry at the bottom. 1 Samuel 3, now the boy Samuel ministered, I first read from 1 Samuel 2, chapter, verse 11. Now I'm reading from 1 Samuel 3, verse 1. Now the boy Samuel ministered, which means he continued to Yahweh before Eli. And the word of Yahweh was rare in those days.

There was no widespread revelation. Here he is serving at a time when the word of God was not, was dead to the people. But he's still faithful. He's still serving. When Christ comes, he goes to the synagogues, which were parallels to our churches, and it was a dead synagogue.

They couldn't even recognize him. They had people in there with unclean spirits, and they would seem to be very comfortable with that. I know who you are, the son of God, and this is where he was, so we shouldn't be too surprised by the setbacks that we encounter in ministry. Well, waiting for God, waiting for instructions, waiting to be led. This is something that belongs to our faith. Prayer includes waiting, or otherwise what are we doing, demanding from God?

You got like five minutes to get this done, God. When you pray, I would suggest, especially in corporate prayer, don't be so quick to talk. Ask yourselves, are you listening to God? Are you moved by God? You know, you can just come in and we can always pray for something. I mean, we can always just bring up something. But it is sweet when it's spirit-led, is it not? And I'm not trying to spook you out of, well, if I do get you to not talk, pray when I'm with you, then I get to do all the praying. So that might be a good idea.

No, it's not. I think the sobriety that we should bring with us to church, Ecclesiastes 5, and to prayer, I will pray in the Spirit. Well, these five men in public church ministry, not isolated, off doing their own thing, not competitors to the ministry.

There are those that are competitors. Diatrophes became that, and John, of course, scolded him in his epistle. Anyway, they fasted. That means they abstained from something for some period of time.

This is also a timestamp. This means that this event that we're considering was not just overnight. There is waiting involved, or else there would be no time to fast.

Okay, five minutes I'm going to do without coffee. That wouldn't be fasting. But what does fasting do?

Well, I think one of the main things that it does is it makes us sensitive to the need that we have. I'm not going to go so far to say that fasting overcomes the flesh. And the reason why is because Christ gave a parable about a Pharisee who boasted about his fasting, and yet he was, you know, shallow. He was the bad guy in the parable, and fasting didn't help him.

And so I have to look a little deeper. I'm not saying that it's not part of fasting. It is. But I think one of the main reasons why we fast is to make us more sensitive to the Spirit and less distracted. Now, he says they fasted, and the Holy Spirit said, because he's not an it, he is a person.

And he speaks. He is God the Holy Spirit. When we talk about the Holy Spirit, we're talking about God. And you should know it was King David who gave us this, who coined the phrase, the Holy Spirit. The first one in the scripture to introduce that phrase to us, and it is perfect. 2 Corinthians 13 verse 14, this was a blessing, a benediction, or a doxology of the early church. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. Now, the Father is referred to as God, but that does not mean the Son and the Spirit are not equal with the Father.

It's just encapsulating. And here in Corinthians, that was a benediction given to the new believers. And in that we have the Trinity. We have the Father who is made of none, neither created nor begotten, self-existent, eternal, eternal past and forward.

We have the Son. He is of the Father, not made nor created, but begotten, coming forth from the Father in what we call the virgin birth. He too is self-existent and eternal. He said in his prayer in John 17, and now Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was. What kind of glory is that? It's eternal glory.

It's divine glory. Then the Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. This is the Athanasian Creed. This is what the early church fathers after the apostles put together based on the teachings of the apostles in a concise statement, a statement of faith concerning the Trinity. And Athanasius, he dealt with those who were of the Arians, modern ancient Jehovah Witness version. He dealt with them on the Trinity. And the members of the Trinity are not three separate persons. They are three distinct, co-existing persons. That is the Trinity. And to illustrate that, probably the best I can do is you consider a triangle. It is one triangle with three corners, and they all belong to the same thing. They are inseparable.

You will not have a triangle if you separate them. We continue on, and they ministered to the Lord. This word for minister, again, has to do with full service of the word. Peter said we will give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.

It's not enough to know it, to preach it, but to actually conduct life to behave based on what we believe. And this is a beautiful illustration of waiting on the Lord. Genesis 18, this is when Abraham has these three visitors. One of the courses, it's a Christophany, an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. And he serves them.

We pick it up in Genesis 18, 8. So he took butter and milk and a calf, which he had prepared, because ministry involves preparation, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree as they ate. See, that's ministry. He served them, and he made himself available to serve more. That's a just beautiful picture there. Now, separate to me Barnabas and Saul.

Explicit instructions. Since this time, since this day, the Jews, even the Jews, are invited to believe. Not as Jews, but as sinners.

Jewish people are invited to believe Jesus is their Messiah and our Messiah, because we are sinners in need of a Savior, and He's Him. We'll get to this as we move through Acts. Paul making these points.

For the work which I have called them to do. Well, obviously there were needs. Clearly it was not for everyone.

The other three men would remain in Antioch, and these two men would be selected, separated, and sent out. And that's what we're reading. I'm skimming over a lot of good points. You should have been there. But we have, because of time, finished this up. Verse 3. Then having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

So there, again, the delay, needing time to fast, that's made clear. And in that time, they would likely be looking for confirmation, which clearly they did receive. Wisdom is justified by her children, Jesus said. And as these men went out, we look at their ministry, we say, yep, that was the Lord. Look at the fruit that came, the lasting fruit that came from that first missionary trip, and the subsequent ones with Paul. They wanted to find out what God had to say. God has no problem speaking to His people.

He just never has that problem. We know the voice of God when He rebukes us. Do you know when He encourages you?

Do you know when He directs you? People do this, the sinners do this, where those aren't saved. They know that Satan exists, they know his work is around. They need no theology to learn about Satan. But when it comes to God, He doesn't get equal treatment, does He? They just ignore Him or make up stuff about Him.

But nobody has to make up anything about the devil. Because his craftsmanship is everywhere. He's just got to make the connections and the consent to the result or the conclusion. Anyway, they laid hands on them. A meaningful tradition goes back in the scripture to Jacob, when Jacob laid his hands on Ephraim to bless the son of Joseph. And that continues, and so we see this, Moses laid hands on Joshua to succeed him in the leadership of the people, to pastor the flock of Israel, because the leaders were to be shepherds, and the word pastor means shepherd. The apostles laid hands on the deacons in chapter 6 of Acts, the filling of the Holy Spirit in chapter 8 and 9, when Paul laid hands on Paul the apostle.

And then for ministry, Paul laid his hands on Timothy. So, two verses. Peter, shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

I've already submitted my hat size. But here is the shepherd, the pastor of the flock. So by the time Peter writes these letters, the church has been around a long time, and this earlier hierarchy has sort of been melded into the pastorate, and that's what he and Paul were referring to and how we have it to this day.

And it says here, they sent them away. They're going to do a lot of traveling, hard traveling, carts and donkeys and roads and walking, there's going to be boats and sinking boats. Paul said this to the Corinthians, therefore when I was planning this, do I do it lightly, or the things I plan? Do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be yes, yes, and no, no? In other words, he's saying, I don't plan coming to you lightly, I'm led by the Spirit of God. I don't say yes, yes, and no, no, and you're just confused whether he's saying yes or no.

What is he saying? He's telling them right out, I am led by the Spirit of God. This is a distinctive of Christianity. And these two men, Barnabas and Saul, who will become Paul, I think verse 9, they looked for God for their beginning, and not somewhere else for their ending.

Having begun in the Spirit, they were perfected in the Spirit, not the flesh. 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 / 2023-01-21 18:58:49 / 2023-01-21 19:08:16 / 9

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