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Opportunity and Opposition (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2023 6:00 am

Opportunity and Opposition (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 23, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Should I be running because you're telling me these scary things? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life?

I will not go in. And then later on he writes out, they sent these things to frighten me. And in the end the wall goes up and he remains, you know, in charge. He dealt with Satan and his intimidation and that's what I'm talking about.

Here is a limus opposing them and the devil is making his presence known. 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 brings us part two of his study called Opportunity and Opposition as he teaches in Acts chapter 13. So-called experts oftentimes with political science degrees or law degrees or both and they are advisors to government officials. But Sergius Paulus, it says, was an intelligent man that had to have impressed Paul who likely told this to Luke who was the author, the human author of the book of Acts. Paul was impressed. The man was a thinker.

In fact, secular history mentions that he was an author and read by some other well-known figures of his age. So he's educated and he's intelligent. Intelligence is the proper use of your education, what you've been taught. And there are a lot of people that hide behind their degrees instead of using the knowledge and there's a difference. Do you carry the degree or does the degree carry you? If the degree is carrying you, you're just a blowhard. But if you are carrying it, you're an intelligent person as you've been formally educated and you're employing it with vigor and reason. We have educated people in government who are morons and this is what I'm talking. Then you have other educated people in government who are not morons. Learning to, I don't think, they don't teach this in high school. They don't tell you, listen, you're about to go to college or university. You're going to find a lot of moronic professors there.

Why don't they make that a mandatory class? I'll teach it. I'll even show pictures.

Couple of birds, hand things. Alright. Yeah, you need a flashlight for that one. But anyway, back to this. This man, Sergius, was an intelligent man.

He, again, not hiding behind his credentials but actually putting them to work. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. I should point out, you know, these professors, if they were always right, why do they disagree with each other so much? They write books against each other's positions all the time. This is, even in Christianity.

If you start getting into deeper commentaries, which really are just really a lot of reading, you'll find them arguing with other commentators. So and so says this, but I think that is flat out wrong and he is a moron. They don't go that far.

But they do come pretty close to it. So they, you know, what is truth? Well, it's not that hard to find out what the truth is if you're being honest and willing to take the pains of being corrected.

And it's hard to be corrected for all of us. I mean, I feel bad when I run a red light, don't you? I mean, when my pastor runs red lights, I guess I can.

No, it's not advised. I just did one this morning, but it was not my fault. The light was too quick. Anyway, okay, I got that confession out. I've been carrying that all morning.

My biggest concern was am I going to get caught. Anyhow, the man called Barnabas. He called Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God, because he was dissatisfied with what the Limas had to offer. That wasn't a religion worth having. He was smart enough to know you got to have these kind of guys in government.

Sometimes he lived in, but he knew it was junk. And it's nice to hear this, verse 8, But a Limas the sorcerer, for so his name is translated, withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. So here's this opportunity to share Christ. They're invited by the governor to come preach the gospel. And Satan has his, what do you call, embedded agent in a Limas there.

A Limas it says, for so his name is translated from the Arabic, and it means magi, magician or wizard. This is the first recorded spiritual resistance on their journey, and they're going to be a lot more. Paul wrote to Timothy years later about Moses being resisted. Now Janus and Jamborees resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth. Men of corrupt minds disapproved concerning the faith. And you have to love the New Testament, you know, just tells it like it is. And you just scratch your head over why there are so many pulpits that feel they have to censor and edit out what the Bible says, because it might offend, it's made to offend the guilty. How else do you get them to repent? You can't convert them if you don't hurt them in the sense of truth and lies.

So anyway, there's always one, and this one is a Limas. And instead of being intimidated by what Satan throws at us, what we have to learn is to armor up. You're going to have people who mess up everything if they're given the chance.

And if they can't mess it all up, they'll just do enough to bring you down. And we have to accept this fact, and that's why, again, we armor up the armor of the saints as we read in Ephesians chapter 6, hopefully so that we can inflict damage on Satan's kingdom of lies. Now Nehemiah lays this out for us. Before the New Testament was written, there were those that didn't want Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem's wall, because that was their defense system.

They wanted Israel to remain vulnerable, easy pickings. And Nehemiah comes along, and he's going to build his wall. And they formed this coalition against him, the Arabs and various other peoples of the land, Nehemiah writes, those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction and with the other held a weapon.

And so if the guy is working on a wall, his weapon is right there by him. He goes on to say, when they were trying to intimidate him, you know, come run into the house of the Lord, because they're out to get you, Nehemiah. They're going to kill you. Run to the house of the Lord and be safe. Well, they were going to ambush him. And he responds, and I said, should such a man as I flee?

I'm the boss here. Should I be running because you're telling me these scary things? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life?

I will not go in. And then later on he writes, they sent these things to frighten me. And in the end, the wall goes up, and he remains, you know, in charge. He dealt with Satan and his intimidation, and that's what I'm talking about. Here is a limus opposing them, and the devil is making his presence known. And when the devil makes his presence known, you can either be intimidated and get nowhere for the kingdom, or you can armor up and defy what he is doing.

And the church has done this over the centuries. Paul's going to do it. We're just getting started with him.

He's going to start doing it quite quietly. I mean, who gets stoned and then goes back into the town with the folks that stoned you are? Well, Paul does. Anyway, verse 9. Then Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him. Well, without explanation, from here on, he is known as Paul, no longer Saul.

And it reflects his commitment to reach the Gentiles. This shortens by taking on a Latin name, Paul. His Hebrew name is Saul. By assuming this name, he shortens the gap between his ministry to the Gentiles and his ethnicity as a Hebrew.

He wants to identify more with them. And the name Paul means small one. It is, again, Latin. It is not the Latin version of Saul. The name Saul in Hebrew means asked, the implication of God. And so there's no connection, except phonetically. Phonetically, there is, you know, the move from Saul to Paul, even in the dialect that they were speaking in, it would be phonetically similar enough. And I think that not only is my educated guess that he assumes this name to identify more with Gentiles, but also to reflect his perception of himself as one in the presence of a great and holy God as small.

He writes about this in many places. The wretched man that I am, who will deliver me, and he goes on, of course, to say the Lord Jesus. Galatians 6, 4. But God forbid that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul, you know, you read his, you just read so much as we go through, you find out this man is truly a unique character in humanity and even in Scripture. You can't name the top ten influential characters of Scripture without Paul being in that list.

It's a hard list to compile. Anyway, coming back to this, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him. This was the look of spirit war. He wasn't grinning. And if Alimus thought he was grinning, he probably would have said, does it look like I'm grinning? He's looking intently at him because he's about to make a move. He knows what's going on. Later, he's going to have a delay in trying to figure out what is going on here.

And when he figures it out, he makes his move. But here, he knows right away this guy is blocking the gospel. And he was not going to debate with the dark side. There can be no peaceful coexistence between truth and a lie. Again, something a lot of Christians don't seem to care to want to understand. And that doesn't mean we get in fights with everybody. It just means we understand our position and we're not giving an inch. We're not going to say, well, you got a good point.

No, you have no good points. If Christ is not your savior, everything about you is messed up. Even the nice things. Because ultimately, they turn you into a condemned soul and you'll take others with you.

This is very serious stuff. Peter would recognize that Paul was very much in touch with the Lord. And years later, he writes to the Christians, Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him.

And here, one part of wisdom is the exercise of knowledge. And here, we see him spiritually discerning what is going on and knowing what to do. At this point in the book of Acts, the narrative will now change to make Paul the dominant character.

This is sort of like, this is where he spreads his wings. Prior to this, it's been Barnabas and Saul. But after this, it will concentrate on Paul. Verse 10, And said, and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? Well, for Paul to say this, he already decided he could take this guy. That's carnal.

There's nothing like that. I guess you're not there with me, but it's kind of funny. Anyhow, he's looking at him intently. As I said, this is the spiritual war stare, and then now he goes, he charges. Sergius Paulus is hearing this, and he is saying, I knew it. I knew this guy was a fraud. I love you, Paul. And he needed that confirmation.

He needed somebody to come in with something better. And may we not appease Satan's workers. We can be polite, but there's a big difference between appeasing, accommodating, making comfortable, leading one to assume that they are, what they have to say is tolerable to God when it is not. It is fine to say to someone, that is not what I believe. I categorically reject what you are saying. Have a nice day somewhere else. Does that sound harsh? The truth is harsh. And I don't know about the have a nice day part.

I would withhold that. But I would tell them, I disagree with you. And it infuriates. It's been my experience. This infuriates people who are not ready to repent.

They are very, who do you think you are? You're self righteous. And they start making accusations, and you just, you know. What Paul knows this man has nothing to offer.

He has nothing to salvage from what he believes in. A lot of seminaries have not learned this. They think it is somehow a mark of intelligence to find knowledge anywhere and bring it in and mix it in. You see we are an eclectic group. And it's leaven. The Bible calls it poison.

It is toxic. And we should be very clear about this. And we don't have to be, again, vicious.

Although sometimes we do have to get very firm as Paul is here. It is a matter of eternal life and eternal condemnation. And instead of telling Sergius the truth, Elimus, the false hearted, is suppressing the truth and offering up things that contradict the truth.

That are hostile towards us. This superstitious sorcery. Superstition means there's no basis for it. You just believe it.

But there's no proof. Throwing salt over your shoulder is not going to bring you good luck. But there are people that are very superstitious. Baseball. That beloved sport.

The king of all sports. To me. It's infested with superstition. Don't step on the line.

All the stupid little things. Anyway, I don't care if my speech is inflammatory, if it is truth. I'm not trying to cause a riot.

Paul caused riots all over the place. The speech was inflammatory by today's little, even in those days, else it wouldn't have been a riot. If you accuse me of being a homophobe, I would say, you're right.

You are correct. And I defy, I defy that somehow this is bad. I would add, you should be one too. If I'm a homophobe, you should be a homophobe. Because it is the right thing. It is righteous.

We live in this culture where you can't say that. I fear the damage that they do to everything they touch in the name of their sin. Everything they touch in the name of their sin, when they're struggling with it and hiding it and trying to get over it, that's one thing.

But when they're now advocates for this, when they're out in public with it, blatant, they are a big problem. I fear a lot of things. A lot of blatant and shameless sinners. I fear serial killers. I have a phobia towards them. Impenitent felons.

You know, they don't care that they're stealing and harming others. I fear drunk drivers. I'm not ashamed to say that. I fear those who undermine ministry, that will come into a church and steal a flock to their causes. I fear Christians who put the Old Testament ahead of the New Testament. They're always a problem. I fear people who don't use their turn signal. I just have one.

I think it was today too. Anyway, relatively fine drive. Only a few people on the road, one or two, and that's too many for me. But anyway, I fear those who believe in the devil, but have no fear of Jesus Christ. I'm afraid of people like that. They vote. They make decisions. They influence people. I fear the Kool-Aid drinking college students who hate what they are told to hate by nitwit professors who know nothing about what they're saying.

I have a fear of that. And you think about how, you know, our troops were treated coming back from Vietnam. Who taught them how to treat our troops that way? Where did that come from?

Mostly the universities. How would you have liked to have been a San Francisco policeman around Haight and Ashbury Street, appropriately named in some ways, where you just had all of these violent people, just like today, that hated our law enforcement, you know, putting pipe bombs in police stations and stuff like this. Yeah, I have a fear of those kind of people. And I don't care to conform to cultural views if they contradict the kingdom's views. I think that we should be able to say in the workplace when someone says, oh, you're homophobic? And yet I am. And I'm not ashamed of it.

That doesn't mean I'm trying to steal something from somebody. I would say this to the face of anyone, I'd like to think. I'd like to say the same thing, maybe to some of these politicians.

I'd like to say to them, oh, full of deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord when they're out there trying to say a woman's right to kill the unborn? I'm afraid of that. All right, that was my little section there.

Actually, it was a big one. So, verse 11. And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time. And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. It takes a special man in Christ to be entrusted with such ability. He just couldn't give this, he couldn't give it to me. I would head straight to the university with this power. I would be, you're the professor here, yes.

Go down to the next one, I'd be wiping people out. So, I'm just telling you, for God to say, Paul, you can handle this is impressive. I'm envious in a righteous way. But anyway, Paul himself was blinded by the Lord. But he repented. He owned his sin. This man does not, even Simon Magnus from chapter 8, at least he repented.

I don't want those things to happen to me, Peter. And it speaks of him practicing his magic in the past tense, which is a noble entry. So, with this alignment, why didn't he cry out and say, forgive me, especially when he was smitten blind, and that's what I meant. Here he is, pinned, and he won't tap. He's submitted, and he just continues to, you know, just have someone lead him by the hand.

He's doubly blind, spiritually and physically, for a while. Luke, when he put together the book of Acts, he made sure to show that everything Peter did, Paul did too, because this was a big deal. When Luke gets with Paul, he finds out how many Christians were rejecting his authority. He's our apostle.

I don't like that guy. And so Luke, he just tells it like it is. Peter dealt with the magician, Simon, and Paul deals with Ilimas. Peter, he is summoned by Gentiles, and Luke names them Cornelius, and Paul is too.

He is summoned by Sergius Paulus, who is named for us by Luke. Peter was visited by an angel, and Paul is visited by an angel. We'll get to that at the shipwreck in the latter chapter of Acts 27, where an angel then stood by his side. Peter healed the lame, and so did Paul. Peter raised someone from the dead, so did Paul.

Peter was miraculously released from prison, and so was Paul. And it continues, and so Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance in signs and wonders and mighty deeds, speaking about himself. He said, I am an apostle of Jesus Christ.

But because men did not pick him, folks resisted his authority. Verse 12, Then the proconsul believed, that is, Sergius Paulus, whose name is Paul, incidentally. It's the same name, Sergius Paul, it's a variation of Paul, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teachings of the Lord. So he is converted without being pacified, without the gospel being watered down. He was an educated man who was saved, and if this educated man can be saved, no educated man can claim they're too smart to be saved without looking the fool. As I mentioned, there are very much educated Christians.

John Lennox is one that's living today, highly educated in the sciences, and yet he's a full-out believer. He says, being astonished at the teachings of the Lord. The miracle was certainly there, but it was the teachings, the truth that set him free. There's no mention of water baptism, there's no mention of speaking in tongues.

Miracles apart from the word of God are a trap to dumb down the church. If you cannot handle God's word, what does that say about you as a Christian? Because the word of God is the voice of God.

And if you don't want to hear it, what does that mean? When Paul gave instructions to Timothy about how to organize the church, he said, choose faithful men, those who could sit under the word. And again, if you can't handle the word of God, then what does that mean? This man was hungry for the truth about God and man, and he received it. He was not jaded because Olympus was the fraud. He did not say, you know, all these religious people. I don't trust any of them.

I don't believe in any of it. We see that a lot. We see that a lot throughout human history and to this day.

This man, he had an opportunity to be saved, and in spite of the opposition, he was saved. 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 / 2023-01-23 06:11:33 / 2023-01-23 06:21:27 / 10

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