They came to hear the Word of God. The synagogue, the word means assembly. It's what the church does. The church assembles. Do not place the local church in second position to the universal church.
This is a common practice. Well, the church is everywhere, said by people who don't want, who don't plug into the local church. It is the local church that Christ preached in, the synagogues of his day. It is the local synagogue that Paul preached in.
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. And now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called To Hear the Word of God, beginning in Jeremiah chapter 33. Twice God spoke directly to the great prophet Jeremiah, who suffered probably more than any of the Old Testament prophets, repeatedly, for years, for decades. Twice in jail he speaks the word to this man. That tells Jeremiah that God is on the throne, that he is real, that he is in control. Twice he spoke to him, twice he left him in jail. Where's the omnipotence in that? Why is it that I'm still suffering, praying to you, you're still ministering to me, I still love your word? Because he is worthy. Jeremiah 33.1, Moreover, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah a second time while he was shut up in the court of the prison.
You see, if I could dictate terms, if I didn't want to be let down, I would say, okay, let me out of jail, then speak to me. But that's not how it is. And by consent, we who love the Lord love him because we hate lies. We hate lies about God. We hate lies about eternity.
We hate lies about the Bible. And the way we show it is that we take whatever is thrown our way, no matter what. Just because Satan gets away with murder doesn't undo the sovereignty of my God. He's far beyond all that. And in the end, he's going to beat the snot out of him.
Well, at least that's what I'm hoping for, and I want to see it too. Anyway, I stand in line for that one. God had the power to deliver the prophet from jail as he delivered Peter, but he did not. But Jeremiah served nonetheless, and so much did he serve that he wrote, if you put Jeremiah and the lamentation of Jeremiah together, you have the longest book in the Bible. Well, the Psalms is not a compilation. It is not just one Psalm.
There's 150 of them. They had something to sing about. I guess we should ask ourselves as Christians, do we have something to sing about in the faith? In fact, the word of God is so powerful, the longest Psalm, 119, is singing about God's word to man. That God would even speak to you is worth singing about. And David got that. He was able to articulate that more than anyone in the Old Testament. Verse 43, I forgot we're in the book of Acts. I was having a good time. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
So after service, the service is over now. People are out in the chariot lot, whatever they were driving. The devout proselytes were Gentiles fully converted to Judaism. They had become, you know, converted to Judaism.
Gentiles that were fed up with, again, the irrational and irrelevant gods of the cities that they lived in. If it's not made in heaven, had nothing to do with it. When it comes to faith, when it comes to what thus says the Lord, if it's not from the throne of God and have stamped on it, made in heaven, leave it alone. Who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. To continue. Well that would be a meaningless encouragement unless there was the risk of not continuing. Because we all know, someone who started in the faith, and they have not continued. Romans chapter 11 verse 22, therefore consider the goodness and the severity of God.
You like that? God can either clunk you upside your head if that's what it comes to, or he can just embrace you. It's your choice.
It's not arbitrary. It's not like, today I'm just in a bad mood as God. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God on those who fell severely, but toward you.
Goodness. He says this, if you continue in his goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off. Those who follow the Calvinistic religion, they hem and haw over that, try to tell you it doesn't mean what it says. Because they have to uphold their man-made religion. Too bad Jesus and Paul and Peter didn't have Calvinism.
Anyway, I'm going to hit that again before we're out of here this morning, because it needs to be hit. And you really can't win an argument with them, they're too arrogant. They think that you're not analytical, you're not intelligent enough, that you can't see the king's clothes.
Even though he's naked. Verse 44. On the next Sabbath, the whole city came together to hear the word of God. Now, it's not a little hyperbole, it's an expression because Antioch is a sizable city, and you couldn't fit the whole city in the synagogue.
It wasn't a stadium. But of those who were interested, amongst the Gentiles especially, and this is what stirs up the envy of the Jews, and we've never had a full sanctuary like this before. All these Gentiles are coming in. They didn't care for that.
They didn't care that whatever it was that they were doing was not drawing such attention. So we're a week later, a week after the sermon of Paul, they come to hear the word of God. That's what it says in verse 44, and the place was packed.
No mention of music, no mention of tongues, or programs for my teens. They came to hear the word of God. The synagogue, the word means assembly. It's what the church does. The church assembles. Do not place the local church in second position to the universal church.
This is a common practice. Well, the church is everywhere, said by people who don't plug into the local church. It is the local church that Christ preached in, the synagogues of his day. It is the local synagogue that Paul preached in. It was the local church that Paul rented to use for the church the place of Tyrannus. We'll get to that later in Acts where he rented a facility so he could have a local church.
Learn to fight for the local church instead of a flight from the local church. Satan hates it. He hates that we have a local place to gather to hear the word of God.
And he does whatever he can do to upset that. There's little criticisms, a little whisper here, a gossip there, I don't like this and I don't like that. You'll notice at the pews there's no suggestion box. And that's not a bad thing.
It's not an insult. Anyway, back to this, they were not there to read the best-selling Christian book. They were not there to hear about politics, though political things come up sometimes. They were not there to get rich by putting more money in the offering plate. They were there to hear the truth whether it convicted or not.
They were there to hear the truth. And what was supposed to be a day of rest, the Sabbath was going to be a day of unrest. Jesus said, do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth.
I did not come to bring peace but a sword. You're going to upset people. When you tell them, you know, what group do you belong to? Do you know that sin? Do you know that that group is against God and the scripture? That causes trouble with people, especially some who think that they're devout Christians.
And they belong to groups that they don't need to be with. Jesus condemned the rabbi's teachings of his days when those teachings went without the word of God. And so we hear him say, you have heard it said, but I say to you, you have heard it said that you shall hate your enemies and love your neighbor, but I say to you, Jesus went on to say that the scripture might be fulfilled. This is how he did business preaching the word of God, his constant reference to the word, and he delighted quoting it. Luke chapter 24 verse 27, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scripture the things concerning himself. Luke 24, 44, and 45. Then he said to them, these are the words which I spoke to you.
You get that? These are the words I spoke to you. That's the word of God to you. He continues, while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me. I love this stuff.
After all these years, after all the let downs and setbacks and disappointments, I love this stuff, and I don't plan to stop. When someone doesn't agree with me, I pray that they won't be so stupid. No, I'm kidding. Some of you didn't think that was funny. Anyway, back to this, and he opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures.
What? You mean I don't have enough on my own to know what's being, you don't. You come to Christ, you come as a pauper. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You are a pauper, spiritually. You don't know anything when it comes to God until God comes to you. The phrase in the Greek, we say born again, and that's proper, but it also can be equally translated born from above, made in heaven, touched by God. It's not enough to think you're smart enough to understand, without the Holy Spirit, you can't do it. Jesus said, without me, you can do nothing of yourselves. To the point to me, again, Luke 24. Again, Luke 24 is Christ risen now, and this is what he has to say to his disciples. Thus it is written, there he goes again. He's off with the scripture stuff again. Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day. If the church is not preaching the word of God, she's not doing her duty.
She's derelict. From the temptation in the wilderness to his death on the cross, constantly quoting scriptures unapologetically with zeal for his father's house. Now, I can't offer that much zeal, but I can muster up more than I would have had I made no effort. It does matter.
It does count. Verse 45, and when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. There's better things to be filled with than envy. And there's a good envy. You know, boy, you know, you got to raise. I envy that. I got to raise.
Good for you. Then there's that mean envy. Like, I hate you for getting off better things than I have. That's the one that Satan wants to use. Isaiah said to the Jews in their scripture this about Jesus Christ as Messiah. Isaiah 53, verse 2, when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
That's the world. That's not just the Jewish people that rejected their Messiah, and blasphemed and contradicted as we read here in verse 45. That's every lost soul.
When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. You know the born-again Christians opposite of that. We love the Lord.
We can't wait to see him. And don't let hardship in life and losses in life steal from you that passion, that zeal. Go back to your roots in Christianity from time to time. Joshua built memorials everywhere. Yeah, put some stones over there. We're going to remember what God did here.
We should do the same thing. Here they are in the synagogue contradicting their own scripture. They could not refute Paul, so they blasphemed their own Messiah. What did they gain by that?
And they became killers, hunting him down. What more could Jesus have done? What more could the apostles have done to reach these people? Nothing.
They did all that they could. The first Christians were rejected by the Jerusalem Jews, and then the Jews of the diaspora, those dispersed throughout the Gentile world. And now we have Christians who are rejected by Gentiles wherever they go. Whatever. It's not like, well, the Jews were worse than the Gentiles.
No, they're all the same. Rather than psychoanalyze them, Paul and Barnabas are going to shake the dust off their feet and say, all right, fine. Choose your own fate. Verse 46.
Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, and you've got to love that. They're going to stand up to these guys. Fine. You don't believe. We're not going to appease you. We're not going to change our doctrine to make you comfortable. This is the truth. We can't change truth.
We want you to like it. We're not trying to hurt your feelings. If the truth hurts, then do something about it. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first.
There it is again. The word of God. What an emphasis scripture puts on the Bible, and yet so many churches and Christians refuse to do it. Get quite indignant about it. The word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you rejected it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
What is that? Judge yourselves unworthy? That shoots down Calvinism. I thought you didn't have a free will. That's not how it's given to us, and for those of you who don't know what Calvinism is, it's a system of teaching attached to a man who really promoted this teaching that essentially says, now, they won't admit this until you corner them. You are damned for all eternity because you have been damned from all eternity.
You've got nothing to say about it. You're going to be saved against your will, whether you like it or not, or you'll be damned to hell against your will, whether you like it or not. That is Calvinism.
And when it comes to scripture verses, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, they take that world to mean, oh, no, it's just the elected ones, the ones that haven't been damned. Where do they get this stuff from? Well, I'll tell you.
You're not going to learn this anywhere else. They have this big top hat, and there's a rabbit in there, and there's doctrine, and you can just pull it out like magic. These are smart.
These are intelligent, good people relative to everything else. But when it comes to this, they have gulped a Kool-Aid, and they lockstep, and maybe you resent hearing me say it. That's not my problem. I'm not changing my doctrine to make anybody feel comfortable.
It's just a fact. And it's sad to see them spend so much time trying to tell you a verse doesn't mean what it says if you continue in the face. You know why they tell you that if you are truly saved, you can't be lost? Because God picked you, and if God picked you, he can't make a mistake, so there's no way you can go. Well, I've got some more to say about it.
I'll give it a sort of, I'll ration it out so you're not overwhelmed, and then try to turn on me, which is your prerogative, of course. Anyway, Jesus said this. You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me. And here the Jews are saying to him, we don't want to hear it. But that's what they talk about, the scriptures. They talk about him.
Nobody else fulfilled this. Undeterred, we get to chapter 17. Then Paul, as his custom was, went into them for three Sabbaths, reasoned with them from the scriptures. He still goes to the synagogues. He doesn't say, oh, that didn't work.
Oh, we got stoned over there. He still goes at them. How admirable. But since you rejected, verse 46, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. God has not excluded the Jewish people from accepting Jesus Christ. Those Jews who don't want to accept it have excluded themselves. There's no mandate from God that I'm going to the Gentiles only and nobody else can come.
Not at all. When a person rejects Christ, it's not because they're Jew or Gentile. It's because they made the wrong choice. Verse 47, which, again, the Calvinists say you don't have free will when it comes to this.
So what's a free will offering about? Why does the Bible put some emphasis on that? I mean, these things are just a disconnect. Men that I admire, many of them, follow this stuff. And I think it's, you know, Oh, we like sheep go astray. And not to the point of condemnation. I don't believe that that will send you to hell. I just think you're way wrong.
Way wrong. Verse 47, For so the Lord has commanded us, I have set you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be for salvation of the ends of the earth. That was the assignment of the Jews. Incidentally, if God selects who goes to heaven and who doesn't, preaching is pointless.
Why bother? I mean, it's already been decided. It's a fatalistic view. And they're going to hem and haw and say, That's not what it means. Oh no, that's what it means.
I'm just cutting through the frills, getting to the point. Anyway, Paul, he saw the fulfillment of Isaiah 42 and 49, which is about Messiah being the salvation of the Jews and the Gentiles also. Isaiah 49, verse 6. He's speaking about his servant to come, Messiah, who is his son. I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth.
This is profound. God wanted Israel to share their scriptures, which recorded the experiences between God's people and God. For example, Genesis 12. I will bless those who bless you. I will curse him who curses you. He's speaking to Abraham. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. And that is because of the Messiah. He never truly learned how to invite the outsider in, always majoring in the minor points of scripture. Jesus said it this way, blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. Their priorities are twisted.
We've got to get out of here. Well, this is what it takes. Jesus said to his disciples, could you not watch with me one hour? And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Well, they lit up with joy hearing that the God of the Jews could be the God of the Gentiles, too, as Gentiles. And I said, well, you've got to become Jewish first. No, you can belong to him. You come to the Messiah of the Jew.
He is the Christ of the Gentile, their Savior. And we can hear them. Thank you, Lord. Thank you. You can hear when Paul's preaching.
They're like, man, this is what I've been waiting for. Thank you. As many as had been appointed to eternal life. Appointed, not for appointed. How do you get appointed to anything? Well, there's usually some consideration. Would you just appoint anybody to drive you home? You might appoint me to drive you home if you want to get there fast. But would you just appoint anybody? No, you wouldn't go back to the kids' ministry and say, hey, you, can you reach the gas pedal? They don't get appointed to that.
There's some thinking that goes involved. And verse 46, where they reject it, doesn't say they're for appointed or unelected. No, they rejected the gospel.
The accurate translation of that word, appointed, is enrolled, free will. You know, I wrestled with the Lord. Lord, how hard do I hit this Calvinism?
Hard as you can, Rick. No, he didn't say that. He didn't.
He got some other hits first, parting shots. If God appointed them to be saved just because and then damned the others in verse 46 just because, then again, preaching is pointless. This is what your Bible says. And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him who hears say, come. And let him who thirsts, come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
D.L. Moody put it this way. The elect are whoever wills. The non-elect are the whosoever wants. So simple and to the point. Well, of course, the Brainiac Christians think they know better than Moody.
They weren't saving tons of people like Moody was. Anyway, just suffice it to say, I am right. And if you're a Calvinist, you are wrong and you should change teams.
Now, there will be some in radio land that will, they'll be turning over in their seat listening to this. Oh, I still love you as a Calvinist. Oh, come on. All right, that's 49.
Let's finish this up. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. Well, when the synagogues rejected Jesus, the Gentiles began, they were on fire. And some of these that were believers were Jews. It tells us right out that there were Jews, many Jews that also believed. It's not like none of the Jews believed. There were unbelieving Jews and there are believing Jews. There are unbelieving Gentiles, there are believing ones also.
The passion for Christ creates a desire to preach Christ, to share him that God saves a sinner who repents. Verse 50, but the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their region. Well, the Gentiles, spreading the joy shared by their Jewish teachers, many of the Jews, killing the joy shared by their Jewish brothers.
Life's messed up that way. I've got references here, but we've got to finish this. Verse 51, but they shook off the dust from their feet against them and came to Iconium, following the Lord's instructions. Matthew chapter 10, when they persecute you in this city, flee to another, for assuredly I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. And just suffice it to say, Jesus said, don't stand there and argue with them. You cast pearl before swine, they're going to trample you. We have no philosophy as Christians to deliver.
We have an ultimatum, and that's what it is. Unless you repent, you will likewise perish. Verse 52, and the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. The Jews were able to drive the servants of God out of their city, but they could not drive the Holy Spirit out of the heart.
And that should be the way it is with anyone. 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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