Exhausted, but still in pursuit.
Why? Because it's worth it. God is worth it. We must be careful not to mix carnality into our determination. You know, one of the things about sports and the Christian, the Christian has to watch that they're not getting into the flesh and their ambitions to win. And it is that way in serving and preaching the gospel, you can get in the flesh very quickly and someone just becomes your objective instead of being led by the spirit.
And then we usually make a mess of things when we take that approach. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel in 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts chapter 14 as he begins his message, Be Determined. We are in the Book of Acts verses 19 and 20 and I'll help you with that. But we will consider verses 8 through 20. Acts chapter 14 verses 19 and 20. The Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city.
And the next day, he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Be Determined, that's the title of this consideration. A determination that is unwilling to fail and willing to suffer in order to achieve its objective. This determination of Paul and Barnabas was a rugged determination, willing to take beatings, and in this case, being stoned and then considered just a humiliation of then being dragged out of the city because they felt what they had to say was worth it. This kind of determination is born of the Spirit. There are other determinations.
There is a sloppy determination that is just stubbornness, that is determined to do what it should not do, even if it knows it is wrong. There is the merely heroic determination, which the world offers, and it is heroic nonetheless, quite noble, but by itself, it's not enough to bring God's blessings. It's not enough to please God. Then there is a satanic determination that is bent on harming others, unprovoked, without justification. And so as we consider being determined, we want to filter out some of the false determinations or less worthy determinations in connection to this drive in the Spirit to bring the Gospel to people who never heard of Jesus Christ. It is best to go through life, I think, with having something that excites a determination that comes from the Spirit of God, especially you youth. I mean, what is life like if you really aren't determined to achieve something that pleases God? Joshua, when he was going to attack the enemies of God's people, we read in chapter 10 of Joshua that Joshua, therefore, came upon them suddenly.
Now here's the determination. Having marched all night from Gilgal, he was determined to capitalize on this opportunity to strike a heavy hit into the enemy's plans and fortifications, and he succeeded. It is in that chapter that he asked the Lord to help, and the Son did stand still. And then there's Gideon. Gideon was after two kings that were enemies and oppressors of God's people. And it says, when Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the 300 men who were with him crossed over, and here comes the determination. Exhausted, but still in pursuit.
You stick around Christianity long enough, you really begin to live some of that more often than you would care to. Exhausted, but still in pursuit. Why? Because it's worth it. God is worth it. We must be careful not to mix carnality into our determination. You know, one of the things about sports and the Christian, the Christian has to watch that they're not getting into the flesh and their ambitions to win. And it is that way in serving, in preaching the gospel, you can get in the flesh very quickly, and someone just becomes your objective instead of being led by the Spirit, and then we usually make a mess of things when we take that approach. I have come to the conclusion, and I hope it is the conclusion, that this life is dumb. But, and this is important, even though it is dumb, it is not pointless. It is cursed, but God has His purposes in the curse, and I have to learn to face these things in a way that will please Him nonetheless.
And that's what we're reading about. It's so stupid to crucify the Christ. What did He do to merit this? He stood up to you, He disagreed with you, He did righteous things, He preached truth.
It's so dumb. But from God's perspective, that death was not pointless, and I share that perspective, and so do you who believe. Before us, in this section, there are two determinations that come to the front. One to preach the message of God. One to stop the preaching of the methods of God. One used reason and messianic prophecy that was fulfilled. Not all of it, but what He preached.
This is the Messiah that the Scriptures spoke about from long ago. The other used sticks and stones. They will break your bones, but will they break your faith? They didn't with Paul, and they didn't with Barnabas who saw this, and it didn't with Timothy's grandmother and mother who saw this and still let Timothy go with Paul later. Not that they could have stopped him, he was man enough, but they could have protested, and they did not.
No record of that, quite the opposite. So, in this determination to serve the Lord, be ready for the sticks and stones. Have your response already prepared. That I will not fail in my faith because I get hurt, because so many things in this life are so silly, so foolish in a violent way, and yet they're not pointless.
I can make them pointless, I can become an apostate, or I can stick to it. Let's now look at verse 8. And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting a cripple from his mother's womb who had never walked. In Lystra. They do speak a different language there, that would be some of the confusion Paul and Barnabas have to deal with, but let's track their ministry. They leave Antioch in what is modern day Syria.
They travel by sea to Cyprus, then they travel by sea to Antalya, they begin their walk to Pergara, Antioch, Pisidia, in modern Turkey, Iconium, here in Lystra, then on to Derby after the stoning, that's a 650 mile thereabout trek, and then back. In between each of these places, you hear these places, Cyprus, Antalya, it may mean nothing to you, but they're ministering in each place. In many of these places, they were establishing churches. And when they established these churches, you would say that's wonderful, except that when they made their trek back to Antioch in Syria, there were others from the synagogues that came behind them to undo their work. This still happens in Christianity. Christ will lead you somewhere, and Satan will send somebody to undo that. And if you're naive enough, you will be suckered.
If you are on your guard, you will detect it. And this apostle Paul and Barnabas get back, and they tell everybody how the Gentiles received Christ, and then Paul has to write that dreaded letter to the Galatian region. Who has bewitched you? You began in the Spirit, now you're in the flesh. You heard us speak when you saw the miracles, you loved us. You would have taken your eyes out from me. But somebody came along, and he whispered in your ear, and they seduced you away from the things that Christ was doing to you.
And what did you get in return? What did these people bring to the table that was so glorious? Paul was so irate with what was going on there. He said they want to preach circumcision, let them be castrated.
That's pretty tough stuff. If I said something like that, you might want to come to me after service and say, well, don't you think that was a little harsh, and I'd be taking off my belt. There's a righteous indignation. There is a determination to preach the trial. Look, we have every responsibility to share the gospel when we can, and we have every responsibility to uphold it against lies when we can. And many Christians think they just want to tell the gospel.
They don't want to tell somebody, you know what? What you just said is not only not found in the Bible, but the Bible rebukes that, coming to God so you can be rich with money. I'd rather be rich in the Spirit than anything else. Thank you that I have people that agree with that. You would think all Christians would say amen to that. Well, there are many that profess Christ that aren't too quick to say that. Well, apparently they remained in Lystra for some time, establishing this church that the Galatian letter will be addressed to, in that region. And we know that because it would take time for the instigators to travel from Antioch in Turkey some 80 miles, arrive at Iconium, these two places they were chased out of Paul and Barnabas, gather some more sympathizers, and then catch up with them at Lystra. So now we know that when they started the church there in Lystra, they spent time establishing the church.
And aren't we glad about that? Because that's what it takes. You can't just preach Christ and everybody becomes Christian, and you just walk on and leave them like that. Discipleship is invaluable. There must be discipleship.
So this time allowed for the troublemakers to hear what was going on and to formulate a posse to come hunt down these two believers. They will be responsible for the stoning of Paul. Acts 16, Timothy, he is a resident of Lystra.
He's going to witness these things. And it will not chase them from Christ. Remember those Thessalonian Christians? When Paul and Silas arrived in Thessalonica, what did they have on their back?
The cane marks from Philippi. And those Thessalonians did not say, well, if following Christ gets you a beating like that, I'll have none, quite the opposite. They received Christ and they were very excited about Christ. And the two letters to the Thessalonians says, these are model Christians in a cursed world. In verse 8, a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting a cripple from his mother's womb who had never walked. This is a threefold insistence that emphasizes this man was messed up physically. I mean, consider it, without strength in his feet, sitting a cripple from his mother's womb had never walked. Why couldn't he just say he'd been crippled all his life? Well, he wants to emphasize. The Holy Spirit wants to say, listen, this man's case is severe.
With him, it was, you know, he was not able to walk. With others, it's some, maybe they can't see. Maybe there are the digestive problems. Maybe there is this.
Maybe there, you just fill in the blanks. Maybe there's poverty. Maybe there's resentment. Whatever messed up situation we are faced with in this life, Christ is not oblivious to it. He just doesn't jump when we snap. But he expects us to. And being God, being God the Son, he has every right to have that expectation, and we have every opportunity to trust that he knows what he's doing and that if that's what he wants, it is the best thing to do. We call it walking by faith. In verse 9, this man heard Paul speaking, Paul observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed. So here's Paul preaching, and the Spirit points out to Paul that this man looking up at him, he must have been just sort of glowing. Either way, the Holy Spirit has to give Paul this discernment that the man has faith to be healed.
One of the proofs of that that I would submit is that try it yourself. Go somewhere where there are people who are physically handicapped and look at them and say, oh, I can see you've got the faith to be healed. This is an act of God. And as I mentioned in earlier sessions, Paul had matured enough in Christ to realize that he was no longer a promoter of Jesus Christ.
He was an instrument of Jesus Christ. So much more profound. There's so much more than just repeating the message. They'll encounter that in a demon-possessed girl, and they get to Philippi. She says, oh, these are the ones that bring us the way of salvation. And Paul got a little irritated with that. He figured it out. You know what? She is poisoning the message, an unauthorized deliverer of the truth. That's what Satan is. Satan will tell the truth sometimes.
That's the problem. The rest of the time, he's sure not to. Anyway, in verse 10, Paul said to him with a loud voice, stand up, straight on your feet, and he leaped and walked. Well, he says with a loud voice, not because the man is deaf, too, but to draw everyone's attention to it. Maybe the man was sitting a little further back, but he wants everybody to know what's happening. And he says, stand up, straight on your feet. God's been telling me that every morning. What a wonderful imperative to lay on someone if they can do it, right?
Stand up, straight on your feet. What will be this man who leaps and walks at the healing of Paul, who all of his life, certainly his limbs were atrophied, that was overcome through God? There's no scientific explanation. It is a miracle.
A miracle is something that defies explanation according to science, that study of creation. Well, what is this man's reaction going to be when he sees Paul stoned, when he sees Paul harmed for Christ? I think this man is going to double down in his faith because it seems to be a pattern that's established in the ancient church. The church really doesn't get messed up until people start coming and whispering, deceiving the Gnostics with their, ooh, you want deeper knowledge?
I'll give you some deeper knowledge, and then I'll get mercy afterwards. You know, that's not right. That's why I did it, because I would never think like that. Verse 11, okay, just stop here.
Who would not want to shoot the devil dead? I mean, to us, that's the quick solution, and God doesn't take that route. My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.
And when we submit to that, we're better off, because if we don't, we become bitter. Why doesn't God? Not a good question many times. Verse 11, Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lyconian language, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men. Well, those who believe this baseless religion, gods with no, you know, why do you believe that in these gods, Zeus and Hermes, what evidence do you have? Well, we don't have anything. We just have this lore, this story, this folklore.
That's all. One of the lores that Norris got Thor, when he discovered he had power, according to the mythology, he rides through the earth, throwing down lightning bolts wherever he goes. He does this all day, all night, throughout the globe, and he arrives backward from where he started, and he cries out, I am Thor! And his horse turned and looked at him and said, Next time use a saddle, silly. Don't be a Thor loser. Okay, if you didn't care for that, that's Pastor Chuck Smith's joke. Not mine, but I, if you laughed harder, I would not have told you whose joke it was.
I just claimed it for myself. Anyway, the Jews had only the one true God, and they were unwilling to believe that God would manifest himself in human form. They had precedence for this in the Old Testament. Here are these pagans, and they believe that a prerogative of divinity was that if they wanted to show up in human form, they could. Well, Christ, God the Son, came as a human.
The incarnation of Christ. And because there are so many false gods, it does not mean that there can't be one absolutely true God. Nor is there salvation in any other name.
Well, there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. There are absolutes, and the world doesn't want to hear that, because that takes away from them human right to create gods. Man is created in God's image. Man is not allowed to create gods in his own image. And all the fake gods of the world are just that, created in the image of men. The psalmist said, Those who make them are like them.
Psalm 115. Well, anyway, there's a legend attached to Lystra that in their mythology, the gods came to visit Lystra. They were not recognized, nor were they treated well, and so they flooded the city and killed the people, except for one couple who did receive them. And therefore, when they suppose that Paul and Barnabas are Hermes and Zeus, they're not going to make that same mistake and not recognize their gods.
You see how everything's all convoluted, tangled, twisted up? And it is up to the Christian to try to straighten some of that out if we can have enough of a relationship to have enough of a dialogue. In verse 12, In Barnabas they called Zeus and Paul Hermes because he was the chief speaker. Verse 13, Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. They assigned the wrong god to what they were impressed by. They saw a miracle. They knew this wasn't man. But they assigned the wrong god.
And this still happens. Do not people call nature Mother Nature? There's no such thing as Mother Nature. Where'd you get that? We're beat up on global warming in a second.
I'm just getting warmed up. Yeah, dad jokes in the pulpit. Anyway, Hermes, of course, was the Greek deity that was said to deliver the messages of the gods, and Zeus was the chief god. And really, who cares? They're fictitious.
They don't exist except in the imagination of men. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in amongst the multitude, crying out. This was a satanic attempt to integrate the Christian faith. You know, just, hey, we're going to applaud you. We're going to worship you.
And, you know, this is what we're going to sacrifice to you. This is what we do in our religion. So how about have some of that in your Christian religion, too? The people didn't process it that way. Satan did. What would have happened if Paul and Barnabas said nothing?
Word got around. When Christ, well, when John tried to worship the angel in the Revelation, the angel said, stop doing that. And Peter, likewise, when Cornelius fell down at Peter said, don't do that.
I'm a man just like you. When Christ was worshiped, there was no objection because he's worthy. Well, these men, they know they're not worthy. Now it says that the apostles, we covered this also, there are apostles of the church and there are apostles of Jesus Christ. You can be both, but only 13 men have been the apostles of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ personally assigned them apostolic authority. Matthias is kind of a wild card. The apostles appointed Matthias and Christ did not protest.
It just would have done more damage. Here's an example from Scripture, 2 Corinthians 8. Paul writes, if anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you, or if our brethren are inquired about, they are apostles of the churches, the glory of Christ. So there, it's translated messengers, but in the Greek, it is this identical Greek word, apostles, as we would translate it into the English. And so again, there are apostles, it means to be sent out, and one is sent out with full authority of Christ, as authority of Christ, and gives us our scriptures. Everyone who contributed to the New Testament was either an apostle or under the watchful eyes of the apostles. The apostles could have protested the letter of James if they found it to be out of line with Christ. And so these men are sent out. They're both apostles from the church at Antioch in Syria at the time.
Modern day, it's in Turkey also. Anyway, the seriousness of this mob or this crowd's sin is evidenced by the passionate refusal to be worshipped. I mean, you can see the emotion. Paul and Barnabas, there's no way, you know, putting down this worship, that's not going to sit well. It will be accepted, but it will provide the framework for the troublemakers from Antioch, Pisidia, and Iconium. When they come, this same crowd is going to be switched, the fickleness of people, right? One minute you're trying to worship me, the next minute you're trying to ring my neck.
And that's what we're going to see that's happening here. 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. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-03 06:23:49 / 2023-02-03 06:33:32 / 10