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Do your Job (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2023 6:00 am

Do your Job (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 7, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


What stops you from serving, as I think every Christian should ask this question. What stops us from doing our job? What stops us from getting it done?

Nonetheless, maybe you're more aggressive. Saving souls from lies and errors about God with truth, that is evangelism. The Book of Acts, chapter 14, beginning in verse 21. When they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. So when they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Antalya. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them and that he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

Very rich, rich. Just how many places they were traveling, how much was going on strengthening converts, and I hope that the importance of that is not missed. Jesus said, Go, therefore make disciples of the nations.

And we're seeing that in action here. They're going outside of Israel. They're reaching Gentiles and Jews alike. Humans carry God's message to humans.

That's how God has arranged it. Humans tell God's side of the story. And humans influence humans to be Christ-like. Of course, these are humans that are born again and hopefully full of the Spirit. We go right to verse 21, and when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. Sometimes I'll put an emphasis on a part of a scripture so that I won't have to make so many comments on it and take away from other parts, but they made many disciples.

Fresh from the stoning, we are about 46, 47 A.D. after the birth of Christ. And here, when he had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, he returned to Lystra. He preached in Derbe because he was stoned in Lystra. He went back into the city. He then goes to Derbe. He and Barnabas.

They now come back to the city from where they were stoned. Discouragement is a predator. I know how to deal with that beast. I do my job. That is the final response to discouragement. I'm going to do my job. For me, I am to be in this pulpit Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, and I am to be ready to be in this pulpit.

Discouraged or not, I'm going to do my job. And hell hates this when you do this, when I do this, when the believer does not allow that predator to sink its fangs into them. Here, Paul and Barnabas were not discouraged simply because there was a stoning.

This is incredible. And this is almost, if I can say it that way, the Holy Spirit boasting of his ability to get us to overcome things that hurt, whether it is on the outside or the inside. If you don't have God's side of the story, then you only have Satan's side of the story.

And we should not stand for that. Barnabas and Paul did not stand for that. So again, they come back to Lystra, the place where he was stoned, and they preached God's side of creation and God's side of life. Discouraged or not, they overcame it. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, that is Derby and then coming to these other cities here. So once again, I want to emphasize this stoning did not stop them from preaching. What stops you from serving?

As I think every Christian should ask this question. What stops us from doing our job? What stops us from getting it done? And when we identify those things, I think it is up to us to attack them in some form. Maybe you have a passive way of life and you do it that way, but get it done nonetheless.

Maybe you're more aggressive. Saving souls from lies and errors about God with truth. That is evangelism. And it does not happen magically.

It takes people with faith, fortitude, which is the outcome of faith. Stoning did not stop converts from believing either. Because when they came to Lystra, they made even more converts. They preached again. They didn't say to Paul, you know, you were stoned here for telling us about Christ. We don't want to hear it.

You might get us stoned this time. We have to live in this city. You're going to go back to Antioch.

We're here. But that's not what happened. They preached. They converted souls. And then they followed up with discipleship. It's not enough to see someone saved.

Then what happens? If you leave them in an immature state, they are in jeopardy of falling away from the faith. Paul is going to tell them that we go through hardships and that you should continue in the faith. So to develop converts into servants, it requires human discipleship governed by God. Substandard teachings lead to substandard churchgoers. Satan loves that idea.

Well, what are you going to do about it? It always comes back to us. We're always to take heed and made many disciples, it tells us here in verse 21. Converts that do not become disciples, again, are in serious jeopardy. Here in Derby, when they were there, we know that Gaius was, a man named Gaius became a believer.

We know Timothy is here in Lystra. He becomes a believer. We have to remember that we cannot do spiritual work without spiritual power. And I think along with that is why should we get any of the spiritual power? Especially if we're not listening to God. Especially if we're not applying our faith. If you are in any trade or any profession, do you expect to excel in that trade or profession? If you do not apply it, you know, use it or lose it.

Skill is perishable. And the same in the spiritual world. If we're not in the Word, if we're not in prayer, if we're not in fellowship, if we're not walking in agreement with the Lord, then where are we?

What is the alternative? Spiritual empowerment is not automatic and many times it calls for pain. Matthew chapter 17 is when Jesus had taken three of his disciples up on the mount to be transfigured before them. And while he was away, the devil was doing his dirt down in the valley with the other disciples. When Jesus arrives and he casts out a demon that the disciples could not cast out, they were troubled by that. And they asked him, why could we not cast him out? Quote unquote.

His response is in Matthew 17 21. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. You have to do something to be spiritually strong.

It's not just automatic. It's not enough to just believe. There's work involved. And I think it is good advice to tell Christians, do your job. You want to overcome discouragement? Do your job.

Don't allow your feelings to dictate anything to you. The facts, the faith, and then come the feelings. They returned to Lystra. As I've been saying quite a bit already this morning, that's where Paul was stoned. The Holy Spirit now leads them to double back because it was necessary. So they had come to Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, and Lystra, chased out of all three of those. They go to Derby.

That would be the extent of their mission outreach. And then the Holy Spirit leads them to go back to all of those places where they had made converts because it was necessary. At Lystra, Paul had gone through Stephen's experience. Remember they stoned Stephen and Paul was a part of that. Paul infused these new churches with courage when he stood in their midst teaching. They knew about the bruises on his body, the death threats, the resistance, the discouragement.

They knew that those marks on his body were the marks of the Lord at Iconium and Antioch. There were shorter paths home and there were less dangerous ways to get back to Antioch in Syria. And they did not take those paths, purposely taking the most dangerous and longer way back because it was essential that they strengthen the new converts, turn them into believers. And they didn't have a lot of time.

That's going to be very important for us when we get to it in a minute. But undeterred in these three cities were those who tried killing them for preaching Christ. Verse 22, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. David said, you know, a thousand may fall up my right, ten thousand up my left, it shall not come near me. You see how he dealt with that? He couldn't account for everybody else falling. But he knew about himself.

He knew that he would not fall. Satan hates when we are strengthened, whether we are strengthened by others or we draw close to the Lord to strengthen ourselves. This type of strengthening that Paul is giving them, strengthening the souls of the disciples, is to prepare them, not so much for life, but for life in Christ. Because unbelievers can be prepared for life, but it takes a man like Paul and Barnabas to come and strengthen them to believe. It is easier to drag someone down than to pull them up.

That's why the critic just gets away with being a critic lifelong. David, as I mentioned, encouraged himself, 1 Samuel 30. This is when they wanted to stone David for a disaster that happened under his leadership. How many Christians want to stone the pastor with their tongues, with their criticisms, because of something under his leadership? Now David was greatly distressed for the people spoke of stoning him because the soul of the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.

But David strengthened himself in Yahweh, his God. Yeah, the temptation after the years roll by is, why bother? They're going to do what they're going to do anyway. You can preach to your blue in the face, they're going to do what they're going to do. That kind of fatalistic attitude does not deserve any air time in the heart of the believer.

We are accountable for what we know, and we are to do our job. It says here that he encouraged them. They took encouragement from this man. Acts 20 in verse 2 will read, Now when they had gone over the region and encouraged them with many words, my point of referencing Acts 20 is Paul was wont to do this. He loved encouraging people, but they weren't wasted encouragements. They weren't encouragements from someone who didn't know what he was talking about. These were encouragements from a man who lived things that he preached. They, Paul and Barnabas, exhorted the new Gentile converts and the Jewish converts to make their life commitment to Christ and to stay there with it. It was not supposed to be a temporary stop in life, but permanent for all eternity, even in a hostile anti-Christian culture, which these were, these three cities, Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, and Lystra. They were anti-Christ cultures there.

Again, it is easier to take exhortations from one whose life exhibits the principles they claim to uphold. What is the opposite of encouragement? Well, obviously everyone knows that answer. It is discouragement, pessimists, and critics.

Critics will just, they're like snipers, just picking off encouragement from a distance. Twelve men were sent up from the desert of Moab into the land promised by God. Ten of them were pessimists. Ten of them, the ten pessimists, died in the desert of Moab. The other two, the two men of vision, the two men of purpose, they lived to heroically advance the will of God.

To this day, we name our children after those two men, Caleb and Joshua. It is worth not being a pessimist. It is worth not being a critic. It is worth doubling down when you know you're right. If someone comes to me and says, Pastor, I think you're wrong.

This is what I believe. If I really believe that person is wrong, I double down. I don't care. I don't care if you stop liking me. I don't care if you talk bad about me. I don't care. I'm going to stick by what I believe is right.

I'm going to double down. Paul said we did not yield to them for one hour. They were wrong and we weren't going to give them a little bit. We weren't going to say, well, you know, you got a good point there when there was no good point. A lot of people can't handle that.

They want you to give them some credit for a wrong opinion or one that you disagree with. I don't say that you have to be nasty in doing these things, but I do believe we need to be firm. Then there is not only discouragement, the opposite antithesis of encouragement, but this false encouragement. And we all have to be careful of this.

I'm sure we've all been guilty of this at one point or another. This error lies in speech without the Spirit. If someone comes and says, listen, you know, I just had something very traumatic happen to me. It's going to affect my future. Well, that does not give us the right to say to that person, don't worry about it. It will be all right.

It does give us the ability to say, trust God. Deal with that predator. Do your job.

If it is some sickness or unemployment or financial problem, you still know what you're supposed to do. Trust God. Uphold the Gospel. Preach Christ. Continue in the faith.

Those other things are going to run their course. Why drag everyone down with you when you don't have to? That is presumptuous sin. And well-meaning people often say to friends, undergoing a trial, everything will be all right. I think we need to discipline ourselves and be careful that we don't say those kinds of things without qualification. That variety of optimism is not satisfactory. I'd rather encourage people to listen.

If you're going through this trial, let's just say it's a terminal sickness. If you're going to go out, go out in front of everybody, loving the Lord, serving the Lord. What would you rather have someone tell you? Would you rather have someone tell you, don't worry about it, it's going to be all right, when you know there's going to be a lot of problems?

Or would you rather say, grab the bull by the horns, you have to, or else he's going to pin you. And you are strong enough, believe me, because I ask you to believe in Christ. You are strong enough, because of Christ, to face whatever comes your way. To continue in the faith, he says to them here in verse 22.

Let's not make an obvious verse obscure. That's what it means to continue in the faith. It would not be necessary to say this if there was no possibility of discontinuing in the faith. There's a great possibility of discontinuing in the faith.

Has anyone ever encouraged you to be brave when you already were brave? It's a little annoying, right? Don't worry about this. I'm not worried about it. Why are you telling me that?

You're going to have to worry about something if you keep telling me that. And here Paul telling them to continue in the faith, this is sound advice, sound doctrine. There are doctrines that misrepresent God's love. There are doctrines that I think misrepresent his attributes. There are doctrines that misrepresent man's freedom to choose. Why not just trust the verses for what they say? Don't think the Greek is going to undo the meanings.

It may enhance the meaning, but it will not undo it. Free will is what makes us in the image of God. We're beyond instinct. We have a will. And that will is not lost at death for the Christian. It is finalized.

It is permanent. We call it eternity when we are glorified. So evangelism is not enough. There must be teaching and encouragement from the scripture. Paul was not saying to them, you continue in the faith and be a better you. Paul was saying you need to be like Christ, who denied himself and took up his cross.

That's what we need to follow. Is there any born again believer who disagrees with that? You may say, I try, but I struggle. God will receive that struggle. It is very important to God that we try, that we make the effort. This is why Paul and Barnabas established local churches wherever they made converts, so that those converts would continue in the faith. The alternative is to convert them and abandon them. The local church is the one place the believer should always find spiritual nourishment. Making converts cannot replace the local church, but it should strengthen the local church. He says here, we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God. You will be ready for it so long as you stick to the Lord.

Hating life will not improve your life. Skip that step. Stay focused on getting the job done. Do your job.

If you were on an airplane, would you want the pilot while in the air to do his job? I think we would. The church is going to suffer tribulation, 2 Timothy 3. Yes, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Whether it is external or internal, you're going to be persecuted. Whether it is from Satan, the world, or your own rotten flesh, you're going to be persecuted. You're going to be challenged. You're going to be attacked for loving Christ. But the persecution that Christians face will be nothing like the great tribulation that the unbelievers will suffer. When God begins to pour out his wrath upon this wicked and rebellious world, a Christ-hating culture, a sin-bloated world, 1 John, his first letter, chapter 3, Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

Pretty strong language, is it not? He did not say don't be amazed if they don't like you. He said they hate you.

They're looking for your destruction. Jesus said remember the word that I said to you. A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. Some teach that the church will go through the great tribulation. I fully disagree with that teaching. It discredits, again, the justice of God, his attributes, and it discredits the reasoning from the scripture. When the Lord says I will spare you from the tribulation that will come upon the whole earth, what part of that is not understood? That's where we go back to do not make obscure those things that are obvious just to support some doctrine that you picked up along the way. Verse 23, So when they had appointed leaders in every church and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord whom they had believed. Well, they're still in the region of Galatia. That's very important to everything we've been talking about.

We're going to hit it in just a few minutes. You in Christianity, and I know that this message will eventually be broadcast on the internet and the radios, you who serve, why bother with the church and its many troubles unless it was important to God? Which makes it worth it to me. Why serve with so much discouragement and disappointment and setbacks? Why bother serving unless it is important to God? It is opposite of Jesus Christ to downsize the commandment to assemble.

It's not a suggestion. It is a commandment. It's in the old, it's in the new. Here he says, So when they had appointed elders in every church, verse 23, the elders here, the Greek word is where we get our word presbytery from.

Pres uteros in the Greek. 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 the book of Acts right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-07 10:26:04 / 2023-02-07 10:35:02 / 9

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