It's not enough to have Bible stories, but if you have them, there's something to build upon. And you younger Christians that are raised in a Christian home, you know all these Bible stories, and I'm just telling you it's not enough.
And that would go true for adults too. Always learning and never coming into the knowledge Paul said about some, because they weren't connecting the dots, establishing a doctrine of this is what I believe, this is why I believe it, and I will not be moved from it. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Acts chapter 16 as he begins his message, Leadership and Leadings. Please turn to Acts chapter 16.
The message is entitled, Leadership and Leadings. It's Christianity and Action. I think it's very much bypassed or just a section of scripture with great teachings on how the church and Christians are to behave when it comes to being led by the Holy Spirit. But apparently it seems to be lost on some.
Well, you be the judge as we go through this. We'll take verses 1 through 10, the book of Acts, the Acts of the Apostles chapter 16 verses 1 through 10. Then he came to Derbe and Lystra, and behold, a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.
So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily. Now, when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing Mysia, they came down to Troas, and a vision appeared to Paul in the night.
A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us. This is such a powerful section of scripture. There's always a message for each when God's word is preached.
I know that rhymes. It's not intentional, but it is very, I believe in it very strongly. There is always a message for each when God's word is preached. This is Paul's second time going into Gentile territories. He has with him Silas.
It is about 17 years since the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Now, Paul was with Silas in Antioch in Syria, but they had enough teachers there. And Paul, he would be drawn to a region where he could be useful, where he could be of great value, and this area was it for sure. There are two characters that we meet in this passage. Timothy, of course, and then there is the physician Luke.
We get to Luke in 10. We get Timothy right away. The leadership that comes out of this, our eyes on the Apostle Paul, and remember, when there is no leader, there is no head.
And anything that is headless is a defect, and if it is still moving, it's a monster. But here, he is leading for sure. We get that right out the starting gate. It's throughout the entire book of Acts, really. Those being led, though, they come on the scene by verse 10. Well, they were already in it too, but verse 10 starts to come out.
It's looking at verse 1. Then he came to Derbe and Lystra, and behold, a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. After they had been to the churches in Syria and Cilicia, we get that in Acts chapter 1541.
It has been five years since Paul has come to this region. At Lystra, where he is going to arrive, first he comes to Derbe, that you would get to Derbe first, coming from Cilicia, and then to Lystra, where he was stoned, not to death, but to pain. He didn't die, but he suffered. At Lystra, he had gone through that part of Stephen's experience, who died calling on the Lord. And it tells us here, behold, a certain disciple was there named Timothy. Now Timothy, from Lystra, he witnessed Paul's persecution. Whether he watched them stone him or not, we are not told, but he was in that church, in that city, and he was very much part of that.
He would have been very much moved by what was going on there, and yet, he was unhinged by Paul's stoning. In other words, he remained a disciple. He became a disciple when Paul came through there, and watching Paul suffer persecution like he did, did not deter Timothy from being a follower.
In fact, he had such a reputation, it spread even up to Iconium, which is another city just to the north of Lystra. Paul's ministry, his leadership, along with his stoning, made a lifelong disciple of Timothy. It made a lifelong impression on Timothy. And through thick and thin, he is there with Paul to the end.
He's not the only one. But you've got to love Timothy. Paul loved him very much. And some commentators pictured Timothy as timid. I disagree with that very much. I don't find that in the scripture.
I find it the other way, actually. Paul is the one, well, the commentator said, well, he's always in need of encouragement because Paul encourages him so much. Timothy courageously attacked the interests of hell. Not when Paul was there or when Paul was not there. Paul could dispatch Timothy because he was that powerful of a disciple.
And he did whatever Paul told him to do, as did Titus and others. And he remained, as I mentioned with Paul, no matter what was going on, but he moved Paul's heart from the very beginning. Paul just fell in love with this young man. And then, at least my take on it, is I begin to notice that it's Paul who's worrying about Timothy, not Timothy worrying about Timothy. And Paul writes to him, you know, you've got some stomach problems, do this for that.
And he's just doting on him like a loving father. Well, Paul twice says, you know, that mentions that Timothy was his son in the faith. And in his letters, yeah, Paul is very much concerned about Timothy, encouraging him. That doesn't mean that Timothy needed the encouragement any more than the rest of us do, but it does mean that Paul was concerned. And Paul was not only concerned about him, Paul was concerned about Titus, and he even stopped ministry at one point because he didn't know what Titus was. What a heart this leader in our faith had for those who served with him. We have not even a hint of Timothy failing.
He was ever ready and reliable. A tough cookie, you could even say. But that didn't stop Paul from being concerned because that's what we do, and we love somebody, and we know they're in dangerous areas.
We are concerned. It says here, the son of a certain Jewish woman, here in verse 1, who believed, but his father was Greek. Luke is the one writing this, and Luke is Macedonian. He's Greek, you could say. They might differ a little bit, but he's not a derogatory, but his father was Greek.
It's not in that. But it does highlight the difficulties that Paul was faced with in sharing the gospel with the cultural rift between the Jews and the Gentiles was quite deep. And Luke does not name the mother of Timothy.
Paul will do that later. Eunice was her name, and he also names his grandmother Lois, which demonstrates that Paul was plugged into the people. He was where the people were. He knew their names. He's ever careful about the names. You get to the last chapter of Romans, Romans 16, and in those first few chapters, he's just laying out the names.
Tell so-and-so I said hi. All these names because people counted to him. John chapter 10, it says, Jesus says this to him, that is the shepherd. The doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. The name is identity.
It also oftentimes includes nature, not always. It is hopefully so, a noble named person. But here is Paul, very mindful. Luke leaves the name out for whatever reasons, but Paul was a man who cared about what a person's name was and put that face with the name. Anyway, Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, they were Jewish believers of Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The father of Timothy doesn't come into the picture. We have no record of him influencing Timothy one way or another, certainly not for Christianity.
So ethnically, Timothy's mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. So Paul, when he became Timothy's pastor, Paul found a ready foundation to build the faith on because of these two women. Because Paul tells us that you have known the scriptures from childhood because Eunice and Lois had surrounded his life, had poured into his life what the scriptures had said. Now you can know Bible stories until you're blue in the face.
That's not enough. You've got to connect the dots. You have to come up with a systematic theology, an understanding of what you believe and what is going on. And so in Genesis, when it says that God will save through the seed of the woman, we know, we connect that dot to the coming of Jesus Christ and the virgin birth. And so things like that, it's not enough to have Bible stories, but if you have them, there's something to build upon. And you younger Christians that are raised in a Christian home, you know all these Bible stories and I'm just telling you it's not enough.
And that would go true for adults too. Always learning and never coming into the knowledge, Paul said about some, because they weren't connecting the dots, establishing a doctrine of, this is what I believe, this is why I believe it, and I will not be moved from it. The purpose of doctrine is not to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, but it is to find out what you believe and to move forward in the hand of God from that point on. And when that takes place, ministry also takes place and so does suffering. You're not going to serve Jesus Christ without suffering.
And whether it is internal or external or both, you're going to suffer. When God created the heavens and the earth, He loved what He created and it was good. And then sin came and God was ready for it. He was ready from all eternity past. He was ready for it.
And we're part of that solution. So let's never undervalue the value of a Christ-centered woman in the church, woman in the home, in this case Eunice and Lois. Here they exposed young Timothy early on to the Scriptures.
We get that in Paul's letters to Timothy, not here in Acts, there's a little background on him and it is a fantastic background. What are you going to do? What are you going to do if you're raised in a home with the word of God? What are you going to do with it?
We're going to find out, aren't we? And hopefully you're going to land on your feet, not on your head. Hopefully you'll be, you know, how beautiful on the mountain, on the feet of those who bring the gospel. That's what the Bible says. Verse 2, he was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. So there's this, that's a testimony and that's a good testimony.
Everybody's got a testimony, whether it is good, lame or bad or outstanding, we've got one before men and of course always before the Lord. But this Timothy, no sense of entitlement with this young man. He had a reputation because he pursued God. David wrote in the Psalms, my soul follows hard after you and I always think of a posse, you know, you're rough riders, the wind, the dust kicked up and they're hard on the trail and putting it in the positive, those who pursue righteousness and it is a rough trail. Anyway, Timothy did something with his righteous upbringing.
It was not wasted on him. He blazed a testimony or you could say a reputation and he is an exciting addition to Paul's ministry. It's so hard to find young men that get involved. They're out there and there are some, but you would think they would be, you know, they would be lined up around the corner. Well, Timothy was one that Paul, and Paul identified it. There are others that will come along with Paul that won't be so exciting. Alexander, Hymenaeus, Demas will desert Paul, break his heart. Then there were the Corinthians, not all of them, but there was a hysterical element in the Corinthian church.
I'll get back to them. Well, I'll just finish it here because there were also the Galatians, the region he's in now. And Paul, you know, Paul said to the Corinthians, this is a very small thing that I should be judged by you. I don't care about your negative opinions. I know who I believe, and this is the gospel, and I will not stop the train or throw rocks at every dog that barks at me. This is the truth. Man, you've got to love that guy's leadership.
It's there to learn from. And he writes to them in 2 Corinthians, he says, for you put up with fools gladly since you yourselves are wise. That's what he told his congregating man.
How can you not like this man? To the Galatians he says, have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? Don't tell the time you would have gouged your eyes out for me. What happened? Who got to you? This stuff is repeated over and over and over in the Christian church to this very day. Somebody getting to somebody in Jesus' name. Well, Paul said, that's you. This is me. And we're going to see this in a minute because Silas and Timothy have an opportunity to say, Paul, what are you doing?
We'll come to that. Verse 3 now, Paul wanted to have him go on with him and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region. They all knew that his father was Greek. Well, again, impressed with Timothy, Paul, identifying the leading of the spirit, brings Timothy in and wisdom is justified by her children. Subsequent events demonstrate that this was the leading of the spirit.
It was right. And Timothy knew going into this how difficult it was going to be because he knew about Paul's stoning and other hardships. It was almost legendary in Paul's day. Remember Paul?
Paul and Barnabas told the apostles all the things that the Holy Spirit had done, including the difficult things. Would news of Timothy joining Paul light a fire under Mark? Remember John Mark? He too went with Paul into the mission field and he retreated in defeat. And Barnabas, thank God for Barnabas, Barnabas strengthened Mark by taking him with him nonetheless on the second time out when Paul would not.
But Paul strengthened Mark just as much by not taking him. You know that had to be in his head. Who here likes rejection? And who here, when rejected, just dismiss it? No, it sticks in your head a little bit. You know, that guy was me. I'm innocent.
Or the other way around. I blew that. Well, anyway, when news gets to Mark that, hey, Paul picked up a young man named Timothy, you know that registered. Mark's weakness, however, may never have been revealed. It never would have revealed itself had he not gotten involved. In other words, if he had stayed home in bed and just, you know, let Barnabas and Paul go off, he never would have discovered where his weak points were in ministry. So he goes out, he discovers them. Then he does something about it. He comes back and says, I still would like to go out into the mission field.
I'd like a second shot. Of course, Paul said, not with me. Later, he will get that second shot with Paul.
He will do wonderfully. We likely would not have a gospel according to Mark had it not been for his failure and his recovery. If you consider yourself a weak Christian, okay, that's fair.
But also consider this. You can be a stronger weak Christian. I don't mean be stronger at being weak.
You can be stronger even though relative perhaps to someone else you think you're weak, you can recover a lot of territory and still be useful to the Lord. I'm telling you, just showing up to church, just showing up to formation is a punch in the nose to hell. You can stay home and what will hell say?
Woohoo, got another one. I mean, there are times it's justified. I'm not picking at people. But when it's just like, you know, I think I'll stay home and watch cartoons. Look, even if they're Looney Tunes, they can wait.
There really shouldn't be any other cartoons but Looney Tunes. Anyway, the Church of Corinth speaking of Looney Tunes, okay, because we still have Corinthians among us, do we not? Well, anyway, Mark, he had propelled himself into a position that was far beyond what he was ready for. But it wasn't far beyond his Savior. See, this is the kind of stuff you hear in church.
You don't get this. Again, you go shopping somewhere, nobody's going to come up to you and say, hey, you know John Mark recovered? You know, you can too. I mean, if you do, if somebody does come up to you like that, there's a prophet sent to you or it's probably your mom. But anyway, Mark propelled himself into ministry and it was far beyond him, but it was not beyond his Savior and I shout back at that statement I just made with a loud voice and say, me too.
Me too. It may be beyond my means, my ability, but not my Lord. And I have to remember sometime, you know, when I'm doing my self-loathing thing, like, you know, I should just, you know, I should just be a millionaire and not, I don't think that, well, I wish it, but I don't think it. But I mean, you know, I'm not worthy to be a pastor.
And of course, we settle that all the time, you know, yeah, we know that. And yet, God put me in this position. So what am I going to do? Badmouth that? You shouldn't have put me in this position?
Not at all. It's okay. This is what I, this is it. This is my, this is my lot. This is the lot that I've been assigned and now I'm going to till it and I'm going to sow it and I'm going to reap the fruit from it for the Lord because he's Lord of the harvest. Anyway, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region. Well, this was a field decision of Paul and it seemed Paul, Paul to be right and it opens up a can of worms. This won't be the last time in the book of Acts that we have one of these moments. His action to circumcise Timothy is startling because, well, didn't we just finish that in Jerusalem? Didn't they just come out and say, hey, we don't have to do any of this stuff? Well, there's more to the story here. This is a gray zone.
Now, we don't hear of this happening again but it happened here. Paul was already being hounded as somebody who tossed Moses away and that's going to haunt him and he's up to it though. You know, if I don't preach the cross then why am I still persecuted? You know, so he's ready for it. But Paul felt that because Timothy's mother was Jewish and he was not circumcised, ministry amongst the Jews who were zealots when it came to this would be hindered. So Paul eliminates the hindrance.
That's his field decision. He says, you know, there's a way around this. If I'm going to be invited into the synagogues and bring Timothy with me, if I'm going to be invited into Jewish homes and elaborate on the Messiah, I've got to get Timothy accepted because they're not going to accept him the way he is right now. And later, of course, he refuses. Earlier, he refused to do this to Titus because Titus was a total Gentile and the Jews would not have given him a hard time. Paul had already written, for in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, avails anything but a new creation.
It's Nehushten. However, there is a reality there. And you know the missionaries who had to, the older missionaries that went into, you know, the Polynesian Islands and up where the Eskimos were, they had to sidestep a lot of things. I mean, when people come out not dressed, like, whoa, whoa, put something, they couldn't do that. They had to sit there and just, you know, sort of continue with and stay focused with what they have been called to do.
They had to make field decisions. And when food was put in front of those missionaries, they couldn't say, what is that? I'm not eating grub. Grubs, you just got that out the backyard.
I'm not eating that. But they had to. And they were very successful in doing it. And so Paul eliminates the hindrance in Timothy's case to gain fuller access to the Jews. It was affording a tactical advantage to what was going on in Paul's work.
And without this, doors would have slammed in their face. And so, yeah, Paul is not saying doctrinally this helpful. No, he's not saying that. This is not because of doctrine.
This is because of people. And it's not really going to hurt anything if we understand it that way. That is where he is going with this.
In chapter 21, a similar situation will come up. And I think Paul's going to make a mistake there. He doesn't make a mistake in his writing of scripture. But some of his actions, you know, are like, well, you know, that's not 100% where it should have been. Well, we know he's not perfect. Because if he was, then he'd be the Messiah.
And he's not. 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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