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Leadership and Leadings (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 20, 2023 6:00 am

Leadership and Leadings (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 20, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

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. 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. And now here's Pastor Rick with part two of his message called Leadership and Leadings as he teaches in Acts chapter 16. 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 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? There was a time you were to gouge 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 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 got 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, hey, 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 it. 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 to be right and it opens up a can of worms. And 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, the 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 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. It doesn't make a mistake in his writing of Scripture. But some of his actions are like, wow, 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. Anyway, we'll get to that when we get to it. That should not unnerve you.

It should actually encourage you. So his aim was to reach sinners, and he had to deal with this sacred cow. Are there sacred cows in Christianity today? In churches today? In Christians?

You bet there is. There are things that if you don't do it, it has nothing to do with anything. Some sort of tradition somebody thought up in their garage that survived over the decades. And if you don't adhere to it, oh brother, that's it for you. When Christ doesn't lay it on you. Anyway, how would they know Timothy wasn't circumcised?

Well, they just ask. Isn't his mom Jewish? Yeah. Is he circumcised? Now Paul's not going to lie to them and say, oh yeah, yeah.

No, he does the right thing. So the next clause we come to here in verse 3. For they all knew that his father was Greek.

See, there it is. That's why Luke puts that in there, because they would have inquired. They would have deduced. His father was Greek. His father would have prohibited this. And therefore, you're ignoring Moses if you want to come up in here and tell us about the Messiah. Timothy allowed this. And what does that tell us?

I'm going to repeat this twice. Timothy paid to serve. Timothy paid to serve.

He wasn't being paid. He had to suffer this right. If he was going to serve on the field of ministry, he had to hurt.

The knife had to be turned on him. I'll be remembering that in hard times of ministry. Because there are a lot more problems in ministry than there are without it. You can just fly around, woohoo, I'm a Christian, Jesus side for me, if you're not serving. But if you're serving, you're getting flak.

You're going to be hit. And hopefully, because if you're not, you're not serving in the right place. Verse 4. 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 Luke is straight up with this. He says, you know, they didn't have to do this before Christ. Before the Lord Jesus Christ, Timothy was 100% justified as a believer.

Just by faith. But because of the Jews and because of ministry, Paul made that choice. So there's the decree from the council. Paul shows it to them.

And they would be delighted at hearing this. Verse 5, so the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily. Well, all pastors should aspire to want to strengthen the church according to the Scriptures.

Whatever that cost, and it will cost. It would have weakened the church had Jerusalem demanded that the Gentiles become Jewish before believers. Well, that was settled in chapter 15.

But an interesting statement here, an increased in number. This is still what God wants. However, who builds the church? Well, Jesus said this is what he does. Matthew 16, verse 18.

And I also say to you that you are Peter. On this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail. Who builds the church? Does he say, and you will build the church, Peter? The pastors will build the church? The congregation will build the church? He says he builds the church. Now, he can't do it without the congregation and the pastor.

He doesn't do it that way. Acts 2, 47. And the Lord added to the church daily those who are being saved. It does not say, and the Christians added to the church.

See, this is a sacred cow. Because there are Christians that try to recruit to the church. There's a difference between recruiting to the church and evangelizing and preaching Christ and salvation. I'm not saying you shouldn't invite people to church. You can't say to somebody, would you mind coming to my future ex-church? You see, something's wrong with that. And you get an overview of what's happening in Christianity and say, you know what, this has got to be addressed. Where does it start? Well, it starts in the pulpit. What is the point of having a messenger if the message is disregarded? And if that message is in agreement with the greater message of Scripture, woe to him who ignores it. Is any more commentary necessary on this? I don't think so.

I think it says it all. The number increased and it was the Lord doing it between Paul and Silas and Timothy and others also, verse 6. 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. Now here, notice the pronoun. And we still adhere to pronouns around this place. When they, see Luke's not part of the group yet. Later, that pronoun will change to we. So we'll get to that in a moment.

But this is important because I'll show you why later. Anyway, there's a very strong language here. They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit. I don't believe the church should be committed to a marketing agency. I don't think churches should hire people to tell them how to grow the church. Again, it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

And you live with what you get. This should alert us, this language. I mentioned to you, this has so many lessons in this chapter that I feel are bypassed by some. There are times when God does want to withhold our witness. He wants us to be quiet and not preach. Do Christians tend to disagree with God's prohibitions? When God says, I don't do it that way in the scripture.

Do Christians, and you answer the question, do they say, yeah, yeah, that's fine, but here's a marketing tactic we want to employ that works better. Matthew chapter 5. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them saying, do not go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter the city of the Samaritans. So He's telling them, don't go preaching there. And we're seeing Paul subject to that teaching. So we follow the New Testament and there's your witness, two of them.

Matthew 16, 20. Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Messiah. Now we know why He is doing that at that point, but what comes out of this is there are times that God wants us to be quiet. We don't have to know the reason. He doesn't owe us an explanation. The Holy Spirit is saying, I don't want you going up into Bithynia to the north and I don't want you going to the south to Asia Minor. I'm going to tell you where to go when I'm good and ready. That's how it ends up. God doesn't have that tone with Him.

He just doesn't tell them. I love this stuff. God has told me no many times. Sometimes I'm very grateful. Sometimes I'm like, oh man, dodged a bullet. Other times I'm a little disappointed because I want what I want and I think my way is, you know, when I'm in the flesh. I think my way is better for me, which is always wrong. The flesh is never ever right, like Satan.

Satan never sides with God and if he appears to, it's as an angel of light and he's setting you up for an ambush. So there are just these rules that we live by, these policies from the kingdom that are right. Do Christians and ministries resent this rule of the kingdom? I'll give you another rule of the kingdom. You can't serve two masters. You'll love one, you'll hate the other.

You got to commit and if you're wishy-washy and you like one more than the other, that's what you're going to be, wishy-washy. When the Christian is denied permission, what does the Christian do? Does he push it up the hill? I'm going to force this. This is right. Think how many people are going to get saved when a Christian is dating and finds out this person is not for me. Do they continue anyway? But I like them.

I'm not going to find anybody that's much fun. Nobody understands me. But God has clearly said, no, don't do this. God tends to work two ways, slowly and mysteriously.

And we're watching it. We're going to develop this thought. Because if we have here in Paul a man who is being led by the Spirit and nobody else and we have those following Paul who is being led by Paul in the Spirit and not themselves. The open door into Europe.

It came through the slamming of doors to Bithynia and Asia. And the church at Philippi is going to be born out of this and that is one of the best churches in the New Testament. Philippi, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Ucolessi, these are churches that were just, man, I would go to that church. Laodicea, I don't think I'd want to go there.

I don't think they'd want me there after about five minutes. What's that on the wall? What is that on your back table? Why do you have that there? You read that book?

Why do you like that guy? Sorry, going to have to do some Kung Fu on you because this is not permitted. Revelation 3.8, Jesus said to the church at Philadelphia, which incidentally is in Asia where Paul is forbidden to go? Which tells us later on there are going to be churches in that area where he's now forbidden.

There are going to be no less than eight of them that we know of. I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door. This is what God does. But when that door is shut, don't you try to kick it in. And if Paul said, well, we're going to Bithynia anyway, there are people up there, they need the gospel, then he would have been kicking that door open. And Christ says, I have set before you an open door and no one can shut it.

And that's what he's going to find in Philippi when he gets there. For you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name. Bookmark that, you've got a little strength part. That means you're a weakling. Imagine, you know, wrestling, I don't know, somebody, Andre the Giant, and he says, you have little strength.

He's saying you're a weakling compared to him. Well, this is a true picture of the church because Jesus said, without me, you can do nothing. There are lessons that we need. And also we need to learn from this that every need is not a calling for you. Just because you see something and you think, I can do that, that's not how we're led by the Spirit. The Lord doesn't say, if you feel like you can do it, do it. That's the world.

There are other lives. You can be anything you want. No, you can't. You cannot be anything you want and anybody that's telling you that is lying.

Or maybe they're not lying intentionally, they're just bought into it. I can't be a salesman for hair shampoo. It's not going to happen. Nobody's going to say, you know, we could really sell more product if you just endorse this. They'd go out of business after the first commercial.

Anyway, you want to look like me, buy this. After they had come to, but you can do anything. And then you put Jesus' name on it, right?

In Christ I can do all things. No, that's not true. It's out of context.

Keep that in context. He talks about having and not having. Anyway, verse 7, and they had come to Messiah. They tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So here's the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and He's guiding God's people by hindering God's people. Well, see, the flesh doesn't understand that. The Spirit doesn't need to understand it. It submits to it. That's why He's Lord. And if He has to answer, well, why are you doing it that way, Lord?

Every time you ask, then you have a big problem. Bithynia was a heavily populated area on the Black Sea. It's still there, but it goes by another name now. Well, not the Black Sea. And Asia Minor, that's a peninsula. That's Turkey. Modern Turkey is a peninsula.

It's surrounded with water on three sides. Asia Minor is modern-day Turkey where the churches of Revelation and Colosseum and Hierapolis are located. The Gospel, as I mentioned, eventually gets there. Looking at Paul's travel on a map on this second trip, we notice that there's a straight course between these two regions. God is just moving him right through it.

There's more to the story than just that. 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 / 2023-02-20 06:20:03 / 2023-02-20 06:30:30 / 10

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