Share This Episode
Cross Reference Radio Pastor Rick Gaston Logo

Leadership and Leadings (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2023 6:00 am

Leadership and Leadings (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 966 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

February 21, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

You've got to have part of this in your Christianity over my dead body. There's got to be some resolve that says, this is what I'm called to. I have authority to this calling. Because some people say, I'm called to this. It's not their place. It's not their calling. There's somebody else in that position.

It's not theirs. But if it is you, God says, this is what I've appointed you to do, then I think it's beneficial to have that resolve over my dead body because you know that it's worth 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. Today, Pastor Rick will conclude his message called Leadership and Leadings in Acts chapter 16. 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.

You 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, and he was using 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.

It's just that's 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.

This should alert us, this language. And 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. Well, 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, 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 five, 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, 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's 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. Here, 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 him. I love this stuff. God has told me no many times. Sometimes I'm very grateful.

Sometimes I hear, oh man, dodged a bullet. Other times 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? And just, you know, but I like them.

I'm not going to find anybody that's much fun. Nobody understands me. But Christ, 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, Eucalyptus, 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 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 said you're weakling compared to him. Well, this is a true picture of the church because Jesus said, without me, you can do nothing. 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 Missia. 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. But there's more to the story than just that, because the Lord is disallowing them to turn to the north, Bithynia, or turn to the south, Asia Minor, steadily advancing towards Philippi in Europe, and he doesn't even know it. He's walking by faith, not by sight. Psalm 37, verse 23, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. They're commanded by the Lord. Doesn't say suggested.

Sometimes they are. Sometimes God is, you know, gives us an option. He gave me an option in ministry. You want to be a pastor? You want to be more prophetic?

Prophetic is the one that goes against, you know, all the bad things that are out there. The pastor is supposed to love people. Moment of silence. And I got to tell you, I never thought I'd love people so much. It might not show, but it's there.

I couldn't pray for people if it wasn't there. Regardless of what they think of me, how could they think anything less of me? You know, people have all sorts of beliefs, all sorts of, you know, customs and manners. You can't answer them. You've got to be who you are. Maybe they'll be friendly enough for you to interact and figure it out.

And if not, well, you've just got to keep doing what you're doing. Verse 8, so passing by Amicia, they came to Troas. Now, here's what I've been talking about. We have the leadership, the leader, Paul, who is under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Then we have Silas and Timothy who are following Paul, and probably some others unnamed too. Would Silas and Timothy begin to wonder, what is going on here?

We just keep passing these cities. Where's all this preaching we heard about Paul and Barnabas doing, the apostolic miracles? Where's some stoning? Paul can take another one? They were prepared for tremendous ministry, the happening church. Everybody's going to hear Paul speak in Missia.

Nobody was going to hear him speak. Where are the sermons and the conversions? Where's the bitter opposition, the stripes, the hairbreadth escapes from these violent people who don't want to hear the gospel? This is what they signed on for. They didn't get it.

They anticipated a trail of churches stretching from Lystra all the way to Troas, there by the Aegean Sea. This had to start maybe playing on them with, did Paul lose his zeal? Is the Lord no longer using him?

Is he no longer in touch and relevant to the culture? I don't know that they were thinking that. My feeling is these men just loved Paul, were led by the Spirit too, and said, Paul, we got your back no matter what happens. We'll trek through wherever until God shows us.

But we know that that's not the case with everyone to this day. How come the church isn't doing this? How come the church isn't doing that? Follow the leader.

This is the lesson. There was nothing happening, this aimless walking from place to place, no new, no fresh ministry to boast of. But Paul was the apostle, and he rejected any suggestions if he got them. Why don't we go to Bithynia?

Why don't we stay here and give it time? But he's the leader, and he's acting like one, led by the Holy Spirit, not by the flock. You might be saying, you sound like you're trying to teach us something. Yeah, because that's what the Bible's teaching us. And this is the lesson I think is greatly ignored by many Christians.

If you're going to serve, you're going to be inconvenienced. You're going to be wondering what's happening. You're going to have time where nothing is growing, and you say, I've planted much, and I have reaped little. And unless you've got some definite outstanding sin to put your hand on, it's the Lord. Small things can grow into big things, and hell knows that.

But a lot of Christians, do we know that? Zechariah 4.10, and Zechariah 4, this is the prophet stirring the people to rebuild their place of worship. The Babylonians had wiped it out. Seventy years later, they come back under Zerubbabel, and they start to build a temple. They get the foundation laid. Then the boogeyman shows up, and they all go run away, and the temple stops for fifteen years.

All you had was a slab, so to speak. And then God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and Zechariah says, remember Solomon's temple? Some of you saw Solomon's temple.

Now look at this. And then he adds, for who has despised a day of small things? This temple is big to God. And then he goes on to say, well, earlier he said, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord.

Oh yeah, that means don't go to Bithynia, don't go to Asia, go where I'm telling you to go. That's what it means, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord, even when you don't like it. Luke 19.17, and he said to them, well done, good and faithful servant, because you were faithful in very little, have authority over ten cities. What happens if Christ says, very good, you were faithful in the very little, I'll see you later. You're not owed, we're not entitled because we've been faithful in little things, we're not entitled to big things. Look at Jeremiah, look how faithful he was. And the nation was what? Swept away. This is Christianity.

Second Chronicles, using Old Testament events to demonstrate New Testament truths. But you be strong, and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. When? When I'm good and ready, God says. Maybe when you get to heaven.

Walking around with your knuckles scraping, oh well, I can't believe this is happening. I thought this. They had to wait, and God says, I'll make it worth it. Maybe not in this lifetime, but I'll make it worth it. Verse 9, and a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man from Macedonia stood and pleaded with him saying, come over to Macedonia and help us. Paul saw a Macedonian man in the vision. A vision is what you see. You're shown something by God while you are still awake.

And a dream is of course you get the benefit of some rest. This man in the vision, see how God works? He's saying there's a hunger and thirst for righteousness over here.

The man in the vision demonstrates this through his pleading. A very strong Greek language, and in the English too. Pleading with them to come with the word of Christ. Now they're in Macedonia, across the Aegean, they'll travel 150 miles across thereabout. These people don't even know they're coming. There's no Macedonian over there, hey, bring us the news about Messiah. When he gets there, it's going to be a woman named Lydia. And it's just like, wait a minute. The vision and the reality are not in agreement.

You know, verb-noun agreement kind of a thing is not happening here. But God plows through this, and that church in Philippi, Lydia is going to beg these guys to stay with her. You've got to love that woman. She's just like, stay at my house, I will not take no for an answer, you've got to preach to me, or I'll kill you. What if Paul, what if he did not obey?

You know what, I'm kind of like Troas here, right on the coast, not too far from Cilicia where I've lived for a long time, grew up. Well, God would have found someone else. You've got to have part of this in your Christianity over my dead body. There's got to be some resolve that says, this is what I'm called to, I have authority to this calling. Because some people say, I'm called to this, it's not their place. It's not their calling.

There's somebody else in that position, it's not theirs. But if it is you, God says, this is what I've appointed you to do, then I think it's beneficial to have that resolve over my dead body because you know that it's worth it. Okay, I'd be interested to know what you thought about that when we get to heaven. All right, so moving, verse 10, now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

So they concluded, they realized the leading. You know, if you're too sure of yourself in Christ, some people don't like that. They want you to wring your fingers. They want you to be, you know, confusion is weakness.

And we try to get that out of our life. I don't even like being like, you know, what aisle is the soap on? I want to know where that aisle is.

It doesn't work that way. I end up asking somebody. And they said, I'll tell you, over my dead body. Then they couldn't tell me.

Okay, I don't like the volume of laughter, so no more jokes for you this morning. Coming back to this, here we have this abrupt change in the narrative in the text from the third person to the first person, from they to us. And so we reread verse 10, now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. So you see the leading is like, God wants us to cross the sea and go into this really Gentile world. And that's all they had. The vision is pretty strong, but you don't find them saying, well Paul, we didn't get the vision, you got the vision. But they caught the vision.

And when you can find Christians that catch a vision, you can do a lot of stuff. And it hurts to see people who have the talent, but not the availability. You can't do anything with it. No matter what talent you have, if you're not available, who needs it?

It's useless. Well anyway, there are going to be several of these shifts. It reads as though, it's going to read as though Luke stays in Philippi, because the pronouns were changed again, and we won't get him back to we until chapter 20. And so about five, six years will pass, which leads us to believe Luke probably stayed in Philippi, part of the church leadership, and he also may have done some of his research for his gospel and the book of Acts that we now have. We're out of time, but here we have the leader led by the spirit, this outstanding loyalty of three men. The first is a Jew named Silas, the second is a Jew, Greek, named Timothy, the third is a Greek or Macedonian named Luke. And they're united as one unit, they're moving as one unit, hell sees that and doesn't like it. And so I close with Acts chapter 20 verse 6, but we sail, this is when he comes back to the group according to the pronouns, but we sail from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and in five days journey, join them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

So he's going back from Philippi across the Aegean to Troas, and Luke is with them again. 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 / 2023-02-21 06:15:10 / 2023-02-21 06:24:57 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime