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Christians vs. Culture (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 24, 2023 6:00 am

Christians vs. Culture (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 24, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

There's a problem, and if allowed to continue, their message and the perception of their ministry would have been corrupted. The devil infiltrates churches just like he infiltrates the hearts of anybody he can, and he does it by gaining trust. He comes in and he nests and he sounds, the words that he says sound like they're true until you begin to press the matter.

And an alliance with evil is corruption of good. 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 in the book of Acts chapter 16 with his message called Christians vs Culture. Man's first sin separated man from God. That was a spiritual problem. Man's next sin episode recorded separated man from man when Cain murdered his brother because his brother did church better than him.

Cain murdered Abel because Cain had a spiritual problem which showed up in a social environment. A social gospel puts the cart before the horse. A spiritual gospel gets it where it should be. And the social gospel is mainly concerned with human relationships, human with human.

And God can be, maybe he's optional. And the apostles, they knew better. And so they always dealt with the spiritual problem, understanding that if you want to change the way people think about life, if they're thinking in a negative way, then you've got to change the way they think about God.

It's got to line up with the revelation of God which we call the Bible. Now there is a social side to the gospel and many missionaries have been pioneers in dealing with social problems but always with the spiritual up front. Otherwise they just become, you know, what is the profit of man? If you gain the world, lose your soul. Missionaries have built hospitals, orphanages, leper colonies. Dr. Paul Brand, if you read Fearfully and Wonderfully Made or In His Image, those are two books, Philip Yancey and Paul Brand. It's remarkable how devout a Christian he was in India dealing with leprosy patients and how for him everything tied into the Lord.

All of his work, the primary, however, is to win souls. Get a person right with God and they will soon do better with men. Unfortunately, there are imposters. And if you lack discernment, even if you're just a good person, you can miss it. And we pray for discernment, spiritual discernment. But there are a lot of fake old Christians out there that pretend, that pretend to be right with God and trustworthy individuals and they are not.

Jesus said, you'll know them by their fruits. Well, when enough people get saved, the conscience of a society is awakened and social reforms follow. This is historical. This is fact. When enough people are antichrists, the conscience is seared and society plunges into debauchery.

And we're looking at this globally now. Thank you, Internet. I mean, the Internet is good things.

The other day I couldn't find my keys. I Googled it and I'm good. So there are good things.

I don't want to say it's all bad, but, you know, be careful. Are you at the Tower of Babel or are you just using knowledge as a tool instead of knowledge using you? It's a very easy thing for a Christian to absorb information, Bible data, without the Spirit and become a know-it-all and a pain in the neck versus one that is abiding in Christ. Let's go on to verse 17. This girl, remember, she's demon-possessed, followed Paul and us and cried out, saying, These men are the servants of the Most High God who proclaim to us the way of salvation. Well, I get a little bit ahead of myself, but, you know, once Paul cast his demon out, there would have been, if this were today, somebody in the church would have said, Why did you do that? They were preaching the Gospel.

They were helping us along. They just don't get it. And so when the Holy Spirit says, Do you understand? Do you get it?

Whatever the topic may be, it's a serious moment for us because if we say I'm not getting it, well, then work hard in the Spirit to get it. Don't just think that, Oh, yeah, I got it because I'm just all of that. I'm just intelligent. You could get straight A's in school all your life and still be the dumbest Christian that ever set foot in a church.

You can't, Jesus said, without me, you can do nothing of any value to Him. Well, this is devil made. This messenger is a false messenger, and she inserts herself. She's last.

She's about 12 years old or something. She doesn't know what's going on. The demon does, and he is able to speak through her. And she joins, mingles herself in with the preaching of the messengers who are true, which will muddy up everything. And coming from her, the truth of the gospel was being lined up with those who are anti-Christ.

And that's why they're going to get the beating in this. Well, these men are, she says, these men are servants of the Most High God. Now, we Christians read this and we think, Oh, she's preaching, you know, it's the gospel.

Wait a minute. How do you know she's not talking about Zeus? You're not specifying what god.

To a pagan, to an idolater, their gods are most high also. You see, that's part of the problem. She doesn't know what she's talking about. How would the people listening to her receive this?

Well, they would probably think she's talking about Zeus. There's not enough detail, not enough information here to let us know exactly what Paul was preaching, which is, nor is there salvation in any other name, for there is no other name by which we must be saved. Well, regardless, she was filled with an unholy spirit, an impure spirit, a dangerous spirit, both to the soul and the flesh, says, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.

That's what she said. They're telling us how to be saved, these guys. She echoed what they were preaching. They didn't need her to do that. They didn't want her to do that.

They certainly did not need to have her validate what they were saying because she was a local, therefore she can endorse them. There's a problem. And if allowed to continue, their message and the perception of their ministry would have been corrupted. The devil infiltrates churches just like he infiltrates the hearts of anybody he can. And he does it by gaining trust.

He comes in and he nests and he sounds, the words that he says sound like they're true until you begin to press the matter. And an alliance with evil is corruption of good. And so Paul will write, had already written the Galatians, a little leaven, a little bit of corruption, a little bit of that thing that will spread and take over, ruins the entire thing.

A little leaven leavens the whole lump. That is a doctrinal position. And if you think that, oh no, as long as they put Jesus' name on it and I feel good about it, it's okay.

No, it's not. What's the Bible say about it? You have people rolling around on the floor barking like a dog saying this is the Holy Spirit. Somebody ought to throw ice water on them. First off, who's getting the attention when they start such theatrics? Is Christ now the center of attention in that assembly or are they? Yeah, but it feels good. May the Lord rebuke that spirit. If that's your criteria, if that's your criteria for truth and obedience and serving Christ that it feels good, you're out of line because this caning that they're about to receive ain't going to feel good. And what did they do to deserve it? They confronted the culture of the world that is in opposition to Christ. Who needs Christ if men can create cultures that are acceptable to God?

Well, they can't. Paul couldn't put his finger on it, but this irritated him, verse 18. And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the Spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that very hour.

And she did this for many days. Even the great apostle was hard to determine sometimes who's demon-possessed and who's just evil and who's just dumb, who's well-meaning but wrong, who's right. So it's not always black and white. King Manasseh, look at the evil he did, but there's no mention of him being demon-possessed. He's just evil. And yet he has this lass messing with the preaching. That's the devil's work. The devil, you know, he has his people that can inflict harm like, you know, your Adolf Putins and things like that. But he also has those that can just come and spoil the gospel.

And that's the one he values the most. And so this is a righteous irritation. But Paul, after many days, greatly annoyed. It's like, duh, I should have got this.

This is the devil. And once he comes to that realization, he acts upon it. It can annoy a pastor when believers are wowed by ministries in Jesus' name that do not adhere to Jesus' word. And it does annoy a pastor when they say, oh, you've got to just read this book. You've got to see this. You've got to do this. I don't have to do any of that.

I might, but I don't have to. And pastors, they are often turned on for not putting up with such things. As somebody would have said, what could be wrong with that? She's preaching to God. He's helping them.

No, she is not. Today, the news media would spin this whole thing to say that Jews come into town and take the livelihood of a hardworking man. And then that's how they would have spun it. Well, anyway, it says that he turned and said to the spirit. Now notice, he's speaking to the spirit, not the girl.

When Jesus raised the little girl from the dead, he said, little girl, I command you, rise again. This, being the antithesis, he has a lass who is demon-possessed, practicing channeling the spirit world, speaking through her. And Paul addresses the spirit, the demon. When demons told the truth about Jesus, Jesus told them to be quiet. The actual Greek is to put a muzzle on it. You get this picture of this demon putting a muzzle on.

Well, I do. Mark 1, the demon speaks, let us alone. They still say this.

Go somewhere and preach Christ. They're going to try to get you to leave them alone, in one way or another. He said, what have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? I would love to have heard their tone. Was there a disgust in that tone, mixed with fear?

Because, you know, they're quite obnoxious. At times, Christ threw demons out of people. Before they did, they threw the lad into the fire as sort of a parting shot. He says, did you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. But, Jesus rebuked him, saying, be quiet and come out of him. I'm not talking to you.

You need to get lost. And that should be largely our response. God does not want to hear anything a demon has to say about anything, sports or God, whatever it may be. And neither should we. We shouldn't, oh no, this is so fascinating. We don't study about pagans and cults and things like that, just to satisfy our fascination.

We do it, if we do it at all, is to be not versed enough to deal with people caught in that stuff. He says, I command you in the name of Jesus, in verse 18, Jesus of Nazareth to come out of her, and he came out that very hour. Exercising the evil spirit cut the source, silenced the source. He went right to it. The devil must not be allowed to preach Christ without the people of Christ rising up against him. That is what we are supposed to do. And letting the devil tell the truth is in no way a victory.

Because, again, sooner or later, he's going to pounce, as promised. Zerubbabel, when he led the Jews back to Israel, one group, and they took on the building of the temple, the adversaries, which is Satan, spiritually, the adversaries of the Jews wanted to join them in building the temple. Zerubbabel says, beat it. I should read that, Ezra chapter 4. It pays to memorize where the verses and books are, that after Chronicles, second one, there's Ezra, right on schedule.

And this is what the story says. Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of Yahweh, God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of their father's houses and said to them, let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do. And we have sacrificed to him since the days of Eshadon, the king of Assyria, brought us here. But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the father's houses of Israel said to them, you may do nothing with us to build a house for our God, but we alone will build the Lord Yahweh's house in Israel as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, has commanded. And so what Zerubbabel is saying, you guys are false believers.

You're Samaritans. You've been brought in by the Assyrians to the northern, which once was the northern kingdom, and you have a fake religion. And you're trying to boast to us that we sacrificed to you. You're not sacrificed to the same God. You say you are, but you're not, because the scripture has laid out how you're supposed to sacrifice and how you're supposed to live, and you're not doing it. And this kind of attitude is lacking in many a well-meaning Christian. And I think usually the key, the key to having no discernment are emotions unchecked.

If it just feels good, that is not an excuse. Acts chapter 8, Simon the sorcerer tried to pull a similar thing. Sell me this Holy Spirit. And what did Peter say, aside from, you know, your poison and bitterness and bound in iniquity? He says, you have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. You don't care how the person feels about that. A rebuke is meant to hurt, because the person is doing something that is that harmful to others and even themselves. So let's just briefly talk about possession.

I see we're almost out of time. And oppression. Christians can be oppressed by demonic forces.

Not possessed, but oppressed. Satan can mess with your head, give you abnormal fears, anxieties, and you can either resist those things and continue on, or you can not resist and be halted. Paul writes and says, and I, lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. And so there's an outward attack of Satan on Paul.

It wasn't internal. Paul is, of course, in no way possessed. Well, verse 19, But when her masters saw that the hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. Well, money was more important in principle with these people. In fairness to them, and not justifying it for a moment, they didn't see a problem with a person being a channel for a spiritual realm. They had no problem with that. And why would they? Unless someone comes along and explains it to them. Now, only twice in the book of Acts do we read about Gentiles spearheading the attack on the church, on Christians.

And both times, it is money related. Demetrius will meet him later. Here at Philippi is one, and then in Ephesus with Demetrius is another one. And so there were those that were more interested in their profit and loss than the person's eternal state. Now, another interesting thing is Paul could stop a demon from corrupting the message, but he couldn't stop men from beating him. Christianity is not a magic wand. Verse 20, And they brought them to the magistrates and said, These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city.

So Satan drops what we call the race card to stir up local government to do the dirty work. This may explain why Timothy, Luke, and Titus and others who are with Paul are not arrested and abused, because they're not viewed as Jews. Certainly Titus and Luke were not, and Timothy, of course, being partial. So, Jews being uncommon in this region. These are devout Romans, loyal to Rome, and they did not like the monotheism of Judaism, that this one God and all your gods are fake, and they didn't care for the Jewish lifestyle. Verse 21, continuing with the charges, And they teach customs were not lawful for us being Romans. Well, I'm going to have to speed this a little bit.

I'd give you, I don't like doing this, but it fits here. Here's three things about a clash with Christ and culture, Christ versus culture. God is never out of style. He does not change because there's nothing about him that needs improvement or alterations. He will not conform to anyone. And so number one, in this clash of Christ versus culture, God is never out of style, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And if he had to develop, he's not good enough to be our God, but he is good enough. The second one is error remains error, no matter how popular it is in a culture. Man can write laws that are sin. Well, we have one now where you're saying, you know, people of the same sex can be married. Well, error remains error, regardless of how popular it is to people. And we can say, you know, we really don't care for your laws, but we care about your soul.

And that's why we're telling you this. You can like it or you could lump it, but either way, you're going to stand before the Lord. The third one is God's word does not cave into those in conflict with its demands. God doesn't say, Oh, you didn't care for that one? You should have no other gods before me. You didn't like that. You want to have other gods?

Well, okay, well, let's work with this. He does not do that. Contrary to culture, the gospel of Christ has no respect for what people come up with about God, about Christ, about his word, about his church. Things that belong to him do just that. And because he doesn't come down and start punching people in their noses, they think they're getting away with it. And nobody gets away with it. And every cemetery preaches that to people. When the word is mixed with the world, when the world is mixed with Christianity, it instantly becomes an official act of leaven.

Instantly, it is corruption going on. God is never impressed by man-made religions and that offends many people outside and offends many churchgoers. He's not impressed by man-made religions nor is he impressed by the man-made morals. Morals are the mores, the laws of man.

There are good ones and there are bad ones. There are biblical ones, there are non-biblical ones. Truth is irreconcilable and intolerant of falsity and the light and darkness cannot dwell together. So again, what is legal with men may be sinful to God. Verse 22, Then the multitude rose up together against them and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. Well, the magistrates didn't tear off the magistrates clothes. They tore off the clothes of the disciples because they wanted the open flesh to feel the sting of the cane. Later, Paul were right. Three times I was beaten with rods.

This is one of them. Once I was stoned, and he doesn't mean with beverage, three times I was shipwrecked. A night and a day I have been in the deep and that's before the shipwreck that takes place in Acts chapter 27.

This man is, to hell, this man was a monster. And of course, to the Christian and to God, he is a messenger. And God singles out the messenger to the messenger of the church at Ephesus, to the messenger of the church at Sardis, to the messenger of the church. Each church, the pastor is singled out and held accountable first. If he is allowing some Jezebel in the congregation, like Thyatira was doing, God's going to deal with him and God's going to deal with that congregation too. Verse 23, and when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

Here's the participation prize. He participated in Christianity and he gets beaten. Now the jailer is under orders to place them in maximum security, which you say, why? What did they do wrong?

Well, they went against the culture. Verse 24, having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in stocks. He kept them bound. What was Luke and Timothy and Titus and the rest of them doing when this was happening?

It's an easy one. What would you be doing? Praying. That's what they did. Were their prayers answered?

Well, we're going to find out they were, next chapter, next section. Let's pray. Now, Father, that we would be strong enough to stand against any culture that stands against you, that we would have nerve enough to say, no, I don't believe in that, that we would be strong enough to say, I disagree with that, that we would be faithful enough to say, I side with God. 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 / 2023-02-24 06:56:17 / 2023-02-24 07:05:41 / 9

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