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Receiving Correction (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2024 6:00 am

Receiving Correction (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 2, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Some churchgoers think it is their duty to interfere, to intrude, to irritate.

I don't know if they are conscious of it on one hand, but on the other hand you say, how can they not be? What is the antidote to being that person that when you come in the room the temperature drops two degrees? What is the antidote? Or to try to be Christ-like all the time? Just the pursuit of trying to be like Christ will heighten your level of Christianity. We are in the book of Acts chapter 18 verses 24 through 26. Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.

So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Receiving correction, that's one of the focal points of this morning's consideration. There we just read about Apollos, a man who was very much knowledgeable of Scripture receiving correction. This kind of correction, as read in verse 26, was constructive because it was necessary, and it is a bonus that it was well received. Most of us do not care to be corrected.

We don't care for correction of any kind. Even if it is helpful, it carries a sting. Maybe you pronounce a word the wrong way and someone corrects you, and they're right. There's nothing you can say but the word the right way, and yet there's a little sting. You're grateful, but you wish you didn't make the mistake. Proverbs 15 gets right to the point on this one. Well, actually Proverbs 12, but let me give you 15 first. Proverbs 15 verse 12, a scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise. Well, we either grow up and accept that there's a price attached to perfection, or we bristle up and make others pay for our imperfection. We've got to think these things through, and the Bible makes us do these things if we come to it in earnest, if we decrease that the Lord could increase.

It's a very clever system that God has. You can read the Scripture and let the Scriptures correct you, or you can neglect the Scripture and wait for someone else to correct you. I prefer to be corrected by the Lord through the Scripture. Etiquette, just learn things. So maybe you're in a meeting, your cell phone rings. Well, if you answer that phone in that meeting, everybody else has got to stop and wait for you and try not to act like they're listening to what you're saying or judging you, like, why don't you leave the room? How do you deal with these things? Somebody's got to pull you aside and say, you know, maybe it'd be better to take it in the hallway or something.

Then you have the risk of losing a friend, somebody resenting being called out, even if gently. But that's not the case with Apollos, but here's a proverb that really gets to the point on this subject of receiving correction. Proverbs 12, verse 1, whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. It says it right there.

That's what it says. Of course, it's not everyone's place to correct others. Some tend to think so. But is it not easier to criticize somebody than to think? Isn't it just easier to just, you know, why'd they do that? Some people make a career out of judging everybody else and criticizing them. Isn't it easier to feel than to reason? A lot of problems are created.

Sacred cows are still born to this day. There are things that you can't touch is wrong, but you can't say anything about it because the feelings have already decided that this is something that needs to be propped up when the Bible doesn't agree with them. In fact, it often disagrees with them.

Correction should improve performance, and that is exactly what it did with Apollos. It improved how he served the Lord. Proverbs, again, chapter 9, is something very suggestive about the Lord saying, I'm going to give you a book of wise sayings. I don't think you should go through life without these wise sayings. Proverbs, so here's the third one. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you. Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. That's a sharp contrast between the two.

Which one are you? When someone corrects you, do you scoff? Do you begin to resent the correction?

Of course, there's a right way and a wrong way. Aquila and Priscilla did it the right way, and when we get to that verse, we return to the proper way and an improper way. The religious elite of the days that Christ walked, he called out their sin, and they resented him for it, killed him for it. That's how deep their resentment ran.

Correction did not appeal to them, and they were in dire need of this correction. Here's what the Lord told his disciples to do with such people. Matthew 15, 1, let them alone. A lot of people don't like such sayings. Why are you withholding the gospel? You've got to say something.

You have to be led by the Holy Spirit. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind, and if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch. They can't handle correction. They are wrong. They know they are wrong, and they don't want to hear it. They scoff at it, and as the proverb says, they hated him for it.

Well, that's the foundation work for when we get to Apollos. It was an interesting character. Verse 18, so Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

Now, we're going back a little bit. He's leaving Corinth. He will return to Corinth, and he takes Priscilla and Aquila with him.

Verse 11 tells us that Paul remained in Corinth. It says, teaching the word of God among them for 18 months. I have noticed a lot of Christians don't want to be taught the word of God. They just have enough.

They know the main points, and they're good. This is not what the Bible teaches, and it's disappointing, but it is a fact. There are others, of course, that loved the word of God and are very much interested in what Scripture has to say, and those men appointed to teach the word. Here in verse 18, where it says, so Paul still remained a good while, that still remained a good while statement suggests an extended stay beyond the 18 months. That's what it takes to build and establish a church before he leaves. It says in verse 18, then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria. Well, that's where his home church was, an Antioch, but he left a solid and strong church, a promising church.

When he writes to them later, he makes this comment about them. In 1 Corinthians 1, verse 7, he says, you came short and no gift. You had the gift of the Holy Spirit, the teaching, the discernment, and so many gifts they had. Not everyone. Not everyone there. Like the church at Laodicea, they were hot with the wrong things, lukewarm with the word of God.

See, in Laodicea, they boasted about we are rich and wealthy and we have need of nothing. They weren't lukewarm about that. When it came to the things of Scripture, to the things of God, they were apathetic. And the Lord said, you nauseate me with this kind of stuff.

And he was kind enough to tell them, to correct them, to give them a chance to say, that's right, what shall I do to be saved? Anyway, this church that came short and no gift would suffer damage. This because of abusive Christians, not necessarily towards each other, though some of that was going on too. But they were shallow, many of them, they were bitter, they were irrational influences inside the church. But let's not forget, there were also good people there, loving Christians, solid Christians. And Paul knew it. Some churchgoers think it is their duty to interfere, to intrude, to irritate.

I don't know if they are conscious of it on one hand, but on the other hand, you say, how can they not be? What is the antidote to being that person that when you come in the room, the temperature drops two degrees? What is the antidote? Well, to try to be Christ-like all the time. Just the pursuit of trying to be like Christ will heighten your level of Christianity.

Paul later wrote at least three letters to this church, two of them have survived, 1st and 2nd Corinthians as we know them today. And each of the three had to do with conflict, with precepts. What are precepts? They're rules. Yeah, you can't win with rules. Some will say, you know, you got too many rules, then at the same breath they will say, why doesn't somebody do something about it? But you have to.

This defense protects you from falling off the edge. The precepts that belong to the church are not something we should whine about. It's not legalistic to uphold New Testament commandments, it's obedient. And it's unfortunate that when some folks are corrected, they cry, legalism. It's grace in action. We want to improve it.

And we don't look to do this, and it shouldn't be going on all the time, but from time to time it does occur. Well, it says here that Priscilla and Aquila were with him. So he departs Corinth, he brings with them these two, Priscilla and Aquila, to Ephesus. He's going to leave them in Ephesus, but he left others in Corinth.

Solid leadership there. It says he had his hair cut off in Cenchrea. Well, that's a seaport about seven miles east of Corinth. It's like Corinth light. And Phoebe, Phoebe was that dear sister that took the letter to the Romans to the Romans.

And she was from Cenchrea. For he had taken a vow. Now again, not legalism, it's voluntary. There's no mandate, you have to do this if you want to get points with God. Paul decided there was something passionate enough, we're not told the details. That he wanted to take a vow. This sign for this vow was that his hair remained uncut until the vow was fulfilled.

I would do this, but I'd look like Bozo in about two weeks. So I don't take those kind of vows. Anyway, not every Old Testament action is against New Testament grace. If he wanted to take a vow similar to the Nazarite, he could.

With the exception of taking that ram to the temple to have that offered to consummate the vow. That part was not acceptable because Christ fulfilled all of the blood sacrifices. They were a type of his coming. They announced his ministry.

So much involved in that. I think one of the reasons why he may have taken this route was to signal to the Jews that he did esteem the Old Testament law as God's word. Because there was this conflict between the law of God in the scripture and rabbinical laws that came from them talking about scripture. When we get to Apollos, I think it's one of the things that separated him from many of the Jews of his day. He wasn't under rabbinical law, neither was John the Baptist. Paul had broken free from this and he said, I count those things as rubbish. He had graduated. He had gone to a higher level in his understanding of scripture and the God of scripture. Anyway, the Nazarite vow called for the hair to be cut at the temple door. Well, Paul is cutting it here in Synchria. There's a distinction there. He's 800 miles from the temple.

As I mentioned, the ram would be included. And vows again, there's nothing wrong with them. Just make sure you fulfill them. Sapphia and Ananias made a vow and they lied. And they were called out on it.

And it cost them their lives. Psalm 116 verse 14, I will pay my vows to Yahweh now in the presence of all his people. And so the integrity, if you said it, let your yes be yes, your no be no.

There's nothing shameful about that unless of course you begin to go back on it. Then the integrity breaks down. Now there are those that say in Paul's day, and this was rabbinical law, if you were to take such a vow and you couldn't get to the temple, you would cut your hair and you had 30 days to get to the temple and then offer it. Paul, I don't think he's interested in that rabbinical stipulation at all. That's not what the scripture said and that's why rabbinical Judaism was such a problem. It would make up these laws that the scripture wouldn't make up.

It became oppressive. Anyway, verse 19, and he came to Ephesus and left them there, but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. So he's going to leave Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus when he goes on making his trek to Antioch. He's going to go to Caesarea in Israel and then Jerusalem and then quickly up to Antioch. We'll come to that in a little bit. Two years ago, thereabout, he was forbidden from coming into this area with the gospel.

Well, clearly that prohibition has been lifted by the Lord. We'll get more on the city of Ephesus because it matters when we get to the 19th chapter. Hopefully next session we'll cover what he was up against in there. He ended up spending more time in Ephesus on record, at least as far as we know, than any other city. Ephesus was a very interesting, all Christians should be knowledgeable what happened in Ephesus.

I'm getting ahead of the sessions, but it's so important. They benefited from the teaching of Paul, of Apollos, of Timothy, of John the Apostle, and how did it end for them as far as we know? You left your first love.

That's how it went for them. Is there not a lesson in that? Be careful, Christian. How unqualified I am to serve the Lord. But that's not how he sees it.

He sees, yeah, you are unqualified, and this is for all of us. But I can overcome that. I can use you nonetheless. Satan will say, you're miserable, you're not worthy, and don't do it.

The Lord says, well, you are a sinner, and all your righteousness is his filthy rags. But I want to dwell with you, inside you, because I love you that much. I don't want to be without you. The Holy Spirit does not dwell on us to keep an eye on us.

I can't let you out of my sight. He's there because he's at home with the believer, because he sees beyond this life, the sin, the struggle. He sees the finished product, and he loves it. He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied, the prophet Isaiah said of him in Isaiah 53.

And he meant every word of it. The next time you think low of yourself, you remember that the Lord died for you, and he didn't have to, because he saw more to you than what you see, and what others see. Who is fit to stand in the pulpit?

None are worthy, no, not one, unless the Lord makes them so. And we call that anointing. Unction is the old word. He left them there, Quilla and Priscilla, and he himself taught in the synagogue. Always going where the assembly was. It was an audience. It just made perfect sense. What was he supposed to do?

Knock on the door of everybody in the city and repeat the, oh, it would be nice to have everybody together. Anyway, verse 20, when they asked him to stay longer, with them he did not consent. Here God is doing a work with the Ephesians, but he's also doing a work with Paul. And Paul knew that, and he would not be persuaded. No man, no beast, no building could change him to get him to disobey God. He knew what the Lord was telling him to do.

We get a snippet again, 2 Corinthians this time, chapter 1, verse 17. He says, the things I plan. Do I plan according to the flesh?

It's rhetorical. He's saying to the Corinthians, come on, you know me. Do you think I just ignore God or do I consult him? Do I lay everything out before him and then act upon that?

Of course I do. And so when he tells these Ephesians, listen, I have got to go, he's telling them because he's led to go. And he will not be browbeaten. He will not have anybody make him feel guilty. He will do what God has told them to do, and hopefully there will be no problem.

And there shouldn't be. When we get to chapter 20, Luke and the prophet Agabus comes up, don't go to Jerusalem. They're going to harm you there. And Paul says, what do you mean breaking my heart like this, crying and all this about me? I'm ready to die in Jerusalem.

And he almost did. So this man Paul, this just does so many things to learn from how he did business and the others. Nothing in Scripture is about a single person. It's about us and those in every generation, before us and should the Lord tarry after us. Well, in verse 21 now of Acts 18, But took leave of them, that means he left, saying, I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem.

I will return again to you, God willing. And he sailed from Ephesus. Now, many Bible commentators take this and associate it with the vow he made of cutting his hair off. Well, he's going to Jerusalem to offer the vow.

I don't think that's necessary. It doesn't say that. It says he had the vow. He cut off his hair. He's moving on with his life. He's going to Jerusalem. He's determined to get there. Well, one of the reasons why he would be determined to get there is because travel season by ship, it gets rough from September to November. After that until February, you don't go in the water, not in deep sea. And so part of the rush would be, I have to make it before this window for travel closes.

Sort of like Antarctica, you know, in the wintertime there, the more you're stuck, unless it's an emergency. Anyway, multitudes would be gathering in Jerusalem for whatever feast this is, and the opportunities to reach the Jews would abound. Paul was a man of letters. In other words, he'd write letters, not thinking about his credentials. And who knows what interaction he had with people in Jerusalem.

But evidently, there was something that was pressing upon him and kept secret from us. It says, but I will return again to you, God willing, and he sailed from Ephesus. Subject to the will of the king.

That's what he says. I'd love to come back if God lets me. And apparently, they were fine with this. Well, God did let him.

God did will. And as I mentioned, his longest stay in any city recorded in Scripture was in this city of Ephesus. Verse 22, and when he had landed in Caesarea and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. Well, the Jewish Christians in Caesarea, this is Caesarea by the Mediterranean Sea as opposed to inland Caesarea Philippi, this was solid church. They didn't give them a hard time. The Jerusalem Christians, on the other hand, a whole other story.

The dynamics were different. This was a famous seaport. Philip had ministered there. Peter had led the household of Cornelius to Christ there. Anyway, it says, and gone up and greeted the church and went down to Antioch.

Now, a Jew or a Gentile familiar with the Jews would have understood what that meant. That means he went to Jerusalem, and then he went to Antioch. Jerusalem was physically elevated.

You had the Hinnom Valley and the Kidron Valley. It was elevated. But if you were to travel as a righteous Jew, if you were to travel from Jerusalem to Mount Everest, you would say, I'm going down to Mount Everest. If you were traveling from Mount Everest to Jerusalem, you'd say, I'm going up to Jerusalem.

It wasn't a matter of physical location. The temple of the Lord was in Jerusalem, and that elevated its status above every other city. And so when he says that, here in verse 22, he landed in Caesarea, okay, he's going south now to Jerusalem, but it says he'd gone up. And then he greeted the church in Jerusalem and went down to Antioch.

Well, Antioch is north, 300 miles north. There's that elevated place in the heart of the Jew of Jerusalem. Psalm 137, verse 5, if I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. That is to say, if I forget you, let me starve.

Because the right hand, the skill is the breadwinner. How is it going to sustain themselves? And so the Jewish readers understood the meaning of this, and here we are in the New Testament, and the New Testament states still understand that Jerusalem is a big deal to God. It should be a big deal to us. And it will be a big deal into the Millennial Kingdom. To this day, we look at Jerusalem and we say, look at that prophecy fulfilled.

Who else has got anything like this? Nobody. Nobody got it. So, it's just a very sweet thing about our Christianity. This Jerusalem visit, however, uneventful. It won't be next time.

Next time he gets arrested there. Well, to Antioch, that's his home church, and they knew how to be a church, Antioch. Not all churches current had its problems.

Laodicea, Thyatira, the other ones, they had their problems. But this church, Antioch, always standing foursquare behind this man, Paul. You have to love that church.

We have no apostolic letter written to the church at Antioch because none was needed. There are these churches, for example, in the New Testament that are stellar. Antioch, of course, Philippi, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Rome. The church in Rome, I mean, Paul said, I want to come to you. I want to bless you. And then he just goes rattling off teachings, and you have to love that. Caesarea, that he stopped off in.

Thessalonica, these are churches that have no demerit marked against them, and that's not true of many of the others. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 09:42:21 / 2024-01-02 09:52:18 / 10

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