Share This Episode
Cross Reference Radio Pastor Rick Gaston Logo

Receiving Correction (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2024 6:00 am

Receiving Correction (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1132 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

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

January 3, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

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. 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 his message called Receiving Correction. Today, he'll be teaching in Acts chapter 18. Now, there are those that say in Paul's days, 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 through 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 that, yeah, you are unqualified. 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'll be no problem.

And there shouldn't be. It's not, the people, 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 and, 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 on 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's 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, and 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 and 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, Corinth, had its problems and Laodicea, Thyatira, or 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 starts, I want to come to you. I want to bless you.

And then he just goes rattling off teachings and you just 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. Even Colossae. Gnostics were sneaking into the church at Colossae. Paul had probably not gone to that city.

It was a small city, and he did target the bigger cities, and wisely so. But they had a problem, and they let Paul know. And Paul wrote the Colossian letter. It was a beautiful letter that let no one steal from you through the philosophies of men.

What Christ has given to you. Again, something that many Christians seem to just dismiss. They ask the world, how should we be Christians? Maybe you say, I've never seen that. Well, talk to me later.

I'll point some of them out to you. But remember, your sacred cow might be slain in that conversation. Sacred cow is something that people have put on a pedestal and you can't touch it. And God has not put it there. In fact, he's condemned it. And that's sacred cows.

They're still born to this day. I'll come back to some of that maybe. Verse 23. And he had spent some time there. He departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. So he leaves Antioch. He spent some time in his home church, and he goes to, again, the region of Galatia and Phrygia in that order.

What's he doing? Strengthening the believers. Do you know how easy it is for a pastor to beat the sheep, always tell them what they're doing wrong? Because it's easy. Not that it's not true, but that's not the solution. In fact, that's not the way to do it. Sometimes you have to.

The scripture, when you come across it in scripture, it demands it. And we all take our medicine and grow stronger because of it. We all do something wrong. I get everything right.

That's my problem. Yeah, I wish. Anyway, this is his third outreach, the beginning of the third time that he's going out into the world. And with a stroke of Luke's pen, 1,500 miles are covered in verses 21 to 23. When he leaves Antioch, he goes to Galatia, he goes into Phrygia. I mean, and then he continues.

We're going to come to that in a minute. But here he is in Sancria, Ephesus, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Phrygia, and Macedonia. Those are the 15 miles in just three verses. Now, he enjoyed a victory with the Galatian church. He had earlier, three years earlier about, wrote to them the Galatian letter. And he was saying, who's bewitched you, having begun in the spirit of you, now being made perfect by your own self-will because you like this and you like that. But you're not listening to God.

He called them out on some, he said to them things like, because I tell you the truth, am I your enemy now? Well, he won. The church is still receiving him. The churches are still there. We need victories.

We want to see victories. Well, there's a big one. Verse 24, now a certain Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, not Virginia, incidentally, an eloquent man and mighty in the scriptures came to Ephesus. See that mighty in the scriptures?

Getting a little ahead of myself. That means he was not under rabbinical Judaism. He was under scripture and that's big deal. John the Baptist was priest by birth. We never read of him ministering in the temple because it was infested with rabbinical Judaism. The rabbi is saying how they should live when Moses never said these things.

And of course the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus just viscerates rabbinical Judaism and they were against him for it. Anyway, here in verse 24, the narrator, Luke, gives us a glimpse into the absence of Paul from Ephesus. We go back to Ephesus where he left Priscilla and Aquila and Luke says, let me just tell you what was happening there because this is a pretty big deal, how it was handled and we can all learn from this. But first let's talk about the city that this man, Apollos, was born in.

Even though he's named after a pagan god, his life is jettisoned that, any connection to that. This Alexandria was on Egypt's Nile Delta, the bread basket. Rome got much of her food from here. The second largest city in the Roman Empire, very well developed. Famous for its lighthouse, one of the wonders of the world. Famous for its museum and famous for its library. Over 700,000 volumes were in their library. It all burned up. Some believe a jealous librarian burned it up from another city but we won't go into that. Anyway, a large Jewish colony there. Now this is very important to us too. It is said in New Testament times that a third of the population of this big city was Jewish.

Well, what did that do for anyone? Well, they gave us the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament Hebrew Bible into Greek. That's the Septuagint. Jesus would have used the Septuagint. He would have used also the Hebrew. But he used the Septuagint. Now, versions of the Bible is not synonymous with contradictions.

Just because you have your version, I have my version. When we talk about most things in conversation, we mean we don't agree. But that's not how it is with the Bible. We have different versions of the dictionary. But knucklehead means knucklehead in whatever dictionary you use. So there's no contradiction.

Not automatic. So, I mean, you can go online and you find the 1875 translation. You've got all these different, not translation, dictionary. Although, if you get a dictionary from 1950 and you look up the word gay, it does not mean what the language hijackers have done to the word gay.

Now, if you say, I was happy and gay, people are like, whoa, what do you mean? But that's not a contradiction. That's the evolution of language, which should also tell us the monumental task that translators are faced with when they come to the existing documents and translate them into a language.

It's quite a challenge and they do pretty good. Very good, as a matter of fact. Anyway, he was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures like me came to Ephesus.

Well, it doesn't say that, but it would say that if I was living then. Just seeing who's gullible and who's not, right? You can't mean that. He's arrogant.

Sorry again. Anyway, he was an effective public speaker. Well, there have been many of them and he was one. His eloquence strongly appeals to the Corinthians and they're going to make a problem with that.

He became very popular in Corinth to a fault. You had people saying, well, I'd really like Apollo's more than Paul. Well, I still like Paul more than Apollo's. Yeah, well, I like Peter.

Well, Rick's better than all of them. And that's what the kind of stuff was going on there. And Paul had to drag this out in the line and say, stop this.

Who are you people? I didn't leave that kind of church there. The popularity contest caused divisions and it nested in that church. And his lessons, you know, people act so surprised when a Christian church did that.

What do you grow up? Look what Aaron did. Aaron making a golden calf. There's war.

There's a spiritual war going on. It doesn't mean you approve it, but don't act like, oh, it's so shocking. Anyway, verse 25, 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. You see what a gentleman Luke is? He doesn't say here's what he got wrong. He just kind of gives us an overview and he doesn't give us the dirty details. And he's not the only one that, in the gospels we have similar things.

People, they're not trying to air laundry, but they are trying to make and preserve a critical point. This is 20 years or so after the crucifixion and resurrection. There is no New Testament Bible as we know it.

There are some, the James letter may be around, the Thessalonians, the Galatian letter, but they're not yet centralized. They're not put into a volume known as the Bible. Really their Bible at this point was just the Old Testament and the New Testament was evolving.

And there's nothing wrong with that word evolve, not the evolution of the species. That's a religion, not a science. It pretends to be a science, but really it's a religion.

Islam pretends to be a religion, but really it's a political entity. Anyhow, coming back to this, it says here that he was fervent of spirit. Fervent in spirit.

Well, he was passionate, but he was missing parts. You can be passionate and wrong about something. Just because you're zealous doesn't mean you're automatically correct. In fact, you can win a debate and be wrong. Just the other side couldn't find it.

Just because you win a debate doesn't mean you're right. Still will come down to truth. Well, where else do we see this? Someone that is passionate about God, knowledgeable of the Old Testament, but still missing something. Well, we do see some of it in the apostles before Pentecost. They were fervent, but they lacked that fuller experience of the Holy Spirit.

And there are a few moving parts with this because Luke doesn't give us too much information, so you've got to tread a little lightly here. The fact is he's lacking, and it's linked to the baptism. Absent from Apollos was that God-given element that opens up the deeper understanding of Jesus Christ, of the Jewish Messiah, who is also the anointed for Gentiles, if they would receive him. He's everybody's Messiah. Everyone's Christ who comes to him.

Jesus said, I will in no way turn them down, those who come to him. He spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord. Well, he's a redeemed Old Testament believer in New Testament times at this point, and he's going by the scripture, not rabbinical Judaism.

That's big for those days. Teaching the Old Testament scripture without the rabbis, as did John the Baptist. But it is hard to imagine. Now, many commentators will come along, good commentators too, and they'll say, well, he did not have knowledge of the crucifixion, the resurrection, and Pentecost. Well, that's a tough one for me. It would be hard to imagine by this point anyone who did not hear about the crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection in Jewish circles.

But it is possible. He certainly did not have Pentecost or an understanding, so I kind of have to leave that out there because we just don't have the exact information. In fact, in chapter 28 when Paul gets to Rome and he starts engaging the Jewish people there in the synagogue, this is what they say to him. We desire to hear from you what you think, for concerning this sect we know that it is spoken against everywhere. And what we get out of that is that in these days, and it's not too far from a few years from this event here, the knowledge of Jesus as Messiah had spread in Jewish circles, and they were still classifying Christianity as a sect of Judaism when we are not a sect of Judaism. We're completely independent of Judaism, though our origins are in Judaism. Old Testament, I should make that distinction. Old Testament teachings.

Because when you say Judaism, you imply the rabbi's influence, and that has nothing to do with Christianity. Anyway, it says, though he knew only the baptism of John. Well, John's baptism, what was that? Well, he called the Jews to repent and to submit to Old Testament teachings. That's what John's ministry was all about.

And to demonstrate that, he called for public cleansing. You'd go and get baptized. It's not the same as Christian baptism. The same idea in the sense of drawing close to God, wanting God, wanting to obey, but not identical. It drew the Jews to obedience according to revelation and not teachings of men.

But it did not develop. John's understanding of the water baptism did not develop into the Holy Spirit baptism, and John knew that. And so we read in 1 John, John the apostle, writing about John the baptizer, I did not know him, John the baptizer speaking.

I did not know him speaking of Jesus, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. 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 / 2024-01-03 09:33:42 / 2024-01-03 09:43:38 / 10

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