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The Darling Church (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 8, 2024 6:00 am

The Darling Church (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 8, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Baptism and Communion say something big happened on earth and in heaven and we are a part of it. The death, the resurrection, the ascension of Christ, but there's more. The inclusion of believers. What good would the death of Christ have been and the resurrection and the ascension if he didn't save souls? He didn't just come and, you know, to show off. Look at me, I can beat death.

He did beat death. Our last enemy, the Bible says. 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. Now let's join Pastor Rick in Acts chapter 8 as he continues his message, The Darling Church. The Samaritans, you remember them from Acts chapter 8? Well, they became believers and were told in chapter 8 verse 14 through 17 that they also lacked the Holy Spirit till the apostles came up. Paul himself in Acts chapter 9 verse 17, after his conversion three days later before the Spirit came upon him. And Ananias went his way and entered the house and laying his hands on him, he said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came has sent me to you that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it's at the same time, sometimes it's not.

When Cornelius gets saved, him and his household, they start speaking in tongues right away. You can't put God in a box and get away with it. Your doctrine does not always have to catch up with your understanding. That's kind of a odd thing. You say, well, that makes me scratch my head.

Well, let me put it this way. There will be multitudes in hell that did not believe in the doctrine of hell. They didn't believe hell existed. And yet there they are because they resisted the Christ, who they were told existed. And so your doctrine, your articulation of it is not, you know, when Cornelius gets the gospel and he starts speaking in tongues, how much doctrine did he not know? Almost all of it. That's why he himself has given some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers.

For the edification, for the equipping of the saints, for the body of Christ, there's a purpose behind these things. With some folks, it's instant. With others, it's not.

And one should not think less of the other. So it is this third experience, the Spirit coming upon them that they lacked. And as I mentioned, a Christian may be filled with the Holy Spirit without understanding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. But there they are.

So that brings up some questions. Did Sapphira and Ananias claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Now, those of you who are Bible veteran students, you understand, Sapphira and Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit.

Oh, we're going to donate this much money to you. And then they don't. And they were caught and paid the price. Can I be saved if I'm not immersed in the Spirit?

Yes. Not ideal, but that's what these Ephesians were that we're dealing with. They were saved. They're treated like believers. Can I be filled if I'm not saved?

Absolutely not. You must belong to Christ. John's Gospel, chapter 14, 17, and then Romans 8 and 9 make that clear. I would love to read the verses, but then we're out of time. Can I have been filled, then go on to lead a weak Christian life?

Yes. Ergo, Corinth. Not all of Corinth, but enough of it. Enough of that church. Paul said, you lack no spiritual gift, and yet they made a mess out of things with their infighting, their competitions, their displeasure. They are asserting themselves. They're striving instead of just coming to church and worshiping and serving. They had nothing to complain about. That didn't stop them from complaining. Because again, it's easier to complain than it is to think.

We need to stay ahead of that. So how do I know I've been immersed in the Spirit? Well, as you look at the New Testament, well, you love the Godhead. You love the Lord, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. You have a heart for the lost. You realize that you're not going to hell because of Jesus. You don't want other people to go to hell. You have a heart for saved people. It hurts you when you see someone who names Christ as Lord living carnally. You want to root for those who are struggling and who are growing. You want to pray for your pastors because you understand God has given them to the church, and they can't do it without prayer. You want to pray for your church, the body of believers.

What's the alternative to these things? Are they acceptable to you? If they are, I don't really have to love the Lord. I don't have to love the Savior. And you're not saved yourself, more than likely. You have a love for the Word of God because it is the voice of God.

It's not just some printed thing. It's in the mind of God for us. You love the Scripture. You care about truth. You appreciate grace and mercy.

And I don't know how you can get one without the other. Grace is God giving you things that are good that you don't deserve. Mercy is God withholding bad from you that you do deserve. Judgments, the mercy of God, that's all right.

You are forgiven. So these things, the appreciation of them goes beyond just a nodding the head. Yeah, that makes sense. It's an emotional something, even if it's not external.

Even if it's not outward, it's inward. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us one other thing. You have love. The very thing this darling church backslid from, though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, that's human speech and that's spiritual language.

But I have not love. I have become annoying to God. Well, it says I've become sounding brass and a clanging symbol.

Rather graphic. And if we brought in sounding brass and clanging symbols, you'd be covering your ears. Outward evidences of the Holy Spirit are imparted by the Spirit of God, and they cannot be faked. Well, they can be faked to humans and not to the Lord. And in time it will be pointed out. One other thing about being filled with the Holy Spirit, having the Spirit upon you, is that you're living for Jesus without him having to ask. It's just, I want to do this. God, the question is, does God still love me if I'm not filled?

Absolutely. If you're saved, like these Ephesians were, but you're not filled, they're still loved, otherwise he would not have sent Paul there. Just your usefulness is diminished greatly. You're not very useful to God. And a lot of Christians think that because they've acknowledged the Lord Jesus, that how come I'm not doing anything more?

How come I'm just sort of a, just, just existing? Well, then come up to prayer and ask the pastors to pray for you. That's the New Testament pattern. And if you say you're too proud to do that, well, that's more evidence the Spirit's not upon you. Pride is not a virtue, this kind of pride, in the Christian life.

So, should I ask to be filled? Well, I'll let Jesus answer that. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father will give you, how much more your Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. See, it's an invitation. If Christ gave me an invitation and I could do it, I would jump on it. Well, if he's going to give you an invitation, it doesn't always mean you can do it, but it does mean go to strive for it, and Peter would be an example of that. Peter asked to come out on the water, and the Lord says, sure, come on out, water's fine. Being spilled with the Spirit does not mean I no longer struggle in my faith. Evidence of that is Peter and Barnabas, up in a church at Antioch, slipping backwards in their understanding of the faith and not wanting to be around the Gentiles when the Jews came up. The Jews from Jerusalem, not the Jews that were up in Antioch already. And so Peter and, of course, Barnabas, men filled with the Holy Spirit, the Bible tells us right out they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet there they are behaving as two goofballs.

Don't we all? So they said to him, we have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. I'm in verse two. Well, these were days of transition. There's still days of transition here at the time this was taking place. When Jesus walked, there was no church as we know it. There was the called out ones, the saints, but not the formal assembly in Christ, taking communion, being baptized in his name. That did not exist when Christ walked.

And this is a transition phase still 20 years later. I am immersed into Christ by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that when I become a believer, I am in Christ, but I am not automatically filled with the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12, 13, for by one Spirit, we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greek slaves or free, all have been made to drink into one Spirit.

That is conversion. But there's another experience. And again, there are others that don't preach this. I don't think you're going to hear this in an Episcopal church. I'm immersed in the Holy Spirit by Christ as a separate experience. See, my conversion is the Holy Spirit immersing me into Christ in a language we can understand. But this is what Jesus says in John chapter seven.

He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, you don't go making up things about him, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this he spoke concerning the Spirit, John adds this, whom those believing in him would receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. So God has an order to how he does things and he reveals it.

And we have to learn and train ourselves to line up with it, even if we don't like it, because we picked up something somewhere else. Maybe you've gone to a church and say, well, water baptism is not that important. Yeah, well, maybe it's not critical for salvation. But all in the New Testament, it was an urgent deal. Nowhere in the New Testament was, I don't know, I'll think about it. If you are a Christian, you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Savior, it is your duty to get water baptized.

It's not an option. It's, you know, like, well, do you have it without nuts? No, it's formal. So verse three, and he said to them, into what then were you baptized? So they said, into John's baptism.

It's not that the inflection is not, well, what on earth? It wasn't that kind of tone, but he wanted to know, well, then what happened here? What is your understanding?

And they went no further than that. John preached confession of sin according to the Old Testament. John's baptism was a Jewish baptism to repentance. Jesus' baptism is one of death to self and rebirth to God. That's one of the great differences between the two.

And there are others. The apostles were immersed at the birth of the church. They were immersed at the birth of the church at Pentecost. Well, before this, Christ breathed on us and said, receive you the Holy Spirit, because he was always with them.

But now he's leaving. And he says, receive you the Spirit. But that's still before Pentecost. So they were believers. Of course, they were in union with God. But there was more. Acts chapter two, verse four, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues in the Spirit as the Spirit gave them utterance. There was nothing casual about these men after this moment. Before this time, they were just a little clumsy, didn't really get the scriptures too much.

After this, they were catapulted into another experience. Satan wouldn't stand for it. So what? He won't stand for it. That is not your cue to back down to Satan. He comes against every good relationship that he can get to. Be ready for him.

It doesn't mean he's an automatic winner. He gets defeated. The whole book of Job teaches us that Satan can be defeated by us in this life.

Not without God. Christian baptism and communion, both of those rites in the New Testament church, preached to the existing generation, something in history happened and it was big. On earth as it is in heaven. Baptism and communion say something big happened on earth and in heaven and we are a part of it. The death, the resurrection, the ascension of Christ.

But there's more. The inclusion of believers. What good would the death of Christ have been and the resurrection and the ascension if he didn't save souls? He didn't just come and, you know, sort of show off. Look at me, I can beat death.

He did beat death. Our last enemy, the Bible says. Then he invites us to be with him. And so if they had been baptized as Christians before, they would have known the Holy Spirit for the formula had been preached but they didn't get it. Verse four, then Paul said, John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance saying to the people that they should believe on him who would come after him, that is on Christ Jesus. So Paul had the gospel understanding before they were in print. See when they printed the gospels, it wasn't that they would just figure it out. They had been living it for all those years. Matthew's gospel might just be coming into circulation or Marx.

They didn't put a date on it. Anyway, Paul acknowledges their belief. He says, indeed, Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance. He's saying to them, you need to be re-baptized in the Savior's salvation. Now, I believe if you have been baptized and you become a backslider, you don't get baptized again. You don't, you need to just get your life right and move forward in the strength of the Lord.

And that happens quite often. But if you are baptized by, I don't know if the Jehovah witnesses do this or not, I don't want to know, but just using them as an example, because I don't like their doctrine. Neither does the New Testament, incidentally. If you were baptized there, you need to get re-baptized. You need to be baptized by people who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son, the Son of God. You can't say the Son of God without him being God the Son, because you can't say that about me.

I am a son of God, but I am not the Son of God. The covenant article means everything. And throughout the New Testament, water baptism is always characterized by a sense of urgency, eagerness, and excitement.

And it should be the same way with us. When someone says, have you been baptized? You say, water baptized and you're of age? I strongly believe that.

I don't think a two-year-old can, you know, really doesn't, kind of breaks down there. I think that you should be excited about it. Write my name down on that list and baptize me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in front of as many people as can see it. If we could just hack into television and the internet and block out everybody else and show our baptisms, would it be right?

Of course, no. The death, the resurrection, the ascension, it's all about Christ, but it is a benefit to me. And if I'm not in that picture, something is desperately wrong, we draw attention to Christ because of what he does for us.

And we try to not draw attention to ourselves because we want to shine the light on him. So John's baptism did not go far enough in its history or in its symbolism, life to death, the life over death, his baptism did not preach that. His baptism preached to the Jewish people that if you are a follower of the Old Testament scriptures, you need to get closer to God and admit you're a sinner and start fixing your life up. Well, we continue, saying to the people that they should believe on him who would come after him, that is to Christ. So he clarifies John's message and proclaims the lordship of Christ. And when Christ said, go into the world and make disciples of all nations, he's doing this. And then he says, Jesus does, in Matthew 28, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And that's what Paul's going to do. The personal and public confession of admitting, I don't belong to this world.

Keep your hands off me. We like to say to the world, it won't. I am dead to sin, but sin's not dead to me. Do we understand that?

I hope we do. I want to be perfect. I strive to be perfect. But I fail from time to time. In this age, again, driving is one of the best places to see what your faith is, where your weak points are, right?

Anyway, verse five, I have a question. Don't answer. Do any of you think you're a bad driver? Do bad drivers think they're bad drivers?

I've never heard somebody, you know, I'm such a bad driver. So is the other guy. Anyway, verse five, when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord. See, there it is.

No persuasion necessary. They heard the truth. They responded to it because they were already believers.

They were eager to go deeper in their faith. Verse six, when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now, a prophet, don't think every time you hear the word prophecy does not mean you're predicting the future. That's not the definition of prophecy. If you were reading the word of God out loud, it falls under that category. There are other types of prophecy, as there are types of love.

The love that you may have for a goldfish won't be the same love that you should have for your parents or your spouse or whoever it is that you do love. Nothing complicated about that. Complicated about that. But for these people, it was spiritually emotional. Their feelings were not out of control. They were under total control. They were allowed to let go. Some Christians cannot worship without letting go a little bit.

They're almost standing at attention. I don't know, I'm picking on anybody. I don't go around. Oh, look at that person. One of the beauties of knowing songs without reading them is you get to another level of worship. Not that the other levels are bad, but there are other levels. And if you know the words, you can out-shout the singers.

No, you don't do that. John's Gospel, chapter 14, verse 17, the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive. Remember, I mentioned to you, you can't receive the spirit if you're not a believer.

He continues, because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him, for he dwells with you, para, and will be in you, the en in the Greek. And then now we read here, the Holy Spirit came, the Greek, epi, upon them. So there's three different experiences there. They can all happen at once.

They can happen over a period of time. This removed any lingering doubts as to the necessity of having Jesus immerse you in the Holy Spirit. Remember John said, he baptizes you in the Holy Spirit and fire. And from Corinthians, it's the Holy Spirit baptizing you into Christ.

This is amazing. I don't know why it's not taught more often. And so they needed us to know Jesus Christ is crucified and alive and active, and that his promises, even through John, were fulfilled.

Now it's available. Verse seven, now the men were about 12 in all. This is a factual note. I don't know of any explicit implication to that, just there were about 12 of them, except to say, how come they weren't in this part of the synagogue? Verse eight, and he, that is Paul, went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

So he returns to this synagogue that in chapter 18 he had visited some time earlier. And now verse nine, and when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the way before the multitudes, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. So Paul said, fine, I'm not going to jam this down your throat.

You don't want to hear it, I'll go elsewhere. I'm not trying to convince you. The Holy Spirit convinces, convicts, we witness, and he did his witness. He's not going to share Christ with people who determine to reject the message. Now again, disciples here is applied to the believers, that's how Luke uses it, that consistency means something. And also, nothing casual about a deeper experience with Christ, but it comes with opposition. Matthew five, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

So we should never be surprised if somebody gives us a hard time. The church did not incidentally begin to meet in church buildings of their own until about the fourth century before Rome allowed that. Otherwise, they met in houses, not because they were avoiding church buildings. In fact, quite the opposite. Where else could they meet?

Usually someone with means, someone wealthy, you know, a lot of people talk bad about rich people, that's why they don't give you any money. A thriving church is established in Ephesus. It took eight years for Paul to get to this place, because eight years earlier, God forbade him from coming to Asia. See, the wisdom of God is just, if he tells you no, rejoice in that.

And once you learn how to do that, tell me how you did it, so I can know. You know, you've got to be careful, because you start getting good at something in Christianity, pride starts creeping in. Look at me, I know how to obey, you don't, I'm better than you. I don't ever think that way, but I do sense from time to time, pride creeping up, and I learned to re-channel it to satisfaction and glory, to thank you Lord, thank you for that. I mean, you can't ask the Lord for something, and he gives it to you, then you feel guilty. That's the devil stealing the joy, that's not God.

What if you asked for, you know, a better job, and you get it, and then you feel, oh, you know, there are people in, you know, suffering, and yeah, they are, but this is what you've been given, now make it work. Look, God loves the people who are not as fortunate as you, as much as the people who are more fortunate as you. I mean, God has a different perspective, and we need to line up with that.

Anyway, he says, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus. Those first Christians were serious about sharing their faith, without a church on every corner. I don't think it brings much glory to God to go into a place and see a church on every single corner, especially when they're just doing more of the same. It's one thing if they've got a different approach, here's a Lutheran church, here's a Presbyterian one, a Baptist one, EIEIO, but when they're just another church, especially the non-denominational churches, like, well, what are you doing different from the other guy? Well, it's me up here, not him.

They're not good enough. Why can't you guys, why? But it ain't going to change, because I don't like it, doesn't change. But how do you feel when you say, oh, look, another church, oh, and there's another one. What do you feel about that?

Something to ponder, things that make you go, hmm. Both Jews and Greeks, well, Christianity has come a long way since Pentecost. Now the Jews and the Gentiles are in the church, and we have much more to go in the book of Acts.

One of the greatest chapters will be the last one, when it all goes to Rome, and they just love on him so much. 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 / 2024-01-08 09:31:09 / 2024-01-08 09:41:38 / 10

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