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Spiritual Opposition (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2024 6:00 am

Spiritual Opposition (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 10, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Maybe you're an auto mechanic and you've got a bunch of knuckle-busting episodes in your life, and you've got scar tissue on your hand from all the years of that. Well, there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe you're a mom and from childbearing, you know, your marks on your body from that.

These things are natural. But spiritually speaking, for spiritual opposition, what marks do you have? Maybe I can open my shirt and show you all the scars on my heart from ministering, and maybe some of you can too. 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 here's Pastor Rick with part two of his message called Spiritual Opposition in Acts chapter 19. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe. You see, it's faith. We know you can't please God without trusting God, and that trust comes from examining what he has said, what he has done, what he is doing, and the humanity. If he is God, and he is, there's no problem communicating himself.

The problem comes in when people don't want to hear it and are dishonest to themselves on purpose. We please God when we believe based on revelation. Luke chapter 11, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it. It does not say blessed are those who see the miracles of God and believe him. I mean there's some that happens to some degree, but it's still going to come down to believing what he says over what he did, because a miracle only says there's a spiritual activity going on.

It does not identify who is the one performing it. This is the case with Moses and the magicians of Pharaoh. They did some pretty incredible things, and yet Moses' serpent gobbled up their serpents. I wonder if Moses' rod, after return to being rose, thicker.

A lot of questions. Anyway, the scoffer does not want to believe. They want to see things and sort of dictate to God the terms. True, sometimes God does manifest himself to some to get them over that hurdle, but it is unusual. How many people do you know that have had a conversion like the Apostle Paul?

Well, it says here in verse 12, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Sounds exciting, but dig a little deeper and find that the man used was the man abused. The man God had there to take this large city of Ephesus was already taken by God. He was hunted. He was chased. He was caned. He was stoned, and a lot of other things, many of them bad.

He had already written to the church in the region of Galatia. He says, from now on, let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. That begs a question. Whose marks are on my body?

Whose image is on me? For example, when Christ was challenged, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? Of course, they were trying to get him, so if he said no, then Caesar's troops would arrest him as an insurrectionist.

If he had said yes, then the Jewish people would have been rising up against him for daring to give God's holy money to the unholy Romans. And so he said, show me a coin. And then he asked, whose image is on it?

And they said Caesar's. And he said, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God the things that belong to God. So the question still asked, who is images on you and me? Christ's likeness. I know we stumble, but he is there to forgive and to continue working with us.

No Christian should give up, because Christ does not give up. He is always looking for solutions, always pressing forward. Whose marks are on your body? And we have a lot of marks, we get, you know, you can, maybe you, maybe you're an auto mechanic and you've got a bunch of knuckle-busting episodes in your life, and you've got scar tissue on your hand from all the years of that. Well, there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe you're a mom and from childbearing, you know, your marks on your body from that.

These things are natural. But spiritually speaking, for spiritual opposition, what marks do you have? Maybe I could open my shirt and show you all the scars on my heart from ministering. And maybe some of you can too. You got to be in it to experience Christianity. And so when we talk about, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them, we have to consider who was God using to do these things?

And then when we look at that, we say, well, maybe I can grab a piece of this action too. Maybe God can use me, perhaps not to throw out the diseases of the flesh, but maybe the diseases of the soul. Paul's wounds were not those of self-flagation, you know, not hitting himself, flogging himself, an attempt to impress God with self-approved guilt. He did not get the marks on his bodies, on his body, by trying to impress anyone. He simply wanted to serve the Lord. And he got those marks standing his ground against the devil's lies in spiritual opposition to spiritual opposition. Another, you could say, he went toe-to-toe with Satan and kept winning. Verse 13, then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits saying, we exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.

Well, these chaps are very clumsy and they're going to pay for it. There's never been a shortage of spiritual frauds in human history. The first one was Cain. You know, they follow the righteous because Satan has sent them to do it because they won't listen and they will not receive. And they have no problem deceiving people, which is what is notorious signature of Satan himself.

The father of lies, the deceiver, he is called straight out in scripture. So these men thought they could borrow Jesus and use his name without bothering to know him. They felt that they could just tap into this because after all, it was a good cause. They wanted to help somebody. We see this today. We see professionals out there. Some of them do want to help and do that. Others, they want to help.

They just belong to the wrong team. And as a result, they go contrary to scripture. Even if they were successful, and I don't believe most of them are, I'm talking about dealing with human behavior, even if they were, what is the profit of man? If he gains the world, loses his soul. If he gains his control over his life and still goes to hell, what is the profit if someone helps you beat an addiction but you don't come to Christ? Well, there's no such thing as Christian psychology. There's psychology and there's the Bible.

I don't see how you get another brand in there because if the Bible is complete, I don't need it leavened. I do not need the sanction of Freud and his buddies. You know, too bad the apostles didn't have Christian psychologists around.

They could have avoided a lot of beatings. Anyway, I know this ruffles feathers and it should ruffle feathers because if you bought into that, you bought into the wrong stuff. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life. Now, what part of all things is incomplete? All right, I don't get in the flesh. I have a righteous indignation for this, the audacity of somebody to say, I'm a Christian and I need to find out from somebody else how to live my life morally or be sane. You all come to the Word of God then. Christ cast out 2,000, he cast out more demons from one person that 2,000 pigs couldn't tolerate.

So, it is the Lord Jesus Christ and the definition of leaven is to mingle that which doesn't belong in the scriptural application. He says, we exercise you by Jesus. Now, the translators in the New King James have an interpretive rendering.

It should read, we charge you. That's the Greek and they wanted to let their audience know that they were trying to perform what we call an exorcism, casting out the devil. And so, they said, we charge you by Jesus, meaning well, hoping to not only make the person's condition better but also gain a reputation for themselves. Then it says, whom Paul preaches, oblivious to the oncoming danger from tampering with the spiritual realm. There are some people that they tamper with Ouija boards and the occult and the next thing you know, they've got some serious mental issues because the mind is spiritual, it's not physical, you can't take an x-ray of it, you can't measure its balance except through the behavior and the speech.

So, that's what Satan goes after, the mind. So, Paul said, let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. And verse 14, also, there were seven sons of Scever, a Jewish chief priest who did so.

Now, this Scever guy, not a very friendly name, at least to me, I hear it from scratch but anyway, I shouldn't say that because maybe somebody has that name with my fortune, right? Anyway, likely a local chief priest of a Jewish sect of mystics and spiritualists, certainly not a high priest connected to Jerusalem, he would not be here. But that's how he went around his business card, said Scever, Jewish chief priest and that's how it was. But anyway, because of verses 13 and 15, as well as this verse, I take it these are the same guys. So, Luke is giving us parenthetical detail. There's a parenthesis here and so he says, these guys went around trying to cast people out in Jesus' name, they didn't know Jesus. Well, let me tell you what happened to them and that's what's going on. Verse 15, and the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus, I know and Paul, I know but who are you?

Oh, man, this is not going good. Demons can speak through people, through people whom they've possessed. They get hold of the mind and James said, you believe that there is one God, you do well, even the demons believe and tremble.

So, he's saying they're real. The Bible never sweeps that under the rug. The intelligency of humanity does, how convenient for Satan. So, Jesus, I know. Now, that Greek word where it says, know, I know Jesus is ginosko, to know by interaction, by contact, by experience. That's how the Greeks would use that Greek word, ginosko. Paul, I know, it's a different Greek word for know in our English. That word is epistemai and that means to know about, to be familiar with. So, I know Lord, I know Jesus and I've heard about Paul, I know about him in that sense and then he says, but who are you?

The demon noticed they didn't have Christ and they still notice. Do you know God? No, we don't, would have been the honest answer. Do you know the one who died for you? Do you know the one whose name you are using, invoking?

No. So, this pictures not only a clumsy attempt at casting out or dealing with evil, but it pictures the world trying to imitate the church. It is far worse when the church tries to imitate the world and unfortunately, it is very common.

It caters to the comfort zone of newcomers, I suppose. The church is not to hide her voice from the world. The church is to insulate herself from the voice of the world and the voice of Satan. When the church does not do that, then you have the world in the church and it is no longer a church, it's just an assembly place. Well, what else happened here when he says, but who are you? Verse 16, then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them and prevailed against them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Odds were seven to one. Demon possession is often identified by unprovoked violence. The Bible teaches the existence of spiritual personalities, of spiritual personalities in evil. It doesn't teach just Lucifer.

There are others. Revelation 9-11, this one, Apollyon, he is so bad, he's still locked up, but he's going to be let loose on earth. And they had as king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon.

But in Greek, he has the name Apollyon. This is an ark demon. So there are spiritual entities out there and therefore man should seek to know all he can know about such beings, not out of curiosity, but in war. Satan has been a subject of ridicule instead of fear by a lot of people. A lot of folks are amused by the idea of the devil, even taking humor on him instead of recognizing the deadly disease and murderer that he is. He is the personification of disease and of death and of all that hurts mankind. And the fact that some people are fascinated with him and disinterested in the one who can conquer him attests to his sway over people. And so John, can you read this verse?

Enough in church. 1 John 5-19, we know that we are of God and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And so the people who pretend that he doesn't exist or want to depict him as cute and play dress up with horns and a pitchfork and a tail and think that this is somehow acceptable or amusing to God or to themselves, they're delusional, spiritually delusional, and we should help them. And they dismiss when they dress up like Satan, Satan's role in humanity, which is death, sorrow, horror, terror, dread, torture, misery, anything that is harmful and disgusting and vile.

He is the source. Why not just dress up like some dreaded disease? Why yourself an Ebola outfit? Because there's nothing funny about Ebola and there's nothing funny about Satan. John, Jesus said, the thief does not come except to steal and to kill. The Lord speaking, he says, let's get this understood. Satan only comes to take and to kill. He's not coming for any other reason. He hates your guts.

So why don't you go dress up like him and find yourself a cocktail party? Revelation 13 6, then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. That's Satan in action. Revelation 16 19, and I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the dragon being Satan, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

John was able to see what was going on. Everything these guys say is right out of hell. And yet, you know, mankind just goes on. One reason mankind doesn't take him seriously, because many who claim Christ don't take Christ seriously. The demon sized them up as soon as they walked in the room, and he knew he could take these guys. And what Satan did to these men physically is nothing what he will do to the soul spiritually. Verse 17, this became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus, and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Well, the imposters did not get away with borrowing Jesus, and everyone knew it. And had they been successful, it would have been a bad day for Christianity. Verse 18, and many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

Well, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. We saw this in the prodigal son. These people were coming, and they were admitting their guilt before God, and the people, they were owning their wrongs out loud. Luke 15, the prodigal son, and the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son. That must have really hurt to say. You know, sometimes it's really hard to admit your sin, to say it out loud.

Why is that? Because it's a spiritual thing, and the spirit is real. For that son to make that confession was evidence of the Holy Spirit before given in the fashion of Pentecost at work in his heart. And these people were doing the same thing, and they're gonna put their money where their mouth was. Well, it is or was.

What tense are we in? Well, anyway, verse 19, also many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all, and they counted up the value of them, and it totaled 50,000 pieces of silver. Well, here's another parenthetical note of Luke. These people had no desire to salvage what God condemned. They didn't say, you know, I spent a lot of money for this book. Maybe I could, you know, put it on eBay and get my money back before I go to church. No, they weren't going to spread this disease. They burned it, and by this, they stomped out the fires of leaven before those fires could burn down their newfound faith, and it was quite remarkable.

And it was incredible value assigned. Luke is saying, boy, these were expensive books, and they burned them because Christ was more valuable to them. These books were filled with formulas and spells and astrological gibberish, and they realized that a look at Christ allowed them to see and to hell. To this church in Ephesus, Paul would later write, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age. Notice it's plural, the rulers of the darkness of this age. Satan is not a single entity. There are many in his kingdom. He says, against spiritual host of wickedness in the spiritual places.

It's translated to heavenlies, but the Greek is the spiritual places. There's this unseen spiritual opposition that is going to come at us, whether we're saved or not, and if we are saved, it's going to come at us to try to do as much damage to our faith as it can and those around us, but Satan does not get an automatic win, ever. You say, but I'm too weak to face him. Well, we all are, but Christ is not, and that's the power of faith. Satan is the author and finisher of faithlessness, of apathy towards spiritual things from God.

He is the author and finisher of opposition to Jesus Christ and his people without exception. He does not take a day off. He is tireless.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have wheels. It means he doesn't get weary, and they counted up the value of them, and it totaled 50,000 pieces of silver. Just suffice it to say, it was a lot of money. It costs something to belong to Christ. It costs something to believe, and if you think he just does all the dying and you just do all the getting saved, you have a sloppy understanding of what salvation is all about. No wonder this became the darling church of the ancient world. They stepped up, and they stepped up in public, and this is why God invested so much here and why he reaches back towards them later on when they begin to stumble and says, come back to me. Religion's not doing it for us.

I need a relationship with you. Jesus Christ glorified the church, purified. The quest for knowledge for all of us is notorious for separating us from God. I don't care what kind of knowledge you're talking about.

If you pride yourself as being the know-it-all, even if you wouldn't articulate it that way, but that's where your heart is, you've been suckered. Genesis chapter 3. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

She also gave Dufus husband with her something to eat and he ate. Paul said knowledge puffs up. Love edifies. And now the last verse is going to bring that to the front.

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. Not the knowledge, the personal puffed up knowledge, not the music, not the programs, not the teen outreach, not the schools and the seminaries. Those things may have their place, but that place is never to be equal with the word of God and certainly not above it. They are subject, like an organization chart. They would not be on the first line.

They'd have to be second, third tier, etc. His word. Do you accept that, Christian?

Because the Bible says it this way. Psalm 138 verse 2. I will worship toward your holy temple and praise your name for your loving kindness and your truth. For you have magnified your word above your name.

How powerful is that? These men were running around throwing around the name of Christ and the word of Christ. In the end, it says the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed, not the performance of exorcisms. The word of God, the word of the Lord grew mightily and it prevailed.

It won. 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 / 2024-01-10 09:52:34 / 2024-01-10 10:01:41 / 9

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