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Ball of Confusion (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 12, 2024 6:00 am

Ball of Confusion (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 12, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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You can go out to places in this country and they're insane with their celebration of humanity. You know, they have good paying jobs and they could have a real nice family unit but they don't have any interest in Jesus Christ. They are insane with their idols.

They have chosen other truths at the expense of the truth. Paul, again, he probably felt responsible to some degree for this riot. God caused the riot. Paul was just the instrument. 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. Today, Pastor Rick will be teaching in Acts chapter 19 and continuing with his message called Ball of Confusion. Not only would the merchants be making money, the whole city would make money from these pilgrims coming in.

It was an industry. What Demetrius did not realize is that God would bless him personally without Diana and curse him personally with her. Is that not the message? We have to try to put it in such a way to unbelievers that they get the point and not just hear us speak, that they get the point.

And there's nothing wrong with asking them straight out, do you understand what I'm saying to you? Well, verse 26, moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. A successful ministry. When the Lord said the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, that is displayed, put on display when men imagine a god and just make them up. They're very sophisticated today, they don't need the statues, they just need the lifestyle.

It's oftentimes a lifestyle that just renounces Christ and upholds whatever it is they find that controlling influence of their life. What an inferior and pathetic view of a supreme being to have, to think that actually you can shape a god, you can create one. And their logic was that men could make god with their hands. Jeremiah really had to deal with this, so did the others, but Jeremiah is one of the outstanding ones. I'll come back to a comment from Jeremiah as we move forward. Verse 27, so not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificent destroyed whom all Asia and the world worship.

Well, that last statement is accurate. She was held in high regard. So he recognizes, Demetrius does, that the believers, the new converts to Christ, despised pagan associations. They called him for what they were. Well, Christ wasn't real to Demetrius, nor did he want him to be. And the trade was already in disrepute in God's eyes, he's just bringing it forward in the eyes of people. So of course they put money before their worship, their eternal state, her magnificent destroyed, he mentions this. Well, this temple, before it was built up to what it was at the time this was happening, that seven wonders of the world, it had already been destroyed. It's destroyed right now. Well, it's in ruins.

She was not magnificent to the Christians, and he resented that. I don't know if any of you have ever had success in the workplace or somewhere you find yourself with sharing Christ, and then eventually somebody rises up to cause trouble. It can get you fired. It can do a lot of things.

It's real. We don't just say, oh, don't worry, God will protect me through this. Well, he will in the same way he protected Paul when Paul got stoned or beaten with canes. I mean, we have no right to suppose that we will come through our evangelism unscathed.

We all want to be ready for it and do well, whom all Asia worshiped. In other words, one of the most popular goddesses we had was a sacred cow. In paganism, false religions do not allow you to prove them false.

But on the individual level, you certainly can. That's why Paul had these converts here. He managed to lead people away from this life into the life of Christ.

The world will worship that which has no basis in truth for a lot of reasons, and that's what separated us. So why should God let somebody like that into heaven? Why should God let someone who says, you know what, I kind of like lies? Well, they won't articulate it that way, but that's what they're doing, and that's a good question to ask an unbeliever. You can hit a person with all the truth in the world. It still comes down to they have to receive it. And I have met unbelievers, staunch unbelievers, who knew they had no defense against what I was saying to them, and they remained unbelievers nonetheless. That's on them.

Well, verse 28, and when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out saying, greatest Diana of Ephesus. Well, there's a good response. So now it's us versus them kind of mentality.

The stadium that they're going to end up in sat 24,000 people. This uproar shows how men alienated from God make all life center around this life only. They're just concerned with their money. Right now in this life, they have no concern for the future.

Well, they don't believe it conveniently, so I don't believe there's a hell or that I'm going, and they come up with these paper tigers to protect their illogic. We see it, and we look back and say, you know what? I was once blind, too. That's why John Newton wrote, penned the song Amazing Grace. I once was blind, but now I see.

Well, it'd be good for us to remember how duped we were. And you, raised in a Christian home, you're going to have to come to a point where Christ becomes yours. You're going to have to face the doubts and deal with it head on.

Maybe you'll only have to do it one time, and you knock that doubt down and you just trample it as you move forward in Christ. Don't sell your parents short. Don't think they're believing fairy tales. If they believed in fairy tales, they'd be putting nickels under your bed when you lost your teeth. They believe in a real God, and you either step up your game and take your place on the wall, or you seal your own damage and judgment, if not careful. This is real business. Satan hates you have Christian parents, and he wants, well, I can't take them out, but I can get you out because you're dumb enough.

I can look at you and tell. That's his position. At an early age, you are expected to do battle. You are expected to hold your ground against a lying, dangerous enemy. Verse 29, and never forget that I said that.

Whatever choice you made, you'll never forget the gist of that. Verse 29, so the whole city was filled with confusion and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel convenience. Well, this Gaius here is probably not the one we read about in chapter 20, because the Bible tells us where they're from. There's little things that make sense. I point them out. Aristarchus was from Thessalonica, and he'll show up again in scripture.

Verse 30, and when Paul wanted to go into the people, the disciples would not allow him. And we do that, don't we? Ever hear about somebody having maybe a marital problem, and you say, boy, I'd like to talk to them. You're a fool. If you think that you're going to ride in there with a white hat and, you know, spew out logic, and they're going to go, oh, and then what? You are a fool. Nobody should look to give spiritual advice on such troubles, like take it lightly. You're dealing with real problems, and to suppose that, well, they're just too dumb to figure it out without me is quite presumptuous. So what I'm saying, you know, fools go where angels fear to tread. Be sober-minded and not self-impressed, and understand that if God wants you to dole out some advice, He will open that door. You keep your hands off the knob. So that's just wise advice. I know it's right, and I don't apologize for it, because if there were someone out there that could just march right in and give advice, we wouldn't have any more divorces. We'd just be calling them, hey, can you get down here real quick?

Get them emergency vehicle status so they can get a siren and lights. Jeremiah 50, verse 38, Jeremiah writes this, you've got to love these guys, man. They are insane with their idols. See, that's the word of God to us. If you just put that in the newspaper, yeah, he's right. But when it comes from God, through one of His prophets, yes, God doesn't miss anything.

He calls it like it is. He's talking about the Chaldeans. Well, it applies to many places in history. You can go out to places in this country, and they're insane with their celebration of humanity. You know, they have good paying jobs and they could have a real nice family unit, but they don't have any interest in Jesus Christ. They are insane with their idols.

They have chosen other truths at the expense of the truth. Paul, again, he probably felt responsible to some degree for this riot. Well, God caused the riot. Paul was just the instrument, and there will be others He will cause.

Verse 31, now again, I should pause. Our goal is not to cause riots. We are trying to save souls. But in the process of that, we upset the apple cart. Don't put the apples back on the cart. Let them do it. Let's work for you.

Verse 31, then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him, pleading that he would not venture into the theater. Well, this is going on for two hours, this ball of confusion. You know, some of them, what are we even protesting? Never mind.

I like shouting. And they just go to it. These are Asiarchs, the city officials, and their reaction and concern over these events demonstrate the severe nature of their civil unrest. They understand that, you know, Demetrius, what you're causing here, you can bring down legions of Rome. It says here in verse 31, who were his friends, sent to him, pleading that he would not venture into the theater. Well, these were high officials that were friends of Paul. This adds to the reason why Satan's wrath was so much against what was happening in Ephesus, why God was doing these extraordinary miracles there.

They were making progress. And this fact that he had government officials friendly with him, as opposed to in Philippi, we read in 1 Corinthians, when he writes about this, he says, "'For a great and effective door is opened to me, and there are many adversaries.'" He's talking about Ephesus. And that effective door would include such characters, because if you've got people at the top on your side, you get a lot done a lot faster.

And if you don't have them on your side, you have a more difficult struggle. In fact, in Philippi, Paul left, but he left a solid church behind him. Verse 32, "'Some therefore cried one thing and some another.'" Well, we come across that, do we not? I have one reason why I don't believe in Christ, and this has got another reason why. And they have their little reason why they believe in their God, and they don't match. They're not based on truth.

So, you know, don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up, sort of a response. He says, "'For the assembly,' verse 32, "'was confused,' ergo the magnificent title given to this consideration."

This ball of confusion, that's what the world is. Most of them did not know why they had come together. Well, most of them don't know why they reject Christ today. You ever come across somebody who thinks they know where Christianity is and doesn't have a clue? And you can't find them for it. That would be 50 bucks for biblical ignorance in America.

Come on, hand it over. Anyway, the whole world is filled with confusion about eternity. Low information protesters is what we're seeing here.

We see them here in America also. That's what they're made from, people who don't care about the facts because it's easier to feel than it is to think, and you young'uns need to learn that early on. If you go with your feelings and not logic, you sacrifice reason to imagination, and that kind of imagination is evil from your youth. So, Luke indicates that these were false waves of confusion because they didn't even know why they were there.

That doesn't mean they're less dangerous because they're ignorant. Man is allowed knowledge by God. Any knowledge man has in the natural realm, God has opened it up for him.

Science, technology, engineering, etc. But spiritually speaking, it's a little different. The knowledge of God comes through submission to God by hearing the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God.

There are few exceptions to that. But spiritually speaking, this is critical, so we read Proverbs 1, verse 7, the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 9, 10, the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Knowing God is to get the point. The world says, you know, how much do you make?

What's your portfolio like? That stem will decide whether you're smart or not because they think if you make money, you must know everything. Churches do it too. Somebody comes to the church and they're like, oh, we've got a place on the board for you because you must know what you're talking about. Illogical. Anyway, the reason why people are appointed to high positions in Christianity is because God tells the leaders.

That's the ideal way. God tells them this one will work well for this area. Anyhow, verse 33, and they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward, and Alexander motioned with his hand and wanted to make his defense to the people about Alexander. The Jews say, hey, look, you get up there and you make sure these people know that we Jews have nothing to do with this Paul and his Christianity.

We have nothing to do. We don't want a pogrom here where we're getting persecuted for these guys. And that's, they wanted to point out the separation of Christianity. A lot of Christians don't know that Judaism and Christianity are irreconcilable. And so they'll, you know, they'll buy a press shawl and use it thinking it's, you know, they're, because they're confused about the two. Not that that's necessarily evil, but we shouldn't be confused about this. We have three pronounced letters in the New Testament that tell us we're not under rabbinical Judaism, and that part of the Old Testament that we are under matches the part of the New Testament that upholds it.

And those letters are Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. Well, anyway, Amab has many heads, no brains. That's what Amab is.

That's what he is facing. The Jews, of course, they refused to worship Diana on account of their exclusive worship to Yahweh. We side with them on that against idolatry. And this is one reason why the world and Christians are worldwide resented. Because we don't say, it doesn't matter what you believe.

It matters everything what you believe. This is Old Testament teaching. We believe, as the Jews, that worshiping Diana is tantamount to worshiping the product of demons' thoughts. Deuteronomy 32, 17, speaking of those who are outside of the law of Moses, the Jewish people following their scripture, they sacrificed to demons, not to God. To gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. In other words, you're worshiping things that Abraham would have nothing to do with.

These johnny come lately and say, well, they're a product of imagination. Well, that's as upheld in New Testament Christianity. That's what I mean by the Old Testament is every bit the word of God that the New Testament is.

But there still is an outline, these dispensations, these periods of emphasis that God has laid out for us, and they're not hard to understand. So 1 Corinthians, Paul, who knew Deuteronomy 32, 17, writes to that church, rather the things with the gentile sacrifice, they sacrificed to demons. Now he's talking about anybody who is worshiping, of course, man-made gods. He says, and not to God. They're worshiping demons not to God. And I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.

You cannot partake in the Lord's table and the table of demons. You nitwits for effect. That's what's there, lovingly.

You can love a nitwit. Anyway, 1 Timothy 4, 1. Now this is for the end times. This just goes to tell you there's no broken activity with the demons.

They're hard at work to the end. Now the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith. That's apostasy. He doesn't say, well, they're once saved. He doesn't say, get into that.

He just tells you right out. They were in the faith. They departed from the faith. You want to debate that? Have at it. I'm going with what that says. He says, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Did demons have doctrine? It's all wrong. And their doctrine is, let's populate hell. God is trying to populate heaven. Let's try to fill up hell.

And that's the war. And we see this into the book of Revelation in a tribulation period. The madness, they're insane with their idols. Idolatry essentially is man making up things about God. Paganism is worshipping created things. But the rest of mankind who are not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And so he's saying, these people that are worshipping making up things to worship, you just put them in the same category with those who used to worship lumps of clay. Incidentally, archeologists have found many clay figurines of Diana. No silver. Well, because again, it's that valuable.

Let's just melt it down and take the money. And that would explain it very logically. Verse 35, and when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of Ephesus is the temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell from Zeus? Say, believe this. No one believes this today. You will not find a person that says, I worship the goddess Diana. But I also don't worship Christ, so I worship this.

It's just as damning. Well, the clerk, this clerk, Ephesus belonging to Rome, managed the reports back and forth and gave account to Rome. He was the mayor and the representative between the empire and these conquered people, and that's what they were. You know false religions, they don't have a Genesis. Genesis 1, what is not to believe in Genesis 1? And the false ones they have, they cannot account for their beginning. So what he says here, well Zeus, you know, she came from Zeus. Where did Zeus come from? And where did he get this mean attitude harming people with his wrath?

So they can't account for that. And eventually it died. So we look at this and we say, look at that. The temple of Diana, now worship is gone.

The church in Ephesus is gone. God is saying, I am no respecter of persons. I don't care who you are, there's a right way and a wrong way. There's a consequence and there's mercy. Because if you just tell me there's a consequence for stumbling, I'm done.

We're all done. But if you say, but there's mercy with God. That means he's got every right to zap you and he is not going to.

Because you've got this relationship. Now that can be abused and pressed too far. We're not talking about lawlessness. We're talking about the reality of God, the way he handles his people is astounding.

And he makes this invitation to all. Anyway, therefore, verse 36, since these things cannot be denied, you ought be quiet and do nothing rashly. Why could they not be denied? Well, it's a sacred cow, that's why. You can't touch it. We have sacred cows in Christianity, things that people have just brought in and you can't criticize it. You can't even use the Bible to address it.

You just have to accept it. I counsel you not to do the Easter egg thing. That comes out of this, this pagan goddess. This is the goddess of fertility. You say, what does the egg and the bunny have to do with it?

Well, the bunny is that harmless thing that multiplies like rabbits. Anyway, they have no basis for their claim. Insistence is no valid presentation of the truth and that's why he's stomping his foot down.

You have to believe me. Anyway, almost done, verse 37, for you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. 38, therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and the pro-councils, let them bring charges against one another. So he said the Christians have committed no crime and you have to give credit to the authorities for coming to that conclusion even though this particular one seems to think highly of Diana or anyway, verse 39.

But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly, verse 40, for we are in danger of being called in question for today's uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering. Rome was heavy-handed against civil obedience. Rome did not tolerate that. Rome fell because of her own licentiousness.

She just sort of got swallowed up by her own, like Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their prosperity. Anyway, the fear of Roman legions was valid, verse 41, and when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. He said, now go home. 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 / 2024-01-12 09:51:41 / 2024-01-12 10:01:19 / 10

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