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Sleeping in Church (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 15, 2024 6:00 am

Sleeping in Church (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 15, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


For I believe God, that it will be just as it was told me. Then he goes on to say, However, we must run aground on a certain island. So he is encouraging them to take heart, but you're still going to face the storm.

You're going to suffer shipwreck, but we will survive. God gave him that. God didn't give him that.

He said, Don't worry, it's going to be all right. God told me. And if God didn't tell you, then they suffered the shipwreck and how many would have been lost. So we should be sober when we speak on behalf of the Lord all the time. 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. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts, chapter 20, as he begins a new study called Sleeping in Church. Sleeping in Church.

That's the title. Beginning at verse 7 through verse 9. Now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. Well, short lesson is if you fall asleep in church, you're going to get killed.

Well let's get to the serious part of this. The second section of chapter 20 is to me one of the greatest sections in the Bible. But looking at all that's happening, no one else used the Roman roads like Paul that we know of. Now it's important to point out, we don't have every single place that Paul stopped and worked and ministered, nor do we have an account of what the other apostles were doing as much as Paul.

That doesn't mean they were not out there. I mean there was Egypt, there was Babylon, there were plenty of places for the others to go, which they did. But God gave Paul a historian, Luke the physician and Luke records so much about what was going on. Now God had already established, allowed Rome to be established as the world empire and the Romans were notorious for building roads. We all are familiar with that phrase, all roads lead to Rome, but only one leads to heaven, and that is the way of Christ. Well no one else that we know of was using these roads like Paul, and not only the roads, he had to have a common language, which was given by Alexander the Great. The Greeks before the Romans were the world power. And so all of these stops that he was making, he didn't have to relearn a language, it was just right there for him.

Everyone was speaking Greek. And these things of course greatly helped spread the gospel. So with that in mind, we look now at verse 1, and I give you that little background because we're going to come across a lot of his travels. After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. Now remember, at this point in time, the only New Testament writings circulating was the Gospel of Matthew and Mark. This is what we believe. James, the epistle of James, the letter of James, and Paul's letter to the Galatians and the Thessalonians. That's pretty much it. And he's going to write about this time, the first Corinthian letter, and then he'll get up to Macedonia where he'll write the second one, and around this time also he will write the letter to the Romans also.

So a lot going on, just exciting things. It says here Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed. He had courtesy enough to say goodbye. I think it is significant that God wanted Luke to enter that, that he took the time to say goodbye to people. He just didn't leave because people count. I mean, just because you don't do things their way doesn't mean they're not important, and some people are like that.

You don't do it my way, there's a problem, and that's unfortunate. It says here to go to Macedonia. Well, Macedonia and Greece today, we see them as one place, but then Macedonia was to the north of Greece to the south, where in Macedonia there were these solid churches that Paul had established. The church at Philippi where he left Luke to minister, the church at Thessalonica and Berea, those are the three that we know about. When he gets down to Greece, then there are other churches there, Corinth, possibly Athens, there was Achaia and Cenchrea, so very much Christianity was being established, but there was so much more work to do, and it would cost him pain to do it when he gets in front of Caesar. Well, in verse 2, now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece. So the distinction made between Macedonia and Greece is very pronounced, and here's how we know he's in Corinth at this point.

Corinth would have been referred to in the region of Greece. Now, he's encouraging them when he had gone over the region and encouraged them with many words. Encouragement is the outflow of the spirit by faith, but there's one key feature that must always go along with biblical encouragement, and that is sobriety. Because, you know, people, you know, they want to encourage you because they want a better outcome, but that doesn't mean that their encouragement is always right. Sometimes people do not need encouragement, they need a rebuke, and sometimes that can come in the form of silence.

So, you know, just because we want something doesn't mean it's the appropriate action. To be led by the spirit is, it's everything for we who claim Christ. Paul, here he is facing shipwreck, we'll get this in Acts chapter 27, and he says, therefore, take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. And then he goes on to say, however, we must run aground on a certain island. So he is encouraging them to take heart, but you're still going to face the storm, you're going to suffer shipwreck, but we will survive. God gave him that. God didn't give him that. He said, don't worry, it's going to be all right.

God told me, and if God didn't tell you, then they suffered the shipwreck and how many would have been lost. So we should be sober when we speak on behalf of the Lord all the time. This, incidentally, is the sixth time that we read of Paul strengthening believers in Acts. It's a very serious thing with him, and it's a very serious thing with many of us.

Now, here is something that I find exciting. Four times in this chapter, Luke makes note of Paul's speaking time. Here in verse 2, he says he encouraged them with many words.

Pay attention to the adjectives. In verse 7, he says he continued his message until midnight. In verse 9, Paul continued speaking.

And in verse 11, talked a long while, even till daybreak. Those are quotes. I don't think Luke was being humorous. I think he's just giving us the history.

I don't think there's any criticism in any of this. If anything, he is saying the Christians had such an appetite to hear the word of God. And for Paul to speak like this, they were, seemed to be very fine with it. Great hunger in Macedonia and Troas. Troas is where Eutychus, who fell out the window is, will be coming to him in a minute. Verse 3 says, and stayed three months. This is in Corinth. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Well, at Corinth, he had earlier written to Corinth. Listen to this 1 Corinthians 16, 6.

And it may be that I will remain or even spend the winter with you that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. Well, now he's there in Corinth. He's going to go north to Macedonia where he will write the second Corinthian letter.

And there's a third one we don't have. And also, he makes a short trip back to Corinth because there was a mutiny taking place. Oh, Corinth. I lament with Paul where he again faced mutiny from lesser people.

How does that work? These folks knew nothing of ministry. They knew nothing of Christ until he got there. They were doing very little for Christ. In fact, they were going against him. They had the audacity to criticize this man. You just, I mean, is there some rule written in life where there's always some? Well, of course, he handled it magnificently. In his second letter, he writes, oh, Corinthians, we have spoken openly to you.

Our heart is wide open. There's a plea in that. There's a sob that belongs to that, reaching out to them. And then, kind of interesting in that second letter, you know, he just opens up and then he hardens up a little bit because the troublemakers, the mutineers, were still active. One reason Paul may not have stayed in some of the places that he visited is because he wore out his welcome amongst the unbelievers. And this is the case here where they plotted against him in verse 3. You know, why? Well, because he's mindful of the things of God and not the things of men.

And this is the case to this very day. You know, if you're in a marriage and you're a believer, the unbeliever can become quickly fed up with the fact that you're mindful of the things of God when they may want, you know, material things. I mean, there's just many avenues that goes down. And so here he is, very mindful of God. He's going to leave Corinth because of the plot against him to kill him. And instead of going to Syria, he wants to go to Jerusalem. He's made that clear.

He's taking money to them. Instead of going south, west, southeast towards Jerusalem, he decides, you know what, I'm going to go north up to the other churches in Macedonia again and I'm going to swoop back around. Obviously, led by the Holy Spirit and it bore much fruit. Psalm 112 verse 7, he will not be afraid of evil tidings. His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. That's what we see Paul doing. As we follow Paul, we find him always calm and confident. I think to serve the Lord in his role as an apostle in a leadership capacity, you have to have an element of, I don't care what anybody thinks.

When I know I'm right with the Lord, this is what my instructions are. You have to have that. And many will pick up on that and admire it and some will be offended by it. Well, you know, you cannot please everyone.

It's just not possible. But this courage is the outcome of clear vision of Christ. He knew who his Lord was. He knew what he had to do.

His heart was fixed and that was the secret of his courage and that's available to us. Now at this time, when he gets up to Macedonia where Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea were, he writes to the Romans, the Roman letter that we have. And these letters would eventually, you know, they'd reach their destination, they'd be read in church. Then they were circulated. They were copied and put in circulation.

So much so that we have them to this day. Romans chapter 15 verse 25. He's writing from Macedonia where he is going to right now. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints for it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. Now this will explain much of why he does what he does on the way to Jerusalem. They're taking cash with them because the Jerusalem Christians are facing hardship, likely still connected to Pentecost and when they were coming to Christ and being, you know, ostracized by their own people.

And many of them had flooded into Jerusalem from other places and stayed there. Anyway, he decided, it says here in verse three, to return through Macedonia. And again, I've already mentioned the strong churches that were up in that region, whereas the ones he's leaving behind in Corinth weren't that strong, not as the other three at least.

Verse four, so Peter of Berea accompanied him to Asia, also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, Timothy and Tychicus, and Trophimus of Asia. Well, Tychicus will be a troubleshooter for Paul. Trophimus, he will eventually have to leave in Ephesus' sick. Paul could not heal people just because he decided to heal them. He's always subject, gifts are always subject to the king, to the Holy Spirit.

Aristarchus will come against him. Secundus means second. He's either maybe the second born, or he could have been a slave that was taken along and was the sort of the second in command, the first being left behind.

Anyway, those are just possibilities. But seven men from four regions where Paul established churches headed out to carry the cash to Jerusalem. Verse five, these men going ahead waited for us at Troas. Well, Luke had remained in Philippi when that church was started, but now the pronoun changes, and he waited for us at Troas, meaning Luke was picked up at Philippi, and now he's rejoined Paul, and he'll be with him, even to the second Timothy letter where it was close to Paul's end. Well, anyway, you can compare Acts 16, 12 with Acts 16, 40, and see the pronouns change after he goes to Philippi, and that's how we arrive at this. Understand how much Christianity is taking place between the lines. This is not just a trick of history. These men were spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ at risk to their lives, and these stops that they were making and the layovers, there was trouble, there was joy, there was everything that goes on with human beings in church and in Christ was taking place.

This was dynamic service. These men didn't say, well, I'm saved. What else?

I don't do anything else. Christ did all the dying. Others are doing all the serving. No, they're in action, and as it gets better, verse 6, but we, again, the pronoun we, and but we sailed away from Philippi, verse 6, after the days of unleavened bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Well, from Philippi to Troas, 150 C miles, Luke, as I mentioned, rejoins him. This is probably, we're probably about 35 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension, so about 1,965 years ago these things were taking place, and they really haven't stopped. After the days of unleavened bread, it's interesting, that's the Passover season, the seven days that made up the Passover season. That's the crucifixion and resurrection to the Christian. The resurrection fulfilled the Passover feast, its symbolisms, its teachings that were given to the Jewish people. The New Testament points out that Christ is our Passover, and Paul just wrote the very thing to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 5-7, for indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. You know, there's a whole sermon there, but this city, Troas, is a major seaport along the Aegean Sea, modern day Turkey, where much of this took place, and the Passover occurs in the spring, but the winter travel was too risky. There in the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the winter winds would bring just the dangers on the sea, and they would try to wait it out. In Paul's four journeys that we have, three of them he went as a free man, and of course the final one to Rome, he went as a prisoner of Rome, but Rome also paid the fee.

We have over 5,600 miles of overland travel, and another 6,800 miles of oversea travel. So I talked about the roads of Rome, the shipping lanes of Rome, they were not wasted on this man, and again that asterisk that tells us, don't forget, others were traveling with the gospel to other places too. Of course, Western civilization has excelled as civilizations go, and the gospel had taken root there.

Verse 7, now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. Well, he did a lot of work at Troas with the gospel, and why don't we have a letter to them? He references them in 2 Timothy later in his life, he says, bring the cloak, he writes to Timothy, which I left with Carpus at Troas, when you come, and the books, especially the parchments.

There's a zeal in that language. He wants to cloak, winter is coming, he wants to be warm, evidently he had a nice garment, but he then, you know, bring the books, especially the parchments, which are probably his notes, things that he wrote down as he studied the books, and here he is facing death and he's still in the learning mode for Christ. And so, anyway, that was at Troas, no letter to them probably because they behaved themselves.

They did not need correction, not that all of them, because Philippi behaved itself too, and it was just a joyful letter to them. The church at Colosse was dealing with Gnostics, but overall they were looking to abide. It says, now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread. Well the first day of the week is Sunday. They're coming to church, and possibly, not necessarily communion, just because it says break bread doesn't automatically ask communion.

Well, maybe not, but maybe yes. It's not something to get tripped over. Let me add this about Troas. It's because, again, so much belonged to it. Paul had a vision from Troas to go into Europe, to go into Philippi from Troas. He missed Titus. He was worried about Titus. The door had opened for ministry in Troas, but Titus was on his mind. Was he safe, and he had to leave, and of course he's going to raise Eutychus from the dead here.

But going back to 2 Corinthians, when he's talking to them about what was involved in him getting to Corinth again, he says, furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother, but taking my leave of them I departed from Macedonia. So he gives us a little history, so we'll pause here. Maybe you think that this is all about them, and you fail to see yourself in the story. That is a tactical mistake, especially you younger Christians, you teens. You think this is a history lesson.

Well, it's got history in it, but it is for you. It is God challenging and speaking to you. He's saying, I am sovereign. I allowed these roads to bring my gospel to the world. I allowed this common language, and I allowed this religion to bring the story of my son to the world, and I want to tell you about it, and I want to ask you, what are you doing? Are you? Are you listening to people who are against me?

Are you impressed by them? Have you become advocates for Satan, and you walk around strutting around talking about, I believe this, and I believe that, and it's all contrary to Christ, and you have the audacity to come to his church and sing songs? I'll tell you what's happening if that's you. Satan has jerked you out of your mind.

He has grabbed you by your collar, and he has jerked you out of your mind, and you're dumb enough to love it. Now, you're either going to get angry with me if you're guilty of these things, or you're going to say, Lord, is it I? I want to be right with you, and I want to go to heaven when I die, because if you're becoming Satan's advocate, your chances of going to heaven have greatly diminished. Satan is not playing.

He doesn't like you. He doesn't care what you do, so long as it is against Christ. And if you're listening to other people who don't love the Lord, you are a delicacy for the devil. You reap what you sow.

Don't say you've not been warned and encouraged and loved. If you're guilty of following the devil, Christ is reaching out to you as he reached out to that entire world. Why do you think this man is traveling 5,600 miles on the land and another 6,000?

Why do you think he's suffering shipwreck and fear of robbers and all the stuff that was going on? To pluck him out of hell as a brand plucked from the burning using the language of the prophet Amos. When you come to church, this is the last place it's a joke. You happen to have a hysterical pastor. But we're not playing around. And if you think you can toy with sin with that flippant attitude, you think you can do better than Jesus Christ, you're being jerked out of your mind. You're out of your mind because Satan has pulled you out of your mind.

There's really no excuse for this. And so I encourage you. You stick with the Lord. You learn courage. You learn to stand up against the wilds and the darts of the devil because he can be beaten back. Well, I'll come back to that hopefully because I've got plenty more to say. Well, before I go, I'll say some more now. You think about the churches up in Pergamos and Thyatira, Pergamos, Laodicea, and Sardis, where Satan was getting away with evil.

Who in those churches was there to look up to for the youth? 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 / 2024-01-15 08:38:38 / 2024-01-15 08:48:08 / 10

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