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Sleeping in Church (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 16, 2024 6:00 am

Sleeping in Church (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 16, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


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 them out of hell as a brand plucked from the burning. Now here's Pastor Rick with part 2 of his message called Sleeping in Church in Acts chapter 20. And now he's rejoined Paul and he'll be with him, even to the 2 Timothy letter where it was close to Paul's end. Well, anyway, you can compare Acts 16, 12 with Acts 16, 40. You 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 this gets better, verse 6. They say the pronoun we. But we sailed away from Philippi, verse 6, after the days of unleavened bread and in 5 days joined them at Troas where we stayed 7 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 1965 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 7 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.

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, Aegean Sea, the winter winds would bring just the dangers on the sea and they would try to wait it out. In Paul's 4 journeys that we have, 3 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 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 Karpus 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 then he, 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 Colossae 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, 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 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 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 got plenty more to say.

Well, before I go, let's 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 go to a church like Smyrna in Philadelphia and Philippi and Thessalonica and others, and you find that there are a lot of heroes in those churches.

But it still comes down to the individual. You're either going to find heroes in the church and in the scripture, or you're going to find them in the world. Now there can be people in the world who greatly influence you in a positive way. I think of two men in my life that influenced me in a positive way, and they were both unbelievers. My father had passed when I was 14, and no man filled that gap.

However, I still learned from men, and I remember one, Eddie Conklin. He's dead and gone now. He's a superintendent on a job that I was on, a bridge, and my mom had passed away that night. But I knew she was in heaven, so it was a relief.

I know where this is going, and I was very happy about that part of it. So I went to work, and I mentioned, you know, I'll be taking a couple of days off to the shop steward. Well, he told the foreman, which was Eddie. I didn't know him well.

And as I was working on a barge, leaving the barge going off or whatever, doing whatever it was was magnificent because that's what I do. He just puts his hand on my shoulder and says, I heard about your mom. That's a tough loss. And it was as though he downloaded something into me. It was just that perfect moment where another human being sympathized with me on a level that I did not know I needed sympathy on. I thought I was good. Everything was fine. I didn't break down or anything like that, but it never left me. I can still feel his hand on my shoulder saying it was a tough loss.

Another one was I had a first sergeant, didn't know him long, and I had a difference of opinion with an officer, and they moved me to another company. I looked back. I don't know if I was right or wrong, but as you get mature, you leave room for that. They asked me 20 years ago. I said, of course I was right. But as you get older, you say, I don't know.

Who knows? Anyhow, first sergeant Henderson, I won't imitate his voice because he had a unique way of talking. Very tall.

He had a big head, too. Anyway, he says, Corporal Gaston, why don't you take my car? You had this little sports car. I think it was an MG. It was a little sports car, a little stick shift. Take it around the block for a while. Those were big blocks. They were like five city blocks long.

Not exaggerating. Okay, four. Anyhow, so I got in and I drove this car around. I didn't even think about, hey, I could wipe this car out and I'd really be bad.

You know, when you're young, you're really dumb and you don't know it. Anyway, I bring the car back and I just never forgot that here was a man that had no incentive to reach out to me like that whatsoever. But he showed me kindness. He showed me trust. He made me feel like I belonged.

Though I couldn't articulate that at the time, I knew it. And so, yeah, we want heroes. They do exist out the church to some degree, but they need to be in the church, too. And I've got many church heroes also. So for you young folks, one day you're going to get your chance to be a hero or not, should the Lord tarry. You older Christians, you have an opportunity to be that example without forcing it.

Just strive for the straight and narrow. Well, coming back to this, this is a Sunday service. The reason why the early church met on Sundays and to this day meets on Sundays as a rule, although there are those Sabbatarians that demonstrate they don't understand the New Testament, but that, you know, they could have worse problems. Well, Christ rose on Sunday. Jesus is the first fruits mentioned in Leviticus 23 10, which happens with 23 10 11, which happens, the first fruits are offered on the day after the Sabbath, which is Sunday.

Paul comes along in 1 Corinthians 15 20 and says Jesus Christ is the first fruits. And so that is your connection to a Sunday gathering, a Sunday assembly. Well, we're free to assemble any day we want. Our society is geared to Sunday worship. Most people have off on the weekends. The Holy Spirit was given to the church on a Sunday, Acts chapter two, verses one and two.

And then it is perpetuated as we see here in chapter seven and in 1 Corinthians 16. The church continued to meet on the Sunday. So that's why we meet on on the Sunday and is a very it should be that way.

I would scratch my head. Why are we meeting on Thursdays only? And why is that the big day? Who rose on Thursday? What happened on Thursday? But you can say the Sunday.

Well, I'll tell you a lot happened on Sunday. Anyway, it says here in verse seven, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. Well, he, the one that wrote, preached the word in season out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and teaching and this is what he is doing. He says, because the time is coming.

Well, they just want their ears tickled. They want to hear sermons that they like, not sermons that God wants to give. And so, you know, here he is doing that very thing. Although this has the feel here in Troas that he's not, you know, he's just teaching God's word and they are just gobbling it up. Verse eight, there were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. Now, Luke is a physician, a medical physician.

I don't know that there's any other kind, but he's giving Eutychus a little help. He's sort of like, you know, come on, let's not be hard on the guy falling asleep. Let's just think about it. The room was hot, you know, Paul went on and on. The smoke, he had a hard day at work. So, he, he, you want to say, well, Luke, did anybody else fall asleep or was it just him? So, conditions are ripe here for him to fall asleep. I'm getting sleepy just reading it. Verse nine, and in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus. He really doesn't have to say a certain young man because he names him. Anyhow, who was sinking into a deep sleep.

Okay, let's stop and let's look at each other. Anybody falling asleep? Now's the time to wake him up.

How could you fall asleep here? Who was sinking into a deep sleep, he was, in verse nine, he was overcome by sleep, and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. Well, on Eutychus, you know, is there a picture in the Bible of the spirit being willing but the flesh weak?

This is it. He wants to hear what Paul has to say. He probably goes to the window and gets some air. That didn't work well for him, did it? He ended up being his death, temporary, but still. So, the crowded room, the springtime, the smoke, after work, the long sermon, perfect sedative. And anyway, someone died during Ezekiel's prophesying also, not likely in the room with him, but while he was giving God's word, a bad guy died. Ezekiel 11, 13, now it happened while I was prophesying that Palatia, the son of Benaiah, died. And he was a bad guy, and Ezekiel was taken by, like, Lord, what is going on? I'm in the middle of preaching, and someone says, hey, Palatia just dropped dead.

Well, I didn't do it, I was here preaching. Anyway, in Ezekiel 8, where he is told to go and see what the evil men are doing behind doors in God's house, Palatia was one of those evil men. So, anyway, verse 12 confirms, there's no mistake, Eunuchus was dead.

He was not injured. Verse 10, but Paul went down and fell on him, and embracing him, said, do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him. The wording is intentional. Luke recalls Elijah and Elisha doing this very thing to children, and, of course, they being revived, coming back to life. And so that's the language Paul goes down, and Paul may have certainly been mindful of Elijah and Elisha taking this exact posture.

Verse 11, now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak he departed. Now, I'm stressing these adjectives, because there are, the old saying, sermonettes for Christianettes. They can't handle the word. If anything or more 20 minutes, they're checking their watch.

Which just tells you something about them, because the head's not in the game. They don't understand what is taking place in the church that Christ died for, how he set it up. And remember, the church is patterned off of the synagogues, and it's a good pattern.

There are some variations, but overall, it's the same pattern. Now, we're told in verse 7 that while Paul was there, they had taken a fellowship meal, again, possibly the communion, but surely they sent out for Little Caesars. Now, I thought of that yesterday, and I'm going to write that one down, because I liked it that much.

I mean, it's just more powerful when you actually have Caesars running around. And what kind of salad dressing would they have used? All right. It says he talked a long while. Now, the word talk there is hamalio in the Greek, which is the source of our English word, homily.

A conversation, but it has now become the standard of a short sermon. So, at a funeral or a wedding, more so in a funeral. I mean, because at a wedding, everybody's dressed, well, that's changing now. I've seen people come to weddings nowadays like hobos, and you will say, excuse me, you're in the wrong place.

No, it's my cousin. Oh, anyway, you know the satellites can see you dressed like that in public? Back to this. So, you figure they're all dressed up. You might as well preach a long time.

It's a dress-up day. Let's have a good sermon. A funeral is a different thing. You know, you want to get right to the point and not stretch this out. So, you give a homily, and I would tell a younger pastor, well, the difference between a sermon and a homily is a homily is about 20 minutes. A sermon is endless.

You just go on until they can't take it anymore. That's what happened to Eutychus. So, the Bible's on my side for long preaching.

But here's an interesting point about this whole thing. He just raised the guy from the dead. He fell out three stories. That's 30 feet there about.

Paul does not minimize preaching because of it. You know, I did kind of go long. No, he doesn't. He continues, picks up right where everybody ate. Is everybody full? Yes, okay. It was not like, you know what, I'm getting a little sleepy.

That pepperoni is kicking in. He does not minimize preaching. Sleeping in church did not alter the preaching of the word. I don't look out at you when I'm preaching, because not only do I see people nodding, but they all, you know, fidgeting, you know, just doing stuff. And then you'd be tempted to, what are you doing? In front of everybody. What are you? Right there in the blue.

What are you doing? And in the old churches in England, the ushers actually had poles. I'm not kidding you. And there was a little ball in the end for the men. They'd tap them. Hey, wake up. We're not putting up with that.

For the women, it was a feather. And they'd be like, what? So, this is a true story. We were going to use tasers, but you might get the guy next to them and that's, you know, more collateral damage.

You just have to live with it. So, anyhow, verse 12. Remember the title is Sleeping in Church. The answer to this thought is Paul did not minimize preaching because of droopy people.

Verse 12. And they brought the young man alive and they were not a little comforted. So that confirms that the fall was temporarily fatal.

He was dead. Now, I should add, one time in church, before I was a pastor, did I, man, I got hit with a sleep bomb. And if you get to the point where, look, I can't beat this, then get up and go lie down in the road.

No, we don't want that. But get up. Because you can. If you get to a point, you know, if maybe you're driving and, you know, I can get five more miles.

No, you can't. I have a friend that was a truck driver. He says, I wiped out about 20 trees.

He would have tracked a trail and I fell asleep. This is serious stuff. 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 / 2024-01-16 08:56:22 / 2024-01-16 09:06:03 / 10

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