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Sleeping in Church (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 17, 2024 6:00 am

Sleeping in Church (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 17, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the angel. Then he, Yahweh, answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes. Jesus said, I'll give you a new garment.

Hand in those filthy ones. 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 continues his message, Sleeping in Church. 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 the Sunday. Jesus is the firstfruits mentioned in Leviticus 23 10, which happens with 23 10 11, which happens, the firstfruits 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 firstfruits. 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 the Sunday. And it's 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 wanted 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. 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.

This is it. He wants to hear what Paul has to say. He probably goes to the window and gets some air. And it didn't work well for him, did it? It 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, Eutychus 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 gonna write that one down because I liked it that much.

I'm 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 talked there is hamalio in the Greek, which is the source of our English word homily, a conversation, but it's become, it has now become the standard of a short sermon. So at a funeral or a wedding, it's 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 want to say, excuse me, you're in the wrong place.

No, it's my cousin. Oh, anyway, you know the satellites can see you dress like that in public? Back to this. So you figure they're all dressed up, you might as well preach a long time, you know, 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. Because he continues, picks up right where everybody ate. Is everybody full? Yes, okay. It was not like, well, 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? 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, now what? So, this 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. Then 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 extract a trail, and I fell asleep. This is serious stuff.

So, I'm not, you know, scolding anyone, but you've got to come up with countermeasures. Verse 13. Then they went ahead to the ship and sailed to Azaz. They're intending to take Paul on board. So, he gave orders intending himself to go on foot. So, from Troas to Azaz, Paul apparently travels alone with God.

A.W. Choja said, the devil does everything possible to keep us busy. As a result, very few of us are ever really alone with God. The idea behind the prayer closet is you're isolated with God.

And, you know, turn the radio off sometimes if you don't have another opportunity. Anyhow, he says, for so he had given orders. Now, these men were loyal, and they were dedicated. And when he gave an order, they were off and running with it. He never took orders, Paul, from church committees or anybody else except the Lord, because that was his position.

Now, if he was in a lesser position, he would comply, but he was the leader. What's the difference between, a great difference between the church in the first century and the church today? Well, we don't have an apostle, and that means we're decentralized.

You've got the Baptists, the Presbyterians, you've got all these groups. In those days, there was no such thing. It was just the church, and the apostles were the authority, and it was a very nice thing to have. And these men took advantage of that.

They did not waste it. It is the role of the pastor to encourage Bible-submitted or a Bible-submitted flock, as opposed to those who are liberal in their theology. You know, Harry Emerson Fosdick was pastor of the Riverside Church in Manhattan. He was a total liberal. Charles Spurgeon had to deal with the downgrade controversy.

I don't like that name, but I get it. And this essentially, and he lost good friends over this. It really wore on him heavy, but he stood his ground.

He could say, I don't care if the dogs eat me. Anyway, this was creeping into the church in the late 1800s in the life of Spurgeon was, well, you know, there's really no hell. God, universalism, God is the father of everyone.

No, he is not. To a Christian, God is creator and father. To the unchristian, he's creator, and they have a different father. And that's why Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, you are of your father, the devil. So this universalistic teaching is contrary to what the Bible makes clear. And Fosdick was applauded as this, you know, great mind in the pulpit because of this modern view, and so were those in the days of Spurgeon with their modernism. You know, they wanted to cling to the historical doctrines and at the same time say the Bible is not infallible.

And so these kind of things exist. Those who are unfaithful, a pastor is to encourage a submitted flock, and he is to rebuke an unsubmitted flock, as Spurgeon did, although those that attended his church did not, you know, were overall a submitted flock to God's Word. And I think many are confused about where God has planted them. So I've seen this so many times, you know, two people come to church, one decides they're going to leave that church, and the other says, okay, I'm going with you. Excuse me, what did Jesus say to you?

I don't know, I'm going with him. You see it in families, you see it in individuals. This not being led by the Holy Spirit.

So you say, why? Well, again, sometimes it's a mark of immaturity when you make your own decisions because, you know, you're put on a t-shirt or a coffee cup, lean not on your own understanding, but on all your ways acknowledge the Lord. You know, did you even ask the Lord, should you leave or should you go?

It's a very big deal. If you have a friend that's looking for a church, pray with them. They need that. Pray that they understand where God wants them, not where you want them, where God wants them. I don't want anybody to remain in the church that God doesn't have there. Well, what's the alternative?

Well, I sure hope God doesn't have you here. You see, the logic, it's not emotional. Cut that emotional out of such approaches to our faith. It's truth. Sometimes that behavior is an indication of confusion. No one's ever told them this.

No one's ever come up and say, hey, you got to be a new wineskin, or else you're going to burst, and you have to follow the leadings. Now, I know as I speak that these messages are recorded, and broadcast in other places, and there are other Christians that need to hear this, because no one's ever said it to them. Often, when a Christian is not as devoted like these men were, it is a mark of the self-will, a self-willed agenda. I'm coming to this church because I want to do this, and I want them to help me do it.

You know, a lot of in early days it would be, you know, hey, some newcomer, can we go out to lunch? No, because I know you're trying to sell me your ministry. If I can just promote your ministry, you'll be happy with that. We can't do that. That's not what church is for. Anyhow, I don't want to stay on that anymore. Well, okay, five more minutes.

No, I don't. Let's move on. But we're talking about these men who were committed and submitted to Paul, and because of that, he got so much done, and that's true to this day. You show a church that's sticking to the word, that's getting the gospel out or strengthening the loss.

It's because the people in that church are focused on what they're supposed to do and submitted to God's Word. Anyway, it says, intending to go on foot. So from Troas to Assos, 17 miles by land, 30 by sea, because they had to go around a little peninsula there, and the men on ship were carrying cash, as I mentioned. It was safer. Well, there was a better chance to escape robbers by going to the sea than to worry about the pirates.

So in that part of the world, even in that time, parts of that area, there was problems with pirates, and we know this because the archaeologists have found a lot of inland communities that abandoned the shore area. Anyway, Enoch, Noah, two other men said to have walked with God. God notices the walk.

Hosea, chapter 11. Now, do you appreciate that? Are you a Christian that can appreciate?

Look at that. The pastor goes to other verses in the Bible because they're all together God's Word. Or is it lost on you?

Do you not get it? And again, back to the youth is who I'm really speaking to. Do you understand that it is the whole Word of God that makes the Christian whole? And I'll conclude in a little while.

Nobody's sitting by a window, so I guess I can go on a little longer. Ephraim has encircled me with lies. God is saying this.

Humans can do this. The house of Israel with deceit, but Judah still walks with God, even with the Holy One who is faithful. So Hosea the prophet saying to the Northern Kingdom, you guys aren't walking with God. You're a bunch of liars. You talk to God with your hand behind your back and your fingers crossed.

You're deceitful. However, Judah, they're still getting it right. They're still walking with the Lord. And in time, Judah too stopped walking. So on this solitary journey, did Paul hear the Holy Spirit say to him, you're going to go to Jerusalem and don't worry about the persecution you're going to face because we'll get that later. Anyway, verse 14, and when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mytilene. Verse 15, we sailed from there and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day, we arrived at Samos and stayed at Tragilium. The next day, we came to Miletus. It is so much easier to pronounce the Greek words than the Hebrew. Just go read out loud 1 Chronicles.

See how far you can get before. Verse 16, for Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Again, he wasn't worried about the Passover. He wants Pentecost. And I would imagine it's because of the multitudes that would still be there of men for the Pentecost celebration.

That certainly was a factor. It's when the church was born. Technically, Christianity began at the Resurrection, but the church technically began at Pentecost, and then there was an evolution and a revolution at the same time. There were things that were radical changes for the Christians, and then there were things that slowly changed for the Christians. One of the radical ones was the Sunday meeting. The Christians were all right from the beginning.

Sunday was it. But then there were other things, you know, the Jewish laws that they had to realize. Okay, we're not under Judaism anymore.

That was an evolution. Anyway, verse 16, coming back to this, he doesn't want to go to Ephesus because he has too many relationships there, and they'll just, you know, he won't be able to leave. He just knew the people, and it would have been hard to leave.

So he wants to get out of there. He doesn't know there's a ticket to Rome waiting for him in Jerusalem, that it would take him to Caesar, and that Paul would notify the world that Christianity was unequaled, unmatched. This happened because after Caesar, Nero, and Paul met.

You say, how do you know they met? Because Jesus said, you will go to Caesar. That's all we need to know.

We don't have to have any other record. Christ said it. So after Nero meets with him and finds out, you know, Christianity is not a form of sect of Judaism. Things got worse for Christianity. Rome said, you know, we can persecute these guys.

They don't do anything for the economy like the Jews were doing. So as we learn from scripture, we come to scripture to learn till we learn about God. If you're, again, if you are following the world and you come to the church and you hear, you know, God disagrees with them.

God disagrees with the culture, with the modernism. You have to make a decision. Am I learning scripture to learn God, or am I just playing games so the devil can have his way with me? On the other hand, you have Christians that come to learn scripture and they're still struggling. And you wonder if it's working or not because of how your life is, because of how you feel, because of the things that are falling apart. You wonder, is Bible study even worth it?

Am I wasting my time? Well, let me ask you this. Are you still standing? Are you still coming to listen to God's word? You think there's three cheers in hell over that?

You think hell's excited that you're still coming to church? Shortcomings and all that Christ will receive you. John chapter 10, Jesus said, and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my father's hand. So he says that in case you're still not clear on who I am, then understand who my father is. And this is before the cross.

This is when they had no knowledge of the church or the Holy Spirit in the context of the church. The very thing Satan cannot defeat is your armor. And it should be dented and it should be smoldering and it should have the stench of perspiration on it. And that's what it calls, what's called for to serve. That's evidence of remaining in Christ. And if you hand in your armor on the day of your death and it's polished and shiny, what does that say?

That you had not used your war garment? So I close with this. Zechariah chapter three. This is the story of a high priest in Israel named Joshua, not to be confused with the leader Joshua. And Zechariah gets this vision, and in this vision, he sees the mercy of God in action.

And so I'll just read it to you. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the angel. Then he saw the man standing before the angel. Then he, which is Yahweh, answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, see, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich rose. Jesus said, I'll give you a new garment.

Hand in those filthy ones of your flesh and hand in those of your service in Christ, your armor, and he will give us new clothes, new garments. 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 / 2024-01-17 09:18:31 / 2024-01-17 09:28:24 / 10

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