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The Undaunted Servant (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 19, 2024 6:00 am

The Undaunted Servant (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 19, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Do you know the guts it takes to serve the people of Christ eagerly as the decades stack up? He says, Shepherd the flock which is among you.

Not that you're above, but you're with them. You're one of the sheep that has been deputized to this office. Verse 21, testifying to Jews and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are for everyone.

Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now here's Pastor Rick with part two of his study called The Undaunted Servant in Acts chapter 20. Now you can be a veteran Christian and still immature. Just because you've been going to church a long time or claim Christ a long time doesn't mean you've matured. You can be quite juvenile still.

Or you can mature. Well, these were matured enough to be put into positions of leadership. Now when we get to verse 28, the Greek word that, well, Paul will say that these elders are overseers. It's a different word in the Greek. That word episkopos, from where we get our word episcopalian.

And that means the guardians. They're overseeing the church. They're looking out for the church. This is the same person, the same office. The pastor is to be matured, except when he's telling silly jokes, he's allowed a little margin.

He's to be matured and the guardian. The Presbyterians and the episcopalian denominations, they have named themselves based on the form of their government. And this is not rude or anything.

This is how it is. They wouldn't deny it. They're not ashamed of it. The Presbyterians say, well, we are run by a committee of elders. And the episcopalian say, well, we're run by the pastors.

And so that's the difference. Hopefully here you have, as Paul presents it, these qualities are supposed to be joined into a person called the pastor. I'll point that out from the scripture in a moment also. So Paul uses elders and overseers interchangeably for the same office, guardians, matured guardians of the flock. The elders, that draws attention to their spiritual maturity.

The overseer indicates the nature of the work that these elders are engaged in. And you combine these two offices and you have pastor to be mature in nature. Now, our English word pastor comes from the Latin for shepherd. Pastor means shepherd.

It started way before, but in the New Testament church, Jesus brings it to the front when he says to Peter, feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep. That's the language for a pastor. That's the metaphor for a pastoral ministry of a flock, which Paul will bring out the next session when we talk about the undaunted shepherd. Here's the undaunted servant, because he's going to talk about how he serves the Lord. Acts 20, verse 28, if you have your Bibles open, you look down there with me. He says, therefore, take heed to yourselves and to the flock. See that pastoral language? Among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, that's that word episcopus, to shepherd.

It's to feed, it's the word for shepherd, that's correct. The church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. And so in that 28th verse, he's joined it all together. So where it says, from Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called for the pastors.

Though he calls them elders, and we'll bring that out a little bit more, because it expands a little bit more. We Christians should know this, how our faith is structured. What is the antithesis?

What's the opposite? If you don't know its structure, then you don't know its structure, and that's not a virtue. There are others within the church who oversee affairs of the church and who are not pastors, but they are mature, and they look out for the interests of the assembly in their assigned roles. For board members, for example, when Paul writes to Timothy, he says, let the elders, that same word, episcopus, who rule well, be counted worthy of double honor. Then he says, especially those who labor in the word and teaching. This is doctrine from scripture. Some Christians resent pastors tending to flock with authority. I guess they just want them to be doormats or pin cushions.

I don't know. But we should embrace this. Pastors don't come around telling you what kind of car to buy, who to marry. They don't try to run your lives. There's a type of Christianity called shepherding where that does take place. That's abuse of power. What Paul is saying is when it comes to the assembly, somebody's got to be in charge.

And when he says in charge, he means it because this is what he says to Titus. He says, speak these things, exhort, rebuke with all authority. They don't like it. That's on them.

You make sure you do it. Then he says, let no one despise you. What a shame that he's got to say that.

Why would he have to say that? Because there are people in the churches that are despising pastors for upholding the authority given to them by God. I like these things not because I am a pastor, because I'm a Christian. I knew these things before I became a pastor.

I enjoyed them then. I know the value of command structure. I know what happens when there is no leadership. Jesus said the prophets and Christ brings in on it. I will smite the shepherd and the flock will be scattered.

That ain't good. Satan knows who to target. He knows where his weapons of mass destruction are to be spent. They talk about how important the church is. Look how much energy Satan puts into destroying a church. Anyway, if he could just put you to sleep.

Not me putting you to sleep. If Satan can cause you to fall asleep as a Christian at your post, if he can corrupt it anyway, he'll take it. The bottom line, Paul is addressing the pastors, pastors which likely includes a few other leaders also who were, what you would say, like trustees in the church, valuable people in the church. Verse 18, And when they had come to him, he said to them, You know from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you. Well, he's probably still a little singed at what he had to go through at Corinth, and so he's saying to the Ephesians where he spent three years establishing this church, and he's saying, You know I've been transparent with you.

This living in a glass house in front of them, his witness that is, well if you're transparent in that glass house witness, it may turn into a hothouse environment, but you're fit for it. He said a similar thing to another noble church at Thessalonica. He said, For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance. See the gap between Paul's preaching and Paul's life was a very narrow gap. They were together. He was a man who practiced what he preached, and he goes on to say to them, As you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

Isn't that not powerful? You know what kind of people we were when we were there, and it was for you. He talks in detail about it in that first chapter, how he worked not wanting to burden them. It was not wasted on the Thessalonian church. They received this. They said, Amen. The Ephesians, when he's done with them, they're going to weep on his neck and cry and kiss him. They're so touched by how much he loved them. What about Corinth?

What was their problem? What about today, when the same practices take place, and you see someone do something goofy in the church, the pastors rule over it, and then the people turn on them for standing firm. And they go, Him in heart, not all Christians, not even near, but enough.

Then they go, Him in heart, about they can't find a good church. Christians kill churches in this country, and nobody else. There are other countries where you can go to parts in Sudan where you could have Muslims trying to kill the church, or you can go to Communist China, and you have the government trying to kill the church.

But in America, it's mainly Christians, and that should not be. And that's why we're looking at these things. Maybe you don't see them. Maybe you're comfortable in the pew, and you don't see these things.

They are there. Verse 19, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials, which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews. Everybody knew it. Paul's chased out of no less than ten cities by his own countrymen, and it broke his heart. I'd give my soul for them, he said. God would say, your soul ain't that valuable.

Moses did the same thing, you know, and God said, no, we need somebody cleaner than you to save souls, and that would be Jesus Christ. But anyway, it's appreciated these men love the people that they ministered among. And I don't know how you would love the word of God and not desire and work at loving the people that you minister among. So there are Christians, or let me put it in a question format. Are some always seeking fulfillment in Christ without ever finding it because they don't serve? That's a good question. And if you're struggling, look, you know, we talk about the teens, you know, what they're facing in the world, the struggles with their faith.

The door is open for those teens with the parental consent to come to the pastors and talk about it. We don't turn our back on you. We point out, we say, listen, the world is trying to eat you alive. I was just watching, I don't know how I got it, I was just watching this monitor lizard eat a deer alive. I couldn't finish it.

It was just awful. This is what Satan wants to do to people, and he does do this to people. And so it's not like, oh, here's the rebuke. Okay, have a nice day. It's like, well, this is the rebuke. If the shoe fits, you've got to wear it. We'll help you get it off, but you've got to come. So anyway, the word Paul uses here in verse 19, serving the Lord, that verb for serving is slave, nothing short of slave. It goes deeper than servant, but it does not go without serving.

And this is Christianity. We're slaves for Christ. We don't care what other people think about that word.

We know what the Bible says about that word. And we are willing slaves, we are bond servants. We're the bond slaves is the accurate translation. I think some of the translators toned it down some because of the stigma attached to slavery. But for Paul, he says, I'm good with being a slave for God, for Jesus Christ.

Not only, I would have it no other way. And he says, with all humility. Now, I think we should listen to what I'm about to say about humility, not that I've got it. Wherever you find a truly humble heart, you will find a heart familiar with defeat. You don't become humble in heart until you've been defeated and properly process those defeats. You have to, you know, you come across failures, your own failures, and they keep you from becoming arrogant.

You can make those things chop wood and fetch water for you, your failures in life, and we're all going to get our share of them. He says, with many tears and trials. You know, you read this, I say, when's the last time I wept over ministry? There have been times in the Spirit.

But I mean, I get the feeling that Paul just never let up on this. With many tears and trials. Again, those immature veteran Christians were the source of these tears, many of them as countrymen too, who were unbelievers. And some of them were Judaizers, they mingled Judaism with Christianity and they caused all sorts of problems. He called them dogs at one point. Anyway, those that were giving him a hard time, you know how they saw themselves? They saw themselves as solid Christians.

But they were nothing more than irritants to Christ, to Christianity, and to a man like this. 2 Corinthians 2, 4. Again, he'd already written this letter. He says, for out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you. He never walked away from Corinth. He never said, you know, I don't need that from them. I got the church in Thessalonica and Philippi and Berea.

I got Ephesus. I've got a whole bunch of churches out there that do love me. I'll go with them. He doesn't do that. He says, I'll leave the 99 and I'll get the one. Now, when you leave the 99, you don't leave them to the wolves.

You take care of them first. That's, I mean, would just be crazy. Like, you lost 99 sheep, but you got the one? Hmm, that's not a good witness. Anyway, the Ephesians, as I mentioned, they appreciated him while Corinth attacked him. And, you know, listening to those who sow seeds of discord amongst brethren, that's what was going on in Corinth. You know, when I go back to, you know, I like Peter and I like Apollos and some like, you know, that's what they were doing. Sowing seeds of discord.

And, of course, many of the mature ones were just lapping it up and not even knowing they were doing wrong. The dominion of self. It says it is loving, but it stirs up trouble wherever it goes. There's a way to stir up trouble. Paul stirred up trouble against lies, against Jesus Christ, against God.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those who sow seeds of discord amongst the brethren. Continues here in verse 19. Which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews.

Again, his countrymen. The last plot, it just happened in Greece, in Corinth, and that caused him to go up to Macedonia and then head down towards Jerusalem and stop off here at Miletus. So, Paul's making it work for him.

He says, fine, and he leaves and he just does ministry elsewhere. The man was unstoppable because he was unhurtable. Hurt-able.

I know there's other ways you could use it, but I wanted to use that one. You just couldn't hurt him. He was undaunted. And that doesn't mean he didn't have fears. That's not what to be undaunted means. You're not stopped by your fears.

You continue going forward in the right direction because you know that's right. You know God is with you, and he knew it. He knew he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Lord promised him at the calling, at his calling, you're going to suffer for me. Did Christ do any of that with you?

Maybe he did. Or, you know, I cringe when I hear God's got a plan for your life, and he does, but it could be stonings. Paul, we're going to find out, he's headed towards Jerusalem knowing he's going to suffer. And he says, none of these things move me. So, yeah, God has a plan for your life. So does Satan. You have a say-so in all of this. It is worth it. This is not bad news.

It shouldn't be processed as bad news. And if you say, but I'm afraid, I'm not strong enough, that's when you go to God. Seek, ask, seek, knock, and these things shall be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you.

Maybe you'll be knocked around a little bit before it opens, but it will open. Look at the church at Smyrna. The Lord said to them, you're going to suffer more.

And they did, magnanimously. In verse 20, he says, how he kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you and taught you publicly and from house to house. I taught you publicly and from house to house. He would have had to have, to pull this off, he would have to have taught from the scriptures very often, in fact, all the time, to not hold back the counsel of God's word. All that the church needs is found in the New Testament, but not without the Old Testament. Luke 24, verse 47.

I have this on a plaque hanging up in my office because it sets the pace for the ministry God has called me to engage in. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. That was, that moment on the road to Emmaus was preserved. These men knew it. These women in the church knew it. That would have been continued through an oral tradition until Luke wrote it down. Paul knew the value of going through the scriptures. He says, but proclaimed it to you and taught you publicly and from house to house, without shame. In public, in homes, he fed the flock, he shepherded the flock. Pastors have this in their office, 1 Peter 5, 2 on a plaque. Shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. You know the guts it takes to serve the people of Christ, eagerly, as the decades stack up? He says, shepherd the flock, which is among you. Not that you're above, but you're with them.

You're one of the sheep that has been deputized to this office. Verse 21, testifying to Jews and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are for everyone. None who repent are too sinful or too unintelligent to be an ally of Jesus Christ. Anyone who hears the gospel of Jesus Christ can become an ally of Jesus Christ.

It's up to them. There is only one gospel. It is for Jews and Gentiles alike. There's not, well, this brand is for Jews and this brand over here is for Gentiles.

There's no such thing. Paul talks about that in Ephesians 4, verse 4 through 7. One father, one faith, he lays it out. In Ephesians, he's talking to them about the church.

What a luxury. He writes to the Ephesians, he says, I want to talk to you about the church. And that's what the Ephesian letter really is about, the church, the people, and the church. When he writes to the Colossians, he's talking about Christ of the church.

He writes both those letters about the same time from jail. It's like, well, here I am, a prisoner, not of Rome, but of Christ. And, well, might as well pop out some scripture while I'm here. That Corinthians, those Corinthian letters that were written at this time, they were not yet scripture as we know them. At this time in history, they were letters from the apostle Paul.

And I think most of the Christians did not realize that they were scripture, but I think most of them did realize this was God's word. It wasn't so formal, but that's why it's preserved. That's why we still have it, is this is magnificent. We can't, you're not just going to throw this in a file. We're going to make copies of this.

We're going to make so many copies of this that when archaeologists centuries later find, they're going to find copies all over the place. And that's what happened. Now, coming back to this repentance, repentance is not regret. It has regret in it, but it's not regret alone. Regret can come and go, fade away, and the soul still be untouched by God. Judas Iscariot had regret, the sorrow of this world. It never plugged into God.

It was all about Judas. I made a mistake. I feel terrible.

I'm such a, you know, and that's not enough. 2 Corinthians 7, for godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death. When he wrote that, that was read out loud in the church at Corinth to those who were, to the numskulls. They heard it. That means there was a good possibility that many, if not all of them, turned around, stopped being the child in the church and became adults. We could hope that, right? I do. I would hope that.

That would be my vote. I would not want them to hear that Corinthian letter, that first or second one, and then double down and defend their miscreant Christian behavior if there's such a thing. Anyway, penance is not repentance, somehow trying to make up for sin in one's own strength. It's an insult to God.

Paul will write to these Ephesians, he'll say, not by works, lest anyone should boast. It is the gift of God. That's what grace means, God's gift. It's not deserved. It's certainly not earned. Well, deserved, earned. It's not an entitlement. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians feel they are entitled. You say, are you sure hitting a lot of bad Christian behavior? Well, what should I do?

Hide it? So it just continues on. This is what we're talking about. We're talking about this church at Ephesus that was doing her utmost to help the apostle Paul versus that element in Corinth that did their utmost to help Satan by attacking a man whose ministry had the Holy Spirit as its architect, as its creator, as its engineer, all in one. Now, original sin has left me with a deprived, a depraved nature. Not so depraved that I can't respond to the message.

That's a teaching that I disagree with. We are depraved, but we can receive the gospel when we hear it. And that depraved nature is the cause of my sinful actions.

I have original sin. That is my nature as a sinner. I sin because it's who I am. And when I become born again, now I've got something to fight that nature in this life. When I get to heaven, I'll be glorified. So I am sanctified in this life when I come to Christ.

I'm separated from those who have only one nature, and it is that depraved nature. Now I have the Spirit. 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 crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. 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 crossreferenceradio.com 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 / 2024-01-19 09:03:21 / 2024-01-19 09:13:25 / 10

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