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The Undaunted Servant (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 22, 2024 6:00 am

The Undaunted Servant (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 22, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Ask God, ask, seek, knock, Psalm 119 verse 36, which is a song about scripture. He says, Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to covetedness. Don't let me be distracted from your word.

I just help my heart to want your word. And Christians who think Satan is not gunning for them, they are asleep. That's why Peter said, be sober, be vigilant. 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. The Undaunted Servant is the title of Pastor Rick's message today. He'll be teaching in Acts chapter 20. It 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, you know, 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 of 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.

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, not 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 the 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 souls 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 there'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 can 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, well, you're 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 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. And I spend my life fighting it out. This is the process of sanctification. And then, of course, I'm justified at this point. Justification, sanctification.

Justified means God, Christ has forgiven my sins, and I've received that. But then there's that other element that hasn't happened to us yet, and that is glorification. That is, when I die, I'll be glorified. There'll be no more depraved nature. There'll be no more death for me. No more temptation. When Satan is released into millennial reign, it will not affect me.

When he's tempting those born during that age, they're not glorified yet. We will be glorified, and we will be immune to his temptations. We will have come full circle. We will be like Christ. I can't wait.

It's just going to be wonderful. From God's perspective, I'm already there because he can't experience anything new. Okay, anyway, you start getting deep with that. Coming back to this, faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, he says, that's a deal breaker or maker. You either aspire to have that faith or not. The antidote to eternal separation from God is faith, but not without repentance, which says, I see who I am before you, God. I see that I am a sinner. Verse 22, and see, now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there.

And so now we're moving away a little bit from having the contrast Corinth, because we're getting into the servant, and he is undaunted. The mission before self. This is the Christ-centered life versus a self-centered life.

You don't have to find these labels to be guilty of one behavior or the other. You can have a Christ-centered life and not even be aware, I mean, saying it, just doing it in Christ, as you've given your life to Christ. You do have to make a confession of faith, but you can just be living that Christ-centered life.

You see this in some newer believers. Well, anyway, he says, and see, verse 22, now I go bound in the Spirit. I willfully have no choice.

That's what he's saying. I choose, I waive my rights before Christ. That's what makes me his slave. I do what he says no matter what it costs. I used to think I was doing stuff like that. I'm not so sure now. Now I say, you know, I try.

The try column has just accelerated, built up. Anyway, he says, he goes bound in the Spirit, which means he knew his orders, he knew what they were, he knew what his duty is, and regardless of what it would cost, he's going to do it. He says, we see this in the world.

We see when troops hit the beach and get mowed down by machine guns, they're doing their duty. Well, it's true in Christianity, too. He continues, he says, not knowing the things that will happen to me. He felt no need to know the future concerning his own life. He knows if he knew his future enough, he'd go into heaven. So rather, he would rather obey in the present tense, that's unconditional servanthood. That's what we're seeing in an undaunted servant. Unconditional servanthood. You know, Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing the gruesome execution awaiting him.

That didn't stop him, he was undaunted, too. John 12, my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour, but for this purpose, I came to this hour. I mean, you've got to love when a person understands what their calling is and they're, I don't care, this is what I'm called to do.

Without the obnoxious, you know, some people can be, they just have no love, they think they're doing it and they don't, but many do. Many do have the love, and they know what they're called to do. David Livingston was one person in history that lived that way, continuing to verse 23, except the Holy Spirit testifies in every city saying that chains and tribulations await me. Now he discerned this, he'd go and he'd hear someone say, you know, this and he'd say, you know, this is the Lord Paul saying, you know, these people, this is the Holy Spirit. And God makes no attempt to redirect him from the danger.

In fact, it won't be as bad as it could have been. But he doesn't know that at this point. Paul thinks he's going to die in Jerusalem.

He's going to be wrong, or die because of it, and we'll come to that. But God intended to use these chains and tribulations. What if God came to you and said, hey, I need to put you in some chains and give you some tribulation so I can spread the gospel. You good with that? Good question, Lord.

I'll have no problem if you can just miraculously fill me with your Spirit so I can do it. So, you know, we hear about the consequences of doing the wrong thing. Here are the consequences of doing the right thing. All those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution in some form. Verse 24, this is one of the greatest verses in the Bible. None of these things move me, but, disjunctive connects with what he's saying, no troubles coming, but none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself so that I may finish my race with joy in the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus who testified to the gospel of the grace of God. I'm not going to spend any more, much time on this verse.

It says it all. And he's going to serve with joy, not allowing himself to become jaded, so we talk about the Corinthians. He doesn't allow himself to become bitter or resentful towards them. He continues to love them, apparently at an accelerated rate. Without this resolve, verse 24, he could never have said this years later, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

This is the foundation for that near final statement. Undaunted is this servant. Verse 25, and indeed now I know that you all, among whom I gave, I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. I just had a flashback, you know, of him preaching so long that Eutychus fell out the window. Really nothing to do with this, but him preaching, he preached, taking away any complaint about long sermons. Anyway, Paul thought he was going to die. He's not going to see my face anymore. He thought he was going to die.

It's a reminder that he was human. He is not Jesus Christ. You know, he said, I want to go to Spain. He wrote to the Romans. When I go to Spain, I'm going to stop off in Rome. We have no biblical evidence that he ever made it out of Rome on his first arrest. Not direct evidence. We have the 2 Timothy letter, which, you know, he's again in jail and he is facing death and it's believed he didn't die then either.

And what we do have, that he made it to Spain, are a few ancient texts that either imply it or assert it outright that Paul made to Spain. And the first one is a man named Clement. Clement I. First Clement.

He writes a letter first Clement. Anyway, he's mentioned in Philippians 4-3, believed to be the same man. And he writes of Paul, some 20 years after Paul said, I want to go to Spain in the Roman letter, he writes, having reached the farthest limits of the West.

That's what he said about Paul. At that time, that would have been Spain. If you look at a map and you're in that part of the world, the Mediterranean area, Spain is the farthest part.

You know, across Portugal right there too. But anyhow, that's how that would have been understood. That he made it to the Atlantic Ocean. Christendom, another Christian, a couple hundred years later, Christendom is his name, was a great Bible teacher of his day. And he writes, after Paul, after he, which is Paul, had been in Rome, he returned to Spain. But whether he came thence again into these parts, we know not. And he was an overseer in modern Turkey, Constantinople today.

So then there's one more, Jerome, who gave us the Latin Vulgate, which is the translation of the Bible into Latin. And Jerome writes, Paul having been in Spain, went from one ocean to another. And so there you have extra biblical materials saying, Paul lived beyond this experience, this imprisonment. And that's why I brought it up. Paul, you're wrong here.

And that's what we're just talking about. Anyway, verse 26, therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. I've done my duty. Samuel did a similar thing in 1 Samuel chapter 12. I've walked before you since my childhood, he told them.

And he says, if I've stolen anything from you, taken your box, you tell me now and I'll repay it. And they said, no, you have not. Anyway, this is, this 26th verse is linked to Ezekiel 3 and Ezekiel 33 on preaching, not being, what's the word, negligent.

You know, when I grew, where I grew up, if you didn't shovel your walk and someone slipped on it in the snow and ice, that negligence, you were accountable for that. And see, Paul, Ezekiel was saying, was told by God, if you don't preach to these people I'm sending you to, I'm going to hold it against you. So Ezekiel said, I have preached to these people.

In fact, I wrote this book to show you. Verse 27, for I've not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Why would he have to say this? Because persecutions and beatings did not deter him.

That's why. All he suffered, he kept preaching to succeed at this one has to love God more than themselves, more than loved ones. There's enough love in you and I to love everybody and still lose none of it for ourselves and still have enough for God, more for God. Jesus warned about that. He said, don't go be loving your family more than me.

Don't bring that. He didn't say it in the way I'm giving it to you, but that's where you end up. He says it harder.

You don't hate mother, father, sister, brother. That contrast gets everybody, whoa, what word did he use there? So you'll never forget that. And so by contrast, the love for God is in another zone than your love for everything else.

That's the ideal. Well, he says the whole counsel of God. Well, some churchgoers don't see a need for the entire word of God. They're just happy to cherry pick the verses they like. Some don't want the Bible to confront a carnal lifestyle.

They're their carnal lifestyle. Well, I've seen this more than once. You have a child, you have a Christian that is against, let's just say homosexuality, because that's the one I have in mind. And then their child says, that's what I am. This is years ago.

This is before this crazy age. And then that person becomes, begins to attack the church that speaks against homosexuality. You see that kind of crazy stuff goes against what Luke wrote in Luke chapter 14 about loving the Lord first. They should have stood firm. They should not have backed down.

I will pray for you, but I'm not going to give you anything that takes away from Christ. We also see it this way. We see parents send their children off to college to get an education. The kid comes back with wacky ideas and converts the parents to wacky ideas, vilifies their church and their pastor.

And the parents leave because they're kid after all. They know everything now. I tell you, in the 60s, I was rooting for those cops, one of those campus people. Why aren't they in class? Who made them so smart? Well, you have agitators for professors.

You have professors that have written books on how to resist the government. We had one as an ambassador in Russia. Russia. Russia. It's not Russia. Rosh Hashanah.

No, no, not Russia. All right, I've kind of gone off with this. What I want to say is there are gray cardinals. There are those powers in back of events that are causing the trouble and no one sees them.

They're just so separated from. I didn't do anything. I just taught in the university. I'm a professor. Not all of the professors are like that, of course, but enough of them. Anyhow, how did this country get so messed up? Well, the universities have become Satan's pulpit and there's not a short, not hard to define it. Not all of them. Again, I can't stress that enough.

I think our kids should get an education in universities and stand up to these professors and say, look, I'm not here to hear your politics. I paid to learn architecture or, you know, math and math, whatever it is. That's what you need to teach me. And if you say one more word, my pastor's going to come here. He could be waiting for you by your car or in your kitchen. You don't know this guy. He's got a carnality to the side to him. He'll get in the flesh.

Won't be good for you. He'll dress up like a UPS guy. Come to your house. Sign right here. Anyway, all right, let's finish this. The whole counsel of God, that means just what it says. You say, I try, but I can't get it. I know I'm running a little late, but I got Eutychus in my mind.

You'll be all right. Ask God. Ask, seek not. Psalm 119, verse 36, which is a song about scripture. He says, incline my heart to your testimonies and not to covetousness. Don't let me be distracted from your word.

I just help my heart to want your word. And, you know, Christians who think Satan is not gunning for them, they are asleep. That's why Peter said, be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He's looking for you. I have this scripture, verse 27, on a plaque in my office. Also, I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

So the care for the flock tenderly expressed and he's just warming up. 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 / 2024-01-22 08:47:47 / 2024-01-22 08:57:45 / 10

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