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The Undaunted Shepherd (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 23, 2024 6:00 am

The Undaunted Shepherd (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 23, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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God's without basis, essentially. They weren't interested in what Jesus had done. Each of the main cities or places that Paul found himself presented a challenge, and he faced all of them, though unique, he faced them all the same way. God's word and Christ's cross. He never said, you know what, I need to come up with something different.

I need to entertain these people and to change it to adapt to their culture. He never did anything like that, and hopefully we don't either. 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 his message, The Undaunted Shepherd. Well, Acts chapter 20, we will consider verses 28 through 38. Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing a flock, also from among yourselves. Men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Therefore, watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Last session it was the undaunted servant, same man, he is also an undaunted shepherd or pastor. Remember, pastor comes from the Latin for shepherd. The resurrection, of course, we all are aware that it is being celebrated throughout churches around the world. Now, there's no need to specify which resurrection, there's only one. There have been revivals and resuscitations, but only one resurrection. When Lazarus died and the Lord raised him from the dead, that was a resuscitation. Lazarus still died again, still had his body that he was born with, though matured, his glorified body was not received. When the Lord Jesus was crucified and rose again, he was in a glorified state, not to ever die again, regardless of whoever's doctrine teaches that he is crucified repeatedly, he is not. The Bible says that he was appointed to die once. Several years, decades ago, an unbeliever asked me at work, what happened after the resurrection?

Well, I thought it was a great question and I took the time to answer it with great joy. This book of Acts, as it is known, Acts of the Holy Spirit, Acts of the Apostles, we could say the book of action. It is the book of action after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the ascension of Christ. What happened with his disciples?

What did they do? How did the church come to be? Well, it's all in this book. In fact, in the opening verses, Luke says of all that Jesus began, both to do and to teach, and so he is telling us, and this is part of the story, it has 28 chapters.

We are the 29th chapter. All the churches after Acts 28 are the continuing story about the actions of the Holy Spirit. And if you are not a believer, hopefully you will not be lost as we go through what Christians go through to be better at serving our Lord Jesus Christ. I will add that anyone can devise a plan by which good people go to heaven.

Only God can devise a plan whereby sinners who are not worthy to go to heaven can go to heaven, and that is the plan of salvation. But I want to focus on what is happening here in this section of scripture, the Apostle Paul, one of the disciples of Christ. He is on his way to Jerusalem. He wants to get there for the Pentecost celebration, which is 50 days after the Passover, the crucifixion.

He's leaving what is modern day Greece, and he's stopping off in what we know as modern day Turkey at a place named Miletus there on the coast, the Aegean Sea. And he doesn't want to go to the city of Ephesus where he had been for three years, the pastor established a solid church there, because if he goes into the town, he's going to be, you know, delayed just by all the people dealing, you know, interactions. So he summons the pastors of that church, the leaders of the church, to meet him at Miletus, a seaport, which is about 30 miles away, and they come. And he's been telling them, you know, this is why I've done what I've done, and this is where it's all going. And he gets to this section, the 28th section, after having told them how he served, now he's going to tell them about shepherding, about pastoring. And looking at verse 28, he continues to speak to them. He says, Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. Paul is about to say that based on how he served and how he has matured in ministry, what he is telling them is vital, and it is going to be attacked. And he says to them that he has given them as much Bible teaching as they could handle, and that he did, and he's been going over that. I shared with you the whole counsel of God he had mentioned to them. And these Ephesians that he is talking to at this very moment, they're in heaven.

Unless they became apostates, which is very unlikely with this group, they are in heaven right now because they allowed themselves to come under the authority of scripture. Contrast the Athenians, where Paul tried to establish a church there in Athens, ancient Athens, that was a college town. And they weren't too much interested in what Jesus had done for them. The Athenians were more interested in what man could do for man. Of course, they had their false gods there that they created, incidentally, gods without basis, essentially. They weren't interested in what Jesus had done. Each of the main cities or places that Paul found himself presented a challenge and he faced all of them, though unique, he faced them all the same way. God's word and Christ's cross. He never said, you know what, I need to come up with something different.

I need to entertain these people and to change it to adapt to their culture. He never did anything like that, and hopefully we don't either. Athens was the center of intellectual knowledge. At least it had that reputation among people. Corinth, a little south of Athens in present-day Greece, Corinth was the center of carnal knowledge. There were lewd people there and they were very, they were not ashamed of their carnality, their sinful behavior, their immorality.

They boasted about it. They factored it into some of their religion even. Ephesus, where these leaders are from, whom he's addressing, that was the center for occultic knowledge. So you had human intellect, not Christ.

You had carnality, not morality. And here at Ephesus you had the occult, the spiritual realm that touches demons and is touched by demons. And it is amazing how someone knowing this is Satan, knowing this is a demon, wants to buddy up with them. And this in itself is demonic, because Satan hates all humans without exception, regardless of how he can make a useful idiot out of Judas Iscariot, did not endear Judas to him. And the end result of Judas going out and hanging himself is a testimony to that fact that Satan hates humans.

So these things are spiritual, all of them. Being a center for intellectual knowledge at the cost of rejecting Christ, to be a center for carnal knowledge, disinterested in morality, the occult, these things are what Christians face to this day. And we face it the same way Paul does with the word of God and the message of the cross of Christ for salvation. So he says to them, take heed to yourselves. They were to care for their own faith first. Before they were to minister as pastors, they had to, of course, pay careful attention to their own walk. Then the flock. Now I'm a Christian man before I'm a Christian pastor, and that's never going to change.

That's the proper order. He wrote to the Philippians a letter that this time, this meeting in Miletus, he had not yet written the Philippian letter. He will soon when he's put in jail. But he writes to them, beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation. And there he's telling them that there are those legalistic people creeping into the church that are going to try to tell them they have to be circumcised to be saved and they got to do this. And Paul is warning them there, and he used stronger language. He says, beware of the mutilation. It's the euphemism the translators have put in.

It's a very strong word against them. It's interesting in the book of Deuteronomy when God is telling Moses how to deal with murderers, he says, don't pity them. You know, we can end up casting pearl before swine. We think that, you know, we're going to save the world and we do it the wrong way. We can do that, you know.

We need to be sober minded, wise as serpents, harmless as doves, truth and love, yes, but we also have a responsibility to be on watch for the realities because they can end up with an adverse reaction. The idea is, well, you never know. You do know many times, and we're all guilty of this from time to time. You're probably more than me because I'm the one telling you about it. Anyway, I'm kidding.

If you're visiting, I like to throw those in every now and then, but I hope I don't come off as arrogant or mean because I can be both just like the rest of us. Anyway, he says, end to the flock. Now, the flock, a Bible metaphor for the assembly, the believers of Israel, the assembly of the church, you know, goats as animals now, they are browsers. They will eat just about anything, whereas sheep or grazers and they'll only, they like grass to eat it, not smoke it, keep off the grass. So these two, the difference in their diet means that the sheep and goats will come into conflict with each other, if not managed. This is the case of believers and unbelievers also. The unbeliever spiritually will eat anything. This is illustrated in the Garden of Eden. The Lord says, look, from any tree you can eat from, except one.

Is that too much to ask? Well, it was. Well, that is still going on. The flock as sheep are supposed to be more selective in what they consume, whereas the world can consume anything because who is it accountable to ultimately to themselves in their practice? Jesus said, do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. And there you have two metaphor at work for the believers. The pastoral one, the little flock, and then the kingdom. You have a royal metaphor at work there because we are subjects of a king. There are parallels between the Christian life and the life, the pastoral life of sheep and shepherds.

That dynamic is still at work. Going back to verse 28, he says, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. And I should add, we have not gotten to the good part yet, although this is the good part, but I am excited about some of this. I am not going to comment on overseers, elders, and pastors. We did that in verse 17 last session, so I will bypass that. But I will say the Holy Spirit is the one who selects the pastors. People recognize the pastors, they recognize the selections by their fruits, you will know them.

That goes for the bad and the good. But here it says, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, which is the pastors, elders, pastors, and overseers synonymous. Numbers chapter 27, this is how it was in the days of Moses, let Yahweh the God of the spirits of all flesh, that is the life that is in of man, set a man over the congregation who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of Yahweh may not be like sheep which have no shepherd. And so there we have Moses who was appointed to be the leader, who appointed Aaron. At some point they were allowed to appoint other leaders under their authority. And there you have God saying, I do not want my people to just roam around like goats.

They need leadership. This will change when we get to heaven. We won't have to have pastors, we will have the Lord as my shepherd will be fully realized fact. Others in scripture that were called by God, by the Holy Spirit made overseers, Joshua, David, Elisha.

This is not new to us. Pastoral office and the pastor, these are given to the local church. Universal church, you know, this spread out, is not assembled. It's just we're all Christians in that sense. But the local church, which is vital. This is Old Testament and New Testament doctrine. In Jeremiah chapter 3 verse 15, God speaking through the prophets said to his people, I will give you pastors according to my heart who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

And so if you say, well that was the Old Testament. Well the New Testament, Ephesians 4, he himself has given some to be apostles and some prophets, some evangelists, some pastor-teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edification, for the making strong the body of Christ. This is the local assembly of Christ. Because again, the universal church doesn't assemble. It's there, we're all part of the universal church.

But we have a principal place of worship, I hope, which would be our local church. This, as I mentioned, remains until we get to heaven. There he continues, Paul does in Ephesians 4. Now remember, we're talking about the Ephesian pastors in a place called Miletus. I'm quoting from a letter to the Ephesians, that local church, which hasn't been written yet either.

So you understand what's happening. The New Testament is evolving in the days of the apostles. Ephesians 4, 13, he says, he's given you these pastors till we all come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ. And once we get to heaven, we won't have the need for pastoral leadership.

The Lord will be there. Now, if you are an unbeliever, I hope you're keeping up with this, because you're going to be quizzed on it before we let you out of here. I hope you understand, what I'm talking about is Christianity, how it's set up. And there's no way you could know how it is set up unless you read the Bible or someone has explained it to you. It's quite presumptuous to think that you just know these things. I just know God. No, you don't. Not the true God you have to receive.

He has to reveal himself to you. And he does that in various ways, but never, never contrary to the scripture, the Bible as we know it. That's a whole other story. But anyway, immature, ignorant, and often difficult people have a problem with authority in the church. It's like they signed up for it.

Sign me up. I want to have a problem with authority. And it's just an act of faithlessness.

Well, we all struggle with something. I hope if you've detected that in you, that you have a problem with authority in the church, that you understand it's not a virtue and doesn't come from heaven. That is born in hell, and your flesh is accommodating it. These pastors, they don't lord over your life.

They don't tell you what kind of haircut to get, what kind of car to drive, who to marry, who not to marry, with the exception of, well, you've got to be believers. You know, don't let that be you, because the Bible has left some hard examples. Dathan. Dathan did not appreciate Moses and Aaron having that authority over Israel, so they decided to protest.

Ultimately, the ground literally opened up and swallowed Dathan and his protesters, and that was the end of them. Then there's diatrophes in the New Testament. Had the audacity to tell John the apostle, you know, I don't want to hear what you have to say, and I don't want anybody to come to my church to hear what you have to say. You know, this stuff's not new.

These are alternatives from hell, and they are here to this present day. To shepherd the church of God, Paul says here in verse 28, this is how it's supposed to work. Peter said it this way. I hope I'm not talking too quickly for you.

Not that you're slow, but I mean, you know, a person can talk so quick. I can't, I don't know what you're saying. First Peter, chapter 5, Peter says to the pastors, "'Pastor the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly, nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.'" And I mentioned we don't lord over your life, come and tell you what you, you know, what job to have and what not, although there are some jobs you cannot have. You say, well, like what?

Well, how about being a drug pusher? That's not, you know, it's an instant. No.

Well, how about I just, you know, finish up this week, give them two week notice. No. So, anyway, the early church, the early church was clearly disinterested in calling their spiritual leaders rabbis. You ever notice that? A rabbi is a teacher, and he himself is given some pastor teachers. It's one office, the pastor that teaches, and a more descript title emerged. It was in use in the Old Testament, as I pointed out, but the Lord really began to bring it home, referring to the believers as a flock without a shepherd, the striking of the shepherd, and then when he gets with Peter on the shore of Galilee, he says, you know, tend my sheep, feed my lambs, and he's very clear about Peter, who was one of the pastors of the early church, he's very clear about this pastoral description, which has carried on. But here's where things also begin to change for the Christian in our perspective of what's going on with Christianity. Paul says which he purchased with his own blood. So it cost Jesus a gruesome death to open the church doors. Anytime a church door is opened, it costs Jesus his life to do this.

It did not just happen. The church. Of course, he loves the church.

He comes right out and says that. He died for the church. Jesus is God the Son of God the Father, and then there's the God the Holy Spirit. These three are one.

They belong with each other. Christ is sinless. He's incorruptible. When he was tempted by Satan, someone might say, well, what if he did submit to the temptation? He couldn't. He's incorruptible.

That's what it means. He's said to be incorruptible. He allowed himself to be tempted by Satan, one, to serve hell.

Notice I'm here. And two, to let us know he's not just a prophet. He's unlike anyone else. No temptation could overtake him. Equal with the Father. So equal that this verse calls his blood the blood of God.

Now you tell me if this is not a resurrection message. To shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. Well, the antecedent and the pronouns are pointing to Jesus Christ. And it's calling him God. The church of God, which he purchased.

1 Peter 1. This is what makes the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons heretics because it states clearly who Christ is. And they want to make up other things about who he is and deny what it says. What was the charge against Christ when they went to arrest him, to crucify him?

Because you being a man make yourself equal with God. That was the charge against him. Which they say, well he never said he was God. He certainly did. And he certainly did not. And if you took words of Christ and you put them into words of any other man, if I were to say to you I am the way, the truth and the life, you know I'd be a heretic.

Is he even comfortable using that example? Only God could make such a statement. Well, coming back to this with Christ and Peter writing, he says, knowing that you are not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ. What's the blood of God? It says here in Acts, verse 28, but here Peter is also in total agreement with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot. You're paid for.

The doors of the church were paid for. I don't know why so many of our younger church goers hear such a teaching and then flush it into the sewer and run after the world and ask Satan how they should live. Should I be cool, calm and collected about that?

Should you be somehow honored for doing such things? You better make a choice and stand up to the devil. You won't be able to say, well my pastor never gave me the word of God.

You can say, you know, he almost clubbed me over the head with it. But in love, I mean that if you're having a problem with your faith, you stand here singing songs to the Lord, but you want to go live like a devil or follow what Satan is saying, then come to the pastors and have them pray with you. Stand up for your faith. Don't take that kind of stuff from your flesh, from the world or from hell below because you don't have to.

And those sitting around you who have been teens some very long time ago, they know the drill. Each believer is blood bought. First Corinthians 6 20 explicitly says it.

Each believer paid for in God's blood because there's nothing more valuable or as valuable. 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 / 2024-01-23 09:12:00 / 2024-01-23 09:21:29 / 9

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