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Testimony to Fanatics Pt 1 (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 8, 2024 6:00 am

Testimony to Fanatics Pt 1 (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 8, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Matthew 10, 16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. And it's not easy. We are trying to hurt their sense of no need for a savior. We're trying to damage that. We are trying to cut as hard as we can cut into the lies that they have fallen for without maliciously wounding them.

And isn't that not easy? 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. Testimony to Fanatics is the title of Pastor Rick's message, and today he'll be teaching in Acts chapter 22. Trust God, not just some ambition. We're not desperate for souls. We are poised to have this desperation.

Well, put a track in their pocket when they're not looking. That's not being led by the Holy Spirit. And you keep that up, you're going to teach yourself to be better at not being led by the Holy Spirit and just doing something that you're desperate for.

I would counsel against it. Here's an interesting thing about verse 7. How did God refer to his people in the Old Testament?

Just like that, my people. How is he referring to the New Testament Christians? Me.

You catch that radical thing? Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Not Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting my people?

Why are you messing with me? And in that you've done it to the least of these you've done it to me. Christianity is a lot more personal than Old Testament righteousness. And we should be very mindful of that because we are called ministers of the New Covenant.

And Christians who walk around trying to be ministers of the Old Covenant, I don't, they're missing the point, the greater points of the faith. I hope I don't sound like I'm speaking down to anybody, but I have my convictions and my views. And when you have convictions of views, you're going to upset apple carts. There's no way around it. The alternative is to appease people. And you will be the apple cart.

All flipped over, apples everywhere. Anyway, verse 8. So I answered, who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting. Man, that's intense. It's intense. God calling you out. You know what I want to hear from God? I want him to say, probably more than anything in his life, is I am with you. And for him to say to Paul, you're not with me, you're hurting me.

Pretty intense. The Lord describes himself by a name that was despised by the Jews. They couldn't stand Nazareth anyway. They didn't like Galilee. Too many Gentiles up that way. Racism really had taken over Judaism. Against the law.

The law did not promote racism. And quite the opposite. You better watch how you treat the stranger. You know, and God would lay it out. Be a light to the Gentiles. Five times in Acts we read this beloved phrase, I am Jesus of Nazareth. Two other times he adds to it, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Well, when Nathanael said, can anything good come out of Nazareth? What was he told by Andrew? Come and see. He never stopped seeing, did he? I love Bible stories about conversions.

I love them. I love to hear stories about how people were converted. But again, I don't see that as the more effective way of reaching lost souls. You can't convert them if you can't hurt them. I mean their sense of self-righteousness, their sense of no need for a savior. You've got to rock that boat.

That's what's in the way. If I do not feel a need for a savior, then why would I come to Christ? Well, verse nine, let's go forward with some of this. And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of him who spoke to me. Similar to Daniel's experience in Daniel chapter ten.

The word hear and voice means that they heard, but they did not understand. So there's no contradiction to Acts chapter nine, seven. Verse ten, so I said, what shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, arise, go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.

The Lord did not say, well, Paul, you've got all these credentials, you've got all these degrees, let's just start to get you out there. He's going to strip this man down. Verse eleven, and since I could not see for the glory of the light being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came to Damascus. He's going to mess with them people at Damascus, them people. He's going to mess with them with truth.

They're going to hate his truth so much they're going to try to kill him. But he gets out. But Paul's blindness speaks to us. He speaks to us in no less than three things. One, he needed a savior from his blindness. Now that he's blind, if he's going to stop being blind, he needs somebody to do this for him. In Acts nine, when we first read of his conversion, because he's retelling it here in Acts twenty-two, there we read, then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

How humiliating. This is the prosecutor. With all the authority that a prosecutor has today, all of the evil that they can wield, which he was doing, and now here he is being held by his hand, going, he knows not where. Another lesson, not only did he need a savior from his blindness, he needed a leader in life. That's why they were leading him by the hand.

That's one of the lessons that comes out of this. He needed to be saved from spiritual blindness, and he needed to be led through life after that. It wasn't enough to get his sight back. We'll come to those who in a moment that had sight, how they messed it up. The third thing is his blindness indicated that everything he saw about Christ was useless to Christ without Christ.

Is that not profound? He heard Stephen's sermon. He could not answer that sermon. That's why it bothered him. It's why he was still breathing threats of violence against the church. He hated Christians, because that Jewish Christian dismantled his faith, and he knew it, but he was dishonest with himself.

And yet, God knows who he must blind before he can bless, and in some way, he doesn't. He did it with me when he converted me. I didn't see anything but Jesus.

It was a radical experience. There was nobody around to see this take place with me and Jesus Christ. Verse 12, then a certain Ananias, Paul telling the story of a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, verse 23, came to me. And he stood, and he said to me, Brother Saul, receive your sight.

And at that same hour, I looked up at him, at Ananias. These early Christians like Ananias, they were born under the law of Moses. They had to function in both worlds as messianic Christians and as Jews. Paul said he was a devout man. What if he said he's a devout Christian? Well, he would have lost his audience. And just because I don't think the Bible promotes this approach as the ideal approach doesn't mean that Paul was not on cue with everything he was saying. He was right.

He just didn't bring the effect. That's apologetics. You're right. It's a good argument. There are many Christians who are scientists who know science. I would tell you, they're going to be more effective saving souls by preaching about the scripture than they will about their understanding of science as a Christian. However, we all benefit from Christians who are able to present reasons for our defense of faith. A C.S. Lewis, for example.

A Norman Geiser. We certainly can benefit from their points and how they make their points. My disconnect again is when it comes to saving lost souls. I don't need five points.

I don't need to remember to say this and to say that. I need to be led by the Spirit and I need to be armed. If I go in unarmed, I will be slaughtered. But if I have the word of God as my sword, that's a game changer. Satan trembles at that. Anyway, Matthew 10, 16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.

Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. And it's not easy. We are trying to hurt their sense of no need for a savior. We're trying to damage that. We are trying to cut as hard as we can cut into the lies that they have fallen for without maliciously wounding them. And isn't that not easy? Because we're passionate about what we believe. Because the stakes are so high. It's hell or heaven.

Which one's it going to be? Some remain blind, as I mentioned, after seeing Jesus. In Scripture, that's where I'm going to learn my lessons about that. If I just say to you, some stay blind after seeing Christ, then well, we default to our experiences. But if I say, let me give you a biblical example, then all of a sudden it's got a lot of authority. That's why I give you the verses.

Diatrophes. Many churches are stuck with his ilk. Those who insist on defying those who God has put in authority. And Diatrophes there in 3 John from 2 John, he was that guy.

He didn't want to hear anything from John the apostle or anybody else. He took over. And then there was Korah before him in the days of Moses. Look, maybe Korah saw how decked out Aaron was in those priestly garments. The hat, man, the jewels. I mean, he had jewelry on his shoulders, on his breastplate. I mean, if you're walking down the road and you happen to see the high priest dressed like the high priest, there's a striking figure.

You move out the way. Maybe Korah didn't like that. Jude says, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. How could he? He saw the seed part. He saw miracles. He saw Moses deliver them out of Egypt. And how does he get up in the face of Moses and Aaron and say, you guys aren't all that?

Oh yeah, they were. Because of God. And you're not Korah because of God.

But that's not the end of the story. What are we reading in the Psalms? A psalm of the sons of Korah. See, God is not going to hold us accountable for our parents' sins.

It's one-on-one. No grandchildren in God's kingdom. You are either his child, receiving full inheritance, or not.

It's up to you. Well, verse 14, then he said, the God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know his will and see the just one and hear the voice of his mouth. This is Ananias telling Paul what God has sent him to tell Paul, and Paul is telling this Jewish audience of his.

But those trapped in mere religion value external practices far above divine revelation. And that's what Ananias is telling him. God's going to impart revelation to you. He's going to tell you things, Paul, that he's not telling everybody else. Even Peter acknowledged that. Paul has some deep things to say.

He says here in verse 14, and hear the voice of his mouth. That's available to us. It may not be on, you know, what brand of cereal to eat in the morning. That's your call.

But it will be on such things. Lord, do I speak? Do I share my faith?

Or do I just sit tight and wait? Maybe it's for somebody else. Maybe I'm not supposed to have a role in this. Your family members can do this.

You know, your child becomes your project. You've got to be the one to lead in Christ. You're wrong if you think that way. You just want them in the kingdom. That's the main thing. That's the objective.

Who does it shouldn't matter too much to you. If you say, well, I can't lead them to Christ. They've already heard me spend all my, you know, truths on them. I can sure pray God brings somebody.

That's what I do. Lord, send somebody in their life that will reach them with the gospel, take out of their life those that will hinder the gospel. And I'll be back a little later, Lord, to pray the same thing again. Because there's a difference between vain repetition and meaningful repetition. And it takes the Holy Spirit to point it out to us.

Look at it. If you want to listen to yourself or the devil have at it, but you're going to be all messed up. You'll be able to come to church still.

You still love the Lord. But your effectiveness is going to be hindered unless you just stay simple with the truth. This book, you know, you want to look at other, you know, I want to find other books about the Bible, to some degree, fine. Look how thick this book is. If you think it doesn't have everything you need in it, try memorizing it. It has got what you need.

You need a little bit more and not enough in a sense that he himself has given some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers. And otherwise, we'd be pretty arrogant, would we not? I don't need you. You're not my father. You ever hear a little kid do that? You're not my father. No, but your father ain't looking, kid.

Anyway, coming back to this. What do you call a church that does not emphasize the scripture? You call it anything but a church.

It's not tricky. But oh, we don't want to offend them. Why not? They're offending me. They're saying they're Christians and they're trampling on the word of God by ignoring it.

I mean, could you imagine that? They've opted out of the Holy Spirit's power and they've given the power to the people. What does that mean? They want you to come back. They want you to come back every week.

I do too. But not at the price of watering down God's word. Not at the price of my convictions as pastor. And it's nothing wrong with the congregation not only receiving that, but supporting it. There's nothing wrong with, I heard someone say about me once, boy, you're probably the best person ever. No, they didn't say anything like that. They said, we can talk bad about you, but nobody else can.

I'm still kind of confused about how I want to receive that. Anyway, it is an offense against the Godhead. Jesus said, sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.

Well, where else can you get it? There is no other. Well, it's one of the ways. I am the way. I am the word. The word became flesh, dwelt among us. We beheld his glory as the only begotten of the, full of grace and truth.

There's nothing like that. This is what Paul said to, I get goosebumps when the scripture just starts moving like this. Listen to what he said to Timothy. Till I come, give attention to reading, exhortation to doctrine. You teach them the word Timothy because we have nothing else and we don't want anything else because everything else is inferior and anything else that competes with the reading of the scripture, the exhortation of the spirit and the doctrine of the word is not your friend.

Why is this so difficult? Someone was telling me a few weeks ago, they were saying how they went to a church and there was no scripture and they left. Thank you, Lord. If anybody ever stepped into this pulpit and said the Bible ain't all that, you need to instantly get up and out you go and don't look back. But if they're preaching the word, don't crack. Don't crack under the petty pressures of being a human. You hold the line. If you get insulted, get insulted. Take the hit. Nobody can get it all right.

They need to get it right enough. They said the just one. That's the messianic title used in Isaiah 53 speaking of the suffering servant who is our savior. No one else has that distinction except God the Son.

No human being. You couldn't say in the same context Moses is the just one. No, this is a superlative that is distinct to Jesus Christ. Verse 15, for you, we're almost out of time. We've got to make it to at least verse 22, I think. I don't know what I'm going to do with the rest of the chapter. Verse 15, for you will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. That's what Ananias is telling Paul. God is going to make you a witness, not a lawyer.

You don't have to debate people. You deliver the message. You tell them what you have seen. This was so passionate about the Song of Solomon. Who is your beloved that you so charge us? Oh, they poked the beast when they asked that question. My beloved is, and she just rattles off this description because she paid attention to every detail of her beloved. Like she counted his teeth and could tell you everything. That's how we should be with Jesus Christ.

I'll tell you what my beloved is more than another. Well, do you realize how important this is to go make disciples? Jesus said, tarry in Jerusalem, wait for it, and you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me. And he starts in the place that killed the prophets, in Jerusalem, Samaria, to the outermost parts of the world.

This is our mandate. Paul, incidentally, Paul violated the Jewish law right at his conversion where he goes away for three years. Well, the law mandated that the men get to Jerusalem three times a year.

He doesn't come for three years, that's nine times. He missed the feast because he's not under the law anymore. He's under Christ. He writes to the Romans, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. The gospel is liberating.

The flesh, of course, is not. And the great difference between the law of Moses and the Sermon on the Mount is this. The law of Moses addresses the conduct. It addresses the heart, too, when it comes to a relationship with God. But the Sermon of the Mount, it addresses the character, the innermost part.

Jesus said, if you even look the wrong way, you've got some issues going on. The depth of the Sermon on the Mount. But it's not the full gospel, the Sermon on the Mount. It's parts of it. There's more to come.

And aren't we glad? Because the Sermon on the Mount is a tough way to live. I need grace. I need the goodness of God on my life because I'm not going to get them all right. I mean, because who has a pure heart? The one who God says has a pure heart. Paul said, God counted me faithful for the ministry. He doesn't say this, but this is what he means.

Because I could never have counted myself faithful, nor can anybody else. But God could do that. That's why he goes to Gideon while he's hiding and says, you man of valor.

I mean, come on. He's hiding. What valor is in this? Well, God saw beyond. He saw beyond the circumstances. He saw beyond what sin had done.

He saw what could happen if that man would just trust him. Verse 16, I'll close in one minute. And now, what are you waiting for? Ananias telling Paul, what are you waiting for? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord. What Christian would have had the nerve to go to this prosecutor and preach like this? That Christian who is in tune with the Lord.

And Ananias is that guy. He says, calling on the name of the Lord, wash away your sins. Who washes away the sins?

Well, Christ, the blood of Christ. And to suppose that what a baptism saves is just to exchange one Old Testament ritual for a New Testament ritual. What a baptism does not save. Now, you're getting doctrine. This is doctrine on baptism.

1 Peter, there's so much more I want to get to. I miss the whole part about turning Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes. That comes later.

Because he doesn't apologize. Oh, no, don't offend them. Peter says that place is ash because they asked for it. The wrath of God. And we've got to remember that. We don't water down our gospel.

What happens when you try to make salt sugar? Yeah, it's a big failure. We'll come to that next session, too. We're not going to get past verse 16.

That's good. Because verse 17 is a good stopping point. So coming back to this, Peter writes, baptism, not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This guy's doctrine was so solid, they've never left out the essentials. He did not say the answer of a good conscience towards God and leave it there. He said, he continues, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You know how much theology's packed into that.

Man, you've got to love those guys. Symbolically washing away sin with water what Christ did with his own blood. This does not cancel the command to be baptized. It elevates it.

Revelation 1 5, Jesus Christ, the faithful witness who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. You ever been to a butcher shop or slaughterhouse? I haven't been to a slaughterhouse, but I've been to butcher shops, and there is blood there. And it has a unique smell and everything going with it. Well, it's supposed to be an interruption and decency and normalcy. Things die dead there and we're going to eat them. And if we don't, somebody else will. So that's funny, you know, all the hunters are so mean shooting the deer, but the coyotes are kind. I mean, how does that work? I don't picketing coyotes.

They're just killing defenseless deer. Anyway, I know, man, those people are just messed up. Why can't they all be like us? Water cannot wash away sin, otherwise Jesus would not have to die. And that's one of the biggest problems with thinking your baptism somehow saves you, because that would then say, well, you really don't have to go to the cross.

Oh, who said that? Satan says that. Get behind me, Satan, you're not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men. Mark 16, 16, he who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. The condemnation is not pronounced on the baptism, it's pronounced on the unbelief.

Paul said it this way, and we'll close with this. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Don't get so used to hearing about the resurrection that you forget to put that in when you're witnessing to somebody.

He was dead as dead can be, and he's alive as life can be. 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 cross-reference That's cross-reference 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 / 2024-02-08 08:36:50 / 2024-02-08 08:46:44 / 10

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