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Testimony to Fanatics Pt 2 (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2024 6:00 am

Testimony to Fanatics Pt 2 (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 12, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


It would have been a compromise to win their toleration, their approval. Christians are not looking to rock the boat of the world. We're looking to sink it in the lives of individuals who have fallen for what the world teaches in opposition to Christ.

We deliver the message. The results are in God's hand. Here's Jonah. Take Jonah, one of the greatest evangelists in the world.

As far as results go, in all the Bible, an entire city was saved. The prophet is saying, you're going to forfeit your right to execute the laws of the Constitution, and that's what was happening in the days of Paul. They didn't see it that way, of course. Their fanaticism blinded them.

All they could see was what they wanted and how the law could get what they want for them. And that's why, in John 8, they wanted to stone the woman but conveniently dismiss the man. Well, what did the prophet say about that kind of thing? Well, we see this in Christianity. We see Christians do things that the Scripture has clearly spoken against, and they either are ignorant to it or have dismissed it.

Now, the Deceptor had departed by this time, the Deceptor of Capital Punishment, because of their idolatry and hypocrisy. Now, false religions and false Christianity will justify killing their opponents. True Christianity does not do that. True Christianity does not justify killing those who will not receive Christ. No true God, incidentally, needs people to violently protect his truths or his honor. God is God.

He doesn't need any human to protect him. This is what Gideon's father said to him. If Baal is God, let him protect his own self. Well, John, chapter 18, verse 36, Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I should not be delivered to the Jews.

But now, my kingdom is not from here. Yet, his servants, we will be returning with Christ when, at his second coming, there won't be much of a fight because he'll dispatch with the evil. Anyway, verse 21, then he said to me, now he's telling the story, he's speaking to the Lord, Lord, I was once a persecutor of your believers, of Stephen, and this is Christ's response. Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles. Verse 22, and they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live. He simply quoted what Jesus said to him, and that quoting, quoting Jesus, kicked the hornet's nest. What did Jesus say to him? Depart, for I will send you, verse 21, far from here to the Gentiles. Their fanaticism had taken over. Forget about their scripture that clearly said Abraham, their beloved father, had no less than 13 sons that were Gentiles. Twelve of them by Keturah, after Sarah.

One of them by Hagar. They completely forgot about that. They forgot about Isaiah saying that the Jews were to be a light to the Gentiles. They conveniently boxed that out of their fanaticism.

They wanted their religion on their terms, and that's what they got. And so, yeah, when they respond this way, you have to say, I thought they were people of scripture. No, not all the Jews. Certainly, because our Lord was incarnate as a Jew. Paul is a Jew. Peter, all the apostles were Jews. So this certainly is not anti-Semitic.

This is the history of the story. Other peoples have done same, well, we talked about those at Ephesus who were rioting against Paul. They weren't, they were Gentiles. Satan doesn't care if you're a Jew or Gentile, if he can just get his talons into you to do what he wants you to do. Paul thought that he would awaken a compassion in them.

It backfired. You know, seeing God's handiwork, seeing proofs of God does not automatically make one a believer. If it did, when they saw the miracles of Christ, it would never have crucified him. Seeing God in person does not guarantee or does not in and of itself make one a believer. If it did, Satan would never have become Satan.

Lucifer would still be an archangel, but he threw it away. Observation or acknowledgement of God still does not go far enough. It takes submission to the truth, to the revelation of God's word.

It takes friendship with God. That's what establishes the soul, a confession of faith that he is the Son of God, that he was crucified and risen again, and that he is coming, he's coming back. What if Paul was given a do-over? Would he have used the word Gentile?

And this is where it starts getting very much helpful for us, I think. He would have to use the word Gentile. He would have to say the same thing because it was commanded by Jesus, and he's telling them the truth.

He's giving them the story. It is a distinctive of Christianity to reach all people and all types of people as the Lord will allow. Jesus said, go into all the world and make disciples, and he said, preach the gospel to every creature. Now, it doesn't mean the birds and worms and it's just going, you know, when he said that, the still, they had no concept of the church, especially Gentiles being equally righteous as Jews. They had no concept of these things, and so Jesus knew how to word it in such a way that you'd get the point, and it would reach beyond the moment that he was teaching it. And so, an early evidence of conversion to Christ is accompanied by a desire to share Christ. If you come to Christ and you say, oh, I'm saved, well, let me go and get myself a sandwich. And that's the extent of it.

There's something missing. But when you come to Christ, you want to tell people about him. You want to share what Jesus has done for you and that he makes it available for everyone else.

At least I did. It didn't work. Again, my testimony never made converts, made enemies. It was the sharing of Scripture. Well, sharing of Scripture made enemies too, but it also made converts. Matthew 28, Jesus said, go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

Are we mindful of that? This is a verse that every Christian should memorize. Teaching them to observe. It's not enough to make a convert. There must be discipleship. There must be instruction in righteousness. There must be conviction, exhortation. There must be line upon line, truth upon truth, according to the Scripture.

He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow, torrents of living water. So this is a church that highly emphasizes the Scripture. Would you rather a pastor that just emphasized his opinions? Or would you want one that gives you his opinion based on the Scripture?

That would be my preference. There is a false sensitivity that cringes at giving the heart of God's message. There are those Christians that want to restrain the use of the Bible in trying to reach lost souls. This is not scriptural, nor is it effective.

I do not agree with that approach. Had he omitted Gentiles, he would have concealed the message. But Paul, you're never going to reach them.

Paul would have said, I would never reach them with concealment. It is by giving them the truth. I am not responsible for what they do with the truth. I am responsible to preach it.

What they do is on them. And that is true of every one of us. It would have been a compromise to win their toleration, their approval. Christians are not looking to rock the boat of the world. We're looking to sink it in the lives of individuals who have fallen for what the world teaches in opposition to Christ.

We deliver the message. The results are in God's hand. Here's Jonah. Take Jonah, one of the greatest evangelists, as far as results go, in all the Bible. An entire city was saved. In this short sermon, here it is.

Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk, and he cried out and said, Yet forty days, Nineveh shall be overthrown. Well, that's not a very positive message. That's not going to make the Ninevites feel good about you or themselves, and you've got to make people feel good about themselves. Well, then there's no conviction. And if you can't convince a person that they're dirty before God, they cannot get cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. You cannot be in a state of denial when it comes to who you are in the presence of God.

There are sinners that are lost, and there are sinners that are saved, and it is up to the individual. And so you, whoever you may be, who are engaged in advocating sin, who are engaged in either practicing or advocating, for example, sexual perversity, don't say you've not been warned. That's the problem. They don't want the warning.

They hate the warning. You will perish in your judgment unless you repent. This is the gospel message.

What else are we going to say? Now, you know, I want you to feel good about yourself, and Jesus will just, He just loves you the way you are. Well, that's not the gospel.

And if you're insecure to the point where you can't trust God any further, then you're probably going to push against Him. Anyone listening, are you so desperate for watered-down converts that you dodge biblical examples, biblical teachings? Let me give you Peter's teaching in his day, which is applicable to us right now. Look how old Scripture is. Peter's going to come out and say, this is an example. In 2 Peter chapter 2, in the sixth verse, he's talking about now the judgment of God. And he says that God turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes.

They're not done. But that alone is something, oh, don't say that. They cringe at giving the truth to those who have everything except the truth, the very thing they need. Oh, you're going to, you know, you're going to alienate them from you. No, the gospel is an ultimatum. You take it or you leave it. It costs the blood of Christ. He's inviting you to take it.

If you decide to trample it, that's on you. Don't say God didn't treat you as an adult. Peter continues. He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward, us, would live ungodly, us this time in history. Peter is saying, what I'm going to tell you is coming from way back in Sodom and Gomorrah, is present in my day, and this truth will continue until Christ comes back. He turned them into ashes.

That's people and buildings and animals, everything else that was there. It was the wrath of God. God has a wrath. You're not obligated to suffer that wrath.

There is an escape, and it is through Christ. And if you think you're too strong, and you think that means you're weak, it does. Mankind is weak compared to God.

What do you think you are on his level? You think your goodness is going to somehow make God go, wow, I need a guy like you in heaven? Well, again, he had to preach it. It's a false peace if built upon concealment of all Jesus Christ began both to do and to teach, and that's what he said.

And I'm always amazed. Somebody visits the church, and they hear me preaching from the word, and they're offended. Well, you're going to have to be offended. It's not my intention to hurt your feelings.

My goal is to give you the truth so you can make the decision, a sensible one. But don't think you're going to come here and stop me from preaching what I know is true because you don't like it or share it. There's nothing obnoxious in that. I don't go to wherever you are and walk out when you're preaching stuff you believe in. I say that because it's always been perplexing to me.

Why would anybody go to a house of God and fuss about what God has to say? Well, coming again back to this, we are the salt of the earth, and the salt is not supposed to try to taste like sugar. It is salt, and there are many that are trying to get the message to be sweet according to the flesh. Matthew chapter 5, you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how then shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot of men. I think that says it pretty clearly. Salt is supposed to be salt.

We are the salt of the earth. And we try to, you know, well, let's not offend the unbelievers. Paul, would you use that word gentile again knowing it sent them into a rage? Absolutely I would because that's the message, and they needed to hear this.

Our light needs no dimmer switch, G. Campbell Morgan said. There is a toleration which is treacherous. There is a peace which is paralyzing. Thus in time the church must say no to those who seek communion on the basis of compromise. Amen, brother. In return for preaching the gospel and standing up to it as best we can, we will be laughed at, we will even be hated, we will be persecuted, but we must hold to our truth and make biblical converts nonetheless. That's what we're talking about from the revelation of those saints who were beheaded for their testimony. They are upholding the scripture. Matthew 10, and you will be hated for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved.

I believe every word of that. I don't want to be hated, but it really is not a big thing to me. If I know I'm right in Christ, being hated is not going to stop me from preaching Christ. May it never.

The world has talked itself into hating the best thing that ever happened to it. That's them. I was once in that group too.

I am not now. And this is Paul's situation, verse 23. Then as they cried out and tore off their clothes, they threw dust into the air. This is that fanatical frenzy over the word Gentile.

Now, someone may want to come to me and just start that. You know, well, we've got to be nice. Look, preaching the truth doesn't mean you're being mean. It's mean to withhold it. Paul said of those in the Roman letter, those who suppress the truth are going to be dealt with. Now, that does not mean we are indiscriminate. It does not mean we're careless. We're dependent on the Holy Spirit.

It always comes to the bottom line. You are a sinner. You will stand before Christ. And the message of the gospel will come up if you've heard this message. And I would tell them, you've heard it.

Now you have no excuse. You've got the message. And some would say, I want more. And others would shut down. Verse 24, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks and said that he should be examined under scourging so that he might know why they shouted so against him.

Why not just ask me? What's with the beating to get me to tell you what I'm ready to tell you? Romans reserved brutality for non-citizens.

And there was no hesitation to administer it. So, the Gentiles, these Roman soldiers, they didn't speak the Hebrew. So they don't know what happened. So the centurion says, what happened? What did he say that enraged them again? Well, you know, because the Romans understood that they were dealing with, you know, those who hated them. They hated the Gentiles. The Jews in those days were not, you know, it wasn't a secret.

Even in many circles today, it's not a secret amongst them. But there are other peoples out there that are fanatical about their race or fanatical about this, their religion or something. Liberals are fanatical about their right to kill the unborn. Because someone has told them that when a woman conceives, the life has begun. That is a child forming in their womb. It is a human being when they conceive. Age-old illustration is, you know, you had all these people insisting on a woman's right, but yet if you crush the egg of an eagle, oh, man, they want to run you through a wood chipper.

That's the hatred they held. It's an eagle's egg. There's life in that egg. Well, what about a human being?

What about when there's life in the human being? Anyway, it's an old argument, but it is a true argument. Verse 25, And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned? Now, these thongs are leather strips or cords of rope. Here, they are handcuffing him. That's what's going on.

They have not yet reached a point where they're going to tie him to the post. That's the second that's coming up next. Verse 26, Then the centurion heard that. He went and told the commander, saying, Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.

Centurions are commanders of over a hundred men. There are many of them in Jerusalem, because they had a large military presence there on the Temple Mount, the Antonia fortress. There was a larger army of Roman soldiers in Caesarea where they're going to send Paul for his protection. But suffice it to say, there are a lot of Roman troops here because they knew how volatile Jerusalem was. And within about six, seven years from this point, it's going to erupt. And for four years, they're going to fight it out in Jerusalem with Rome until the Romans destroy the Temple and destroy the city. And then others will flee to Masada. The Romans will deal with them also.

It's just some very heavy stuff going on in this time in history. Anyway, it would have been a crime to conceal Paul's citizenship. Once he knew Paul was a citizen, he had to go to his commander. The Centurion went to his commander and said, You better be careful.

He's a citizen. That struck terror into them, verse 28. We'll see the commander, Lasias, covering it up in the next chapter. The commander answered with a large sum, verse 27, I didn't read that. Then the commander came and said to him, Tell me, are you a Roman?

He said, Yes. Verse 28, the commander answered with a large sum, I obtained this citizenship. And Paul said, But I was born a citizen.

Drama music there. Verse 29, then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman citizen because he had been bound. Now, they knew if you mess with a Roman citizen, Rome took it as messing with Rome.

And they would just come down very hard on anyone who bothered their citizens. This here in verse 29, where they had him bound, because he had bound him, that's to the post to be flogged. Verse 25, they handcuffed him.

Verse 29, they tied him to the post. And that's where the crime was. Not in handcuffing him. They could restrain, but they could not flog him. And the fact that they took it that far already put them in hot water.

And they were in panic mode. And verse 30, the next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, those are the handcuffs now, and the commander, the chief priests and all the council to appear and brought Paul down to set him before them. We're almost done. So he remains under arrest for the inquiry to be completed.

But they take the cuffs off of him. This begins a five-year ordeal for Paul. Two years in Caesarea, another three in Rome, and time in between. Loss of freedom, but the gain of much lasting fruit.

Not just fruit. You can make flash converts, but to have those converts become disciples and persevere in the faith, that's lasting fruit, which Jesus promised. In this five-year time, he will write Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, and aren't we glad. You want to get a look at the church, read Ephesians.

What the church should be, you read Ephesians. And it is a little painful. Not only do I believe the Bible, but I like it. I like what it says. I don't care enough to abandon it because someone else does not like it or does not want me to like it. Not only do I love the Word of God, I like it. You know, love is an act of the will. Liking is an emotional thing. If Jesus said, commanded us to like our enemies, we all would have a big problem. And aren't we glad he didn't say that. But he says, you better love them. You better treat them the best you can in the interest of saving their souls. So not only do I believe the Bible, I like what it says, and I like all of it. And I feel no need to apologize for any of it. The parts that I understand, I find not difficult to make others understand either.

It's one of the beauties of the simplicity of the Word. 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 / 2024-02-12 08:46:27 / 2024-02-12 08:56:01 / 10

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