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Not As Planned (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 14, 2024 6:00 am

Not As Planned (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 14, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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How did he not be opinionated without a basis? Scripture. Jesus said this, He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow torrents of living water, an artesian well, as the Scripture has said.

That is, you know, again, it won't insulate us from so many pains in life. But it is a lot better going through this life with Scripture than without it. And the righteous know it well. This counsel that Paul is dealing with has no integrity, but Paul does. And whenever we come across these Bible stories, we have to be quick to say, Who am I in the story?

Am I on that counsel, ready to give up what is right because I want to maintain whatever gains I think I have? Or am I Paul? Am I Paul that is willing to just call it like it is regardless of what the consequences may be?

It ain't easy for any of us. Verse 5, Then Paul said, I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest, for it is written, You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people. Well, thank God somebody in the room knows Scripture.

And somebody in the room is not afraid to use the Scripture, even if it is against himself. In this case, it is. And there's the integrity again.

Maybe I should have named the message something with integrity. Anyway, I'm not going to change. He apologizes at once. He says, I knew not. Now, you know, we hear war stories about this. War stories are good.

When you have Christians say, Let me tell you what I did and how God was merciful to me. And the reason why war stories are good is because they're transferable. You can listen to somebody's war story and apply it to your life and avoid the disaster that the other one had to go through to gain that war story.

And so you talk about, you know, I did this once in life. That's experience. You can learn by perception. You can learn by experience. We learn by both of them.

And trying to teach our children, it's better to learn from perception than experience. An easy case in point, you know, that that fire will burn your finger. You can perceive it. I can see what it's doing to the matchstick.

I'm sure it will do something bad to me. That's perception. Or you can experience it like, you know, Well, let me touch it. And there you go.

So there's all kinds of ways to learn. And let's be careful. But this is a sorry commentary on Ananias and the council at this time. These are the people that Jesus had to deal with. But he loved them still. He wanted them to repent. Well, it's not opinion that Paul says.

He says, Ah, you know, I don't think it was a good thing to call that to the hybrid. No, he does not. He goes to God's word.

Exodus 22, 28 is what he quoted them. Now, you younger Christians, especially you young men, young adults mainly, and I think more so with the men, but sometimes with the women, in my observation, beware of being opinionated without experience. You know, you just have opinions. I think this is wrong.

I think this is right. Many times you don't have a clue what you're talking about. You haven't walked in the shoes. You don't know what's going on.

And at that time, it might be better to just wait before you start spreading these things. Again, I'm talking not only from observation, but I've been guilty of this in my youth. Fortunately, I'm older now.

I don't make any mistakes. Or you just did. You have your shoes in the wrong foot there.

Just got to strike back, right? But anyway, I don't get that one. Maybe later you'll figure it out. Beware of that critical spirit that goes along with being opinionated. Not only do you have an opinion, but you have an opinion negative against someone else. And mainly when you think you, again, know what you're talking about but have no basis for it. You may get it from an unbeliever when they say, well, the Bible is full of contradictions.

They're very opinionated, but they don't know what they're talking about. In that case, it can cost them their soul. So that is one thing for the young ones to be careful about, to think that they just know because they don't like something, or they like something emotionally, and therefore they know. Okay, but the older Christians, beware of bitterness because you've lived long enough to stack up a record of things you don't know.

You realize this. And beware of justifying your bitterness. Yeah, well, I have every right to be bitter. Well, when that tale starts wagging the dog, you don't. When it starts, you know, you're the angry old man yelling at the clouds because, you know, you hate life so much. You know, you stick around this life. All of us don't like it after a while.

But that doesn't excuse us from performing. And that's the whole story behind the cries of Gethsemane and the courage of Calvary. Christ didn't, I don't want to go to this cross.

At one point, he said, how I wish I was there already. And at another point, he gets into Eden, take this cross from me. And yet, what happened? What is the result? He beat the cross. That's the result.

He took all of it. Anyway, as life stacks up these layers of disappointments, may we fight against that, becoming bitter and snarky and having, going back to that stage in life when we have opinions that really are not only baseless, but they're not fair. And you can end up polluting the younger people instead of building them up with wisdom. You're just transferring your bitterness. So we all have to guard against half-baked opinions of youth and fully-baked bitterness of our latter years.

Have I covered everyone with that? There's a little baby back in the nursery that had no sins committed, but all the codes are there. And it's not when, if they will sin, it is when.

We're all guilty before God because we are born in iniquity. So how did Paul deal with bitterness? How did he deal with his failure? How did he deal with this situation?

How did he not be opinionated without a basis? Scripture. Jesus said this, he who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow torrents of living water, an artesian well, as the scripture has said.

That is, you know, again, it won't insulate us from so many pains in life. But this is a lot better going through this life with scripture than without it. And the righteous know it well. So his quotation to scripture is not condoning the act of violation against him. He's not pledging allegiance to the Jewish court.

He is pledging allegiance to the God of his fathers, to his Lord Jesus Christ, even though the man, the ruler, is wicked. Now, some believe that Paul's vision was not good enough to see that it was the high priest, and I now believe that. Younger years, I wanted Paul to strike out because that's what I want to do when somebody strikes me. Just counter, you know, become a counter-puncher. Not counting one, two, three punches.

That would be Sesame Street. But to hit back when hit or swung at, and that's the flesh. It tells us in verse one that he looked earnestly at the council, or intently, and that he did. But that doesn't mean he could make out their faces, and that's coming out in this story. These Pharisees and Sadducees, they would have been dressed in their garb. They did not have civilian clothes.

They wanted the world to always know who they were. And so, if Paul could see well, he would have identified that's the high priest. Now, he doesn't even know there's Sadducees and Pharisees there. Well, why not? They would have been in distinct garments.

The garb would have been distinct, because it's eyesight. But when he figures it out, then he's going to use it to his advantage. He's a very human element about all of this. Paul is on trial, and yet he's always looking for what is the best response to what I'm dealing with without sinning. And it is important because our flesh, again, wants to stick it to a guy like this, Ananias here, the scoundrel. But the spirit says, you know, that creates an attitude of retaliation to which there is no end, and the gospel is just hindered by that kind of attitude. And so, on the strength of two verses, earlier he wrote, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.

So he was a man that understood the dangers of an emotional response. Then Peter, later we're right, but this is just another witness for us. Peter says, speaking of Christ, who when he was reviled, did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously. In other words, Peter said, I was there, I saw Jesus Christ trust the Father.

That's how we're supposed to do it. That's what Peter is teaching. So, again, what Paul said, incidentally, about the high priest, he said out loud. And not only did he say it out loud, but they put it in print, so that men will read till the end of time that the righteous man, with indignation, was the true man of God. And the other man, who was the high priest, was the false man of God. Verse 6 now, And when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, concerning the hope and the resurrection of the dead.

I am being judged. You'll see, there it is. If his eyesight was right, if he could see them with, you know, if he could focus, he would have known, hey, I've got Pharisees and Sadducees here. But he doesn't. He has to perceive it when he hears them bickering back and forth.

Oh, I know what we've got here. And so, this is what Jesus said about both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Mark, pardon me, Matthew 16, 6. Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Now leaven is a metaphor for corruption.

Because if you take the, you know, the flour and you have wheat and you have the dough and you take leaven and you put it into the dough, you've corrupted the dough in the sense that it's now going to, the leaven is going to spread throughout. So that's, nothing sinful about that. But the metaphor captures what corruption is. And there, the Lord and everyone else that's righteous knows that. Verse 7, And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. Verse 8, For the Sadducees say, There is no resurrection and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees confessed both. So Paul knows.

He likes the powder keg. He knows these are two opposing parties. Their doctrine is not agree. One is strict with the scripture, but self-righteous, which blinds them. The other are what we call liberal theologians. They pick and choose what they like to believe, what the scripture says. They look at it, I don't like that one.

That one didn't happen. And that's what the Sadducees were doing. You would think that the Pharisees would have had them stoned, but they didn't have enough power. The Sadducees were rich.

They had the money and they had the power. So he realizes that he's not going to get any justice here, that the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection. And that's why he says, I am a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee, in verse 6, concerning the hope and the resurrection.

That's the one that set the two parties against each other. So liberal theologians, or liberal people when it comes to scripture, that approach, you get to pick and choose in the Bible what is true and what is not. And that renders God's word subservient to your opinion, your preference. And therefore it's no longer God's word.

It's your word by that approach. And it is practice, it is being practiced this morning as I'm standing here in places that assemble and say they're churches, but they have no scripture. Worse still is if they use just one or two scriptures. Because now you think, oh, see, they're using scripture. Yeah, it's window dressing. They're really not getting into what the word says. They really want to say what they want to say, and they're trying to say, and see, the scripture agrees with me.

You have to watch that. I was just the other day cleaning out an area of old books and things, and I came across a book that I read in 1986. I was saved then, and I have all these highlights in there. Well, I had later learned that this person was a liberal theologian. And so the points that he was making, they were right if you believe that the scripture alone is our authority. But he was so slick that he wrote in such a way that you'd have to know what school he is from to understand what he is saying that Jesus isn't the only savior. He will call Jesus the savior for the Christians that believe he is the savior. But other people have other saviors.

You see, that's that liberal stuff. And it is deadly, it is spiritually deadly, and it takes time. Well, what did I know back then? I was new, and I just thought if you have it in a Christian bookstore, and you put a Christian label on it, it's got to be right. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy, and empty deceit, and the traditions of men, basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. And so if you were to interrupt this author and say, excuse me, do you believe in the inerrancy of scripture? Do you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and nobody gets to the Father except through him? Do you believe that?

And then he would say, well, you know, that would be the beginning. So anyway, there are many, as I stand here, there are many so-called churches out there doing this very thing. And making people think that because they, instead of scripture alone as their authority, they use alone scripture as they speak.

And they strip the authority of God's word out of our lives when really God's word has been demoted by them to a supporting role. Now you may listen to me and say, you know, I don't like you saying that. But I'm right.

And if I'm right by scripture, then you should agree. Tozier said this, A.W. Tozier, and if you're a Christian and you don't know who A.W.

Tozier is, you're missing out. A soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. You know anybody like that? You come here Sunday after Sunday and you endure almost an hour of verse-by-verse expository teaching. It's not the only place. There are other churches that do the same thing. There are other good churches. They might not do it as well.

They don't do it as well. We all know that. But I don't want to brag. And I'm not. I don't mean any of that. Well, coming back to this, how does a person get to be carefree about the afterlife?

How does a person get to that place where it'll work out? Well, I think a key ingredient is to demote accountability. There's really no accountability. I can do what I want. That's what Ananias is doing. He can do what he wants. He doesn't believe that one day he's going to stand in front of the God of Moses and be judged for this behavior. He is so far out there.

He is so far away from that. Jesus said this, and this is the condemnation, that the light is coming to the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. That's John 3, verse 19. And this is why the Sadducees could just dismiss the spiritual element of the Scripture without feeling accountable to God.

The Epicureans could just live in pleasure and never mind what's righteous or what's not unrighteous as many people today. Verse 9, we're almost done, believe it or not. Then there arose a loud outcry. How many of you don't believe?

Okay. Verse 9, then there arose a loud outcry and the scribes and the Pharisees party arose and protested saying, we find no evil in this man, but if a spirit of an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against him. So they're getting a chance, these Pharisees. They just want to stick it to the Sadducees. They don't really care about Paul.

They just have an opportunity now to just throw their weight around. These rich Sadducees are always bullying them, and so they say, well, you know, we find no evil in him. What, based on his just mention that he believes in the resurrection? I thought there was more to this whole story. What about his crimes that he was charged with against Judaism?

Pardon me. So at verse 9, there arose this outcry and the scribes and the Pharisees are at each other. Pilate too had said he found no fault in Jesus. What if Pilate let Jesus go free? Well, scripture would have been broken and we'd be dead in our sins if that were the end of the story. I say that to set this up. What if the Romans just let Paul go?

Say, look at that. We don't have an agreement here. Half say you're guilty, half say you're free.

Mistrial. What would have happened? They would have killed Paul. We're going to get that next session in chapter 12 when they take a vow to kill.

They hate this man. So this is God protecting him using the Roman army. Things did not go as planned, but they weren't outside of God's plans. God was totally in control, and Paul's going to suffer a lie. He's going to go through a shipwreck. He's going to get bitten by a viper. And he's going to go through a lot of stuff, but under all of that, God is in total control of his life because Paul is totally submitted. So when you get bitten by vipers, you ask God. He's watching you ask, where is he? So he's right there.

He's not going anywhere. And what I tell myself is I say take the pain. Just take the pain because there's really not much you can do about it, or you could lose your integrity. Verse 10, now when there arose a great dissension, now they're really at it with each other, right? A great dissension. The commander, fearing less, Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks.

So a disaster, this trip, you would think, from the outside. Paul had high hopes for preaching to these former colleagues, but he factored out how fanatical they were, and his hope crashed. And he's going to be depressed. Well, I don't want to use that word.

I'm not using the clinical word, as it's called. But he was certainly down in his spirit over this. It is helpful to see this great man of God is bummed out to the point where the Lord's got to come and lift him up. God did not prohibit him from coming here.

He did not prohibit him from kicking the hornet's nest by telling the truth. The next verse is going to verify what I'm saying. God is with Paul every step, and though his feelings are low and his great ambitions have been shattered, we know this by the opening words of this next verse. Look at verse 11.

But the following night, the Lord stood by him and said, Be of good cheer, Paul, for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness at Rome. Well, you only encourage somebody to cheer up when they're not cheered. You don't go to somebody who's dancing and having a good old time, hey, hey, hey, cheer up.

That would be, it's kind of insulting. Maybe someone's encouraging, I want you to be strong. And you're saying to yourself, I am strong at this point right now. God's already been with me.

And I really don't like you suggesting that I'm falling apart. Well, Paul was falling apart to some degree. And the Lord doesn't tell him right away. He waits till the next night.

He tells us the following night. He left it on him. He left it on Paul to say, man, I failed. I had this golden opportunity to lead these people to the Lord, and it was a disaster. I should not have come to Jerusalem. I should have stayed with the Gentile.

I should have this, I should have that. And yet that's not what happened. Paul and his circumstances, that is the daytime story. But Paul and his Lord, that is the nighttime story. And that's why it says that the following night the Lord came to him. Psalm 76, 6, I call to remembrance my song in the night.

I meditate within my heart. I remember when things were dark in my life, but I still called out to the Lord because of that integrity of faith. He says, be of good cheer. And now Paul is being built up again because he's going to go through this again.

He's got more hardship on the way. Wait till he finds out how hated he is. No one wants to be hated.

No one wants to fail. And, you know, men hate him so much they swear to God we're going to kill that guy. Four times in Acts we have Paul being encouraged. Once in Corinth where he was afraid for his life as a mean city, and God said, I got people here, don't worry about it. We have another session when Paul tells us at his conversion that God said, you need to get out of Jerusalem because they're not going to receive you.

We have this one here. And then we'll get one more when he's about to suffer shipwreck and God will stand by him and say, you're going to survive the shipwreck, but you're going to shipwreck. And there were non-swimmers on board.

Imagine that caught in the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean Sea there on the Isle of Malta and you can't swim and it's a storm. And yet everybody's surprised. So not surprising, a man had taken beatings, I'm closing with this, and also he was abandoned by James in the Jerusalem church. There's no mention of them ever again.

Not even, you know, a fruit basket. And that's got to hurt. And yet for crimes he did not commit, he is going to serve the Lord and proof that this was indeed the word of God to him, comes out in the next chapter when God saves him from assassination to Paul's nephew. 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 / 2024-02-14 08:50:30 / 2024-02-14 09:00:25 / 10

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