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Conveniently Clueless (Part B)

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

Conveniently Clueless (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 23, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

The idea of submission to those who are in a position to bless you is beneficial to you.

Submit to it. I like that I was not asked one time what my opinion was. I lived on a nice island, Paris Island, and they never cared what I thought. They were only interested in me complying and doing what I was told. And because I did, I did well.

And that's a principle of life that applies to our youth. I'm going to answer today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now, here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his message called Conveniently Clueless in the book of Acts chapter 25. Luke is a Gentile.

He's the author of the book of Acts. Following the pattern of the holy or the righteous Jews, they always refer to Jerusalem as up. No matter where you're coming from, if you were to parachute into Jerusalem, you were going up into Jerusalem. And so, Caesarea is to the north. And so, you would think that they went up to Caesarea. But he says the Jews, verse 10, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem. So, there you see it. Jerusalem, they're coming down from Jerusalem, but geographically, Jerusalem was actually lower than Caesarea. So, anyway, I hope I made that point without confusing you too much.

If you would just listen for two or three hours, I could slow down. But there's just too many points to make. So, they're going back to Caesarea, where Festus has all this authority. Verse 7, when he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood above and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. Well, again, Satan, he wants Paul dead because he's so effective. Again, had he killed Paul, we wouldn't have those jail letters that are so valuable. Those are critical letters, Colossians for doctrine. I mean, if more Christians would read and understand the Colossian letter, they would be less susceptible to all the Johnny-come-latelys that want to get into their bank accounts. And just give them all sorts of weirdness and Ephesian letters. All Christians should be familiar with the Ephesian letter.

Anyway, here we are. Spiritually, they were conveniently clueless, as the title of this message states, because they wanted what they wanted and not what God wanted. And that's how you become clueless before God. It is voluntary.

In this case, it is, for sure. The antidote for being exposed to the truth and not dismissing it is honesty. To get a person to honestly hear what the gospel is, what it is saying. This is, again, back to Stephen.

Stephen laid it out to them. They could not refute a word that he was saying, but they were not honest with themselves because they did not want him to be right. We come across that as Christians. We come across people who don't want to hear it because they do not want Jesus to be right. We also come across another brand of insanity in our society, liberalism that has been turned loose by Satan, which goes by, I don't care what the truth is, I'm more interested in what the truth should be.

This dangerous stuff. It's like an alternate universe. And we are living through, you know, once someone comes along and says, well, you know, I don't think there's any difference between a male and a female, you've got a big problem already. You have a person that would suggest such a thing as just indicated that Satan is in there.

Give you another example. What if you were invited by a well-known hunter to his log cabin out somewhere in the wilderness. And you had dinner and you're sitting around and you're discussing things later.

And then he says to you, you know, I really don't find a problem with cannibalism. You know, just for him to say that would just, okay, we had a big problem here. And this is how our society is right now. Just for them to suggest some of the things they're trying to push forward and succeeding in many circles is an indication that Satan has them completely and conveniently clueless and they want it that way. But in those numbers, there are those who we can still reach. There are still brands in the fire that we can pluck from the burning.

We just don't know who they are. So we have to be ready. We have to be serious about our faith. You know, it's very hard to preach to somebody who's living a life of sin, loving that life of sin, but they want the gospel too. And the gospel makes demands on their life, tells you you've got to make a choice. You can't stand in front of God and play silly games with him and expect him to yuck it up with you. And so it is war, a very serious war. I would add, no matter how much you learn from the scripture, if you have not love, your problem.

We cannot lose sight of our desire to want for others what we would want for ourselves. Verse 8, while he answered for himself, neither against the law of the Jews nor against the temple nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all. So Paul rebuffs the false charges.

Luke just inserts that. Paul says, yeah, no, they're wrong. Verse 5, but Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, are you willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things? So Paul said, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, verse 10, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.

Well, there's Festus. He made a mistake there. It was a character flaw. He wanted to be done with this. Justice and integrity just went out the window. And his attempt to go, hey, Paul, how about you just go to Jerusalem?

I just want to be done with this and gain favor of the Jews in the process. Paul, he really lays it out. He sets Festus in his place.

And he tells him, I'm not willing to go there. Paul knows they're going to kill him if that happened. And he knew that Festus was throwing him to the dogs. And he says some pretty strong things. I stand before Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. Festus knew that.

Paul is going to hit him a little bit more. Verse 11, for if I am an offender or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying. But if there is nothing in these things which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar. Well, that abruptly ended the hearing when he said no one can deliver me to them. Festus knew that. Now, Festus had to sort out in his head, do I want to take the risk of doing wrong according to Roman law and someone tattling on me and it getting back to Caesar?

And he's going to say, I'm not going to take that. Rome had that velvet glove and underneath that velvet, beneath that velvet glove was an iron fist and he knew it. Verse 12, Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, you have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go. So he goes to his lawyers and he says, well, what do you think boys? And he said, if Rome finds out you messed with the Roman citizen's rights, they will kill you.

And that settled it. Verse 13, after some days, King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus. Okay, this is the upper crust of the ruling class in Judea. This Agrippa, his father killed James the apostle, the brother of John the apostle and then they tried to kill Peter the apostle and the Lord intervened. His grandfather, Herod the Great, of course killed the little boys of Bethlehem trying to kill Christ, trying to find Christ and kill him. And so this Agrippa, incidentally his uncle, had John the Baptist beheaded. So the Herod's, they were very much all around the beginning of the gospel of Christ. The gospel was born in a violent environment, not only from the religious Jews that wanted no parts of Christ, but also the government under Rome through the Herod's. Now Bernice, who is mentioned here in verse 13, she is not Agrippa's wife, she is his sister slash consort. There's an incestuous relationship between these two and it was the talk of Rome, where Agrippa grew up incidentally, where he learned so many things about the world. See these are the people Paul's got to deal with.

In this world that they lived in, they had corrupt politicians just like we do now. And at no point did Paul say, well these people are really bad, there's nothing I can do. And we should, he did not do that, he preached the gospel when he could and we need to learn, same thing, we see things falling apart. We're not owed the constitution from God's perspective. We are here to preach whether it is trampled or not. And when we get that understanding, we get courage with it. When you don't, you know you can't serve two masters, you're trying to hold on to one thing, just embrace the Lord. Well Bernice, for a while, she became the mistress of Emperor Vespasian and then his son Titus, and Titus will be the general who just wipes out Jerusalem.

So you see here, well then she'll come back to her brother Agrippa. She was a walking scandal, living in unnameable sin and conscious free. Clueless, conveniently so, about the consequences of this lifestyle before a righteous God. These were the people in political power in Paul's world. These are the people who think that they are judging Paul.

But it's actually the other way around. Because the next chapter, he's going to lay out the gospel to them and they will find out they're being judged, just like Felix did. And he reasoned with Felix about righteousness and self-control and judgment to come. And Felix was bothered by that for a while. And then conveniently, he dismissed it all.

He flushed it. Verse 14, when they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king saying, there is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, about whom the chief priest and the elders of the Jews informed me when I was in Jerusalem asking for a judgment against him. So you've got three entities here. You have the religious Jews from Jerusalem. You have Festus, the Roman governor, assigned to that region. And you have Agrippa, who also governs part of that region, and he's a local, even though he's raised in Rome.

His family, the Herod's, are actually Edomites. And so you've got these three groups. Well, Festus says, I need a little advice from you guys. This is your region. I'm only here for a few years and gone.

You live here. And that's what he's going to ask his advice. Festus is asking Agrippa advice so that he can judge more accurately the case between the Jews charging Paul and Paul.

Now, he's also blaming Felix for creating this problem, which is accurate. But Paul has declared his rights. Now, at this point, I asked myself, what are the teens getting out of all this?

Are you getting anything? Or are you just like, I just can't wait till we get out of here, and I can just text the person next to me. You have to understand you were born into a Christian home. God knew that. God is part of that, rules over that. You were born into a Christian home with that spiritual opportunity to do something with it.

You're either going to blow it or you're going to use it. Do you not want to be challenged? Do you want to just remain carnal? Because you can do that. Or you can thank God that you have parents that will bring you to a church that wants to preach the word, that there are other Christians that want to hear it, and that there's a pastor that's going to preach it to you. You can thank God that you have a pastor that doesn't treat you like a second-class citizen and dismissing what's important to you. What's important to you is important to us, because what's important to you might be wrong. And though you may think, you may think that you are not understood, you are well understood.

We've been here a long time compared to you, and God has been here longer, of course. And we know the drill, and we're trying to transfer it to you. But what we need to be successful with this is that you submit. You submit to what is right.

You have enough evidence to know how to do that. People feed you, they clothe you, they love you, they drive you all over town. The only complaint I would have against some of you parents is that you get your kids involved in soccer instead of baseball. But God's on my side with that. Please don't bring up soccer to me later. Don't try to convert me.

Anyway, it's not a sin to like soccer, I think. Coming back to this, I guess the best example I can use is when I went to boot camp, I wanted those drill instructors to be everything they were supposed to be. I wanted them to be hard on me. I wanted them to yell at me when they needed to. I didn't want them to hurt me, but I wanted them to hurt me. I didn't want them to seriously hospitalize me or more. So I surrendered. There was a saying back then, body and spirit, I surrendered, hold to harsh instructors and receive the soul. Well, that doesn't fly well for us in Christianity, except to say the idea of submission to those who are in a position to bless you is beneficial to you.

Submit to it. I like that I was not asked one time what my opinion was. I lived on a nice island, Parris Island, and they never cared what I thought. They were only interested in me complying and doing what I was told. And because I did, I did well. And that's a principle of life that applies to our youth. Your flesh is not going to like that, but it doesn't have to win. You can beat the flesh, and I know this because I know teens who get it right. I know teens who are adults, who were children or teens in your place, and now they're adults and they're serving the Lord.

They've gotten it right. There's no guarantee that you're going to fail or succeed. You have a say-so in that matter. Well, coming back to this again, there is a difference between making people happy and reaching them with Christ. And if you want to just make them happy and not reach them with Christ, then you reap what you sow. Verse 16. Now, I hope I don't sound angry. I'm not. I'm not angry, but I'm unapologetic. I stand by every word I said, but I mean it in love. Verse 16. To them I answered. Again, teens, keep up with me. He's in trial.

His future is in someone else's hands. To them I answered. It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him. Okay, pause with me again. Teens, if you're listening or just some adults you're listening, do we have to hear all of this?

Yes, I'll tell you why. Because we have people here that love God's Word so much that if I skip a verse, they'll call me out on it. You skip the verse. We don't want you to skip a verse. Even if we don't like or know what's happening, we want every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God when we are in the house of God. And so we don't skip the verses, except some verses in Song of Solomon and Ezekiel.

Some of that is pretty tough. But, coming back to this, verse 17. Therefore, when they had come together without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in.

Verse 18. When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed. But had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who died whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

So he's talking with a grippy saying, okay, they've got religious charges against him. And Paul is, you know, disagreeing with this, with their charges. Paul, again, the whole thing is because Paul preached the resurrection of Christ which includes the life of Christ. Here they come in with all of their robes and their wealth when they're going to call Paul in.

I'll come back to that. I want to reference 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 23. Because this is how Paul lived. But we preached Christ, we preached Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. And so what he's saying, there are two people on earth, Jews and Greeks. And some of them are going to take the gospel and get tripped up over it and called it foolish. But we're going to preach Christ anyway.

Because in that number of Jews and Gentiles there will be people saved. And that is exactly what it is all about. It was that way in the days of Paul and the apostles.

It is that way now. There will be those who say I can't handle that, don't like it, don't want it. There will be those who say I think it's silly.

And there will be those that will come to the cross of Christ and be saved and become a child of the Lord. Verse 20, and because I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judge concerning these matters. No, really you asked because you wanted to be rid of Paul. But good one anyway there, Festus. Verse 21, but when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar.

So he keeps him under protective custody. Augustus there is Caesar. It means the worshiped one because they worshiped their emperor Caesar, which got the church in trouble later because they demanded Christians also worship him. And when the Christians stood firm, the persecution began. The Jews pretty much got a pass on that one.

But the Christians, once the Gentiles figured out the Christians and the Jews were not the same thing, they began to persecute the Christians more. Verse 22, then Agrippa said to Festus, I also would like to hear the man myself tomorrow. He said you shall hear him. So without even trying, Paul had achieved celebrity status even amongst these decadent rulers. Verse 23, so the next day when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp and they had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus' command, Paul was brought in. Contrast the appearances.

Here they come in with their robes and their splendor and all the commanders with them. This is what Paul said he heard people were saying about him. 2 Corinthians 10. His bodily presence is weak. In other words, he's puny.

That's his physical appearance. The man was just an incredible servant and that's all the carnal ones could see was his outside appearance. And they could not hold, as the proverb goes, they could not hold a candle to Paul. It would be like holding a candle to the sun.

They contribute nothing to the man. Anyhow, what's going to happen next session, but this is the beginning. Today you can go to Jerusalem, not Jerusalem, Caesarea, you can go to Jerusalem too. You go to Caesarea, they have the auditorium.

It's there. You can stand right where Paul was standing. It's a wonderful part of the experience in going to Israel. Verse 24. And Festus said, King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.

Imagine if there were a group of people crying out for your death. This is what Paul had to live with. His case was a serious matter to Rome because of the amount of unrest surrounding it. Verse 25. But when I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death and that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him.

I should have maybe named as an alternate title, hot potato, because that's what Paul is to these guys. Verse 26. I have nothing certain to write to my Lord concerning him, therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place, I may have something to write. I don't even know what to charge him with. I can't send him to Caesar. He's just here. And so this is a mess. Agrippa's like, I don't know what to do with this guy. Maybe you can help me.

I'm a little desperate here. Verse 27 now. For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him. Yeah, to say it lightly, not only does it seem unreasonable to your head, because the Caesars did not fool around. It seems unreasonable to me that people make up things about God and refuse the truth. You see, no problem with just making up things about God. The next time someone says to you, just out of nowhere, I think God is.

I hope you don't let up on them. We don't catch and release as Christians. When we make our point, we're not saying, I'm sorry about that. The point stands.

How can you just sit there and say, or stand whatever posture or position you're in, how can you say, I think God is just because you made it up? Well, a field of ministry right there for us. 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 / 2024-02-23 09:49:52 / 2024-02-23 09:59:20 / 9

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