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Undistracted Witnessing (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 28, 2024 6:00 am

Undistracted Witnessing (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 28, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Pastor Rick Gaston
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Coming back to this, to make you a minister and a witness. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, Jesus Christ speaking. Here's the purpose for Paul, to make you a minister and a witness. So a servant here in the Greek is an under oarsman, which means a subordinate.

I'm going to make you a subordinate servant. You're going to serve Christians and you're also going to tell non-Christians as the witness. God's people are always to be on the side of biblical truth. 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. Now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called Undistracted Witnessing in Acts chapter 26. Anyone who thinks God cannot raise the dead has a stunted idea of God, of who the divine one is, of deity. If by God we mean omnipotent, omniscient, ubiquitous, that's everywhere present at the same time. You know, when we say Almighty God, it's still an understatement. There's no superlative that you can say about God that there.

That describes him. He's always more than whatever thought or concept of words we can come up with, but we certainly are to form or try to articulate our understanding as best we can. And so if by God we mean that he is all powerful, all knowing, present everywhere at the same time, then it's no big deal to raise the dead. The idols in the Old Testament, and they are countless. If you've gone through the Old Testament with us on Wednesday or any time on your own, you know how many times you come across idolatry. The idols of the Old Testament tell us that without God's revelation, man has a defective view of God. He can only have a defective view of God unless the view comes from God. Zechariah chapter 10, for the idols speak delusion. Man made opinions about deity.

That's an idol. And it is amazing that, at least to me, or maybe I should put it in question form, is it not amazing that there's life at all? I mean, think about life, how intricate it is. The thoughts, the feelings, just how much, and not just with humans, just across the board. Life is an incredible thing.

Whether it's plant life, bacteria, virus, whatever is out there, humans, therefore, if life, as amazing as it is, can exist, therefore, to me it's acceptable that we can live again. That there's more to life. If I'm impressed by this life, why would I just stop there?

Life is a wonder. So what is so hard to believe about an afterlife? Accountability, that's it. Man without God does not want to be accountable.

So we either make up things about the future or try to just ignore it. Verse 9, oh, let me pause there. See, the things I'm saying to you are the things that are going through the heads of Paul's audience at some level.

Just like when we witness to people, we're dealing with their concept of deity, and they're either going to be left to have their idols in their imagination, or we're going to crush those idols for them and bring them to the true God who has revealed himself. Verse 9, indeed I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Verse 10, this I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests, incidentally the very chief priests that are prosecuting him now.

Not the same men, but the same office. And when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Verse 11, and I punished them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme, and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. He understands his religious ignorance. He understands people's religious ignorance. Of course, his conversion is in Acts chapter 9.

I don't know at what point to borrow from that, just to give you an idea what was going on in his head. Well, we have it in chapter 8, verse 3. As for Saul, Luke wrote, and at that time when Luke wrote this, he and Saul were very close, but he's telling the story. He says, as for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. In verse 1 of chapter 9, then Saul, still breathing threats of murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

He is serious. Something was eating this man from the inside, and he's going to tell, he's going to say, Jesus calls them on that, that very thing. John chapter 16, Jesus told his disciples, they will put you out of the synagogues.

Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. This is some serious stuff, religion. Proverbs 14, 12, we know this one.

There is a way that seems right to men, but its end is the way of death. Paul was on that way when he was on that road, that Damascus turnpike to prosecute Christians. Incidentally, where he says, I persecuted them, verse 10 is what I want, I cast my vote. The Greek is literal, I threw down my pebble.

You might say like you blackball someone, my vote. That is an indication he was a member of the Sanhedrin and not allowed to actually participate in the stoning, though his heart desired it. Verse 12, that's the stoning of Stephen. Verse 12 now, while thus occupied, I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priest. Now this is his third time in the book of Acts that he's giving his testimony.

And each time he gives us a little bit more insight. And he begins by telling of the greatest sin a human being can commit attacking Jesus' people. You say, oh well, how could that be? Well, because Jesus said if you attack them, you're attacking me. And if you're attacking me, you don't have this Holy Spirit. And if you're against the Holy Spirit, how can you be saved?

So in that context, yes, the greatest sin that he ever committed was to attack Jesus Christ with the hatred that he had. I knew about that before I became a Christian. And it was because I was against a Jesus that wasn't the Jesus of the Bible. I was against the Jesus of churches, some churches that had concocted this Jesus.

And when I met the real Jesus Christ, oh man, it was instant salvation. And you know, that's what it comes down to is how do we get the other person to make a fair decision? Well, if we run around acting like loonies, we can't. But if we reason with them, if we try to present the truth in such a way that they can get it, we have a better chance. And I point that out because the people that I saw, mainly, who were saying they were Christians were crazy. They were just, you know, rolling around on the floor and just all sorts of other things. What does that have to do with Christ? Well, on the other side, you had those who just had robes and candles and they'd get up into the pulpit and never say anything from the Bible.

And they'd say, why am I here? And it was just the other side of man, if this is Christianity, you can keep it. And Christ said, no, this is Christianity.

And that was it. Verse 13, at midday, oh King, along the road I saw the light from heaven brighter than the sun shining around me and those who journeyed with me. Well, just like John the Apostle, Paul remembered the time of day that he met Jesus. When he says, oh King, I commented already he was allowed to retain that title.

Because actually Agrippa, who was referred to as King, he answered to Festus because Festus was the representative of Caesar from Rome. Anyway, continuing in verse 13, along the road I saw the light from heaven. He's on his way to persecute Christians and that's when he gets saved.

Interesting. He's not on his way to church to hear a great sermon, as you are here this morning. What's so funny?

Anyway, he's on his way to do damage. As I got converted, I was trying to prove that Christ was a fraud with his Bible. And God said, bink, and that was that.

Here I am. So, and this went back to childhood, this carnal spirit in the kitchen, playing on the kitchen floor while my mother's making dinner. If God wants you to be a pastor, there's nothing you can do, she said.

Not going to make me do what I don't want to do. I'm a little kid, man. Just this defiant, stupid spirit. Anyway, brighter than the sun, his first contact with Jesus Christ was alarming.

You couldn't say this was wonderful. Christ didn't come out, you know, hey Paul, here's a fruit basket. If you're going to get saved, it will include something that bothers you.

Now you may, it may be, work out this way, you're glad it's bothering you, but it still is upsetting who you were before Christ came along. Shining around me and those who journeyed with me, similar to Daniel's vision in Daniel chapter 10, verse 14. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

It is hard for you to kick against the goads. Well, this, those with Paul knew something miraculous was taking place, but they couldn't understand. Those with Daniel, Daniel says they were filled with terror, they did not see the vision, they were filled with terror and they ran away.

So, these powerful experiences. But if you're going to get saved, it will include something about you that gets knocked down. And this is where he says in verse 14, and when we all had fallen to the ground. That is, I don't know, I can speak from my conversion, everything about me instantly shrunk. Everything about me became tiny. In an instant, everything about Jesus became enormous.

And it was just a glorious experience, but this is what was actually taking place. He saw the light, he fell to the ground, he heard the voice, he answered the voice, he obeyed the voice. The goad here, when they would take a young ox who had not yet been yoked, the ox would resist, didn't care for that, would kick. So, they'd take a long pole and put a point on it, a very sharp point, maybe even like a nail or something, and they'd hold it by that ox's leg. And when he kicked, he got pain, and he learned to behave. That was the goad.

That's one use of it. Well, here, the Lord is saying, you're getting, every time you try to kick, you get pain. What was the pain? Well, I read it from chapter 8 and 9. His conscience was bothering him. Stephen had dismantled his religion and gave him a Messiah that had come and they crucified. And he didn't want it.

He didn't want that to be true. And Christ intercepts him and emphasizes that he's wrong. Pain made the ox behave by the goad, and it was that conscience getting poked that Jesus uses to make his point, no pun intended, with Paul. And Paul knows it now. And so the goad shows up when he talks about his conversion.

The audience is listening, just like you're listening. This, of course, is because the Holy Spirit is speaking through the man, hopefully, as what's happening right here, verse 15. So I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now, he tailors his witness to his audience. He leaves out the part that he has said before, What do you want me to do?

Because they're not ready for that. The part that he wants them is, Who are you, Lord? That's wise. Now, from here, when the answer comes, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

From here to the end of 18, we have the words of Jesus being repeated by Paul. It is a seldom asked question, Who are you, Lord? And afraid, unfortunately, some churchgoers never ask, What do you want me to do?

Unless it's something they prefer to do, which is not always wrong, but sometimes it can be a hindrance. Well, people don't want to know who the Lord is because they don't want that serious investigation. He might force them to change.

He doesn't force us, but he does influence us to do so. And I don't use that word in its modern usage with people on the internet. I don't know, how do they get called influences? They don't influence me.

How do they get that? They annoy me. Why don't I call them, what would you call, annoyers? Anyway, verse 16. I wouldn't have the audacity to call myself an influencer. I'm a pastor by appointment. That's just all I need.

I have the, everything is baked into that. But to say, Hi, this person goes to my church and I influence them. I don't know, I just think that would be wrong. Maybe you don't see that. And if you don't, come see me after and I can straighten you out. Verse 16. But rise and stand on your feet for I have appeared to you for this purpose to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. A useful and reoccurring theme in scripture is standing before the Lord. In the midst of spiritual war, God said this to Joshua, Get up, why do you lie thus on your face? This is when Achan had sinned and there was sin in the camp and Israel was defeated and Joshua was laying before the Lord.

What is going on? And God just says, Get up. You're sinning the camp.

You got to do something, Joshua. You can't just lie there worshiping to me. Ezekiel, in the midst of spiritual adoration, he gets these great visions and he's just on his face worshiping. Ezekiel 2, 1. And he said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak to you.

So where do we stand? This is what it says of Judas where he stood. And Judas, John 18, 5, who betrayed him also stood with them.

Well, Paul offered an alternative. Not the only place but here it is from scripture. 1 Corinthians 16, Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. So again, watch, stand fast in the faith. That's what it's going to cause. What it calls for is another word I'm looking for.

Anyway, I'm not going to try to get it. That's what it calls for because Jesus warned. He said, Take heed that no one deceives you. And then he went on to give the end time scenario. And in that scenario, well, it's prophecy. It's more than scenario. He said in that prophecy, There is coming a strong delusion that if it is possible, it will fool even the elect.

It will even fool people who should know better if not careful. So watch, stand fast in the faith. And if you look at Matthew 24, good practice if you haven't done it. See how many times Jesus says watch in that 24th chapter.

For I have appeared, he says here in verse 16, I have appeared to you for this purpose. Well, what is the Christian life without purpose in Christ? What if your life as a Christian is just I'm a believer. I go to church. And then I do my thing.

I, I would counsel against leaving it there. Second Timothy, chapter three, Paul saying to Timothy, you have carefully followed my teaching manner of life purpose. You would miss that. We would just miss that. Look, look, look at how it would be. If I were just reading this, you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance.

Long suffering, love, they would fly off, faith would fly. But what about purpose? Got to have purpose. What at any age, what are you if you have no purpose?

And there are plenty of billets available. You cannot say, well, I can't find one. Well, come see me. I'll influence you. I know some of you younger ones, you know, that's your time you live in. And I'm not saying this generation, you know, as though my generation was somehow holier than thou.

But it is a fact. The internet has put humanity on evil steroids. And we are in the last of the last days. And I hope to be able to bring this out to you in the coming weeks. Coming back to this, to make you a minister and a witness, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, Jesus Christ speaking. Here's the purpose for Paul to make you a minister and a witness.

So a servant here in the Greek is an under oarsman, which means a subordinate. I'm going to make you a subordinate servant, you're going to serve Christians, and you're also going to tell non Christians as the witness. God's people are always to be on the side of biblical truth. And that's where the strong delusion is going to try to move people away from the truth.

John, and just to give you a coming attraction. Have you heard of fake seekers, I think it's called? I don't know where they can change if we could, they can put anyone's face if they got enough pictures on someone else's body. And you would know the difference.

And so that is a big problem on just multiple levels. But just for one, someone could say, I got a video of him robbing the bank. And they show this, and it's your face on someone else's body. And this is being perfected. When you go to the movies and you see it, it's like, oh boy, that's special effect.

Well, there are people who are now using it for some serious things. And this is going to be a strong delusion. The Ukrainians, their leader, they took his face and put it on somebody else and put other words into the mouth of the person that they were looking at. And he was saying, we need to surrender to the Russians.

It was a little choppy, it wasn't that good. But it's coming. Stronger delusions are coming. And if you don't learn to stand in the faith now, how are you going to stand when it's on your doorstep? Or how are you going to get other Christians who may be here after you to stand?

It's getting very serious. To make you a minister and a witness. John 16, 13, and he, the spirit of truth, when he has come, will guide you into all truth.

That's what we're supposed to be about when it comes to God. He says here in verse 16, both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. So the Lord says, there's going to be show and tell, and I'm going to time release it.

I'm going to release it over a period of time. And you are to tell people what you have seen and what I have shown to you. And nothing has changed in all these years for us. Verse 17, I will deliver you from the Jewish people as well as from the Gentiles to whom I will now send you.

There are no other categories. That's everybody. The Lord promised him deliverance and yet we're going to find out next chapter that he's going to suffer shipwreck and that he's going to suffer snakebite and discomfort and perhaps one of the most difficult of all, betrayal from church goers. And he will write that to Timothy. Beware of Alexander the coppersmith. He has done me much harm.

You need to watch out for him. And there are others. Verse 18, to open the eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. They may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Now Jesus is speaking. He's putting himself on the level of God because he is equal with God. And so he says he had that faith in me. Imagine if a man told you that? You want to be saved?

You got to have faith in me. He'd be blasphemous. Christ can say it.

So their eyes are closed. He mentions here the Lord does from the power of Satan to God. A regime change is necessary. Satan has power to damn those who are against Christ. Again, second Timothy. In humility, correcting those who are in opposition if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil having been taken captive by him to do his will. Satan is exalted in the life that is held captive. And so what does God want? He wants to deliver us from the power of Satan.

He continues here in verse 18, and we're almost done, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified. That's what God wants. What does God want from people?

That's it right there. Again, first Timothy chapter 2. Speaking of God, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. That's what God wants.

And if anybody comes up and tells you God doesn't want everybody saved, take them to that verse. By faith in me. Faith alone, in Jesus alone, save souls. Nothing else works.

It just doesn't work. Close with this verse, Colossians 1 13. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of his love. 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 / 2024-02-28 08:28:15 / 2024-02-28 08:37:56 / 10

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