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Love Beyond Survival (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 6:00 am

Love Beyond Survival (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 19, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


Don't think Satan can't be beaten. He's not a superhero.

He has powers, but so do we. If unable to stop him, hell wanted to diminish his ministry. If they couldn't disable his ministry, just keep him traumatized. Keep him in shock. I just can't trust again. I just can't step out again.

That's hell would have been happy with that. And yet he walks all over the face of hell. 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. Love Beyond Survival is the title of Pastor Rick's message. He'll be continuing in Acts chapter 28 today. Now when we saw Peter in the gospels try to take off the head of Malchus, one of the servants of that party that came out to arrest Jesus, Peter was trying to cut his head off, but he missed.

He got the ear. And Jesus, of course, had to do damage control and clean up that mess, and he rebuked Peter. Well, that was misguided love. That was human love. It was love for Jesus. Jesus did not need his protection, nor did he want his protection, but he understood that this was human love, not agape love. What we're looking at here is agape love.

We're looking at spiritual. They're not trying to come, you know, put together an ambush and free Paul from the Roman troops. They're just coming out to show love.

We got your back. You know what that means to somebody who's in the thick of fighting and getting slapped around, and you've got people that want to come out and genuinely show you how much you mean to them. When the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us. Again, likely bearing fruits and flowers, maybe bread, things to drink.

No idea that this was going to happen. This belongs to the outgoing work of Christ. Jesus was real to those people.

We know he was real to Paul and his party, but he's real to other people too. So while he's on Malta and they're about to board that Alexandrian ship, God has got his people 400 miles away that love him too. Maybe you're going through a hardship, you think you're the only one suffering. Nobody else is suffering. Nobody else understands. That's the feelings taken over the ship. But when you understand, like, look, I'm hurting a lot. I know others are going through this. I'm not letting them outdo me.

I'm going to go through this mess as much as I hate it. You know what it said of Jesus on the cross? He despised the shame. Public execution, stripping him down, nailing him to a tree, and that cross that he was nailed to, that cross that he was nailed to, it wasn't a pretty little thing.

They just found a couple of chunks of wood, put it together. This will hold a human body and stuck that up there and him on it in front of everybody, hoping he'd die a miserable death. He despised that shame, but he faced all of it for us, for sinners. Some of us can be a little self-impressed, which is unfortunate when we are that way. So this is the ongoing work of Christ. Let me reread the punchline of verse 15, and perhaps to me one of the most beautiful phrases or verses in the Bible clauses. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

This was a big deal. Now I've got to say something about Luke before I forget it. Luke is the author that wrote the story of Acts. He never mentions himself.

He never draws attention to himself. When John the Baptist saw Jesus and said, he must increase, I must decrease, Luke is doing that. Luke has decreased to the point where he's not visible. The only indication we have of him in the story is his pronouns, we or they. When he uses they, he's not with them. He's off doing something else. When he goes back to the person we know, we, I, well, I don't recall him even using I. He's using we, and it's just a remarkable, isn't that the Bible teaching us something just by that?

He's a big part of the story and not a peep. Everyone cannot do everything. You'd be lying to your kid to say, you can do anything you want. No, you can't. Just the way your body's built is going to eliminate you from a lot of things.

One might be a good, you know, linebacker, and the other one might be a good center in the NBA, but you can't beat them both. Not everything. But everyone can do this.

Everyone can do this. Everyone can show love. Everyone can go drop what they're doing, go out of their way, and meet the need for love, especially in ministry. Well, what does that mean, ministry? I mean, he's doing things for Christ to further the gospel, to be his servant. You know, a lot of Christians, it's just about what job they're going to get, what this they're doing, what are you doing for Christ directly, for Christ? I'd like to think that those who serve in the children's ministry are doing it for Christ.

That's the paramount. I mean, certainly I love children. A lot of people love children and will serve in the children's ministry. Do it for the Lord.

You've done it to the least of these, you've done it for me. So there is more to the believer than surviving hardship, and that's what we're seeing. And those who came out to see them, they had hardship in their lives too. They experienced some resistance for being Christians. There is love beyond survival, and that's what we're seeing. Not weakness, not bitterness, not fear, but the Holy Spirit's perseverance through the life of a believer and love built by the Holy Spirit.

You know, we used to joke, oh, it's made in China. What happens when it's made in heaven? What are you going to do with that?

What am I going to do with that? Most types that we draw, these are types in the Bible are parallels. So you'll see a story like, for instance, in the rapture. Daniel, in one part in his ministry, is a type of the Christian being raptured. You have the three Jewish servants that are going through the furnace, but where's Daniel?

You know, he's missing from the story. And so you have sort of a type, a parallel of the great tribulation period and Israel going through her struggle in the furnace, and yet you have missing the servant of God and Daniel. And there are many of them in the Bible.

We draw attention to them all the time. But most of the time, their Old Testament exam or parallels that are fulfilled to some degree in the New Testament. But here, what we have here is a New Testament type of an unfulfilled New Testament prophetic event. We who believe and love are in the number that come out to meet Jesus. You see, they came out of Rome, that decadent city, to meet the Lord. Well, to meet Paul, the parallel is we're going to come out of this world to meet Christ. And let me use some of the Greek in a minute to bring that a little closer, but whether here, whether there, or in the air, we're going to meet Christ, and we're going to meet at some point up with each other. The noun here used for meet when it says they came out to meet him. Appentasis is the Greek word, and it means a friendly encounter.

It was used by the Greeks in literature of an entourage coming out of a city to meet officials that they cared for, officials of the city. It is also used, the same Greek word, Appentasis. It is used by Jesus, and it is used by Paul. Here it is used by Luke. In each case, there's a meeting of the Lord.

If not in type, then explicitly stated. Matthew chapter 25. Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. And we know five were prepared. Well, five were prepared, five were not. All of them slept, but five got to go out with the Lord. But there's that word, to meet the bridegroom.

I plan to be in that number. The Lord, of course, in that parable is the bridegroom. Then in 1 Thessalonians, a letter already written by Paul, he says, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

And then he goes on to say, comfort each other with these words. Then you'll have others come along and take that comfort away. Oh, you're going to go through that tribulation. Oh, you're going to go. I don't like you.

You need to suffer. I don't buy that. I think that doctrine is not supported by scripture.

In fact, I think such verses as this condemn such a teaching. And there are those that are, they just got to make, there's this guilt, I think, that we have to do some sort of penance. We can't just be forgiven. We're too messed up. Well, I agree. You are really messed up, but not too messed up for grace.

You're not too dirty to be washed. God has moves that he can't wait to show when it comes to his love and his grace. And so there, it is a big deal.

We have a type here. They came out to meet Paul. We're going to come out to meet the Lord.

And there's another part of this. There are two waves that come to meet Paul. Well, you have tribulation converts. They too will meet the Lord. Well, so these believers went out to meet him. As believers, we'll meet death, we'll meet Christ, either in death or in rapture, but we are going to meet him in a friendly way.

Those who meet him in judgment, it will not be friendly. It says as far as Apai Forum, this is a roadside marketplace just 40 miles outside Rome. It's a climactic finish to one part of his ministry and a climactic start to the next part. He starts another phase of his ministry at this point.

The three ends, that's 10 miles from Apai Forum. So there were those that came out of Rome and they went 30 miles to meet him, but others went a little further. They went 40 miles to meet him. God is piling up the love on his weary servant, and he is weary, otherwise he would not have taken courage. And one of the lessons out of this is that some saints go further than others, at different times for different things. The second wave again will meet Paul as the tribulation saints will meet the Lord Jesus.

There the type is sustained. It says when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. Love is an energy bar.

It is a burst of motivation, of energy, it stokes the fire. Here is Paul and he thanks God. Luke picks up on that.

So here they are, you know, just walking along, they've already walked for miles, they have more miles to go from Reginium all the way to Rome and they're just not even really, well they're 40 miles out, they're last leg. And when Paul sees them coming, Luke picks up on Paul's facial expression and his gestures that he thanked God and he took courage. His head probably lifted up, his gait increased, I mean he was worn down. What was he worn down from?

It wasn't just the ship wreck and all that went with that. How about how the Jerusalem church treated him when he needed them most? They abandoned him to zealous Jews and to pagan Gentiles.

We have no word of anybody in the church at Jerusalem reaching out to Paul. He had victories of course, but the emotional stress of the conflicts to get those victories, they cake up. He had a nature like ours. There was Corinth, there was Galatia, and as I mentioned there was Jerusalem.

All three of those were drains on the man. And then there was a time in Malta where it seems nobody came to Christ. This is my third verse by verse time through Acts in Reginium.

I may have done it once or twice in New York, but I had in my notes written that in 2001 I wept when I got to this point and then in 2008 I had the note I wept again in my study time and in 2000 and actually it was 801, 808, and 923. And it's just such a powerful story. The outpouring of love is contagious. We meet them meeting Paul on that stone paved Appian way only because of love and no other motivation. He didn't owe them any money. What else were they coming out there to see him for? He was not a celebrity pastor. We'll come to that in one moment, but I am sure not only did they have flowers and fruit, but smiles and shouts.

I mean, what else did you do? Just come up and stand there like you're at the bus stop? They had to be shouting, we love you, Paul.

It's so good to see you. Welcome, Paul. Not wanting him to suffer anymore. That's the part that tears me up. They loved him. They did not want him to suffer. They wanted him to teach them more about Jesus Christ. They were grateful for his life, profoundly moved by his spirit-filled life.

They wanted some of that. They were profoundly moved by his letters to them. Many of the people in Rome he never met. He had not been to Rome before. Here's what he wrote in Romans chapter one.

For I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift so that you may be established. So they came this far to rendezvous, to escort him back like the angels took Lazarus to Abraham's bosom. And they still had to walk back. It wasn't like, well, we made it 40 miles out of Rome. Well, while we're here, we'll just, you know, get a job and live here now.

They still had to make that trek back 30 and 40 miles. Romans chapter 15, verse 24. He wrote to them, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey and to be helped on my way there by you. If first I may enjoy your company for a while. When he wrote that Roman letter and it arrived in Rome in that church, that letter was read to the congregation.

We don't know if it was read at one sitting or if they broke it up, but it was read out loud. And how it must have felt to them to having gone through those 15 chapters, well, before they get to verse 24 or 15, and just blessed by so many instructions about how we do Christ. I shall come to you for I hope to see you to be helped on my way there by you.

If first I may enjoy your company for a while. The humility of this dynamo of a servant. Now, some of, some will hear this message long after it's preached, be it on podcasts or radio. And I would advise those of you who live in other states, other places, reserve some long-term love for those who pastor over you. Not as thin-skinned future deserters, but those who can stand the ground.

That's where the work gets done. 1 Timothy 5, Paul wrote, let the elders who rule, and these are the pastors, who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. I think Paul learned some of that from people like this. Pastors do learn about Christianity from the people they pastor. Usually they don't know it's happening. Fortunately, it doesn't happen daily.

You're pretty dumb pastor, you're going to need a daily dose. But it does happen. And the word love, it is not printed in the book of Acts, but the fact of love is on every page. And that's what counts, that you get the point. A person can pull a pistol on you and point it at you and not say a word to you and you know this is not good. See there are other facts in life that are quite powerful that don't need to be verbalized.

We get it. It was love that motivated each of those saints and their service and it was their love for Jesus Christ first. It wasn't that, oh we love Paul, oh yeah and then Jesus. Jesus was real to them. This is a man that taught them about Jesus because they understood you just don't figure it out.

There's a system that God has put in place. Verse 16, now remember he's encouraged now, which means he was discouraged. Now when he came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard, but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. This now fulfills a three year old prophecy going back to Acts chapter 23. The promise was reinforced in Acts chapter 27 because it didn't look like it was going to happen and God said, oh you're going to survive this violent storm.

You and everybody else with you as a bonus. From Rome, legions went out to conquer the world to occupy those places they conquered. They came to Paul's beloved Israel and to Jerusalem and they forgot to leave. But from Jerusalem, Paul is sent to Rome to preach and to conquer Christ.

What is one of the effects of that other than the countless souls in heaven because of it? That the world, the entire world, has been dating everything by the birth of Christ. Here's where it began. Even when the world tries not to date their checks, their history by Christ, they do it. Some of them even have to put, instead of saying, you know, 2000 BC before Christ, they'll put 2000 CBC. I think I just lost it. Trying to say that we don't believe in the BC, but you just said it. You just recognized it. You recognized that everybody else does. And you have to line up with it even though you have your snarky little remark, oh common, I think it's CBC, commonly known as before Christ.

And so that's their zinger. You can use a Chinese calendar. Yeah, maybe in downtown China village, but when you start working on the global scale, you're going to be using the calendar that is set up according to the coming of Christ. And this is where it was beginning. Acts chapter 1, you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Rome is not it. Even though Paul survived that shipwreck and made it to Rome, he still had a lot more to go.

There are a lot more things for him to do and places to see. He believes he gets out of this first imprisonment for two years and then ends up back arrested again at the convenience of Caesar and then is executed, beheaded for his faith. The reason why we believe he was beheaded is because he was a Roman citizen and they felt that was the compassionate way to execute one of their own.

If you weren't a Roman citizen, then they would crucify you or would do whatever else they wanted to do. So it was neither easy, safe, or quick, the service this man rendered to the Lord when he finally reached the place God appointed him to reach. Well, that's how it was with Joseph, that's how it was with Moses, that's how it was with David, and that's how it was with Mary. You know what Mary had to go through?

I'm with child and I'm not married. Thank God for Zacharias and Elizabeth being there in her life to protect her. All the forces seem to combine themselves to make it impossible for this man to reach Rome and they failed. Don't think Satan can't be beaten. He's not a superhero.

He doesn't have these, you know, his powers, but so do we. If unable to stop him, hell wanted to diminish his ministry. If it couldn't disable his ministry, just keep him traumatized, keep him in shock.

I just can't trust again, I just can't step out again. That's, hell would have been happy with that. And yet he walks all over the face of hell and all he had to do was keep loving the Lord, loving the Lord's people, and loving the Christless people also. Until at last he gets to Rome and then heaven.

I close with this. There are those who would continue to live for the glory of Christ and not for themselves. There are those that would live for the glory of Christ and not for themselves. If I can get a little portion of that, that would be worthwhile. If I could get myself to have an attitude where I'm going to try to get as much of that as my little bag can carry, I think that would bring glory to the Lord. But a big part is what I learned about pastoring. People. They count, they're difficult.

I'm one of them, but it's worth it in Christ. 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 / 2024-03-19 09:35:33 / 2024-03-19 09:44:38 / 9

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