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Introduction to Acts – The First Christians (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2022 6:00 am

Introduction to Acts – The First Christians (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 19, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews


You wrote this book of acts about 30 years after Christ ascended to heaven, and it covers a span of about 32 years.

We have about 32 years of history from acts chapter 1 to ask 28 acts chapter 29 is us book of acts doesn't end the acts of the Holy Spirit and the actions of the believer are still going on through the believers sought down through history.

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, but for now let's join Pastor Rick in the book of acts chapter 1 as he begins his introduction to this book, you have your Bibles please turn to the book of acts chapter 1. If you're unfamiliar with the book of acts it comes right after the gospel according to John if you're unfamiliar with the gospel.

According we will take versus one through three. The former account I made all Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which he was taken up, after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen to whom he also presented himself alive after his sufferings, by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during 40 days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. This is an introduction to the book of acts it's going to be a long ride and hopefully an exciting one likely when this document was penned there was no title.

The earlier manuscript suggested that it suggests acts, the acts a CTS not AX company asked the, the acts of the apostles, the acts of the Holy Spirit, meaning the actions. The actions that the apostles engaged in after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ that were apostles plural that is in the New Testament occurs more in this book of acts than all the other New Testament books put together and it is mainly about Peter and Paul.

Of course it has others, too, but they are the focus of what the Holy Spirit was doing through the apostles. Luke he does a great job balancing Peter and Paul so as not to create a spirit of competition between the two servants of the 18 speeches that are in this book we have one by Stephen James Kamali, Al and Critelli us. Each of them have one speech. The remaining 14 are divided equally between Peter and Paul both having seven addresses both Peter and Paul did. Healings both were miraculously delivered from jail after being arrested both were treated as gods by the pagans. Of course the pushback on that both gave bold witnesses to the authorities and both of them confronted false prophets and so again, Luke presenting this gospel was saying Peter was certainly a man of God. So was Paul that hounded Paul throughout his ministry to those of which is to take cheap shots do not really an apostle.

You're not one of the 12 yourself appointed in the ED had to deal with that and Luke helped him out by demonstrating that he was very much an apostle of Jesus Christ, one handpicked by Jesus Christ.

And so again acts tells us what happened immediately after Jesus ascends to heaven in the first verse. Acts chapter 1 verse one we read of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach them.

Verse two after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen and then verse eight and you shall be witnesses to me.

That is a great overview of what's going to take place in this record that we have. We if there were the ability to have put this on film. It would be amazing.

We could watch it but we don't have that option. We read it and that's it is an account of these things really took place at the showing us how the first Christians conducted themselves before and after Pentecost. And for those of you who may not be familiar with Pentecost. It was that day that the church was truly born Christianity was in place. The church is born in the power born in the power of the Holy Spirit and will remain until he who restrains is removed out of the way and Antichrist comes on the picture in the church is not here will come back with Christ, then we have tribulation converts were martyred for their faith well. Matthew chapter 28 Jesus said, go therefore and 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. And low I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen a very simple ending to the gospel of Matthew with so much power in that we should lose sight of those words that Christ said to those men on that day. Go make disciples baptize them in the name of the father the son and the Holy Spirit is a reason why we believe in the triune God, and then teaching them to observe teaching them to do it, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach and that's what this acts of the apostle acts of the Holy Spirit's Holy Spirit singular is all about it. This book was once the template for the Calvary Chapel movement. There have been wanderings from it. May we never wonder from me this always be will we look to see how we conduct ourselves as an assembly and as individual believers, not ruling out the rest of the Scripture.

Of course, that would be devilish, including the rest of the Scripture. That's what makes the book of acts flow doesn't go forward without the rest of the Bible.

It did takes it all in and it shows us the Christians believing and practicing as best they can. This book improves the understanding of our assignment. Our service to Christ, especially as an assembly, but again not limited to an assembly.

The Gospels teach us about God, Jesus, that he was seen me has seen the father and you look at the life of Christ, you learn about God. The Gospels teach us about our Savior and ourselves, the epistles, the letters that are written, they address our struggles as Christians in this fallen world and our flesh in the church as believers, all of the letters are written to put out fires. Unfortunately, that's what it takes to move the church forward addressing the problems in the strength of the spirit based on Scripture from the revelation of Jesus Christ.

We learn God's final plan for this world.

Plans plural. But then this book the acts of the apostles demonstrates not only our mission but our methods and the pattern is for us to take advantage of the recorded birth of Christianity and the blood bought church is seen here in action.

Imagine after reading the Gospels, the resurrection of Christ.

Imagine coming to the end of the gospel of John and going right into the letter of Romans or right into the revelation of Jesus Christ.

You'd be perplexed suits and very perplexed and nothing would tie together the birth of the church and the work that took place in its beginnings would would just be foreign and you you just be at a loss to anyone.

How would you would appreciate it. While there are many Christians that skim over this book or skip it altogether and it is not to the benefit of that individual or that assembly from the life of Jesus Christ in the Gospels right into the letters of the apostles would be a strange leap and unnecessary thing in the Holy Spirit said let me prepare you for those letters and tell you how we got some of these churches and what was going on in the lives of those men who wrote those letters in the lives of those wet men and women who received those letters much of Christendom in dread of fanaticism is turned away from this book, but because some have taken the elves sections of this book, and abuse them and you you I know for myself before I became a Christian I look at wacko Christians if that's what it means to be a Christian. Keep it they did more damage to their witness and testimony of truth by their hysteria and unfounded behavior, poor doctrine, if any at all. The just buy you an old photo of this emotional rush that they felt they had license to exercise from reading certain passengers passages of this book of acts and other sections in their raw stowaway W. Tojo said the Holy Spirit is not the cause of insanity, but the cure and there are just, you know that you did in the days when the old King James was dominant. Christians would sort of some Christians or professed Christians would sort of justify their wacky behavior will God or we are peculiar people know that's what it means you not on oddball people you not a weirdo church wells. There are window churches out there that's their business.

In my position. This is my business and you don't think that you going to just you know can make all of these great converts to Christianity by acting like a lunatic and blaming it on the Holy Ghost. So anyhow I maybe have you all ever met any of these Christians mean, I've had my share of anyhow much of Christianity because of that type of fanaticism has turned away from this book.

Unfortunately, and in doing so, they've missed great principles of our service to Christ of Christianity, the church and this in many circles is the most misunderstood New Testament book of all and it should not be there. Those of rather read Revelation, then come to the book of acts that's backwards really appreciate the revelation of Jesus Christ and the seven churches because of the book of acts you get more out of it. Subtly this buried treasure and give some examples of systems to lessons that are right on the surface from this book, recruiting people to join the church. The first Christians did no such thing and they were fruitful.

They do not recruit anyone they witness Jesus Christ to let the Holy Spirit take it from there. Acts chapter 2, verse 47 praising God and having favor with all people, and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. They left it with God.

They trusted God because if you put it together in your own strength you gonna maintain it in your own strength look at Islam.

Islam is took over the world with the sword and they maintain their religion with the sword through violence were not that way which truth it is the power of the Holy Spirit is not truth without the Holy Spirit is the truth of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses. All that Jesus begun both to do and to teach and this of course with the Uno mess. The dynamite of God the Holy Spirit. The early church did not seek approval from the government from the culture from media, from false religions. It proclaimed admitted made a proclamation. This is truth and it was a take it or leave it deal and it is to this very day. This is the truth of Jesus Christ is not looking for you to embellish it to take away from it. This is it you take it or you better get left behind. Acts chapter 5. What Peter and the other apostles answered and said we ought to obey God rather than men.

Incidentally, apostles. I mentioned showing up all 30 times of the 59 times in the New Testament and plural in the book of acts. It is only in deplorable.

It is not singular, and the idea is that these apostles the 11 and then of course Matthias and Paul. They were united. That's the position of the Holy Spirit that Luke was was able to preserve for us. We I mentioned to you we ought to obey God rather than men shallow false Christianity is not that way. Shallow Christianity is looking to the culture looking to the world.

How should we behave, how are you. How can you we what can we do so that you can accept us to live.

You can like us not interested in getting the world to like me or the church interested in being used by Christ to bring the message and let him do the rest. And that is quite liberating. And it is very powerful and it comes from watching the Disciples of Christ. Those first Christians that we have in the New Testament. Fans have never in 1974 he was in it when you wrote: you know the title of the book escapes me as the shadow of death of something to thatů You wrote down about his loss of his beloved wife Sarah and he just makes this comment.

One of the chapters. He says the new hilarious is when he was really feeling alone and just trusting God. He says the new hilarious brand of Christianity is only a better way to have a good time fun seems to be the objective but wrestling with powers and principalities doesn't sound much like fun. I hope you younger Christians heard that but just in case you did not, I'm going to reread it again because it is especially for you. It says again Vance Hafner, the new hilarious brand of Christianity is only a better way to have a good time fun seems to be the objective but wrestling with powers and principalities doesn't sound like much fun it's not is it it's kids combat. It's just contest the struggle for real souls in real lives and is going to hurt your hearts going to break if you are a Christian and in fighting over lost souls and the work that Satan does when you're also going.

Your heart will also rejoice over the victories in the presence of God in your life. The author Luke known as the companion of Paul, the beloved physician that day that Paul would call him a beloved physician must've mean that Luke first of the had no hypodermic's to stick you with me just was a beloved physician, he would just have philosophy of medicine, but never hurt you. I don't know about you every time you go to the doctor to hurt you more of those is anyway just a little humor there very little humor at Luke chapter 1. Luke wrote the book of acts. He wrote the Gospel according to Luke and the early Christians did not does not much to debate about that when he wrote the book of acts. He started out by telling everyone how much effort he put into looking into the facts that he was about to present the interviews that he conducted and he says it seemed good to me. Also, Luke chapter 1 verse three, having had a perfect understanding of all things. From the very first to write to you and orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, you see this letter to with this gospel of Luke was addressed to a man named Theophilus and so is the book of acts of the name Theophilus means the lover of God and their variations to it and some believe maybe it was sort of a cold writing to just lover Christians in general, but I don't take that position. I believe it was a man named Theophilus who was a part of Luke's life and get all come to this back to Inver very quickly.

But this man, Luke. This physicians medical Dr. Luke. Far as we know, he never saw the Lord Jesus Christ.

He became a convert. After he wasn't around when the early chapters of of acts were taking place is we have no evidence of that we have evidence or the pointers that suggested he was converted after he wrote this book of acts, about 30 years after Christ ascended to heaven, and it covers a span of about 32 years. We have about 32 years of history from acts chapter 1 to acts 28 acts chapter 29 is us the book of acts doesn't end the acts of the Holy Spirit and the actions of the believers are still going on through the believers are down through history, there is a nice parallel about that when you get to the seven churches in Revelation. These were troublesome times because of the transition. That transition from Judaism to Christianity from looking for the Messiah and his arrival is being murdered and his being is rising again and keeping Judaism out of Christianity was very difficult, if physically they were violent over these things. They would try to kill Paul on several occasions, not only just the Jews who practice Judaism with the Judaizers who tried to mingle Christianity and Judaism, thereby reducing Christianity to a sect so matter-of-fact when up in Antioch. They came from. James is Paul later said to spy out our liberty.

Peter and Barnabas succumbed to this into the Judaizers to their influence and their influence was this if you want to benefit from the cross of Christ. You have to become a Jew, you gotta be circumcised got practices applicable under the temple' against all that and when Peter and Barnabas were giving into them and Paul stood said this several times before Christianity would've died that day. Had Paul not stood up to his beloved friends. Peter and Barnabas and set them straight and not yield is posted for the guy. We are here for an hour, which means we need you for a moment. We didn't give in. This is Christianity we know what we believe we believe what we know and were not apologizing for.

We would love you to join it, but when I joining you and to this day, that is our message and if you want to go out there and share your faith with somebody of another religion and you think that you can sort of mix them together you've abandoned Christianity because it is intolerant of any other savior or any other God or any idea about our God does not come from Scripture and so the reformers, many of them who gave their lives to say Scripture alone is our authority for what we are spiritual, believes in our behavior before God.

Scripture alone and hopefully you and I are upholding these things because they are true. We look at the book of Genesis and it tells us a story of how mankind came to be and how management established a relationship with God or refused, as the case might be of acts tells a story of how the church came to be and how the Gentiles were brought into this relationship with the God of Abraham and the God of Moses and the God of of of Jeremiah and Isaiah and all of the of the Old Testament heroes acts tells the story of how the church came to be and how it is to remain how the church is different distinct. As I mentioned from Judaism and paganism and heathenism and anything else that is out there tells a story of its relationship with the Holy Spirit as promised by God through Jesus Christ we haven't even started on the versus yet this is an overview from what's in there and after all these years of being a Christian I still get excited over the book of acts to breach.

It is a added added benefit benefit of this church. The church had Messiah and has Messiah we call him the Christ at the Greek translation of the Jewish word Messiah, the anointed one.

We have him. The synagogues of Paul's day did not. The synagogues today do not. They do not have the Messiah, they have missed him.

We have him and this need the bid, the beliefs are irreconcilable, though, we've come out of Judaism's Old Testament. Our beliefs are irreconcilable unless they accept Messiah. They don't have it. A Judaism is a mentioned demand circumcision and Sabbath keeping to receive salvation and other things the Gentiles just would not receive that that it would've been a stumbling block for them. And God pointed this out to Paul and Paul wrote document the documented this Romans and Galatians and Hebrews. He was fierce in his presentation. That's this transitional age that Lucas is is also part of the was there with much through much of what Paul went through the first written the first Christians they realized this, and they began to listen and trust God or maybe when you started out being a Christian you, you are trusting God. What is the use of rolled by, and you've taken so many hits and hurts that trust is not so hot anymore. I encourage you go get wood and put it on whatever fire you've got a lesson and stoke the fire and don't give into your flesh that wants to come up with an excuse to have your faith die down, because it's a lie in your flesh will accommodate.

I find this like you do have my moods to move you've been listening to cross reference radio daily radio ministry 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.

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