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  • Jun 16 / 2019
  • Comments Off on God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)

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God bless you through Hebrews

Hebrews 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.


“Better, better, more, superior” – this is the repeated theme throughout Hebrews. He is BETTER than all created things.

Theme: The superiority of Christ Jesus

Be assured + Live by Faith

In the sight of God, how can I be accepted by God? If I live by faith. If you put your faith in Christ, you will be accepted by God as righteous.

“The righteous will live by faith”

  • Habakkuk,
  • Romans,
  • Galatians,
  • Hebrews

In the NT, Hebrews is the only book whose human authorship is unknown. There are many suspicions: Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, Aquilla – but the name of the author is not given in the text itself.

Because the author’s name is unknown, also the time it was written is unknown. It is assumed it was written in AD 60s because that is before the temple was destroyed in AD 70. There are religious ceremonies and traditions mentioned, but no mention of the destruction of the temple.

v. 1-3

“1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways (OT), 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NT) 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Think about it: by nature, God is creator; we are his creations. God is infinite; we are finite. God is in heaven; we are on earth. God is spirit; we are material (from dust).

By nature, God is unapproachable, unknowable, hidden.

Q: How is knowing God possible? How is the study of God possible? What makes it possible to know God and something about him? This is a basic question for entrance into the study of Hebrews.

Do you have an answer?

We can say several things, but in one phrase: God’s self-revelation

The self-revelation of God makes it possible to know something of him.

For example, you know your birthday / place / mother / father. But HOW do you know these things? Someone told you. Like this, God reveals himself – and still is revealing himself. That’s why / how it’s possible to know him.

Revelation of God: The action of God by which he discloses himself, or communicates himself to his creation. He makes known about himself what could not be known in any other way.

2 forms:

  1. General
  2. Special

General revelation (3 areas):

  1. Nature
  2. Human history
  3. Your Conscience

1. Nature

Look at the created world – this is God’s handiwork. When we see this, we can know there is a creator, with wisdom, power, glory, and goodness.

Ps 90:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God…”

Also, as all buildings have a builder, so does this world

Romans 1:19-20 “Since what may be known about God, since the creation of the world – his divine power – has been clearly displayed so that no one has an excuse.”

Through Creation, we can know his power and glory.

2. Human History

The Bible speaks of God’s dealings with many nations: Greece, Rome, Israel, Macedonia, etc – more than anything else, he reveals himself through Israel.

By nature, Israel is weak and small – but when they obeyed, God empowered them to drive our 7 nations from Canaan who were greater than they were. But, when they disobeyed, God made them defeated and enslaved. But when they cried out to him, he sent them a deliverer and empowered them again.

Throughout history, we must know that God used more wicked nations or men to punish less wicked nations or men.

It is possible for God to use unbelievers to discipline disbelieving believers.

“From one man, God made every nation of man that they should inhabit the whole earth. God determined the exact times and places they should live.”

3. Human conscience

Conscience is in human beings – and the conscience tells us what is right / wrong. It tells us strongly “Do right ; abstain from wrong.” It also tells us “Every wicked deed must be punished.”

These 3 general revelation of God is ENOUGH to know there is a God who created all things – and know he is powerful, wise, and holy. But even this general revelation of God has limitations.

  • This is not enough to meet and know him.
  • It is not enough for us to have a personal relationship with him.
  • It cannot lead us to salvation (which is only found in Christ).
  • That’s why we need “special revelation” of God.

Special Revelation: God speaks

The action of God by which God makes himself known at specific times and places in specific ways, for specific purposes.

  1. Speaking
  2. Miracles
  3. Prophecy (in the Bible)
  4. Climax: Person, work, word of Jesus Christ

This is the entrance point of Hebrews.

The perfection of God’s special revelation = the purpose, work, word of Jesus Christ.

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

The same God who spoke: “Let there be light” is still speaking to us. He spoke to Adam, Noah, Moses, Joseph, and is still speaking to us.

OT: (v 1): “In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.”

  • Isaiah = vision
  • Jacob = dream
  • Abraham, Moses = personally
  • Jeremiah = object lessons
  • Hosea = marriage experience
  • NT (v 2): “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
  • Before Christ: “In the past…”
  • After Christ: “In these last days…”
  • OT = Covenant, promise, message, prediction
  • NT = New covenant, new promise, new message, new prophecy

In the OT, God spoke through human prophets, but now, no more human prophets. Now, he is speaking to us through Christ: “God’s special revelation” – which is progressing and changeable.

  • God’s revelation is changeable.
  • But GOD is unchangeable.

We are very changeable. Do you like this word? Do you want change? Of course.

The word change = to the better or to the worse. So, change has two meanings, positive and negative.

God is unchangeable. He is immutable, he never changes, because he is God. God can never be better because he is now perfect. God can never be worse or he would not be God.

God cannot be more holy nor more righteous, nor wiser than yesterday – because he is already perfect.

In this sense, God is absolutely unchangeable. That’s why we can trust him and put our faith in him. Are you sure of this?

But, God’s unchangeability does not mean “immobility.” God is a person, he has emotions – he can be sorrowful, happy, angry. He is active, a speaking God. So, he is very changeable. What does this mean?

God wants a personal friendship and partnership with us – who are very changeable – for better or worse. So, in these relationships with changeable man, it is necessary to change his dealings with changeable man to remain unchangeable in his purpose.

God does not show partiality, nor choose favorites – BUT he deals with us each individually very differently according to our obedience or disobedience. But now, we are living in the last days. That’s why Hebrews encourages us very strongly to “focus” on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith.

We know the transfiguration story of Jesus. Let me say it again briefly. This is important to understand the special revelation of God.


One day, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to a high mountain. Before them, he was transfigured – his face shining like the sun; his clothes white like light. Then, two great men appeared before him.

A voice came from heaven, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

We know that Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets in the OT. Moses represented the Law; Elijah the prophets. No matter how great a man, Jesus is greater.


Q: Why are there so many human prophets in the OT? And why Jesus is written in the NT? What is the difference? Why were they all recorded in the Bible? We must be clear in this matter – or we will be confused in our Christian life.

Yes, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, great men of faith.

Then, what is the difference between these men and Jesus? Why were they recorded in the Bible? Still today, God is speaking through Jesus.

The reason all human prophets – including great prophets – are recorded in the Bible so that we may see how they heard, obeyed, and were used by God.

Why Jesus? So we may hear him, obey him, and worship him as Lord and Savior.

There is a BIG difference.

Repeat (next time).

So, who is Christ?

In these short verses, we can see many titles and status’ of Jesus (at least 7).

v. 1-3

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

  1. Jesus is heir of all things – ruler; king; highest position
  2. Jesus is creator
    • 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,
  3. Jesus is visible God – the exact representation of God – the visible expression of the invisible God
    • John “No one has seen God; but God has made him known.”
    • sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
  4. Jesus is sustainer, supporter of all things – including living creation. Even today, God can sustain you in times of stress and hardship. Jesus is sustaining and supporting us always. Also, you are here today by Jesus’ sustaining grace and mercy.
  5. Jesus is provider of all things we need
    • Phil 4:19 “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”
    • Jehovah Jireh (Provider) – this is who Jesus is to us today. What do you need spiritually, mentally, relationally? Jesus will provide – do not be worried.
  6. Jesus is the purifier of sin. He provides also forgiveness. You know, my sins are so dirty. If I’m not purified, I cannot stand here to preach.
    • 1 John 1:9? “The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”
    • The blood of Jesus has power and authority. He is creator and sacrificed himself for us. No sacrifice for our sin could be greater than that offered by the creator himself.
    • Christ cleansed this whole world and took the penalty for our individual sins with his death on the cross.
    • “…he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
  7. His work was complete.
    • In your own job, if you do not finish your job, you cannot sit down.
    • Jesus sat down because his sacrifice was final and complete. “It is finished” on the cross.
    • At the right hand of the Majesty of heaven = he is equal with God – one person (second) of the Trinity God.

Do you need advice? Go first to Jesus. We must go FIRST to Christ for advice, wisdom, faith, love. No human counselor knows more about our ultimate security and well being than our Lord Jesus does.

Conclusion:

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

Only when you fix you eyes on Jesus can you grow spiritually.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus.”

God bless you through Hebrews.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 09 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Acts 29 Vision
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Acts 29 Vision

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Acts 28:30-31 (Pastor Heo)

This is the last study for Acts, but we know that Acts is not yet complete. If you open your spiritual eyes, you can see that Acts is STILL BEING WRITTEN. Today, let us put these words into practice so that we also may be the co-authors of Acts 29. God bless you.

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.


As we know, Paul had been in prison for 2 years just before going to Rome. Now, he’s in house arrest in Rome for another full 2 years.

Through this story, we can learn a very important lesson from Paul about HOW to make the most of a very bad situation.

He remained under house arrest – this great missionary, apostle of Christ – unable to minister as he desired. So, he simply did WHAT HE COULD. He welcomed all who came to him, he taught, preached, counseled, persuaded, prayed, wrote books of the Bible. He wrote 4 letters (Paul’s Prison Epistles) = Eph, Phil, Col, Philemon.

These remember our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus succeeded in his mission completely, in the wilderness and his cross. The first man, Adam, failed his mission completely in the most beautiful circumstances (The Garden of Eden).

So, who can say to God, “I cannot serve you because of my bad situation”? No one. If you find yourself in a bad situation, look for ways to serve God and glorify God.

Eph 5:15 “Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.” (Within your time, save your time, because the days are evil (KJV))

v. 30-31

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

This book of Acts has a SUDDEN ending. Why? How? This shows the spread of the gospel going to Rome and the world continually as the Great Commission had directed. Why does Acts stop HERE? Because it’s not about the life of the person Paul, but about the process of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Acts 1:8 is the key verse:

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  • Chp 1-7 = Spread of the gospel in Jerusalem
  • Chp 8-11 = Spread of the gospel in Judea and Samaria
  • Chp 12-28 = Spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth (Rome)

Among 66 books in the Bible, Acts is the ONLY book which is not yet over – in its mission.

In the Greek Bible, *acolotos* is the last word in this book. The meaning? “Without stop; without hindrance; continually.” This makes the final word in Acts very meaningful.

Today’s Christians are the ones who are to do the continual writing of Acts in the NEXT chapter (Acts chapter 29).

You all have your own personal history, right? This is simple and easy to understand, but meaningful and important.

Everyone – Christian or non – has his own (good or bad) life story and personal history. Then, every Christian is to have TWO life stories (before / after; earthly / spiritual) Every Christian has this life story.

  • Earthy = temporary; on earth
  • Heavenly = eternal; on earth and in heaven

Check your own life story.

“One life; two stories.”

I have one LIFE, but two stories.

All Christians throughout the Bible and throughout history, all have this one life; two stories. Let me show you 3 examples:

#1: Joseph

He was hated / envied by his elder 10 brothers. They sold him into slavery to Egypt. He was Potifer’s slave (one of the king’s officials). He was wrongly accused by the wife and thrown into prison. 2 years later, he interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh – and through this, he became the Prime Minister of Egypt (the greatest country of that time). One day, years later, in a great famine, his brothers came to buy food from him twice. In the second coming, he revealed himself to them. “I’m your brother Joseph who you sold into slavery.”

This is Joseph’s earthly life story, but he also interpreted this into two stories.

“Brothers, do not be distressed, because God sent me here ahead of you to save your lives. You intended harm for me, but God intended it for good – the saving of many lives.” This is Joseph’s spiritual life story.

  • Earthly life: “you sold me”
  • Heavenly life: “God sent me”

We are made to have meaning. If your life has meaning, you can bear almost anything. “With a strong enough WHY, you can bear almost any HOW.”

Giving our lives spiritual meaning is important.

#2 Jesus

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, 2,000 years ago through the womb of the virgin Mary. Like Joseph, he was hated and misunderstood by his fellow Jews. They delivered him to the Roman guards. Pontias Pilate was a profession in finding someone’s faults, but could not find anything wrong with Jesus. He knew he was innocent, but had no courage to set him free – so he handed him over to be executed. He was crucified, dead and buried, and rose again. This is Jesus’ life story (earthly).

Heavenly: God became man in Jesus to come to earth to save us, to die for us, and save us. He was not killed unwillingly, but chose by his own accord to be killed for the salvation of all. “Nobody takes my life from me. I lay my life down of my own accord. I have authority to lay down my life and take it up again, for I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

Jesus died and rose again and ascended into heaven and is STILL interceding for us on the right hand of God. And one day he will come to complete it all.

  • Earthly: he was killed
  • Heavenly: he sacrificed himself

#3: Paul

Like Joseph and Jesus, he was hated and misunderstood by his Jewish brothers. They arrested him and handed him over to the Romans. Felix, Festus, and Agrippa heard his story, but none set him free. So he appealed to Caesar. He came to Rome to stand on trial before Caesar. This is Paul’s earthly life story.

Heavenly: Paul’s coming to Rome is the sovereign will of God. Some time before, Jesus appeared to him and said, “You will testify about me in Rome.” Also going to Rome and preaching the gospel was Paul’s vision. In Romans: “God, whom I serve with my whole heart is my witness about how constantly I pray for you. I long to see you and impart some spiritual gift to make you strong. I’m eager to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome. I’m not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for all who believe.”

  • Earthly: sent to Rome as a prisoner
  • Heavenly: lead to Rome as a missionary

You also have your own life story.

v. 31

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts finishes not with Paul’s earthly life (and end) but with his spiritual life (and continuation). Earthly life is temporary, heavenly life is eternal.

Who are the ones who are continuing the book of Acts?

Acts 29 Vision

The book is like a relay race (계주/경주).

Do you have experience with this?

In the relay, the ending of the first runner becomes the starting point of the second runner – and the baton is passed on. Those who begin running at the end of Acts 28, continue into Acts 29.

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who focus on preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ are the ones who are writing the continuation of Acts.

At the end, I want to focus on:

  • the kingdom of God
  • the Lord Jesus Christ

Kingdom of God

Do you have interest in the Kingdom of God? This is our country.

Phil 3:20 “Your citizenship is in heaven.”

So, we must be very interested in this country – this is our country (kingdom).

What / why / when / where / how is the Kingdom of God?

  • Who: You / us / Christians
  • What: Jesus’ first message is about the kingdom of God. John the Baptist’s first message was the same: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.”

The key teaching of Jesus in his ministry was the Kingdom of God – the Beatitudes’ first and last sentences are about the KOG. “Blessed … for theirs is the KOG.”

Especially in Matthew, we can see Jesus say so many times, “The KOG is like….”

Also, our daily and first prayer is about the KOG.

“This is how you should pray: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus also teaches that your first priority must be about the KOG: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and then all these things will be added to you.”

The fulfillment of the KOG and the end of this age will happen at the same time – they coincide with each other. Jesus says, Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached to ALL nations, and THEN then end will come.”

The fulfillment of the gospel and the end of the world will coincide.

After his resurrection, Christ stayed on earth for 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God. In a sense, we can say, Acts starts with the Kingdom of God and closes with the KOG.

What is it?

Kingdom of God === Kingdom of Heaven === Kingdom of Christ

It is a country. Essential elements of a state in the physical world = population, territory, government. In the spiritual world, in the KOG, the most basic idea is = rule / reign / sovereignty.

So, the KOG is the rule / reign of Christ (sovereignty of Christ). This is the rule / reign of God over ALL Creation.

But more narrowly speaking, it is about Christ’s spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who submit and obey willingly the will of God by confessing Christ as Savior and Lord and King.

His Lordship / Kingship / Sovereign governance – if your are really ruled by Christ, then you are a part of the KOG.

When: Now and here

It has been established already,

but not yet made complete (at the age that has yet to happen)

With Jesus’ first coming, the KOG began. “Repent, the KOG is near.” It is present, but also future. With his Second Coming, his Kingdom will be established perfectly and completely.

Where?

It is a country so it can be in a particular place, but it is not limited by space. It transcends time and space. It is in you.

How?

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you know your position in this world? We are ambassadors of Christ. We are sent from our country to this world to establish his kingdom in this world.

“My kingdom is not of this world.” (Jesus)

This world belongs to Satan (temporarily) – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (Next verse) “We do not preach ourselves, but Christ crucified.”

Our mission is to spread and establish his kingdom in this world: by confessing and preaching Jesus as Lord and Savior, and inviting others in.

Phil 2:10-11 “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

This is the fulfillment of the KOG.

We are now between the first and second coming. (Between the cross and the crown).

Our mission is very simple and clear: to profess and preach Jesus as Lord and Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and to invite others in – to make the population of the KOG larger and larger.

If we do this, we also are writing Acts 29 with God in heaven.

Let us pray together.

  • Jun 02 / 2019
  • Comments Off on At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)

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10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”


From Rhegium to Puteoli is about 180 miles. From Puteoli, they had no more boat – but had to walk. It was another 140 miles to Rome (like from Jeonju to Seoul).

Some believers in Rome heard about Paul’s imminent arrival and intercepted his party at Appii Forum (an open square for meeting and discussion).

v. 10-15

” 10They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.”

When Paul was greeted by these Italian brothers & sisters in Christ, he was refreshed and thanked God. Imagine this, after a long, hard, dangerous journey, Paul was thankful and encouraged to see some friendly faces like you.

Today, we also can perform a similar role in the lives of full-time missionaries. TIP:

Paul Mission will have an upcoming mission conference in Gyeonggi-do. If you want you can be blessed by blessing them with your time, little money, loving hearts.

Paul arrived at Rome finally in v. 16

“16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. “

At long last, Paul arrived at Rome – the most powerful and influential city at that time. It was the fulfillment of his long-term vision. Paul received special treatment. The others were delivered to the captain of the soldiers, but he was put under house arrest in a rented house under the guard of one soldier.

What did Paul do first?

v. 17-22

“Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

Paul’s first action was to call together the Jewish brothers & sisters in Rome and explain why he had to come.

Briefly: The Jews arrested him in Jerusalem and delivered him to the Roman government. They examined him, but did not find him guilty. So they wanted to set him free. But the Jewish religious leaders disagreed strongly, so Paul was forced to appeal to Caesar.

His real purpose for meeting the Italian Christians was to share the kingdom of God and the Messiah-ship of Jesus.

This hope for which he was accused is the message of the gospel. In his defense, Paul mentioned the phrase, “the hope of Israel” several times.

  • on trial for my hope in the resurrection
  • I have hope in God for the resurrection (before Felix)
  • I have hope in Christ – because of this I was charged (before Agrippa)

v. 21-22

“21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

In Rome, everyone was talking against Christianity. “Heresy” = wrong doctrine, cult, terrible doctrine.

Christians believed in only ONE God, but Romans had many false gods, including Caesar. His hope is the hope of Israel, the hope of the world.

v. 23-24

“23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. “

This must have been the most exciting home Bible study in history. Can you be patient with me if I share the Bible with you from morning to evening? This must be 10 hours.

Paul tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and Prophets (Old Testament). He tried to convince them about Jesus from the OT.

Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you have eternal life, but these Scriptures testify about me.”

Today’s Christians are more blessed than Christians from 2,000 years ago – because we have OT and NT.

Early Christians believed in Christ only through the witness of the OT and lived powerful influential Christian lives at that time. We must be able to live more powerful Christian lives today because we have the complete, perfect Bible. We are also much nearer to the end of this world than they were.

The main theme of the Bible is about Jesus.

The religious leaders studied hard, but refused to come to Jesus. Even today, many Christians study much but don’t come to Christ.

v. 25-28

“25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!””

What is the response of this congregation to Paul’s message? Disagreement, some believed, some rejected. Some were persuaded, some would not believe regardless of Paul’s passion and urging.

Today is the same. I’m delivering the sermon. This is an attempt to convince the congregation about Christ through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Sermon’s purpose is always the same: to persuade the church members about Christ by the ministry of the HS.

Some are convinced, but some reject.

This is always the same. The same sunlight melts ice and also hardens the clay.

Moses and Pharaoh experienced the same works of God, the same miracles, and powers, at the same time and same place. Moses came nearer and nearer to God, his heart softer and meeker, and humble. But Pharaoh went farther and farther from God, his heart becoming calloused and proud.

God gave Pharaoh many opportunities to repent, but he rejected them all.

Whenever we receive the Word of God, we should check our attitudes.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Paul quoted v. 26-28 from Isaiah 6:9-10

Even though the Jews knew all about God in an academic way, they did not know God in a personal way. Though the Word of God was in their heads, it had never filtered down to their hearts and changed their lives.

Today, is the Word of God changing your life?

Conclusion:

From Paul’s journey to Rome, we can learn 3 lessons.

Remember his journey story, let’s get these lessons.

1. Nothing can stop the will of God

The will of God for Paul was that he would go to Rome and preach the gospel. Yes, we know this looked impossible – there were many plots to kill Paul, Jewish accusations against him – years of imprisonment, a shipwreck in a typhoon, bitten by a viper. There were so many hindrances – but no attack from Satan would hinder God’s will.

1 John 2:17 “This world and its desires pass away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

Question: Do you have a vision? Just like Paul, or vision must be worldwide – but at the same time it must be focused. We must include the whole world with our hearts and prayer – but we must focus on a particular target because we are limited in knowledge and skills. God’s way is always better, he knows what he’s doing.

1 Thess “The one who calls us is faithful.”

2. We can serve God by helping others under any circumstances IF WE WILL

What are your circumstances? God knows. But remember under any circumstances, we can serve God by helping others if we choose to.

Paul’s situation was BAD from a human perspective. He was a shipwrecked prisoner but on this trek to Rome alone, he continued to minister to others:

  • Roman centurion, Julius
  • Captain and owner of the ship
  • Passengers of the ship
  • Leader of Malta and his father
  • People of Malta
  • Jewish believers
  • Roman believers

Almost all were affected by PAUL.

What the power and influence of only one person!

Because of this one faithful person, the gospel continued to spread.

v. 28 = if you accept the gospel, it will spread through you.

But if you reject it, the gospel will continue to spread through others.

The gospel has life.

Do not make any excuses before God.

3. God is so faithful in keeping his promise

Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”

But God provides what we NEED not always what we WANT.

Paul lost everything in the shipwreck – he was merely a survivor. He had nothing but life in Christ. But remember, in this terrible situation, if his first priority was eating, drinking, wearing, then he would be a literal beggar. But his priority #1 was the kingdom of God and sharing the gospel.

So, God’s promise was realized in his life.

“Do not worry about what you should eat and drink and wear. Pagans run after these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them, so seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

This promise was proven in Paul’s life. Question: Is God’s promise real in your life?

v. 10

“10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed. “

Still today, his promise is available. Don’t worry about what to eat, drink, wear – but seek first his kingdom and righteousness and then all these things will be given to you as well.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 01 / 2019
  • Comments Off on In Malta (Acts 28:1-10)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In Malta (Acts 28:1-10)

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Acts 28:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.


The distance from Fair Havens to Malta = 720 km.

Malta became a British colony in 1815 – played a very important role in WWII. Got independence in 1964, joined the European Union later as well.

I say this things to emphasize that the Bible is not just a story, but all facts. Today’s story is “what happened during their stay at Malta”. They stayed there for three months.


Can you picture this? They survived but became beggars, losing all their things. The people of Malta were very kind and generous, showing hospitality to the shipwrecked survivors. It was raining and cold, but they were already wet. They were probably trembling with cold, so they needed heat.

The islanders built a fire for heat. Paul gathered a bundle of wood. We know he was a very good man, he was like a savior or hero to the survivors – but no task is too small for the man of God. Paul was not ashamed to be useful in the smallest thing – like Jesus.

Phil 2 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. In humility… our attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ.”

Paul gathered the bundle of wood – a very practical action. As he put it on the fire, a viper jumped from the bundle and bit him on his hand. Maybe that snake was hibernating.

The islanders knew how dangerous a viper bite was, so they thought he must have been a murderer – believing “karma” would not let him live. They thought something bad must happen to him – but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their minds and called him “god.”

We remember in Lystra in chp 14, a similar thing happened. Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man and the people called them gods. Paul tore his clothes and stopped them saying, “We too are men like you.” Then he preached the gospel of salvation in Christ.

In this way Paul became outstanding among them. Publius, the leader welcomed Paul and his team and entertained them. But his father was sick with fever and dysentery. Paul prayed for him and healed him – and immediately the whole island came to him for healing.

We know that Luke is a medical doctor. In this situation, Luke could use his medical skill and expertise – so they could work together in this ministry. In church history, this job is the first Medical Mission (Paul + Luke).

So, what was the problem with these people of Malta? Humanly speaking, they were very kind, warm, generous. They had morality, they were nice, but didn’t know who God was. They didn’t know how to be saved.

  • They first called Paul “murderer.”
  • Then they called Paul “god.”

From murderer to god – both were wrong. So, today, we also must be careful to not only understand who people are from their outward appearance.

They were nice, but they didn’t know who God was. Many people in this world don’t know who God is, nor how to be saved, rescued.

So, let me make clear:

  1. Who God is
  2. What God is like
  3. How to be saved

Are you clear on these matters?

If so, our mission / ministry is to help / serve / tell others.

Not only that time, but since the creation of the world, there are SO many wrong beliefs and opinions about God. This is one of the biggest problems in human history. There are 8-9 beliefs about God and they are all wrong – except ONE.

We must know that in your study and theory, there may be many opinions, but the “right” one is only one. Also in this matter, there is only one “right” one.

Let us make it very clear in this limited time and then help and serve others with this information. God bless you.

Wrong beliefs about God

1. Atheism – denies the existence of God.

“There is no god.”

But they are cheating their own spiritual conscience. “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no god.'”

Heb 3:4 “All buildings have a builder. Like this, all creation has a creator.” Imagine someone looking at a building and saying, “Look at this amazing building with no builder!” How foolish! How can what has been made have been made by chance? This is foolish.

2. Agnosticism – Does not deny God, but denies the possibility of the knowledge of God.

“There may be a god, but we cannot know him.”

“I don’t know. How can we know?”

This is a comfortable refuge for intellectuals – but it means they escape / hide from any responsibility about God. Sooner or later, a seeker will FIND God. “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities have been made known, so that no one is without excuse.” (Romans 1)

3. Materialism – denies the existence of the spirit – all reality is only physical matter

Practical question: Is money god? NO. But practically, money can be a small god.

“You cannot serve both God and money” (Jesus) – money cannot be served / worshiped. (The love of money) is a root of all kinds of evil.

Our spirit knows this visible world is only preparation for eternity.

“A man is destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.” We must remember this crucial word of God.

4. Pantheism – (many / all gods) – “pan” (all) “theism” (god) – all is god, god is all

This is Hinduism (among other beliefs). Its highest hope is Nirvana (to desire less). But this is impossible because we are created to seek something, to fill ourselves with something. So the Bible says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit”

5. Polytheism – “poly” (many) “theism” (god)

Many gods. Kitchen god, rain god, computer god, passion god. In Japan there are 8 million gods.

The Bible condemns this paganism as idolatry. The FIRST commandment of the 10 commandments = “You shall have no other gods before me.”

6. Deism (“dios”) God – believes in a transcendent but absent God.

He created the universe and LEFT it to sustain it by itself according to the natural laws.

They say with their mouths, “There is god”, but they live like there is no god. So, practically, they are like atheists.

7. Dualism – belief of 2 opposite gods who are fighting each other.

One god is god of spirit and light and life. The other is god of matter and darkness and death.

Some people may think this is true.

Yes, God is God, and Satan is the opposite god of God. He is called “god of this Age.”

The problem? The two gods are EQUAL in power and authority – so the conflict is neverending. This is totally unbiblical. Satan is a CREATED being who is limited in his power. He will be cast out by God and punished in hell. Satan has ZERO authority because Jesus proclaimed, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.”

He has temporary, limited power.

8. Monotheism – ONE God

One and only one God. We believe in God only – only one God who created the universe and is sustaining all things with his power and word. He is a person, with a personality, so it is possible to have a relationship with him. He is compassionate, but righteous and just.

“I’m a monotheist. I believe in monotheism.”

This is good. Up to now, no problem. But there is a practical problem. We must be very careful from this point in helping others.

Even Judaism believes in only one God. In a sense they are stronger than us in believing in only God.

Muslims also say they are monotheists – there is only one God.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, believe in only one God. The problem? The difference? Jesus.

What is the biblical belief about God.

Biblical monotheism = Triune monotheism (Trinity Monotheism)

Yes, there is only ONE God (in three persons):

  1. Father God
  2. Son Jesus Christ
  3. Holy Spirit

There is ONE God – one essence – one purpose – in three persons.

This is a big mystery, so here is a small illustration to help understand this.

I (pastor) am one person in three elements:

  1. Body,
  2. mind,
  3. soul (body, soul, spirit)

I am one intelligence in three areas:

  1. intelligence,
  2. willpower,
  3. knowledge

But this is NOT ENOUGH to explain the mystery of mysteries of the Trinity God, but it helps to shed SOME light on this complex problem.

God’s thought is higher than our thoughts, and his ways are higher than our ways. He is infinite / limitless in his power, wisdom, authority. But we are very limited in our understanding and wisdom.

So, if EVERYTHING is understandable to us, he is not God. If we understand ALL things about God, then he is not higher than us, and he is not God.

How can we apply these mysteries of God?

The second person God became man: John 1:14 “God became man; the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Nobody has ever seen God.

Jesus is full God and became full man. 1 Tim 2:5 “There is only one God and one mediator between God and man.”

“Jesus is full God and full man.”

Jesus is full God and full man = left hand (God), right hand (man) – as full God Jesus is the representation of the Trinity God facing man – so how we treat Jesus is exactly the same way we treat the Father God.

“To accept me is the accept the one who sent me. To hate me is to hate the one who sent me.”

  • Jesus (as God) is the representation of the Trinity God facing man.
  • Jesus (as man) is the representative of all human beings in approaching God.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – no one comes to the father except through me.”

The Bible encourages us, “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith.”

  • “Fix my eyes on Jesus Christ;
  • Focus my thought on Jesus Christ.”

Let’s pray.

  • May 19 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Four Things we can do in a Storm (Acts 27:1-44)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Four Things we can do in a Storm (Acts 27:1-44)

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Acts 27:1-44 (Pastor Heo)

Paul Sails for Rome

1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

The Shipwreck

27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.

33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food–you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.


Today’s sermon may take 1 hour. If you cannot stay, you may go, but I will finish what I have to say.

Today, Paul starts from Caesarea, and he was in the care of a nice Roman centurion named Julius~~ He was accompanied by his close friends: Luke and his friend from Thessalonica.

In his first step, he was treated well. The next day, when they arrived in Sidon, Paul was allowed to go out from the ship to visit his friends there.

Caesarea to Sidon – so far so good.

From Sidon, things rapidly got worse. They didn’t sail the shorter way through the Sea because of the wind. So they sailed around Cyprus to Myra. Julius found an Alexandria ship to Italy, and he put Paul and the jailors on that ship. It was a grain ship – huge – to carry 276 people. Egyptian grain was a staple food in that day and Myra was a hub for this.

They sailed for many days to Cnidus.

This story is v. 1-6

“1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.”

From Myra to Fair Havens = v. 7-13

They arrived at Fair Havens Port – the day of the Fast had passed. The “Fast” is the Day of Atonement (Sept / Oct) – so when they arrived at Fair Havens, sailing was very dangerous and difficult during that time period. Sailing was impossible from mid-Nov – Feb. During the winter, they could not sail.

So when they arrived at Fair Havens, “Winter is Coming.” So, they would have to wait until after winter. But the captain, pilot, the majority of passengers wanted to continue sailing up to Phoenix (for three reasons):

  1. Fair Havens – Phoenix = not far, only 40 miles
  2. Phoenix was more comfortable and beautiful to spend winter
  3. An enticing south wind began to blow – so they thought they could approach it without difficulty.

Most of them wanted to winter in Phoenix.

Only Paul said, “No, we should winter here. If we sail continually, there will be great loss – even to our lives and cargo.” The final decision was Julius’ – the centurion.

We know Paul has much experience traveling in the sea – 1, 2, 3 missionary journeys. Only Paul said, “Let’s stay.” But the centurion followed the advice of the majority. After that, something terrible happened.

v. 7-13

“7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. [“Winter is coming.”] So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.”

They sailed for Phoenix, but couldn’t reach it.

v. 14

“14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island.”

“Northeaster” = euraquilo in their language

From this point, the beginning of the shipwreck happened. They threw much of the ship’s cargo and tackle into the sea. They saw no stars for many days and did not eat for 14 days. Eventually, they gave up ALL hope of being saved. They became powerless, hopeless, helpless.

We know there are many kinds of wrecks – cars, airplanes, trains, ships. The most terrifying of all is a shipwreck because it is a LONG agony for the passengers, sailors, and crew. This shipwreck is one of the most famous shipwrecks in history. This shipwreck is also one of the best told, most famous, and most profitable to the hearer.

We know, 2 years ago, Jesus appeared to Paul and stood beside him and promised, “You wil go to Rome.” God is faithful in keeping his promise, but we must remember, even when we serve God in this life, there will be storms. But, at the same time, we can experience peace and the presence of God.

This life is like a storm on the sea.

v. 14-20 = the terror of the storm on the sea

“14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. “

In this terrible storm, we must focus on what Paul did. There are at least 4 things Paul did that we also can do in our daily lives.

First, what is Paul’s status? A prisoner. But in this terrible situation – he became

  1. Comforter,
  2. Counselor,
  3. Commander,
  4. Savior.

This is the power of a Christian in a storm.

“I can imitate Paul.”

Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

#1 Paul shared the Word of God (Comforter)

v. 21-26

“21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” “

First, Paul gently rebuked them, but then encouraged them. – He comforted them.

Yes, today also, our lives are like voyages on the sea – so we sometimes use metaphors to describe our lives.

  • “smooth sailing”
  • “don’t make waves”
  • “sink or swim”

This world needs comfort

It needs the good news of salvation, promise of safety, guarantee for security. We can give encouragement, the good news of salvation, the promise of security, the guarantee for safety. HOW? We cannot give encouragement with our own words, but with the Words and promise of God.

Paul did not encourage them with his own word and thinking – but with the word / promise of God.

v. 23 “Last night, an angel of the Lord whose I am and whom I serve, said, …”

He said, “I have faith in God, so believe in God!” We can encourage them with the Word of God, and not our own power – so we must be filled with the Word of God.

Col 3:16 “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

#2 Paul warned them (Commander)

“I can warn unbelievers.” HOW?

Yes, we can, we have a right.

v. 27-32

“27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away. “

Paul warned them in v. 31.

In this situation, some sailors tried to escape in lifeboats pretending they were lowering anchors. This was an act of selfishness (“Save yourself”), revolt, negligence of duty, unbelief (because Paul had already told them God’s promise – but they didn’t believe the word / promise of God and tried to save themselves by their own method).

“Unless you stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”

Today the situation is the same. We have the Word / promise of God. Do you believe the Word / promise of God? God promised “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.” This is the promise of God.

Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

“If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.”

This is very simple, very clear. But still today, around us, there are many who do not believe the Word / promise of God and try to save themselves by their own work / effort / power / religion. To them, we must warn, “Repent!”

The first message of John the Baptist and Jesus, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is near.”

Repent = turn from your ways.

We can warn them. Do you believe the Word / promise of God? Remember, when you warn unbelievers, do so with love. Warning without love just hardens their hearts more.

“Do everything in love. Anything done without love is nothing.”

#3 Paul showed a good example to them (Counselor)

You also are showing examples today – what kind of example are you showing?

v. 33-38

“33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food–you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea. “

Paul did a kind of communion now.

They lost all things, their property, their business, almost their lives. Still they were fearful, disappointed, afraid, depressed.

From human perspective, they had NOTHING to give thanks to God for. They could not say, “Thank you, God” but Paul still took some food and prayed openly and gave thanks in public.

What a difference just ONE person can make who has faith and trust in God.

Remember, this gives a powerful impact to others. Giving thanks to God in public is powerful – it has a great impact on others.

“Give thanks to God under all circumstances. Pray continuously.”

If we are still breathing and really saved, then we have ENOUGH reason to give thanks to God regardless of our current situation.

“In everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God – and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus.”

Yes, in our daily lives, we pray in public. This is powerful. Do not be ashamed of this. It is a simple, easy job, but powerful.

#4: Climax: Paul Saved all of them (Savior)

v. 39-44

“39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety. “

Hallelujah~ They breathed a sigh of relief.

They arrived on the island of Malta.

Finally, that ship was stuck to a sandbar. Can you imagine? The front of the ship was stuck on the bottom – and the back of the ship was broken into two pieces by the wind and waves. In this situation, the ONLY thing they could all do was jump into the sea and make for the land.

The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners because that was their job – if a prisoner ran away, the soldier could be killed for neglecting his duty. But the centurion rescued all the people just for the sake of Paul. – For the sake of Paul, all 276 people were saved.

In this game of the storm, God was the super head coach and Paul was the MVP (Most Valuable Person).

Yes, then, and also at another time in history, God saved the lives of ALL people through the life of ONE person. Joseph – in the famine in Egypt, now in the life of Paul.

You know, God still wants to save the lives of ALL people through the life of ONE person: Jesus.

Imagine when you go to heaven someday, guess how many people will rush to you and say, “I’m here safe, thanks to you!”

How many? God bless you.

I want to close my sermon with this question: Are you in a storm in your life today? Does it look like your ship is going down and down? If so, you need some anchors.

  1. God’s presence (God is there / here in your storm)
  2. God’s ownership (you are God’s possession and creation and child)
  3. Serving Christ by saving others (you have a mission, I have a mission)
  4. Faith / Trust in Christ (he died for you and me and rose again from the dead and is alive with us today)

We are very safe in him. We can stand safe and true and for real IN Him – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God bless us to be victorious in living life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • May 12 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 26:1-32 (Pastor Heo)

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”


Felix kept Paul in prison for 2 years – not because Paul was guilty, but because he wanted bribes from Paul and favor from the Jewish people. He was not courageous to release him.

Festus, the next governor, also did not release him – as a favor to the Jews.

  • He said, “Do you want to stand trial before me in Jerusalem?”
  • Paul, “No, I’ve done nothing wrong. I appeal to Caesar!”

He decided to send Paul to Rome, but needed an “official” reason and documentation to send him.

At this moment, King Agrippa and Bernice (his sister) visited. He was great grandson of Herod who was afraid of baby Jesus a long time ago. Festus explained the situation and Agrippa expressed interest in hearing Paul. So, once again, Paul stood on trial.

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa

In this chapter, this is the longest of Paul’s speeches found in the book of Acts. He had to stop his speech because governor Festus stopped him. If Festus had not interrupted him, he may have gone on speaking more.

This chp is much more than a defense of himself and a review of his own personal religious experience. It is a statement of the Christian experience, and it explains his experience of conversion on the way to Damascus. (repeated also in chp 9, 22, 26 – here).

Paul received permission to speak for himself, but he spoke for Christ. v 2-23 = Paul’s defense. v. 24 = Festus’ interruption

5 Part Summary

of Paul’s defense

  1. v. 2-3 = Introductory remarks
  2. v. 4-11 = His early life (who / what he was before Christ)
  3. v. 12-18 = His conversion and call by Christ (main body)
  4. v. 19-21 = His confession of obedience to the vision and ministry
  5. v. 22-23 = Key message of the gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection)

When Paul preached the key message of the gospel, Festus hindered him from going on.

1. Introductory remarks

v. 2-3

“2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.”

He hinted that his speech would be long and that he would appreciate patience.

2. His early life

(I also used to be anti-Christian.)

v. 4-11

“4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.”

3. His conversion & call

“I saw a light (from heaven)! I heard a voice (from heaven). Christ called me and spoke to me from heaven.”

v. 12-18

“12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

Once Paul considered himself an “enlightened” man. He was a Jew, Pharisee, doctor, scholar – with great enthusiasm for God. He thought he was in the light when he was totally in darkness. But he saw the light on the road to Damascus. What / who is this light? Jesus

  • Jesus: “I am the Light of the World…”
  • Also, the Bible says “God is light; in him there is no darkness.”
  • (Eph 5:8) “Once you were in darkness, now you are in the light of the Lord, so live in the light.”
  • Genesis 1 “In the beginning, there was God… and God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. He saw that it was good. And he separated the Light from the darkness.”
    • This light that God created first was not the sun and stars (he created that on the 4th day). This Light was Life – the energy of life – all coming from God, from Jesus Christ.
  • John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God… all things were made by him and through him… In him was Light, the light of Man. The light has shined in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

All kinds of light comes from God.

Paul saw the light, and heard a voice, “Paul!” (he heard his own name)

Paul was shocked.

  • He thought Jesus was dead! – but here he was alive!
  • He also knew Paul BY NAME

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and he knows your name and he is calling you (by name).

Jesus called Paul, then sent him again. (v. 17 “…I am sending you…”)

We must know that Jesus’ calling and sending go hand-in-hand.

  • Jesus calls us from this world toward SALVATION.
  • But at the same time, he is sending us for SERVICE.

Outside Christ, people are in darkness.

2 Cor 4:4 “Our enemy Satan has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the Light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

Jesus sends us to help them, to open their eyes.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation belonging to God – so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”

The same Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world” also says to us, “YOU are the light of the world.” What does this mean? Are we the same as Jesus?

No, we are the reflection of the real light in this world. Outsiders can find real light through us because we are the reflection of real light.

  • “I’m the light of the world.”
  • “I’m a reflection of the REAL light.”
  • “A city on a hill, a lamp on a stand… gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so that they may glorify God in heaven.”
v. 17-18 The Perfect Summary of what God has done for us

“17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

This is a perfect summary of what Jesus has done for you. If you believe, it will be yours, if you don’t believe, it will not. Jesus says, “It will be done to you as you believe.”

What Christ does for us

  1. He opens our eyes to things we’ve never seen before
  2. He turns us from darkness to Light (He himself is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”)
  3. Transforms us from the power of Satan to the power of God
  4. Gives us forgiveness of sins
  5. Sanctifies us

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the New has come.”

4. His confession to obedience of Christ’s calling

v. 19-21

“19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.”

I call Jesus my Lord.

Do you call him your Lord?

How can you prove it?

By obedience.

God does not make us obey him (like robots) – but he wants us to obey him willingly, joyfully, thankfully. God is a person, we are persons – so God wants a personal relationship. God created us as people with personalities – he also has a personality – so he wants a personal, intimate relationship. God bless us all to prove his lordship over our lives through obedience.

5. Key message of the gospel

This is the highlight of the defense

v. 22-23

“22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer [die] and, as the first to rise from the dead [resurrect], would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” “

He introduced Jesus as the first person to rise from the dead. But actually, Jesus was NOT the first person to rise from the dead. There were at least 5 more before him.

  1. OT – Elijah – one boy
  2. OT – Elisha – one boy
  3. Paul raised one
  4. Jesus raised a boy (Lazarus)
  5. and girl (Tabitha)

But all of them died again. Yet, Jesus STILL lives. He exists still in the same body. And some day he will come again – in the same body. Believe this now to enjoy abundant, eternal, heavenly life in Christ. If you wait, it may be too late.

At this point, the governor STOPPED Paul.

Shall I stop? Soon. But let us finish.

v. 24-25

“24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”

Yes, Jesus was once called insane. People pointed at him and said, “He is out of his mind and demon-possessed.”

What is the purpose of Jesus in this world? To destroy the works of the devil. Yet, they called him “demon-possessed.”

We are followers of Christ.

Have you ever been called “crazy” because of Jesus? “Jesus freak.”

What is your answer?

Don’t ask me, I’m asking you.

Today, it’s the same. Think about it honestly. Which is more important? Football or salvation? Climbing mountain or salvation? Your name in lights or in the Book of Life? Temporary physical pleasure or eternal joy? Temporary reputation and popularity or glory, reward crown from God in eternity?

Be honest in giving answers to these simple, basic questions.

IF you risk your life for football, or mountains, or pop songs, this world will respect you and honor you and call you, “hero” and “icon.”

But if you risk your life for Jesus, this world will call you “crazy.”

If this is true, I want to be called “crazy” in this world. I want to challenge you with this.

v. 26-32

“26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” “

At this last part, Paul became the judge, and the King became the defendant. He witnessed about the difference Jesus makes in someone’s life. Can you witness even in court like this? Yes, with Christ, you can.

Rather than complain about your present circumstances, look for ways to use EVERY circumstance to share God with others.

Unfortunately, all of them rejected the message of the gospel – Felix, Festus, Agrippa. “No thank you.” They all had excuses.

  • Felix: “I’m too busy.”
  • Festus: “I’m too smart.”
  • Agrippa: “I’m too important.”

Today, these excuses (and many more) are still common. What excuses do you use to avoid Jesus’ word, ministry, mission, evangelism?

On THAT day, when we stand before God face-to-face, you are without excuse.

Please, say to God, “Forgive me” but never say, “Excuse me.”

On THAT day, you have no excuse.

What a wonderful thing is the opportunity to trust Christ and be saved. But what a terrible thing is missing that opportunity and not getting another.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 05 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 25:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Festus

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”


Paul has been in prison for 2 years. He had returned to Jerusalem after his 3rd missionary journey, but the leaders had arrested him. Even 40 Jewish men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they’d killed him. So, the commander of the Roman army there sent him away to Governor Felix (about 60 miles away). Felix knew that he was innocent after hearing the case, but to receive bribes from Paul and favor from the Jews, he kept Paul in prison for 2 years. This is after that story – now the new governor Festus has become governor.

There are 2 sections today:

  1. v. 1-12 Conciliation between Festus the new governor and the Jewish leaders
  2. v. 13-22 Consultation between Festus and King Agrippa

Part 1

v. 1-12

“1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Only three days after his new appointment as Governor, Festus visited Jerusalem to find favor with the Jewish leaders – and the Jewish leaders (2 years later) were still the same in their hatred of Paul and moral abasement.

Once again, the Jewish people had formed a plot to kill Paul in ambush on the way. They asked the new governor to send Paul again to Jerusalem so they might kill Paul on the way. In secular history, this governor was governor from AD 58-62 after Felix.

Paul was a Jew whose countrymen wanted to kill him.

At the same time, a Roman whose government didn’t know what to do with him.

If the new governor were to release him, the Jews would hate him. But if he kept him in prison, he would have to explain why a Roman citizen was being held in prison without charge.

In this situation, the Jewish leaders urged Festus to send Paul to them again (so they could kill him). He urged them to come to Caesarea to reopen their charges against him. 8-10 days later, he left and they followed to do as he said.

Festus opened the court, the Jews accused him, Paul defended himself. But there was nothing new – nothing different from 2 years ago. But the governor Festus didn’t want to be against the Jewish people, so he asked Paul – “Do you want to go to Jerusalem?”

Paul: “No! I appeal to Caesar!”

This was the key answer to solve ALL the problems at once. He appealed to the emperor. At that time, every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar. This did not mean that Caesar himself would hear the case, but the Supreme Court would. Who was the emperor at that time? Nero. (AD 60) He had not yet started the persecution of Christians. But when he appealed to Caesar, Festus had no choice but to send Paul to Rome.

What made Paul make this wise decision?

  1. He knew his final destination (Rome)
  2. He knew the fastest way to go was to appeal to Caesar
  3. He knew the Jews would never give up their hope of killing him

v. 12

“After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Paul knew that because the Jews still wanted to kill him, it was wise to stay under the protection of Rome (they would have to guard him). But even though he appealed to Rome, Festus’ problems were not over.

Part 2

v. 13-22

“13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” “

Next Sunday, we will also hear him – what Paul said to Agrippa.

Festus’ problems were not over. He hadn’t hurt the Jews, but he also hadn’t formally charged Paul. He couldn’t send Paul to Rome without documentation. This was the official course of action.

Then, King Agrippa visited him to say, “Congratulations on your new position.”

Who is this Agrippa?

  • Herod Agrippa II.
  • Son of Herod Agrippa I who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter.
  • He was the grand nephew of Herod who killed John the Baptist.
  • He was great grandson of Herod the Great who killed all the boys 2 years and under in Bethlehem just to kill Jesus.
  • This is the last of Herod’s dynasty that ruled Palestine from 40BC – 100AD.

Just like a father to son, Agrippa received a flawed personality passed down from his father. Each son received mistakes and missed opportunities from his father. Each generation had a direct or indirect connection with Jesus but missed the opportunity. This is in the line of Esau (half-Jews). They were eager to please the Roman government who appointed them as the kings of the Jews.

From this story we can get many lessons.

From the family of Herod:

They had a great opportunity – a long history of encountering Christ – but each time they rejected forgiveness and eternal life.

One of the most sobering lessons form this family is: Families tend to pass on both positive and negative traits to the next generation.

Today’s is Children’s Day. My question: What kind of spiritual example are you setting? What will be your legacy you leave to the next generation?

Second, Paul is still in prison, but his main purpose was not his own defense but being a witness of Jesus.

v. 19

“Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”

Paul was defending much more than religion in general. He was defending and declaring the resurrection of Christ. We also are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.

We know there are famous graves in this world.

  • The Pyramids (mummified bodies of Egyptian kings)
  • Westminster in UK (bodies of nobles)
  • Wellington Nat. Cemetery in Washington DC (bodies of dead soldiers)
  • Mohammed’s Tomb (beautiful decorations)
  • Jesus’ Tomb is also very famous – because it is EMPTY – there is no landmark

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis and foundation that all that is necessary for our lives and ministries is available to us – and also a guarantee that our bodies will also be resurrected very soon.

  • Romans 11 “If the one who raised Christ is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies…”
  • Jesus “If anyone believes in me, he will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”
  • Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live though he dies.”

If we are children of God, we also are not only defenders of ourselves, but of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, we will not escape false accusations – because Satan is “the god of this age.”

v. 7

“When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. “

Paul, simply because he was a witness of Jesus’ resurrection, was surrounded by false witnesses and accusations. He had to listen to these false accusations for more than 2 years.

Have you ever been accused, condemned, criticized wrongly for doing nothing wrong? Remember, if we are really born-again Christians, we are not free from false accusations. “Satan” means “Accuser” – The Bible says, when we suffer false accusations and criticisms, the first thing we must do is consider Christ.

Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes upon Christ, the author and perfector of our faith… he endured the cross…”

1 Peter 2:19 “It is commendable if a man bears the pain of unjust sufferings because he remembers Christ. What credit is it to you if you receive a beating for doing evil? But it is credited to you if you receive such for doing good. To this you are called… No lie or cheating was found in Christ’s mouth. When he suffered, he did not make threats, but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live righteously. By his wounds, we are healed.” He is our healer.

Our enemy, Satan, never gives up his job/ministry against us: Accusing us. Condemning, criticizing.

You must know that Satan is never gonna give you up…

  • Satan can see what you did (not what you will do), and he accuses you because of it, “Look at you. You’re such a ….”
  • We reply, “Yes, I know!” (And we should reply, “I know I’m not worthy of salvation, but I’m not saved by my deeds, but by my faith in Christ.”)

Do not be defeated by the false accusation of Satan. Our spiritual lives are a spiritual war.

Finally,

We must WAIT.

We are studying chp 25. Remember, in chp 23, God had promised that Paul would go to Rome and preach the gospel. But for two years, nothing has happened. Is God sleeping? No, he is working and waiting for the BEST time.

  • Our time is not the best time.
  • We should not be impatient when we need to be patient.

Paul waited for 2 years, but remember Joseph as well – the stories are similar.

Joseph’s story

Joseph was in prison, unjustly, for 2 years (like Paul). But Joseph continued to trust in God and God was with him and God gave him success in whatever he did.

One day the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in the same cell. They both had a dream – very meaningful – so they were upset and troubled. So Joseph explained the dreams and just as he interpreted, one man was hanged 3 days later, the other (cupbearer) was restored to his original job. In this situation, Joseph asked, “Remember me” when you are restored and work with Pharaoh again. But when he was set free, he forgot Joseph – for 2 years.

Question: When we wait for a LONG time, when the issue of waiting for God to act for us, when we have little to do but trust God and wait for him to act – are you angry? Troubled? Upset? Disappointed? Discouraged? Anxious? That time is very important and serious. A crucial time.

Being forced to wait is a good test for our patience and faith.

Then, when 2 full years had passed, the king of Egypt also had a meaningful dream. The king called all the magicians and wisemen but nobody could interpret this dream. It was JUST THEN when God made the cupbearer remember Joseph. Then (eventually) Joseph became made Prime Minister of the greatest country of that time.

God never sleeps. Remember!

  • Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
  • Paul “Give thanks in ALL circumstances – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 21 / 2019
  • Comments Off on We are Witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection (2 Timothy 2:8)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

We are Witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection (2 Timothy 2:8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

2 Timothy 2:8 (Pastor Heo)

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…

Women came to find Jesus at the tomb on the first day of the week. But they didn’t find him. Instead, they found an angel who told them “He is not here! He is risen!” The three were surprised and ran to tell the others. After this Jesus appeared to people.

  • Jesus first appeared to women (Mary Magdalene).
  • The disciples in the locked room.
  • The disciples again (including Thomas).
  • Later, two travelers on the way to Emmaus.
  • Later, to Simon Peter.
  • Later to over 500 people at once! (1 Cor 15)

On the same day of the resurrection, the disciples were together, terrified, and locked the door. Jesus came to them through the locked door and said, “Peace be with you.” He showed his hands and side. “As the Father has sent me, so I’m sending you.” The disciples were overjoyed to see him.

Thomas wasn’t there to see him – so they told him. But Thomas doubted “unless I touch him, I will never believe it.” One week later, the disciples gathered in the same house, the doors locked and Jesus came and said, “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid.”

He knew Thomas doubted, so he said to him individually, “See, my hand, and my side. Touch me.” Jesus encouraged and challenged him : “Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas knelt down and confessed: “You are my Lord, and my God.”

Jesus said, “You have seen and believe, but blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

We have not seen Jesus, but we believe, so we are blessed.

Jesus resurrection is foundational to the Christian faith. EVERYTHING stands or falls with Jesus’ bodily resurrection. 1 Cor 15 “If Christ has not been raised, we are still in our sins and the most miserable and pitied of all men.”

We know Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the HS comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the world.”

We are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. I have MUCH to say, but I want to say just 5 truths:

5 Truths of Jesus’ Resurrection

1. Bodily resurrection

He did not leave his human body behind. He declared he had “flesh and bones”. The tomb was empty and his grave clothes were “in order” (folded). He was recognized by the people who knew him. Scars remained on his side and hands. He ate seafood, and bodily ascended to heaven after 40 days. The Bible promised that he will come back in his body. The Son of God will always have a physical body – but it had a different essence. It passed through locked doors.

The fact that Jesus came back with a body is a testament to the dignity of the human body. So, keep your body well because this is the temple of the HS.

2. First fruit of the resurrection to come

Jesus is the first of those who have faith in him, “fall asleep in him.”

The first fruit is the initial fruit of the harvest. We cannot be separated from him because we belong to him.

  • 1 Cor 15:23 “Each individual, in his own turn. First, Christ, as the firstfruit and then when he comes, those who belong to him.”
  • “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, though he die.”

“Jesus’ resurrection is a guarantee that we will be raised again from the dead.”

  • Romans 8:11 “11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[a] his Spirit who lives in you.”
  • John 6:40 “40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.””

3. We are already (spiritually) resurrected

This is not only a future event, but because of our union in Christ.

  • Col 3:1 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
  • Eph 2:4 “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Resurrection is Already! But not Yet.

  • Romans 8:23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

Are you waiting for the resurrection of your body?

4. He is our High Priest

After his resurrection, he became our intercessor and protector.

Romans 8:34-36 “34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.””

5. He is GOD

This is not my word:

  • Romans 1:4 “4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Judge of all Things. He is the Judge of the godly and ungodly. He is the final Judge. Someday, we will stand before him face-to-face to be judged and evaluated.

After his resurrection, his mandate is only one:

“We are witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection”

It is impossible to believe in Jesus’ resurrection and not become his witness.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, after his resurrection and before his ascension, he stayed here for 40 days.

Matthew (final word): 28:18-20 “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””

Mark 16:15 “15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Luke 24:46-48 “46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.””

John 21 “15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.””

Acts 1:8 “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

Are you witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection? We are!

Let’s have Communion.

  • Apr 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Righteousness, Self-control, and the Judgment to Come (Acts 24:1-27)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Righteousness, Self-control, and the Judgment to Come (Acts 24:1-27)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 24:1-27 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Felix

1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin– 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ”

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.


In Jerusalem, 40 men? took a vow to never eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. Paul’s nephew heard of this and told the commander. The commander sent him to his higher-up Felix, the governor, guided by 470 soldiers. Felix received Paul and said, “I will hear you when your accusers come here” and put him under guard. Five days later, the accusers (the high priest and some elders) arrived. This is the same high priest who ordered Paul to be stricken on the mouth in the Sanhedrin. They also employed a professional lawyer (Tertullus).

Three parts in today’s sermon:

  1. Paul’s accusers’ (false) accusations (v. 1-9)
  2. Paul’s (faithful) answers to his charges (v. 10-21)
  3. The governor Felix’s (foolish) response to this case (v. 22-27)

Tertullus begins (v. 2-3) with nauseating flattery.

v. 2-3

“2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.”

This is untrue – blatant flattery.

v. 4-9 = Accusations

“4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true. “

Tertullus declared Paul a man of evil character, guilty of three things:

  1. Troublemaker (sedition)
  2. Ringleader of the Nazarene sect (heresy)
  3. Desecrate the temple

v. 10-21 Paul’s answer

“10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that *no more than twelve days ago* [Paul had been in Jerusalem less than 7 days] I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin– 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ” “

In his speech, Paul did not flattery Felix, he merely recognized his experience and knowledge. Then he began his defense in the order in which the charges had been made.

  1. Troublemaker (sedition)
    • “I had been there less than 7 days. I gathered no assembly nor crowd.”
  2. Ringleader of a cult (heresy)
    • “I believe in the same God they do. I’m a Christian, but accept the whole Old Testament. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I worship a different God. I worship the same God in a new, living, acceptable way (through Christ).”
  3. Desecrator / defiler of the temple
    • “I came to Jerusalem with 2 purposes: to bring alms to the poor; to offer sacrifices in the temple (to honor my Nazarite vow).”

In the temple, he was performing this Nazarite offering to God, but he was falsely arrested and accused by the crowd. But no one from that crowd is present now. So those who are there now had no right / privilege to accuse Paul now. None of them were there at that moment.

After listening to Paul’s answer, his accusers could not refute Paul anymore, so court was adjourned.

v. 22-23

“22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs. “

Felix said he would wait for the commander who sent him to come. But the commander never came – so Paul remained in prison for 2 years.

v. 24

“24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.”

  • Druscilla was Felix’s 3rd wife.
  • She was Herod’s daughter
  • Her grandfather tried to kill Jesus in Bethlehem);
  • her great uncle killed John the Baptist;
  • her father Herod Agrippa I killed the apostle James.

Now we can see the foolish attitude of this couple.

v. 25-27

“25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. “

In the next chapter, 25, Paul will stand before Festus.

Felix put Paul in prison for at least 2 years until he finished his governorship, then handed Paul over to his successor.

There are two reasons for this:

(Felix knew Paul was not guilty – he should have been set free)

  1. To get a bribe from Paul (wait, he’s rich enough – but he still wants dirty money from the poor prisoner)
  2. To gain popularity from the Jews

He was a judge, but his concern was not justice, it was fame and popularity and money. So, Paul preached the gospel to this couple in three points – and it made them uncomfortable:

  1. Righteousness
  2. Self-control
  3. Judgment to come

These three points are so relevant to this couple. Not only to them, but also to us today in this church building – these three topics are so important and necessary.

Today’s sermon topic:

Righteousness, Self-control, the Judgment to Come

Let us ponder these things again under the guidance and illumination of the HS.

Righteousness

  • We must do something about yesterday’s sin.

God is righteous and holy. Because he is, he demands righteousness / holiness from us.

“Be holy; be righteous” – the Bible commands this. But it is impossible. But the good news: the same God who demands this provides his own righteousness for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

  • Romans 3 “Therefore, no one will become declared righteous through observing the Law. Rather, we will become aware of sin. But a new righteousness has been made known and comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe in him.” There is no different “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  • “God gave his one and only Son as a sacrifice of atonement to give his own blood as atonement.” (John) We are only made righteous through his righteousness.
  • “There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

We are not sinless, but we are free from the power of sin when we trust Christ as personal Savior and Lord. This is good news!

Self-Control

  • We must do something about today’s temptation / challenge.

Mankind can control almost EVERYTHING in nature – except themselves.

Christian messages are not merely platitudes, but they contain hard-hitting behaviors. That’s why one of the fruit of the HS is self-control.

  • Others: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control – against these things there is no Law. (Gal 5)

The Christian life is not an easy life – it is a fighting life against temptation and against the sinful nature. You (me) are fighting against our old selves.

  • Gal 5:24-26 “Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Self-control is so important in the Christian life.

Judgment

  • We must do something about the future’s judgment.
  • 2 Cor 5:1 “We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, not built by human hands.”

Our physical lives in this world are like tents – so our lives after this world are like buildings. While in our earthly lives, we are offered so many choices (jobs, careers, hobbies, countries); but eternity offers only two options (heaven, hell).

In this earth, so many countries, but in eternity, only two. Our relationship with God on earth will determine our relationship with him in eternity.

So we must live in light of eternity.

When we live like this, so many of our problems and worries will appear small and trivial; our values will change; our priorities will be rearranged. The more precious Jesus becomes to us, the less precious everything else becomes.

  • Paul “I consider everything LOSS compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. I consider all things rubbish so that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

“Hosanna” = “You are my Savior”

Is Jesus your Savior? Even kindergarteners can answer. But we must remember –

  • He MUST be our Savior,
    • otherwise he will be our Judge.
  • He must be Lord and King,
    • otherwise we will become slaves to something that will become nothing.
  • He must be our God,
    • otherwise we will worship something else as god = idolatry.

v. 25

“25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, *Felix was afraid* [Holy Spirit conviction – but he rejected / delayed] and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient [delay], I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently [with wrong motives] and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. “

Yes, we know Paul was a champion in sharing the message of the gospel. Felix had 2 years opportunity to be saved through the message of Paul – but he missed it because he continuously delayed. “When I find it convenient…”

Procrastination = a thief of time / our souls

  • Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow because you do not know what a day may bring forth…”

Past is past; present is present (gift); tomorrow is not ours – it belongs to God.

— Story —

One day in Hell, there was a meeting of Satan and his living demons. He commanded them to think up a good lie to bring more souls to Hell. (Satan is the Father of Lies). The demons gathered and tried to create lies to bring more souls to Hell.

  1. “People of earth! There’s no God!” Satan said, “It will never work – everyone will look around at Creation and know there is a God.”
  2. “There’s no heaven!” – Satan “No good. Everybody knows there is life after physical death. And they all want to go to heaven.”
  3. “There’s no Hell!” – Satan “No good. Their conscience knows their sins will be judged. Their spirits already know there is Hell, that’s why they are afraid of death.”
  4. “There’s no hurry!” – Satan “Good idea!”
  • Prov “Do not boast about tomorrow”
  • 2 Cor 2:6 “NOW (x5) is the time of God’s grace! Now is the day of salvation!”
  • The best time to believe in Christ is NOW!
  • The best time to trust him is NOW!
  • The best time to confess him as King and Savior and Lord is NOW!
  • The best time to tell others the gospel message is NOW!

NOW is the time of God’s favor / grace / mercy / salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ in the Old Testament
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Christ in the Old Testament

Luke 24:25-27 (Pastor Brian)

24:25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


Context, two people were going to Emmaus and discussing the previous week’s events (quite depressing). Jesus met them along the way and spoke with them. They told him all about the events of the previous week – that Jesus had been crucified and they had expected the Messiah to be him and to save the people. They said that some women had gone to the tomb and seen he was not there.

Jesus then rebuked them with the words of Luke 24:25-27.

The disciples had only concentrated on the GLORY of the Messiah and not the suffering. But Jesus pointed out in the OT how the Messiah had to suffer FIRST before he could be glorified.

He went into the OT prophets, from Moses, and explained to them all these things. From redemption, to suffering, and so on.

“There’s no shadow you won’t light up” – from the music – there are many shadows and types in the OT, and Jesus, the Living Word was here revealing the Written Word. He was revealing that the Scriptures spoke of him.

Dr. Stephen Lawson says,

  • The OT says he’s coming,
  • The NT says he’s here,
  • The Acts proclaim him,
  • The Epistles explain him,
  • Revelation says He’s coming again.

Genesis “In the Beginning, God created…”

John 1:3 “Everything that was made was made by him. There is nothing that is made that was not made by him.”

Col 1:16 “All things are by him, and in him, and for him”

Rev 21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

The Bible is really a “Him” Book (hymn book) – it’s all about him.

We see the perfect unity in the OT here as affirmed by the Lord – there is only one Creation, only one entrance into original sin, only one design for the family, only one judgment, only one redemption, only one final eternal state.

  • In the OT, the books are written more precisely.
  • In the NT, the books provide greater clarity and light on the books.

There were many “types” scattered throughout the OT – but they were all flawed – only Jesus is the perfect “anti-type.”

Adam

Adam – the first man – fell – the head

Jesus = the last Adam – a new race, those who believe in him and become part of his body

Noah

Later, due to the wickedness in the world, God judged the world with the flood. Only Noah and 8 in the ark were spared. “Noah” means “rest” and they were spared the judgment.

Jesus is “rest” – “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I’ll give you rest.”

Jesus bore the judgment that was due us on the cross and gave us his own righteousness to be accepted in him.

Samson

Samson – a mighty judge – but in his death, he destroyed more of the enemies than in his lifetime. In his typology of his death and conquering the enemies of Israel, this is a picture of Jesus in crushing the serpant’s head – victorious over death and all the demons were brought under subjection to him.

Samson’s death mirrors Jesus’ death in the conquering of enemies.

Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the prophecy God had given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between your seed and hers… you will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.” That’s what happened on the cross – it looked like a defeat, but it was a great victory.

David

The shepherd and his victory over Goliath – David just used the sling and stones. He was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

David suffered under persecution from King Saul for a while before finally ascending to be king of Israel.

In him, we can see a shadow of Jesus.

Solomon

For most of his reign, it was a peaceful reign – until the end when he unfortunately succumbed to the lusts and idolatry that plagued the latter part of his life.

These men all seem to have lust / women troubles – so their typology only goes so far. Jesus was without sin.

These people are types / shadows of Jesus.

Joseph

Son of Isaac, sold by his brothers, falsely accused, suffered much – before he was raised to rule in Egypt.

Jesus likewise was betrayed, sold, suffered, and eventually rose to glory on the third day.

Job

An upright, wealthy man, but challenged by Satan – “God, Job only loves you because of what you’ve given him – but take it away and he will curse you.” God gave him access and Satan took it – Job suffered much – but in the end it was all restored doubly.

Jesus likewise was tempted by Satan and suffered greatly, but was more than wholly restored on the third day.

Melchizedek

king / priest was a picture of the King / Priest Jesus would become.

Joshua

a savior of his people into the Promised Land – leader into Canaan – name means “savior.”

There were also other types and shadows in sacrifices and feasts that showed Jesus.

The Passover Lamb

The Passover lamb, the scape goat, the Day of Atonement. One goat was sacrificed, another goat was laid upon with the sins of the people and sent out into the wilderness.

This symbolized how Jesus would also take on the sins of all humanity and go into the darkness, but emerge victorious.

Leprosy

  • destroys the body, but is also a picture of sin – how it destroys the soul.

Two birds for sacrifice

  • one dipped in blood (death), one released into heaven (his resurrection).

Guilt offering, sin offering, thankfulness offering

  • all are pictures of Jesus.

In the very places they were offered are also symbols and types of Jesus.

Tabernacle and temple

The tabernacle, the temple, he is our bread of life (they had show bread in the temple). “Man doesn’t live by bread alone but on every word proceeding from the mouth of God.”

The ark of the covenant

  • with the 10 commandments – was also a picture of Jesus bearing the wrath of God so that we don’t need to.

When Jesus had to die, it shows the terrible nature of sin – and how the holiness of God disallows him to look upon sin – so a sacrifice had to be made.

Dr. Lawson points out as well:

Emmaus was 7 miles NW of Jerusalem. The average person takes 17 min to walk one mile – so this walk should take 119 min (less than 2 hours). So Jesus couldn’t go into every detail in Scripture – so he probably just hit the “highlights” as we have here.

But in v 26 he asks them, “Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer?”

The disciples had only focused on his glory, not his suffering, but the 5 major prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc, clearly depicted this.

The Prophets

We read of Jesus’ birth in Isaiah and Micah. Isaiah (the 5th gospel some say) also shows so many aspects of Christ’s ministry, life, and suffering – including his birth. Isaiah 53 in particular depicts his crucifixion. “…by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Primarily, we are healed spiritually through his suffering.

The return of Christ in Ezekiel and Daniel.

Jeremiah also promises that God will not remember our sins. Jer 31:34 “And they shall teach no more – every man his neighbor – for they shall all know me. And I shall remember their sins no more.”

Isaiah “I am he who blots out your transgressions and remembers your sins…NO MORE.”

Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah show the return of Christ.

You can see that we’ve only covered a handful of Scriptures that would cover the suffering of Christ as depicted in the OT.

The disciples said, “our hearts burned within us” and they invited him in to eat with them – and in the breaking of bread, he was recognized. This is also symbolic – when we break bread, we recognize he is present.

They returned and told the others. He’d also appeared to Simon (Peter) who’d denied Christ 3 times. He had wept and probably thought “It’s all over for me.” But the fact that Jesus appeared personally to him must have been incredibly meaningful to Simon.

Jesus spoke to them, “It was necessary for all that was written in the Prophets, and the Psalms to be fulfilled.” And he opened their understanding. We also need to ask the Lord to open up our own understanding.

“Thus it is written and necessary for the Christ to suffer and die and be raised on the third day. And repentance and remission must be preached to all nations in his name.”

This is still necessary today.

You know, there’s been a teaching in the church these days call “hyper grace” saying “we don’t need to confess because Jesus died for our sins yesterday, today, and forever.” But this is not true. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Repentance is a life-long process – even in Revelation, Jesus rebukes some churches for not repenting. We also must confess to each other, but we need to keep a place of humility, and repent as Scriptures say.

This is just a short overview of some of the things Jesus would have highlighted as the necessity of his suffering.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 07 / 2019
  • Comments Off on What Did you Lose and Gain for Christ? (Acts 23:11-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What Did you Lose and Gain for Christ? (Acts 23:11-35)

Download Notes in a .MD file

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”
25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

[Background to Paul's story]

Paul confessed that he would go to Jerusalem, and that the Holy Spirit told him he would face many trials and hardships there.

Chp 21, he arrived – and they seized him immediately and tried to kill him. The Roman commander came and bound Paul in chains – and tried to torture Paul to know the truth. But Paul revealed his Roman citizenship. So, the commander put him before the Sanhedrin – and even they were divided by his confession in the resurrection.

The commander then took Paul out and put him in the barracks. Paul was staying in the barracks that night. There may be no record, but we can guess at his emotion – tired, humiliated, lonely, depressed – but the fact was, he was not alone. Jesus was with him and said, “Take heart – take courage. You shall go to Rome. You shall not die until you testify in Rome.” The story from the beginning to the end of this section of Acts is a set of circumstances that brought Paul from Jerusalem to Rome.

[/Background of Paul's story]

23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.


Jesus said to Paul, “take courage” – but this does not mean “easy life”. Also he said, “you will go to Rome” – but this does not mean “with nothing to do”. There would be hardships and sufferings yet. He must overcome and prevail.

Paul was in the barracks and heard the voice of Christ, but almost at the same time, more than 40 men took an oath to kill him.

How foolish! They should eat and drink WELL to kill Paul! But actually at that time, people would vow with “May God curse me if I fail” – yet God had promised Paul to deliver him to Rome. So, these men could NEVER kill Paul. They went to the chief priests and elders and asked them to request Paul at the council chambers again – they would ambush him along the way.

v. 12-15

“12 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.” “

Please, when you decide to do some thing – be careful to do the WILL of God. Actually if we decide to do something against the will of God, it will be like a curse to me. Their plan was laid bare to the nephew of Paul.

v. 16-22

“16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.” ”

Their evil plan was revealed to the nephew of Paul. This was the first (and last) biblical record of Paul’s family (Paul’s sister’s son). We know nothing about him – name, age, job, nor how he heard about this plan. Anyway, he found out the plan and came to Paul in the barracks (he was able to visit him) – because at that time, Roman prisoners were accessible by their families – to bring food or clothes, etc.

Immediately, Paul heard the bad news, and called the centurion to bring the commander. He brought him to the commander and relayed his story. The commander took him by the hand (maybe he is very young, like a teenager). The nephew then told of the plan of the Jews.

The commander heard this and sent him away (“Do not tell anyone you have said this to me.”) The commander then prepared an amazing thing – 470 soldiers to escort this ONE man. God is so interesting.

v. 23-24

“23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.””

(Paul even got a horse)

The commander knew that if Paul was killed by the assassins, it was his responsibility – so he wanted to get him OUT of Jerusalem and send him to a higher office (the governor).

Can you imagine this picture?

  • 200 soldiers
  • 70 horsemen
  • 200 spearmen

vs.

  • 40 would-be assassins

At that time, Caesarea was the Roman headquarters for that area even though Jerusalem was under Roman control. Felix was the governor of the Jewish people at that time – the same position as Pontius Pilate.

The commander wrote a letter to send:

v. 25-30

“25 He wrote a letter as follows: 26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. “

The commander’s full name is here for the first time: Claudius Lysias. (Lysias was a Greek name – maybe he was born Greek. Claudius was probably added to his name when he purchased his Roman citizenship – Claudius was the emperor at that time.)

In his letter, he rearranged the order of events, omitting his own fault in these things – bound Paul and tried to beat him.

Paul left Jerusalem for Caesarea:

v. 31-35

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

In his career, again and again Paul was smuggled out of towns under the cover of night

  • chp 9, Damascus – they waited day and night at the gates to kill Paul, but his followers lowered him from the wall in a basket.
  • chp 17 – Thessalonica – they tried to seize Paul, but his followers sent him away at night.
  • chp 23 – Paul left town at night – like a king – on a horse, surrounded by 470 soldiers, not like a prisoner)
  • From Jerusalem to Antipatris – 470 soldiers – to avoid ambush
  • From Antipatris to Caesarea – only 70 horsemen for speed.

Practical lessons

  • Q: not happy, but serious and important:
    • 1. What did you LOSE / give up for Jesus?

This is a serious but important and practical question.

  • What did *I* give up for Christ? – who gave *all* things for me?

If Jesus is really your Lord, Savior, God, King, continually ask yourself, “What did *I* give up for Christ?”

Phi 3:7-9

“Whatever I gained I consider as loss for the sake of Christ … for whose sake I have lost all things – I consider these things rubbish so I may gain and be found in Christ alone.”

“I want to *know* Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering!”

Are you disciples of Christ?

If you are really disciples, be very careful to listen to his voice.

Matthew, Mark, Luke

  • “Anyone who loves his father/mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who does not take up his cross daily and follow me is not worthy of me. If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. “ – not once a week, not once a year – daily
  • Jesus gave us his life – “I give you eternal life; you shall never perish; no one can snatch you out of my hand. My father is greater than all, so no one can snatch you out of my hand.”

Yes, God is so dramatic in handling these things. Be encouraged by the fact that God is there, Jesus is THERE – not only in the case of Paul, but even today.

  • “I will never leave you, nor forsake you; I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In our darkest dungeon, Jesus is there.

Is is a scary hospital? Hardworking factory? Lonely kitchen? Jesus is THERE – he is spirit.

  • Psalm “Where can I go to flee from your Spirit? If I go to the heaven, you are there; if I go to the depths, you are there; if I rise on the wings of dawn, you are there; if I settle on the far side of the sea, you are there.”

Recognize and proclaim this: fact is fact: God is here and now with me.

Our ways are so very limited. Our ideas are limited, desires, place, etc. But God’s ways, designs, source, are limitless. Don’t you agree? Then don’t limit God yourself by asking God to do things YOUR way.

When God intervenes, things can happen so much MORE and BETTER than we can anticipate! Let God surprise you.

“Let God surprise me!~”

  • Isaiah 55 “My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.”

God is present anytime, anyplace. He is providing, preserving, preparing, prevailing.

Conclusion:

“God prevails”

Preach the Word in season and out of season. God prevails. God overcomes. Are you ready?

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 31 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Take Courage!
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Take Courage!

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 22:21-23:11 (Pastor Heo)

[Review last week]

The crowd was angry at Paul and mobbed him.

A Roman commander came and arrested him and started to take him away to calm the mob.

Paul asked to speak to the crowd, so the commander let him.

He spoke in Aramaic, so the commander didn’t understand – except that he riled up the crowd again.

He commanded Paul be taken and flogged.

“Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen?”

Surprised, the commander said, “I paid lots of money for my citizenship.”

Paul, “I was born one.”

Eventually, the commander handed him over to the Sanhedrin to deal with this.

[/Review]

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Paul the Roman Citizen

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Before the Sanhedrin

30 The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

23:1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?”

5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'”

6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

**11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” **


Now we see the picture:

Paul is standing before the Sanhedrin – much as Jesus once did. Jesus’ apostles Peter, James, and John were also there, and now here is Paul.

Look at how many great opportunities they had to be saved, but they missed them all.

v. 1

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, ‘My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.'”

“Conscience” is one of Paul’s favorite words. (here and 24:16 “I did my best to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”) – He also mentioned this word 20 times in his epistles.

Conscience is the inner witness that approves when we do right and disapproves when we do wrong. It does not make the standards, it only applies the standards of any person – right or wrong, good or bad.

Conscience can be related to a window. God’s Word is the light. The cleaner the window, the more light shines in.

  • Good / pure consciences are those that let God’s light in so that we are properly convicted when we do wrong and encouraged when we do right.
  • Defiled consciences are those that have been sinned against so much, they become unreliable. These consciences become evil, seared consciences.

Imagine this situation with Paul. This is the Supreme Court.

Usually, when addressing the court, they will bow, and address, “Rulers of the people, and elders of the nation…” But Paul said, “My brothers…” – he put himself on equal footing with the court.

Due to this initial address, they were so angry. The High Priest ordered he be struck!

Paul said, “God will strike you! You sit in the seat of the Law, but violate that Law!”

Others, “He’s the High Priest.”

Paul, “Ooops, sorry, didn’t know that.” (is this truth or a lie? we don’t actually know)

Then, in THIS situation, he began his defense again.


To the crowd, he shared with his personal experience.

Now, to the court, he shared with his faith, in the resurrection of the dead.

  • According to their doctrine, Sadducees were “sad, you see” and didn’t believe in spiritual things – they only believed in the visible, secular world.
  • But the Pharisees believed in spirits, and angels, and the resurrection of the dead.

So, there became an uproar in the court over this, and Paul was again in the middle of it. He was taken out by the guards and thrown again into the dark barracks.

Imagine how Paul would feel in this situation. This was one of the darkest nights in Paul’s life. Paul was emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausted and humiliated – he was completely alone and disheartened.

In this situation (we also can become like this) Jesus himself stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!”

v. 11

“11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” “

This story is similar to the story in the OT with Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego. When these three spoke BOLDLY and the king threatened to throw them into the fire, the three said to him, “King! We do not defend ourselves before you only. God is able to rescue us from this fire! But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know that we will never serve your gods, nor bow to the image of gold you have made!”

They were thrown into the fire, and the guards who took them close died from the heat. The king looked in, and saw FOUR! men. He’s an unbeliever, but he saw four men walking through the fire, unbound, unharmed. The fourth man looked like a Son of God.

(This is another pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ in human history.)

John 1:14 – We know that Jesus was incarnated as a baby.

But here, in the OT, we also see the incarnation of God.

And again, Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever – stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage!”

This same sentence is still being spoken by Christ to us today~ but some hear and others don’t here.

There are 5 times in the NT this encouragement is spoken by Christ. In all situations, it is ONLY Jesus Christ who said, “Take heart, take courage.” Only Jesus has the right to say this to us.

  1. To the bedridden paralytic – “Take heart! Your sins are forgiven.”
  2. A woman, subjected to bleeding for 12 years – touched his cloak (he knew who) – “My daughter, take heart! Your faith has healed you.”
  3. To his terrified disciples, on the stormy sea, Jesus approached by walking on the water (they thought it was a ghost) – “Take courage! It is I!”
  4. On the night before his crucifixion, in the upper room – “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in me.” (Also in John – “Take heart! For I have overcome the world!”)
  5. Here in Acts – to Paul

All of these are only said by Jesus.

If I say to you, ‘Take courage’ it will have a minor impact. But if CHRIST says this to you – directly, strongly – it will have a MAJOR impact on your life – because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  1. So, HOW can we listen to his living voice today, now and here?
  2. A: Through his Word.
  • John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word… we have seen his glory…”
  • Romans 10 “Do not say in your hearts, who will ascend or descend to bring Christ to you? The Word is near you – in your mouth, in your heart.”

We can hear his Word through the Bible.

Also, in the OT, God said to Joshua this same message – multiple times, “Be strong and VERY courageous!”

  • Joshua “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
  • Psalm 1:2 “Blessed is the man who meditates on the word of the Lord day and night…”

HOW can we meditate on the Word of God?

We already know (in our hearts).

Do you know how to worry? You think about it all the time, all the ins-and-outs, all the bad possibilities. You are meditating on your worry…

If you think about something over and over in your mind – this is meditation.

  • If you think negatively over and over in your mind, this is worry. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.
  • If you think about the Word of God over and over in your mind, this is meditation.

Merely shift your attention from your PROBLEM -> The WORD of God. The MORE you meditation on the Word of God, the less you will worry. (Your mind cannot think about both things at once. Whichever you meditate on will fill your thoughts.)

Romans 8:34 “Who is it that condemns us? Jesus Christ is sitting on the right hand of God and interceding for us.”

TAKE COURAGE!

There are three messages here:

  1. Message of Courage (encouragement)
  2. Message of Commendation (praise) – “As *you have* testified about me in Jerusalem” – Jesus did not rebuke him for no (obvious) fruit, but Jesus praised him for his ministry. Remember, there is NO failure in our preaching the gospel to this world – because preaching the gospel ITSELF is success.
  3. Message of Confidence – “You *will go* to Rome.” (You will not die before you finish your mission)

Are you servants of Christ? Then you have a mission – given to you by Christ. And the servants of Christ are immortal until your task is DONE. No servant of Christ dies until his / her task is done – that which is given by Christ.

“Take courage” has so many messages

  • …because I’m with you.
  • …because I care for you,
  • I’m responsible for you, your life,
  • I will do my job through you,

Let’s pray.

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen