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Monthly Archives / January 2019

  • Jan 27 / 2019
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Whose Disciple are you? (Acts 19:1-7)

Whose Disciple are You? (Acts 19:1-7)

Paul at Ephesus

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Paul’s 3rd missionary journey took 4 years. We saw what happened before that last week. Apollos came to Ephesus and ministered there before Paul arrived. And when Paul arrived, he had already gone on to Corinth to continue the ministry.

1 Cor “I planted; Apollos watered; God made it grow.”

Review

Apollos was bold, sincere, but his message was incomplete because he knew only the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla heard his message and realized that it was incomplete. So, they invited him to their home and shared with him the complete message. Through this sharing, he became a “complete” Christian, and was able to move on in ministry.

Paul later met some people who had the same problem that Apollos had.

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

Acts 19:1-3

These men were disciples, but the question was: whose disciples? Their answer to this question was vague and unclear, and so was their discipleship. They had not heard of the Holy Spirit, so they would have been unable to be Jesus’ disciples because the MAIN ministry of the HS is to testify about Jesus.

If they were disciples of John, they should have heard of the HS, because he also spoke of the HS in his preaching.

“I baptize you with water, but one is coming who is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with fire.”

We also must be very clear about whose disciples we are.

At that time, some people were confused about who Jesus and John the Baptist were – and what the difference was. Many called Jesus “John the Baptist” and many challenged John and said, “Who are you?” He said of himself, “I’m the voice of one calling in the desert, make straight the way for the Lord.”

Are you clear about whose disciple you are?

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:4-5

What is the difference between John’s baptism and the baptism into the name of Christ?

  • John’s: repentance
  • Jesus’: forgiveness of sin

The message of John was a threat and a warning. “You brood of vipers! Who warned you of the coming wrath? Do not think Abraham is your father, because God can create children from these roots. Any tree that is not good will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Jesus’ message was a consolation. “Peace I give to you. Do not be afraid. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in me.” (This means: I will be responsible for you, your life, your future. I will care for you and keep you.) Jesus is our KEEPER.

  • John’s: looked forward to the appearance of the Messiah. This was good until the Messiah appeared. He has come! And finished all jobs that are needed for our victory through his death and resurrection. Thus, he proclaimed:
    • “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He must increase; I must decrease.”

The preaching of John was a stage on the road to Jesus. He knew this clearly.

  • Jesus: looks back to Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

This means, yes, even today in the church building, there may be somebody who needs salvation. Here, there were 12 men in all who needed this.

Through verse 5, they became truly born-again Christians. There is no record of the “between” verses 4 and 5, but it is sure that Paul preached the good news of the gospel of Christ, the news of his death and resurrection, and they called on the name of the Lord and were saved and baptized into his name.

Today: if we call all people in the church “Christians” there may be 4 kinds.

4 kinds of Christians inside the church

  1. Nominal Christians: (not really Christians) – they don’t believe in their hearts in Jesus Christ. To them, Christianity is just “a” religion out of many and they say, “it is my religion.”
  2. Incomplete Christians: (at one time, Apollos also was one) – They have abundant knowledge about the Scriptures, smart, gentlemen. They believe Jesus died, they believe his death and resurrection is necessary for our salvation. BUT, in their heart of hearts they still believe, “But it’s not enough. I must do something I more to achieve my salvation.” How about you? Do you believe his death and resurrection ARE enough?
  3. Uncertain / ignorant Christians: They believe that Jesus is their Savior, but they are unsure about their salvation – unclear about what they believe. Sometimes they are doubtful about their salvation, often depending on their situation.
    1. When they feel “good” about their spiritual lives, they feel, “Yes, I am saved!”
    2. But when they feel “bad”, they feel, “I’m not sure of my salvation…”
  4. Assured Christians: (this must come from the Holy Spirit) – They believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. They believe his death and resurrection are not only necessary but also enough for our salvation and forgiveness of sins. They have absolute overjoyed assurance of salvation – based on WHAT Christ has done, not what we have done.

I’m a pastor, but I cannot give you the Assurance of Salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can do so: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Story

John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist church

At one time, he was like Apollos. He was a born Christian (“born into a Christian family”). He studied at Oxford and he was a leader of a “holy club” – called so because they attempted to cultivate their spiritual lives.

He became a pastor and missionary to Native Americans in Georgia. He was more accurate and knowledgeable in the Scriptures than most Christians at that time. But he had no joy. He had no assurance of salvation. One day he wrote in his diary:

I went to America to convert the Indians, but who shall convert me?

May 24, 1738

His problem was solved – at ONE time – by putting his faith in Christ wholly.

In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society … where one was reading Luther’s writing on Romans. About 8:45, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ; Christ alone. An assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from death.

The fruit of his absolute assurance of salvation was the great Wesleyan Revival that swept the nation of England very powerfully.

  • If you are Christian, are you saved?
  • What kind of Christian are you?

I hope we all can have the Assurance of Salvation.

Assurance of Salvation verses:

  • John 1:12 “To all those who believed in him and called on his name, he gave the right to be called ‘children of God.'”
    • How long does a child-parent relationship last? Our whole lives.
    • How long does salvation last? Eternity
    • soteria = “deliverance” (Greek) – moving from one place to another – a ONE WAY deliverance from death to life
  • John 5:24 “Whoever believes in me … has crossed over from death to life.”
    • Salvation is an absolute promise and guarantee of Christ. If we believe in him, we can trust in his promise.
  • John 10:28-29 “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish and no one can snatch you out of my hand.”
    • Our salvation does not depend on us holding his hand, but his holding our hand
    • His personality and character is so great to keep his promise. He guarantees us eternal life.
    • Salvation can also be like the HIGHEST Judicial verdict. God is the highest judge – higher than any human judge in history.
  • Romans 8:1~ “There is now no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • This is the highest declaration. Who shall bring any charge against those whom God has declared righteous? Who or what shall separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:28-39)

God bless all of us to be clear in our Assurance of Salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 20 / 2019
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Point is: Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 18:22-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The point is: Jesus is the Christ!

Acts 18:22-28 (Pastor Heo)

22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the [Jerusalem] church and then went down to Antioch [his mother church].

— Second missionary journey END —

— This missionary journey START (18:23 – 21:16)—

23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. [tour of Galatia and Phrygia]

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. [move to Ephesus, Thessalonia, Macedonia, Troas, etc and back to Jerusalem] He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.


The point is: Jesus is the Christ. This is the conclusion.

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (18:23 – 21:16) ends at Jerusalem. He has no chance to go back to his home church (Antioch) because he will be arrested in Jerusalem and sent to Rome.

In the second part of his Second journey, he went to Ephesus and reasoned with the people. So, they asked him to stay with them a little more, but he hurried on to Jerusalem – to complete his Nazarite vow with his shaved hair in the Jerusalem temple. “But I will return if the Lord wills.” (Aquila and Priscilla remained there.)

In his Third Journey, he returned. It was a 4-year journey, and he spent 3 years in Ephesus. This is his main target of the third journey. “Be on your guard. Don’t forget that for three years I warned you with tears.”

Now, what happened in Ephesus BEFORE Paul arrived there?

v. 24

“24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.”

Still today, Alexandria exists in Egypt. This is the second largest city along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. At that time, it was the second largest in the Roman world – after Rome – and it boasted a huge university and library (with 700,000 books). At that time, this was the LARGEST library.

Also, at that time Athens and Alexandria were rivals – fighting each other for reputation of philosophy and education.

This city was named for Alexander the Great. From this city, Apollos came to Ephesus.

Who is Apollos?

A great scholar, learned man, thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, fervor, passion, zeal in the Spirit, a man of courage and boldness. He vigorously defended the Scriptures (energy, vitality, etc).

1 Cor 3 “Who is Apollos? Who am I? Only servants of Christ. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But only God made it grow.”

He had one weakness though.

v. 25

“25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”

At that time, Christianity was “The Way.”

This is one of the commonest titles for Christianity in the book of Acts. At that time, there was no name “Christianity.”

But this word shows us not only believing in certain things but also putting them into practice. Christianity is “The act of putting Christ’s words into practice.”

v. 28 “Jesus was the Christ” – the Anointed Messiah

Jesus says, “I am THE Way… therefore everyone who hears this word of mine and puts it into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…”

Apollos was a good man, a scholar, full of spiritual knowledge and passion, courage, stamina, energy. He was elegant, a talented speaker. But his one problem was:

  • He knew ONLY the baptism of John.
  • He did NOT know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He knew of Christ, very clearly and accurately. He knew the human and historic Christ. He knew of the task Jesus gave men to do. But he did NOT know of the Helping power Jesus gave them to do it. He did not know of the salvation of Jesus and the coming of the HS in power.

What is the MAIN ministry of the HS?

To witness / testify about Jesus Christ.

“Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, if you can say this, then you have already received the baptism of the HS.

The fact that he didn’t know this means that he didn’t yet know of Jesus’ Kingship, Lordship, Divinity fully, and the coming of the HS in power. He needed to know this one point.

v. 26

“26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God [Christianity = the doctrine of Christ] more adequately.”

We saw the story of this beautiful couple last Sunday.

Who were they?

A couple and business-couple (tentmakers).

Why were they here in Ephesus?

Paul first met them in Corinth. They were expelled from Rome at that time. Immediately they became partners (tentmakers + missionaries) – so they traveled together from Corinth to Ephesus.

Paul left Ephesus for Jerusalem – leaving them behind at Ephesus to carry on the ministry and prepare for his return.

This couple were steeped in the truth and the Word of God. They worked with Paul so long and so much, they heard his message so deeply, they knew his message well. And their eyes were focused on eternity – something more significant – PEOPLE over things, investing in the kingdom of God, their home was always open to others.

When they heard Apollos preaching, they found one deficiency: He did not know about the baptism of the HS and Jesus becoming the Messiah and eternal life.

But this couple did not correct him at once in a public place, but they invited him to their home (with delicious food) and explained to him about “The Way” more adequately.

Apollos’ message was accurate and sincere, but incomplete. But with the help of this couple, the message became complete – focusing on Christ – his Messiahship, Kingship, Lordship.

  • From this couple we can learn wisdom and hospitality.
  • From Apollos we can learn humility.

P&A were simple laymen workers. But Apollos was a professional scholar. P&A’s hospitality and Apollos’ humility worked together to open the door for more people’s salvation.

We should be humble. Humility is not a weakness; but power, courage, possibility for growth, a channel through which we receive God’s grace.

“God gives grace to the humble.”

If I’m humble, I can learn more from anyone, then I can grow, then I can be used by God more, then I can be more of a blessing, through this is gives greater glory to God.

Also, the Christian home is one of the BEST tools for spreading the gospel. Do others see and find Jesus through your home? God bless our home as a mission home.

v. 27

“27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.”

Achaia was a part of southern Greece – the capital city of this province was Corinth. Thus, Apollos went to Corinth. Believers at Ephesus encouraged and helped him by writing a letter to the believers there asking them to welcome him.

There, he was used as a greater tool for the salvation of many people. How is this possible? Because his message, his conclusion, finally focuses on JESUS as the Christ. (This is the point.)

Remember, the point of the message: Jesus is the Christ – can save and change others. Our own message and words cannot change others, but THIS message can.

v. 28

“28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures [Old Testament] that Jesus was the Christ. “

With his strong argument, he defeated the Jews in public debate – proving that Jesus was the anointed Messiah.

Yes, even today, we need to be “on fire” for God. Do you have “holy fire” for God?

How can we capture and maintain enthusiasm for God?

“The key is conviction.”

I have beliefs, we all have faith. But the problem is, when beliefs move from our heads down into our hearts. Also, when we are overpowered by truth and become a thing is TRUE and MATTERS, it gives us passion.

Yes, we must do the things that increase our passion for God:

  • Worship,
  • witness,
  • prayer,
  • testimony,
  • service,
  • ministry.

From a gospel perspective, there are only two kinds of human beings:

  1. The Lost – in need of being saved
  2. Christians – in need of encouragement, edification, and being equipped for more mission

I like this word: “enthusiasm.”

This English word came from Greek:

“en-thus-iasumos “

  • en = “in”
  • thus = “Theos” = “God”
  1. Enthusiasm = “inspired”
  2. Root of this word = “in God”

An enthusiastic person = inspiring because he is IN God.

Jesus asked one day, “Who do people say I am?” John the B, Elijah, one of the prophets?

Peter: “You are the Christ!”

Jesus was surprised and happy, satisfied. “You are blessed. This was revealed to you by heavenly revelation. On this rock [this faith], I will build my church and the gates of hell will never overcome it.”

Yes, knowledge of the Scriptures is necessary.

Passion / Enthusiasm in the Spirit…

  • Fluency in speech is necessary
  • Boldness
  • Accuracy
  • Logic

But remember, none of them, and all of them together cannot give us salvation.

Christ alone can.

  • “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved…”

The point is: Jesus is the Christ.

2,000 years ago, and today, and 2,000 years later, and until Jesus’ Second Coming, this truth is the same. This is a timeless truth.

Jesus is THE WAY, the Truth, the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by him.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 13 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Keep on Speaking (Acts 18:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Keep on Speaking (Acts 18:1-22)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/keep-on-speaking

Download Notes in a .MD file

Keep on Speaking!

Acts 18:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

In Corinth

1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”

14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law–settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he had them ejected from the court. 17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.

Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.


Corinth was 80km SW from Berea.

At that time, Corinth’s reputation for wickedness was well-known at that time. It was a center for trade, business, and travel. It was very notorious for its immorality.

  • “To Corinthianize” = “to practice sexual immorality”.
  • A prostitute was often referred to as “a Corinthian girl.”

This was not (seemingly) an ideal place to launch a ministry. But Paul saw it as both a great challenge AND opportunity.

In challenge, there is opportunity.

In opportunity, there is challenge.

v. 1-3

“1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”

By the providence / guidance of God, Paul met this couple. They were “tentmakers” – they made canopies and other leather goods. They had lived in Rome, but had been expelled by the Emperor Claudius – the (fourth) emperor of the Roman Empire. His successor was Nero (fifth).

At that time, all Jewish boys were expected to learn a hand-skill. Paul was a tentmaker as his secular job. Rabbis said, “A man who does not teach his man to work, teaches him to steal.”

So, from this story, self-supporting missionaries are still called “tentmaker missionaries” today.

This couple was a wonderful role-model for modern Christian couples who wanted to make an eternal difference in the world. Their names appear here 4 times, and Paul mentions them 3 times in his letters. 2 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Romans. “Aquila and Priscilla, my fellow workers in Christ.”

At least 4 timeless qualities enabled them to have the ability to minister with Paul.

4 Qualities of this Christian couple

1. Lives were steeped in the Word of God

They spent much time with Paul, heard him preach and teach many times, so they knew and understood the Scriptures very well.

2. They had spiritual eyes toward eternity

Even though tentmakers by trade, they were focused on something far more important and significant. They were investing in people, seeking to build Christ’s church.

3. They were always available

They were willing to go and move where needed, their house was always open.

4. They were radically committed to ministry with Paul.

They were very stable, very committed, and God worked powerfully through them.

How much does God work in your marriage? God bless your marriage.

v. 4-10

“4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” “

As usual, there was still opposition against Paul and his ministry. But we must remember that to walk by faith, this means “to see opportunities in the midst of opposition.”

  • Pessimist = opposition all the time
  • Optimist = opportunities all the time

Which are you?

  • Realist? = opportunities IN opposition

Even though Paul confronts many oppositions and abuses here, he did not close his eyes to these dangers and difficulties – but he did look at them from a divine, godly point of view. To “obey” means to follow and do the will of God regardless of our circumstances.

There is NO easy place in this world. If there is, there may be something wrong.

Timothy 3:12 “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in this world will be persecuted.”

What matters is NOT our circumstances but our ATTITUDE about our circumstances.

“Our attitudes should be the same as Christ Jesus.”


Story

There was a big shoe company. They sent workers to an undeveloped country to figure out a marketing strategy.

  • One man said, “Impossible! We cannot sell shoes because they are all barefoot!”
  • Another man, “Oh yeah! So exciting! We can sell MANY because all of them NEED shoes!”

This is the same in the Bible:

12 men of Israel when spying out Canaan experienced the same thing.

  • 10 said, “We are too few, and too small. We will die.”
  • 2 (Joshua and Caleb): “No! We can go forward and conquer them! Let’s go!”

What made them different?

  • The 10 saw only what is VISIBLE.
    • But the 2 saw what is INvisible in the visible.
  • 10 did not see the unseen God who was with them.
    • 2 saw the unseen God who was with them.

Yes, even today, with real faith in Christ, we must be able to SEE what is unseen. We must see the unseen God who is with us all the time. This is the vision.

Paul’s European mission started with a vision of the Man of Macedonia (chp 16). “Come to Macedonia and help us.” His vision ended with a vision of the Lord.

v. 9-10

“9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.””

In this vision, the first word God said to Paul was “Do not be afraid.” (The same word he spoke to Joshua in Canaan – the same word he speaks to US when we are in trouble.)

“Do not be afraid.” can calm the storms in our lives when everything looks chaotic.

  • To Abraham: “Do not be afraid. I’m your shield, your very great reward.”
  • To Isaac: “Do not be afraid. I’m with you.”
  • To Jacob: “Do not be afraid to go to Egypt. I’m with you and will make you into a great nation.”
  • Isaiah 10:41 “Do not be afraid. I’m with you and will uphold you and strengthen you with my mighty right hand.”
  • John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

Can you not hear his voice today calling to you as well?


“Do not be afraid.”

Why? “I am with you.”


Do you recognize that God is with you?

God is a spirit, within all things, out of all things, above all things, below all things, holy, presiding, supporting, sustaining, filling, he is here with us, over, under, inside us, but not confined – not shut in.

His name is “EMMANUEL” (God with us). He lives up to his name.


Story

One Sunday school teacher read to his class: Matthew 28:20 “I am with you to the very end of the age!”

  • He said, “What a wonderful promise! Isn’t it?”
  • One small student said, “Teacher? This is not a promise. It’s a fact…”

We can enjoy and feel this now and here.

So, as long as we remember and feel that God is with us – through his Holy Spirit, we can be sure that nothing can (ultimately) attack or harm us. (v. 10)

  • But we know that Paul experienced so many kinds of hardships and sufferings.
  • But God said, “No one can harm you.” Hmm. Contradictory? No.

From an eternal perspective, we are not living only 100 years on this earth. From ETERNITY, this is true.

Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes, no one can harm you.”

Remember, Jesus FIRST concern is on his witness and witnesses.

“All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me; therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.”

This means that WHEN we go and preach of him, HIS authority will be shown through us.

Jesus’ first concern is on his witness. This is logical.

Also, “Do not be silent. Keep on speaking. Because I have many people in this city.”

This sentence implies: the doctrine of divine election because God KNOWS who will be saved. He knows those who are his.

John 10:16 “I have other sheep.”

We are Jesus’ sheep; he is our shepherd.

Jesus says, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them to this sheep pen and they must listen to my voice. They shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

However,

God’s sovereignty in Divine Election does not negate Man’s responsibility. Actually, quite the opposite. We should remember that BECAUSE God has some set aside for himself, we must obey his commission.

  1. His job is to “save sinners.” That’s not OUR job.
  2. You know, if others’ salvation depended on OUR work, voices, skill, it would be hopeless.
  3. But because others’ salvation is dependent wholly on God, we can depend and trust him that when we preach the Word, (scatter seed), he will do the rest.

“God desires all men to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

“Here is a trustworthy saying, that Christ came to save sinners.”

God says, “I have many people in THIS city” today! (Jeonju)

I have MANY people to save, and to BE saved in THIS city (Jeonju).

So, we have more than enough reason to keep on preaching and not be silent.

v. 18-22

“18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea [seaport of Corinth] because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church [Jerusalem church] and then went down to Antioch [church].”

Paul completed his mission at Corinth and then before sailing to Ephesus, cut off his hair as a sign of a vow.

Would you do this? Cut your hair for a vow? We do not know this vow nor this reason, but it is a special dedication to God and a special expression to God for all the things he’d done through Paul’s missionary journey until now.

He then sailed for Ephesus (returning to Asia Minor – part of Turkey today). In Ephesus, the people asked Paul to stay more with them, but he said, “No, sorry, I must hurry on. But, if it is God’s will, I will return later.”

Why? According to Jewish Law, the Nazarite vow had to be completed AT Jerusalem with offerings of proper sacrifices. That’s why Paul was in a hurry to go to Jerusalem and complete his vow. Then, he went to his home church Antioch to report to his missionary team.

Still today, God is working through his workers. He says,

  • “Do not be afraid!
  • Keep on speaking!
  • Do not be silent!
  • I have many people (to save) in this city!”

That is the main reason to keep on speaking and not be silent.

God bless us all as his missionaries in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 06 / 2019
  • Comments Off on In 2019, let’s go to our Athens! (Acts 17:16-34)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In 2019, let’s go to our Athens! (Acts 17:16-34)

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In 2019, Let’s go to our Athens!

Acts 17:16-34 (Pastor Heo)

In Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 **’For in him we live and move and have our being.’** As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.


  • Hedonism : The chief end of man is pleasure.
  • Stoicism : Strong self-discipline, avoiding all kinds of self-indulgence and pleasure.

Athens was very proud of their philosophies and philosophers.

  • “Philea” = Love (agape, philia, …, eros) –
  • “Sophia” = Wisdom

So “philosophy” = “love of wisdom”

In the study of philosophy:

  • Who Am I?
  • Where am I from?
  • Where am I going?
  • How did this universe come to exist?

Yes, these questions are very important questions – if we are not clear about them, our lives will be frustrated without action – events without reason.

Only IN God and BY God can we get correct answers to these questions. Outside of God, human philosophy makes us more meaningless and frustrated. (It’s true, I studied it in college…)

The Athenians lived Romans 1:25:

“25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”

  • The Jews want miraculous signs;
  • Greeks seek philosophy and wisdom;
  • we preach Jesus Christ resurrected –
  • a stumbling block to the Jews and Greeks.

Based on this background, the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom; the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

v. 16

“16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”

At that time there were more gods than men in Athens. So, Paul was greatly distressed.

Like Paul, we must feel anger and hatred against Satan who is holding him/her, and at the same time compassion for their soul. We must also have open (spiritual) eyes like Paul.

v. 17

“17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.”

The Areopagus Sermon of Paul

  1. Opening: Jesus’ resurrection
  2. Closing: Jesus’ resurrection
  • Epicurean = believed everything happened by chance and death is the end, and God is far from the world – practically, they were materialists like today’s.
  • Stoics = everything that happened by the will of A god (pantheists = everything is god, god is everything) and must be accepted.

What is a babbler? Someone picking up trash – it’s a criticism about Paul – someone speaking something very strange and with unknown sounds. (because Paul was speaking of the resurrection).

To the Greeks, this was a fable; a myth; some silly story to give a moral lesson (like Aesop). So, they called Paul a babbler.

v. 19-23

“19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) [gossip] 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. *Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.* [wow]”

The Areopagus was just a hill – an open area, called “Mars Hill.”

These men sneered at Paul, but he was very wise and kind to them. We must learn from him about his outreach.

  • He didn’t say, “You SINNERS! You IDOLATERS!”
  • No, he said, “Wow, I see you are so religious!” (He gave them compliments and praise first)
  • He also saw the “Unknown God” and said, “You CAN know him!”
  • How? Because he is revealing himself through his Creation (also Romans 1).

Through this story (2,000 years ago), we can see that our world is another Athens.

“Our world is an(other) Athens.”

“In 2019, let’s go to our Athens!”

3 points about “our Athens”

#1 Athens is FULL of idols

Our world today is so full of idols (physical, spiritual) (idols “of the heart” Ezekiel)

Everybody has his/her own personal god. They think “this is my God” but really they often have another god.

Why? Man is not Creator, but created TO WORSHIP – so if you don’t have one, you will find one. Everybody has his own God:

  • Material
  • Money “You cannot serve both God and Money”
  • Family
  • Children
  • Popularity / reputation / YouTube fame
  • Health

Our world is FULL of idols. BE CLEAR about Who is your God in 2019. Who/what is the Driving Force in your life?

#2 They ALWAYS looked for “something new”

[Novelty seekers]

v. 19, 21

“19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “*May we know what this new teaching* is that you are presenting? … 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but *talking about and listening to the latest ideas*.) “

Are you addicted to your phone?

Facebook pull-down-to-refresh = always looking for something new – like a slot machine in a casino (it’s designed that way).

Everybody wants something new. But the Bible reminds us : “There is NOTHING NEW under the sun.” ONLY “in Christ there is a new Creation; the old is gone, the new has come.”

  • What is OLD in your life?
  • What is NEW in your life?

Remember, NEW is only possible IN CHRIST. Old is gone; New has come.

  • Old: Penalty, punishment, fear, worry, anxiety, has gone. Only in Christ – hatred, bitterness, all these evil things are gone.
  • New: Only in Christ – NEW has come: new hope, new vision, new mind, new start, new day. ONLY in Christ.

1 Cor 5:17? “If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation. The old has gone; the new has come.”

#3 All citizens spent all their time sitting and talking (gossiping) with each other

Sounds like social media…

Our world likes an EASY life, a comfortable, convenient life. Our world does not like a dangerous, difficult, dirty, sacrificial job.

Remember, we are saved by faith in Christ PLUS nothing. Because Christ has done ALL things for our salvation.

We are SAVED TO SERVE others

The church is the body of Christ; it needs DOERS not talkers, it needs WORKERS not sitters, it needs HELPERS not on-lookers.

Christ shed his _blood_ to save us.

If this is true, we must shed our _sweat_ to serve others.

SHOW the evidence of your salvation with your hands, your feet, your sweat, your blood. If Christ has shed his blood for me, I should be READY to shed my blood for him.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are FEW.”

v. 24-31

“24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. **28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’** As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” “

How wonderful [how powerful] a sermon.

  • v. 18 = Jesus’ resurrection (opening)
  • v. 31 = Jesus’ resurrection (closing)

“God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice…” (The Areopagus was a court of justice, so they were very familiar with this concept) “…by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

By Paul’s sermon, God is:

  • Creator
  • Sustainer
  • Provider
  • Savior
  • Judge

We must be clear on WHO God is:

We do not believe atheism (no gods), nor pantheism (many gods), we believe monotheism (ONE God). We believe in ONE and only God – but remember, it is not enough to say “I am a monotheist. That God is my God.” This is not enough to reach salvation.

Even today,

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses also say this.
  • Mormons also say this.
  • Muslims say it;
  • Jews say it.

So, what is the BIGGEST difference between them and us?

The FUNDAMENTAL difference: We are the ones who say “JESUS is my God.”

Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ, but when he saw the resurrected Christ, he knelt immediately and confessed, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said, “You believe because you see; but more blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.”

One day we will stand before Christ to be judged and he will ask to each of us only TWO questions (remember them):

  1. What did you do with me on earth?
  2. What did you do with what I gave you on earth?

Your Time, Treasure, Talents: what did you do with it?

  1. answer = WHERE we will spend eternity
  2. answer = HOW we will spend eternity

May God bless all of us with his final reward and praise: “Well done, my good and faithful servant; you have been faithful with a few things in this world, now I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness.”

v. 32-34

“32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council [Areopagus]. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. “

At this sermon of Paul, there were THREE reactions:

  1. Sneering
  2. Delay
  3. Accepting

Today, these same three reactions are possible to our own witness about the resurrection of Christ. Do not be surprised.

At our witness of Christ, some may sneer; others will say, “later”; others will accept and believe and kneel down and confess Christ as Savior and Lord.

Please remember, even today, God is happy to save those who believe in Christ through our witness: the story of the death and resurrection of Christ; which sounds FOOLISH to those who are perishing.

God gave us a NEW opportunity in 2019.

“Let’s go to our Athens!” (x5)

God bless you; your shouting; your mouth; your feet; your hands; your life.

Let’s pray.

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