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Daily Archives / Sunday, March 10, 2019

  • Mar 10 / 2019
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Lord’s Will Be Done (Acts 21:1-16)

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On to Jerusalem

1 After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ”

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

15 After this, we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.


[Explanation of Missionary Journey map]

To Paul, God’s will was more important than anything else. From this story we see:

  1. Paul’s friends’ affection for him
  2. Paul’s courage to face the trials before him

He has sheer determination to go on to Jerusalem. And there is the wonderful fact that wherever Paul went, he found a Christian community waiting to welcome him. He was welcomed wherever he went. If this were true in Paul’s time, it is even more true today.

This is very true. One of the greatest privileges of belonging to the family of the church, wherever one goes, he / she can find a community of like-minded people into which he / she is welcomed. You have friends ALL over the world if you are really a believer and witness of Jesus Christ. At the same time, you can encounter your enemies wherever you go.

v. 3-6

3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

Paul and his team stayed with the believers at Tyre for seven days to unload and load cargo. At that time, Tyre was a major port and the trans-Mediterranean routes and ships often delivered and received cargo.

So Paul went out from the ship, seeking Christian brothers and sisters to encourage. Immediately, they spoke the language of the heart and had quick bonding. They became part of each others lives almost immediately – with hardly a word spoken.

  • v. 4 “Through the Spirit, they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.”
  • But, earlier, Paul had told them, “Compelled by the Holy Spirit, I’m going to Jerusalem.”

We should not be confused by this. We should not think that the same Holy Spirit who told Paul to go would also tell them to urge him not to go. It was through their conversation and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that they came to realize that he must suffer. So, they urged him – out of human compassion – not to go.

He stayed with them for only seven days. And then all their wives and children escorted him out of the city. See how deep this fellowship they built in a short time is!

v. 7-14

7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ”

12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

The Lord’s will be done. x3

Whenever we pray the Lord’s prayer, we pray like this. “Our Father in heaven…. your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Do you believe God has a wonderful, special will for you?

At Caesarea, he stayed with Philip. Philip was the first to go to Samaria to preach the gospel. Another prophet named Agabus came also. About 15 years earlier, he had predicted the famine at Jerusalem, so he’d worked closely with Paul for famine relief. They were not strangers. Agabus delivered his prophetic message to Paul in a dramatic way – by binding his own hands and feet with the belt of Paul: “The owner of this belt will end up like this.”

  • He did not say, “Don’t go.”
  • He just said, “If you go, this will happen.”

So, like at Tyre, the believers there also encouraged Paul not to go. Paul said, “Stop weeping and breaking my heart – I’m going.”

Are you ready? Ready to go to heaven? We don’t know the time, so we must be ready all the time.

Paul said, “I’m ready – to die – for the name of Jesus Christ.”

Remember chp 9? Once, as Saul, Paul was a champion in persecuting Christ. Yet, Jesus saved him by his grace and chose him to be used. He showed Ananias a vision and said, “I will show him [Paul] how much he must suffer for my name.”

Once Saul was a persecutor, then Jesus saved him to be a champion in BEING persecuted.

Please, do not persecute Jesus Christ.

In fact, Paul’s going to Jerusalem is remarkably similar to Jesus’ going to Jerusalem. There are 5 similarities (at least).

Similarities: Paul & Jesus’ Journeys to Jerusalem

  1. Jesus knew he would be arrested, suffer many things, and be condemned (Luke 15?)
    • Paul also knew this
  2. Jesus’ close friends (Peter, etc) urged him not to go to Jerusalem – Peter even rebuked him “This shall not happen to you!”
    • Paul’s close friends also urged Paul not to go
  3. Jews arrested Jesus, bound, and condemned him – then handed him over to the Gentiles.
    • Paul likewise, arrested by Jews, handed over to Gentiles
  4. Jesus’ top priority was God’s will. He prayed, “Father, take this cup from me, but not as I will, your will be done.”
    • Paul said, Acts 20:24 “I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish my race and complete the task the Lord has given me – testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
  5. Jesus trusted in the sovereignty of God completely – he knew he would be raised again on the third day
    • Paul also believed in this – even though he died for Christ, he would be raised again and live eternally with Christ. He believed Jesus’ word, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

One more question:

What is your #1 priority in your life?

Among all your jobs.

Yes, we know God is a good Father. He wants us to be happy, but we must know that God’s will is higher than our happiness.

We must preach the gospel, serve others, help foreigners in Jeonju, not because we always enjoy it, but because it is the will of God. We cannot emphasize knowing the will of God too much.

Knowing the will of God is the BEST knowledge we can get in this world.

Here are 3 reasons why we MUST know the will of God.

3 Reasons WHY we should Know the Will of God

1. God alone holds the future – knows tomorrow.

Do you know? Only God knows.

Prov 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what will happen to you tomorrow.”

Only God knows – only he can lead us through the uncertainties of tomorrow. God knows, he cares, he can lead us through the storms in this life.

We need to know the will of God because only he holds the future.

2. Only God knows what is BEST for your life.

If you go out from this building, there are many ways to go. In front of us, there are so many options and choices, but we can choose only one way.

Most of us know what we like, and what we want, but we are often completely mistaken as to what is BEST – and what is leading us to the greatest peace and fulfillment.

We do not know always what is best, and what will bring the greatest peace and satisfaction. Only God knows. God knows us (infinitely) better than we know ourselves. So, he is not interested in putting his stamp (sanction) on our own actions – he wants to guide us into his eternal purpose and plan.

3. God has a plan of blessing for us.

Do you believe this? God has a particular plan of blessing for each of us. Is your life all that you want it to be? Are you enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to bring? You can – because we are created in the image of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made – not meaningless accidents thrust into time and space. We are meaningful creations of God – which means that he has a plan of blessing in our lives.

Romans 8:28 “We know in ALL things (whatever is happening to you), God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose (will).”

How can we know the will of God? Three Councils.

3 Ways HOW to know the will of God

  1. The Word of God
  2. The Conviction of the Holy Spirit
  3. (Saved) Faith Conscience
  4. Circumstances (personal experiences)

Augustine advised:

“Love God and do whatever you want.”

Yes, if we (truly) love God, we cannot do what God hates.

If we are truly saved and Holy Spirit filled and committed to God fully, it is not difficult to know the will of God.

Finally, most importantly: if we KNOW the will of God… DO IT!

“I must do it!”

For many of us, the problem is not “knowing the will of God” but “obeying it.”

Matt 7 (Sermon on the Mount) “Therefore, whoever hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock… But, if you hear my words and do not put them into practice, you’re like a foolish man who built his house on the sand…”

James 4:14 “Anyone who knows the good he should do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

As we saw the map – this historical fact – like this, Fact is Fact.

  • God became man (Jesus Christ)
  • He died on the cross for my sin
  • He rose again from the dead
  • He will come again soon

Fact is Fact – there is no difference in fact whether you understand, agree, accept or not. There is no difference in fact.

What is the difference? If you do not believe, you cannot enjoy the fruit and effect of this historical fact. But if you accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, then this fruit can be enjoyed by you: salvation, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life.

All the time, we must decide. We saw Paul’s absolute resolution each time. We also must make our own resolution.

What is your resolution? Your commitment?

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 10 / 2019
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20:13-38)

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Acts 20:13-38 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36 When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.


We said goodbye to our Ugandan friends last week. We must continually say goodbye throughout this life. And sometimes, this may discourage us, thinking, “Frequent goodbyes prevent the church from growing in numbers and strength.”

From one point of view, this is correct. But we must be able to see the other side of the story as well.

The church is very important to God. It is important to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, the church is called the House of God, the body of Christ, temple of the Holy Spirit.

So at the same time, goodbyes can encourage us to spread our ministry beyond our building – as part of the universal church.

  • Yes, in any job, starting well is very important, but finishing well is more important.
  • In church, meeting well is important, but good farewells are more important.

So, we must be careful not to fall into mannerism. We must remain brand new in our hearts in serving God and serving others.

Today’s sermon is about Paul’s farewell to the church in Ephesus. Goodbyes are an regular thing in the church and also occupy much of history.

Paul set out to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem, but in Corinth (on the way), there was a plot to kill him, so he had to stay there for a few weeks.

  • His first plan was to arrive before Passover.
  • His second plan was to arrive before Pentecost (50 days later).

He had to return through Philippi, then Troas (where he’d had his vision of the Man of Macedonia) – and he had a farewell service with the believers there. One man, Eutychus fell asleep and fell down to his death – but Paul raised him to life.

The next early morning, Paul and his team started out for Assos – Paul, Luke, Timothy and other members. They sailed from Europe to Asia (30km+).

From Troas to Assos, other team members went by ship, but only Paul went on foot. Can you imagine this?

At Assos they joined together again. We have no reason written down as to why. He probably walked more than 10 hours. We can only guess.

  • To be alone with God?
  • To meet more non-Christians on the road?

Probably, he prepared his farewell sermon and pondered his ministry at Ephesus – because he was to give his farewell address there very soon. Another possibility – he wanted time alone to talk with the Lord about going to Jerusalem.

His resolution to go there was similar with that of Christ’s – in a sense.

In the case of Christ, he said several times, strongly, I must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things, be killed, and raised to life. “For the time for him to be taken up to heaven, he resolutely started for Jerusalem.”

Like this, Paul felt strongly that something difficult was waiting for him in Jerusalem.

  • v. 16 “Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.”
  • v. 22 “”And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” (no matter what happens – hard or difficult).
  • v. 23 “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.”

In the next chapter, a prophet prophesied that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem. His team plead with him NOT to go – but he resolutely said, “Why are you breaking my heart? I’m ready to die for the Lord Jesus Christ!”

Act 21:12-13 “When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” “

Are you ready?

From Assos, they went to Miletus. (v 15)

There were not many days left for the feast, so Paul did not go to Ephesus, but to Miletus – a port where the ships loaded and unloaded cargo and people. Paul invited the Ephesian elders to come there to meet him. This was also about 30 miles away.

The elders came there, and had a goodbye meeting – where Paul shared his message.

Paul’s Goodbye Message (v. 18-35)

“18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” “

There are three parts: Past (18-21), Present (22-27), Future (28-35)

Past

v. 20-21

“20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must **turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.**”

We need this kind of boldness today to tell others. We have one message to tell others – the gospel message. “Faith in Christ, following repentance from sin, turning to God.”

  1. Repent from sin
  2. Turn to God
  3. Believe in Christ

Great summary of the gospel message.

In this day of growing complexity, sometimes the church falls into the temptation to be “sophisticated” and “complicated” to fit in the world’s culture. But we must never let our gospel message get lost in our busy-ness – calendars, events, classes, seminars, etc.

This message must not be exclusive, not optional, not overly complicated. There is only one message we should declare in this world.

  1. Repent
  2. Turn
  3. Believe

That’s all – 2,000 years ago – and today.

Repent! Turn to God! Believe in Christ!

Confess with your mouth Christ is Lord and Savior.

Present

v. 24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. “

As workers of Christ – are you workers / ministers today? If we are, we must know 3 points about our identities.

  1. We are runners
  2. We are witnesses
  3. We are heralds

Runners

Our lives are a race that should be finished some day. Our single-minded desire should be to finish this race well. Our most important goal should be to tell others about Christ – this is the message of freedom, salvation, eternal life.

Witnesses

The main job of a witness is to testify (tell) about what has happened to him / her. Tell what you saw / heard / experienced. Witnessing is not “teaching” any skill or knowledge. This is simply testifying.

We must be clear about what is the #1 priority in our lives. This is Paul’s. “I consider my life worth *nothing* to me…”

Life is important – we cannot exchange it for anything else in this universe.

“…if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. “

Paul’s mission is “Mission”.

Are you clear about your #1 priority in your life? We have so many jobs to do, but what is #1?

Also, we are not only witnesses, we are also heralds.

Heralds

Heralds tell what the king tells him to tell. Heralds convey the message of the king – they are sent.

As Heralds, we should not change that message in any way. Whenever you preach the gospel in this world, you are SENT by the King. That’s why we are called ambassadors – from heaven to earth.

As workers in Christ, we must increase humility, passion, compassion, tenderness, empathy, sympathy, affection with tears – Paul showed this.

As workers we must avoid bad attitudes against Christ – covetousness, laziness, shallowness, carelessness, (most of all) selfishness.

Paul’s Last Sentence

v. 35

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “”

This is very meaningful. His last sentence is a quotation from Christ. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Remember, our ministry is basically GIVING – not Getting – this means following the example of Christ.

Somebody calls this verse a supreme beatitude. “Blessed are the meek…” (8 blessings). Unlike the other verses in Matthew 5, this verse instructs us how to be MORE blessed.

This however, does not mean that those who receive are LESS blessed. Blessing does not come from accumulating wealth but from sharing with others.

But, this sentence itself is not found in any of the 4 gospels. Obviously, not ALL of Jesus’ words were written in the gospels. This sentence must have been passed on orally through the apostles. The theology of this sentence is the HEART of Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus himself says, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for the many.”

Also, Paul’s life and ministry was giving. He gave his life, his work, his everything to the preaching of the Word.

Remember, selfish people can of course be saved – Jesus died for ALL people – but selfish people cannot be Christian workers. Thus, Paul summarizes everything Jesus and he himself did and said in this last sentence.

Farewell message finished.

How did they part?

v. 36-38

“When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. “

Paul closed this memorable occasion by kneeling down and praying – with and for them – and they all wept and embraced. What a beautiful Christian fellowship. Also, what a sorrowful scene. But at the same time, what a wonderful Christian farewell and meeting – because they were united in the same God and faith in Christ and hope that they’d see each other again in heaven.

Yes, it is difficult to say “goodbye” when we know we will never see our Christian friends again, but we have blessed assurance that we WILL see them again in heaven when Christ returns.

No doubt all of them stood without moving when they accompanied him to the ship. They likely cried, waving hands until the ship disappeared over the horizon. Only then would they return to Ephesus with great resolution to give themselves to the service of Christ – with the zeal they saw in Paul.

Like this, all believers can build a fellowship with others by sharing, and caring. There is no exception to this.

One day, we must say “goodbye” to each other – even parents and children, husband and wife. But we don’t know when and where. So, as long as the opportunity is given to us in this life, let us encourage, edify, and bless each other.

Let’s pray.

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