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  • 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)

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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)

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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.

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