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

In Malta (Acts 28:1-10)

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Acts 28:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

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

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


The distance from Fair Havens to Malta = 720 km.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, let me make clear:

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

Are you clear on these matters?

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

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

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

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

Wrong beliefs about God

1. Atheism – denies the existence of God.

“There is no god.”

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

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

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

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

“I don’t know. How can we know?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people may think this is true.

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

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

He has temporary, limited power.

8. Monotheism – ONE God

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the biblical belief about God.

Biblical monotheism = Triune monotheism (Trinity Monotheism)

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

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

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

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

I (pastor) am one person in three elements:

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

I am one intelligence in three areas:

  1. intelligence,
  2. willpower,
  3. knowledge

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

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

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

How can we apply these mysteries of God?

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

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

“Jesus is full God and full man.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

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Acts 27:1-44 (Pastor Heo)

Paul Sails for Rome

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

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

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

The Storm

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

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

The Shipwreck

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Caesarea to Sidon – so far so good.

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

They sailed for many days to Cnidus.

This story is v. 1-6

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

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

From Myra to Fair Havens = v. 7-13

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

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

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

Most of them wanted to winter in Phoenix.

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

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

v. 7-13

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

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

The Storm

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

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

v. 14

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

“Northeaster” = euraquilo in their language

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

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

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

This life is like a storm on the sea.

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

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

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

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

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

This is the power of a Christian in a storm.

“I can imitate Paul.”

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

#1 Paul shared the Word of God (Comforter)

v. 21-26

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

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

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

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

This world needs comfort

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

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

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

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

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

#2 Paul warned them (Commander)

“I can warn unbelievers.” HOW?

Yes, we can, we have a right.

v. 27-32

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

Paul warned them in v. 31.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repent = turn from your ways.

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

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

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

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

v. 33-38

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

Paul did a kind of communion now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 39-44

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

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

Hallelujah~ They breathed a sigh of relief.

They arrived on the island of Malta.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many? God bless you.

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

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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.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

2 Timothy 2:8 (Pastor Heo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Truths of Jesus’ Resurrection

1. Bodily resurrection

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

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

2. First fruit of the resurrection to come

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

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

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

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

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

3. We are already (spiritually) resurrected

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

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

Resurrection is Already! But not Yet.

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

Are you waiting for the resurrection of your body?

4. He is our High Priest

After his resurrection, he became our intercessor and protector.

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

5. He is GOD

This is not my word:

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

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

After his resurrection, his mandate is only one:

“We are witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection? We are!

Let’s have Communion.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 24:1-27 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Felix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Three parts in today’s sermon:

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

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

v. 2-3

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

This is untrue – blatant flattery.

v. 4-9 = Accusations

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

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

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

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

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

v. 10-21 Paul’s answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 22-23

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

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

v. 24

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

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

Now we can see the foolish attitude of this couple.

v. 25-27

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

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

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

There are two reasons for this:

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s sermon topic:

Righteousness, Self-control, the Judgment to Come

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

Righteousness

  • We must do something about yesterday’s sin.

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

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

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

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

Self-Control

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

Mankind can control almost EVERYTHING in nature – except themselves.

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

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

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

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

Self-control is so important in the Christian life.

Judgment

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

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

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

So we must live in light of eternity.

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

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

“Hosanna” = “You are my Savior”

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

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

v. 25

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

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

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

Procrastination = a thief of time / our souls

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

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

— Story —

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

Christ in the Old Testament

Luke 24:25-27 (Pastor Brian)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Stephen Lawson says,

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

Genesis “In the Beginning, God created…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam

Adam – the first man – fell – the head

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

Noah

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

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

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

Samson

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

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

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

David

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

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

In him, we can see a shadow of Jesus.

Solomon

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

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

These people are types / shadows of Jesus.

Joseph

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

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

Job

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

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

Melchizedek

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

Joshua

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

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

The Passover Lamb

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

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

Leprosy

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

Two birds for sacrifice

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

Guilt offering, sin offering, thankfulness offering

  • all are pictures of Jesus.

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

Tabernacle and temple

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

The ark of the covenant

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

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

Dr. Lawson points out as well:

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

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

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

The Prophets

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

Primarily, we are healed spiritually through his suffering.

The return of Christ in Ezekiel and Daniel.

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

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

Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah show the return of Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

This is still necessary today.

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

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

The Plot to Kill Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

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

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

[Background to Paul's story]

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

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

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

[/Background of Paul's story]

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

The Plot to Kill Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

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

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

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


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

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

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

v. 12-15

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

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

v. 16-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 23-24

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

(Paul even got a horse)

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

Can you imagine this picture?

  • 200 soldiers
  • 70 horsemen
  • 200 spearmen

vs.

  • 40 would-be assassins

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

The commander wrote a letter to send:

v. 25-30

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

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

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

Paul left Jerusalem for Caesarea:

v. 31-35

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

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

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

Practical lessons

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

This is a serious but important and practical question.

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

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

Phi 3:7-9

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

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

Are you disciples of Christ?

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

Matthew, Mark, Luke

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

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

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

In our darkest dungeon, Jesus is there.

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

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

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

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

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

“Let God surprise me!~”

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

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

Conclusion:

“God prevails”

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

Let’s pray.

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

Take Courage!

Download Notes in a .MD file

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

[Review last week]

The crowd was angry at Paul and mobbed him.

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

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

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

He commanded Paul be taken and flogged.

“Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen?”

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

Paul, “I was born one.”

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

[/Review]

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

Paul the Roman Citizen

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

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

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

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

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

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

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

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

Before the Sanhedrin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Now we see the picture:

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

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

v. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others, “He’s the High Priest.”

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

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


To the crowd, he shared with his personal experience.

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

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

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

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

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

v. 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these are only said by Jesus.

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

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

We can hear his Word through the Bible.

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

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

HOW can we meditate on the Word of God?

We already know (in our hearts).

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

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

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

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

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

TAKE COURAGE!

There are three messages here:

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

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

“Take courage” has so many messages

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

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 24 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Same and Different
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Same and Different

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 22:1-21 (Pastor Heo)

[Background from last week (chp 21). After Paul was arrested and being carried to the barracks, he decided: NOW was the time to share his story.]

1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

3 Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

8 ” ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

9 ” ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 ” ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

11 ” ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking. ‘Quick!’ he said to me. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’

19 ” ‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’

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


In the Bible, Paul is the only person whose conversion experience is repeated more than once. (Here, chp 22, and chp 26).

Paul is calling the people who arrested him, beat him, and tried to kill him as, “brothers and fathers.” How is this possible? He was filled with the HS. The HS makes us gentle, kind, meek, etc.

“Listen to my defense” – in Greek (apollo gia) – from this Greek word “apologize / apologetics.” In seminary, there is the “study of reasonable, logical Christian faith and doctrine” – Apologetics – and we are all apologists (defenders of the Christian doctrine).

Paul’s defense is paradoxical. It emphasizes two different things.

1. Stresses his Identification

(and commonality with those he wishes to evangelize)

v. 2-5 (He identifies himself with the crowd)

For example: “Yes, my practical language is Aramaic, I’m a Jew, I grew up here, I was educated under Gamaliel – whom you all respect (one of the greatest scholars of that time), and I was once zealous for God as you are today – but wrongly. I persecuted Christians once as you are now persecuting me. I arrested them, as you are arresting me. I was like you at one time.”

2. Emphasized the difference between himself and the crowd

“I met Jesus. I was converted and the conversion was not an issue of defection, but divine intervention. I met Christ, the God of the Jews and the Gentiles, the God of all people.”

“Even though I’m in this world, Jesus has set me apart and consecrated me for a special purpose.”

I’m the same as you, but I’m different from you.

  • This is also our identification
    • without loss of our identity.
  • Also Christ was identified with us
    • without loss of his identity.

This is the key point, main idea, given to us in this text.

“Jesus is like me” – born as a full man, lived in a particular part of history, with a birthday and birth place – born as a boy baby in a real time, way, through a real human mother. He grew up in wisdom and stature as human beings do. He was subject to the ordinary laws of human development in body and soul. He possessed a human nature, was subject to human weakness and infirmaries (he had to eat, sleep, rest – experienced hunger, sickness, pain, etc). He exposed himself to all kinds of temptations we experience today.

  • Hebrews 2:18 “Jesus suffered when he was tempted, so he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  • “We do not have a High Priest with is unable to sympathize with us – he was tempted as we are in every way, yet was without sin.”

That’s why he can empathize with us fully because he experienced these things.

  • “Jesus is different from me.” – fully God.
  • “Jesus is God.”
  • “Jesus is full God.”

There are 5 things to share as evidence of Jesus’ divinity.

1. Divine titles are given to Christ

He’s called “Son of God”, Savior, Lord, Alpha and Omega, First and Last. But more importantly, he is called directly “God.”

The English word “Lord” is translated from Greek “cureos” is translated from Hebrew “adonai” which means “God.”

“Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

2. Divine worship is ascribed to him

Who are you worshiping now?

Jesus himself says, “Worship belongs to God alone.”

  • In the temptation of Christ, Satan tempted him, “If you bow down and worship me, I’ll give you all these things.”
  • Jesus refused and quoted Scripture: “Go away from me, it is written, ‘Worship God alone.'”

“At the name of Christ, all knees should bow and all tongues confess that Christ is Lord.”

All creation, all angels, spiritual beings, all humans will worship Christ. This means, he is “God.”

3. He possesses qualities and properties of divinity

1. Pre-existence

Before Creation of the world, he IS. “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Before the foundation of the universe, I AM.

John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

2. He has self-existence and life-giving power

John 1:1 “In him was Light and the light was life giving.”

Jesus says, “I’m Life.” – this means he is self-existent outside our life. All life has its source in Christ.

3. He possesses immutability

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

All Creation changes – the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, you and me. Only God is unchangeable, immutable in his character, power, wisdom, etc. Only God is unchangeable. And Jesus is unchangeable. “He is…” God.

The fullness of diety dwells in Christ

The very essence and nature of God are in Christ.

4. Divine jobs are ascribed to Christ

  • What is your job? Everybody has a job.
  • Man has man’s job, God has God’s job.
  • What is the business of God?
    • Creating

Can you create something out of nothing? No. Only God is creator. Jesus is Creator of the universe.

John “Through Christ, all things were created. All that has been made has been made through him and finds its being in him.”

The Creation is the revelation of Christ’s mind, wisdom, power, and might.

He is sustainer of all things, keeper of all things, before all Creation, and in him, all things hold together.

Hebrews: “Christ is the exact representation of God’s glory and sustaining all things through his powerful word.”

Jesus’ powerful word causes all things to hold together.

The pulse (in your heart) of life is regulated and controlled by the throbbing of the mighty heart of Christ – creator, sustainer, forgiver.

He alone has the right and authority to forgive sins. But forgiveness of sin is the right of only God.

He does not merely say, “You’re forgiven” but he actually, actively forgives our sins.

“The blood of Christ purifies our sins.”

5. He raises the dead

This is the job of God. But Jesus repeats this several times in the book of John, “I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live though he die… And I will raise them up in the final day.”

6. He is the judge over all Creation

These are the jobs of God:

  1. Creator
  2. Sustainer
  3. Forgiver
  4. Raiser of the Dead
  5. Judge

Through these jobs, we can know that Jesus is God.

Divine Attributes

1. Omnipotent (All powerful)

“All authority, all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” – Jesus

We know the storm (typhoon) obeyed Christ. All Creation obeys Christ – this means he has all power and authority on earth – also in heaven, and also in hell – even Satan obeys Christ.

2. Omniscience (all-knowing)

He knows all and sees all – past, present, and future.

He does not learn this knowledge by study – he simply knows everything through immediate perception.

Jesus knows all realities, possibilities, all potential, all happenings, all motives, all thoughts, all secrets, all mysteries. He knows what you are thinking – he knows our hidden motives. He knows, and we have nothing to hide from the sight of God.

3. Omnipresence (everywhere at once)

He fills all things at all times – he is in all men, all evangelists, all missionaries, all Creation.

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, so go and make disciples of all nations. And behold, I am with you always until the end of the Age.” (Great Commission)

Jesus is the same as us, but also different.

Also, Paul is explaining this to the men in Jerusalem.

Also, we are the same as this.

We have certain similarities with others, non-believers – membership cards, skills, passions, workplaces, age, children, life status, life situation. Take these things and use them as a springboard for the gospel.

Jesus also did this for the Samaritan woman at the well.

What was her immediate concern? Water.

She came to the well for water. So, Jesus approached her through the matter of water. “Will you also give me something to drink?” Because her first concern was water, Jesus approached her with water.

But soon, Jesus shifted from physical water to spiritual water. “Whoever drinks this water, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. The water I give them will be a spring of water welling up in them to eternal life.”

Soon, she was evangelized by Christ and immediately she also became a powerful evangelist (running into the town to tell everyone).

Her life up to that point had been very shameful – she’d had 5 husbands up to that time, and she didn’t like to speak in public. But in leaving her water, she ran into town, shouting and proclaiming, “Come and see!”

Question:

Is Jesus your Lord?

IF Jesus is really really your Lord (my Lord), we should say to him (every day, every moment), “What shall I do, Lord?”

If he is your Lord, this means, you are his servant / slave. So, you must be ready ALL THE TIME to obey the command of the Lord.

Paul saw Jesus as Lord, and his FIRST response was, “What shall I do, Lord?”

This means he was READY to obey the command of Christ.

So, if Jesus is really your Lord, you should be prepared ALL THE TIME to say, “Lord, what shall I do?”

Then, when we ask this, we must LISTEN.

LISTEN….

If you do like this, “Lord, what must I do?” and immediately go do your own thing, then this sentence is useless. You must be ready to LISTEN.

Jesus spoke to Saul from heaven, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Jesus spoke to Paul through Ananias.

He spoke to Paul through his friends, and through circumstances, and through visions / dreams.

Jesus spoke to Paul in several ways.

Like this, today, because Jesus is alive and the same yesterday, today, and forever, IF we ask, “Lord, what shall I do?”, then he will speak to us in various ways – but most of all through:

Bible, meditation, circumstances, friends, prayer,

And we must make it our goal to LISTEN to what he’s saying to us.

  • The right question is NOT: “Is Christ speaking to me?” (He IS)
  • The right question is rather: “Am I listening to Christ?” (Are you?)

Last verse: “Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.”

Here there is a very strong commandment.

  • v. 10: “get up!”
  • v. 16 “get up!”
  • v. 18 “quick!”
  • v. 21 “go!”

Jesus calling today is the same, in only two words:

  1. “COME” (to me)
  2. “GO” (into the world)

Get up! Get up! Quick! Go!

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 17 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Paul was Arrested but God Overruled!
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul was Arrested but God Overruled!

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 21:17-40 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem

17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” [From the Jerusalem council in chp 15]

26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.


At long last, Paul was welcomed by the church, and reported thoroughly what God had done among them. They praised and glorified God. This meeting is very important in Jerusalem. “All the elders…” (including James – the leader of the Jerusalem church – the senior pastor). This James was Jesus’ half brother.

He was not one of the original 12 who had followed Jesus, but he was still called an Apostle. Peter, James, and John – were Jesus’ closest friends, but at this time, James was already martyred. And Peter and John were elsewhere on other missions. So, this James was left in charge of the church at Jerusalem.

The church at Jerusalem was a horribly persecuted church (after the death of Stephen) and was undergoing hardship and famine.

There were reports among Jewish believers in Jerusalem about Paul. Even though they became Christians, they loved their Jewish culture and law (circumcision, etc). The rumor was that Paul compelled Jewish believers in foreign countries to abandon Mosaic Law and Jewish customs and traditions – including not circumcising their children. This rumor spread all over the world – but it was untrue.

We know that salvation is found only through the grace of God by faith in Jesus – and not through customs. Also, Paul never told anyone NOT to be circumcised, in fact, he instructed Timothy (half-Jewish) to be circumcised to avoid rumors. Paul practiced Jewish customs and traditions himself as a Jewish man.

The OT laws prepare for the coming of Christ. Jesus came, and released the people from the burden of guilt by the Law. Paul was not keeping the Law in order to be saved, but was keeping the Law to avoid offending those he wished to reach for the gospel.

As a result of these rumors, the elders suggested to Paul that he join the four people who were taking a Nazarite vow at that time. They suggested he join in the purification right and the vow.

At that time, this vow was a symbol to set oneself apart as fully devoted to God. The taker of the Nazarite vow had to abstain from meat, alcohol, wine, dead bodies, cutting hair – for at least 30 days (and sometimes at the last 7 days, he had to stay exclusively at the temple courts). He also had to prepare many kinds of offerings.

  1. One year old lamb for sin offering
  2. Ram for peace offering
  3. Basket of unleavened bread
  4. Cakes of fine flour mingled with oil
  5. Drink and meat offering
  6. Cut his hair and burn it at the altar with these sacrifices

This was obviously a costly business. Poor people were unable to do it. This is what Paul was asked to do – his own expense, and also pay for the 4 companions.

This suggestion may be unacceptable to Paul – because he had no obligation to do it. He was an apostle, a great missionary. But even though he was a man of strong conviction, he submitted to this suggestion, and did it (paid for himself and the 4 others). Why?

We should apply this lesson in our own lives today. Why would Paul do this? Here are 3-4 reasons.

1. To follow his mission policy

To be flexible in non-essentials. His mission policy:

1 Cor 9:19-23 “Even though I’m free and do not belong to anybody – to God alone, but I make myself a slave to everybody to save as many as possible. To the Jews, I became a Jew. To those under the law, I became under the Law to save them. To those without the Law, I became like one with no Law, though I’m under the Law of Christ. To the weak, I became weak. I became all things to all men so that by all possible means, I might save some. I do this all for the sake of the gospel.”

This is our mission policy. If we are really true, born again Christians, yes, we must be faithful to the Word of God, but flexible to this world.

2. To show his love for his lost nation

To avoid offending the Jews. Romans “I speak the truth in Christ. I’m not telling a lie. My conscience confirms it in the HS. I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. I wish that I were cut of from Christ for the sake of my people Israel.”

Even though he was a missionary to the Gentiles, he loved his lost country more than his own life.

That’s why he accepted this suggestion.

3. To keep solidarity (unity) between the Gentile and Jewish church

Even today, this is a major issue in the church. But Paul had a big vision for union between the Jews and Gentiles in the church. He longed for the unifying power of God in uniting the church.

“Live in harmony with one another. If it is possible, as long as it depends on you, live at peace with EVERYBODY.” (including upstairs and downstairs people)

Eph 3:5..? “Keep the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace”

So sometimes, we must also submit to worldly authority, especially when the unity of the church is at stake.

We Christians must be careful not to spread bad rumors.

Eph 4:29 “Do not let bad words (unwholesome talk) come out of your mouths, but only that which is helpful to edify (build up) others.”

Do you have a mouth? This is given as a special gift from God for:

  1. To confess Christ as Lord
  2. To preach the gospel
  3. To encourage others

You should have no spare time to spread bad rumors about your neighbors.

— Story

There’s a man who repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. One day soon, all the townspeople knew the story. Because of this gossip, the slandered person was deeply hurt and most unhappy. This person who spread the gossip knew it was untrue. So he went to a wise teacher to get some good advice. How could he take it back, solve the problem, pay the damage.

The teacher said, “At the market, buy a hen, kill it. On the way home, pluck the feathers and drop them one-by-one on the way home.” Strange suggestion, but he did it and told the teacher he had done it.

Teacher, “Good job. Go back the same way and collect all the feathers you dropped and bring them all back to me.”

He followed the same path, but all the feathers were gone due to the wind. Searching the whole day, he returned with only a few.

Teacher, “It is very easy to drop them (gossip) but it is impossible to collect them again (repair).”

It is easy to spread a bad report, but you can never again completely undo or take back what you’ve said.

Mouth: given to you to:

  1. Confess Christ
  2. Praise his name
  3. Preach to others
  4. Edify others

Where is your free time to slander others? You should have none.

“God bless my mouth.”


2 misunderstandings about Paul

Great men / women are often misunderstood. Are you misunderstood? Perhaps you are great~

Jesus was misunderstood, Paul was misunderstood. If you are also misunderstood, you are following in the footsteps of Paul and Christ.


Paul Arrested

27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia [Ephesus] saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.” 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.)

30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

33 The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. 35 When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”

38 “Do you speak Greek?” he replied. “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?”

39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”

40 Having received the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic [common language of Palestine Jews at that time – half-Hebrews]:


The season at this time was Pentecost, so as we saw in chp 2, we can know that many, many Jews came here from all over the world – from Asia, Macedonia, etc.

As we know, before coming, Paul worked at Ephesus for 3 years. And many Jews came from Ephesus, so knew him from there, and they knew how effective his ministry had been there. They also knew his Gentile friend from there. So they thought he had taken his Gentile friend into the temple (like a tourist maybe).

They thought, “Everywhere Paul goes, his Gentile buddies go too.” They saw him in the temple, and thought, “OMG – the Gentile buddies came here too???”

But he had been in the temple due to his Nazarite vow – and had been seen many times in the temple by the Jews. So they assumed he was destroying their customs and defiling the holy temple.

At that time, Gentiles entering the temple was an absolutely unacceptable thing. There was a specific court for the Gentiles and for women. Between these two, there was a fence, with a big signboard: “No man of an alien race shall pass beyond this barrier. If anyone goes beyond this barrier, he will be guilty to death.”

Even Rome took this so seriously, they allowed the Jews to carry out this penalty of death for this crime. That’s why they seized Paul and lynched him and tried to kill him.

At that moment, the news reached the commander of the Roman troops – who came with his officers and soldiers. When they saw the officer, they stopped beating Paul. They asked, “What’s wrong? What has he done?”

They had a mob mindset and just shouted various things to get him out of there (almost like with Jesus, “Crucify him!”).

The officer ordered Paul be bound with two chains (for his own safety) and be carried to the barracks. In the middle of this picture, he was bound, black and blue, bloody, and being carried. On the steps, all of a sudden, these stairs became Paul’s excellent pulpit (stage) from which to preach the gospel to them all.

He asked to speak to the crowd (v. 37). He spoke to the soldier in Greek, “May I speak to the crowd?” At that time, speaking Greek proved that someone was international, cultured, educated. “Are you Egyptian?” “No, I’m from Tarsus.”

At that time, there were three MOST famous cities in that world for philosophy, literature, and education.

  1. Athens, Greece
  2. Alexandria, Egypt
  3. Tarsus, Asia

This commander gave him permission to speak.

When he turned to speak, he somehow motioned for silence in the plaza below. Almost miraculously, silence arrested this uproaring, crazy mob.

“When they were all silent…”

How is this possible? The power of God overflowed through Paul at that moment.

Lesson / Insight:

  • Paul spoke Greek to the commander.
  • He spoke Aramaic to his fellow countrymen.

We should learn this:

For our ministry, language is an essential tool for communication. Effective ministry requires that we speak the language of those we want to impact. Effective communication requires that we expend effort to build the bridge of understanding to others.

Including me, I want to bless all of us that God bless our tongues for his kingdom and glory.

  • I wish Korean brothers and sisters may get great development in your English so that you may communicate the gospel story with English speakers in English.
  • I wish English-speakers in AICF would get great development in your Korean so that you may communicate the gospel message to Koreans in Korean.

God bless our tongues. This is not only glory to God, but also very exciting. This will make our lives much more energetic, purposeful, and meaningful.

Conclusion

In this horrible situation: God was overruling.

God is overruling today as well.

God wants to use our tongues, our hearts, our attitudes, our decisions, our courage to spread the gospel of salvation. When we decide to preach the gospel, God will give us his power, his wisdom, his insight, his joy, his peace. God bless our tongues and our whole beings.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 10 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Lord’s Will Be Done (Acts 21:1-16)
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.

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