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  • Aug 12 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-15)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1-15)

8.12

Bulletin_08.12.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Previously, there was a split between Paul and Barnabas.

Paul wanted them to return to previously evangelized churches and strengthen them.
Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul didn’t. Paul thought he had abandoned them earlier. The disagreement became so heated, that the two split.

Paul took Silas.
So, rather than one missionary journey, there were two. God made the best of the bad situation. (lemonade from lemons)

Later, Paul changed his attitude toward Mark and they did eventually minister together again. There was no bitter root that took hold, they did eventually reconcile.

———-
So, Paul and Silas visited Syria and Silicia, then Derbe (on the first journey – with Barnabas – they’d won many converts). Luke doesn’t give details about their activities there, but in Lystra (where Paul had healed a man lame from birth) all the men treated the two as gods – but they insisted they were men, not gods.

Jews came from other cities and stoned Paul and dragged him out, but then Paul rose up, returned, and went on to Derbe (the first time).

Now, Paul is coming back to Derbe and Lystra – and this is the first mention of Timothy in the NT. Son of Eunice – woman, father was probably Greek. Paul saw good potential in him, but there was a problem. Timothy was not circumcised…

The father had not allowed circumcision, but had allowed his mother to teach the Jewish Scriptures. So, in the eyes of the Jews, he would be considered a Jew by birth (mother), but an apostate (someone who has turned from the faith) because he was uncircumcised.

So to overcome this dilemma, Paul had Timothy circumcised, not for salvation purposes, but for expediency. Circumcision is of no matter to Paul (he writes elsewhere in Romans, it is circumcision of the heart that matters), but this will allow Timothy to join Paul without tons of disputes from the orthodox Jews.

Paul calls Timothy, “my son, whom I love” and recognizes that Timothy’s thinking is very much like his own. “I have no one else like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.”

Eventually, Timothy is ordained in the ministry, he has a special spiritual gift, given through divine revelation and in 1 Timothy 4 he says “do not neglect your gift.”

Timothy remains close to Paul, as a successor, up to his death (almost his adopted son).

Having Timothy circumcised was a simple public relations ploy to force the Jews to accept him.

Paul accepted and brought Greeks, uncircumcised people, and anyone into the temple to worship. So, the Jews – the legalistic or non-Christian ones – hated him and spoke against him and prayed against him.

So, he circumcised Timothy to avoid problems with the others.

Now, the two of them travel from town to town delivering decrees that say “you need not be circumcised.” Ironic that Timothy was circumcised and now delivering these messages. But, if Timothy had not been circumcised, he could not have had access to the towns and people.

Previously, the 4 provisions, no strangled meat, no blood, no idol meat, no sexual immorality, were imposed upon the new believers (instead of circumcision). These were the messages they were delivering.

The towns they traveled to were all along a long highway. Perhaps Paul intended to continue along to Ephesus, the capital of Rome in Asia. However, in verse 6, they were prevented from continuing along.

Paul’s missionary journeys were coupled with keen planning and sensitivity to the Spirit of God. At that time, they were moved to not go on.

God has his own timing and his own ways of dealing with these towns, spreading the gospel and so on. So, the next logical decision was to head to the coast – Troas – an important port, connecting Europe and Asia Minor.

Paul has a vision, “Come to Macedonia and help us.” Now, the prompting of the Spirit makes sense, God was directing them this way.

This is the first of the “we” sections of Acts – Luke writes “We got ready at once… concluding that God had called us…”

Luke apparently joined Paul there at Troas, as they prepared to set out.

There’s no indication that Paul preached anywhere along the way, but Luke writes next of Philippi – named after Philip II of Macedonia (the father of Alexander the Great). It became part of Rome in 167 BC. When Mark Anthony defeated Brutus and Cassius (Shakespeare – based on history), many Roman veterans were settled in Philippi – so it became a Roman colony.

Luke writes of the conversion of Lydia.

Paul usually went to a synagogue and preached and taught there, but today, they went to a river where they thought there would be a prayer meeting. Perhaps there was no synagogue in town, needed at least 10 Jewish men – heads of the family – to establish a synagogue.

Here is Lydia, a trader of purple clothes.
She might have been a Jew, or might have been a proselyte (convert).

Luke 16:19, there was a certain rich man clothed in purple.

Likely, Lydia herself was rich. Either single, or a widow. She owns her own home, provides hospitality to the travelers, indicates that she is well off (rich).

God opened her heart to receive their message. Luke 24:31, Luke writes of God opening other hearts on the road to Emmaus after Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Their eyes” were opened – and they recognized Jesus as he broke bread with them – and he vanished.
Luke 24:32 – “Were not our hearts burning…as he OPENED up the Scriptures…”

Luke 24:44-45 “These are my words which I spoke to you…that all things which are written about me (in the Bible) must be fulfilled, then He opened their minds to understand.”

Jesus enlightens their understanding of the Scriptures. Everything points to Jesus.

Every Story Whispers His Name (Jesus Storybook Bible)

Jesus opens minds to understand.
Luke follows Paul and says “People cannot understand the gospel because the devil blinds their eyes.”
Interesting. People CANNOT believe or understand the gospel because they are blinded – by Satan. Only Jesus can bring understanding and enlightening. The Holy Spirit works through the preaching, the testimony of the word of God, to open eyes and minds. Yet, still, even after understanding, there must be a response.

We must confess, repent, forsake our sins. Turn from our old lives, our evils, our sins, turn to Jesus for salvation, forgiveness, and cleansing. There is no other way to salvation.

Lydia’s baptism takes place quickly afterward. She and her household become the first converts in Europe – as far as we know.

Verse 15 – This was a favorable beginning to their ministry in Philippi, but later they run into problems…

The Philippi church generously supported Paul in his ministry – he writes in Philippians that that church was the most generous and even gave when no others gave.

“He who began a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 05 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-31)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-31)

8.5

Bulletin_08.05.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Verse 1 – some men came from Judea to Antioch – teaching circumcision is necessary to salvation.

Gentiles would have to obey circumcision and other aspects of Jewish law (i.e. basically convert to Judaism) in order to be considered part of the church.

Different cultural backgrounds.

Some traditional Jews continue to obey all the laws (or try to) and worship at the temple as they had since Moses. Some of these things (circumcision) identified them as the people of God and set them apart.

God said, “This is my covenant you shall keep for your generations – circumcision.”

So, Abraham took Ishmael, and all his servants and everyone in his estate and circumcised them all in the same day.

Later on, Moses reinforced circumcision – Exodus 12:33-34 – “This is the ordinance of the Passover – no foreigner may eat of it, but all your slaves – after circumcision – may eat.”
Joshua also reinforced it – all those born in the wilderness – a new generation of Israelites – hadn’t been circumcised. So, God commanded them to be circumcised with flint knives.

This was an important mark of the covenant with God.

On the other hand, ex-pagans were continually becoming saved and entering the church.

They had been worshiping idols, they had no desire for circumcision since there was no cultural value for them.

The Jews were afraid that the ex-pagans would change the nature of the church. They weren’t so concerned with some who kept the Jewish laws, worshiped at the temple, and so on. But, IF ex-pagans entered the church and DIDN’T keep the Jewish laws, it might encourage Jews to not be so zealous about keeping the laws themselves.

Something had to be done.

So, Paul and company traveled around and preached about how the Gentiles were turning to God – and accepting Jesus as the Way, Truth, Life.

At Jerusalem, they are welcomed by the elders and reported everything that God had done through them (verse 4).

But then, some with a legalistic background (Pharisee-order Christians), decided that circumcision must be enforced even upon the Gentiles.
They are leaders, teachers, a powerful force (and legalistic). They said Gentiles must basically convert to Judaism before they can be called Christians.

MUCH discussion took place…

Genesis 17 likely referenced to make the case for circumcision.

Then Peter stood up and gave a strong testimony to accept the Gentiles into the church on the basis of “faith alone” and according to the basic Christian creed.

God had already (possibly 10 years earlier – Acts 9) made an example of bringing Gentiles into the church by faith alone.

Peter: “God, who knows the heart, showed he accepted them, he purified their hearts by faith, and gave them the Holy Spirit.”

Peter said that the Pharisee Christians were testing God, placing a yoke around the neck of the Gentiles that Jews themselves had been unable to fully bear.

Yoke – metaphor for political, social oppression (1 Timothy 1? – yoke on slaves)

The gospel came at a time when slavery was rampant. It took many, many years before God – through many Christian men – helped change the world’s views of slavery.

=====
When Jews (or anyone) set up rules to prevent others from entering the body, they are testing God and burdening others.

Jesus himself said, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light…come to me all you who are burdened and heavy-laden and I will give you rest…take my yoke and find rest.”

Peter ends the speech by echoing the thoughts of Paul, “We believe it is by grace we are saved, just as they are.”

Next, Barnabas and Paul rise to defend their views on circumcision – the whole assembly became silent.

Barnabas spoke first, they trusted him, he was originally from Jerusalem, sent to Antioch. So, he and Paul both told the story of the Gentile conversion as it happened. Told of how they went to Cyprus, and how God through Paul had stricken the sorcerer with blindness because He wouldn’t put up with the obstruction to his gospel. Told of other miracles and wonders they witnessed.

This shows that God is blessing their work.

The next person to speak is James, the leader (head pastor) of the church in Jerusalem. He was highly respected all around, probably because he keeps all the Jewish laws.

He agrees with Peter and Paul that faith is the basis for salvation, but the Judaism-advocates misunderstand him. He said that “Just because I keep these laws doesn’t obligate Gentiles to do so.”

Amos 9:11-12 is quoted – prophecy.
He verifies and vindicates the Word of God. By quoting this, he is saying that the Gentile mission is the method by which the Gentiles are becoming part of David’s new tent (the new Israel) – verse 16)

He says, don’t obligate the Gentiles to follow our laws.

However, he has a public relations problem, he doesn’t want to alienate pious Jews – so he sets up 4 prohibitions.

3 of them are about food –
idolatrous worship foods – especially meat (but later Paul in 1 Corinthians says “eat” so long as it doesn’t cause another to sin),
flesh of animals that are improperly killed,
don’t eat blood – an extension on the previous one

The final prohibition = pornea (pornography origin)

No sexual immorality – 1 Corinthians – “He who sins sexually sins against his own body (all other sins are outside his own body)….each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband….I will be grieved over many who have sinned and not repented over their sexual sins in which they have indulged.”

Corinth was very perverse (Vegas?) and known for sexual immorality – in fact, immoral people were often referred to as “Corinthians”

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. DO NOT BE DECEIVED. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, prostitutes, homosexual offenders, drunkards, swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. AND that is what some of you WERE. BUT, you were purified, sanctified, washed, cleansed, made righteous.

But thank God for his grace.”

1 Corinthians – Paul recommended marriage BECAUSE of rampant immorality. If he were alive today, he would definitely encourage it.

Today, taboo things of the past have become commonplace. The Internet can bring any of these things with the click of a mouse.

Paul says “FLEE”
Many do struggle with sexual sin and temptation.

www.settingcaptivesfree.com
Porn, wine, cigarettes, finances, diet, homosexuality, etc.

www.purepassion.com?

Billy Graham? Do you know him?
Ruth Graham (his daughter) had been through 3 broken marriages.
First husband brought porn in, messed her up, divorced, raped before second marriage, second marriage broke up, third marriage.

Book “There’s a Broken Heart in Every Pew”

Everyone comes to church smiling, dressed in their best. “How are you?” “Fine!…..” She wasn’t, she was abused by first and second husbands. She finally found peace in her third.

God brought her through that, now she can minister to others with the same struggles. All these other online ministries are similar.

C.S. Lewis – The Great Divorce
Slay Sexual Sin in our own lives.

“Busload of people who travel to heaven on a tour before getting to their new home – heaven. Once in heaven, many flee back to the comfort of their bus. One ghost, with a talkative Lust Demon pestering him, wanders out and meets an angel. The angel asks, “Would you like me to make him quiet?” “Of course” “then I will kill him” “Oh, ouch!…You’re burning me.” “Don’t you want him killed?” “Nothing so drastic please” “It’s the only way, shall I kill it?” “no, no, he’s asleep now.” “May I kill it?” “no, no, some other day?” “No other day. You’ll kill me!” “Not kill you” “You’ll hurt me” “I never said it wouldn’t hurt you, just it wouldn’t kill you.”
Lizard, “I promise I’ll be good”
Angel “May I?” Man “You’re right, it would be better to be dead than live with this. God, help me”

The man screamed in agony, the angel squeezed the lizard, killed it and threw it.

Then the man (ghost) became solid – not a ghost anymore but a man.

The lizard grew bigger and bigger and changed. It became a stallion (horse), beautiful golden hair.

The man (not ghost) climbed upon his stallion that had been his sin and rode toward his Savior.

The only remedy for sexual sin is DEATH to that sin. But after that death, there is a beauty to the new creation life.

Let us prepare for communion, and if there are any lizards in our lives, let’s kill them.

Amen.

  • Jun 17 / 2012
  • Comments Off on If Christ is Your Savior and Lord, He is Your Example (John 13:1-17)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

If Christ is Your Savior and Lord, He is Your Example (John 13:1-17)

6.17

Bulletin_06.17.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Verse 15 is the KEY verse.

Please memorize this verse.

In the Bible, there are 4 farewell messages:
Deut 31-33 – Moses
Joshua 23-24 – Joshua
Acts 20 – Paul
John 13-17 – Jesus

Jesus style is unique compared to other 3.
Jesus began with the action of washing (chp 13)
Chp 14 – Let not your hearts be troubled.
15 – I am the true vine, you are branches.
16 – I have told all these things to you, so that you may have peace in me. I have overcome this world.
17 – Closed with prayer (himself, disciples, ALL believers in the future – including YOU! Jesus prayed for YOU!)
(14-17 = messages)

Jesus washed 24 feet.
God washed 24 ugly, dirty, stinky feet.

All power and authority are in his hand, but he took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into the basin and began to wash their feet.

Can you imagine it?

In Palestine at that time, no paved roads – only dirt, also, very thin sandals. So in the dry season, tons of (yellow?) dust. In the rainy season, tons of mud.

At that time, washing feet = a slave’s job.

Verse 12-15 When he finished
Do you understand? I am Teacher and Lord, I am your Example. No servant is greater than his master.

Jesus is our example. The greatest example!

Is Jesus really, truly your personal Savior. Be honest before God, not before me.

IF he is, then there is no question that he is our example. One of his main purposes in coming into this world was to be our example – our role-model – he modeled the behavior we should follow.

Phil. 2:15 –
Hebrews – Fix your eyes
Eph – Fix your eyes on Jesus
“Jesus suffered for us, leaving an example for us.”

Who is your example?
In the Bible, there are many “good” people. Of course we can learn from them. But NOBODY is our final example – besides Jesus. Who suffered for you, gave his life for you? ONLY Jesus.

Make sure ONLY Jesus is your final, true example. Not even other human mentors. ONLY Jesus is the final example.

Share 5 Characteristics of Jesus: hoping, praying for us to be like Jesus more and more.

#1: Jesus is a person of absolute holiness.
(v 10). Cleanliness = godliness.
(v 11).
Jesus washing their feet symbolizes Jesus cleansing, purifying, and making them holy. He is holy, and holy person maker.
He is the ONLY absolute holy one.
“Holy and Righteous One.”
Jesus has also been tempted in every way, but is without sin (Hebrews 4?)
He was holy in nature and conduct.
Only Jesus is sample of holiness.

If you like Jesus, you will be like Jesus.
If you behold Jesus, you will be holy like Jesus.

Moses in Exodus, his face shown (shining) after meeting God – he was transformed and becoming holy more and more as he spent time with God.

Christians = Saints = “Holy Ones”

Because we are justified and saved, we must “work our your salvation with fear and trembling” – work out your holiness in your conduct, your personality, your MOUTH.

#2: Jesus is a person of genuine love.
(v. 1 second sentence)
Can you understand this picture?

Many times we notice the word “knew”
He is original God, omnipotent. He knew and knows now and the future.
Also in this time, Jesus KNEW:
1. Judas would betray
2. Peter would betray
3. Disciples would scatter – lack of trust, laziness, fear of Man.
4. The gravity of his own situation, about to die.

In this time, what did disciples do? They argued…
They never deserved Jesus’ love, but he loved them to the end, to the full.

By nature, we are not better than the disciples, than Peter, than Judas.
We were dead, and Christ died for us.
Romans 8:35? What can separate us from the love of Christ – nothing in ALL creation!

Remember the ground, the foundation of our salvation, our assurance = the love of Christ in death for us.

“A new command I give you, ‘Love one another’ as I have loved you.”
Paul: “The love of Christ compels me.”

Love of Christ should be the strong, forcing drive for each of us.
1 Corinthians 13 – “If I speak with the tongues of angels, but have not love, I am a [meaningless noise]. If I have faith that can move mountains, but not love, I have nothing. If I give all I have, even my body to the fire, but not love, I give nothing.”

We must be serious about this.
EVERYTHING done without love = NOTHING in God’s eyes.

1 John 1 “Perfect love casts out fear.”
Do you have fear in your life?

Love is the power to drive out all fears.
May God bless us all to be a person of love. God can do even if we cannot do.

#3: Jesus is a person of true humility and meekness (not weakness)

Jesus is very true GOD, yet he kneeled down and served and washed their feet.

In his earthly life, he did not quarrel, did not shout on the street, did not have a place to lay his head. He emptied himself totally, humbled himself totally. “He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”

The same Peter here (proud), later in 1 Peter admonishes us to “clothe yourselves with humility, for God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.”

Humility is going down to the bottom to SUPPORT others.
We become poor of our own accord to MAKE others rich.

Meekness is NOT weakness.
See the ball pen – hear the sound.
The podium is not meek.
The cloth is meek. (no sound)

Meekness is the power to accept, maturity not to be hurt, state of being tamed all the time, completely in being used by the Lord.

Would Jesus feel comfortable, convenient in using you? If Jesus would feel that way, you are meek. If Jesus would not feel comfortable, convenient to use you, you are not meek. Consider.
God bless us to be meek.

#4: Jesus is a person of the Father’s job.
For one person to prepare water and wash 12 men’s dirty feet and dry them with a towel at one time is not a small job – it’s a BIG job.

He was a faithful, hard, passionate worker. But his job was not his, but his Father’s
John 5:17
John 9:4 – As long as it is day, do the work of the Father.

Yes, Jesus saved the lost, preached, healed, opened eyes, raised the dead, calmed storms, fed the hungry, trained workers. Sometimes he didn’t even eat or rest because he was so busy. But ALL that work was the Father’s work.

Romans 12:11 – “Never be lacking in zeal. Continue in spiritual passion.”

1 Corinthians 15 – Therefore my brothers, let nothing move you,

Colossians 3 – Do all you do with your whole heart as working for God, not for men.

Teaching English is not YOUR work, it is the Lord’s work! If you think it’s YOUR work, then it is a source of stress and tiredness. If you think it’s GOD’S work, it is a source of rest and peace.

To the slave, there is not his own work, it is all his master’s work.

#5: Jesus is a person of full prayer

He closes this goodbye message with prayer in chp. 17. He prayed often, for everyone, habitually, regularly.

In Luke, there are at least 11 occasions that Jesus prayed. Sometimes ALL night, sometimes dawn prayer (dawn prayer started with Jesus), prayed before mission, prayed before Calvary, even after his greatest successes.

Jesus prayed for killers, for enemies, earnestly, honestly, patiently, believingly, submissively.

Luke – Jesus prayed SO honestly, he sweat drops of blood
Hebrews 5:7 – He offered up LOUD cries and tears

On the cross, he finished his life on earth with prayers for his killers. “Forgive them.”

Still now, Jesus is STILL praying for us.
Romans – “He is at the right hand of God and INTERCEDING for us!”
In heaven.

He is in his nature GOD.
If he needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray?

Not to pray = arrogance, unbelief, against God. “God, you do your thing, I’ll do mine.”

The more we surrender before God, kneel before God, the more we can stand in this world.

“Get on your knees and fight like a man!”

God is very happy to hear your living voice. “God, help me, make me a person of holiness, love, humility, your work, a person of prayer.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 10 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Parting is NOT Such Sweet Sorrow (Acts 13:13)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Parting is NOT Such Sweet Sorrow (Acts 13:13)

6.10

Bulletin_06.10.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

In Pisidian Antioch : 13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John (Mark) left them to return to Jerusalem.

*Oops, bulletin picture is apostle John ^^;

Previously, Barnabas was mentioned first.
Acts 11:30 – Prophecy of famine coming into the world, the saints in Antioch agreed to send supplies to Judea. They sent it in charge of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 12:25 – Returned from Jerusalem, “and Barnabas and Saul” returned, and they took on John (Mark) and a relative (nephew or cousin?) of Barnabas.

Acts 13:2 – While the leaders in Antioch were ministering and fasting, the Holy Spirit (HS) said, “set aside Barnabas and Saul.”

Three times, Barnabas was named first, then Saul.

Now, Acts 13:13 we read, “Paul and his companions” = (those around Paul) – Paul becomes center stage, and the others become satellites around him. He is the leader, dominant partner in the missionary team.

There is no specific indication WHY Paul becomes the leader here, perhaps due to the HS’s direction during the period when Paul called a mist of darkness to come upon a magician they met (Elymas). When the proconsul saw this power of God, he believed and the activities of Satan were frustrated through Paul.

Perhaps the HS is clearly at work in Paul at this point, so he becomes the leader.

Also, at this point John (Mark) returns to Jerusalem. No reason given here.

Perhaps Mark didn’t like that Barnabas is no longer the leader (perhaps the same has happened in some churches).
Or he may be in disagreement over some parts of the presentation of the gospel to the Gentiles.
Or he may have been homesick.
Or he may have been afraid of the next part of their journey – they would have to cross high mountains, endure floods, avoid robber crowds. It may have seemed a daunting future.

Whatever the reason, he returned.

Paul didn’t like it. Acts 15:38, he said, “desertion.”

Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36~) returned to some of the churches they’d planted to see how they were.

Barnabas wanted to take (this same) John (Mark) with them. Paul didn’t want to since he’d deserted them previously.

They had such a sharp disagreement, they separated. Paul chose Silas, Barnabas took John Mark. Paul returned and strengthened the churches. Barnabas continued on.

Who was right? Paul or Barnabas, or both?

Here are two men – crashing into each other verbally, angrily perhaps – and separated.

Paul was task-oriented. He wanted to accomplish his mission (the Lord’s mission).
Barnabas was people-oriented. He wanted to restore John Mark.

They separated, yet, now there were two missionary teams. So, God directed the two, he overruled their argument and sent them separately.

Toward the end of his life, (2 Timothy 4:11), Paul asked Timothy to bring him Mark – he changed his mind about Mark.

“All’s well that end’s well.”
“Let bygones be bygones.”
“Put the past behind you.”

Scottish Preacher, Samuel Rutherford, was reflecting on his youth – the debt he owed to God. “Pray that bygones between me and my Lord, may be bygones.”

The Lord CANNOT forget sins – he is omniscient (all-knowing).
But he CHOOSES not to remember – not to hold past sins against us.

When we repent (turn away from the sin), God forgives us and remembers them no more.

“Forgiving is not an emotion, it’s a decision. It’s tearing up the I.O.U.”
– Derick Prince

(I.O.U.) = I owe you, I must repay you.

“Many wives who’ve suffered from their husbands STILL suffer, because they’ve never torn up the I.O.U.’s. They have I.O.U.’s – “you owe me love, you owe me respect, you owe me…” Yet, God holds MANY MORE I.O.U.’s against you. God says, “if you tear up yours, I’ll tear up mine, but if you hold onto yours, I’ll hold onto mine.””

One lady forgave $30,000 in I.O.U’s immediately after this sermon.

Husbands/wives, friends, co-workers, even YOURSELF – have you forgiven these?
Have you forgiven yourself?

If you say, “how could I do this (sin)?”
The answer, “you’re still human, and not yet glorified – you are not perfect, so don’t hold yourself to the standard of perfection.”

Sample dialog:

  • Barnabas: Mark has potential!
  • Paul: He’s your relative…
  • B: Not true, I help others as well – he has great potential!
  • P: We need a tight, close, reliable team – able to endure beatings and scorn. How can we take him? He failed us before.
  • B: I’ve talked to him about this, I’m sure he wouldn’t do it again, to refuse him might do damage to his spirit at the moment of repentance.
  • P: It’s too soon to trust him.
  • B: Remember how soon after your conversion, I trusted you…I’d rather not keep him (Mark) waiting.

A.T. Robertson
“No one can blame Barnabas for giving Mark a second chance, nor Paul for fearing to risk a second chance.”

P & B parted in anger and sorrow.
Paul owed more to Barnabas than anyone.
Barnabas was parting from the greatest spirit of the time.

Who was right?
Most people think Barnabas. Swindoll is tempted to agree. Yet, Proverbs 25:19, “Like a bad tooth and unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in times of trouble.”

Have you ever loaned money to someone who never paid it back? Is it still outstanding? Would you loan that person money again?…Probably not. (This is Paul’s viewpoint.)
He hasn’t paid you back once, he’s more likely to do so again.

What if it has an impact on those we minister to? What if his actions roll over to others in the church and others leave as well?

If you see only Barnabas’ side, you’ve likely never been betrayed or failed by a partner in ministry.

Neither vote for Paul or Barnabas. Both sides have validity.

Yet, in the sovereignty of God, missionaries doubled.

Mark eventually wrote the gospel of Mark, Paul spoke well of him later.

This same thing has happened in churches since then. Church splits, yet God gives grace.

Whitefield (once saved always saved) vs. Wesley (give away salvation – fall from grace)

Q: What happens when you get to heaven?
Whitefield: “Wesley will be so close to God’s throne, I won’t even see him.”

That’s GRACE. Let’s pray we each can show the same kind of grace.

  • Jun 03 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Summary of Jesus’ Public Ministry (John 12:27-50)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Summary of Jesus’ Public Ministry (John 12:27-50)

6.3

Bulletin_06.03.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

This world is full of many kinds of troubles.
We can never flee these troubles.
We can only trust fully, really in God from our deep hearts.

The same God, who says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” also says, “My heart is troubled.” (v. 27).

We can see three things from this confession:

#1: He is fully man
No one wants to die at 33.
No one wants to die on the cross.

Hebrews – “He himself suffered while he was tempted”
He had sleepless nights. He was tired, exhausted, misunderstood, forsaken, persecuted, delivered unto death.

He experienced all things humans experience, except sin.

#2 Now we know courage DOESN’T mean “no fear” BUT rather “can be very afraid, and still do what must be done.”

Isaiah = “Our Savior took up our infirmities, troubles, weaknesses, sicknesses, worries…”

#3 There are worldly troubles and godly troubles
2 Corinthians: “Godly sorrow = life, worldly sorrow (troubles) = death”

Matthew 10, “Whoever finds his life loses it, but whoever loses his life for me saves it.”

Do our troubles come from God?
Or from this world?

Do we think, “how can I live an easy life for my pleasure, myself?” = death
If we think, “how can I live my life for Christ, for others?” = life

Jesus is now facing suffering and death.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.”
Romans 8:29 “Those he foreknew he also predestined…”

Jesus is our first brother, eldest brother.

If we are looking for a comfortable life, conforming to the comforts of this world, we will suffer.

If we are looking for Jesus, to be transformed by him, we will never be alone, we will experience full joy.

Jesus never said, “What shall I do?” but here, “What shall I say?”

Only 2 prayers we can pray:
“Father, save me” OR
“Father, glorify your name” (v. 28)

God spoke to his son directly, and his prayer received an answer from heaven with DOUBLE assurance.
“I HAVE glorified it (Jesus’ past life and ministry) and WILL glorify it (Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, coming again).”

God spoke to Jesus 3 times at very important points:

#1 Jesus’ Baptism: “This is my son, whom I love, in him I am well pleased.”

#2 Transfiguration: “This is my son, whom I love, in him I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

#3 NOW – entering Jerusalem in the last days before the cross: “I HAVE and I WILL glorify my name through your ministry.”

Now, Jesus openly speaks about his cross.

v. 31-33

“Now is the time (the cross) for judgment on this world…”

Jesus death brings:
1. Judgment on this world
2. Defeat of Satan
3. Salvation for ALL who would believe

Who is Satan?
The prince of this world. (mentioned thus, 3 times in the book of John)

2 Corinthians?
Satan is mentioned as the “god” of this age.
He was an angel – REAL – not symbolic.
Deceiver, divider, but finally, defeated one.

Jesus through his death, brings total defeat to Satan.
Yet, today Satan is allowed to go around this earth and destroy, yet one day soon, he will be condemned, and sent to hell forever.

v. 32
“But when I am lifted up, will draw ALL men to myself.”

Jesus death = for men, defeating Satan.
Jesus’ death is not for nature, animals, angels, but for men, ALL men.

1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of Man appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

So, our lifestyles should be very simple.

For man, against Satan.
Jesus death is “for man, against Satan.”
Also, as followers, our lifestyles should be “for man, against Satan.”

If we fight against man, we fight against Jesus. If we do something pleasing to Satan, we fight against Satan.

Ephesians – “Our fight is not against man, but against [Satan]”

v. 36
“Put your trust in the light while you have it…Jesus hid himself from them (the crowd – v. 29, 34)”

This marks the end of Jesus’ public ministry in front of the crowd. After chapter 12, Jesus does not appear in front of the crowd again.

From chapter 14 to his arrest in chapter 18, he does his ministry only in front of his disciples.

The rest of this chapter is the epilogue, the summary, review of Jesus’ public ministry. This is the last chance for the crowd to listen to the living voice of Jesus.

So, for the crowd, he summarized again what he taught them.

#1 Light
v. 35-36, 46
“light” repeated 5 times
From the 6th-9th hour during his crucifixion, darkness covered the land.

Chap. 1:4 – “In Him was light…the true light…the darkness has not understood it.”
Jesus = the light of the world, whoever follows will never walk in darkness.

Later, Jesus says, “YOU are the light of the world…Let your light shine so that the world may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.”

Earth goes round the sun, we always receive the light of the sun, doesn’t show favoritism, gives light equally to all men. On the other side of the world – they do not have the light just now. The sun gives the light to them, but they do not receive the light. Why? Because they have turned from the sun.

The sun gives light to ALL, but some do not receive because they are turned away from the light.

The same way, Jesus gives light and life and salvation to ALL people, but some do not receive because they are turned away from the light (reject it).

Like this, we too are the light of the world.
What does this mean?

Our message, our gospel, our testimony can be accepted by some, or rejected by some, but on our parts, we MUST shine to ALL people. We are the light of the world!
Acceptance or rejection is THEIR job.
Shining is OUR job.
(Don’t be shy)

Hallelujah!

#2 Faith
v. 37-46, key word = believe = repeated 8 times

John explains the unbelief of the people (v. 37-38) WOULD NOT believe
(v. 39) COULD NOT believe
(v. 41~) SHOULD NOT believe

Despite all the clear evidence, they would not, could not, should not believe. They closed their eyes to the truth, though they received clear signs and miracles from God throughout the ages.

This was already prophesied in Isaiah 6:10

They would not believe, or they would not confess their faith, even though they believed.

This is important to us if we believe in Christ. v. 42-43

Fear of Man
They would not confess, they hid their faith, for fear that they would be banished from their community.

Even today, many Christians hide their faith out of fear of rejection, bullying, etc.

They seek the praise of man, they fear man.

Fear of God, fear of man, can never go together.
Praise of man, praise of God, can never go together.

Hidden faith, hidden belief, can NEVER please God.

“Whoever disowns me before man, I will disown before God in heaven. Do not fear man, but fear the one who can destroy body and soul in heaven…”

It is much better to BE right for eternity,
than to LOOK right for mortality.

Please do not be deceived.

#3 Relationship with God
v. 44-50
“Then, Jesus cried out.” Why?
This message is SO important, SO urgent, and this is the LAST chance for the crowd to hear his living voice before his cross (also there is no microphone…^^)

To believe in Jesus, see Jesus, love Jesus = to believe in God, see God, love God

To hate one = to hate the other.

Jesus is the visible representation of the invisible God (Colossians 1?)

Jesus = real, true, eternal God.

That God came here, became as one of us, and died (physically) to save us (eternally, spiritually).

You are very special, important, God’s VIP.

What is your value? The blood of His son. The life of God.

May God bless us all continually with his life, eternal life.

  • May 27 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Good News for the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-12)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Good News for the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-12)

5.27

Bulletin_05.27.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

In Acts 12, 13, Paul is taking center stage.

Previously, Peter had been the center.

Now, the gospel is taking a different direction.

Acts 12:25 – Saul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem during the famine. The saints had gathered food and money to take to those in Jerusalem.

After Saul (Paul) and Barnabas did this, they returned to Antioch.

There were prophets and teachers there.

Luke, the writer of Acts points out the offices and roles of people in the ministry. (Acts 13)
Also, Paul writes of the roles and offices in the church in Romans 12.

To each who is a member of the body of Christ, gifts, anointing, functions are given by the Holy Spirit.

What is our place?
What is our ministry?
What are our gifts?
Where can we serve?
We should pursue these things to serve the Lord and edify one another within the church.

Start somewhere, and the Holy Spirit will make it clear where you belong.

1 Corinthians 12:28 – God has appointed apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, administration, tongues.

Ephesians also mentions evangelist between prophet and teacher (Eph. 4:11)

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers.

These gifts are given to help others in the church grow up to serve others – to build up the body of Christ, ultimately.

Luke, in Acts, names 5 prophets and teachers in Antioch.

These different names show they come from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds – they aren’t all Jews from the same small town.

Barnabas was instrumental in introducing Saul to the other apostles.
Barnabas was then sent from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 11:23) to witness the many who became Christians there. He encouraged them and was overjoyed to see the gospel spread to the Gentiles.

Barnabas (real name Joseph), means “son of encouragement” – that was his nickname given by the other apostles.
(v. 24) – He was a good man.

Acts 4:36-37 – He was a Levite, real name Joseph, who owned a tract of land and sold it, and laid the money at the apostles feet.

He was good, encourager, generous.

2. Simeon – Latin name “Niger” = dark skin, may have been given the nickname to distinguish him from others.

3. Lucius from Cyrene in North Africa. He may have first preached at Antioch.

4. Manaen – brought up with the Herod of the gospels (Jesus called him “that fox”) – in Mark 6, he captured John the Baptist and killed him. Manaen may have been brought up in the court of Herod.
Two foster brothers (Herod and Manaen) brought up together, one brought honor upon himself by becoming a Christian, the other brought disgrace by killing John the Baptist and the trial of Jesus.

5. Paul is last mentioned.

After introducing us to the leaders, Luke tells us the church is worshiping and fasting, and considering a missionary venture.

The HS says, “set apart Barnabas and Saul.”

How does the HS speak?
Clearly through a prophetic utterance – from one of the prophets present there.

Here, there are echoes of the OT prophets, bringing the message of God.
Ex: Johosephat – king, his people were fasting, crying out to God – the spirit of the Lord came upon a prophet “Do not fear or be dismayed, the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Now at Antioch, God is showing again his will about a different concern – spreading the gospel around the Roman empire.

Missions are not the will of man, not accomplished through man’s efforts. The HS is the source and guide of these initiatives.

In Acts, Luke shows how the HS is the leader and guide of the church.

Acts 4, when the church prayed together, they were filled with the HS, preached boldly the word of God, even against the command of the govt.

Acts 8, after the revival in Samaria, HS led Philip to Ethiopia (8:29) – the HS said to Philip, “Go to the chariot” – the man was reading Isaiah but couldn’t understand it – so Philip preached Christ to him, he believed, and went on to preach in his home.

Acts 10, Peter preaches to Cornelius, a Gentile, the HS convicts and converts him. Peter acknowledges that it is the whole work of the HS.

All through Acts, there is a sensitivity to the leading and guiding of the HS.

So, through the spirit, Barnabas and Saul are separated for the task of evangelism and sent (v.4). The church “sent” them, but the HS “SENT” them truly.

Paul is not a lone ranger, but in constant contact with the sending church.

This is the beginning of the story of Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). Took 3 years in total.

They set out for Cyprus (journey by boat = 130 miles). Cyprus is 140miles x 60 miles. It was a Roman island.

It made sense to start the ministry here, because Barnabas is from here – his native land.

Some Christian communitees probably existed, so they could support their efforts a bit.

The first place they land at is Salamis.

John Mark (writer of Mark’s gospel, mother Mary had the house church that Peter went to after escaping prison) accompanied them.

There Barnabas and Paul proclaimed the gospel in the synagogues (where the Jews would learn about the Law of Moses). So, here is where the apostles proclaimed the Law of Moses all pointed to Jesus.

At Paphos, the island’s leader, requests a meeting with the apostles (actually orders it).

(v. 6) – They met Bar-Jesus – problem.
Bar-Jesus = “son of Jesus”
Bar – Jesus = Elymas (translated)
Elymas = “the magician” was opposing them and trying to keep the island’s leader away from the apostles and belief in Christ.

Paul, filled with the HS – stared him down and powerfully spoke against him. “You are not the son of Jesus but the son of the devil!…”
Paul prophecies that he will be blinded – and he is immediately.

These are echoes of Paul’s own experience. Paul also was blinded, literally, because of his opposition to the gospel.

Elymas’ physical judgment was the same as his spiritual predicament – blind.

Also, we all were blind to the gospel before meeting Jesus. We were dead in our sins, lost. But God, because of his love, in his great mercy, saved us.

It would be interesting to see the after-story. Was Elymas convicted? Did he become a Christian?

Similar story, when Philip went to Samaria, met a sorcerer there as well.

Similar story, in Egypt, sorcerers and magicians tried to outdo Moses with magic.

Similar story, Elijah and the prophets and magicians of Baal.

But, every time, the Lord God is shown to be the most powerful.

So, Paul and Barnabas eventually preached to the island leader, and he was amazed. – There was power in the gospel, it was effective, bad people became good, people were healed, lives changed.

The island leader saw it, and believed. It would be interesting to see what happened in the after-story.

So, in Paul’s preaching, we see not only blessing (to seekers), but also blasting (to the wolves – those who oppose the gospel). In Romans 1, we see God gives people over to their sins. When spiritually blind, God increases their blindness.

Yet, even in judgment, there is mercy.

I once was lost, I now am found.
Amazing Grace Hymn

Jesus comes in to our lives and cleanses us and saves us.

How to be saved?
Acknowledge your sin, confess, repent, turn to Christ, ask him to set you free, come into your life, lead you, guide you, change you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 20 / 2012
  • Comments Off on What Shall a Seed Do to Bear Many Seeds? (John 12:12-26)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What Shall a Seed Do to Bear Many Seeds? (John 12:12-26)

5.20

Bulletin_05.20.2012

Sermon Notes

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The previous day, was a small, quiet dinner with Lazarus’ family.

TODAY, it is switched to a huge crowd, big feast – Passover – in Jerusalem.

Passover = first & greatest feast of all feasts. Jews from all over the earth, came to Jerusalem. A Jew’s dream for his life was to observe the Passover in Jerusalem.

This is Passover season – Jesus will be crucified on Passover.

Jesus enters Jerusalem on a young donkey – small, not a horse.

The four gospels all tell this story. Their accounts should be compared. This event is very important.

Jesus sent disciples to the village, told them to untie the donkey they would find there. If someone says something, say, “The Lord needs it.” and we will return it.
This donkey was borrowed.

Jesus wanted to fulfill OT prophecy, it was the one (announcement) event he allowed during his ministry.

Jesus was announcing at this time that he was the Savior, the promised Messiah.

This is the “Triumphal Entry”

What does this mean for Jesus?
1. It is part of his obedience to his Father – fulfilling the prophecy in Zech 9:9.

What does this mean for the Romans?
2. There is no record about their viewpoint, but surely they kept a close watch on that event – the Passover. It was not uncommon for a Jewish nationalist to try to arouse the people.
So, the Romans undoubtedly thought this was that kind of event.
Afterward, they must have laughed.

Compared to the Roman triumphs and celebrations and parades in Rome, this event was nothing.

Whenever a Roman general was victorious, killed 5000 enemies, gained new land, he received “triumph” in Rome – a HUGE parade, like today’s car parades (tic or take parade?)

Compared to that triumph, Jesus’ “triumph” was nothing.

What does this mean to the people of Israel (pilgrims)?
3. Pilgrims welcomed Jesus, and shouted “Hosanna!” Psalm 118:26 – Messianic Psalm. Luke – they shouted “Peace in heaven!” They wanted Jesus to bring them the peace they needed.

While they were doing this, Jesus was weeping. (Luke) When Jesus saw Jerusalem, he wept over Jerusalem.

Jerusalem = “City of Peace” but Jesus saw already what lay ahead for the city, so he wept (war, scattering, troubles, etc).

At his birth, angels declared “Peace on Earth!”
During his ministry, Jesus declared, “War on Earth! Do you think I came to bring peace? No, division.”

There is only peace in heaven.

How can we find such peace on earth? Only found in Jesus.

What does this event mean to Pharisees?
(v. 19)
4. “The whole world has gone after him.” This is exaggeration and prophecy – because one day, the whole world WILL stand before Jesus to be judged for their deeds. They were anticipating some kind of revolt during this season. They feared Jesus would perform some miracles and capture the hearts of the restless people.

How little they understood the heart of Jesus.

Jesus, the Passover Lamb must be sacrificed
1 Cor 11:5? – Jesus our Passover Lamb
Exodus – the Passover meant death, judgment to those who opposed God, but life to those who were with God
1 Cor 1:18 – cross = foolishness to those who are perishing

People today can realize that they worked their whole lives to accomplish nothing – there is still the final judgment.

The heart of truth (v. 20-22)
Greeks = Gentiles

These Gentiles wanted to hear the truth.

No other gospel tells of this incident. It is very fitting to find it only in the book of John, because it is the book written to show the truth of Christianity in a way that even Gentiles can appreciate and understand.

John, theme = Jesus is the Savior of the WORLD – not only Jews. (John 3:16)

So, the Samaritans had already recognized him as the Savior. So, Jesus gives life to the world, and gives his life for the world.

The first people who visited and worshiped Jesus with gold, incense, and myrrh were Gentiles (the Magi from the east). And now, Gentiles come to hear from Jesus before his death.

Next verses are the heart of the truth. He reveals it before Gentiles – and to you and me.

v. 23
Jesus did not say, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed, rather glorified. He saw BEYOND the cross to the glory. Hebrews 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…who for the glory set before him…scorned the shame of the cross, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Main point of this message = the GLORY OF GOD.

How can you glorify God?

v.24
If a wheat seed dies, it produces many seeds. Can you count them?

v. 25
Please be honest with this verse.
If you love your life, you will lose it.
If you hate your life in this world, you will keep it.
My Father honors the one who serves him.

Jesus uses a seed to illustrate great truth.

There is no glory without suffering, victory without surrender, greatness without humility, honor without service, life without death.

We know the secret of the seed.

Can you see the seed? (Apple seed, illustration)

We know the seed itself is very small, very weak, useless, powerless.

If you keep this seed in a beautiful box for safety, security, comfort, what can this seed do? NOTHING. Ten years later, one hundred, NOTHING.

But, this same seed, when it is spread outside and planted, and buried – like in a tomb – on the cold, hard, dark, soil and trampled on by men, this seed starts to penetrate up and down, making roots, branches, leaves, more and more seeds, colors, tastes, fruit, flowers.

This is a miracle! Everybody knows it, but who can explain how?

Kid, “How?”
Mom, “Just because. God makes it, God makes it grow. It’s just the natural order of things.”

Spiritual truth is exactly like this – more than this.

Jesus’ death is the only way we can have life. This is truly true.

One death of one person is the only one way to life for all peoples who believe. (He is the seed).

Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, also to show his power over death.

He can give eternal life because he proved he has power over death.

Also, Bible is the seed to you and us.

If this word of God is on the table, nothing happens.

If this word is planted in my heart, this word becomes alive, powerful, active, and this word can do something great, wonderful in us and through us.

We are God’s children.

WE are seeds to this world, in this world.

We look weak, small. We are dependent. We have life in us (Jesus’ life). This life can NEVER be accomplished unless we surrender to God and allow him to plant us.

We should die to ourselves so that we may live to him and his glory.

We must remake our priorities.

If we love our lives, we will lose the life we want to maintain.
If we are true disciples, we must be willing to suffer and experience rejection.

How much do we reject rejection? How much do we compromise?

To follow Jesus = radical lifestyle change.
= to go where Jesus went, not the way of earthly power and honor, but through humility, suffering, even death.

Where’s your passion?

What are your goals, interests, career choices? Changed? Or same as before.

v. 25
Love your life = lose it
Hate your life = keep it

Everything Jesus did was for the glory of God. We likewise should do everything we do to the glory of God.

Do you want real joy? Real peace?
Put Jesus FIRST in your life.

Do you call “My Savior! My Lord!”
That MEANS you’ve decided to put him #1. If you put him #2, it’s cheating him and cheating yourself.

If you do not want to put him #1,
DO NOT call him “Lord” just “Friend”
Not “king, God” just “Good teacher”

v. 26
“My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Real peace, real joy, real security is found in serving the Lord.

This honor from God will only PARTLY be experienced in this life. It will only be fulfilled in heaven. This is our final hope.

We can derive real peace, security, encouragement by understanding and remembering that our God judges and remembers each service we do in His name.

1 Cor 15:58
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the service of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Our service is never in vain.

Bless us so that his final honor may be his, not ours.

Matthew 25? – “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come! Share your Master’s joy!”

No matter how much we do in this world for God, those are just a FEW things in God’s eyes. In heaven, God will bless us to do many more things for him.

  • May 13 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Persecution and Consequences (Acts 12)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Persecution and Consequences (Acts 12)

5.13

Bulletin_05.13.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Persecution, Prevailing Prayer, Power of God in the Church

King Herod (3) in NT.
1. Herod the Great = Wisemen came during baby Jesus’ time. Built beautiful buildings, refurbished the temple. He was cruel.
2. Herod – killed John the Baptist, Jesus appeared to him before his death.
3. Herod Agrippa – grandson of Herod the Great. All were descendants of Esau – not loved by the Jews.

They acted like Jews, tried to get Jews to like them.

Acts 3, Peter and John went to the temple for prayer, so new Christians were still being good Jews.
They found the beggar, healed him. All the people witnessed it, they were in awe of the Jews who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

Many signs, miracles, wonders were done by the apostles. So, the people loved them, really respected them.

Sadducees didn’t like the Jewish Christians. Some Pharisees were not SO opposed to them.

Acts 5, apostles arrested, put in prison, angel rescued them. Told to go back to the temple to preach.

They were brought before the council, “why are you preaching in this name? You were told not to.” Peter: “Should we obey

God or man? We cannot help but to preach.”

Controversy, but a wise Pharisee counciled the others, “Other cults and religions have risen often and come to nothing. If this is of man, it will come to nothing. If it is of God, we would be opposing God if we went against it. Let it be for now.”

Generally, acceptance of converted Jews because they didn’t seem to affect Judaism in a HUGE way. True, they preached Jesus as Messiah, but they kept most of the Jewish customs.

Why the change in attitude now? Why does Herod set out to persecute the leaders now?

Earlier, Peter went to Cornelius’ house.
Before that, he’d taught in Samaria (among the non-pure-bloods – muggles).

John 4, Samartian woman was healed and changed and forgiven by Jesus. Gospel had already started spreading with her. After the Holy Spirit came, more Samaritans came to believe. Peter and John went down to teach among them.

But, this might have upset some in leadership. Esp. after the conversion of Cornelius (an unclean dog of a man – racism at its best).

Even the converted Jews were shocked by what Peter had done. Imagine the non-converted Jews. So, the attitude – overall – shifted greatly.

Herod knew it, so he wanted to appease the Jews – the majority. So, he decided to persecute the apostles and Christians. James, brother of John was beheaded – Jews loved it. So, he grabbed Peter next.

However, during the Feast, he couldn’t do anything. He was waiting for the end of Passover to try and execute him and get more love from the Jews.

There was a hesitation to do anything DURING the Passover because otherwise the people would riot. Scandal.

What was the church doing?
Praying.

James and John “Sons of Thunder” they were called. They were very zealous, which became more tempered by love as they grew in the faith.

James was the first apostle to die.

Looks like Peter will be the second.

Church is praying, Herod means business, so their prayer becomes very focused.

An angel is sent.

Herod had no doubt heard of Acts 5 escape, so he had 16 total soldiers in rotation looking after Peter, with 2 of them chained to him. This is the last night on earth – potentially, but he is at peace.

But, perhaps he remembered Jesus’ promise that he’d live to old age, on the Island of Tiberius?

He was martyred eventually, but not now. He was at peace – he trusted Jesus fully.

The angel came, woke him, removed the chains, said, “Follow me.”

He went through the 4 groups of guards and gates, thought he was sleeping, once he got outside, cold air probably woke him up and he realized the angel had rescued him.

Peter thought, “what should I do now? Ahh! There’s a house meeting in Mary’s house! I’ll go there.”

Knock, knock.

Maid, “*Gasp*! Peter?!” Runs inside, “Peter! Peter!” People inside, “Crazy girl!” Girl, “Really!”

Finally, they opened the door on him and found him. Comical (3 stooges?)

Peter explains how he was released. Another James, the half-brother of Jesus heard – Peter sent someone to tell him and other apostles. Then Peter left.

1. Persecution
2. Prevailing Prayer

Next, Herod’s consequences.

The next day, Herod’s soldiers woke up “*Gasp!* He’s gone? We’re going to die…”

If soldiers lost the prisoners, the guards take the prisoner’s penalty. Herod tortured them, no answers, executed them.

Then Herod went to the capital city.
Tyre and Sidon (coastal cities) wanted to make peace with Herod for food (FTA).

They made friends with a member of Herod’s court.

Herod is appeased, reconciled with these cities. He arrived early, appeared in a silver, shimmering gown, and begins to speak. “My voice is god’s voice!” An angel killed him.

Josephus says, he was languishing with a terrible disease, parasites that ate his insides, for 5 days, then he died. (v.23)

The word of God increased, multiplied.

What’s the relevance today?

Does God still send angels?
The word in Greek actually means “messenger.”

Russian writer tells a brave story not to give up. In the prison he was in, nothing to read, no one could speak, nothing encouraging for life. The stress was so much, he thought about taking his own life. If he tried to escape, he’d be shot “but at least the suffering would end” He was a Christian, and couldn’t. Morning, taken out to work, during the break, tempted to commit suicide, almost about to run so guards would shoot him. A shadow fell across his path. A fellow prisoner came, couldn’t speak words, but saw in his face love and concern. They communicated in their souls. The new one drew a cross in the dirt. New hope abounded! It’s not hopeless! 3 days later he was released. Learned that many had been praying for him.

God is sovereign.
We must not give up.
We can communicate hope to others.
We must love and pray for each others.

Herod is a representation of the rulers of this world. So, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6).

Jesus is concerned about each of us personally.
He is concerned with your every day struggles and needs.

So pray!

Prayer prevails!

Let’s pray one for another, in and through each other.

  • May 06 / 2012
  • Comments Off on If You Are Saved, Yours is Lazarus’ Story! (John 12:1-11)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

If You Are Saved, Yours is Lazarus’ Story! (John 12:1-11)

5.6

Bulletin_05.06.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Bless us with Jesus’ living voice.

John 11:25-26 – Memory Verse on the bulletin cover.

Previously, Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days and smelling badly. Jesus called to him in a loud voice “COME OUT!” And he came out still bound by his grave clothes. “Take off those dead clothes, let him go – I give him new life, new chance, new opportunity.”

Today is the continuation.

What a BIG difference!

Chp 11 – Death, bad smell, funeral.
Chp 12 – Life, table, fellowship, reclining, excellent smell.

We have something to learn from every person. Mary, Martha, Judas. But, let us focus on the story of Lazarus. He is one of the key people in the book of John.

Raising Lazarus from death to life is the GREATEST of all of Jesus’ miracles on earth. Why is it so important? Today, Lazarus is not here, but with God in heaven.

At that time, Jesus raised Lazarus to proclaim a timeless truth for them and for coming generations. John 11:25-26.

Lazarus’ Story is the visible picture of the invisible story of children of God today. If we are saved, yours is Lazarus’ Story.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is UNchanging in changing something bad in your life.

9 common themes between Lazarus and you (things Jesus does in your life).

#1 – Lazarus was DEAD when he was away from Jesus, with a bad smell, making others sad. Nobody ever lived in the absence of Jesus Christ. At the same time nobody ever died in the presence of Jesus Christ.

When we were far from Christ, we were completely dead. Even Christians say, “At that time, I almost died! I should have died! But because of Jesus, I do not need to die!” NO NO NO. We WERE completely DEAD at that time! Not ALMOST dead! (Ephesians 2:1)

No dead person died more than another dead person. No difference in death. But one dead person can smell worse than other dead people. We WERE ALL dead! We were all stinky! We were all shameful.

#2 – Even though Lazarus was dead, making a bad smell, Jesus loved him so much – personally, individually.

Like this, even when we were totally dead, smelling badly, harming others, God loved each of us individually, personally (John 3:16).

(Eph 3:18-19) How wide, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. The width, height, depth, length of his love is far beyond our understanding – even if we study our whole lives.

Jesus knew us each by name, before birth, before Creation.

#3 – Lazarus was raised from death. He did NOTHING to rise from death. Only, he smelled badly, made others sad. He was totally hopeless, helpless, useless. He did not/could not go to Jesus and ask him to save him. But Jesus CAME to Bethany to save him.

Likewise, Jesus CAME to Earth to save us.

Jesus approached the entrance of the tomb and called “Lazarus!”

Likewise, Jesus approached our hearts and calls “Aaron!” (Rev 3:23).

Romans? It is by grace you have been saved…
How long have you been Christian?

If you say, “Oh yeah! I did it!” to be saved, it SHOWS you are still NOT saved by his grace.

At that time, we were totally, totally powerless, and helpless. We are saved by Jesus power ALONE! All things necessary to raise Lazarus, Jesus did.

#4 – After being raised, Lazarus had immediate, intimate fellowship with Jesus. (v. 2) even reclining with Jesus, fellowshipping at the table.

Likewise, we have immediate, intimate, personal fellowship with Jesus after he saves us.
Jesus does not say, “Oh, no problem, it’s my job” and walks away. No, they became more intimate, more close. We have an unbreakable spiritual union for eternity with Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)

If you are saved, do you know where you are NOW? You are IN heaven NOW, with Jesus! Our real identity is in heaven with Jesus NOW! Even if you don’t understand, believe!

Romans 8:29
Predestined – called – justified – glorified!
We can therefore believe that God is always working for the good of those that love him! (Romans 8:28).

When did God love you? Predestine you? Call you? Foreknew you? Justified you? Glorified you? Sometime before Creation, he predestined us. In our lifetimes, he has called us. In the future, he HAS glorified us. This is human understanding of the sequence of events.

But, in God’s time, ALL happened in the same time.

In our understanding, we WILL be glorified in the future with Christ. In God’s time, we already ARE.

#5 – After new life, it’s still life. It is impossible, unthinkable for Lazarus to return to the same tomb with the same bad smell. Totally impossible!

Our salvation does not guarantee always safe, easy ways, sinless ways. BUT, no matter what we face, narrow ways, difficulties, suffering, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be saved and then lost again and go back to being dead.

Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – you will NEVER perish – NEVER be condemned – you have already crossed over from death to life.” From this place, we can never again cross from eternal life back to death.

#6 – Among Jesus’ miracles, this miracle is the culmination of all miracles! To Lazarus personally, this experience was the greatest turning point in his whole life. This was the miracle of miracles to Lazarus. Before and after, Lazarus never experienced anything greater than this.

The world is divided – not by war, not religion, not politics, but by JESUS. (BC – AD).

The Bible is divided – not by Abram, not Moses, not David, but by JESUS. (OT – NT)

Our lives are divided – not by suffering, not by hardship, but by JESUS.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation! The old has gone, the new has come!”

If somebody never meets Jesus in his whole life, no matter how much he works, there is no life.

If somebody meets Jesus ONLY ONCE, no matter how short his life, there is life.

#7 – Lazarus got new life by changing nothing – no payment.

Lazarus had nothing to lose, nothing to complain about.

Likewise, if we are saved really, we have NOTHING to lose, nothing to complain about!

Why do people worry, fear, be troubled and dismayed?

We do it to NOT lose something. Bible COMMANDS us to not fear (Joshua 1) and not worry (Luke 6?)

We actually have NOTHING to lose on this earth! Even if we lose everything on this earth, it means we get the best thing~

#8 – Be blessed in this. There is yet persecution. (v. 10)
Chief priests decided to try to kill Lazarus, even before Jesus.

Killing the body is the highest persecution on earth – there is none greater.

When Lazarus was dead, nobody tried to kill him, nobody persecuted him. The fact that somebody tried to kill him means, he was alive.

If somebody hates you, persecutes you, makes you suffer, it means you are alive! Hallelujah~

If there is trouble from Satan, it means, you are alive! Spiritually alive!

2 Timothy 2:3 – In fact, everyone who wants to be like Jesus, will have trouble.

Matthew 23:16? – In this world, you will have troubles of many kinds, but take heart, I have overcome this world!

“If this world hates you, this world hated me first. You do not belong to this world because I have chosen you out of this world.”

Persecution because of Jesus Christ is a wonderful blessing! In heaven.

#9 – Lazarus became automatically, willingly, a living witness of Jesus’ life-giving power. (v.9,11).

Many people, everyone! Knew what had happened to Lazarus, so everyone came to see!

Challenge: If you are saved, from that time up to now, how many are saved because of your life? Because of your life change? How many came to church, came to God, came to heaven, because of you?

For Lazarus, it was IMPOSSIBLE to go on living without testifying, talking about it.

Imagine: In April, 100 years ago, if you were in the Titanic, on that terrible night. You ALMOST died, but were SO lucky to survive. Would it be possible to live afterward without witnessing about it? Testifying about it? No way!

But all those who came before, Titanic survivors, Lazarus, are gone now. Ours is much greater because it is NOW!

September 11, if you were sleeping on the 100th story of the World Trade Tower in New York. The whole tower collapsed! You were SO lucky, blessed, to be alive – completely uninjured. After that, would it be possible to live the next life without talking about it? NO WAY!

Our salvation experience is so much MORE powerful than these! It is the miracle of miracles we can experience in this life!

Acts 1? – When the Spirit comes on you, you will receive power. You will be witnesses.

  • Apr 29 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Gentiles Receive the Gospel (Acts 11)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Gentiles Receive the Gospel (Acts 11)

4.29

Bulletin_04.29.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch.

The disciples were first called “Christians” at Antioch.

Last time, Acts 10 – conversion of Cornelius, the Gentile = a milestone in the church’s history.
Cornelius was first fruit of Gentiles receiving Christ.

Peter, very Jewish, had to be convinced by a vision to receive Cornelius and go to his house.

In Acts 11, Peter recounts his vision and actions.

The angel said, Peter will give them a message by which their whole household will be saved.

The Holy Spirit fell on them, and the same manifestations of the Spirit appeared on them as had appeared at Pentecost on the Jews.

How does Cornelius conversion affect Gentile standing with Jews?
It doesn’t fix or set the proper relationship, Jews and Gentiles.

v.2-3
The circumcised believers (Jews) criticized Peter “You ate with uncircumcised! (Gentiles)”

The emphasis of circumcised believers shows that some in the church insisted that ALL people should be circumcised in order to REALLY be saved (fundamentalist?)

They didn’t really care that Peter had baptized a Gentile. They only cared that Peter went into their home, fellowshipped with them and ate food together.

Sharing food symbolizes sharing spiritual life.

Gentiles often offered their food to idols (problem in the early church – even Paul addresses it in Corinthians).

So, the circumcised Jews felt that Peter had “tainted” the fellowship by joining with the Gentiles in eating.

So, Peter had to explain himself “precisely.”

He describes Acts 10 with some new info. (v.14) “He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.”

Peter also talks about the 6 other believers who ALSO entered the house with him (v.12). This suggests that he expected to be challenged (these are witnesses, maybe bodyguards?). So these 6 also had been converted and their testimony would be important, and hold weight for the other Jews.

So, God has put his stamp of approval on this event – Peter PLUS 6 other religious Jews are all in this together.

Peter can point to God as the one who arranged the whole thing.
Cornelius prayed, the angel visited Peter, he saw a vision of animals in the sheet, he was reluctant, but the Spirit of God encouraged him to continue, to greet the “unclean” Gentiles, to share the good news.

It was all a God thing.

Peter figured, if God gave them the same gift, how could I oppose God?

This argument was so convincing that even the hard-core circumcised believers were OK with it (v.18). “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

Interesting: Peter spoke a message to save Cornelius and his family.
Cornelius was a leader, a good man, generous giver, religious, seeker of God, went to church, feared God, was respected by other church-goers.

And yet…
Something was lacking. The knowledge of salvation of Jesus Christ alone.

Going to church isn’t enough.
Being a good person isn’t enough.

But, these things drew Cornelius to God.

It is clear that Peter is sharing the good news with Cornelius. It was clear that Cornelius had heard of some of these things.

In Luke, the author mentions 5 centurions like Cornelius – and has good words for each in their dealings with Jesus. So, Cornelius had likely heard many stories of Jesus and other centurions (like himself).

Cornelius, good man, church-goer, still needed Jesus, needed to be born again, needed the Holy Spirit.

This story Peter told, appears to be the end of the controversy with the Gentiles, but it isn’t. This is a huge transition – a whole paradigm of a whole population of people that would need to change.

It would take much convincing that God wanted Gentiles just as much as Jews.

The believers in Jerusalem would be concerned with LOTS of Gentile believers. How would that affect the Jewish church in Jerusalem?
These problems will linger until Acts 15, where a council is formed to establish some rules.

Now, Luke is ready to write about the main theme of his book, the expansion of the church, the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles. The stage is set, so Luke will continue his book with Paul – the missionary to the Gentiles.

Antioch became the headquarters (2nd) for missions. Jerusalem was the headquarters of the church.

Antioch was large, but sinful.
Luke begins his story of Antioch with the story of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, killed for Jesus.
Saul (hardcore Jew) had witnessed this and saw Stephen as a threat to his own beliefs. He agreed and watched the killing.

The same day that Stephen was killed, a great persecution of Christians started, so they scattered – preached the gospel as they left, in Samaria, Ethiopia, Acts 10 (Roman centurion), Cyprus, Antioch, etc..

They had preached mostly only to Jews, but by Acts 11, 12, and on, they started preaching to the Gentiles, the Greeks in Antioch, etc.

The hand of the Lord was with them, and many turned to the Lord. The church in Jerusalem heard these things, so they sent a delegation down to Antioch to see what was happening (same as what happened with Samaria). So, they sent Barnabas.

Barnabas, from Cyprus, a good man, man of faith. He would be a good bridge between Jerusalem and Antioch (different peoples, different cultures).

He encouraged the believers in Antioch.

He was instrumental in introducing Saul (Paul) to the believers in Jerusalem. After Paul’s conversion, the Jews were hesitant to receive him. But Barnabas saw his true conversion and testified to it and introduced Paul to the Jews, who received him largely on Barnabas testimony.

Barnabas realizes that the ministry in Antioch is too much for him, so he goes to Paul (in Tarsus) and brings him. They preached and built up the Antioch church for a year.

Many of those who shared the gospel are nameless in the Bible. They simply received salvation, and wanted to spread the good news.

A great awakening, revival began with nameless people.

If you think, what can God do with insignificant me? Think about them. God did much!

  • Apr 22 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead! (John 11:1-44)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead! (John 11:1-44)

4.22

Bulletin_04.22.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Today’s story = Jesus raised a dead man after 4 days!

Lazarus, brother, Mary & Martha, sisters.
Lazarus = a KEY person in John’s book.

Key people
Lazarus, Jesus, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus.

His family stories are repeated many times (10-15?)

This was not the last miracle before Jesus’ cross, but it was the one that aroused the MOST anger from his enemies.
This is the MOST climactic miracle in his earthly ministry.
Lazarus has been in the tomb 4 days. This miracle could not be denied.

If Jesus cannot do anything about death, then whatever else (miracles) he can do, amount to nothing.
If we only have hope in Jesus in this life, we are to be pitied above all men (1 Cor. 15).

The story does not start with Lazarus’ death, but his sickness.

v.1 He was sick.

Sisters sent a short, urgent message to Jesus. This is enough for Jesus to understand fully.

They, the sisters, expected IMMEDIATE action to spare them grief. Jesus should have done something quickly, on their expectation because they loved each other so much. They were Jesus’ close friends. Plus, Lazarus was nearby.

Jesus did nothing, only said, “This sickness is for God’s glory.”

4 days, he was in the tomb.
Day 1 – Messenger arrived with message, same day, Lazarus died, lay dead in the tomb.
Day 2 – returned to Bethany, Jesus stayed.
Day 3 – Jesus stayed.
Day 4 – Jesus departed and arrived.

Martha saw him, “IF you had been here, he would not have died!” (v. 21)
Mary (v. 33) “IF you had been here, he would not have died!”

WHY?

Why did you come so late? Why not earlier?

Because you came late, my brother died. This is mixed and complicated feeling of two sisters. Complaining, despair, still trusting, hope, lots of emotion.

Sickness – even death – does not indicate that God has rejected you.

Remind ourselves that we are not exempt from the pain, sufferings, and difficulties in this world.
We do not have a different life in this world. But, we can experience life differently – through our hope in Jesus.

Our hope does not isolate us from this world’s difficulties.
But, our hope does provide us a way through these difficulties to make us more humble, compassionate, strong, for others.

First lesson – Wait.

Jesus’ delay had a specific purpose. This was God’s timing.

Sometimes we think, He is not listening, He is not answering, He is not doing what we want.

But, God meets all our needs according to HIS plan and purpose, for HIS glory.
Phil 4:19

Second lesson – Timing.

Sometimes, we offer passionate prayer of need and God answers quickly, and we are excited! Our faith is strengthened!

Other times, it seems God may never answer…Even in our whole lifetimes…

Sometimes we “waste” many, many years only to see God answer our prayers in a different way.

Sometimes, God’s answer is “no.”

In whatever case, God’s timing and answer is perfect and best!
Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…
Romans 8:28
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Man plans his way in his heart, but God directs his paths.

Jesus, “IF you believe, you would see the glory of God.”

Key word – Faith
Key word – Glory

Worldly principle – “Seeing is believing.”
Spiritual principle – “Believing is seeing.”

How can we glorify God in our sufferings, trials?
Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (Col?)

Sufferings, trials, give us patience, perseverance, develops our Christian character (hope).
Romans 5:2 – we rejoice in our sufferings…

James 1:2 – Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…
Perseverance must finish its work so that we will be complete.

Suffering provides the encouragement of dependence on God to others. It helps us be free from worldly things when we focus our eyes on God for help. Sometimes it makes our desire for God, for eternity with him, stronger.

Lesson three – Jesus = person, God = person

A person’s treatment of another person is PERSONAL.

Jesus’ response to YOU is personal.

Matthew 8 – Centurion asked Jesus for help for his servant. Jesus said, “I will go.” Centurion said, “Not necessary, just say the word.” Jesus, “OK.”

John 4 – Royal official came to Jesus and said, “My son is sick.”
Jesus did not say, “I will go” but rather, “YOU may go, he is alive.”

John 11 – Lazarus died. Jesus waited.

Different way of handling each person, but it produced the BEST result for each person. Because Jesus’ response to YOU is personal.

“My testimony” will not be standard, the same, as other people’s.

v.35 – Jesus wept…(shortest verse in the Bible – possibly the most powerful, deepest…)

WHY weep? He KNEW He would raise Lazarus soon. He KNEW he would die on the cross as well as shed his tears.

Jesus wept – shows the humanity of our Savior. He entered ALL of human experience. He knew, He knows exactly how we feel. He has experienced ALL things we do, in a deeper way.

Jesus
Isaiah 53:3? Jesus is a man of sorrow.
Hebrews 5:7 – summary of Jesus earthly life.

During his life, he offered up loud prayers and tears to God. He was heard because of reverent submission.

Nowhere, “Jesus laughed.”
Many times, “Jesus wept.” Luke – “Jesus wept” over Jerusalem

“Blessed are you who weep now, you will laugh later. But cursed are you who laugh now, you will weep.”

Did Jesus weep to make us laugh?
So, we also must weep to make someone laugh. Also, to make Jesus laugh.

Are you ready to weep to make Jesus laugh?

Your family, husband, wife, children, parents, can you weep for them?

A good example of this = Paul.
Whenever he saw Christ, he was full of joy – NO MATTER the circumstances – even in prison – and death. “I will rejoice in the Lord.”

Rejoicing is not emotion – but a matter of will.
“Rejoice, rejoice, I saw again rejoice.”

Romans 9:2
Whenever he saw the lost, he wept. “I have unceasing anguish in my heart…”

If we have joy in our own salvation, we can weep for others’ salvation.

v. 41 – 44
Key verses, v. 25, 26

Lazarus is not on earth, but in heaven. So why raise Lazarus? To proclaim v. 25, 26 for us.

Key verses – memorize them – v. 25,26 All day today, meditate on these verses.

“I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…Do you believe this?”

Do you believe? Can you draw this picture in your mind?

Lazarus body was already smelly, decaying, but Jesus called in a LOUD voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

And the dead man came out in his grave clothes (mummy?)

New flesh, new body, new bone – all restored. Even the dead hears Jesus’ voice. IF Jesus said, “The dead! Come out!” Then ALL would be resurrected.

Jesus voice is living, powerful, absolute, even the dead hear it.

1 Thess 4:16-17 – Key verses
Very important connection to these verses.
“On that day, the Lord Jesus will come down with a loud trumpet, loud voice, and the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet them, and we will be with the Lord forever.”

v. 25 – “I am the resurrection and the life”
1 Thess “On that day…”
Jesus = resurrection for the dead
Jesus = life for the living

But, we need not only concern ourselves with THAT day, but also THIS day.

Natural death is sleeping before God – waiting for our bodies to be raised. Even, our natural sleeping is a kind of death – a death exercise before God. Nobody can get up unless God provides the power to get up.

Who got up this morning?

Every morning you get up. Even though we get up, it’s not by accident. We got up this morning by the grace of God, by the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.”
Our hearts beat not by accident, because God makes them beat.

If God stops his working for making our hearts beating, our hearts will stop. Everyday is a new GIFT from God. Every morning we start with new mercies (Lamentations 3?)

If we start every morning with Jesus’ resurrection power and life joy, why not live the WHOLE day with this power and joy?

“I am the resurrection and the LIFE!”

  • Apr 15 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Holy Spirit and the Gentiles (Acts 10)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Holy Spirit and the Gentiles (Acts 10)

4.15

Bulletin_04.15.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Alpha Program – Nicki Gumbel “How to be filled with the Holy Spirit”

5 Categories of People who were/are present where the Scripture is spoken.

1. Thirsty (Acts 2) Disciples waited expectantly for the Holy Spirit
waiting, in prayer, didn’t know what to expect, just waiting for Jesus’ promise.

As they gathered, the HS came, like a mighty wind, filled the place, tongues of fire appeared on their heads. They praised God in other tongues (languages).

Many gathered in Jerusalem at that time for Pentecost. They heard these disciples speaking in their own languages, they were shocked.

“What does this mean?”

Peter preached. “They aren’t drunk. But this was spoken by the prophet Joel – there will be signs and wonders. This is a fulfillment of prophecy…”

Peter also said, “This is because Jesus, whom you crucified, has been raised from the dead, and is reigning in heaven.”

Many were cut to the heart, they realized Jesus was the Messiah.

Peter said, repent, and you will also receive the promises.

3000+ added to the church IN ONE DAY.
(Acts 2 – Longing – thirsty)

2. Receptive (Acts 8) Philip evangelist was preaching, signs, wonders, healing. Many turned to the Lord. Simon the sorcerer wanted to buy the power with money…

Demonstration of power in Philip’s word to the people of Samaria. Peter and John came down, prayed for them, they were filled with the HS.

3. Hostile (Acts 9) – the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, Jew, Pharisee, ardent worshiper, perfect in keeping every law…
Yet, something must have troubled him.

He saw the first martyr, Steven – it must have touched his heart.

Yet, he still took Christians to prison. He was hostile to the move of God – didn’t believe it was of God.

On his way to Damascus, he met Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” said Jesus. “Who are you?” It was Jesus.

He was blinded, led into Damascus, humbled, prayed for by Ananias, healed, changed completely.

From the biggest enemy of Christianity, to the biggest (evangelist) apostle to the Gentiles of Christianity.

4. Uninformed (not taught about the HS)
Disciples encountered many who were baptized by John’s baptism (water), they informed them of the baptism of the HS.

5. Unlikely ones (Gentiles)
First followers of Jesus were Jews. After Pentecost, preached to Jews. Yet, some in Samaria also believed.
Samaritans were like half-Jews, but probably fellowshiped in their own communities.
An Ethiopian also believed.

The first Jews worshiped in the temple. They didn’t really know what to do with the Gentiles who were being converted to Christianity.

How could the mix with them?

This (Acts 10) is the first real “test case” where God led them to mix with the Gentiles. Without this, the barriers, prejudices, and so on would be much more difficult to break down.

Cornelius was a good man, noble. He was accepted by the Jews, recommended by them.

Caesarea.

He was not one who fully accepted the laws of the Jews (probably didn’t conform to all their laws) but he did go to their congregation, worship with them, was accepted by them. He had a vision.

He was afraid. The angel told him to go to Joppa to meet Peter and Simon the tanner – or send for him.

He sent for his devout servants. (God is orchestrating all of this).

Noon the following day, they were on their journey.
At the SAME TIME, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He was hungry, had a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with ALL bunches of animals coming down from heaven.

“Rise Peter, kill, and eat.”
Is it kosher?…That’s a bit weird.
“Not so, Lord.”
Didn’t want to break his traditions.
“What I have cleansed, don’t call ‘unclean’”
This happened 3 times.

At the same time, the messengers from Cornelius are at the gate looking for him.

He went down to the gate to meet them. Probably surprised to see they are Gentiles: two servants and a soldier.

They told him “we were sent by a godly man to bring you back to Caesarea – you have a word for us.”

Here are 3 people…
The sheet had come down 3 times…
Connect the dots…

“Hmm, OK, come on in.”
The next day, they set out for Caesarea.

Cornelius fell down before him when he arrived – an angel had told him to get the guy, after all.

Cornelius had gathered everyone to hear from Peter.

Peter admits that, as a Jew, it wasn’t even lawful for him to GO IN to Cornelius’ house.

Jews hated Gentiles.
Gentiles hated Jews.

The Book of Common Jewish Prayer at that time:
“Thanks God I’m not a slave, not a woman, not a Gentile…”

That was a big step for Peter to go into that house.

Said, “Well, you probably know about Jesus, right? He was crucified, rose from the dead, commanded us to be witnesses to the fact that He is Lord of All.”

John 3:16 – think about that…

As he’s preaching, they are believing. The Spirit of God comes upon them. Wow! A Gentile Pentecost?

Peter had also brought Jews with him. When they saw and heard these Gentiles praising God IN THE SAME WAY that they had at Pentecost, they KNEW it was the same!

Peter said, “How can we refuse water to baptize these whom God has also saved?”

v. 44-48

Cornelius then disappears from the Story. But this incident is repeated in Acts 11. The elders had heard that Peter had gone in to these Gentiles. They wanted to know what was up.

Peter let them know. Who was I to stop what God was doing?

Still took some decades for all the differences to be ironed out between the Jews and Gentiles.

Acts 15, controversy at Antioch.
How do we live together, worship together? No impositions should be put on Gentiles except those that would hinder their ability to fellowship together.

With this sheet, God shows that everyone is acceptable to Him.

So, what category are you in?
Longing, Receptive, Hostile, Uninformed, Unlikely?

Graveheart, Ontario, at a Rotary Club at breakfast, last time he preached on this.

Rotary Club was good, like Cornelius – helped people, gave to the poor, religious, but lacked SOMETHING essential.

“So even though you’re doing really good works…You still need Jesus.”

We are all somewhere in one of these categories.

Eph. 5:18 – Be continually filled with the HS.

Even for those who have it, leakage can occur, we need to be filled and refilled.

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