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  • Dec 02 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)

12.2

Bulletin_12.02.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

At this time in Ephesus, the silversmiths were feeling the crunch of the economy after Paul came to proclaim the name of Christ (they made and sold idols of silver for the goddess – people quit buying).

There was a riot, the town clerk warned them that they were in danger from Rome for rioting.

The crowd dispersed. It seems as though Christianity found favor in this time. Some of Paul’s friends restrained him from entering in to defend his friends who were accused in the riots – God used the leaders of the town to calm the riots.

Then, Paul departed for Macedonia. He intended to go to Jerusalem, Rome, and Spain as well.

He hoped to find his fellow worker on the way to Troas – wanted to see Titus, didn’t see him in Troas, but met up with him in Macedonia.

2 cor 7:5-7 – indeed when we came, we had no rest, inside were fears, outside conflicts, yet the God of all comfort comforted us with the coming of Titus, and he in you (the Corinthians) when he told us of your zeal, mourning, etc, for me – I rejoiced.

Notice that Paul was comforted by Titus – God comforts the downcast.

Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone else, or maybe someone else has encouraged you.

We don’t know how long Paul stayed here, but it must have been during this time that Paul ministered to Elyricum – there is no other record of that, but it is near here.

Here is one of the briefest summaries of Paul’s travels in Acts (5 verses). Some of Paul’s letters were written during this time (2 Corinthians and Romans). Luke never mentions the letters, he focuses on the spread of the church from Jerusalem to Rome.

From Greece, as Paul is ready to leave for Syria, he learned of (another) Jewish plot against him. So, he decided to leave Corinth. Because of the plot, he took the long way round (via Macedonia).

There were several men who accompanied Paul, chosen to represent the various churches to Jerusalem. Luke also mentions their origins.

Sopater was from Berea – high-class, noble, searched the Scriptures to confirm Paul’s words.

Aristarchus – had been dragged into the riot.

Gaius from Derbe.

Timothy (two letters written to him), Tychicus, Trophimus, from Asia.

Later, Trophimus will become the unwitting cause of Paul’s arrest.

These men, going ahead, waited for us (Luke is obviously with them again). The last time he joined them was in Philippi when Paul cast the demon out of the slave girl.

Possibly Luke would have represented Philippi, Paul – Corinth – to take the offering to Jerusalem.

From now on, Luke is much more detailed about his reports.

In Troas, he only records a single (momentous) event. On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread (possibly Communion – probably also lunch). This first day of the week is also the day that Christians usually met for worship – but this day was a special day, scholars are unsure if it is Saturday or Sunday. It was a special meeting – because is was the last time Paul thought he would ever see this church in Ephesus. So, the sermon ran a bit late…from evening until midnight. “And he continued to talk on…and on…” (NIV). There were lamps burning, air was stifling, crowded with people – Eutychus ( “good fortune” ) started to drift off to sleep (he was a young man, nearly a boy) – he fell from the window and picked up DEAD (remember Luke is a doctor). Paul picked him up, “no, no, no! Don’t worry! He’s alive!” Makes you wonder if he really was dead… especially with the way Luke records it – very blandly (matter-of-factly). But perhaps Luke had seen so many miracles by that time that he began to see them as commonplace…

Whatever the case, he’s restored to life.

Prophets Elisha and Elijah did similar things in the OT – Elijah prayed for the widow’s son (1 Kings), Elisha prayed for the Shulamite’s son (2 Kings), Jesus raised Lazarus, Peter raised Dorcas, Paul has now raised Eutychus. God reverses death in these cases for his own glory.

Then, Paul carried on preaching and teaching until morning – barely pausing.

They took the young man home greatly comforted.

Paul left Troas (with no sleep), and started walking. The others took a ship and arrived quicker. But, Paul enjoyed his walk, met them at Assos, and got on the boat and continued on.

They continued on…

They took one day hops between ports. Seems that Luke kept a journal of the details of the journey because there is so much detail in here.

V 16 – “He was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost – he’d missed Passover.”

He probably wanted to show the Jews that he wasn’t neglecting his Jewish heritage, and he wanted to present the offering.

Then, Paul stopped at Miletus, and the elders came and met with him – realizing this would be the last time they would probably meet.

This is the only example of a speech in Acts given by Paul to a Christian audience – and these were elders in the church. This speech closely resembles the voice echoed in Paul’s letters. This was also his farewell address – he told them he’d never see them again on earth. Some also call this “Paul’s Last Will and Testament.”

Paul has given speeches to secular leaders, political leaders, educated scholars, pagans, etc.

This is the only to Christians.

He starts with a defense of his ministry – from the first to last, he served the Lord with great humility and tears. Reminded them of his testing – by Jewish opponents (Luke hasn’t mentioned a lot about this – except Acts 19:9 – the Jews spoke evil – Luke concentrated more on the non-Jewish persecution – Paul refers to “fighting with beasts” in 1 Corinthians, and “the trouble in Asia” in 2 Corinthians).

He also reminds them that he had taught publicly, ministered in homes, only taught things that were helpful.

Nicky Gumble – “The gospel is public information – shouldn’t be hidden. Jesus was crucified publicly.” It’s the reason why he was crucified that we should understand.

The essence of Paul’s message was verse 21 – his message was consistent – Jews and Greeks should turn to God in repentance. The same way that Peter had urged them to turn in Acts 3.

Acts 3:36 “To you first (Jews), God having raised up Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning you away from your sins.”

Sometimes we think, “if I have to give THIS up, it’s gonna really stink…” but Jesus actually blesses us by turning us from those things.

Paul, like Jesus, preached publicly.

John 18, when Jesus was brought before Annas, HP (high priest), and questioned, Jesus said, “yo, I spoke publicly.”

We’ll continue with Paul’s sermon and defense of his ministry next time. His core message was for everyone to turn from their sins and to the Lord – that message is still the same today as 2000 years ago.

As we approach Christmas, we should ask ourselves, are we covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb? Jesus is our Passover Lamb – he sacrificed for us. As we by faith receive him in our lives, we are safe and secure from the enemy’s plan.

Let’s pray together.

  • Nov 18 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41)

11.18

Bulletin_11.18.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Little bit of controversy about Paul’s decision to go to Jerusalem.
NIV says, “Paul decided” as if his own choice.

Greek (antonemati) – by his spirit (or HS)

But when Paul talks about it, he says, “I was compelled by THE Spirit.”

He knew he’d face trouble, but he wasn’t saying “don’t go” rather “I’ll go with you” (the HS)

Paul seemed to think it was God’s will to go.

Luke didn’t explain specifically his motivation, but Paul did so in his letters. He wanted to distribute a collection for the poor people.

1 Cor 1:4? – “As for the collection for God’s people…when I arrive I will give letters of intro to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.”

2 Cor 1-9
Romans 15 both speak of this event as well.

This must have been on Paul’s mind, heart, he wanted to do something about it.

He wanted to show that the Gentile churches stood with the mother church even though they didn’t hold to the same traditions and culture. This was an opportunity to show that they held to the same love, the same Spirit, as the Jewish Christian churches. This was a symbol of unity to help the Gentiles realize their unity with the mother church and for the Jewish churches to realize the Gentiles worshiped the same God.

2 Tim 4:20 – Erastus is mentioned, and here in Acts.

There came a big stir because of The Way. Demetrius, probably a leader of a regional guild, who called people together
The silversmiths of that time regarded their guild under the protection of Artemis (Diana).

There were silver shrines with an image of the goddess – these were a source of great income for the silversmiths – and people used them in the temple as a sacrifice.

Here image was believed to have been constructed in heaven and fallen to earth.

The temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – 4x as big as the Parthenon, and could hold up to 50,000 people.

Ephesus was a large port of shipping.

Now, because of Paul’s preaching, people were turning away from the Artemis cult, and the silversmiths were worried about their source of income – their economy.

“Transformation” videos show what changes happened in various parts of the world.

They showed that when people turned to the Lord, God blessed them, plants grew, etc.

God delights in the prosperity of his people – spiritually speaking, although he can bless physically as well.

Paul notes, “Gods made by human hands are no gods at all.”

Demetrius united their economic concerns with their superstitions, “We’ll lose our trade, AND the temple of the GREAT goddess will be discredited.”

The tradesmen were assembled in an open-air theater – on the east side of the city – they would have been in full view of the temple, and they began to shout, “Ar-te-mis! Ar-te-mis!”

The city began to be in confusion, because some shouted one thing, others another.

Gaius and Aristarchus were working with Paul, dragged into the middle of the mob. Paul wanted to go in and reason with them, but he was held back because they didn’t want him to be ripped to shreds. Even some leaders of the provinces encouraged him not to go in.

Paul had friends in high places.

Meanwhile, the Jews send their own rep – Alexander – to the temple to make their own case. In all appearances, it looks like he wanted to disassociate from the Christians. They both believed in one God.

When the people saw he was a Jew, they basically ignored him.

Paul was restrained and basically had to just sit around and watch – but things worked out in the favor of the gospel.

The clerk reassured them that the “great” goddess was not being threatened, and he basically condemned the men for bringing the charges against the men “You brought them here, they haven’t done anything wrong, what’s the deal?”

The people may not have liked this whole deal, but the government were not opposed. Yet even these high level people belonged to an “Emperor” cult – believing the leaders were picked by God. But this city official, the most important local official, realized the potential consequences of the riot, he implored the crowd to take their charges to the proper authorities – the courts – in a legal manner.

“As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting…” (Rome would come down with an iron fist – to put down any riot).
The chief urged the crowd to disband, and they did so.

Luke gives an account, but misses out on some details that Paul shows us in his letters. He wasn’t involved in this riot, but he did undergo a lot of suffering in Ephesus – the cost of success was high.

1 Cor – he had “fought with beasts (persecution)”

2 Cor – “under great pressure, so that we despaired of life itself”

The great apostle Paul? Despairing of life? Yes, he is still a man.

Priscila and Aquila risked their lives for Paul – undergone persecution.

Paul told the elders he’d endured “severe testing” by the Jewish elders.

He also maintained a great concern for the churches in Corinth – because they were basically a mess.

We realize again the things that Paul endured:

  1. Suffering – Paul and his helpers endured much for preaching of Jesus as the Messiah – to the Jews – Jesus, God as the Creator – to the Gentiles. By trusting in Jesus, they received pardon for their sins, the Spirit of God, and eternal life – it’s a big deal!
  2. Sacrifice – Paul speaks of the offering that was taken up by poor churches for other poor people (wealthy people need to step up).
  3. Salvation – Even though there was a great threat, they were always saved. God told the people in the OT, “Stand still and witness the salvation of the Lord.” Paul could witness this kind of salvation.
  4. Sovereignty – God is sovereign and “holds the whole world in his hands.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can carry this same faith and hope – what he’s done before, he will do again, how he’s worked before, he will carry through again.

Paul says, “I count all my suffering as nothing compared to the future glory I will receive.”

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God is a sovereign God, he will bring us through, if we are for him.

If we are for God, he will be for us, if he for us, who can stand against us?
So the question is, are you for God?

Have you accepted him?

Are we TOO religious? So that we cannot communicate with others?

Let’s ask God to make us wise to salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 11 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Christ Arrested Sinners by Being Arrested by Them (John 18:1-14)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ Arrested Sinners by Being Arrested by Them (John 18:1-14)

11.11

Bulletin_11.11.2012

Sermon Notes

 <Download Notes in a .RTF file>

“The Son did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”

He lived 33 years = 7,100 weeks +

The last week, including the resurrection is MORE important than ANY other week in his weekly life.

So, the last week occupies about 1/5 of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.

This week is called “Passion Week” beginning with Palm Sunday, when he entered Jerusalem on a donkey.

  • Monday = Day of Authority – he cleansed, purified the temple, and cursed the fig tree with only leaves, no fruit.
  • Tuesday = Day of Debate – they questioned him “by what authority are you doing these things?” And he cursed the religious leaders and showed signs of the end of the age.
  • Wednesday = Day of Conspiracy – the plot with Judas
  • Thursday = Passover meal, Day of Preparation, the final farewell sermon, and prayer (intercessory), and Gethsemene Garden Prayer
  • Friday = the Day of Suffering – arrested, moved to the high priests, tried, crucified
  • Saturday = the Day of Preparation – in the tomb, under the ground, Roman soldiers kept watch over the tomb.

With his intercessory prayer in chp 17, his private ministry with the 12 disciples has finished.

From chp 18, universal drama for world salvation is to begin – the world, sinners, did the worst against Him, yet he did the best to them.

Between the two, there is a great prayer in the Garden of Gethsemene – not written in John, but in the other gospels.

Let’s look at it briefly:

Jesus said to the disciples: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, so stay awake, watch and pray for me.”

In chp 17, he prayed for his disciples, and everyone.

Next, he asked them to pray for him.

He went a ways away and petitioned God, “My Father, if possible, take this cup from me. But not as I will, but as you will.”

Then, he returned to the disciples and found them sleeping.

“Pray and watch so you don’t fall into temptation, spirit is willing, but body is weak.”
He went away, prayed, returned, found them sleeping.

Jesus gave no comment, returned to his place and prayed.
Luke says, “He prayed MORE earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (physically, medically possible under extreme stress)

Jesus again prayed, “If possible, take this cup from me.”
Returned to his disciples, asleep, and said, “Are you still sleeping, rise, the time has come.”

Then, these events from John 18.

We can see 5 aspects of Jesus’ character from these events:

#1 – Jesus’ courage – Passover = full moon 

So the night was almost like daytime.

The guards must have thought they would have to search for him high and low, Jesus would be hiding and trembling in a hidden place – but before they found Jesus, he found them. Before they spoke to him, he spoke to them.

How is it possible that Jesus, in the face of death, is bold and fearless?
Last night, he prayed the whole night, he was very purposeful about knowing the will of God the Father.

For us: the more we kneel before God, the more we can stand before the world courageously.

The best knowledge in this world is to know the will of God.

If we have faith in Jesus, we can face anything in front of us.

#2 – Jesus’ authority

Can you picture this? Imagine?

From a human’s perspective, this picture seems very strange. Of course, Jesus was with his 11 disciples, yet he was very much alone, unarmed, didn’t sleep, didn’t eat breakfast.

How many people came to arrest him?
A detachment (cohort) of soldiers, and some officials of the high priest, and Pharisees, and a commander, and servants, (and obviously Judas).

At that time, one cohort of soldiers consisted of at least 600 soldiers.

At that time, the Samheedren? had temple police and Pharisees – religious leaders.

Jesus was alone, unarmed, tired, exhausted.

Yet several hundred soldiers came to arrest him.

We think , the picture should have been:
Soldiers with authority: “Come on! Where’s Jesus!” Pitchforks and torches – mob looking for him.
Yet, Jesus spoke first, “Who is it you want?” And they were trembling holding weapons.

When Jesus said, “I am he.”

When they heard, they (armed mob) fell back and onto the ground – several hundred.

How is it possible?

Simply that statement has power and authority over all human beings and sinners.

In John, we’ve seen 10 “I Am” statements.
Actually, this one is from Exodus 3:14 “I Am Who I Am.”

In Gethsemene, his heart was overwhelmed to save sinners, and their hearts were overwhelmed by his authority.

#3 – Jesus’ willing choice to die.

Jesus came to earth to die. – First sentence spoken in this sermon series.

Today, we see his willing decision to die for sinners. It is very clear that he could have escaped death if he had wanted. He could have run, made them blind, made them frozen on the ground, killed all of them with a word, if he had wanted.

Outwardly, they arrested him.

But, inwardly, Jesus’ arrested sinners by being arrested by them.

In fact, Jesus HELPED them arrest him.

“I am the Good Shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep. I have authority to lay down my life and take it up again.”

Jesus arrested them by being arrested.

#4 – Jesus’ protective (continual) love and gentleness

v. 8 – “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”

John 6:39 – “This is the will of Him who sent me, that I do not lose anyone whom God has given to me.”

Jesus shows his love to the full extent – he laid down his life for sinners.

No higher, no deeper, no wider, no longer is His love for us.

Ephesians – the height, depth, width, of his love is greater than we can imagine.

Romans 8 – what can separate us from the love of God? Can angels, demons, hardship, trouble, death, life, present, future, no powers on earth, height, depth, nothing in all Creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

Still now, his love is available for you and me.

Jesus’ love never fails, never fades, never wilts.

Do you experience this love?

#5 – Jesus’ obedience

Whenever he prayed, he looked for the will of God the Father, not his own will.

Phil 2:5,6,7,8,9 says, “Your attitude should be the same as Jesus, who being the very nature God, didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped. He became a servant, a man, humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even on a cross.”

Actually, Jesus is original God, and took 7 downward steps.

  1. Original God
  2. Didn’t consider equality with God
  3. Made himself nothing
  4. Humbled himself
  5. Took the nature of servant (even angels like this)
  6. became a man (like a sinful man)
  7. obedient to death
  8. shameful death on a cross

And so Bible encourages us, challenges us to keep the same attitude as that of Jesus Christ.

What attitude? Kind and humble, no, even to the point of death – to glorify Him, because He died already for us.

He died for us, now is our turn, we must die for him.

Human history began in a garden.

The first sin of man was committed in that garden.

  • The first man Adam brought disobedience and sin in the garden. He was cast out of that garden.
  • Second Adam (Jesus) obeyed God when he entered the Garden of Gethsemene.
  • First Adam brought sin and death into the garden.
  • Second Adam brought life and salvation to all men through his obedience.
  • First Adam became a living being.
  • Second Adam became a life-giving being.

History will also end in a garden, in heaven, with no sickness, no pain, no suffering, the tree of Life will produce bountiful fruit.

  • Eden was a garden of sin, disobedience, death.
  • Gethsemene is a garden of obedience, humility, submission.
  • Heaven is an eternal garden of delight, happiness, satisfaction in our Father God.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 04 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Prevailing Word (Acts 19:8-20)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Prevailing Word (Acts 19:8-20)

11.4

Bulletin_11.04.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Last time we saw the parallel growth of the disciples of John the Baptist and Jesus, and that there were even sects of John the Baptist followers during this time when Paul is preaching.

So, Paul had to remind them that JB was the messenger crying in the desert, preparing the way for the true Lord, even JB was hesitant to baptize Jesus in water when he came.

John’s baptism is a preparatory baptism for the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus ( “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” – the whole Trinity is involved).

Some of that time didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit, so Paul asked which they’d received, and they said John’s (that of repentance) so Paul corrected them and instructed them, and baptized them in Jesus’ name and they received the HS and began prophesying and speaking in tongues.

That brings us to today.

For three months, Paul preached in the synagogues of the Jews, asserting that Jesus is the Messiah – prophesied through the Jewish Scriptures.

It seems that Paul was more tolerated in Ephesus than in Thessalonica (since he stayed for three months) – but he eventually wore out his welcome.

v.9 – When some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitudes
(this is the pattern, generally, they don’t believe, harden their hearts, then speak evil about it).

So Paul left, and began daily lecture sessions in the house of Tyranus. The word (his name) actually means “tyrant” – so he may have be dominant.

Paul continued there for 2 years, so that all the Jews and Greeks in Asia heard the Word of the Lord.

Let’s add the previous 3 months + these 2 years + Acts 20 another year

Luke recons it was three years he was in Ephesus – but not only Ephesus, Jews and Greeks in the entire province heard the Word (Smyrna, Pergamum, Colosse, Magnisia, Leodicia, etc – possibly the 7 churches in Revelation were begun by Paul and his associates at this time (Revelation 3)).

Paul likely didn’t go to EVERY city, but the word of mouth talking about miracles and the like probably helped spread the word incredibly quickly.

Paul wrote letters at this time to Colossians – 4:12-13 – Epaphrus greets you, apparently a minister and partner with Paul.

During Paul’s stay in Ephesus, the power of God was demonstrated mightily.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul so that even small bits of cloth that touched him healed other people.

Paul’s healings could be compared with Peter’s healings in Acts 5:14-15

At that time, believers continually were added to their number so that they brought them out to the streets so that even Peter’s shadow passing by would heal them.
God was doing it, not Peter, just as he did it through Paul. Paul used these signs and miracles as proof that God was using them.

Romans – “I dare not speak of anything that made the Gentiles obedient…except that I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Remember, Paul was one of the exceptions to the apostles, all the others had been personally commissioned by Christ and sent out while still with him. But, Paul was converted while an enemy of Christ and sent out to be the main missionary to the Gentiles.

“Surely, the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you.”

God in his grace was blessing the church, but at times, Paul had to write to them to correct them and bring them back to the Christian lifestyle – the Corinthians were being misled by false apostles and he wrote rather sarcastically to them, “Oh, perhaps I should have taken offerings as these others have…Have you forgotten how God approved my ministry among you with signs and wonders?”

Miracles are pretty good by themselves, but these were extraordinary miracles – some commentators have had trouble accepting them, but Luke was a doctor, and accurately tried to record history – and he recorded these things.

The Greek word for aprons referred to a garment that a working man would wear around his waist to avoid getting dirty – God used these things to heal others and word spread quickly.

In the next scene, Luke gives a sharp, almost comical contrast.

Paul’s name became so well-known that others were trying to mimic Paul and jump on his bandwagon (seven sons of Seva).

“In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”

Seva was likely a Jewish chief priest (not High Priest), and his sons were unable to use God’s power for their own ends, and they ended up getting beat up for it.

News of this spread quickly as well.

Reminds us of Moses in Exodus and the Egyptian magicians who could repeat some of Moses’ (God’s) miracles. When they couldn’t turn sand into gnats, they admitted “This is the finger of God.”
Reminds us of Elijah and the contest to bring fire down from heaven onto a sacrifice.

We see that God’s power is infinite, greater than any power of the devil.

At that time, both Jews and Greeks were seized with fear and many came telling and confessing their deeds, and many burned their magic books in public – 50,000 drachmas (pieces of silver) in value.

1 drachma = one day’s wage

In the US, $40 per day? * 50,000 coins

= $2,000,000 burned

Hmm, couldn’t we have used the money for something? Feed the poor?
NO. These books were books of evil and must be burned.

In Samaria, Simon Megas (Acts 8), after the murder of Stephen, the church faced persecution – and Philip went to Samaria, and God did many similar miracles like those he did through Paul. Simon was a practisioner of magic and he wanted to follow Philip around.

At that time, the Jews and Samarians were divided, so it was likely that the Samarians were waiting for hands to be laid on them and prophesy – so the apostles did so, and they received the HS, and did as the others did who received Him.

Simon wanted to buy this power, but the apostles rejected him clearly and said “Your money burn with you.” Then he realized the power, and asked them to pray for him.

When Paul went with Barnabas, they met Bar-Jesus, who wanted to turn the pro-consul from God – Paul pronounced a curse on him, and he was covered in physical darkness.

All throughout the Bible, we see how the Word of God prevails over darkness, over magic.

“In this way, the Word of the Lord spread widely and grew (mightily) in power.”

What can we learn?
God is omnipotent, omnipresent, but conditions must be met to receive the full benefit of his salvation.

In our youth, we may have dabbled in the occult – horroscopes, occult, Ouiji Board.

“He who sups with the devil must use a very long spoon – yet it’s not even right.” Derick Prince

We should observe our own lives and vocally renounce our involvement with the occult or alternative religions – “I renounce that, and resist any attempt of it to influence me.” Those things need to be destroyed greatly. Any linkage with uncleanliness needs to be destroyed (pornography). Now it’s in everybody’s home – maybe 50% of Christian men (and women) struggle with this.

What needs to happen is for the access to it (access to ANY temptation) to be destroyed. Do you want freedom? Radically cut off, destroy, any access to the temptation, renounce it, resist it – it’s really a heart matter. “Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman already commits adultery with her in his heart.”

It’s always a heart issue.

Yet, the Word of the Lord prevails.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 28 / 2012
  • Comments Off on “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:1-26)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:1-26)

 10.28

Bulletin_10.28.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Second time in this chapter.
Last time we looked at this marvelous intercessory prayer of Jesus.
He prayed (1) for the glory of God, (2) for his immediate disciples, (3) for all Christians in all history, those we will reach, those who will believe, (4) for our safety, protection, joy, unity, future glory.
And still now, and today, he is praying.

Romans 8:34 – “Who is he who condemns? Jesus who died and was raised and sits at God’s right hand, and intercedes for us.”
Heb 7:25 – “Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him, he always intercedes for them.”

Three more things from this prayer.
1. WHY does Jesus need/want to pray for us?
WHY do we need his intercessory prayer?
2. What blessing do we receive from his prayer and pattern?
3. What responsibility then do we have?

#1 Why do we need Jesus’ prayer support continually?
Because he is leaving us in this world.
Chp 16:33 – “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
Chp 17:1 – “After Jesus said this…”
What is this? 
Widely: Chp 13, 14, 15,16 – his whole preaching.
Narrowly: Chp 16:33 – “You will have trouble in this world, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Because he is leaving us in the world, we need his prayer support.

In this prayer, Jesus mentioned the word “world” almost 19 times!~
v. 6 “I have revealed you to those you gave me out of the world.”
v. 11 “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world.”
v. 14,15,16 “…the world has taken them, but they are not of the world…don’t take them out of the world, but protect them from the evil one…they are not of the world even as I am not of it…”
v. 18 “as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

Jesus does not need to pray for those who are in heaven already, and not for those in hell.
But, while we are in this world, we need his prayers and he prays for us.
Romans 8:26 – “HS helps us in our weakness, sometimes we don’t know what to pray, but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

I am Korean, born a Korean, I didn’t know it at that time (birth). Whether we know something or not, fact is fact, truth is truth. By our first birth, we are all sinners – born as sinners, under our parents (sinners). Ps. 51:5 – “Truly, I was sinful at birth.” Can you say that to a child? Therefore, the greatest need of all who are born, is to be born again. And we need to make it clear in our relationship to this world.
Like this:
Once, we were in this world, and the world loved us as its own, we followed, obeyed and loved it. But, one time, Jesus saved us, and took us out of this world by second birth – and then Jesus said to us, “do not love this world any longer, and do not follow its pattern – if you love the world, you hate God – the pattern of this world is hatred to God.” And from that time, the world has hated us. We now remain in this world to do His job, not just our job. So, the world now hates us DOUBLE.

Once, the world was a playground, now it is a tremendous battleground. Satan and his forces are motivated by bitter hatred for Christ and his followers.

Exodus 15 – Israel and Amalekites fight – Am attack Israelites. Moses stood on the top of the hill and Joshua fought the battle.
Story isn’t: Because Joshua fought well, the Israelites were winning.
Story is: When Moses’ hands were up, the Israelites were winning, but when down, they were losing.
Finally, God said, “I will fight against the Amalekites from generation to generation. One day, I will blot out the memory of them from the world.” 
Joshua said, “Jehova Nishi – the Lord is my Banner.”

As long as we are in this world, we will be exposed to Satan. We should fight, we should do our jobs.
We are winning – not because of OUR fighting, but because of Jesus’ prayer for us.
We are not actually fighting – it is God fighting for us.
Bible: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Therefore, we ABSOLUTELY need Jesus’ prayer support.

#2 What blessing, privilege have we received from this prayer?

1. We are safe, we know
2. Another special blessing = we are allowed to call God “Father”

Every time Jesus calls on God in this prayer, he calls him “Father.”
v. 1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25
Father, Father, Holy Father, Righteous Father, etc.

In the OT, God was revealed as the God of gods, King, Ruler, Judge, Creator. OT reveals the wisdom, mercy, power, of God. But Jesus completes the revelation of God by adding the idea of God as “Father.” In the OT, NO ONE dared to call God “Father.” God was revealed to no one as “Father.” Even Enoch, who walked with God for 300 years, never knew him as Father. Moses received 10 Commandments and talked with God, but never called him “Father.” Abraham spoke with God and received the Promise, but never called him “Father.” David, in the Psalms, experienced a deep relationship with God and called God about 30 names, but never called him “Father.” Calling God “Father” was unimaginable, unthinkable in the OT. Why? Jesus had not yet come in the flesh. Jesus taught us how to pray, “Our Father in Heaven…” So, we are allowed to call God “Father” through Jesus Christ. (This is why we have a large “Abba Prayer” ministry in Antioch Church). Can you call God “Daddy”? This means we are MORE blessed than anyone in the OT (and any other religion on Earth), because we know God as “Father.” He loves us as his children, he knows our needs.

Matthew 7 – “Which of you, if your son asks for bread will give a stone, if he asks for fish will give a snake? Even you know how to give good gifts. How much more does God your Father know how to give big blessings?”

Are you blessed very much?
Then you have a large responsibility.

Blessing and privilege and responsibility ALWAYS go together.

Abraham was blessed greatly, and God told him “Now you must BE a blessing to all nations – and reveal me to all nations.”

v. 18, Also chp. 20, 21
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” Memorize this.

Do you have common sense?
Jesus, at one time chose us, saved us, out of this world. Jesus knows very well, completely what this world is like (he experienced it all firsthand). Many temptations and challenges. He loves us and wants us to be at peace, with joy, happy.

Then, why did Jesus send us AGAIN to the very same world from which he saved us?
That’s a pretty big question.

There is only one answer: mission.

This is our special, holy, responsibility.
We know Jesus prayed first and foremost for our unity. This unity can be kept by focusing on this one and same mission.

So what is our (and Jesus’) mission? 
Jesus mission to US is the same as our mission to this world.
v. 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.”
v. 26 “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

This is very clear in Jesus’ prayer, Jesus’ mission is “to reveal God as our Father.”
Our mission is very clear, “to reveal Jesus as Christ and Savior.”

Church is not necessary in heaven or hell.
Eclesia – Ec = Out (Exodus)

An assembly of God taken out of this world for salvation and sent again into the world for mission.

Come to be blessed, go to be a blessing.
Come to know Him better, go to make him known.

All of God’s commands can be known as 2 things: Come to the blessing, Go to the nations.

COME
GO

We are a walking church, a walking temple, because God the HS is in our bodies.

One power we have is attractive, to draw the lost. One power is expending (sending out) – to approach the lost.

This morning COME, then GO to the world to make Christ known.

*How can we make Christ known? 
By preaching and praying.
Chp 13,14,15,16 he preached to make God known as Father.
Chp 17, he prayed to show us God as Father.

To peace by preaching and praying.

In this church, pastor is preacher.
But in the world, ALL Christians are preachers. When you are out, in the world, you are ALL pastors, preachers to the lost world.

If I’m not a pastor, I can’t stand in the pulpit.
If I don’t preach in the world, I can’t stand in the world.
At the same time, we must pray. Extend our prayers, extend our boundaries.

If you pray only for yourself…only for your blood relations…only for your family and friends…your prayer is selfish.
Increase your prayer boundary! To those who hate us! To those who persecute us! To the lost world! Korea, China, America, England, etc. World leaders, etc.

Preaching without praying is powerless.
Praying without preaching is purposeless.

Put them together and what have you got? Powerful, purposeful, peace and mission.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 21 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)

10.21-Acts-Sermon-Title-0710102

Sermon Notes

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In the last study, Paul was granted permission to stay in Corinth. The Jews had accused him of teaching against their own law, but the Pro Consul was not influenced by the Jews. Galieo didn’t care about their law, said, “You take care of it yourself.” So, this gave a kind of precedent for Christianity to be accepted and at least tolerated.

v. 18 – He stayed for some time, then left with Priscilla, Aquila – until 52A.D. spring, when it was safe to sail.

Athens had been a pretty big disappointment, only a few converts.
Corinth, initially discouraged, Paul had a vision where God said, “Carry on” and many were saved there (in Sin City). God was patient, long-suffering, used Paul to correct the Corinthians.

Also in Corinth, most converts were from the lower classes. 1 Cor. 1:26 – “Not many of you were wise, influential, of noble birth” But God blessed the city with many converts.

Now, he was off – ultimately to Jerusalem, then Antioch. But on his way, he stopped over in Ephesus – Asia Minor.

Church in Cenchrea had grown.
2 Cor. Paul writes to Achaea? southern Greece.

Romans 16:1 – Paul mentions Phoebe as being a member of the Cenchrean church – helpful to him (she was a deaconess).
In Cenchrea, he made a vow and cut his hair.

Paul continued to be faithful to his Jewish traditions – taking a vow would underscore this. Who knows what kind of vow?
He was still clearly a Jew, unashamed and unopposed to keeping Jewish traditions, though a Christian, and he didn’t impose Jewish tradition upon Gentiles.

In Ephesus, he preached the gospel.
Here, they seemed interested in his teaching, wanted him to stay longer, but Paul declined. Seems a bit strange, he usually took advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel. His journey must have been important, and he gave a promise to return, which he did – and ministered there later for 2 years.

Priscilla and Aquila later returned to Rome after the death of Claudius the Emperor.
However, when Paul left, they stayed in Ephesus.

From here, Luke’s account is very compressed. Summarizes many events – sea voyage, journey south, etc in a few sentences.

Paul’s destination was Antioch, and from there he went on a journey to the other churches.

Luke mentions the stop to Jerusalem (out of his way 300 miles north), to imply that Paul was still loyal to the apostolic church and his Jewish heritage. This is important because later, people would accuse him of leaving his Jewish faith and encouraging others to do so.

Paul likely remained in Antioch for quite some time, then v. 23 he traveled place to place on a pastoral journey, strengthening the disciples. He likely revisited the towns from earlier Acts where he preached the gospel. He’d been there one proclaiming the gospel, a second time appointing elders, and now a third time.

Now, Apollos – a Jew, born in Egypt, came to Ephesus. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and destroyed the Jews in debate.
He became one of Paul’s trusted brothers in the faith, a great apologist (defender of the faith).
Later, some Christians would claim “I’m of Apollos” and “I’m of Paul” but Paul would say, “neither is anything, but God gives the increase” and “Paul and Apollos are one – in mind, unity, and each will receive his own reward in his work.”
1 Cor 6:12 – “Now concerning Apollos, I strongly urged him to come, but he was unwilling, but he will come when he has a convenient time.”

Paul has no authority over him, respects him.

Titus 3:13 “Send Zemas and Apollos with haste that they lack nothing.”

Luke has a good reason for including this story of Apollos. Some Corinthians were adopting a partisan spirit (I’m Apollos, I’m Paul), but that was wrong.

Apollos knew well of Jesus and the prophecies in the Scriptures of him, but didn’t know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, only John’s.

The Jewish leaders had been responsible for the death of their Messiah that had been promised for thousands of years. Peter, with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 2?) preached, and the men were convicted – Peter said “He is risen!” “What shall we do?” they asked, “Repent! and be baptized in the name of Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!” And thousands (2,000?) were added to their number that day.

So, it’s a bit strange that Apollos hadn’t heard of this. It may be that he had the Holy Spirit already since he taught of Jesus quite accurately. Sometimes, with the laying on of hands, or through preaching, some received the HS. There is a method, but also exceptions.

Apollos was humble enough to receive further instruction from Aquila and Priscilla. We thank God that he was humble enough to receive that.

Neil (commentator) “Luke’s vague and brief account doesn’t teach us much of Apollos. Perhaps he was a member of a John the Baptist sect (chapter 19))”

Apollos wanted to go on to Achaea. He met with unconverted Jews and proving that Jesus was the Christ. He went back to some places that Paul had been and was highly regarded by the churches there – great public speaker.

Apollos had become another important member of the team.

Also, Paul had not abandoned his missionary work for the Jews.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul came to Ephesus – rich in history. Paul had received a favorable response earlier, and promised to return – he has. Acts 18:19-21 (favorable acceptance) – but at that time, he carried on along his journey.

Now, the events of Ephesus. Curious story – Paul met some of John’s disciples, slightly defective in their knowledge of the Way of Life (Christianity). Eph 1:13 “In Him (Christ), you also trusted after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel, and you trusted and believed and were sealed with the Holy Spirit.”

These disciples had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps “disciples” means “of John”. They were certainly Jews, and hadn’t heard of the Holy Spirit – it was a little puzzling.

Matt 3:11 – John, “I baptize with water, unto repentance, but he who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Paul “Which have you received?” They “John’s”
Paul “You should receive the HS baptism.”

These may have been hardcore followers of John the Baptist.
Josephus – historian, writes that JB was highly praised and loved and influential to the Jewish people.

John was arrested in Matthew because he preached against Herod’s second marriage. He wanted to kill him, but was afraid of the crowds who loved him.

Influence of John – in the gospel of John – John always makes sure to keep the ministry of JB inferior to Jesus’ ministry – to be sure that those who read it would be clear – he is NOT the Messiah, NOT Elijah, NOT the Prophet (Moses). John says “NO, to all.” “Who are you then, what about you?” “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”

John _:21-31 JB “Behold the Lamb of God, who was before me, yet after me. I did not know him, but that he would be revealed to Israel, so, I’ve baptized with water.” HS comes down in a dove.
“Now, I’ve seen and testify that THIS is the son of God.”

Luke was careful to define JB’s ministry.

This is the fifth time in Acts that JB’s role has been clarified.
Chp 1:5 “Wait for the promise of the Father, John baptized with water, you with the HS.”
Chp 11:16 Peter “As I spoke (to Cornelius), the HS fell upon them as upon us, who am I to deny them baptism?” Chp 13:25 Paul “As John finished, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? Not HE, but the one who comes after me, I’m not fit to untie his sandals.’”
Chp 18:25 Apollos “This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord, though he knew ONLY the baptism of John.”
Chp 19:4 “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one who came after him.”

JB’s ministry may have grown opposite the Christian one – even in opposition to it perhaps. It was a sect.
Luke includes this to show that the Church believes in Jesus and follows Him, not John.

JB was a faithful servant who POINTED to the true King, Jesus.

Again here, the HS is given as Jesus is proclaimed Lord and they believe in Him.

The main things are explained.
1. Receiving the HS (born from above) – the MOST important thing we need to know.

Whitefield (great preacher) accused of saying “You must be born again.” WHY? Because “You must be born again!”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 14 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Great Intercessory Prayer of Christ for All His Own! (John 17:1-26)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Great Intercessory Prayer of Christ for All His Own! (John 17:1-26)

10.17-jesus-praying-4

Sermon Notes

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John 17 is an open conversation with God the Father for his own followers. In this prayer, Jesus expresses his deepest desire for his return to the Father and the destiny of his followers.

No matter what happens after this, Jesus is a “winner” not a “loser.” This prayer is the greatest prayer ever prayed, the greatest prayer in the Bible, the “Holy of Holies” in the Bible. So, we must enter it with thankfulness, praise, humility.
Continue Reading

  • Oct 07 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Christ in Corinth (Acts 18:1-18)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Christ in Corinth (Acts 18:1-18)

10.7

Bulletin_10.07.2012

Sermon Notes

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Sometime after Paul’s defense before the council in Athens, he left and Luke doesn’t say how long he was there, but Luke was interested in his encounters with the pagan philosophers of the day. They’d evaluated, scorned, ridiculed, dismissed him.

On the whole, there was no consensus on whether or not Paul could/should continue preaching, so he moved on to Corinth.

These were trying times, he’d been prevented from preaching in Asia, he’d been directed by God to go to Macedonia – he had some successes, but many disappointments, including fleeing from the Jews.

If he wanted to go to Rome (many scholars think he did), he was prevented from doing so by political reasons.

He was often dismissed and ridiculed.
He was concerned about the converts (in danger from angry Jews) in Thessalonica.
1 Thess. 2:3-7 – here is his concern for them.

In the meantime he has received good news from Timothy and Silas who allay his concerns for the Thessalonian believers.

“When we were torn away from you (in person, not thought), we wanted to come to you, made every effort, but Satan stopped us. But what is our hope, joy, glory? Is it not you? Indeed, you are. So, when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to stay in Athens, we sent Timothy – our brother – to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so no one would be unsettled by these trials. In fact, we kept telling you we’d be persecuted, and we were. So, when I could stand it no longer, I wanted to find out about your faith, I feared Satan would tempt you beyond your control, but Timothy has told us of your faith and love, and how you long to see us as we also long to see you. So, we were encouraged about you because of your faith.”

Paul was encouraged by the good news Timothy brought back.

When Paul was there, there were riots, chaos, Jason was beaten, they had to make a quick escape.

Now, Paul is traveling to Corinth and doesn’t know what to expect. He was leaving the university city of Athens, for a fast-moving commercial district of Corinth.

It had been destroyed, but rebuilt by Rome. Became the capital of the Roman province Acea?

It was a very strategic, major commercial center – over 200,000 people, 2 ports, metropolis, and “Sin City” (as many port cities) – did a lot of trade in the pleasures of the flesh.

“Play the Corinthian” or “Corinthianize” = you are lustful and live on your lusts.

It had many cults throughout the years – Aphrodite – goddess of love (lust) – temple housed 1,000 prostitute priestesses.

It had a big, bad reputation for sexual sin.

That was reflected in the church that Paul started – shown in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“Neither lusters, theives, drunkards, men who have sex with men, etc, etc…will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you. BUT, you’ve been justified, sanctified, washed, and cleansed and made pure and holy.”

Paul warned them that Christians can’t continue in immorality.

1 Cor. 5:1-2 “It is reported that there is sexual immorality and such that is not even named among the Gentiles. That a man has his father’s wife. And you are proud and have not mourned that he who has done this is not taken away from you.”

Even this terrible sin was present in the church in Corinth – pagans didn’t do that.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be controlled by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will destroy them both. The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

“All things are lawful” = an idiom of the time
(maybe like “freedom” in other nations)

These things aren’t “illegal” per se, but they aren’t helpful to other Christians.

Example: It isn’t illegal to say “I prefer THAT pastor” but it also isn’t helpful. One pastor planted, one pastor watered, but GOD made you grow. We want to point to Jesus, find our hope and life in him, build each other up.

Ex: not illegal to sue a Christian brother, but totally not helpful and didn’t do the Christian testimony any good. “Why not suffer wrong? Better that than bring the whole church under disrepute.”

Ex: Not illegal to eat meat, but if you do so in front of a vegetarian brother, you may tempt him, cause him to sin, hurt him – and it just isn’t helpful.

Ex: in Corinth, prostitutes, one-night-stands, etc probably wasn’t illegal, BUT it also wasn’t helpful.

The word for “lawful” and “power” had similar meanings.

Paul is saying “I have the power to do these things, but I will not be brought under the power of these things.”

“Your body is not your own! You were bought at a price! Therefore, honor God with your bodies!”

This isn’t easy, especially given the cultural background, and their many failures. But Paul emphasizes, “With God’s help, it is possible, and through repentance, cleansing is possible.”

And those who repented found favor with the Lord – “he who confesses his sins finds favor with the Lord” those who refuse to repent are chastened (disciplined) by the Lord.

2 Cor 12:20-21
In defense of his own apostleship – from the accusations of false teachers

“For I fear, when I come, I shall not find you as I wish, and you will find me as you don’t want. There may be selfishness, gossip, conceit, fights, etc. Or, when I come again, God will humble me among you, and you have not repented of your lewdness, lust, etc.”

Many problems in the church there.
But it was despite these problems, the gospel took root here, and in the majority, the HS triumphed over the lusts of the flesh.

Intellectual Athens showed much less interest in the message of salvation, than in the flesh-bought Corinth. It was here that God’s word worked mightily, and Paul rejoiced here in his greatest successes.

So, against this background, we can see Paul’s work and understand it better.

Aquila and Priscilla – had recently come (deported) from Rome (AD 49 – Claudius’ reign) – the Jews at that time had been in many riots because of the Christians (opposing them). So, the emperor tried to solve that problem, by banishing all the Jews from Rome.

Eventually, the Jews did return (possibly the edict was not enforced). It’s certain that Priscilla and Aquila did return.
Romans 16:3 – Paul sends greetings to them.
“Greet them, they risked their own necks for me, and the whole church rejoices for them.”

The couple did eventually return to Rome.
But Paul stayed with them in Corinth for a while because they (and he) were tent-makers (like leather work). So, Paul joined them.

But he also continued preaching in the synagogues on Sundays, and Timothy and Silas rejoined him, and they brought good news about the Thessalonians.

1 Thess 3:6-7 “But now that Timothy has come from you and that you always have faith and love and remember us and desire to see us, therefore, in all our distress we were comforted by your faith.”

Timothy also brought money from Philippi.
These two things greatly encouraged Paul, so he began to exclusively preach the gospel.

As usual, some Jews opposed him, so he couldn’t preach in the synagogue, and he shook out his clothes, and said “I will go to the Gentiles.”

Shaking off the dust = breaking fellowship.

Paul also shook the dust from his feet in Antioch (Acts 13:51).

And he used a Jewish phrase “your blood be on your own heads” showing he’d done his responsibility of preaching to them.

Paul was saying that he’d been a faithful messenger and was not accountable for their rejection of his message (Ezekiel 36).

In other places, Paul went to the synagogues, but because he was often rejected, he would go next door.

The next door was Justus, and Crispus was baptized and believed (v. 8).

Paul may have anticipated more opposition from the Jews, maybe he’s getting tired of this. So, the Lord appeared to him in a vision to encourage him “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not keep silent, for I am with you and no one will attack you to hurt you, for I have many people in this city.”

So, Paul remained for 18 months in the city.

There was further opposition, but Paul was protected. The Jews accused him before the government, but their plot failed, and the government protected the Christian church and set a precedent for Christian churches elsewhere.

The Jews probably thought they could influence him, test him, against Paul and his religion. But when the Jews brought him forward, Gallio wasn’t impressed.

As Paul was about to testify in his own defense, but Gallio said, “There’s no crime here. If it’s about words and names in your own holy books, I won’t judge.” So their plans backfired, and became an advantage to the church. So the people beat up the synagogue leader (Antisemitism), and Gallio ignored it.

Then he left.
At Cenchrea, Paul had his hair cut. He never held other Jews to do what he did himself.

The elite poo-pooed the gospel (in Athens).
But the fleshly pagans accepted the gospel readily.

Humble yourselves before God and he will lift you up.

Paul would be at home here today, there are many sexual problems in the culture (and in the church) today. And just as in that day, in Corinth, if we humble ourselves, God will give us grace, forgiveness, and lift us up.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 30 / 2012
  • Comments Off on In Christ Jesus VS. In This World (John 16:16-33)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In Christ Jesus VS. In This World (John 16:16-33)

9.30

Bulletin_09.30.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

v. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This section we read is the conclusion of our Lord’s upper room discussion. In the conclusion, he deals with the emotions of the disciples.

At this time, they were frustrated, worried, afraid, grieved. They didn’t understand some of Jesus’ teachings. They were humans, very ordinary, not even that well educated – but later they were used greatly for God’s kingdom.

So, there is hope for each of us to be used greatly for God’s kingdom as well, though we are ordinary. So, don’t give up! We always have hope!

3 Lessons

#1 v. 16-22 Principle
#2 v. 23-28 Promise
#3 v. 29-33 Position to Proclaim

#1 v. 16-22 Principle (Standard) to understand and apply in our daily lives.

“In a little while”?
“See me”?
“Grief will turn to rejoicing”

Principle = Our God brings, gives in our hearts and lives JOY finally – not by substitution, but by transformation (change).

To explain this, Jesus uses the story of a mother delivering a baby.
HUGE pain! initially, but at the same time, receiving that baby = HUGE joy!
The baby caused the pain, but brought joy!

God doesn’t substitute something else to bring joy from the pain, but he transforms what is ALREADY THERE – pain that is already there, and changes it to joy.

Child with a broken toy.
Substitution = parents buy another toy, if broken, buy another toy, if broken, another toy, etc, etc. Whenever broken, buy a new toy. SO, that child grows up expecting EVERY problem to be solved by substitution.
Child-adult, adult-child – they grow up.

Another option = transform that experience to become joy for that unhappy child.

The way of substitution = immaturity.
The way of transformation = maturity.

If somebody replaces our broken toys ALL THE TIME, we will be immature.

The same baby that caused pain, caused great joy as well.

“So with you.” The same with Christian lives.

In the Bible, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt, and he went to prison. But God transformed that hopeless situation into joy.

Saul pursued David to kill him, but the pain and worry was transforming David into the man of God to write beautiful Psalms.

Jesus died on the UGLY cross – a symbol of death, but God transformed that cross into a symbol of life.

Today, many people may think “joy is an emotion depending on my circumstances.”
That is only HALF true. 

True joy is MORE than that. TRUE joy is will-power, determination, inner attitude.

Remember Paul? In prison, weak in body, sick, and he shouted in joy, “I WILL rejoice at all times in the Lord!!”

Habakkuk confessed, “the olive tree doesn’t produce fruit, no sheep, no cattle, no fruit, no harvest, YET I will rejoice all the time in my God and my Savior!”

Joy is NOT only a feeling, but a determination! If you choose joy, you can be joyful – regardless of circumstances.

Also, we must understand the words, “a little while.” repeated 7 times.

v. 16 – “In a little while….”
They were worried and frustrated because they didn’t understand the true meaning of “a little while”

Double meaning – at that time, Jesus was talking about his soon coming event, death and resurrection. When he died on the cross, during his burial, they could not see Him, but after a little while, they saw Him in his resurrected body.

The second meaning is FROM returning to Father God UNTIL his Second Coming, we cannot see him. So, this period (now) is “a little while” before God.

When Jesus comes back “soon” we will see him forever.

2 Peter 3:8 “With God even 1,000 years are like a day, and a day is like 1,000 years.”

In human history, no matter how long it is, ANY and EVERY period is “a little while.” (Imagine your history textbooks)

James 4:14 “What is your life, you are a mist, a fog that appears for a little while and then disappears.”

What is the longest period of human history?
From Creation to Jesus’ Second Coming.
Even this is “a little while” when compared with eternity.

Rev. “the first earth and heaven will disappear, and a new heaven and new earth will appear”
Even this is “a little while” when compared with eternity. 

Forever is kind of a long time.

Remember that the best is coming soon. 
If we remember that, we can be joyful under every circumstance.

#2 v. 23-28 Promise
“Ask in my name”
How beautiful this promise given to us.
It is a promise of prayer – ask “in my name”

The central theme here is prayer.

As his cross is coming nearer and nearer, he emphasizes the necessity and blessing of prayer.

Originally, John 14, 15, 16 was a single sermon – Jesus repeats 7 times “in my name”
John 14:13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask for anything in my name.”
John 14:26 “HS whom the Father will send in my name will teach and remind you of all I’ve said.”
John 15:16 “Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name”
John 16:23 “In that day (age of Holy Spirit – now – we are absolutely free to approach God at anytime in the name of Jesus), you will no longer ask me anything, …in my name. 24 Until now, you have not asked…in my name…26 In that day, you will ask in my name…”

7 times “in my name”
Prayer is one of the most wonderful promises and great privileges we can have.
1 Corinthians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Is this “pray continually” thing a burden? or a privilege? 
This means that I’m ALWAYS ready to listen to your voice to bless you, to walk with you, to help you (God says).

Parents love their children’s voices – if they talk for 3 hours, it’s great! But if they talk for 24-hours a day all day, every day….can you keep listening?…. “You said that before…Go to bed! Stop!”
Our God is never tired, never bored of our voices. 

This is a HUGE blessing, right, privilege.

Story:
Once, there was a dispute (debate) between Catholic Priests and the born-again Church on this matter.
Catholics argued, “this is a difficult job, we need many complicated processes – Jesus’ name PLUS Mary’s interceding PLUS saint’s interceding PLUS my good work” (the more help the better)
Pastor, “no, Jesus name is MORE than enough to approach God.”

Through the name of Jesus we have gained access to God’s grace.
Acts 4:12 “ There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved,…”

Priest interrupted – “Yes, Bible says this, but reality says… ‘When we want to meet a human President – like Obama, Lee MyungBak – we need many processes, gates, requirements, security, permission, appointment, wait’ …Imagine if a HUMAN President is so difficult to meet, how much more difficult to meet is GOD?”

Pastor, “Yes, humans are difficult, but, how about the CHILDREN of that President? I’m a child of God, how about you? I can walk into his office for no good reason whatsoever, just to say ‘Hi’ or ask for a candy.”

God has given each of us the right to become children of God (Romans?)

One of the main ministries of the Holy Spirit is to remind us that “you are a child of God” no matter how your (face) faith looks (ugly, or beautiful) – we are STILL children of God – that’s why we can always, anytime, approach God about anything – in the name of Jesus.

This is one of the greatest blessing we could receive. Please, enjoy it without measure.

#3 v. 29-33 Our Position to Proclaim
“You believe at last!”
“I have overcome the world!” (my favorite)

Through this passage, we can see it is possible to have faith, understanding, but fail to the Lord.

Unless we apply our faith, apply our understanding, we will fail when the testing comes.

Our Lord warned Peter that he would deny him three times – it happened.
Here, he warns that all the disciples would forsake him and leave him all alone – it will happen.

Even though I’m alone, the Father is with me.

Yet, ONE time, Jesus felt the absence of the Father – when God turned his back on his Son on the cross.

But Matthew – last verse “Surely I’m with you to the end of the age.”
Hebrews “never will I leave you, never forsake you, no one can snatch you out of my hand.”

But, when he became sin for us – in our place, God turned from him. He became alone so that we would never be alone. He became forsaken so we would never be forsaken.

Is there a time that you feel God is far? You are far from him.

Is there a time that you feel God is doing nothing? Then, you are doing nothing for him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Jesus Christ, there is peace, but in this world there is trouble and tribulation.

In heaven, there is only joy.
In hell, only tribulation.
On this earth, joy and trouble go together.
Do you have peace or do you have trouble?

If you are a really true Christian, the correct answer is “both.” Jesus told us we would have trouble.

Many people think (incorrectly) that peace is the absence of trouble. But if you think that, then you will have no opportunity to have peace.

Everyone has trouble because we are in this world. Unbelievers have no peace because they are not in Christ. We have peace because we are in Christ. But, we still have trouble.

Experiencing peace WITH trouble is the power of the true Christian faith.

Which overcomes which?

Are you overcome? Or overcoming? Overcomer?

We have trouble in this world.
We have peace in Christ.

This world is not in me.
Christ is in me.

So, peace can OVERCOME the trouble – ANY trouble. We are of Christ Jesus, we are not of this world.

1 John 5:4 “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” This is the victory of our faith.

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!!!”

May God bless us with his Word.
Let’s pray.

  • Sep 23 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Unknown God Made Known (Acts 17:16-34)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Unknown God Made Known (Acts 17:16-34)

9.23

Bulletin_09.23.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Paul in Athens, waiting for Timothy and Silas to catch up with him.

He noticed idols all over, and his spirit was provoked.

Athens had a 1,000 year long history, the foundation of democracy – very famous place. Literary, artistic, philosophic center.

Socrates, Aristotle, and others…
A long heritage of philosophy.

Romans conquered Athens, but they were so impressed, they fostered Athens continued philosophy, education, etc.
But, before Paul, it had long since lost its wealth, reputation, etc.

Its population at that time was only 10,000, compared to Thessalonica at 200,000.

It’s proud of its pagan heritage, full of idols, tons of religion.

William Barclay “more statues of the gods in Athens than in all Greece put together – it was easier to meet a god than a man”

Paul enters the synagogue and begins to reason with them, as was his pattern.

On the weekdays, he went to the marketplace and reasoned with the Gentiles there. This was the center of Athenian social life, where goods were bought and sold, and philosophers exchanged their ideas.
Paul challenged them there, soon he encountered Epicurus “pleasure is the chief goal of life – freedom from pain, superstitions, etc” Different from Hedonism – “physical pleasure” Epicurus taught friendship and mind pleasure were the greatest.

The Epicureans had little motivation to seek God or fear him “gods are far off, they don’t care, let’s just live our lives as best we can”
Actually, Thomas Jefferson was an Epicurean – “all men are created equal…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Stoic school of Phil – founded by Xeno – emphasize human rational abilities, reason, logic (Spock – Star Trek)

The gods of popular mythology believed to be expressions of this kind of thought.

So, these two schools of thought were competing with each other, then Paul comes along with the gospel.

Thoughtful people want to cope with the world of suffering using one of these two schools of thought. So, the two schools tried to show them how to cope without God. But the gospel questions the usefulness of these two philosophies because it depends on God.

This from Paul sounded dangerous and upsetting to them. “Who is this babbler?” (bird pecking at food – scrap-peddlers – people who sold religious ideas without understanding them)

Paul is dismissed as ignorant, foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:23 – “We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, to the Greeks, foolishness, but to us who are being saved, salvation”

Others, more polite, said they’d listen again.

He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods – because he preached on Jesus and the resurrection (maybe this was TWO gods? Jesus AND the resurrection god?)

They took him to the chief judicial body of the city – 30 members – they overlooked the religious, phil, moral, stuff of the day. Areopagus still means “judicial body” in Greece today.

There’s an implied threat here, though nothing formal – yet. Josephus talked about many who were executed by insulting the Greek gods. Paul might be in trouble here….

In Athens, the introduction of strange gods was a capital offense IF the state gods were denied.

So, here is Paul, before the council, giving answers to their questions – gotta be quick on his feet, speak to the culture.

Paul points out the weaknesses of idolatry, by relying on their OWN insights (from phil of their own). Some pagan phil have ideas of gods that contradict idols. Paul says it doesn’t go far enough, and then he presents the gospel.

Paul quickly takes the side of his hearers (flattering them, making him sound like one of them) – He said they are “religious” – could be devout or superstitious.

He saw an altar to an unknown god, (God’s providence), so that he was able to say “Let me explain this unknown god to you.”

In this way, we can also see how Paul “became all things to all people, so as to win some.” Paul became as one without the Jewish Law in order to win them over. He had to become like them, become like the culture, empathize with the culture, before he was able to preach the gospel to them.

He informs them that God is the Creator of all – not detached from the universe, but caring, loving – so loving, he sent his own son to die in their place for their sins. The world did not come about by chance, but by design, God himself is the designer.

William H. Williams – in reasoning from the natural world toward faith in God, Paul borders on natural theology as a forerunner to faith. How can one look up into the stars and deny something or someone created them? Yet, atheists still do – ALL THIS STUFF just “looks” cool, just “looks” designed, but “oops! coincidence!” But to those who know better, there is no coincidence in this intricacy.

First, Paul needed to establish WHO the one true God was – and that he could be glimpsed through nature. He had to break them away from their idolatry before they could fully understand God.

“God doesn’t live in temples built by human hands.” Even Stephen – the first martyr – said that in a Jewish context. “He lives in hearts that are open to him.”

Interesting, pagan AND Jewish temples are placed in the same category. Even churches are not where God lives. If the beautiful temples in Jerusalem could not contain the true God, how much less could lesser temples (and churches) contain him?

“God is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, but he gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”

Our common humanity has a single source. From one man, God made all the nations, he marked their appointed times and lands (Adam and the scattering during the Tower of Babel). Paul insists, God has a purpose in the rise and fall of nations and their geographical locations – WHY? so that men would seek Him, and reach out to Him, though He is not far.

Ps. 145:18 – the Lord is near to ALL who call out to Him in truth.

God is not far away, he wants to be found, he wants to be discovered. For IN God, “we live and move and have our being.”

He quotes one of their own poets:
“Phenomenon” – “let us begin with Zeus, let us never leave him unmentioned, the marketplace, harbors, everywhere has him. For everywhere and in everything we have our being in Him.” So, Paul uses their own understanding and culture in order to give them the gospel.

“Since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold, or silver, or stone – in the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

This speech is not just a dream or philosophy, but the call to repentance is very serious, because God has set a day for judgment.

At the end, he focuses on Jesus’ his cross, and resurrection.

From the introduction (focusing on the culture), to the conclusion (focusing on Jesus), Paul speaks well.

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some sneered, some wanted to hear more. The idea of a person’s body being resurrected was absurd to Greek thoughts. They believed in the immortality of the soul, but not the body. But at least no charges were brought against him, and some became believers.

In some ways, Paul’s work in Athens ended in an anti-climactic note – no church was established there. But the next city, Corinth, had a large number of acceptance.

But for those few that believed, it was NOT anti-climactic. Jesus died for the ONE person, just as much as he died for the multitudes.

It’s important that Paul made known the living and true God.

A time is coming when each of us will appear before the one true God, and Jesus will have to say to some of us, “I never knew you…”

Do we know we’re saved? Examine our own hearts and know we’re saved.

I’m a sinner, I need salvation by grace, God is not far off, he forgives sin, he cleanses from unrighteousness, we need the Lord.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 16 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Holy Spirit Witnesses for Christ Through the Word of God from Your Mouth to the Lost World! (John 16:1-15)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Holy Spirit Witnesses for Christ Through the Word of God from Your Mouth to the Lost World! (John 16:1-15)

9.16

Bulletin_09.16.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

John 15 = Jesus’ last teaching
John 16 = Jesus’ last sermon
John 17 = Jesus’ last prayer
John 18 = Arrested
John 19 = Crucified
John 20 = Resurrection
John 21 = Appearances

Even on the cross, Jesus asked God to “forgive them.”
How do you want to finish your earthly life with a prayer?

Last time, Jesus reminded them that the world would hate and persecute them because they (you) are not of this world.
Hating can be persecuting.
Persecuting can be killing.

From Jesus time up to now, there has been persecution of the children of God even in the name of God – they think they know God even when they don’t know God.

A clear example = Saul of Tarsus = he was a champion in persecuting God’s children. He thought that he was doing that for God, to glorify God, but after his sudden conversion on the way to Damascus, once again he became a champion for BEING persecuted for Christ.

He confessed, “I was once a blasphemer, violent man – I acted that way in unbelief.”

Jesus mentioned also his departure, and the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ substitute on earth for his continuing ministry for the salvation of the whole earth.

At that time, the disciples were so sorrowful because they thought that their hope would soon be gone – their Hope would depart.

But they didn’t understand that it would be a great blessing to all mankind. If Jesus’ did not depart, he would not be able to completely fulfill ALL prophecies about him, including his death (Isaiah 53), his resurrection (Psalms), his seating at the right hand of God, and his Second Coming.

If he didn’t depart, he also couldn’t send the Holy Spirit. This Age now is called the Church Age, the Age of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time of the HS.

v.8-15 = The ministry of the HS.
Since we are living in the Age of the HS, we must be careful to understand what the HS IS DOING through you and me and the church today.

There are many ministries of the HS today, but in these verses, the keyword is “convict”
This is one of the main ministries of the HS. At that time, convict = legal (court) term, which means, to bring to light, convince, reprove, announce, proclaim the verdict.

At times this world may think that they are judging the church, but actually it is the church that is passing judgment on the world. Believers are witnesses in this court. The HS is the prosecuting attorney. The lost world are criminals.
However, the purpose of this trial is not to condemn, but to save.

3 Areas in which the HS convicts:

v.9,11,
#1 v.9 = sin
HS convicts in regard to sin. Which sin is the greatest sin? Actually the sin in Greek is hamatia = “missing the target”
In shooting, there is only ONE target.
Sin means, literally missing ONE target point.
For sin to be sin, there must be community, society. There must be mutual relationship, at least two parts – one part to judge, the other to be judged. Subject and Object.

Government vs. Civilian
To the govt, what is the greatest sin against govt? Rebellion, coup, denial of the govt.

Parents vs. Children
Which is the greatest sin from parents against children? Which is the greatest sin from children against parents?
I’m always father to my son – I do not want my son to sin, I want him to be perfect, if possible – but I’m ready to ALWAYS receive him as my son, even if he has grievous sin.

But, if he does not recognize me as his father, if he denies me as his father, does not believe me as father, says, “You are NOT my father!”

At that time, the relationship father and son is broken.

Similarly, God is our maker, our father, our creator. To God, the greatest sin is not to recognize him, not to believe in Jesus Christ, the image of God, the true God.

Do you agree?

If you agree from your hearts, the biggest sin is not to believe in Jesus Christ, then you are convicted and you are spiritual.
But, if you do not agree in your heart, “no, no there are greater sins than that” then you are not convicted by the HS and you are a natural person.

#2 v.10 = righteousness
Who’s righteousness? Jesus’!
When Jesus was here on this earth, he was often misunderstood, and accused by man as a law-breaker, blasphemer, demon.
But today the HS reveals the Savior of the World and glorifies Jesus in this way.

At the same time, the HS reveals Jesus as Savior in the lives of believers.

We know this world cannot receive, cannot see the HS. But this world CAN see the result of what the HS is doing in us, through us.
The world CAN see the work of the HS through the lives of dedicated believers.

We must be right, righteous enough to have a right relationship with God. We must be good to have a good relationship with a good God. We must be holy, we must be right, to have this kind of relationship with God because he is righteous all the time. 
However, we can NEVER reach the standard of God’s righteousness. Romans 3 “No one will be declared righteous by good works. But a new righteousness from God – by which the Law and Prophets testify, has been made known and comes through belief in Jesus Christ.”

Before his earthly ministry, Jesus came to John to be baptized – John said, “no, no let me be baptized by you.” But Jesus said, “no, no, do this for me to fulfill all righteousness.”

After returning to the Father, through his death, suffering, resurrection, teaching, preaching, healing, proves he IS righteousness, the righteousness of God, OUR righteousness.

So the HS empowers us to proclaim that he is the only way to God, and the HS makes us righteous before God.

#3 v.11 = judgment
The HS is convicting, the judgment of the prince of this world (Satan).
Genesis 3:15 is the first curse in the Bible – cursing the serpent – emnity between your offspring and hers (the woman) and he will crush your head and you will strike his heal.

In this verse, the offspring of woman = Jesus Christ Messiah. 
“When the time had come fully, God sent his Son, born of a woman”
serpent = Satan (Revelation)
“That ancient dragon was cast down who leads the whole world astray”

Jesus crushed his head on the cross. That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished.” GAME OVER

Finally (Revelation), Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, Satan and his followers will be troubled and tormented day and night forever and ever.

Have you ever crushed the head of a serpent?
What happens?
At the same time, the body and tail continue to flip and shake, writhe and wriggle. It looks dangerous, scary, but it is DEAD.
Likewise, the activity of Satan from the cross until the Second Coming is like this!
Satan knows his time is very short!

Satan’s ministry = 2 parts
1. Holding the lost to remain the lost
2. Attacking God’s children to NOT preach the word to the lost.

2 Cor. 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the glory of God in Jesus Christ.”

Satan’s purpose = this
Jesus’ purpose = to destroy the works of Satan (1 John)
Therefore, OUR own purpose to remain in this world for a short time is to destroy the work of Satan.

So, we must be convicted, convinced, by the HS in us, the best way to experience the best, most blessed life = to live a life of witnessing to the lost.

Very serious verse…
Witnessing is a great privilege, but also a great responsibility.

Ezekiel 3:17-19
“Son of Man, I’ve made you a watchman, so hear the word I speak and heed me. When I say, ‘you will surely die’ and you do not warn him, and he dies, I will hold you accountable for his sin. But if you warn him and he does not turn from his sin and he dies, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.”

If you do not warn your neighbor for his sin – and he goes to hell for his sin, YOU are responsible for his sin.

But if you warn him, and he goes to hell for his sin, you are NOT responsible.

Very serious verse = warn the lost of their sin

With great privilege comes great responsibility.

v.12-15
I have MUCH to say.

Listen carefully.
Jesus = The Truth
The Word of God = The Truth
The HS = the Spirit of Truth
The HS works, ministers for Christ through the Word of God ALL THE TIME.
The HS does not speak to the lost world directly. But he DOES speak to US through the Word, so that WE can speak to the world.

In Chapter 2, Acts, after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, and the HS came down to Jerusalem, and so many people from other countries gathered together who needed salvation. But the HS did not speak directly. The HS empowered the previously timid Peter to preach the Word, and the HS convicted them and made something wonderful happen among them.

The HS witnesses for Christ through the Word of God from your (my) mouth to the lost world.

The HS is very active in saving the lost world, but if we keep silent, if we do not open our mouths to speak the gospel, then the HS has NOTHING to do with us in saving the lost world.

Please do not make the HS in you jobless.
Make the HS active through your mouth in your witness to the lost world!

God bless us, and especially our mouths!

As long as we are in this world, we have mouths, not only to eat (second priority), but also to preach (first priority).

Let’s pray.

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