:::: MENU ::::

Posts Categorized / Sermons

  • Jul 28 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Pre-Pentecost Praying (Acts 1:9-26)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Pre-Pentecost Praying (Acts 1:9-26)


07.28.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

Download Notes in .RTF

Luke is the writer of this book, he was a physician and historian, so he CAREFULLY documented everything.

He is writing again to Theophilus (who he wrote to in the previous book Luke).

At first, Jesus is resurrected and appears to all the disciples for 40 days, and he tells them not to do anything until the gift of the Holy Spirit comes. Then, he ascends into heaven.

We know not when Jesus will return, so the best thing is for us to get ready to meet him.

They went to the Mt. of Olives (.75 miles). Most of the pious Jews would walk that far, but not much farther (or that would be considered work on the Sabbath).

Acts 2:33 “Exalted to the right hand of God, he, Jesus has received the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

There is this kind of understanding that Jesus has been exalted and is now ruler over all humanity.

In Ephesians, Paul prays for the believers (everywhere) “May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so that you will know your glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he demonstrated in Christ when he raised him and exalted him above all the earth and heavens, in this present age and that to come. God placed everything under his feet and placed him as head of the church which is his body.”

Here Paul is tripping over himself describing the Supremacy of Christ.

In Philippians he says, “Christ humbled himself even to death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him, raised him to the highest place, and gave him the highest name that at his name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.”

The apostles/disciples didn’t rest on a dead man’s memory, but on the living presence of Christ. Luke asserts that the Christian mission MUST be built on hope in a living Savior.

Then they returned to Jerusalem (after Jesus’ ascension) to the “upper room.” Maybe this was the same “upper room” that is mentioned in previous locations in the New Testament. In any case, it is clear that Luke is familiar with the early lives of the disciples and their habits, etc.

He’s listed all their names (Jesus designated them all as apostles) in Luke. Here he lists them again, without Judas (suicide) and John is not first place, but second here (probably because Peter is so important in the Acts). He also lists some women here.

John _:26-27 “Dear woman, here is your son.” “Dear son, here is your mother.” and from that time on John took Mary into his home.

There’s been a big change in attitude toward Jesus by other apostles. Many had thought he was crazy/demon-possessed (Mark 3). Such a crowd was gathered that Jesus and his disciples couldn’t even eat – so his family came to take him away because he was clearly “out of his mind.”

So, why did his family change their minds? Perhaps because of Jesus’ appearance to his half-brother James (not listed by Luke, but mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians). Joseph, Jude, Simon were his other half-brothers (Matthew 13:55-58). Jesus was preaching in his hometown and the people thought, “Ha! I know that crazy boy! Where did he come up with all these crazy ideas?”

Jesus said, “Only in his own house, his own town is a prophet not honored.” (Familiarity breeds contempt). So, Jesus didn’t do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

In Acts 15, when Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to give an account of their ministry, James spoke up, “Brothers, listen to me – Peter has been chosen for the Gentiles – the Gentiles will now turn to God.” His advice was heeded, the Gentiles rejoiced for not needing to take on the Law of Moses. (James has become a VIP in the Jerusalem church – I’ve read he was “head pastor” there at one point?)

Jesus’ other brothers also have more influence on the church.

Jude wrote the epistle of Jude (identified himself as the brother of James).

According to Luke, there are 120 people who met together in Jerusalem before Pentecost. There was a requirement in Jewish law to have 120 males to have a legitimate/legal synagogue with voted in leaders. This may be Luke’s attempt to show that this was all “legal” and he also includes women here.

Acts 8:3 “Saul began to destroy the church – dragging off men and women…”

Acts 12:12 “When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary…”

From the beginning, the new church broke through cultural barriers. (Galatians 3:28 “In Christ there is no longer any male or female…”)

1 Cor 15:6 “Christ appeared to more than 500 believers at once.”

They were probably in Galilee. 120 were in Jerusalem. Luke doesn’t give details of those 500. But in Acts, after Paul is converted, the church throughout “Judea, Galilee, and Jerusalem” grew in numbers.

This group of 120 in Jerusalem was “joined together constantly in prayer.” Besides waiting for the HS, the only other activity was prayer. They likely worshiped, interceded, etc. Luke mentions prayer as one of his themes – trying to show how Christians don’t just rush out and do stuff, but try to wait on the leading of the HS.

Later, they will pray for guidance (to find Judas’ replacement). Prayer is always good for guidance.

Prayer for empowerment (Acts 4:31) “After they prayed, the place they were meeting was shaken, and they were filled with the HS and started preaching the Word boldly.” They were already born of the Spirit, were washed in the Spirit, but they needed a fresh filling of the Spirit. At this time, the church was being strongly persecuted, threatened to keep quiet, and God heard their prayers and filled them afresh with the HS to preach boldly.

Prayer for healing and restoration to life. Acts 9:40 (Dorcas – Tabitha) – she was a wonderful believer, full of good works and faith, and Peter was summoned there, and Peter sent all out of the room, and he prayed, turned to the dead woman and said, “Tabitha, GET UP!” And she turned to him and got up. (He’d seen Jesus do it, now he’s doing it too.) Peter is frail – he denied Christ 3 times, he was wishy-washy, flip-floppy, yet God honored his faith (he was QUICK to repent).

Now, here is Peter ministering to this dead woman.

Prayer for salvation. Acts 10:9 – two servants going to Joppa on the way to Cornelius’ house. Peter went up on the roof to pray – God gave him a vision to go with the Gentiles “What God has cleansed, don’t call unclean.” The cross is for all people, all nations.

Cornelius explained why he’d prayed (Acts 10:30) – “Cornelius, God has heard your prayer, send to Joppa for Peter.” Peter went and prayed, the HS fell on these Gentiles, and they preached boldly, spoke in tongues, etc, giving every evidence of the filling of the HS.

Peter went to Jerusalem to recount this event, how the HS had been given in the same way (eating with a Gentile at that time was “illegal”) – yet he told how an angel had sent for him through Cornelius – through Peter he and the whole household would be saved. When they heard that, they rejoiced that even the Gentiles had been given this door to salvation.

Acts 12 Peter was in prison. Herod wanted to bring him forth later, but the church was earnestly praying for him and God released him from prison. In Acts 12:12, he realized this wasn’t a dream. So he went to the house of Mary, mother of John (Mark).

Prayer is effective for release from bondage (not only physical, but also spiritual). Prayer is the key – not only our own, but also the prayers of others. It can release from bondage/slavery.

Acts 22:10 – Guidance once more.

Paul is giving witness to his conversion. He said, “What shall I do Lord?” short, simple, sweet, but he was given guidance “Go into the city – there you will be told what to do.”

Prayer for encouragement.

During the shipwreck (Acts 27:23) “Last night, an angel of the Lord stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid Paul, you must stand trial before Rome, and God has given you the lives of these men.’” All the people were saved.

The death of Judas.

The Scripture had to be fulfilled.

Acts 1:16-19, 20-22

Luke obviously thought this event was important because it’s the only described event between the ascension and Pentecost.

The first speech here is given by a man not unlike Judas. Judas betrayed Jesus for money, Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times for his personal safety. Judas committed suicide. Peter repented. He didn’t know the weakness of his own character.

The end of Judas is described by one who also denied and cursed Jesus. The church meets nothing in the world that isn’t first found in itself – even among the leaders of churches.

Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (Thess?)

How did Judas die?

  • Matthew = he hung himself
  • Luke = his intestines spilled on the ground

It is possible both are correct.

Judas may have hung himself on a branch that broke and fell on the rocks and his intestines spilled out. Or, he hung himself, rotted, fell, spilled, etc.

Anyway, both are possible and probable.

Peter wants to replace Judas with another. Though the Scriptures are inspired, the disciples can use them creatively. In Psalms that Peter quotes, David is referring to his enemieS, “Let THEIR places…”

Such adaptation may strike us as taking undue liberties with Scripture, but it is believed that ALL Scripture points to Christ and the events around him. They were justified in explaining, interpreting in this way because Jesus had already described this about himself, “ALL the Scriptures refer to ME.” He spoke from Moses and the Law all the way through the Scriptures everything that was referring to him. The Law, the Prophets, the Psalms. He opened their minds so that they could understand it.

Why the need for replacement? Jesus had said that the 12 would sit on thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. So, they needed a new one. 2 guys qualified (had been with Jesus from the beginning, John the Baptist’s ministry). Notably, after Pentecost, there is no use of casting lots – from here on, the disciples are fully guided by the HS.

Now, here, we see the importance of prayer, humility, repentance. Maybe sometimes, Peter felt like he wasn’t too far removed from the fate of Judas. Peter went and wept bitterly, repented, so the Lord restored him. But Judas, though sorrowful, didn’t repent. Repentance is a CONTINOUS process. Joel: “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents to send calamity.”

Let us abide in him, seek his fullness, and rejoice in his salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 14 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Word of God Can Change Your Life! (Nehemiah 8:1-18)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Word of God Can Change Your Life! (Nehemiah 8:1-18)


07.14.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Just listen – the pastor will read it all.

[ Preceding last verse of chp 7 = “ALL the rest of the Israelites settled in their own towns around Jerusalem. When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns.” ]

1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. 2So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 The Levites–Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah–instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 

[dozens of Levites throughout the crowd helped to explain things: NKJV = “the men [leaders] AND the Levites” – there were more people who could explain the Scriptures.]

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.” 

[Apparently, people had been grieving deeply that they hadn’t read the Bible in so long.]

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. 

[#1: READ #2: UNDERSTAND (explain) YOU need to open the Bible and READ it – you don’t need to be an expert, or a pastor, or a teacher. If you read and don’t understand, ASK someone. The DEACONS must be able to teach! Come on! Get ready! Here, the Levites did that for the people.]

13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law. 

[Husbands and fathers = the HEADS of the families. You ALSO need to gather around the Word of God and give attention to the Word of God. YOU, men, are the pastors of your own families. YOU feed your families physically and spiritually. This is a big responsibility AND privilege.]

14 They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths [shelter – OhDuMa in Korean] during the feast of the seventh month [the Feast of Tabernacles] 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths”–as it is written. 

[So, they DID it.]

16 So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. 

  1. [ READ
  3. APPLY]

17 The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them [more than 40,000 people = 8,000 families]. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. 18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

Why don’t people read the Bible?

1. It’s complicated.

2. I’m TOO busy.

Wake up in the morning and read FIRST thing.

3. It’s boring.

(This is a problem with you reading the Word – let’s answer that today – HOW to study the Bible.)

Is prayer more important? Don’t you want to let God speak TO you? Proverbs: “When you come into the presence of the king, be quiet, let your words be few.”

4. Some have tried and lost motivation.

Bible reading plans in the back (5 pages each – ask me if you want more copied).

If you WERE a good Bible reader, I want to encourage you to get back to it.

Nehemiah 8:1-18

Nehemiah = HISTORY

The past = important, the history of God’s people = MORE important.

If you understand the Jewish people, God made them into a nation from one man – Abraham. (Genesis 12 – “You will be a blessing to all the families of the Earth.” – through Jesus)

The Jews sometimes followed God, sometimes disobeyed – and God punished them.

As a result of their disobedience, they were driven out of the land that God gave them – into other lands – the Assyrians attacked the Northern kingdom – 100 years later Babylonians attacked the rest. 586 years before Jesus, the temple was totally destroyed and the Jews were taken captive.

They were taken prisoner by the Medes and the Persians – the Persians were merciful and allowed them to go back and rebuild the temple.

In the OT – Ezra and Nehemiah were ONE book (now two). Therein, there is the story of 3 groups of people who returned to the Holy Land to rebuild the temple.

If you like History, read Ezra and Nehemiah together.

#1: Zerebubal

They returned and began to rebuild the temple – nothing beautiful like Solomon’s temple – some enemies tried to stop them, but God blessed them.

#2: Ezra

A prophet, priest, scribe came and began to teach and worship with the people (40,000 people) as they rebuilt the temple.

They had worship and were rebuilding the temple. But enemies were constantly attacking because there were no walls.

#3: Nehemiah

He was sad and cried out because of this and asked God to return to Jerusalem to help.

Chp 7:66 (42,366 people besides their servants and singers)


Please continue reading Nehemiah 9.

In fact, Ezra AND Nehemiah only take 90 minutes to read.

Let’s restate.

#1: The people requested God’s Word (v.1)

#1: They made a scheduled TIME for the Word

They hungered for the Word. They didn’t say to the pastor, “Oh, man, another boring and long sermon? Can’t you make it shorter pastor?”

They were there from 5am-12pm (lunch). They didn’t even sit.

Do you have time scheduled for the Word?

#2: They concentrated their hearing (v. 3)

They weren’t sleeping, they were on the edge of their seats asking their neighbors “what was that?” ACTIVE listening. PAY ATTENTION.

What if Jesus was standing right there? Would you sleep? Would you talk to your friend about lunch plans? Would you gossip in church?

CHALLENGE: Uninstall those apps – MP3s, whatever keeps you away from Jesus. 

The Internet = an alcohol addiction for some people

Live YOUR life, not some celebrity’s life. Pray for them, but don’t idolize them.

#3: They opened the Book (v. 5)

You have a Bible – OPEN IT. How do you get close to God? OPEN IT. Where do you start? THE BEGINNING. Genesis – then Matthew, Exodus – then Acts…read ROMANS – it makes you hungry.

#4: The teachers read from the book, making it clear. (UNDERSTAND it). (v. 8)

  • Some people = “MY pastor is THE pastor to beat ALL pastors.”
  • “Oh really? Why?”
  • “I TOTALLY don’t understand him. He’s SO smart.”
  • “WHAT?”

Pastors NEED to make it CLEAR.

Don’t use Seminary language on the common people. Use layman’s terms. We aren’t your professors…we are simple people…

#5: The teachers caused the people to understand

A teacher’s responsibility is to CAUSE the students to understand. If you’re a teacher and your students get bad grades, whose fault is that? YOURS.

#6: The people heard and wept (v. 9-10)

The Levites said, “Don’t mourn, don’t weep. Today is a day to celebrate!”

At first, the people got the wrong idea, so the teachers gently corrected them. We need teachers who are willing to gently correct us.

God’s Word can change your life if you:

  1. OPEN it.
  2. READ it.
  4. DO it. (Put it into practice)

When the people understood the Word, it changed their behavior. God wanted them to get OUT of their security “comfort zones” – their houses. It reminded them that “this world is NOT your home.” We have so much security here, but THIS is NOT our home.

#7: COME BACK (v. 13-18)

They came back for a second day.

  1. Day 1: The Levites taught
  2. Day 2: The men taught (husbands, fathers)

FUTURE husbands ALSO must know the Word of God. Prepare for your family and God will give you a family.

Closing: God really does want to speak to you.

He has been speaking for thousands of years. His revelation is complete – we have everything we need for life and holiness.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Making One’s Calling and Election Sure

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Doesn’t that sound good to you? To escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires? We all have evil desires inside us – we must say “NO.” We must say, “YES” to Jesus.

When we know God (through the Word) that’s when we have victory over sin.

  1. Open it
  2. Read it
  3. Understand it
  4. Do it

Life will be troublesome.

Electrocution, hit by a car (many times), hit by a snowmobile, abused as a child (a trusted friend), but God has given me VICTORY over all those troubles. There’s a life ahead of me with no sorrow, sickness, death, pain. That’s what is revealed when you open the book.

Pick up a Bible reading schedule and get started!

Some people even have these plans in their Christian planners, on a smart phone app, online.

Choose one and JUST DO IT.

God bless you.

  • Jul 07 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10)


07.07.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Beatitudes

5:3-12pp — Lk 6:20-23

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon on the Mount

These 8 blessing, the Beatitudes are the most provocative portion.

Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon of Sermons

This first part is about blessings, this means Jesus is very concerned with our blessings, happiness, joy, etc.

Genesis 1-2, after Creation, the first thing God did was bless man (Genesis 1:28 “I bless them – be fruitful, increase in number, and rule over the area.”)

We cannot live without blessing.

Man, as a creation is a dependent being.

God created, and blessed, and we are to be a blessing to others.

  • Some people think,
  • OT = material blessings.
  • NT = spiritual blessings.

But, these are the same, they both have both blessings. Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in court of sinners nor sit in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on his Word he meditates day and night.”

Jesus came to the people and presented his teaching on the hillside. At that time, there was no public speech system, and he didn’t use a natural amphitheater. But here is a sloping hill, with a large crowd below him, and he at the top (perhaps disciples in the front line).

Yes, of course the crowd was there and listening, but the main target = DISCIPLES, not necessarily the whole crowd.

Just like today, in the congregation, God knows the heart, what is your inner reaction to the sermon.

Revelation 1:3 “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and take it to heart.”

You are blessed to be a disciple, not the crowd.

The 8 Blessings:

#1: The poor in spirit

Opposite = “Wretched, cursed, are the spiritually self-sufficient for theirs is the kingdom of Hell.”

We can’t choose which blessing we want and leave the rest.

Poor in spirit is a blessing because you have the kingdom of God, you have salvation.

We are poor, bankrupt, and dependent on God’s mercy to give or do anything right. We are ultimately powerless, hopeless, helpless. As long as you think that you can DO something to save yourself, you can never be saved.

We have nothing to boast about our salvation.

#2: Mourners

Opposite = “Wretched are those who deny the tragedy of their sinfulness, for they will be troubled.”

Mourning for our own sins, with the realization of our total depravity (unworthiness). Only God can take our sorrow and sin, only God can forgive.

“God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.” (Rev.)

In this world, sometimes we don’t enjoy fame and fortune, but sorrow and suffering, but always we enjoy real comfort from our God, Jesus.

#3: Meek

Opposite = “Wretched are the proud for they will not lose the earth…”

Meek = gentle and humble in heart (this is Jesus)

Meekness IS NOT weakness.

Meekness (biblically) = power, to control your own power.

Moses was the meekest man on earth – he received a HUGE inheritance on earth, but Pharaoh, the proud man, lost his earth.

This can also be true for the animal world. Imagine lions and tigers, they seem to be kings of the jungle, but the land is becoming smaller and smaller for them. Most of them are in prison (zoos). But cows, goats, sheep, lambs are so meek, and their land is getting bigger and bigger.

We must be meek before man and God.

  • Meek before man = kind, generous, open-minded.
  • Meek before God = prepared, well-equipped, to be used by God anytime, everytime. If so, you are meek before God.

When God wants to use you, if you aren’t ready, it means you arent’ meek. If you’re uncomfortable, etc, you aren’t meek. Church workers must be meek to be used by God.

#4: Hungry and thirsty

Opposite – “Wretched are those who senselessly justify themselves for their efforts will be in vain.”

Hunger and thirst = intense longings that we must satisfy – we cannot live without them.

Psalm 132? “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after God.”

What kind of righteousness? Most likely it refers to personal righteousness. – so filled with God that we can completely do God’s will without sinning, without making mistakes.

Also, righteousness for the world, to see the end of the evil in the world.

We will be filled, God will completely satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness.

We have 3 desires:

  1. Righteousness – saved, forgiven, etc.
  2. To do what is right – imitating God
  3. To see right done in this world – to help bring about God’s will in this world.

#5: Merciful

Opposite = “Cursed are the merciless for no mercy will be shown to them.”

Just sitting here = we are receiving mercy from God, since we continually receive mercy from God, we must also show mercy to others.

Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.”

“If you forgive man, your Father will forgive you. If not, your Father will not forgive you.”

Matthew 18 – the unmerciful servant.

One day, the king wanted to settle accounts, one servant owed 1,000,000,000,000 (enormous amount), and he couldn’t pay, so the king set him free. That man, on the way home, met another man who owed him $10. He grabbed him and choked him, and the servant said, “Please be patient!” but he threw him in prison. Later, the king heard, and called him in and reprimanded him. In conclusion, this is how God the Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your friend from your heart.

Not forgiving others = putting myself in a prison of hatred. God bless us to forgive others.

#6: Pure in heart

Opposite = “Cursed are the impure in heart for they are spiritually blind.”

Pure in heart = morally, spiritually pure, honest, sincere. People of sincerity, integrity. One single minded commitment to God. This kind of commitment only comes from Jesus Christ. How can we see God who is a spirit? Only by seeing Jesus Christ can we see God. Through our WHOLE devotion and commitment to God, we see him through the eyes of faith (not physical eyes).

#7: Peacemakers

Opposite – “Cursed are the peace-rejecters for they will be called sons of the Devil.”

Jesus = the King of Peace. Isaiah (He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Prince of Peace).

  • Ephesians, “Jesus has removed all barriers…”
  • “Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid.”
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified in Christ…”

Who are the peace-rejecters? Christ-rejecters.

Peacemakers = more than just living peacefully. They will be recognized as sons and daughters of God. Reconciling the lost to God in Jesus name.

2 Corinthians 5:9 “God is reconciling the world to him through Jesus Christ and he entrusted us with the message of reconciliation.”

God bless us to be peacemakers.

#8: Persecuted (this is part of the package, you don’t get to say, “No, thank you” to this one).

Opposite = “Cursed are the uncommitted for convenience sake, for their destination is Hell.”

Whether we agree or not, this age is under the control of Satan (”the prince of this age”) Spiritually, this age is wicked, sinful, unrighteous. When we pursue righteousness, doing the will of God, we should not expect to receive applause and praise and honors from this world, but rather persecution from this world.

Jesus, our Lord, was persecuted and insulted MUCH in this world for us. You WILL be too. Don’t be surprised. Expect it – if you are living as God wants you to live.

What’s the reward? The kingdom of heaven.

What’s beautiful about this? Jesus’ first message = “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near!” from that time on, he continually preached that.

Then today, in this beatitudes, the LAST reward matches the first reward – the Kingdom of Heaven. Rounding out this list = Kingdom of Heaven.

In both places, first and last, the reward is described as the present tense “theirs IS…” not “their WILL be…”

All the other rewards = future tense, but the kingdom of heaven = Here and Now. From first to last by faith.

God bless us all to live the life of the Kingdom of Heaven, though our lives are in this world.

  • Jun 30 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, Starts His Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus, Our King, Starts His Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)


06.30.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various disease, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

The book of Matthew can be summarized into 3 parts:

  1. Chp 1-4:11 (Birth and Preparation of Jesus)
  2. Chp 4:12-25 (Message and Ministry of Jesus)
  3. Chp 26-28:20 (Death and Resurrection of Jesus)

Today = starting point of Jesus’ public ministry

Jesus came from Galilee (north) to the Jordan (south) to be baptized, then went into the desert to fast 40 days/night and be tempted. Then he went back to Galilee to start his ministry (not Nazareth but Capernum – 20 miles farther north (north-west sea of Galilee) – this was his home base in ministry). 

  • Capernum = farther away from intense opposition from Pharisees in Nazareth
  • Capernum = very busy city, spread the message more quickly and widely
  • Capernum = more disciples, more tools

Every action, every word, is obedient to the Word of Father God and the Scriptures.

He didn’t start in Jerusalem, but Capernum, land of Zebulun and Naphtali – the northern border of Galilee.


John the Baptist had been put in prison because he’d publicly rebuked Herod for taking his brother’s wife. 

Zebulun and Naphtali = the names of people = 2 of the 12 sons of Jacob.

Fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1-2 = Matt 4:15-16

To understand this story, we need to know the background, history.

Z&N were two of the original tribes of Israel – they received their portion of the land during the conquest of Canaan by Joshua. Asyria then conquered them – usually they deported their people and repopulated it with their own Assyrians. So, there were lots of foreigners there. That’s why Isaiah calls it “Galilee of the Gentiles.” 

The spiritual darkness of this land continued for centuries until Jesus came to live among them. 

Jesus came to preach salvation by grace for those even in the deepest darkness. 


From that time on… “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” 

Jesus started his ministry with this one, short message. We already heard a similar message from JB (John the Baptist). 

His first message = his continual message in his ministry. 

Becoming Christians, followers of Jesus begins with repentance – turn away from sin, self-control, self-ruling – turn (right away) to Jesus. Believe in him as Savior and Lord. 

  • In Matthew “Kingdom of Heaven” = 32 times
  • “Kingdom of God” = 5 times

Out of reverence for the holy name of the Lord, the Jews didn’t use “God” but substituted “Heaven” instead. In the New T, “Kingdom” = “rule of” not “location”- the rule of God = in your hearts.

If we accept Jesus and believe in him as King = we recognize his kingship in every area of our lives. This means our hearts are ruled by him. So if we believe in him = we are ruled by him = our hearts are his kingdom, even though our bodies reside in the kingdom of Earth. 

Wow! How near is the kingdom of Heaven.

“My heart is the kingdom of Heaven!”

If you believe in Jesus as your King, this is true. 

If our hearts = the kingdom of Heaven, Jesus needs workers for his kingdom. 

v. 18-22

Jesus called his workers.

He said, “Repent!” and immediately began to call his disciples.

The first 4, he had already met previously.

According to John’s gospel, at least some of them were John the Baptist’s disciples.

But, here, Jesus challenges them to throw in their whole lot with him. 

A good fisherman must possess some good policies which turn them into good fishers OF men.

Fisherman -> fisher OF man

#1: A man of patience

He must learn to wait until the fish take the bait.

If he is impatient and restless to move, he can never make a good fisherman.

Also, good fishers of men must learn to wait, to be patient. We don’t often see quick (microwavable) results.

#2: A man of perseverance, resolution, determination, long-suffering

Never be discouraged, disappointed, dismayed.

A good fisher of men must also persevere. Sometimes, nothing seems to happen, but we must never be discouraged. We must be ready all the time to try again. 

#3: A man of courage, bravery

There was no weather forecast, radio, television, newspaper. They must be ready to face dangerous situations, storms, typhoons, etc. They couldn’t anticipate those things. If he wants comfort and safety, he couldn’t go to sea.

A good fisher of men must also know that there may be danger, persecution, etc.

“I have no time, I have no gift, I have no talent.” Do you say that?

If we do not preach, do not say, it means we have no courage, no assurance, no faith.

#4: A cooperative mind and faith

  • They work all the time together.
  • They must learn when, where, how to find fish. 
  • They worked together, we also must work together. 

#5: Faith

They can’t see fish under the water, but they had expectations, and faith, and alertness.

Also good fishers of men must be like this.

#6: Power, energy, stamina

  • Fishermen are tough, have big muscles.
  • A good fisher of men needs power, but there is a big difference between the two.
  • Fisherman = catch something living, move it to the land, kill it to sell it.
  • Fisher of men = catch something dead, move it to heaven, help it to live.
  • Fishermen = physical + killing power.
  • Fisher of men = spiritual + life-giving power.

Do you have power? Yes, you walked here and sat down. Without Jesus, your power is killing power. But in Jesus, your power is life-giving power.

“The thief comes to kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

From this story we can learn 4 lessons:

#1: Jesus didn’t call powerful, wealthy, talented men. He called insignificant, ordinary people.

He calls the ordinary for extraordinary jobs. 

#2: Jesus called the faithful, those who were diligent in their earthly jobs. They were working WHILE he called them.

He didn’t call them because they had lots of free-time. He called them when they were faithful and busy with their own jobs.
“I’m waiting on God~ I’m waiting for a vision~”

doing nothing. NO – be faithful and diligent TODAY with your secular jobs, with a holy mission.

#3: “Come, follow me, I WILL make you fishers of men.”

He didn’t say, “Become fishers of men first, then when you’re qualified you can join me.”

All we need to do is FOLLOW and OBEY. That’s all. He will do his job through us. “I WILL make” = “I will enable, empower, anoint” you to do the job I have for you.

We cannot forgive men, cannot regenerate hearts, only Jesus can. But he can do it through us when we follow and obey.

#4: What was their response?

IMMEDIATELY they followed – they dropped everything, they left their nets on the boat, they walked away from their father (still holding the net with jaw dropped…)

This is full commitment, full devotion.

Following Jesus = the biggest turning point in their lives.

Immediately following = immediately everything changes (goals, plans, vision, jobs, etc).

They left the boat and the net – the MOST important things a fisherman owns. 

Remember: we cannot follow Jesus with our OLD selves, with our OLD plans, doing something God doesn’t like. 

Jesus isn’t satisfied with HALF-hearted devotion. Jesus is not deceived, he is not cheated.

v. 23-25

This part gives us a brief summary of Jesus’ ministry/life: 

  1. Teaching
  2. Preaching
  3. Healing

#1: Preach

He came to preach the message of the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. Preaching = proclamation of the certainties of God.

He came to defeat our ignorance, announce the truth (which we cannot know except by him – he himself IS the truth – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…If you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free.”

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Freedom = not free, Jesus paid the price.

#2: Teach

Explain the details, help us with our misunderstanding, help us not to draw wrong conclusions from the Truth. 

He came to explain the true meaning of the Truth.

#3: Heal

His ministry is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He still heals. He came to defeat our pains. He wants us to be healthy and whole – spiritually, mentally, physically, in every area. 

This healing power is still available if we acknowledge him in our lives.

Actually, Jesus = the original pain-killer.

If we follow Jesus truly, really, like him, we must:

  1. Preach (our certainties, our peace, our assurance)
  2. Teach (explain our faith)
  3. Heal (help others experience and enjoy the healing power of Christ)

Let’s pray. Specifically, let’s pray for the healing power of Christ to be fully realized in our lives and the lives of those around us.

  • Jun 23 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Acts – Introduction (Acts 1:1-8)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Acts – Introduction (Acts 1:1-8)


06.23.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

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

Acts = for the Jewish Christians

Luke = a physician, historian. Many who’ve studied Luke’s writing have been amazed by his attention to detail. At one time, some people had questioned him, but over time, he was vindicated – everything he wrote has been found archaelogically true. (He once wrote of a harbor that some people thought didn’t exist – but they later found that that harbor DID in fact exist and that waters had covered it.)

  • Acts =
  • The Acts of the Apostles OR
  • The Acts of the Holy Spirit

This is Part 2. Luke (gospel) was Part 1.

  • Part 1 = the story of Jesus’ ministry, ends with Jesus’ death.
  • Part 2 = the story of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the early church (through Paul as main character), ends with Paul in Rome where he dies.

Luke 1 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of what has happened – they are eyewitnesses…I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. So, it seemed right that I write an orderly account for you Theophilus, so that you may have assurance in the faith in which you’ve believed.”

Actually, Theophilus = “friend of God” (his name’s meaning)

Luke was quite meticulous and accurate as a historian. We can see that history has born out his accuracy and truth.

Who was Theophilus? We don’t know for sure. He’s addressed as “Your Excellency,” or “Most Excellent.” Luke uses the same phrase to address the Roman governors – it’s very courteous.

Some people think this was a symbolic name, meant to represent a class of people, like the church. But most likely, he was a real dude. Who, what, where is he from?

F.F. Bruce writes, “He was likely a representative member of the educated middle-class, who Luke wanted to win over to a favorable Christianity (unlike that of what was current in Rome). Luke’s aim is likely to give him more accurate info than what he had previously.”

Luke gives a limited vision of the growth of the gospel, he focused on the growth of the church.

Josephus wrote “Defending Judaism” and dedicated it to a single person, but meant it to be read by many others. Luke wrote with the same thing in mind – write to one man, with the intention of many reading it.

In Luke (gospel), his purpose was to write about everything Jesus came to do.

In Acts, his purpose is to write about the CONTINUING work of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and the church.

Luke wants to show that Jesus’ work continues with greater power and scale.

In the gospel, Jesus is only one man.

In Acts, the power of the Holy Spirit (the same that Jesus’ had) was in many others. So, Jesus was technically multiplied and able to move and work through the actions of many apostles.

At Pentecost, Peter preached of Jesus’ resurrection and 3,000 people (men at least) were added to the church in a single day.

Luke’s thesis: “Jesus remains active, though the manner of his work has changed. He continues to do and teach through his body, the church.” This is the story of Acts.

Luke was writing to confirm what Theophilus already knew, and was trying to organize things well to help fill him in on what he didn’t know.

Theo could have been a new believer, or a seeker. In any case, the history and background and growth of the church would’ve greatly interested him.

Luke paints broad strokes. He shows the spread of the gospel in certain areas of Rome. He shows how the ministry of Peter and Paul are related. He also shows how the Christian church’s work is related to Jesus’ work. He also shows how the church is connected to Jerusalem and Rome.

By the time he wrote this, Peter and Paul would have been martyred, accused of anti-governmental behavior (esp. by the Jews). So when Luke wrote this, Christians were spoken against, “perverts of Judaism.” Was this a dangerous sect (cult), or a legitimate religion? Luke was the first apologist (defender of the faith) who showed it was authentic.

The resurrection was the hope of Israel. Peter and Paul both emphasized this. And his exaltation at the right hand of the Father takes center stage in Acts.

Acts 1: “Jesus gave many convincing proofs he was alive – for 40 days – for 7 weeks between his crucifixion (Passover) and his ascension (another Jewish holiday actually).” This is similar to when Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and gave the people the covenant of the Law. This time, Jesus is on the Mt. of Olives and gives the covenant of Grace.

This is all accomplished through the Holy Spirit.

During Jesus’ appearances, they all saw this Jesus who was alive, but HAD BEEN dead. So, their faith was UNshakable. Many of them died for this surety.

Luke doesn’t stress Jesus’ divinity as Paul does in his epistles. He stresses the divine commission of Jesus and the divine power of the church through Jesus.

The kingdom of God = the main message of Jesus.

With his disciples, he clarified the messages.

The kingdom’s message now had a different thrust, different emphasis. Now, it all points to Jesus as the Messiah.

Acts 2:24 “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to hold him…”

The revitalized message of the kingdom of God =

In Samaria there was Simon the sorcerer – but when Philip came down with the power of the Holy Spirit, people paid attention. When people saw and heard these things, they were baptized and believed.

Paul and Barnabas go back to Antioch and Lystra (where Paul had been previously stoned). Paul says, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.

The KOG (Kingdom of God) has a (1) present reality and a (2) future reality.

Acts 19:8 at Ephesus, Paul went into the synagogue to reason with the Jews from the Scriptures, and he spoke for 3 months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. He used their own Scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

But, the Jews couldn’t believe that a crucified “criminal” was their hero. Their eyes were clouded.

Paul’s last meeting with the church = “Now I know that none of you will ever see me again.”

Rome Acts 28:31, meets with the Jewish elders and reasons with them about the KOG. Most of them rejected it. Paul boldly and without hindrance preached the KOG and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a great emphasis on the KOG.

Using the Scriptures, particularly for the Jews, was a great way to show that ALL the promises had already been fulfilled in the person of Jesus. The promises weren’t to save their physical bodies from the Romans, but to save their souls from sin.

God welcomes repentant and returning people.

The Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Son (Luke 15) = parables that show how God welcomes and rejoices over even one small, insignificant repentant sinner.

The father in the lost son story RUNS to his son and kisses him – this was totally undignified. His son says, “Father, I’ve sinned.” The father says, “Never mind that, you’re back!”

This is what Jesus taught in the gospel Luke wrote. The book of Acts is simply an extension of this story. Acts = conversion experiences, repentant sinners, empowered Christians who share the story with others.

The first task of the disciples = to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

They are not to do anything until receiving the HS, so that they can do the work well.

What is the effect of the HS? William Barclay “The HS = the source of all guidance. Philip meets the Ethiopian. Prepares Peter for the messengers from Cornelius. Orders the setting apart of Paul and Barnabas to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Guides the decisions of the Counsel of Jerusalem. Guides Paul beyond Asia and into Europe. Tells Paul what awaits him in Jerusalem.”

The message = the HS who came upon Jesus at his baptism has also come upon the church to continue to carry out his work on earth.

Luke 24:9 – shows the importance of the HS in their lives and mission.

Acts 1:4 – “wait for the gift you’ve heard me speak about, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the HS.”

Many were convicted of their sins (during John the Baptist’s mission), repented and went to the Jordan to be baptized. But John said, “Another is coming who will baptize with fire.” Jesus says, “wait for the fire.”

Verse 6, they still don’t get it…

“Will you restore our nation as a super awesome country?”

Deut 7:6 = “the Jews were chosen out of all the people on earth to be God’s people, his treasured possession.”

So, they expected GLORY first, and THEN the Holy Spirit.

“I will put my laws into their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.” God = promises restoration.

So, the Jews think, “Hey, we’ll be restored, and THEN get the HS, right?”

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus met Jesus, he asked, “Why you guys sad?” They said, “We certainly hoped he would restore our glory.” But then Jesus helped them to understand that the Scriptures meant JESUS and not NATION.

  • Jesus = the Resurrection and the Life
  • Jesus = the assurance of salvation
  • Jesus = eternal life in the KOG

The disciples had been disappointed. Now, they figure that Israel’s glory would be restored and THEN the HS would come. Actually, they’ve got it backwards. “It’s not for you to know the times or seasons the Father has set by his own authority.”

Earlier, Matt 24:34 “No one knows… not even the angels in heaven… nor the Son… but only the Father in heaven.” (referring to the Second Coming of Jesus).

You think you’re so smart to know when Jesus is coming back? Have you worked it all out?

No, but Jesus did work it all out.

Want to know the answer? Jesus figured out that he couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t know. You can’t know either.

When will he come? Instead, be ready. Know first WHERE you are going, not when he’s coming.

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and all the ends of the earth.” Here is Jesus’ prophecy for the remainder of Acts (and us).

Q: Do we have the Holy Spirit?

We need to be continually filled with the HS. We need to be refilled when our eyes are off him. We need to be born of the Spirit.

Recognize that we are sinners, fall short, need forgiveness, repent.

Recognize that Jesus = THE way to heaven, repent, accept him as Savior.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 16 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, was Tempted! (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus, Our King, was Tempted! (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)


06.16.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-11pp — Mk 1:12,13; Lk 4:1-13

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,”he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him,”Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-13pp — Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12,13

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ ” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 12 Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Matthew v.1 = “Then…led into the wilderness…”

Then = important connection between chp 3 and chp 4. Last time, Jesus was baptized by John.

The same HS that descended on Jesus at his baptism, led him into the desert to be tempted.

Luke = “Jesus was full of the HS (Holy Spirit).”

This HS sent Jesus into the desert to be tempted.

We want to be filled with the HS. But even if we are filled with the HS, we can still be finished. Many people think, Jesus was only tempted this one time of fasting – the truth is, through the entire 40 days, he was tempted.

Luke says “40 days” and v. 13 “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” This means Satan tempted him continually. 

  • Also, Satan tempted Jesus through Peter (”Never, Lord, you shall not die.” – Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.”)
  • Also Satan tempted Jesus on the cross through the voice of the crowd “If you are the Christ, come down!”

The HS compelled JC to the desert to be tempted. Temptation was a divine necessity to prove his Messianic purpose – he HAD to be tempted so that all Creation would know that he was the victor over temptation – and so that all would know who Satan was. So, because of his victory, we also will get victory over the tempter. 

Satan = fallen, created, real being (not symbolic)

He is constantly fighting against all who follow God.

  • Devil in Greek = “accuser”
  • Satan in Hebrew = “accuser/tempter”

The HS put JC in the desert to be tested – not to see if he was ready, but to show the world that he was ready. 

Satan hoped to destroy his mission by tempting him to do evil. He tried to make Jesus declare his Kingship early – to take his power into his own hands and forsake his Father’s will. Satan’s final purpose was to destroy Jesus’ mission (to die on the cross for our sins and give us opportunity to have eternal life).

  • The first Adam met Satan – in the beautiful garden – with plenty to eat – and lost the battle.
  • The last Adam (Jesus) met Satan – in a hot desert – while hungry – and won the battle (culminating on the cross).

Also, his temptation makes him our sympathetic High Priest 

Hebrews 2:18 “He himself suffered while tempted, so he can help those who are tempted. He is our High Priest, tempted in every way, as we are, so let us approach the Throne of Grace with confidence to help us in our time of need.”

Matthew 4:2 – After 40 days/nights, he was hungry (famished).

  • 40 days = Noah in the ark
  • 40 days = Moses on Mt. Sinai
  • 40 days = Goliath’s taunting
  • 40 days = Elijah in the wilderness
  • 40 days = Jesus’ time on earth after his resurrection
  • 40 years = Israel’s time in the wilderness.

God uses 40 for many purposes and people, preparing them for something.

If we compare Matthew and Luke, they are different in order.

  • Luke = temptation 1, 3, 2 
  • Matthew = temptation 1, 2, 3

Which is correct? Is it important?

Both are right – they compliment each other.

In the Greek Bible, it is more clear.

  • Matthew #2: v.5 “Then…” in Greek = tote = after that
  • Matthew #3: v.8 “Again…” in Greek = palin = once more again

In Luke, there is no sequence conjunction.

In Matthew, last temptation = “Go away Satan!”

In Luke, there is not this sentence.

  • Matthew = historical, chronological order
  • Luke = just introduced the types

Matthew #1: v. 3-4

  • “Make bread from these stones.”
  • “No. (Deut. 8:3)”

Looks outwardly, like a good suggestion, rather than a temptation. It looks reasonable outwardly. “Woah, man, you look hungry! Eat something.”

Eating is not a sin, food is no sin. But, I know you know you have power to make these stones into bread – just, c’mon do it!

The time was wrong, though eating is right.

Jesus’ purpose was fasting.

Sometimes we are tempted to satisfy normal, healthy desires in a wrong way.

Stealing for food? Sex outside of marriage?

Jesus never used his divine power for himself – only for others. He fed 5,000 men miraculously – but never fed himself in a miraculous way.

We also are given gifts and talents – sometimes we are tempted to use them only for ourselves.

  1. What can I do for ME with this gift?
  2. What can I do for OTHERS with this gift?

Jesus quotes Deut 8:3

Physical needs are normal, but to put those before spiritual needs is not good. Physical needs = temporary life. Spiritual life = eternal life. Which is more important?

Matthew #2: v. 5-7

  • “Skydive with an angel parachute.” (Ps. 91:11-12)
  • “No (Deut. 6:16) – interesting how he always quotes the Old Testament

Even more subtle temptation. 

Satan KNOWS Bible verses and can use them inappropriately. “Hey, man, you want to live by Bible verses? Here’s a GOOD one for you! Hehehe…If you REALLY believe this, do it!”

You can’t choose verse by verse to believe.

Believe it ALL or none.

If we separate text from context, it may become pretext.

One common thing of all heresies and cults = they use memory verses as “proof verses” to justify their own wrong ideas.

  • Don’t use memory verses to judge others.
  • Don’t use memory verses to support your personal lifestyle.

Last Sunday, Acts, last chapter, the snake bites Paul’s hand – but nothing terrible happens to him immediately – God kept his promise with Paul. God cares for us, and is keeping his promise with us to protect us – but don’t drink poison – it’s not faith in God, it’s testing God. That’s a no-no.

  • Satan knew the verses, but failed to obey them.
  • Jesus knew the verses, and obeyed them.

Knowing the Word is important to get victory over Satan, but we must ALSO obey. 

Matthew #3: v. 8-11 

  • “Call me Master and I’ll make you Regent.”
  • “No (Deut 6:13) – all from Deuteronomy

Satan knew that one day, all authority and power on Earth would be given to Jesus. He knew that one day “all knees would bow down and confess Jesus is Lord. 

His temptation = “Why wait? I can give you what you want NOW!” (hmm, reminds me of credit cards…)

Painless short-term. There are no difficulties here. This temptation = easy, painless shortcut, convenience.

Even today, Satan offers us this world with convenience. He entices us through our sinful nature – money, lust, fame, popularity. 

Jesus says, “Don’t worship this world – only worship God.”

As long as we stay in this world, we cannot escape from temptation.

1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in it. If anyone loves this world, the lust of his eyes, the cravings of the flesh, is not from Father God, but from this world.”

Do you feel tempted? 

If you feel like you have received this temptation, it means: you DO NOT belong to Satan. (He doesn’t need to tempt his own.)

To get victory means to fight against something or somebody – without fighting there is no victory. So, against what or whom must we fight? 

If we belong to God, we must fight against Satan – not against man. Worship God, serve men, fight Satan.

Let us focus on God’s plan, person, purpose.

Jesus our King defeated Satan and got victory, so we can follow him. Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…endured the cross, scorning it’s shame.”

God bless us for this wonderful victory against Satan.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 09 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Triumphant Finale! (Acts 28:1-31)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Triumphant Finale! (Acts 28:1-31)


06.09.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Ashore on Malta

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” 23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 ” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Jun 02 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, was Baptized! (Matthew 3:13-17)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus, Our King, was Baptized! (Matthew 3:13-17)


06.02.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

People came from all around to be baptized by John the Baptist. But, Galilee was 50-70 miles (100km) away. There isn’t a record of many people coming from there. So, Jesus, maybe traveled this long distance all on foot, along dusty roads. 


JB tried to prevent him.

They said to each other, “baptize me. No, baptize me.”

JB’s baptism was only for sinners as a sign of repentance. Pharisees and Saduccees came to watch, but didn’t accept it – they were proud and thought “ha, we aren’t sinners.”

But, Jesus is sinless – he didn’t need JB’s baptism. He didn’t need repentance, forgiveness, but he said, “Baptize me. It is proper to fulfill all righteousness.” 

One of the very important ideas in Jesus’ teaching is righteousness – so he mentions it several times in his Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled…Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…If you righteousness doesn’t surpass the teachers of the law, you cannot enter heaven…seek first his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

“All righteousness” doesn’t mean to fulfill prophecy – so then what does Jesus mean? Righteousness is a very important idea in a Christian’s life. Righteousness means “right relationship” with the Father God. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus will obey and do all his will – this is part of it. 

Several reasons why Jesus was baptized even though he didn’t need it:

#1: To confess sin on behalf of all human beings, the nation – like the prophets in the OT had done.

(Nehemiah 1:6 “Your servant, is praying day and night for the people of Israel – I confess the sins we have committed against you.”)

(Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me, because I’m a man of unclean lips, and I’m living among a people of unclean lips.”)

Let me encourage or challenge you about this question. If you have never confessed sins, you are not Christian. If you have only confessed your OWN sins, you aren’t a true Christian. You must confess not only your own sins, but also your family’s, your nation’s sins.

#2: To accomplish God’s mission and advance God’s work in the world. 

For 30 years, Jesus had waited in Nazareth faithfully, performing the simple duties of a carpenter, but he knew all the time that a greater mission awaited him. When JB appeared, he knew his time had come. So, Jesus was baptized to initiate his public ministry to bring the message of salvation to all people in this world. 

JB’s baptism was of water, of men, but Jesus approved it by being baptized by him.

#3: To identify himself with us – the sinners – the very people he came to save/serve.

To identify with the penitent (repentant) people of God. 

Mark 16:6 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”

Matthew (end) “Go and make disciples of all nations…”

To be a Christian, you must be baptized – if you aren’t, you must be – and you must help others to be baptized. Up to now, how many people became baptized through your help? (Challenge you).

JB’s baptism is different from our baptism today. JB’s was BEFORE Jesus, ours today is AFTER Jesus. JB’s means public confession of sin. Our baptism today means public confession of faith in JESUS as Savior, Lord, King.
Our baptism is an outward expression of an inward reality, His death, burial, resurrection.

#4: To foreshadow his future baptism on the cross

The water baptism pictured his self-emptiness, self-denial for our sins on the cross.

Due to these reasons, purposes, Jesus, our King, was baptized.

v. 16 

He went up out of the water, 

  1. Heaven was opened
  2. HS descended like a dove

(The bulletin has this image – the dove is hard to see in the bright light though)

Isaiah 61:1-2 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to everyone, to proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favor, to comfort those who mourn…”

The descent of the HS like a dove represents God’s mighty working in this world. In Genesis, in the beginning, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And at the time of Noah, the dove delivered the news to Noah about the decreasing waters. He sent out two birds (raven and dove), only the dove came back. The raven represented the flesh – there was plenty for the raven to eat (dead things) outside of the ark, but there was nothing for the dove to eat. The second time, it brought back an olive leaf. The third time, it didn’t come back. 

The dove signifies the HS and his work in this world. It shows gentle and peaceful, but active presence coming to anoint Jesus Christ. From this, we can know who the Messiah is, how his power will be used. He was not revealed by a tiger, hawk, eagle, lion, but by a gentle and peaceful dove. 

v. 17

This is my Son, whom I live. With Him, I’m well pleased.

This is God’s direct announcement. This is a heavenly announcement to all human beings. In the NT, there are three special occasions in which God spoke to Jesus.

1. The Transfiguration –

on a high mountain with Peter, James, and John, a voice came from the cloud with the same sentence “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” (one sentence added).

2. As Jesus approached the cross –

“Father glorify your name” and God spoke “I have glorified it already, I will glorify it again.”

3. This instance.

Long ago, God spoke to the people through prophets, but nowadays, God speaks to his people through the Son. 

Jesus is a different Son than we can be (sons). He is the One and Only (literal) Son of God. In the Greek “This is my [beloved] Son”

“This is…” means this sentence was spoken publicly to all who were there and to us.

“…and in Him I am well pleased…” means God has taken his eternal satisfaction (past, present, future) in His Son and this is the Age of the Messianic time now. 

In v 16-17, we can see all persons in the Trinity, active. God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1) – God (the Father) spoke, “Let there be light” Jesus (the Son) was very active in the Creation as the Word (John 1:1) – The HS was hovering over the waters. 

The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that God is three persons, but one essence. This is one of God’s incomprehensible mysteries. Even now, God is working in the Trinity in us, in this world. 

God bless us with his work. 

Let’s pray.

  • May 26 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Storms, Shipwreck, & Salvation (Acts 27:1-44)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Storms, Shipwreck, & Salvation (Acts 27:1-44)


05.26.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Paul Sails for Rome

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

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

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

The Storm

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

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

The Shipwreck

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

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

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

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

  • May 19 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Repent! For the Kingdom of God is Near (Matthew 3:1-12)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Repent! For the Kingdom of God is Near (Matthew 3:1-12)


05.19.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>


John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[a]

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Before the ministry of Jesus, there was the introduction of John the Baptist. John was the introducer and forerunner of Jesus Christ.

Between chp2-3, about 28-30 years passed. Now, the time has come for Jesus to start his public ministry, which would culminate on the cross.

In those days, JB came (John the Baptist). 

When Jesus was ready to start his ministry. 

From the end of the OT to the beginning of the NT is 400 years (inter-testamental period – the “Dark Ages” spiritually – during these 400 years, they never heard the word of a prophet). Now, JB appeared, so finally, the Great Revival was starting. The people considered JB a great prophet, and they considered that the time of the Messiah had come – it had. God was ushering in a new covenant and new era. 

JB spoke like the prophets of old – “turn away from sin to avoid punishment! Turn to God for mercy, forgiveness, and approval!” This was a message for all times and places, but he spoke with urgency to prepare the people for the Messiah. 

He was a sign-post for the one who was to come. 

Behold! See, everybody, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. 

Our calling is similar, like John’s. We can prepare others to receive Jesus as their personal Savior, Lord, King. 

How much urgency do you feel? for those who still need to hear the message of Salvation.

Who is JB? Luke 1 – we see the story of John’s birth – he was a miracle child. He was a different case from Jesus, he was born of Elizabeth, his father Zechariah. At that time, Elizabeth was too old and barren – she couldn’t have a child. While Zech was carrying out his duty in the temple, an angel appeared to him and said, “You’re going to have a child – name him John. He’ll have the HS, and go before the lost – he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and turn people to the wisdom of the spirit.”

Last book of OT: Malachi, chp 4:5-6 “See, behold, I will send you the prophet Elijah. He will turn the hearts of their fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the Earth with a curse.”

So, JB was the last and greatest prophet – he was the forerunner for Jesus.

Also the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 43. “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. 

JB’s coming is regarded as the fulfillment of the promise to send Elijah. Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets in the OT, and John was the last Elijah.

We can see some common things between Elijah and JB:

#1: Their messages were similar.

Direct, clear, short, to the point.

  • Elijah: abandon your idols/false gods, serve the true God.
  • JB: turn from your sins, repent, and turn to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

#2: Lived simply in the desert with similar style

1 Kings – Elijah had leather belt around his waist

#3: similar titles

  • Elijah = Man of God
  • JB = Man FROM God


The key verse in these verses is verse 2:

“Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”

Do you want to go to the kingdom of heaven? YES. Do you want NOW? Right now?

If…not right now…you do not want, honestly.

I said many times, Matthew is the book of the King, the book of Kingship. So, Jesus’ coming to Earth = the appearance of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. This is essential to the teaching of Matthew, and is seen 33 times (important about 50 times). This phrase is used ONLY in Matthew – 33 times. 

Yes, Jesus is King, do you believe this? Kings have their own people, sovereignty, rule, country, etc. So, the understanding of the idea of the Kingdom of God is very important. 

So, let’s make clear 4 things that are important to understand about the Kingdom of God.

#1: It’s a kind of country.

In this world, there are over 200 countries.

In this world, we get citizenship by birth, or by meeting certain qualifications of that government. 

In the KOH, only one qualification = by believing in Jesus as our personal King, Savior. So, simply, we can get citizenship in the KOH.

#2: For a country to be a country, we need country, people, government.

For the KOH, we need only Jesus’ kingship. If we have that, then your heart is Jesus’ kingdom. If your family believes, then your home is Jesus’ kingdom. The KOH doesn’t matter about place, but about kingship = wherever he is king = his kingdom.

#3: KOH is very FAR away (we think).

We will go (sometime). But, before we go to the KOH, it comes to us. “Repent and GO!”? No. “Repent, the KOH is NEAR!” It came to us, as Jesus came to us before we went. Jesus knew us, came to us, loved us before we knew him, went to him, loved him. 

Luke 7: “Do not say, here it is, there it is, the KOH is in you.”

#4: Some Christians think KOH = only a matter of the future, after death

Yes…and no.

It is our future hope, but it is also our present reality. The KOH = come already in the past, and comes at present, and is coming in the continual present and will come in the future.

Future hope is SO essential for life, for victory, for power against Satan. But remember, we cannot have a future hope for the KOH, unless we can also enjoy and experience the present reality of the KOH – now, not by sight. 

Do you have hands? How far can you stretch out? The KOH is IN your hands. 

v. 11-12

JB’s main job was baptizing with water (hence his nickname). John’s baptism is for repentance – but Jesus’ baptism is of the HS, for eternal life. 

At that time, carrying sandals was a slave’s job. JB says, “I’m not even worthy to be his slave. He must increase, I must decrease. He is everything; I am nothing.”

Jesus will baptize with HS and fire. 

We can believe in Jesus as personal Savior, Lord, King. We can accept him only through (by the ministry) of the HS. 1 Cor 12:3 “No one can call Jesus as Lord except by the ministry of the HS.” 

We cannot see God except if we believe in Jesus. The Trinity God in 3 persons, but in 1 essence work together in perfect harmony. 

“You will be baptized by Jesus in FIRE” (not ON fire, thankfully…)

All believers (whether they want or not) cannot escape that baptism, because he is King of Kings.
This baptism has a positive and a negative side.
There is a PROMISE; and a THREAT.

4 points about fire.

#1: The idea about illumination (light)

The flame of a beacon guides a sailor and traveler. In fire, there is light and guidance. He is the beacon light to lead us to the Truth and guide us Home.

#2: Warmth.

A great, and kind man lights fires in cold rooms. When Jesus comes into our lives, he kindles our heart with a warmth of love toward God and others. Always, Christianity is the religion of kindled hearts.

#3: Purification (and destruction).

Do you want that in your heart? Do you want to be purified? The purified flames burn away falsehood, but leaves truth. When Jesus comes into our hearts, the evil-doers are purged and removed. But sometimes this is through a painful experience. But, if we, through ALL experiences of life believe that God is working ALL things together for good, we will emerge from the fire with CHARACTER. “Blessed are those who are Pure in Heart, for they will see God.”

#4: Power.

After his resurrection, Jesus met his disciples and said, “Peace to you, receive the HS. Do not leave Jerusalem, wait for the Promise, the gift of the HS.” After that, they gathered, and prayed in one heart earnestly, and then received the HS. Acts 2 “They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

“When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”


v. 12 “His winnowing fork…clear the threshing floor…gather the wheat…burn the chaff…”

Winnowing fork = big, heavy, wooden shovel. With it the grain was lifted from the threshing floor and tossed into the air. When it was done, the heavy wheat fell to the ground and the light chaff blew in the air. The heavy grain was gathered and stored. The light chaff was gathered and burned for fuel (in the fire). 

The coming of Jesus necessarily, absolutely, requires separation. We can accept him as king or reject him. We can be for him, or against him. When we are confronted with him, we have to make this choice.

ALL human beings, each person will be separated by their reaction/response to Jesus Christ. It is precisely this choice that determines our final destination. 

  • For those who accept Jesus and his baptism = warmth, love, holiness, purification, power. 
  • For those who reject his baptism = punishment, hell, sulfur. 

1 Cor 1:8 “To those who reject JC, the message of the cross = foolishness, but to those who accept Jesus, the message = power.”

May God bless all of us to accept Jesus and enjoy the KOH. If your heart = ruled by Jesus as King, no matter what, whatever you do, wherever you go, your heart is the KOH. REPENT. For the KOH is at your hands.

Let’s pray.

  • May 12 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Paul Before Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul Before Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)


05.12.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”

So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Translation differences:
This is NIV 2011, some others have NIV 1982.

Paul had been left in prison by Felix (Roman governor). Felix was recalled to Rome with complaints against him. Then, Festus was put in place there – the Jews thought “this guy is new, let’s get him to give us Paul.” They wanted to ambush Paul on the way to Jerusalem. Festus invited the Jews to come along (foiling their plans).

Now Paul is giving his testimony. “If I’ve done something wrong, I’m ready to die, but I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Festus wanted to take him to Jerusalem – asked Paul – so Paul appealed to Caesar, so “To Caesar you shall go.”

Then, Festus (newly appointed), had King Agrippa and his sister Bernice come to visit – and he wanted to get Agrippa’s insights (he was well acquainted with Judaism). So, he figured he’d talk with Agrippa to see what’s up with this guy Paul.

They met, Agrippa was intrigued, wanted to hear him personally, so Festus arranged THIS assembly (we’ve just read about).

This wasn’t a judicial hearing/trial, just an investigative hearing. Agrippa (Herod) wanted to hear him – said, “speak for yourself.” So, Paul gave his testimony (for what, a third time in Acts now?).

Paul is a “good guy”, hasn’t violated their laws – just believed in the resurrection (also a Jewish belief – but apparently not in the way Paul believed it). Paul hadn’t become a Christian on a whim, but dramatically. His claim was the Christian faith was a natural outgrowth of his Jewish beliefs. He argued that Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism.

This is the last time we hear Paul speaking publicly – he will speak to other prisoners and other Jews, but this is the last, longest speech.

There is no animosity here. He was fortunate to stand before Agrippa because Agrippa was a fairly neutral/informed party on Jewish beliefs/theology. He was impartial – he wasn’t influenced by the High Priests, and he had power over them in fact.

Paul hoped that this guy with influence and power over them would be able to understand that Jesus was the Messiah and fulfilled their (Jewish) beliefs.

The Jews had known Paul for a long time (probably was famous/infamous as a Pharisee during his time – Pharisees bound themselves to follow the Law). Here Paul is showing just HOW Jewish he is – and that he proclaims Christianity BECAUSE of his Judaism, not in spite of it.

So, Paul makes the resurrection the real issue here. “It’s because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I’m on trial here today.” This was the promise that all Israel hoped to see fulfilled and Paul is hammering it home. This is a Jewish hope – but Christians also now have the same hope – and Christians were within the boundaries of the Jewish hope. But, Christian hope was far more specific because it was hinged on Jesus’ resurrection. The “general” resurrection of the Jewish belief hinges on the “specific” resurrection of Jesus.

This is the expectation that God will fulfill his promises in the OT. This resurrection stuff just shows that Paul believes that God HAS and WILL continue to fulfill his promises in the OT.

God had declared that the Messiah would free his people, God fulfilled that by sending Jesus. Then, God raised him from the dead as the forerunner for ALL believers to be raised.

Paul makes a cry for all of them to believe. “Why should you think it impossible for God to raise the dead?” It’s not. (He’s already done it once – at least

To disbelieve in the resurrection of Christ was actually to disbelieve in the “general” resurrection as well (prophecied in Daniel). Because Jesus’ tomb was empty – over 500 people had seen him alive (no such thing as mass hallucination), and the fearful/hiding disciples were now out boldly proclaiming that Jesus was alive.

In 1 Cor 15:12-19 Paul opposes those who disbelieve in the resurrection. “If there is no resurrection, then Christ hasn’t been raised, and if so, our preaching and YOUR faith are also useless. And we are false witnesses about God. But if he didn’t raise him, then neither has Christ been, and your faith is futile – in vain – you are still in your sins. And those who have fallen asleep (died) believing in Christ are pitiful. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied above all men.” (My favorite verses).

Why was Paul enduring all this?
He knew that this was only temporary and one day he’d meet the Lord and know him if we’ve repented, confessed, accepted Jesus as our Savior.

F.F. Bruce “this belief in the resurrection had now been validated in raising one man from the dead. And it showed that this one man was the deliverer that Israel had waited for.”

Paul admitted that he’d once denied it as well, that he’d persecuted and helped imprison and murder Christians who’d believed. (v. 10)

Paul had stood by the cloaks of the men who stoned Stephen (Acts – early).

1 Cor 15:9-10 Jesus appeared to the different people and to Paul the last of all “I’m the last and the least – because I persecuted the church – but I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. I worked harder than all of them.”

1 Tim “I thank my Lord who appointed me to his service even though I was a blasphemer and violent man. I acted in unbelief, but his grace was poured out on me abundantly. Here is a trustworthy statement that should be accepted fully: Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom, I’m the worst.”

Paul continues (v. 16) “but I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ might display his unlimited patience – for all the other believers who would believe and receive eternal life.”

If he was the WORST sinner in the world, then there’s hope for literally EVERYONE.

No matter their background, whatever they’ve done, they are accepted by Christ.

Paul gave his approval against the Christians who were persecuted to death.

Williams “Would Paul have been a member of the Sanhedrin who actually voted against the Christians? Unlikely, he had unknown/obscure origins (he wasn’t an aristocrat like the rest of them) and he was young. It’s just possible that he HAD won a place there on sheer ability – but ‘voted against’ likely means he gave his approval.”

He certainly worked together with them to bring Christians to trial and death. He went from one synagogue to another, including those in foreign cities – attempting to get the Christians to blaspheme so he could put them to death.

How did Paul have the authority to do this? It’s doubtful that the Romans allowed it. Any executions were probably illegal. The fact that the Jews got away with Stephen’s murder meant that it was either well hidden, or that the authorities turned a blind eye to that kind of stuff.

But, along the way Paul, met Jesus. This is third account (Acts 9, 22, 26). Each account is slightly different – each has its own emphasis so that it fit the audience to whom it was given (as well as Luke’s context). There is a general agreement (also Galatians 1), but some differences.

For example, no Ananias mentioned here, nor his blindness. He didn’t mention that he’s taken to Damascus. But here he DOES mention the intensity of the light and that the voice spoke to him in Aramaic. (v. 13-14) Everyone in his party was stopped dead in their tracks.

This also seems to concentrate on Jesus’ divine commission to Paul. “It’s hard for you to kick against the goad” (a poker stick to make stubborn cows move). This was a proverbial saying in Greek and Latin indicating that no one can resist the will of the gods. It was a pagan saying, but Jesus used it about THE God. Sometimes stubborn cows can kick back against that, but that prompts MORE prodding.

What were “Paul’s goads”?

Perhaps contrary thought to what he’d once believed. Perhaps hesitation on Paul’s part. (Imagine when Stephen prayed to forgive those who were killing him – that must have affected Paul). It may have been a combination of factors, but now, clearly, Paul has a different direction.

“Who are you Lord?”
“I’m Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

He was told that he was chosen and appointed as a witness for Christ – to turn people’s eyes from darkness to light, to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life from God (v. 16).

Jesus (in John’s gospel) said, “Behold, I go to prepare a place for you.”

Paul tells of his obedience to this vision from heaven. “First to those in Damascus he preached (had to be let down in a basket or he’d have been killed), then to Jerusalem, Judea, and the Gentiles – I preached to EVERYONE. That’s why these guys don’t like me. But, I’ve had God’s help from the beginning. I’ve only been repeating what’s in their Scriptures – that Christ is the Messiah and was raised and would give light to their eyes.”

Festus had no idea what was going on… “You’re totally insane man!” Paul said, “No, no, no, this is totally reasonable – ask your buddy Agrippa.” True, true.

Paul “I’m sure that Agrippa knows of all these things, nothing has surely escaped his notice. Agrippa, do you agree with the Prophets?”
Woah, caught Agrippa off guard, “Don’t put me on the spot like that buddy.”

Paul “I pray that everyone here will become a Christian, like me (but not in chains).”

The king then arose, with Festus and Bernice – they said, “he’s totally innocent.”

Agrippa said, “should have set him free, if not for his appeal to Caesar.”

Yet, we know if he HAD gone to Jerusalem, the Jews probably would have ambushed and killed him – and he’d had a vision from God to go to Rome and proclaim the gospel. So, all this is working together for God’s plan.

Were Paul here today, he would ask, “Is it impossible for God to raise the dead? Surely not. And I pray that all of you would accept Christ as your Lord and Savior.”

Let’s pray.

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