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  • Jul 22 / 2018
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of Life (Acts 7:1-60)

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Be faithful to the point of death…

Acts 7:1-60 (Pastor Heo)

7:1 Then the high priest asked him, “Arethese charges true?”

2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’

4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’

35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.

39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.

44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.

48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says:

49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’

51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


This is my first time to deliver a sermon with 60 verses at one time. I’m challenged to finish this story – but if not this time, I will finish next time.

Humanly speaking, let us honor and respect Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Last Sunday, we saw a story about him (in chp 6) – he was full of 5 holy qualities.

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

He is the first non-apostle:

  1. to whom miracles were ascribed,
  2. who was questioned before the Sanhedrin,
  3. whose sermon was recorded in the Bible,
  4. the first Christian martyr.

In this sermon, he

  • began with the God of glory and
  • finished with the glory of God –

giving a full panoramic view of the history of Israel. He summarized the whole story of the OT – beginning with Abraham (they were very proud of Abraham and thought he was their first father). They despised Gentiles, but we must remember that Abram was called from Mesopotamia – the land of idol-worship – so he himself was a Gentile when called and saved by the grace of God alone.

He continued to Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and the prophets – and showed how EACH of them pointed to Jesus.

Let’s look at each individually (briefly).

Abraham

v. 2-8

“2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ [Genesis 12:1-3 – this is the turning point for world evangelism] 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.”

This first calling of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), “through your Seed, all nations on earth will be blessed” – this “Seed” is SINGULAR, not plural – and refers to Jesus.

Gal 3:16 “This Seed is Jesus Christ.” – this is very clear.

Abram is a picture of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Your father, Abram, rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day.” (He was the father 2,000 years earlier.) “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus IS before Creation – from eternity to eternity.

Joseph

v. 9-17

“9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

[Read to here]

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money. 17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.”

  • Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers because of jealousy.
    • Also Jesus was hated and sold for thirty pieces of silver because of jealousy.
  • Joseph became the savior of Egypt and those who came to him in the famine.
    • Jesus, likewise, is the Savior of the world to those who come to him.
  • In the brothers’ second visit, Joseph revealed himself “I’m Joseph! Your brother! You sold me!” They must have been trembling and thought they would be killed. But he said, “Do not be afraid, it was God who sent me ahead of you to save many lives. God made me Lord over all Egypt.” And Joseph forgave his brothers.
    • Like this, Jesus forgave those who crucified him.
  • Joseph could save all who came to him from famine.
    • Likewise, Jesus can save all who come to him by faith.

Jesus is the eternal Savior and forgiver of all sins.

Moses

v. 18-44

“18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ 27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’ 35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon. 44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.”

These two (Moses and Jesus) experienced the same thing at their birth.

  • Pharaoh ordered all babies to be killed, so Moses was put outside.
    • Herod also ordered all babies to be killed, so Jesus was put outside of Israel (his parents fled with him to Egypt).
  • Moses was sent by God to them as leader and ruler, but they did not recognize him as such.
    • Jesus also was sent by God as Messiah and they did not recognize him, nor receive him.

John 1 “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And we have seen his glory. He was with God in the beginning. Through him, all things have been made, and nothing has been made without him. He gives light and life to all. Even though this world was made by Christ, it did not recognize him, it did not receive him…”

John 1:12 “Yet, to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Moses prophesied Jesus’ coming:

Deuteronomy 18:15 quoted in this passage:

“15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. “

Hebrews 11:26 “26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Yet, Moses lived 1500 years BC (before Christ).

John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” (Jesus said) because Moses testified about Jesus.

“46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”

Joshua

v. 45

“Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,”

  • Joshua showed the people the Way into the Promised Land. This was his main mission.
    • Jesus himself is the Way into the Promised Land (heaven). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Joshua was conqueror of all nations.
    • Jesus also is conqueror of all.
  1. 1 John 3:8
  2. Romans 8:33
  • Joshua shared and distributed all land to the 12 tribes of Israel.
    • Jesus also shares and distributes his glory to his children – “If we are children, we are heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we share in his sufferings, we also will share in his glory.”

David & Solomon

v. 46-50

“46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?'”

David is referred to as the father of Christ (lineage), but David confessed that Christ was his Lord.

“The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

2 Samuel 6:17 “Your house (David) will last forever.” But where is David’s house today? The king of Israel? “Your kingdom will know no end. Your throne will last forever.”

We cannot see the house, kingdom, throne of David today. Therefore, this is only a picture of Jesus’ house, Jesus’ throne – because he is sitting (now) at the right hand of God.

What was David’s FIRST desire? Not fighting his enemies – he was filled with a burning passion to build the house of God.

  • So he gathered all the materials to do so. But God said, “No, because your hands have shed too much blood.” Then, his son Solomon built the Temple with the materials that David gathered.
  • Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.” (pointing at himself) – the real ministry of the Temple is the ministry of Christ.

Climax (all OT prophets and Jesus Messiah)

v. 51-52

“51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! [because of this verse, the audience was so angry, they covered their ears and gnashed their teeth, and dragged him outside to stone him to death] 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? [OT – 20? or so prophets – ALL the real prophets in the OT were persecuted] They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–” [Jesus]

Remember and know that all prophets predicted and prophesied Jesus’ coming. This was their main ministry. (Acts 10:43 “43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”)

Just as Jesus was accused falsely, and false witnesses were hired to condemn him, also Stephen had false witnesses brought against him.

His sermon vindicated himself and convicted his hearers.

Their choices were clear: repent, or kill their accuser. Their response was a maddening and murderous stoning.

Someone once said, they stoned him because his sermon was too long…. well….

Conclusion

v. 59-60

“59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

The lesson given to us:

  • What does the death of Stephen mean to us?
  • What was the result of this?
  • What lesson or message can we get?

Here are 2 points.

#1 For Stephen himself = coronation (crown)

the meaning of his name actually is “crown”

Rev 2:10 “Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.”

For himself, this was his crown. He saw the glory of God and the Son of God standing at the right hand of God to receive him into heaven. Usually, Jesus is said to be sitting at the right hand of God, but only HERE, he is standing. Of course, he could not stay sitting at this sight. He had to stand up to welcome the first Christian martyr. This is the Final time the “Son of Man” title is used in the Bible. (v. 56)

This title “Son of Man” is not used any longer in the remainder of the Bible. This is definitely a Messianic title – and Stephen’s use of it is one more witness that Christ is the Messiah.

Stephen was tried, killed, and prayed his final words in a similar manner as Christ.

  • Christ’s prayer, “Father, receive my spirit and do not hold this sin against them.”
  • Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and do not hold this sin against them.”

Stephen had 5 holy qualities:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

And at the end, he was super-empowered with extra grace to forgive his murderers.

#2 For Israel = condemnation (judgment)

This was Israel’s 3rd murder.

  1. John the Baptist – permitted –
    • sin against God the Father who’d sent him
  2. Jesus – requested –
    • sin against God the Son who came to save them
  3. Stephen – enacted themselves –
    • sin against God the Holy Spirit who was working in and through the witnesses of Christ – including Stephen

Christ once said, “Sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.” This judgment came in AD 70 when Titus and the Roman generals destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Bible promised in Rev 2:10:

“Be faithful even to the point of death,
and I will give you the crown of life.”

Can you?

The Bible says, “If we die, we die to/for the Lord, if we live, we to/for the Lord. Whether we live or die, we do so to the Lord.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 15 / 2018
  • 0
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Your Countenance is Your Living Testimony (Acts 6:1-15)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/your-countenance-is-your-living-testimony

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Your Countenance is your Living Testimony

Acts 6:1-15 (Pastor Heo)

6:1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)–Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


In Greek, angel = “angelos” = messenger

Have you ever seen the face of an angel?

If you become a full messenger of God, your face will be like the face of an angel.

Two parts

  1. v. 1-7 Selection of 7 men
  2. v. 8-15 Arrest of Stephen before the Sanhedrin

When we read of the early church, the fellowship, breaking of bread, ministry, etc, we think they were perfect. But NO. The early church had problems just as we do today. Know that there is no perfect church. No church has ever been, nor will be perfect until Christ returns.

Today, some Christians are wandering from church to church looking for a “perfect” church. If a church were “perfect” – then it should not accept you and me as members in order to remain “perfect.” But if a church did not accept imperfect members, it would not be a biblical church.

A church does not have to be “perfect” to be a powerful witness for Christ.

Early church grew 120 -> 3,000 -> 5,000 – more and more added each day. “So the Word of God spread and ” (v. 7)

“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

This growth created logistical problems that would have consumed all the apostles’ time. So, in order to take care of this, they commissioned 7 men who would spend their whole lives to take care of this (deacons of the early church). In the Korean Bible, Philip is mentioned as an evangelist and one of the 7 deacons.

v. 1

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.”

At that time, almost all the early church members were Jews. There were two kinds:

  1. Hebraic Jews = Hebrew speaking (native, local) Jews (spoke Aramaic – the Semitic language)
  2. Grecian Jews = Spoke Greek, couldn’t speak Aramaic because they lived outside Israel

At that time, there was a long tradition of care for the poor in the synagogue – and the early church continued this practice. The Greek speaking Jews complained that their widows were being discriminated against.

At that time, there were many MORE widows than usual because many Jews from Greek-speaking nations had returned home to be buried with their ancestors. But, all their money was gone – because property was passed on from father to son. So widows often needed help. They had no property of their own.

In my parents’ generation, in Korea, they said, “Whole life depends on man – father in childhood, husband in marriage, son in old age.” But today is not exactly like that. But 2,000 years ago in that society, widows were totally dependent on others. But discrimination occurred because of language and class barriers.

v. 2-7

“6:2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

So the 12 apostles called a meeting of the church and suggested the selection of 7 delegates. They chose 7 workers for this ministry of distribution and management. But there is no record about HOW they did it – but they solved this issue and the church grew, became more mature, and they experienced revival once more (growth in quality and quantity).

From this story, we can apply 3 lessons to our daily lives.

#1 Grow from problems

There is no “perfect” church – there is no “perfect” Christian

Jesus: “In this world, you will have troubles of many kinds, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (Matthew?)

In this earth, we live with problems – so many. But what is important is our ATTITUDE when confronting problems.

  • If we receive problems negatively, then that problem will be negative to us.
  • If we receive problems positively, then it will be positive for us and help us to grow and mature.

Met a problem? “Good.” Grow.

From Exodus, on the way to the land of promise, Moses’ father-in-law was a Gentile priest named Jethro. He’d heard of all the news that God had done for Moses and the people of Israel – so he visited them. He saw Moses doing all things alone for all the people – from early morning until evening.

Jethro said, “What are you doing? Why are you alone as judge? Why all the people come to you from early morning to evening? You will be burned out soon. You cannot handle this job alone. Choose capable men who fear God and do not like dishonest gain, to delegate this job to, and appoint them as leaders over 1000s, 100s, 50s, and 10s.”

Yes, Moses had a big problem, but Moses received that problem with an open mind and solved it positively – so the nation grew in maturity and unity.

  • If we receive problems negatively, those problems will be negative to us.
  • If we receive problems positively, those problems will be positive to us.
  1. In school, a student can grow and learn through many problems.
  2. Also a church, or a Christian can grow through many problems.

Met a problem? “Good.” Grow.

#2 Be clear in your priorities

In your life, in your home, in church, what is your priority?

We must be careful not to miss our priority #1 because of secondary jobs.

Both spiritual and physical needs are important and must be met. But, church’s priority #1 is spiritual needs. Jesus, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Administrative burdens (like the distribution of food for widows) is very important, but is NOT the #1 priority for the apostles.

v. 4

“[We] will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

In the local church, pastors are called to focus on the preaching of the Word. “I cannot do all things in AICF. I need your hands to help me. Please pray for me to pray for you. We need to pray for each other.”

So, in this story we must be very clear in our priorities – in ALL our jobs and lives.

#3 Every believer can be a minister

  • Are you a member of AICF?
  • Are you a believer in Christ?
  • Then, are you a minister of Christ in this church?

God wants every member to be a believer, and every believer to be a minister.

Requirements:

  • Believer: Believe in Christ as Savior and Lord
  • Minister: (3 things)
    1. Good reputation (integrity, faithfulness, obedience)
    2. Full of the Holy Spirit (no matter what we are doing in the local church, the guidance of the HS is essential – a Spirit-led life, focusing on Christ)
    3. Full of wisdom (“The fear of God is the foundation of wisdom” – Wisdom in Greek = “sophias” – demonstrating
      • the ability to apply God’s truth appropriately to life situations
      • the ability to get to the best ends through the best means
      • ability to put our knowledge into practice for the best outcome)

To be a minister of the local church:

  1. Good reputation
  2. Full of the HS
  3. Full of wisdom

Here are the 7 who were chosen:

v. 5

“5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.”

  1. Stephen
  2. Philip
  3. Procorus
  4. Nicanor
  5. Timon
  6. Parmenas
  7. Nicolas

From these 7, we can learn at least 2 things.

  1. ALL 7 of their names are Greek (they are Grecian Jews) – this would lay a good foundation for the future spread of the gospel to the Greek world
  2. Stephen and Philip’s names are put first because their ministries will be explained later (Stephen in chp 7 – the longest chapter in this book, Philip in chp 8) – even though they were chosen as ministers inside the local church, outside they were also very powerful evangelists.

Remember, no matter what ministry you’re chosen to do inside the church, you are also an evangelist outside the church.

In this record, we can see, there is NO record of what they did INSIDE the church – there is only the record of what they did OUTSIDE the church.

At that time, the Word of God spread like ripples on a pond, wider and farther over time. Like this, the Word of God spreads today. So, you do not have to change the world single-handedly. It is enough to be a part of this wave, touching the next person, until ALL have felt this wave. How important is your part.

Next, we see Stephen’s arrest.

v. 8-15

“6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)–Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”

Stephen is one of the 7 deacons of the early church. He is said to be “full of” 5 qualities:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

Stephen provides an ideal model for us to develop in our lives and ministry. It is not Peter (apostle) but Stephen for today’s Christian to develop in our character and ministry.

He was also a skilled debater, minister, and preacher. He is a record holder.

  • In church history, since the resurrection of Christ, Stephen is the first non-apostle to whom miracles are ascribed.
  • The first non-apostle who was arrested and tried before the Sanhedrin.
  • The first non-apostle whose sermon is recorded in the Bible (the longest in the NT).
  • The first martyr in church history.

They could not match Stephen’s wisdom and power – so their only choice was to destroy him. The Sanhedrin’s treatment of him parallels the way they treated Jesus.

  1. Hired false witnesses
  2. Stirred up the people saying he was attacking Moses, the Law, the temple
  3. Executed Stephen

As he stood before the Sanhedrin, his face glowed like the face of an angel. In Exodus, when Moses talked to God on Mt. Sinai, his face shone. Also, Jesus’ face shone at the Transfiguration. And here, Stephen’s face shone.

Very important lesson:

We face this lost world (and others) with our face. Our face is a living testimony – our countenance – should exude rightness and warmth. Our face should reflect unearthly peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Are you a walking advertisement for Christ? Can others look at your face and see something different? Something attractive?

This is a big challenge from Stephen.

  • God bless our face.
  • God bless our countenance – because we can be witnesses to the lost world through our word, breathing, character, face, and faith.

We can be strong witnesses to the lost world through our countenance. Shining?

“My face is evangelizing. My countenance is evangelizing.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 08 / 2018
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Nothing can stop a true Christian (Acts 5:17-42)

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Nothing can stop a true Christian

Acts 5:17-42 (Pastor Heo)

5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


This is round 2 of persecution. Round 1 was in chp 3 & 4 – after Peter and John healed the crippled man in the name of Christ. The Sanhedrin put them in jail and threatened them, but ultimately released them.

They never stopped preaching in the name of Christ, so the second round of persecution was inevitable.

An angel initially freed them from jail and sent them back to the temple to preach more. They brought the apostles before the Sanhedrin again and had them questioned before the High Priest (chairman).

He said, “We already told you not to preach in the name of Christ. Then why did you do so?”

Answer: “We must obey God rather than men. You killed Christ, but God raised him from the dead – we are witnesses of this.”

All the members of the Council were furious at this point and wanted to kill them, but Gamaliel reminded them of previous uprisings that were put down.

He said, “If this is from men, it will end, but if it is from God, you will only be fighting against God.” So, they beat them and ordered them not to preach in the name of Christ again.

The apostles left sadly…? no – happily – because they were considered worthy to be persecuted in the Name of Christ. They never stopped preaching (soon we will see the third persecution).

Here’s one question: Are you holding onto the living truth of God, or a dead tradition?

This is the serious question given to us by this story. And there are 4 reactions to the living truth of God.

  1. Attacking the truth
  2. Affirming the truth
  3. Avoiding the truth
  4. Announcing the truth

Please check yourself and your reaction to the living truth of God.

#1 Sanhedrin attacks the truth

v. 17-28

“5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people *the full message of this new life*.”

21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.””

The Sanhedrin is attacking the living truth of God here – there are three reasons why they arrested the apostles and put them in jail.

  1. They didn’t obey the first order to stop preaching
  2. They hated Jesus and killed Jesus – their message was, “Jesus is now alive”. Also key members of the Sanhedrin were Saduccees – and they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead – but this is the KEY message of the apostles
  3. They were jealous of the success of these untrained, simple men (v. 17). The angel of the Lord freed them and sent them to the temple courts to preach

That’s why they couldn’t stand their preaching.

What a contrast between the Sanhedrin and the apostles.

  • They were trained, ordained, high class, but had no ministry of power
    • The apostles were unskilled laborers, laymen, but the power of God was in their message
  • The Sanhedrin were trying to protect their old traditions
    • The apostles were risking their lives to preach the new message of God

The dynamic Christian is enjoying the NEW, but the dead religion is holding onto the old.

We can see many emotions here:

  1. jealousy (v. 17)
  2. puzzled / perplexed (v. 24)
  3. fear (v. 26)
  4. fury / furious (v. 33)
  5. murderous intent (v. 33)

Jealousy is murdering my own character.

v. 20 “”Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.””

This is holistic life – and can be found ONLY in Jesus Christ.

  • “I am the Bread of Life” he says. (there’s a large church in Manila with this name), “he who comes to me, will never go hungry.”
  • “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
  • “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
  • “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son, has life; he who does not have the Son of God, does not have life.”

Only this kind of life can be found in Christ.

#2 Apostles affirm the truth

v. 29-32

“5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.””

Usually, we can obey God by obeying man, because (Romans) all authorities have been established by God. (Also, “do your best to live at peace with everybody”). But in the matter of worship, our position must be exclusive, uncompromising, inflexible. There is a good example in the OT.

Daniel’s three friends, in Daniel chp 3. Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold and said all people must bow before it, or be thrown into the fire. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow. The king gave them one more chance to worship this idol. What was their answer? Very clearly they said, “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown to the burning furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from that fire. He will deliver us from your hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will NEVER worship your gods, nor the image of gold you have set up.”

This is the true Christian’s position.

In this story, the apostles also could not change their position because they could not serve 2 masters.

We also are ambassadors of Christ, not diplomats (as witnesses) – so there is no compromise. Also, the apostles did not change their message. Their message from 2,000 years ago should be our message as well:

  • Jesus Christ died for your sins (my sins), and was raised again for our eternal life.

“Only Jesus” is the eternal Savior from death, hell, the penalty of sin, etc.

#3 Gamaliel Avoided the truth

v. 33-39

“5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.””

To the reaction of the apostles, the Sanhedrin were furious and wanted to kill them. They were probably almost about to kill them, but a Pharisee named Gamaliel persuaded them not to – he was highly respected by all the people. Paul also was trained by this man before his conversion. So, he was a very famous man.

Using two examples, he offered advice: “Don’t kill them yourselves now, if this is from man, they will die someday. But if this is from God, they will succeed and we will be fighting God.”

Because Gamaliel was so famous, they received his advice and let the apostles go with a beating. Yes, God used Gamaliel’s advice to save the apostles from death.

Outwardly, this looks “nice” – but spiritually, this response is unwise, unbiblical, wrong, and dangerous. Why?

  • Gamaliel classified Christ with ordinary men – “just another zealot” trying to free Israel from Rome. But, we must understand that in human history, there is no one who is comparable to Christ. His birth, life, death, and resurrection is a one time event – so none of it can be compared to any other. His coming into the world is God coming into human history and saving this world.
  • Gamaliel was only avoiding the truth – this is another method for rejecting the truth. Avoiding = another form of rejecting. His motive is important. He encouraged neutrality when the Sanhedrin was needing a definite decision. He was voting “No” to their death by advising “someday.”

Is Christ your Savior and Lord?

This is a simple and short question. To this simple question, our individual answer must be very clear. “Yes” or “No” – our answer cannot be neutral – it cannot by “maybe” or “almost” or “hopefully” – only “Yes” or “No.” Our answer must be very clear.

ALL answers that are not “Yes” are simply “No” – do not be deceived.

Gamaliel’s suggestion is “be neutral” – not “yes” nor “no.”

But, Christ made it very clear that it is impossible to be neutral. Matt 12:30 “He who is not with me, is against me. He who does not gather with me, scatters.”

You cannot be neutral about Christ. If our answer is “Yes”, then we are to ANNOUNCE the living truth of God.

#4 Finally, the apostles Announce the truth

v. 40-42

“5:40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

Can you imagine this picture? Can you follow this example in your practical life?

  • In the first persecution, the Sanhedrin released Peter and John with : THREATS
  • In the second persecution, they released them with : THREATS + BEATING

Maybe each apostle received 39 lashes (40 was considered to kill a person) and released. And they left the Sanhedrin not unhappily, but rejoicing. Why? There are two reasons:

  1. Persecution was the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Christ
  2. It was also an opportunity to share in the experience of Christ “Those who share the cross bearing, will share the crown wearing.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are the persecuted – when people insult you and say all kinds of false evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. They also persecuted the prophets in this way.”

Last verse is an excellent model to follow. If we are witnesses of Christ, remember this last verse is an excellent pattern to follow.

v. 42

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

They received 39 lashes, but NEVER stopped. In this one verse, this is an excellent pattern we should follow. Here are five points to practice.

  1. “Day after day” – witness is a daily job, not a special event / performance – just like our eating, drinking, sleeping. This should be our lifestyle
  2. “In the temple courts” – witness should be PUBLIC, official, before a crowd – in your class, school, government, office, etc
  3. “From house to house” – witness can be private job – individual, door to door, man to man, to our family members and relatives, co-workers, strangers on the street, in the market, etc
  4. “Teaching and proclaiming” (teaching and preaching) – witnessing = teaching and preaching (not only preaching) Teaching = instruction, growth, Preaching = evangelism, conversion – so the two of them together gives us the full process of salvation. Do you have somebody as your student whom you are teaching for his spiritual growth?
  5. “Good news that Jesus is the Christ” – our teaching / preaching must be focused and centered on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith

2 Cor 4:5 “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord and ourselves as your servant for Jesus’ sake.” Whether we teach or preach, our witness should be focused on Jesus Christ alone.

Let us pray together.

  • Jul 01 / 2018
  • 0
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Church must be kept Pure and Holy (Acts 5:1-16)

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Church must be kept pure and holy

Acts 5:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.


Satan is our enemy – and we must understand that he is alive. He had failed completely in his attempt to silence the witness of the church in chp 3-4, but he never gives up, he just changes his tactics.

As we know, according to chp 3, his first approach was to attack the church from outside – hoping that the threats would frighten the leaders and apostles. But when that failed, Satan attacked from the inside – using people who belonged to the fellowship of the church. Yes, we must know that Satan is very clever. He is a murderer and a liar. When he doesn’t succeed as a liar, he attacks as a deceiving serpent or an angel of light.

  • “Be self controlled and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a roaring lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour.” (Peter)
  • “Our enemy masquerades as an angel of light…”
  • John “You belong to your father the devil, he is a murderer from the beginning. When he lies, he speaks his native language.”

We also have our own native languages – what is yours? But remember, when you speak a lie, you are speaking Satan’s native language.

Today’s story is a very heavy one to accept.

Ananias & Sapphira

Ananias + Sapphira – sold a piece of their own property, and kept some of the money for themselves, but LIED and said, “This is the FULL amount of money we received for this property” when they presented the money to the church (Peter).

Ananias lied to Peter about offering the FULL money, and he fell down and died.

Sapphira came three hours later, lied about the FULL amount of the money they offered, and she also fell down and died.

v. 1-11

“5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.”

Yes, this is terrible and terrifying, but we must accept it. We can learn 3 lessons from this story.

Background

v. 1

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, **also** sold a piece of property.”

“Also” is connected with some happening in the church at that time. We can look to the last verse of the previous chapter about Barnabas to see what this was about.

4:36-37

“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

This act apparently filled Ananias and Sapphira with envy and they wanted to get praise and glory before the church by doing a similar thing.

#1 God hates hypocrisy

  • Hypocrisy = “wearing a mask and playing an actor”
  • Hypocrisy = deliberate deception – trying to make others think we are more spiritual, more generous than we really are

This sin, hypocrisy was the sin of this couple.

Ananias means “God is gracious” – good name – but he learned “God is holy”

Sapphira means “Beautiful” but her heart was “ugly” with sin

Yes, no doubt, some people are shocked because they read that some people lied about a business transaction and their church giving.

But, when we read further into this, we can see that God was justified and right in judging them. All throughout the Bible, especially at the beginning of a NEW period of salvation, God judges sin severely.

  • Ex: In Exodus, after the temple was built, God killed the sons of the priest because they tried to give God false fire.
  • Ex: In the land of Canaan, after a battle, God killed Achan because of his disobedience regarding money.

These examples were warnings to God’s people – and also to us.

“These things happened as examples for us… so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.”

Even today, Satan never gives up in his attacking and attempt to push us – his main purpose in coming is to lie, steal, and kill (destroy).

This is the first lesson we can get from this terrible story.

To begin with the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was energized by Satan (v. 3) “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

If Satan cannot defeat the church from attacks outside, then he will attempt to go INSIDE and use the members of the church – even generous Christians. So, remember that we are always very close to the attack of Satan – always enduring spiritual warfare.

Eph “Be strong in the Lord’s mighty power and put on the full armor of God – because our struggling is not against physical powers, but against the powers of the spiritual realm. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that in the day of evil you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything, to stand.”

This warning is given to Christians, not non-Christians – so we must remember that we are who Satan wants to use to attack the church from the inside. Satan knows how to lie well – and he spoke a lie to Ananias and Sapphira and that lie led to death. So, when God judged Ananias and Sapphira, he was judging Satan.

#2 Their actions were motivated by the sin of Pride

God hates Pride and judges it.

Pr 8:13 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil… God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.”

Yes, already Christ made it very clear that we must be very careful about how we give lest the glory to be given to God is given to us.

“Be careful not to do your giving before man… Do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do. They have received their reward in full. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” How is this possible? We must be filled with the HS. “Then you Father, who sees what is done in heaven will reward you.”

The Pharisees were adept at giving in public so that they might receive the praises of man. But, that is ALL they received.

Remember, we are merely STEWARDS of what God has given us, so we must use what he has given us for his glory. How can we remember God if we seek praise from man? If we seek praise from man, it is very difficult to believe in God. But we should not apply glory and praise to ourselves. We only praise our Father God, and not expect praise from men.

This is the second lesson from this story. Yes, pride is also always very near us. Are you riding pride?

Pride is the sin that opens the door to all other sins – it is the original, the gateway sin. So, if we are only interested in our own character, then their is no limit to what we might do to look good in the eyes of others.

#3 God loves the church and the sin was directed against the church

We cannot know how much God loves the church. The church was purchased by the blood of God’s only Son.

Imagine, if you bought something with the blood of your son, how much could you love that thing?

So, God loves the church so much. But at the same time, Satan wants to destroy the church all the time. So, he seeks to use those who are INSIDE the church to destroy it.

Imagine, if Peter had not been discerning, then Ananias and Sapphira would have become influential people in the early church and Satan would have been using them to do his own work from within.

  • Church is God’s temple in which God dwells, but Satan also wants to move in and dwell there with us.
  • Church is also God’s army, and Satan seeks to get as many spies and traitors into its ranks as possible.

So, church is VERY SAFE when Satan is attacking from OUTSIDE, but it is in danger when Satan can get inside and attack from within.

So, at this moment, we need to examine ourselves. Do we really mean everything we pray about in public? Do we sing hymns and gospel songs faithfully and sincerely, or routinely?

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Jesus)

Imagine, if God still killed religious deceivers today, how many church members would be left?

In this story, Ananias was dead and buried, but his wife did not know what had happened. This also shows that:

  • Satan keeps his servants always in the dark, but
  • Jesus guides his servants in the light.

Their sin was NOT in holding some money back, but rather it was in lying to the church, to the HS. They were not required to give all the money, but their evil desire and lust to receive praise from men led to their downfall.

James 1:15 “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and the sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.”

What is the result of this event? GREAT FEAR (x2) – this means “godly fear” or the “fear of God”. Actually, the “fear of God” is the secret to be free from ALL other fears in this world.

Yes, in the previous chapter, we saw there was great power and great grace. Now, there is great fear. All of these should be present in the church:

  1. Godly power
  2. Godly grace
  3. Godly fear

“God is a consuming fire.”

Remember 3 lessons:

  1. No hypocrisy
  2. No pride
  3. Not against the church

Opposites (we must do these things):

  1. Honesty, integrity, sincerity
  2. Humility
  3. For the church

We must do our best to keep the church pure and holy.

#Conclusion

v. 12-16

“And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.”

We can be encouraged by the last words: “all of them were healed.”

  • Yes, our enemy Satan always wants to divide the church, disgrace, decrease, destroy the church.
  • But the church filled with the HS is unified, magnified, multiplied.
  1. Yes, the early church began with only 120 in the upper room, and
  2. in the second stage to 3,000,
  3. in the third stage to 5,000 (excluding women and children).
  4. “Nevertheless, more and more people believed and were added to their number.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This means that miracles are still possible. If you believe, miracles are possible. The problem is whether or not you believe.

This is especially possible for the miracle of healing – not only physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual, psychological. Remember, only eternal, everlasting healing can be found in Jesus Christ our Lord – because only by believing in him, we are to live in heaven completely freed from all kinds of diseases and sickness.

The greatest miracle of all is the transformation (complete change) of a lost sinner into a child of God based on the power of the resurrection of Christ. That is the greatest miracle, the greatest need of all humans, lasts the longest, and cost the greatest price (the blood of Christ). This is one (the greatest) miracle that we can all participate in as members of the church.

We can share this miracle when we share the message of the gospel.

God bless us all.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 24 / 2018
  • 0
Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:23-37)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the resurrection

Acts 4:23-37 (Pastor Heo)

4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.


Peter and John were arrested and put in prison one night. The next day, the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) questioned them – just because they healed a beggar in the name of Christ and preached the resurrection of Christ. The Sanhedrin wanted to punish Peter and John but could not because so many people were praising God – so instead, they commanded them not to preach of Christ (especially not his resurrection) any longer. Then, they released them with a strong warning.

Upon their release, Peter and John immediately returned to their group and reported to them the persecutions and sufferings they’d received from the Sanhedrin.

At the report of Peter and John,

  • the church did not complain against God –
  • they didn’t condemn nor judge the Sanhedrin,
  • nor fall down into deep depression and disappointment.

No, their first reaction to this difficult situation was … to pray to God. This is a very important principle that we should apply in our own lives.

How about your own reaction with your difficulties? Your first reaction should be prayer / talking with God. Prayer is our strength – this is our practical strength. This is our first strategy, our first weapon.

Let us see their prayer – and how they prayed.

How the disciples prayed

v. 23-31 (First reaction to the bad situation and prayer)

“4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ [Messiah] 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Looks like the Pentecost in chp 2 again. The earth was shaken and they were filled with the HS.

5 Points we can apply in our lives

#1 They addressed God as “Sovereign Lord”

Yes, we are talking to God personally and individually. Usually we start “Our Father in Heaven…”

This means they had strong conviction of the power and authority of God. (“You are Creator and Sustainer of all things – there is nothing impossible with you”).

You are omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.

One day, someone threatened Martin Luther: “If you continue to go on in your course against us, you will be excommunicated, kicked out, deserted by all your supporters. Then, where will you be?”

Martin Luther: “Then, I’ll be in the hands of God.”

God is “Sovereign Lord”

Strong conviction of the power and authority of God

#2 Conviction of the uselessness of man’s rebellion against God

Acts 4:25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘

This is quoted from Psalm 2:1-2

“Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed,”

They applied the Psalm here in their situation. Their hearts and minds turned for comfort to the Scriptures. The parallel is perfect.

In these two verses, we see:

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles (unbelivers)
  • Israelites (believers)

This is the story of the crucifixion of Christ. “Anointed One” = Christ

The members of the Sanhedrin – arrested Peter and John – and had also arrested Christ. They decided to kill Christ, but had no right to carry it out according to Roman Law. So, they handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate – ruler over Judea at that time. But, he also did not want to execute Jesus because he could find nothing guilty in Christ. He heard that Christ was from Galilee – so he sent him to Herod (ruler of Galilee at that time). He received Christ, but did not judge him – he only ridiculed and mocked him – then sent him back.

So, Pilate had no choice against the crowd, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar!” So, he handed Christ over to be crucified by the soldiers.

What does this mean?

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles
  • Israelites

Altogether banded together to crucify Christ. ALL humans defy God, but in the end “God must prevail.”

The prayer is based solidly on the Word of God

Psalm 2:1-2

Like this, the Word of God and our prayer must go together.

John 15:7 “If you remain in me, and my Word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”

  • In his Word, God speaks to us and tells us what he wants us to do.
  • In our prayer, we speak to God and make ourselves available to accomplish his will.
    • The true prayer is NOT telling God what to do, but asking God to do his will through us.
    • It means getting God’s will done on earth through us, not getting our will done in heaven through God.

#3 The set the remembrance of Christ before them

And remembered his suffering and triumph – and they found strong conviction.

Jesus is your Lord? Then this is (more than) enough.

“Jesus is my Lord!~”

#4 For what did they pray?

For what shall we pray in a hard and difficult situation?

They prayed for courage.

v. 29

“29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

They did not think they could face this situation in their own strength, but they prayed for God’s strength – to empower them and make the best use of their circumstances to accomplish their mission.

  • They did not pray for protection, but power.
  • Not fire from heaven, but power from heaven to preach and heal.

How about in our application? Do you pray?

  • If you pray, please do not pray for an EASY life, but pray for STRENGTH.
  • Do not pray for tasks equal to your power, but pray for power equal to your tasks.

#5 Through this prayer, we can see the result – again the gift of the HS.

v. 31

“31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

This is a similar event to Pentecost – they were filled with the HS again. They found the courage and strength they needed to witness about Christ.

Today we need to be filled with the HS again – yesterday is yesterday’s story. We need to be filled again and again and again until we see Christ face-to-face.

“Again!”

Christian community

v. 32-37

“32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

Especially in the community of the church, prayer is supremely important. Yes, the witness of Christ is also supremely important, but the highest culmination is LOVE.

They had an intense love for each other – and a desire to share all they had with one another. Why? Because they are brothers and sisters in Christ – they are one family.

This kind of lifestyle is not the result of regulation, but it is spontaneous. The Law does not compel us to share, but the love in our hearts compels us to share – that is true Christian community.

Joseph (nicknamed “Barnabas”)

He is introduced here for several reasons:

  • he was a generous giver
  • he illustrated the things Luke was describing
  • had the most important ministry in the church (mentioned 25 times in Acts, and 5 times in the epistles)
  • he encouraged Paul in his early ministry and service to the Lord
  • he was Paul’s partner in his first missionary journey
  • he was HS filled – a good man because he was a big encouragement to the church

Also today, we need Barnabas. We need many Barnabusses? Barnabi?

v. 33 (KEY VERSE)

“33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

Great power + great grace = Great Christian / church

If you were in this situation, could you do like this?

They “continued” to testify of the resurrection of Christ.

Situation:

The real reason the Sanhedrin arrested, jailed, and persecuted the early church was NOT because of the healing of the beggar, but because of the gospel message – the preaching of the resurrection of Christ.

If this news spread widely, it would mean that the Sanhedrin (elders, priests, etc) were TERRIBLY wrong. When Christ rose again from the dead, they met together and created a plan. They bribed the soldiers to spread a rumor that the disciples stole his body away. If the news of this spread, they would lose their position and status. So, they did their best to stop the spreading of the news of the resurrection of Christ.

They commanded Peter and John NOT to preach of the resurrection any longer.

But… they “continued”

How about our story? Is there a warning? Is their a threat from the Korean government? Is there persecution?

WITH THIS persecution, they “continued” preaching. But we have no such strong warning from the government. So, then, why don’t we preach the resurrection of Christ? We have freedom to do so. So, if we don’t, we commit a double fault.

What does the resurrection mean to you and me? What does this say to us practically, really?

Yes, about the resurrection, I can preach ALL day. But if I do so, you will be angry, hungry, etc.

So, let me share 2 points quickly.

What the resurrection of Christ says to us

#1 Jesus is God

Do you believe this?

Romans 1:4-6 “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ.”

If you are not called, there is no relationship.

We can call Jesus “Lord” – more than 1,000 things “hope, love, peace, purpose, rock, shepherd, friend, brother, etc”

Jesus can be all positions we need – how is it possible? Because he is God – so all positions we need are possible.

He is God through his resurrection – this is the evidence.

#2 The guarantee of our resurrection

This is the “first fruits” of those who believe and belong to him.

Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.”

Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Yes, we experience death all the time, all around us. Somebody dies every day. Death is very near us. We experience death indirectly continually – and one day we will all experience death directly.

Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, so he who believes in me will rise again even though he dies.”

Our physical death is literal, tangible, so our resurrection body will also be real, literal, tangible. That’s why Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life… do you believe this?”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 17 / 2018
  • Comments Off on I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak

Acts 4:13-22 (Pastor Heo)

4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


Persecution starts. The Sanhedrin had put Peter and John in jail, and the next day questioned them. The Sanhedrin was like the Supreme Court of that day.

  • And they questioned them, “By what name do you do what you did?”
  • Peter and John said, “by the name of Jesus whom you crucified.”
  • Then the Sanhedrin conferred together to decide what to do with them. They came to them again and said, “Anyway, do not preach or perform miracles in this name again.”
  • Peter, “If you are judges, judge for yourselves. Which is right? To obey you or to obey God?”

In everything, we are judges – we must choose one of two ways.

  • Peter said, “We cannot stop preaching what we have heard, what we have seen.”

Actually, the Sanhedrin wanted to kill Peter and John, but they couldn’t do anything to them – because outside (over 5,000) people were praising God because of their work and preaching.

  • They threatened them again, “If you do this again, you will be killed.”

Last verse says the man’s age was over 40. Let’s read once more.


v. 13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were *astonished* and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John had great courage. Do you? Even today, we need courage. Yes, we know how cowardly Peter was only a few months before, but now he’s become such a courageous and fearless man. They were shocked.

This courage is possible because they were filled with the HS. Today to be powerful and effective witnesses for Christ, we need courage. Even in the secular world, to be successful, we need courage.

There are 3 kinds of courage.

1. Reckless courage –

we don’t know what will happen, we are unaware of the consequences.

2. Fearless courage (convinced) –

Yes, we are aware of the possible difficulties and dangers, but we also know there is something else beyond those dangers.

3. Decisive courage (resolute) –

Sometimes, courage does not mean “fearlessness” – actually, it may include GREAT fear, but a decision to DO what must be done and do it.

The courage of Peter and John now was “fearless courage”. How can we have courage? Do you want to be powerful effective witnesses for Christ? Then we need courage.

The best courage is fearless courage because we know there is something greater, beyond earth, heavenly reward. So, to have this courage, we need 4 things.

4 Necessities for courage

1. Pray – and your courage will increase

Phil 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.”

2. Proclaim God’s promises to yourself

“Whoever acknowledges me, I will acknowledge, whoever disowns me, I will disown.” Jesus

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear. I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I will strengthen you, I will uplift you with my righteous right hand.”

Yes, we need to proclaim the Word of God to others, but we also need to apply it and proclaim it to ourselves.

3. Fear God

Fear God to fear nothing.

If you fear God fully, you will never fear anything in this world.

“The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.” – Proverbs

“Do not fear those who can kill the body, but not the soul. Rather, fear the one who can throw both soul and body into hell.”

The secret to be free from fears is to fear God – because he is maker and creator of all things.

4. Believe what Jesus has been doing and that there will be a reward from him

If we believe what he has been doing, past, present, future, then we will be free from all kinds of fears.

Yes, he died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

“God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“… Christ died for the ungodly”

Romans “Therefore, there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (in Christ theology)

If we are Christians, children of God, then we are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ. If we share in his sufferings, we may share in his glory. The present sufferings are nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed.

Rev “Behold I am coming soon.” – Jesus said 3 times. “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

If it is true that Jesus is God become man and died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our salvation and justification, then, no matter how much we do for him, we cannot do too much for him.

In this story, we can see Enemies attack, Christians defend. We also experience this in spiritual war. In this case, we should have our defense. What kind of defense?

Enemies’ attack: 2 characteristics

1. Contempt

v. 13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and **realized that they were unschooled [ignorant], ordinary men [laymen without special professional qualifications], they were astonished** and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

They had no learning in the regulation of the Law.

i.e. The Sanhedrin regarded Peter and John with contempt: as ignorant and non-professional – no certifications or fancy letters at the end of their names.

But “in Christ” provides a certain (real and holy) dignity that no special qualifications or titles can give.

2. Threats

v. 21 “After **further threats** they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.”

We must remember that what men do to us are only temporal – but the things of God are eternal.

The things of Man are temporal, but the things of God are eternal.

In the face of these attacks from the enemies, Peter and John had 3 defenses.

3 Defenses against enemy attacks

1. The defense of unanswerable fact

The man who was lame was healed. They couldn’t deny it.

The most unanswerable fact of Christianity is a Christian man or woman – the changed life of a Christian.

2. Total loyalty to Christ

If they had to choose between obeying man or God, Peter and John would have no question which path to take.

“The trouble with so many people today is that the voice of their neighbor sounds so much louder than the voice of God.”

Yes, we have 2-3 voices in our lives:

  1. The voice of God
  2. The voice of Satan

[also, the voice of neighbors – and our own voice]

  • The voice of God in Genesis: “If you eat this fruit, you will surely die.”
  • The voice of Satan in Genesis: “God is a liar. If you eat this, you will be like God. God wants you to be unhappy.”

Yes, even today, the voice of God (or Satan) can come through the voice of our neighbors. That’s why we need to be wise, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • Satan: “Do what seems safe, easy, comfortable, gives glory to yourself.”
  • God: “Do what is right, true, good, glorious to Christ.”

3. (Greatest defense): Personal experience of Jesus Christ

Peter and John’s story of Christ: they knew first hand that it was true and sure – and they were willing to stake their lives on it.

5 Points as real lessons for application in our lives

1. God is LONG-suffering with lost sinners

The religious leaders had rejected:

  1. John the Baptist
  2. Jesus

So, God gave them another opportunity to repent and be saved. So, we must also give thanks to God for his patience and long-suffering with us. We need patience when we witness to this world.

2. True witness involves bad news of sin and guilt as well as the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ

Remember, there can be no true faith in Christ if there is not first repentance of sin. We are preaching the good news of salvation, but when we preach this wonderful good news, we must also preach the bad news of sin and guilt so that they may truly receive the good news.

Without the bad news, they cannot truly experience the good news.

3. Whenever God blesses, Satan appears.

Are you blessed? Satan appears to oppose the work, to silence the witness. Even today, sometimes Satan uses religious people to do his job.

In this story, the same crowd who opposed the ministry of Christ is also opposing the ministry of the apostles, and Satan today is trying to oppose our own ministry. Expect the attack of Satan, but do not let it stop your ministry.

The important thing is not that we’re comfortable, but that the name of Christ is glorified through our message.

4. God has also promised to bless and use his Word,

so let us be faithful continuously. Even today, Christ is praying earnestly for us so that our witness may be successful. So, we have every reason to be encouraged because there is power in the name of Christ. We need not fear witnessing and calling others to repent.

5. The name of Christ has power and authority.

Even today, we can give somebody a cup of cold / hot water, or receive a child / baby in the name of Christ. Still these ministries are important. We can ask in the name of Christ – and when we do it is as though Christ himself is asking it.

Do you know what “In Jesus’ name” means? “In the name of Jesus Christ”

This means: It is like Jesus himself is asking what we are asking. If we remember this, it will help us ask only something worthy of the name of Christ.

Let us go forth in the name of Christ as conquerors – he gave his life for our salvation and justification.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 10 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation (Acts 4:1-12)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation (Acts 4:1-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Jesus Christ is the only way

Acts 4:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

4:1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. 5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ **12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”**


Today we see Peter’s 3rd sermon.

Peter’s 1st sermon: chpt 2: filled with the HS, focused on the resurrection of Christ and 3,000 people were added to the church.

Peter’s 2nd sermon: they met a crippled beggar at the temple gate – during the time of prayer, and they healed him, through the power of Christ. So many people gathered around them: his message was filled with the HS, and focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The total believers totaled up to 5,000 at that time – not counting women and children. But, persecution began.

Historic Context

At that time, 25,000 to 85,000 people lived in Jerusalem. There were 6,000 Pharisees in Palestine at that time. There were 5,000 Christian men at that time – this was a high percentage of the population at that time. So, the current religious leaders (Pharisees, etc) were greatly disturbed. They came to Peter and John and arrested them and questioned them.

But, now it was already evening – late to assemble the necessary leaders to hold the inquiry. So, they put them in jail until the following morning.

v. 1-5

“4:1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. *4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of **men** grew to about five thousand.* 5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.”

In this situation, persecution began. Jesus had already won his followers.

Spiritually, what is persecution? This is proof that the gates of hell are being stormed and that spiritual captives are being set free.

This same group who had tried and crucified Christ now sought to intimidate, threaten, and silence Jesus’ witnesses again. Peter and John shared the gospel but ended up in jail.

Even today, there can be risks in trying to win others to Christ:

  • being rejected,
  • whispered about,
  • misunderstood, etc.

Yes, we might be willing to face jail for one night if it would bring 5,000 to Christ. But at the same time, we must be willing to suffer for only one lost soul.

  • How about all of us today?
  • What do you risk in witnessing?

This is a practical question.

Whatever the risks, we must realize that nothing done for Christ is ever wasted. No matter how great the risk, the reward is surely greater. Jesus, “Blessed are you when people insult, persecute you, and say all kinds of false evil about you because of me. Rejoice and be glad – for your reward in heaven will be great. They did the same to the prophets.”

  • Romans: “Our present suffering cannot compare to eternal glory…”
  • Jesus, “On my account you will be brought to kings and leaders – at that time you will be given what to say. It will not be you speaking, but the HS speaking through you.”

Still persecution is alive around us if we are really witnesses of Christ.

v. 5-12 is Peter’s 3rd sermon. It’s very short but powerful and effective.

v. 6-7

“6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?””

At that time, the priests, teachers of the Law, etc, made up a Sanhedrin (Council) – like a Supreme Court. They gathered together and it was the HIGHEST ruling government of Israel. They handled local problems. It consisted of 70 members + the current high priest = 71 total members.

v. 6 – Annas and Caiaphas = high priests together (but actually, there was only one high priest at a time).

Annas was the original high priest, but the Roman government deposed him, and appointed Caiaphas in his place (his son-in-law). But the Jews thought of the high priest as a lifetime position – so they continued to call him “high priest” and give him respect in this council.

They both had played a significant role in Jesus’ trial. They were at the front place of condemning Christ.

v. 7-11 (Peter’s answer and sermon)

“7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ‘”

Imagine this situation, this picture. This is the Supreme Court – the highest class, wealthiest, most powerful, most intellectual in Israel. They crucified Christ. They did not like his teaching, nor any new movement, nor any campaign. They only wanted to maintain the status quo to keep their wealth, privilege, status, etc. Also, the majority of the members were Saducceesthey were the richest, and very worldly, materialistic. They did not believe in angels, nor the resurrection of the dead.

So, Peter and John were arrested because they preached the resurrection of Christ. They were fishermen, ordinary people. Yet they stood here to be questioned.

And to the question, Peter answered: “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom YOU crucified!” (pointing) “whom God raised – whom you rejected. He has become the cornerstone.” By THAT name the man was healed.

How is this boldness, fearlessness possible?

The HS made this attitude possible.

v. 8

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”

I said already,

  • The baptism of the HS is a one-time event in our lives – this is at our conversion.
  • But the FILLING of the HS is a continual event if we are to be powerful witnesses of Christ.

His message is again focused on the death and resurrection of Christ.

Peter and John were arrested and there to be judged as the accused. Yet Peter is proclaiming judgment over them.

“Know this!”

The heart of the message of the gospel is always the death and resurrection of Christ. Do you have a heart? Without a heart, we cannot live nor breath. The death and resurrection of Christ is the heart of the gospel message.

If in your preaching, unless you tell the story of the death and resurrection of Christ, there is no heart in your message.

Other religions base their claims on recognition to the teaching of their founders. But Christianity is distinguished from all other religions based on the significance it places on the death and resurrection of Christ – because this is THE most significant teaching.

The death of Christ

  • Without the death and resurrection of Christ, our faith, our repentance is groundless, useless.
  • Our God is a righteous and just and right God.
  • He cannot forgive sin nor sinners merely on the grounds of a sinner’s repentance.
  • God can pardon sin only when the penalty is first paid.
  • So, in order to pardon a sinner and also to remain as a righteous God at all times, Jesus Christ paid the penalty FOR us on the cross.
  • “He is the propitiation for our sins.” (atoning sacrifice)

The resurrection of Christ

  • The resurrection proves he is the Son of God –
  • that his sacrifice for our sins was acceptable to God –
  • so our salvation is perfectly finished and we can be forgiven.
  • And because of these proofs, we can believe in all the things he said as truth.
  • We also belong to Christ – are called “Christians” – and we know he still lives on.
  • We also understand that because of HIS resurrection, we also will experience a resurrection in Christ one day.

All this evidence is based on the death and resurrection of Christ.

So, when you share your faith with others, do not forget the HEART of the gospel message.

If Christ is REAL to you, IN you, NEAR you, important to you, Number One in your heart and life and mind, then you will speak about Christ at any and every opportunity. Why? Because we are to speak what is filled in our hearts.

Luke “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Something comes out through your mouth that is overflowing in your heart.

Climax/conclusion:

memorize this verse and keep it in your hearts.

v. 12

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

This verse is both a big encouragement and a big challenge.

Today, we must make our reactions very clear to this verse.

Is this verse a blessing or a burden to you?

“no one else”

no other religion, philosophy, doctrine, principle, person, man – except for Jesus Christ – for salvation

What is your reaction, answer, response?

It can be “good news” or “heavy news” to you.

Good News!

  • There is salvation! Salvation can be found!

Heavy News…

  • No one else?…

Some react very negatively. Why not anything else? Other religions are not wrong. There are many great men and heroes in history. Why only Jesus? Why so exclusive? Why so narrow minded?

Some react praising God. Thank God! There’s a way! We can be forgiven! This is called the narrow way – the narrow door – the narrow path. It is narrow, yes, but it is a way. The only way.

What is your reaction to this?

Sinking ship

Imagine you are in a cruise ship, and it is broken and sinking. Sewol or Titanic.

Then somebody says, “There’s a life boat! It’s very near!”

In this situation, what will you do? You can choose your action.

Will you throw yourself into that life boat and be secured with thankfulness? Or will you remain on that sinking ship complaining, “Why only one lifeboat? Where are all the others?” You can choose.

Burning building

We are in this building. This building is burning on fire. We are locked completely inside. We have no choice but to die.

But someone outside the building makes a single, small hole to the outside. “Hey! Is there anyone inside? Come out and be rescued!”

What shall you do?

Will you rush out through the way out and thank God? Or will you remain inside the burning building and complain: “Why only one way out? What about the doors? Why not another way out?”

Reality

These are just stories. But they are illustrations of our lives. All humans are spiritually dead (Eph “As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions”). “All humans are destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.”

God has provided only ONE way to salvation: Christ.

This is a REAL situation. It’s not a story. In this situation, what shall you do?

Will you be saved through that only way – Jesus Christ – by believing in him and accepting him as your personal Savior and Lord?

Or will you remain unsaved complaining and criticizing, “Why only one way? There are many religions. Why only this way?”

So, you must make your action before this sentence very clear. Your reaction to this one short sentence will decide your eternal destiny.

v. 12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Let us shout this sentence together.

Today, repeat this sentence 100 times.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 03 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (2)

Acts 3:12-26 (Pastor Heo)

12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’

24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”


In this book Acts, there are 14 sermons by 4 preachers.

  • 6 from Peter,
  • 6 from Paul,
  • 1 from Stephen,
  • 1 from James.

Last Sunday, we saw Pentecost. So many people gathered in Jerusalem at that time, and the HS came down. And about 3,000 people were added to the church that day.

At this time, during the time of prayer, at the temple, Peter and John healed a lame man. So many people saw it and rushed to them to see how this was possible. This setting gave Peter another opportunity to preach the gospel.

Just like the first sermon, this one is:

  1. Full of the HS
  2. Full of the Word of God
  3. Focused on Jesus

v. 12-16

“12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 *By faith in the name of Jesus*, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

First, the final purpose of this miracle = to bring glory to Christ. v.13 makes this clear. The final purpose was not to heal this man and make him strong, but to bring glory to Christ.

Also, the crucifixion is not only for the sins of the whole world, but also the greatest crime in human history. This is the meeting of God’s absolute justice and unconditional love. This is also the meeting place of God’s mercy and man’s rebellion.

The resurrection is proof that Jesus is indestructible and Lord of life and death. This is ironic – he gave life, they killed the author of life. But this – the resurrection – is final proof that Jesus is God.

We have no power – but we may be a channel of the power of the risen Christ. As long as we think only of what we can do and be, there is only failure and fear. But when we think of “not I but Christ in me” (Gal 2:20) there is the power of Christ in me.

So, how can we be channels of this power of Christ? By believing and using the name of Christ.

Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ” in his first sermon. In this sermon also, “silver and gold I have not, but I will give what I have – in the name of Christ, stand up and walk.”

What does a name mean / carry with it? It carries with it the full authority of the one to whom it belongs.

Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”

Let me introduce some of the names of Christ. (The Bible is full of names of Christ.)

  • Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”
  • “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I with them.”
  • Luke “Forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations in the name of Christ.”
  • John “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Jesus “I will do whatever you ask in my name.” (in the book of John 4 times)
  • “The Father will send the Counselor (Holy Spirit) in my name.”
  • John: The Bible is written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we may have life in his name.
  • Acts: “Repent and be baptized every one of you and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Peter “Repentance and forgiveness will be given to you in his name… There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • Joel, Acts, Romans: “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Phil 2:9-10 “Therefore, God super-exalted Jesus Christ and gave him the name that is above every name – that at his name every knee should bow, in / on / under the earth.”
  • Col 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether word or deed, eat or drink, do it all in the name of Christ – giving thanks to God through him.”
  • 1 John 3:15 “I write this book so that you may know that you have eternal life in the name of Christ.”

Last Sunday, I encouraged / challenged you: we cannot give what we do not have. We can give only what we have. If you have the name of Christ really in you, you can give to this world – healing to those who need it, salvation to those who need it, peace to those who need it, life solutions to those who need them. This is the power of the name of Christ.

God bless us so that we may believe and enjoy and use this name.

v. 17

“”Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

They crucified the Author of Life in ignorance (they didn’t realize what they were doing).

In the history of Israel, the Jews had NEVER expected a “suffering Messiah” – but had anticipated a “super hero Messiah” – politically, physically, etc strong. So, when Christ came as a carpenter and died on the cross, they missed it.

In the OT, there is a difference between deliberate and unintentional sins.

  • If someone sinned deliberately, he was cut off from the tribe / God, etc.
  • But if it was unintentional, he was given an opportunity to repent.

Intentionality does not mitigate guilt, but changes the circumstances.

In this case, the people committed sin unintentionally – so there was not immediate condemnation, but rather the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness, judgment, etc and call all men to repentance.

Remember, nowadays in our times, because the HS came and is convicting us of sin, we have no more opportunity to say, “I rejected Christ in ignorance.” – The HS is witnessing, convicting, testifying about Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 “We have no more excuse…”

Like Peter’s 1st sermon, this second one is full of the Word of God (OT).

Peter’s 1st sermon: quoted Joel and Psalms

v. 18-24

“18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

The point: even the OT is full of Jesus’ story. From Genesis to Malachi – 39 books – are full of Jesus’ story.

Ex: introduces Moses, Samuel, and all the prophets. Next verse we will read v. 25: Abraham as well

Moses

v. 22 ” ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'”

This is foreshadowing Christ and quoted from Deuteronomy 18:15, 18:18 (word-for-word quotations).

Moses prophesied the Messiah.

Jesus says in John, “If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me, because Moses wrote about me.”

Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible).

When Philip found Nathaniel he said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about.”

Also, Hebrews 11:26 (the faith chapter) – in the human calendar, Moses lived 1500 years before Christ. But in Hebrews it says, “Moses considered all this pain, suffering, etc for Christ more than all the treasures in Egypt.”

Samuel

v. 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

Samuel was the first in the succession of the prophets – he anointed David as king and spoke clearly of the establishment of David’s kingdom. “God will establish the throne of David FOREVER.” (2 Samuel)

Is there actually the physical, human throne of David today? No. But the king is Christ. This was a prophecy of the Messiah to come. “All the prophets” testified about this. “That everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

v. 19 “Repent, then, and turn to God,”

Peter also mentioned repentance in his first sermon. This is a change of mind about sin and reorientation of the self toward God.

John the Baptist also prepared the way for Christ by preaching the message of repentance. This is acknowledging person sin and turning from it TO God.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we repent, God promises to wipe out our sins and also to bring spiritual refreshment.

Yes, at first, repentance seems painful – because it is hard to give up some sins – but God will give us a better way. Do you feel a need to be refreshed? Forgiveness is available for everybody today at the foot of the cross.

1 John 1:7 “The blood of Christ purifies us from all sin.”

v. 22

“‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; [we] must listen to everything he tells you.”

This is a very serious question. Are you listening to everything Jesus is telling you? Even at the Transfiguration (mountain), God pointed at Christ and said, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased, LISTEN to him.”

Question: What is your posture when the Word of God is preached?

  • Do you HEAR it only? Coming in one ear and out the other?
  • Or do you listen with INTENTION of being a DOER of the Word of God.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – and change the way you live.

Please listen (and obey) every word in the Word of God.

v. 25

“And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring [seed] all peoples on earth will be blessed.'”

“offspring” = “seed”

There is another amazing story:

Yes, Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ – he lived FOR Christ and testified about Christ through his life and story.

  • One day (Genesis 12:2-3), God called Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation – and I will bless you. You will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you – and ALL peoples on earth will be blessed (saved) through you.”
  • Genesis 22:18, 26:4 “Through your seed, all nations on earth will be blessed.”

The point is: seed (singular – not plural). There is only ONE seed.

Gal 3:14-16 makes it clear: This seed is Jesus Christ.

This is very important.

Gal 3:14-16

“14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. … 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”

  • “Who is Christ!”
  • “The conclusion is Christ!”

v. 26

“When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.””

God sent Christ to bless us, not curse us. God is good all the time, but Satan tempts us all the time about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Please do not allow Satan to tempt us of this.

  • John 3:16.
  • John 3:17 “God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is the same yesterday, today, forever. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine.

Let’s pray.

  • May 27 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the name of Jesus Christ

Acts 3:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.


The Jews had 3 times to pray (set times).

Daniel prayed 3 times per day – even in Babylon, opening his windows toward Jerusalem.

Do you also have your own fixed time(s) to pray during the day?

Our lives should be one long and running conversation with Christ through prayer. Eph 6:8-10 “Pray in the HS in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and pray for all the saints.”

1 Thess “Pray unceasingly.”

The secret to success for endless prayer = to set times during the day to practice it.

Today’s story is a miracle: the healing of a lame man (crippled man).

There was a crippled man lying down by the temple gate and he asked Peter and John for some money. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” He looked straight at him with John. Usually when we help a beggar, we just give a coin and he doesn’t look at us.

Peter said, “Look at us!” – so maybe he expected big money. But Peter said, “Sorry, no money.” He was probably disappointed / angry. “BUT what I have, I’ll give you.” Peter said, “Rise up and walk” and immediately, his feet and ankles became strong. He stood – walking, jumping, leaping, praising God and he entered the temple with Peter and John and worshiped God. He praised God.

What is important is that he didn’t praise Peter, but he praised God. He knew that the source of the healing power was from God. Even in this exciting and emotional moment, he praised God who’d given him a new lease on life.

Yes, we should also thank our neighbors. “Thank you very much.” But we must praise and worship only God – because he is behind every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).

Yes, this miracle is our story today as well. Don’t you know that we have already experienced such a miracle as this? Stand up please. Wow! You can stand! You can walk! You can jump!

Please know that if you can stand, walk, jump, then you have reason enough to praise God.

Yes, today, our standing, walking, jumping is a miracle. We should praise God MORE than this guy – because he began all these things at age 40. But we began all these things at the age of 1 or 2.

If I say, “Stand up please” and you are the only one who is able – you will feel this is a miracle – a special grace from God. But you don’t think this because all of us can do it.

Please remember, miracles are ABSOLUTE experiences, not RELATIVE experiences.

If my salvation is a miracle, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s salvation. If you can stand and walk and jump, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s ability to do so.

  • The wrong question: Why is this a miracle?
  • No, we must know what a miracle is.

Yes, a doctor or surgeon today can do the things that were understood as miracles long ago. It means that God has revealed new truths about medicine. One doctor has said, “I bandaged the wound, but God healed it.” Even today, miracles are available in the hands of many people – because God is alive and unchangeable in his power and attributes – and he is the one who performs miracles through our hands.

The question is “What can we give to this world?” We can give only what we have, not what we do not have. We cannot give what we pretend to have. We can only give what we HAVE.

This man’s crippled condition is a picture of the powerless, hopeless condition of the sinner. Romans “While we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”

What God can do for this man is an illustration of what God can do in our lives today.

Are you saved?

Yes, salvation is very basic. The first step in the Christian life. So my first prayer request for all AICF members is that all members have Assurance of Salvation. This is the miracle of miracles. If we have this, we have all we need.

Let me share 8 points (similarities) between this man’s story of healing and our own salvation.

8 similarities between the Beggar and Ourselves

#1 Born Lame

  • This man was born like this.
  • We also were born unable – even unable to walk – but unable to please God.

Adam passed on his lameness (inability to please God) to all his descendants (including us).

#2 Beggar

  • This man was a beggar.
  • We also were beggars before God – unable to pay the tremendous debt we owed God.

#3 Separated from God

  • He was also outside the temple gate (he was put there every day).

At that time, there were 9 gates that led from the Court of Gentiles to the temple itself.

This gate, Gate Beautiful, was probably the western gate.

  • Like this, all sinners are separated (outside) from God – no matter how good they look, nor how near to the gate they may be.

#4 Wholly Healed by the Grace of God through the Power of the Name of Christ

Next time, we also will study MORE about how powerful the name of Christ is. Is this name in you? Are you using it practically in your daily lives?

He was saved by the grace of God through the name of Christ.

We also are saved like this.

Eph “You are saved by grace, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

#5 Instant Healing

v. 7

“Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

How long do YOU need to be saved? One month, year, day?

No, our salvation is also IMMEDIATE.

This is instant healing because HE did nothing to be healed. It is only by the grace of God that he was healed.

Also, we can do nothing to be saved. If we try, we need almost an infinite number of years to do so. But, our salvation happened immediately – because Christ did all things necessary for our salvation, justification, glorification. How amazing!

#6 Evidence

Are you saved? Let me see the evidence.

This man showed the evidence of what God had done for him – by standing, jumping, walking, praising God. He showed the evidence of what God had done in public, in the sight of many eyes.

If we are really saved, we can show the evidence of what Jesus has done by saying, “Jesus is my Lord” and witnessing before others in public. This is our witness (evidence) before others. Are you showing this evidence every day in public? That is why there is always persecution found in the Christian life – because our witness should be done in public.

In the book of Acts (Mission), all witnessing and preaching is done in public.

#7 People could see the change

The change in this man’s life was amazing and gave people wonder and amazement. Actually, it is natural that the Christian life is wonderful – full of wonder.

Even today, Jesus is the same – he has changed our lives totally. He can, has, is, changing us physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually. Remember – the internal changes are just as miraculous as external healings.

Important question: The people who knew you before you became Christian must be able to see amazing changes in your life. They must be able to recognize the difference between your “how I was” and “how I am.” They must also see that we are continually growing and changing.

Tim “Let the see / know your progress.”

In what ways has God changed your life? Can others see changes in your life? Can outsiders see changes in my life? “yes”

We can worship God, praise God for all he has done in our lives.

#8 He didn’t get what he asked for, but what he needed

  • He asked for money, but God gave him something MUCH better – the use of his legs.
  • In our own lives, we often ask God to solve our small problems – but God wants to give us a NEW life and help ALL the problems.

Yes, you may ask God for what you WANT.

But do not be surprised when God gives you what you really NEED.

We do not know what we really need – we do not know what to pray – we do not know what is best for our future. Our wisdom and knowledge is not perfect, but God’s is. That’s why the HS helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray – but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

  • Eph “Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we think or imagine.”
  • Romans 8:28 “In all these things, God works all things together for good, for those who love him.”

The outside world is looking and waiting earnestly for a solution to their problems. Our task is to give – only what you HAVE – not what you pretend to have.

Let’s pray.

  • May 20 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Fourfold embodiment of the Gospel (Acts 2:41-47)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Fourfold embodiment of the Gospel (Acts 2:41-47)

 

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Fourfold embodiment of the gospel

Acts 2:41-47 (Pastor Heo)

2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Yes, we know a baby MUST grow up.

Imagine, in your home, 10 babies are born in ONE day. What does this mean to your home / family / parents? Maybe = full of joy! But also: lots of work! Positive troubles, difficulties: cleaning, feeding, changing, etc. You need many hands, and lots of money. Babies require lots of responsibility and lots of work.

Today, in this passage, 3000 (spiritual) babies were added to the family (church) in a single day.

Last time, we saw that Peter’s sermon in Acts is the first sermon after the coming of the HS. It is full of:

  1. The HS
  2. The Word of God
  3. Jesus Christ

His sermon is a good model for how a sermon SHOULD be.

Today we see the first community / church life after the coming of the HS. So, today’s passage also is a good model of what Christian community / church life should be like today.

Fourfold embodiment of the gospel (four pillars of the church / four characteristics of Christian individual life – check yourself individually)

  1. Teaching (Bible study)
  2. Fellowship
  3. Worship
  4. Evangelism

Are these four pillars in your life? These four pillars must be done WITH Prayer (v. 42)

#1 Teaching (Bible study)

v. 42

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”

For growth, food is essential, and spiritual food is the Word of God.

1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborns crave pure spiritual milk that is the Word of God so that you may grow up in your salvation.”

At this time, there was no New Testament – it was in the process of being written – and was not written. So, the Old Testament was like a NT book. And the apostles were eyewitnesses of all that Jesus had done and said.

Jesus “The HS that the Father will send in my name will teach you and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Filling with the HS and hunger for the Word of God go together hand in hand. If you are filled with the Spirit, you will love the Word of God.

  • “Be filled with the Spirit.”
  • Col “Let your hearts be filled with the Word of God.”
  • The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.

Are you a Bible-reading / Bible-studying / Bible-believing / Bible-loving / Bible-living Christian?

The first essential pillar in Christian community is the study of the Word of God.

#2 Fellowship

v. 42-46

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching **and to the fellowship**, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything **in common**. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,”

Family, home, community without fellowship is totally unthinkable. The church is the family and community of God – so fellowship is essential.

For a Christian community to BE a Christian community, there must be fellowship. But this is totally different from the world’s fellowship. In Greek: “koinonia” (means “togetherness“). In Christian community, this means sharing and giving and offering.

Christian fellowship is sharing in common and giving. This does not take place simply because we are sitting in the same building. Christian fellowship = giving. It COSTS something.

As we know, even today, many people just visit the church for their own needs and go home the same. There is no fellowship there.

If there is no fellowship, no love in a church, it means you are only hear to BE loved, not to love.

Our koinonia (“fellowship”) is with God and his Son and the HS.

  • God is a fellowship God.
  • God is a koinonia God.

“… The grace of Christ, the love of God, and the koinonia (fellowship) of the HS be with you forever…”

God is ONE – but three persons. In God himself, there is enough, perfect fellowship. Therefore, without fellowship with God, and without giving, there is no Christian fellowship.

Long ago, the people gave a fellowship offering (the middle of 5 offerings) for fellowship (also KJV = “peace offering”). In the early church, they sold their goods for fellowship. In the OT, they gave a fellowship offering. How about today? What are we doing for church fellowship? Tithe offering. So in a sense, this is our fellowship offering.

What is the biblical meaning of tithes? (There are 4 – at least.)

1. Tithes = Obedience to the Word of God

Malachi 3:8-9 – not giving tithe offerings is robbing / cheating God

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me.”

Someone will say, “No, this is the OT, we are NT, so we are under grace, not Law.”

But Jesus says in Matt 23 “Woe to you – yes you give tithes, but you ignore more of the Law.” (i.e. giving tithes is basic – so don’t think you are obedient to the Law fully)

2. Tithes = Acknowledgment of our stewardship

We are not owners, but managers in this world.

1 Tim 6:7 “We brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out.”

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and traps that plunge men into ruin and destruction. The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

We cannot serve God AND money, but we can serve God WITH money.

How many Masters do you serve? Money is BOTH a Test and a Trust from God. God is watching HOW we spend and use money to see how trustworthy we are.

Luke “If you are untrustworthy with money, then God will not trust you with spiritual things.”

3. Tithes = Investment and storage of our treasures in heaven

Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy… But store up your treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

God encourages us to TEST him.

But the Bible always says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the TEST.”

But here, God challenges us to TEST him with our tithes. This is the ONLY area in which God allows us to test him.

This is storing our treasures in heaven.

4. Tithes = Contribution for church fellowship and ministry

A real Christian cannot possess TOO much when fellow Christians possess TOO little. Eating together is very important – whether spiritual or secular fellowship. Can you imagine fellowship without eating together? That’s why in his last fellowship with his disciples, Jesus ate the Last Supper with them.

Rev 3:20 “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat and fellowship with him.”

Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.

But practically, we need money to eat.

Koinonia = togetherness, sharing, and includes “money shared.”

#3 Worship (pillar)

Are you Christians?

They are the ones who praise God and receive praise from others with persecution.

Worship is our first responsibility and first privilege. We worship God by enjoying God. He wants our worship to be motivated by love and thanksgiving, joy, delight, gladness – but not duty.

Worship is more than praising, singing, praying to God. Worship is a lifestyle. When we use our lives for his glory, then EVERYTHING we do can become an act of worship.

Romans: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

This means: worship is our lifestyle.

#4 Evangelism

v. 47

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Yes, the HS came and they were filled. This means, where the HS reigns:

  1. we relate to the Word of God (teaching),
  2. we relate to each other (fellowship),
  3. we relate to God (worship),
  4. we relate to the world (evangelism)

This passage does not say, “Peter’s preaching added to their number” nor “the community of believers” nor “the apostles’ wisdom” – no, it is GOD HIMSELF who saves those who are being saved.

1 Cor 3:6, Paul, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but GOD made it grow.”

Yes, we must plant the seed, we must water the planted seeds, but GOD makes it grow. So, we must have faith when we do this and great expectation that GOD will save.

All 4 of these things must be done together with PRAYER.

  1. Teaching with prayer
  2. Fellowship with prayer
  3. Worship with prayer
  4. Evangelism with prayer

The church is not OF the world, but it must remain IN the world for the purpose of evangelism. We are not OF this world, but IN this world for the mission of evangelism.

  • Church is called the “house of God”
  • Church is the “house of prayer for all nations”

What does this mean? (2 meanings)

  1. The place widely open to anyone who wants to pray to God
  2. The place whose members must pray for the salvation of all nations

Are you praying for the salvation of somebody in your heart?

1 Cor “Don’t you know that you yourselves are a temple and God’s spirit lives in you… Don’t you know that God’s spirit lives in you and you are not your own? Worship God and honor God with your body.”

God bless you.

4 pillars of Christian life

  1. Teaching (Bible study)
  2. Fellowship (including tithes)
  3. Worship
  4. Evangelism

Without evangelism, we have no reason to stay in this world. If we finish our mission of evangelism, we should go to heaven.

Let’s pray.

  • May 13 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation (Acts 2:32-41)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation (Acts 2:32-41)

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Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation

Acts 2:32-41 (Pastor Heo)

2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ (Psalm 110:1) 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


This is the first sermon in the Age of the Church after the coming of the HS, and ascension and exaltation of Christ.

This is full of:

  1. The HS
  2. The Word of God
  3. Jesus Christ

This is the BEST example of apostolic preaching. EVERY sermon from every local church should follow this example and focus on Christ and his resurrection.

The resurrection of Christ is ALL important. Without this, there would be no NT at all, no Christianity at all, no church at all, no hope at all. So, this sermon is focused on the resurrection of Christ.

Every Sunday is the Lord’s Day and every Lord’s Day should be kept as the remembrance of his resurrection. Here are 4 proofs (evidences) of the resurrection of Christ.

Actually, this is covered from v. 22.

v. 32-35

“32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and **we are all witnesses of the fact.** 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘”

4 Proofs of the resurrection

#1 The PERSON of Christ

The audience of this sermon at that time KNEW that Jesus was a real person from the town of Nazareth. He was called a “Nazarene” – this is a real place, 120km north of Jerusalem. He grew up and lived in this place for 30 years.

  • They saw that Jesus had performed many signs, miracles, wonders.
  • They had heard him speak.
  • They had seen him raise the dead (Lazarus).
  • They could not find any fault in his life.
  • This was all done publicly.
  1. From one point of view, the crucifixion was a terrible sin/crime.
  2. From another point of view, this was a marvelous victory.

We can see the word “agony” in the Scripture – this translates to “birth pains” – so we can see that the tomb was like a womb – and Christ was resurrected from it.

#2 The word of David

Psalm 16:8-11 (last Sunday) – these verses could not possibly apply to David because he was already dead and buried. “His soul could not see decay; his body would not see decay” – this is talking about the resurrection of Christ.

v. 34 “For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘” (Psalm 110:1)

This is the most frequently quoted text in the NT to explain the exaltation of Christ.

In Luke – Christ applies this very verse to himself because he has the highest authority due to his resurrection. This is also a strong proof of the resurrection of Christ.

#3 The proclamation of the witnesses

v. 32

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

After his resurrection, Jesus didn’t appear to the world at large, but he appeared to his followers whom he had commissioned. Prior to this, even the disciples did not believe that Christ would be raised from the dead. They had to be convinced about this. They had nothing to gain by preaching a lie – because their message aroused public opposition. It even led to the imprisonment and death of some believers.

After Christ’s death, all the believers became frustrated and confused. Their dreams were broken, lives shattered. They returned to their old lives. But, the resurrection of Christ changed all these things and changed them from cowards to heroes. They proclaimed the resurrection of Christ at the risk of their lives. They became heralds of this news of the resurrection.

Yes, even today, the story of Christ’s resurrection should not be confined to only Sunday. The truth of it should be spoken on every Lord’s Day like this:

Every Lord’s Day, we gather to celebrate his resurrection by praising him, and the other six days, we go out into the world witnessing about his resurrection – so that the others may come inside with us to celebrate his resurrection as well.

Their witness was/is trustworthy.

If we really believe in the resurrection of Christ, our witness should be trustworthy for others to hear and believe in Christ.

Review:

  1. Person of Christ
  2. Prophecy of David
  3. Proclamation of the Witnesses
  4. Presence of the Holy Spirit

#4 Presence of the Holy Spirit

Do you feel his presence? He is not material, but invisible. If the HS is in this world, then God must have sent him.

We saw already the prophet Joel prophesied that the HS would come. Even Jesus also promised many times that he would send the HS as his helper.

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes whom I send from the Father, he will testify about me. It is for your good that I go, unless I go, the Counselor will not come, but if I go, I will send him.”

Imagine, if Jesus is dead, he cannot send the HS.

Also, Jesus could not send the HS unless he had ascended into heaven. Because nowadays is called the Age of the HS.

After this 4 proofs, as the conclusion, there is a declaration / proclamation – that Jesus is both Lord and Christ and Messiah. But also there is a big accusation.

v. 36

“Therefore let [all Israel](all Christians) be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

  • This is a strong proclamation: Jesus is Lord and Christ
  • This is also a strong accusation: YOU crucified Christ

How about you? Do you believe you also helped crucify Christ? Amen~

Physically, we are not the ones who did so – we were not physically there 2000 years ago. But spiritually, we are the ones who crucified Christ. We nailed him to the cross – because he was crucified for your and my sins as the Lamb of God, the propitiation for our sins. (atoning sacrifice) – not only our sins, but also the sins of the whole world.

Short (real) Story

Once a missionary told the story of Christ in an Indian village. After saying this, he showed the life of Christ in lantern slides thrown against a whitewashed wall of the house. When the cross appeared on the wall, a man rose from the audience and yelled, “No! Please come down! I must be the one on the cross!”

What does this mean?

When we realize our own place in crucifying Christ, our hearts must be broken.

John “When I am lifted up (crucified), I will draw my people to myself.” Every person has had a hand in this terrible crime.

The following passage shows the effect of the cross with clarity.

v. 37

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?“”

  • “Cut to the heart” speaks of genuine spiritual pain. Literally, it means “prick violently” or “sting sharply” or “stun / strike.” The crowd was stunned and asked the question that warms the heart of any gospel messenger. “What shall we do?”

This is the most basic question to ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins. We must allow God to forgive our sins, and we must live as forgiven people / children of God.

Remember, God does not give his truth to provide information / knowledge. He wants transformation.

  • God does not want information.
  • God wants transformation.

Anytime, every time we stand before the Word of God, we must ask honestly, “God, what shall I do?” If you ask this from you honest, deep heart, the HS will teach you what to do.

To answer this question: Peter presents 4 challenges.

v. 38

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

4 Challenges

  1. Repent
  2. Turn to God
  3. Be baptized in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins
  4. Receive the Holy Spirit
  • Repent = “turning away” = “change of direction”
  • Sin = “hamartia” (Greek) = “missing the target”

God made a target we should shoot for. If we miss the target established by God, this is hamartia.

#1 Repent

Repent = change our mind, not just “sorrow” for our sin, but a change in the way a person thinks. This is basic and wholehearted change of mind – resulting in a change of purpose, direction, values, – finally, a change of action.

Change of mind -> change of action

This message is for “each one of you.” (including you and me) – each person must make a decision about Christ.

Only Jesus’ offer is the effective solution for the sin problem that is placed on every child of Adam.

#2 “Turn to God”

  • Turn from sin = starting point
  • Turn to God = the final point
  1. We cannot turn to God without turning to sin.
  2. We cannot turn from sin without turning to God.

These can be separated verbally, but practically, they are the same.

Jesus says, “I am the Way, no one comes to the Father except through me.”

#3 Be baptized

Matt 28:19 “Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Here, Jesus’ name is enough – because in him there are already the three.

For believers, baptism is visible proof of real change and repentance. Baptism itself does not result in the forgiveness of sin. But rather, the repentance from sin, and forgiveness of sin as a result of accepting Christ – results in baptism.

Baptism does not forgive sin.

Baptism is an outward display of inner conviction / change / confession of Christ as Lord.

#4 Receive the HS

Only after all these things we can receive the HS, and only through him can we receive all things. He is the Comforter, Counselor, the Guide of Jesus’ people.

v. 39-40

“The promise [of the work of the HS in the life of a believer] is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.””

The truth presented in the previous verses have a universal application. The promise of the work of the HS in the life of a believer has a personal application (you) – and a generational application (your children) – and a global application (for all who are far away).

Today, there are many unbelievers around us. Today, unbelievers are potential believers. We are now believers, but we were once unbelievers.

Like this, if you are a real Christian, if your heart is burning with a holy passion to witness, then see the unbelievers around you as potential believers.

The last sentence: “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Actually, we cannot save ourselves, so this sentence means “be saved”.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved; that name is Jesus Christ.”

Only by repenting, turning to God, being baptized in the name of Christ (to identify ourselves publicly with Christ), and receipt of the HS can we be saved.

The last verse = the fruit of this sermon.

v. 41

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

This is the fruit of this message by the power of the HS – 3000! They took the first step of obedience – identifying themselves with Christ. This means, they were added to the church and immediately joined the fellowship of believers. 3000 new children of God. 3000 new shepherded responsibilities of the apostles.

This is the start of the completion of the plan of God to bring salvation to all nations. Christ had finished the redemptive work. So, today, nothing more need be done except to SHARE this “good news of great joy” – that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (v. 21)

How many times is this single sentence repeated throughout the whole Bible? You can check.

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved~”

Let’s pray.

  • May 06 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Great Preaching of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-37)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Great Preaching of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-37)

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Great preaching

Acts 2:14-37 (Pastor Heo)

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”


What shall we do? (next time)

As we know, at Pentecost, the HS came down on all true believers to dwell in them forever. Pentecost was the 50th day after Jesus’ resurrection.

John 14, 15, 16 was the farewell sermon of Christ before his crucifixion. In each chapter, he mentioned the HS.

  • 14:16 “I will ask the Father. He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
  • 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”
  • 16:7 “It is for your advantage that I’m going to heaven. Unless I go, the HS will not come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.”

After resurrection, his first greeting was “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the opening, Jesus said, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the coming of the HS. John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the HS. (1:8) And you will receive power when the HS comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The HS came down with fire and wind and power and strength. HS = “The Spirit of Holiness”

With the coming of the HS, indwelling, baptizing, sealing, and filling the disciples – this is something new, wonderful, marvelous, dynamic. And they were filled with the HS.

The time is Pentecost, one of the biggest Jewish festivals. Because of this festival, so many people gathered in Jerusalem. Imagine this picture:

They were inside the upper room and filled with the HS – their hearts were burning with the fire of the HS. (Imagine if we were them – we would NEED to get outside.) And outside the building, so many other people were gathered together to celebrate the Pentecost festival.

They came

  • from inside to outside,
  • from the safety zone to the danger zone,
  • from the church to the world –

in order to be priests and witnesses to the world.

Even though they were Galileans, and simple, they explained in words and language that the other (even non-natives) could understand. The people were amazed (but some mocked them and said, “They’ve had too much wine.”)

At this moment, Peter, the representative of the church stood up and spoke the first sermon of the early church. This may be Peter’s GREATEST sermon.

Imagine, just 50 days ago, Peter had done the greatest denial of Christ in history, but only 50 days later, he became the greatest preacher in the history of Christianity.

When Jesus first met Peter, he said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you will be called Peter.” (Peter = “rock”) – this is a strong foundation.

Today’s sermon is so great because of its place it occupies in the history of redemption. This is the inaugural sermon in the period of grace. And through this sermon 3,000 were added to the church that day.

Let me share 6 characteristics of this sermon. We also are listening to this sermon.

#1 Simple & Clear

This is not difficult to understand.

Peter first answered their question, then told them about Christ, third he enlisted their commitment.

The preacher should not assume intelligibility – we should fight for simplicity and clearness of our message so that they may come to Christ.

#2 Scriptural

Today, to us, what is the Word of God? The Bible. (Old and New testament) – but at that time, they only had the Old testament.

In this sermon of Peter, about half of this sermon is direct quotations from the OT.

v. 14-21

“14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (2:28-32):

17 ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

v. 21 is a famous verse (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21)

In these passages,

  • “in the last days” includes ALL the days between Jesus’ first and second coming.
  • “prophesying” = not only the prediction of the future events, but also declaration of the nature and will and purpose of God.
    • Today, we are living in the Last Days. And preaching the gospel of Christ is prophesying.
  • “Dreams and visions” = common means that God used to reveal himself to his people.
    • Today, our vision / dream is to be effective and powerful witnesses of Christ.

The second part (of Joel) is not yet happening on this day. Some of this passage is happening on Pentecost, and some will happen in the future, surrounding the second coming of Christ.

v. 19, 20 for example:

“19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”

Another quotation from Psalm 16:8-11

v. 25-28

“25 David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'”

This passage is almost identical to Psalm 16:8-11

Another v. 34-35 = direct quotation from Psalm 110:1 (this is THE MOST frequently quoted passage from the OT in the NT – and it was used to explain the relationship of Jesus to God)

v. 34-35

“34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord (Jehovah God) said to my Lord (Jesus): “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘”

Physically speaking, David was the father (great grandfather) of Jesus – he lived about 1,000 years before him. And yet, he confessed, “My Lord.” It is impossible to do so without the guidance of the HS. David was not only king, but also prophet.

This passage (Psalm 110:1) is the most frequently quoted in the NT.

In the throne of God, the greatest archangels are standing, ready to serve, ready to wait on God. But none are allowed to sit down at the right hand of God. So, this “sitting at the right hand of God” = equality + perfect completion of his task / mission. That’s why on the cross he said, “It is finished.”

Can you imagine, humanly speaking, Peter did not prepare this sermon in advance on the desk with notes. He was a fisherman, uneducated. But, Peter memorized most of the OT – he was filled with the Word of God. He knew Joel, and David’s Messianic Prophecies by heart.

In applying these to our daily lives:

To be powerful and effective witnesses of Christ:

  1. Be filled with the HS
  2. Be filled with the Word of God – with constant honest prayer

The fullness of the HS and the fullness of the Word of God cannot be separated, they must go together all the time.

  • Eph 5:18 “Be filled with the HS, not wine.”
  • Col 3:16 “Let your hearts be filled with the Word of Christ. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
  • Eph 6 “Take the sword of the HS that is the Word of God.”

Please challenge yourself to memorize the Word of God, to keep it in your mind and your spirit.

#3 Christ-centered

  • Joel’s prophecy points to Christ.
  • David’s prophecy points to Christ.

This WHOLE sermon is filled with Jesus Christ. It begins and ends with Christ. The conclusion is all about Christ (v. 36)

v. 36

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

That’s why personally, whenever I stand to give a sermon, I do my best to FOCUS on Christ.

A sermon is the story of Jesus Christ.

v. 22 (Jesus’ incarnation)

“22 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”

v. 23 (Jesus’ crucifixion)

“23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

v. 24 (Jesus’ resurrection)

“24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

v. 33 (Jesus’ ascension & exaltation)

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

This sermon is FULL of 3 things:

  1. The HS
  2. The Word of God
  3. Jesus Christ

This is the sermon of all sermons – a great representation of how a sermon should be preached.

#4 Practical, relevant

It is practical, applicable, relevant, attention-grabbing even today (and especially then).

  • It answers their first question: “What does this mean?” Peter begins by answering this question.
  • And then he leads up to their final question.
    • Their final question: “Brothers, what should we do?” (next week)

#5 Convicting

I want to ask you honestly: almost every Sunday, are you listening and being convicted by my sermons?

v. 37

“When the people heard this, *they were cut to the heart* and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?””

While they were listening to this sermon, they were cut to the heart (convicted). We know the HS came down – and one of his main ministries is convicting.

John 16:8-11 “When the HS comes, he will convict in regard to sin (they don’t believe), in regard to righteousness (I’m going to heaven), in regard to judgment (the prince of this world now stands condemned already).”

Convicting is one of the main ministries of the HS. We must know that sermons are more than lectures, instructions, etc. This is not just giving and receiving knowledge in your brain. Rather, it is for convicting and changing your life – your heart, your attitude, etc – for growth to become more and more like Christ.

So, if you are not impacted, convicted by my sermon, then there is something wrong with you, or me, or both.

Whenever I prepare and preach, I pray for myself and I pray for you. Also you must pray for yourself, and also for me. Please pray for me. We are united.

Even though I’m speaking the sermon, I’m also listening to the sermon through the guidance of the HS.

#6 Faithful to the Mission

What is the final mission Christ left before his ascension? (Acts 1:8)

v. 32

“32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

Conclusion: v. 36

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Our conclusion: Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King, and we are all witnesses of this fact. We are also all witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

We can say that Acts is the Gospel of the Resurrection.

We are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Without the resurrection of Christ, there are no more Christians, no more church, no more Christianity.

The fact of the resurrection of Christ should not be confined to only Easter Sunday. Actually, EVERY Sunday is the Lord’s Day and should be kept and remembered and celebrated as the resurrection of Christ.

If we are truly born-again Christians, don’t forget. We are living and working with the risen Lord.

God bless you. He is still alive. Do you feel this?

Let’s pray.

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