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  • 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)

Download Notes in a .MD file

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)

Download Notes in a .MD file

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.

  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Holy Spirit came and filled the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Holy Spirit came and filled the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Holy Spirit Came and filled the Church at Pentecost

Acts 2:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

2:1 When the day of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. “


The early church had no money, no beautiful building, political influence, educational degree, etc. The founding members of the early church (120 people) were a minority – maybe like you and me. But they were a huge multitude to Christ, and they saw a huge amount of churches established and Christians born again. What was their secret? A: The Power of the Holy Spirit.

The better we understand the power of the HS at Pentacost, the better. The more we will then be able to relate to him and understand him and believe. The power of the HS is still available today.

The main ministry of the HS is to glorify Jesus Christ. “The HS will bring glory to me.” John 15:26 “When the HS comes, he will testify about me.”

Another keyword: Holy Spirit

Keywords:

  1. Witness / testify
  2. One accord
  3. Prayer
  4. Holy Spirit

How many times does this appear in the NIV? 55 times (I counted yesterday).

The HS is the spirit of Christ, the spirit of God. He first came and spoke from human to human. This is very meaningful.

v. 1

“When the day of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place.”

Pentecost = 50 (Penta = 5) – this is the Feast of the First Fruits.

In Levitucus, Passover (Jesus’ crucifixion)is first, then the Feast of the First Fruits (Pentecost). Pentecost is 50 days after Passover – or 50 days after the crucifixion.

After Jesus was crucified, he was resurrected 3 days later. He stayed with them for 40 days. Then, 10 days later, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.

  • 1 Cor 7:5 “Christ, our lamb of Passover has been sacrificed.”
  • 1 Cor 15 = Jesus’ resurrection = the First Fruit

Pentecost pictures the formation of the body of Christ – that is the church. In the OT, the Jews at Pentecost celebrated the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. But these days, we Christians celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.

At that time, there were 3 great feasts:

  1. Passover (Feast of the First Fruits)
  2. Pentecost
  3. Feast of Tabernacles
  • Passover = crucifixion including resurrection
  • Pentecost = coming of the HS as another Counselor
  • Tabernacles = Jesus’ Second Coming (heaven)

During these three greatest feasts, all Jews and others gathered in Jerusalem. This is the historical situation. (This is God’s plan and timing for world evangelism.)

v. 2-3

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

“The Holy Spirit came down – to dwell in believers forever!”

The HS is one person of the Trinity God.

This means, we believe in ONE God in essence – with three persons:

  1. Father God
  2. Son (Jesus)
  3. Holy Spirit God (another Counselor)

The HS dwelling in us means that Jesus Christ still dwells in us through his Spirit.

  • Gen 1:1 “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
  • Gen 1:2 “It was formless and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

The HS came down forever and ever – permanently. The HS could not have come sooner. Why not? It was essential that Jesus die and rise again from the dead – and go up to heaven – before the HS could be given.

John 7:37 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Streams of living water will flow from within him. (Holy Spirit)” Up to that time, the HS could not have been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified (taken up to heaven).

John 16:7 “It is for your benefit that I am going to heaven. Unless I go, the HS will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.”

So, Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension is ESSENTIAL for the HS to come and dwell among us and in us. This is a basic Christian doctrine.

There were 2 startling signs that accompanied this:

  1. wind
  2. fire

Jesus says, “You should not be surprised at my saying ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but cannot tell where it is coming nor going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Interesting vocab (Greek):

penuma / pnuma

Literal meaning = “breath” or “wind”

Like wind, the HS is invisible, but SO powerful, like a hurricane. The HS is a life-giving Spirit.

“Fire” pictures the powerful witness of the church to the world. All throughout the Bible, fire is a sign of God – from the burning bush with Moses to the consuming fire on the mountain.

The HS is so holy – he cannot be together with unholy, dirty things. So the “fire” burns away our uncleanliness, bitterness, etc, and “wind” brings to us the presence and sign of God.

After the fire burns away our uncleanliness, we are filled with the HS.

Eph “Do not get DRUNK on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the HS.”

v. 4

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

The filling of the HS has to do with power, witness, service, victorious Christian life. If we are really Christians, we no longer need to be baptized by the HS, but we need to be FILLED by the HS constantly – if we are to serve God effectively and truthfully.

“In a few days, you will receive the baptism of the HS.”

We must not be confused between the:

  1. Baptism of the HS
  2. The fullness of the HS
  • Baptism = the HS identifies us with the head of the church (Jesus) – this happens whenever a sinner trusts in Jesus Christ and is born again. “I belong to the body of Christ.”
  • Filling = “My body belongs to Jesus Christ.”

Once more:

  • Baptism: “I belong to Christ’s body.”
  • Fullness: “My body belongs to Christ.”
  1. Baptism = final, once and for all, one time event.
    1. Fullness = daily, repeated as we trust him in earnest prayer and earnest devotion – for more effective service
  2. Baptism: We are ONE in the baptism of the HS – we are the same. (Eph. 4 “One body, one Lord, one God, one baptism…”) – this unites us.
    1. Fullness: This is a personal experience. Yesterday’s filling with the HS does not guarantee today’s filling with the HS.

So, what happens when we are really filled with the HS?

Spiritual medical check-up

v. 5-13

“5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.””

What does this mean?

There were at least 15 geographical locations represented here. And surely the citizens of each heard Peter and the others declare the wonderful works of God in their own languages. Why did God do this? There are 2 lessons we can apply in our daily lives – because the HS power is still available.

#1 Reverse of God’s Judgment at Tower of Babel

Gen 11:1 “At that time, the whole world had 1 language.” (Many languages today is the fruit of human sin.) “Come let us build a tower that reaches to heaven to make a name for Man.” (So, God came and scattered them all over the whole world.)

  1. “Babel” = “confused”
  2. “Babylon” = “rebellion against God”
  • Babel: God’s judgment scattered the people
    • Pentecost: God’s blessing brought them together
  • Babel: unable to understand what was said
    • Pentecost: able to understand in the own language
  • Babel: scheme to make a name for man
    • Pentecost: make a name for God
  • Babel: rebellion against God
    • Pentecost: ministry of humble submission to God

What a contrast.

“The HS is the spirit of perfect communication.”

Yes, the basic tool for communication is language – but for perfect communication, we need more than language. If we are angry, look at cell phones while talking, etc, we have bad communication – even if we speak the same language.

But, if we have the HS, even if we don’t speak the same language, we can overcome the barrier of language and have communication.

  1. The HS is the spirit of perfect communication – between friends, coworkers, spouses, etc.

#2 Let the people know the gospel is for ALL people

The emphasis of this book is worldwide evangelization. (Acts 1:8)

HS is the Spirit of:

  1. evangelization
  2. world mission
  3. perfect communication

How far or near are you to Christ now? Remember, the nearer you come to Christ, the farther you will go OUT to reach the people.

Once more:

“The nearer you are to Christ,
The farther you will go out to reach the lost.”

What was the spirit of the people?

  1. Bewilderment
  2. Amazed
  3. Confused
  4. Perplexed
  5. Mocked / ridiculed (“They have had too much wine.”)

Actually, they were filled with the HS.

But those who didn’t understand thought they were filled with strong drink. Interesting?

Still today, if we are really filled with the HS, we can be misunderstood. If someone misunderstands you, please understand their misunderstanding.

Eph 5:18 “Do not get drunk on soju (wine) which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the HS.”

Why does the Word of God compare filling with the HS and filling with strong drink?

  • Drink: We lose control of ourselves and end up being ashamed.
    • HS: We have self-control and glorify God.
  • Drink: Can give a high spirit.
    • HS: Gives deep satisfaction and lasting joy.
  • Drink: Makes us brave, fearless to do something sinful.
    • HS: Makes us brave, fearless to do something holy.
  • Drink: Gives us degeneration.
    • HS: Gives us regeneration.
  • Drink: Practically, strong drink destroys families, homes, relationships.
    • HS: Builds up, edifies families, homes, relationships.
  • Drink: Makes self, family, home like hell on earth.
    • HS: Makes self, family, home like heaven on earth.

We can foretaste heaven on earth by being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 08 / 2018
  • Comments Off on You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)

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You Will be my Witness

Acts 1:4-11 (Pastor Heo)

1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


  • In the 4 gospels, we see Jesus’ ministry, death, burial, and resurrection.
  • In Acts, we see Jesus’ ministry from heaven – through his church.

This book shows the spread of the church from predominantly Jewish to predominantly Gentile. It shows the spread of the gospel – beginning in Jerusalem and spreading throughout the Roman Empire.

Key verse: 1:8

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

  • Jerusalem = city evangelization
  • Judea and Samaria = home missions
  • The ends of the earth = world missions

Every Christian has 2 jobs:

  1. Ministry
  2. Mission
  • What is your ministry?
  • What is your mission?
  • What is “ministry”?
  • What is “mission”?

As a born again Christian, ask yourselves:

  • What is MY ministry? 사역
  • What is MY mission? 사명

Let’s make it clear what is ministry and what is mission. Let’s compare and contrast: what’s the same / what’s different?

  • Ministry: We can be different in ministry just as our body parts are all different and each part of the body has its own function.
  • Mission: ONE (Eph “There is one hope, one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God – one MISSION”)

We can enjoy variety in our various ministries, but we must keep unity in our collective mission.

Not everyone is called to be a pastor, choir member, Sunday school teacher, etc.

  • Ministry = service for members INSIDE the church
  • Mission = service for the lost OUTSIDE the church so that they may come in to worship together and confess Jesus as Lord together.

1:8 – This is the final written statement of Christ before his ascension.

“You will be my witnesses.” – this is our mission.

Are you really Jesus’ witnesses in this world? This is our mission.

In this sentence, Jesus doesn’t say, “You will be evangelists, you will be gospel preachers.” Rather, to be a witness = evangelist + something more. This is gospel preaching + something more. This is more than just evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning. WHY?

What is “witnessing” like?

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

5 Characteristics of Witnessing

#1 WHO can be a witness?

Only the one who personally saw, heard, or experienced. This is one who can say, “I KNOW this is true.” This is not one who says his own feelings or guessing or thinking. He doesn’t say, “maybe, probably, perhaps, hopefully”

No, he says, from his own personal experience, “This is true.”

A witness in court does not give a witness a carried word. The message of a witness is a marvel of simplicity. This is the key message of Christ in this world.

“Jesus is God come in the flesh. He died to pay for our sins. He was resurrected. He lives now in heaven. He calls us to call him Savior and Lord and so receive the forgiveness of sin.”

There is nothing to gain, no system to climb, just a person to accept to receive eternal life.

Do you have this message?

Yes, we witness through our mouths.

#2 Not only WORD, but also DEED

The witness of a witness’ life is irresistible. Our witness should be supported by our subjective testimony. But this witness should also be lived out in our lives: our characteristics, actions, deeds, interactions with others, etc.

Sometimes we can see “before / after” pictures in magazines. Do you have this?

Before Christ / After Christ?

Our testimony of our mouth must be characterized by our lives. It must be satisfied and edified by the Holy Spirit – not only through word but also our deeds. Even though this witness, message, is very simple, it requires a costly commitment from its carriers.

Yes, not only we must witness through our worth, but we must also attract a magnificent compliment. We must be praised by God AND men – in our character, especially as Christians.

#3 The tongue

Legal, court tongue.

Yes, witness = sharing the gospel of Christ – the communication of the gospel message to our neighbors and family members and co-workers. Yes, that is good – we should do it. But, remember, the key word of this book is “witness” – repeated in this book 29 times. The reference to “witness” and “witnessing” are almost ALL in a PUBLIC setting.

This shows a public display.

  • Stephen witnessed before the Sanhedrin.
  • Peter before the people in Jerusalem
  • Paul before the government officials and kings in court

Are you really ready to be a witness for Christ in an open and public place? Yes, they witnessed in a public square. Are you ready to witness in public to your co-workers? Even the President in the blue/white house?

The tongue – the word witness – is basically set in a PUBLIC setting (not private).

#4 Paradox of Shame and Honor

When you witness for Christ, do you feel shamed or honored? (It depends)

What we witness for Christ in this world is not a matter of material / earthly / worldly things. What we witness is a matter of heavenly / spiritual things. So, what we witness for Christ can be rejected, misunderstood, shamed, persecuted.

Yes, Christ willingly took the cross upon him. This was the symbol of the greatest shame. He took this dishonor to give us honor. He took shame and insults to give us grace. He took death to give us life.

So our witnessing can be a shame to us, but our receipt of shame may bring glory to God. Yes, in our own experience of witnessing to the lost of this world, we know it can be very shameful – but in heaven, this is very honorable. It can be stressful, but also exciting.

Witnessing for Christ is a great privilege but also a great responsibility.

The apostles, after witnessing before the Sanhedrin, left rejoicing. Why? Did they receive praise from men? No, they received shame from men for the glory of Christ.

Can you also receive shame in this world for the glory of Christ? If you are a true Christian, you can, but not of your power. You need the Holy Spirit.

#5 (Conclusion) Be ready to die

Witness (in English) = from Greek “martus

From this word, we also have the word “martyr” 순교자

In this sense, “witness” and “martyr” are the same in the root of the language.

Witnesses should be ready to DIE – to be killed for Christ. If we are not ready to be killed for Christ, then we are not witnesses.

In court, if I give a false witness, they may kill me (or jail). Even though I give a right witness in court, if they THINK it’s wrong, they still may kill me (or jail).

We know one day, we ALL must die. There is no exception.

“Once a man is destined to die, and after that to face the judgment.” (Bible)

We all must die one day. So, think of this matter wisely. _IF_ we are to die _once_ – is being a martyr a blessing or a curse? We will _all_ die one day.

  • Starting well is important.
  • Finishing well is _more_ important.
  1. Well-being is important.
  2. Well-dying is _more_ important.

What is a better way to die?

By a car accident, gun man, cancer, natural disaster, suicide, old age, or as a martyr?

Martyr (from the light of eternity) – finishing our lives as a martyr is the best blessing and privilege we can enjoy.

But don’t worry, if we cannot endure this, God does not allow us to become one. But if this will happen, God will provide a super power at that time to die as a martyr. (I also want at the age of 92 – because I need time to support my wife.)

God bless you. Witness is like that.

That’s why I said, “witness is more than evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning.” Because witnessing is like that, we need MORE than human power – the power of the Holy Spirit.

1:8 “You will receive *power* when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”

The key mission of the Holy Spirit:

  • Witnessing for Christ
  • Testifying about Christ

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”

1 Cor 12:3 “Nobody can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, we need power of the Holy Spirit – this includes wisdom, courage, fearlessness, patience, kindness, miracles if need be. It means, we must pray.

“Praying and witnessing go together.”

v. 4 says “Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift my Father promised.”

  • Witness without prayer has no power.
  • Prayer without witness has no purpose.

Why did Jesus not say, “Leave immediately for the world mission movement”? Rather, he said, “Do not leave. Wait.” WHY?

If we look at this carefully, this is a very big challenge to them.

In v. 11, the angel called them “Men of Galilee” – this means they were not from Jerusalem – they were from Galilee. They were countrymen. But Jerusalem was the capital city for Jews. They were low-class, uneducated. But the most elite Jews lived in Jerusalem.

Humanly speaking, they were not comfortable in Jerusalem. It was the most dangerous place for them in the early church.

v. 8 “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the ends of the earth” – this is NOT in order of events, but rather simultaneous movements.

Missionary movements should happen at the same time on earth, all over the earth.

One more thing we should make clear. Sometimes we thing: start at home (easy places) and going to far places (hard places) – no this is not true. Actually for them, Jerusalem (their own back yard) was the most dangerous and the most difficult place to evangelize for them.

  • Jerusalem: Jesus had been crucified in that city and buried. Most people would know this and that he’d been buried very recently. Also, Jerusalem was very strong in their own religion. They thought Christianity was the FIRST enemy against Judaism.
  • Samaria? It was soaked with half Judaism and half paganism.
  • The ends of the earth? They had no idea even where this was. They thought the earth was flat. They had never traveled anywhere even by car.

In their situation, EVERY place was very, very difficult. Also for us today, EVERY place is very, very difficult.

“The god of this age, Satan, has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.”

Remember, even today, there is NO easy place to witness for Christ. But, WE CAN, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • There is nothing impossible with God.
  • Much is impossible with man, but nothing is impossible with God.

v. 9-11

“9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Yes, Christ will come soon – someday – to fulfill his full redemption and to remain in a personal bodily, tangible form in a specific place in this world, for all people to see. But what is to fill the gap before he comes? World-wide mission and evangelism of the church.

What is the “body of Christ”? It is multi-national, international community for witnessing for Christ.

Remember, this is the last sentence. This is a comfort, but also a challenge.

Individual Christians and local churches who are NOT committed to world evangelization, are CONTRARY to their identity and purpose as Christians – as witnesses of Christ.

“I’m a witness of Christ.”

“I’m a witness for Christ.”

“I’m a witness by Christ.”

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)

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The Introduction to Acts

Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.


Acts 1:8 = key verse

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

From today, we will study Acts.

Acts = actions = activity = mission.

God bless all of us to become “people of acts” / “people of action” more than before through the study of this book.

Who can say, “I’m too old to be more active…”

Nobody can say that.

God said to Abram (at age 99), “Be perfect before me.” This means = you must grow, learn, increase continually. There is MUCH room and space for you to grow.

I bless you in the name of Christ that we may become people of “acts” through the study of this book.

Introduction

Let me share 6 things.

  1. Intro, the background
  2. The human author (Luke)
  3. The receiver (Theophilus)
  4. The title
  5. The characteristics and importance
  6. The purpose of this book

In this book, two main characters are Peter (chp 1-12) and Paul (13-28).

Background

The reason we read the first part of Luke and Acts is to show that the two are written by the same person.

Acts is the 2nd volume of the gospel of Luke.

  • Luke 1:3 “..most excellent Theophilus..”
  • Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus…”

These are written in the same fashion, style, with the same language.

Yes, we know the gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus: his birth, life, miracles, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension.

  • Luke: The story of Jesus’ ministry on earth in a physical body
  • Acts: The story of Jesus’ ministry from heaven

Acts begins where Luke leaves off. The two sometimes overlap.

  • Luke closes with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
    • Acts opens with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
  • Luke 24:48 ends with a Great Commission: “you are witnesses of these things.”
    • Acts begins with a Great Commission: “You will receive power…”
  • Luke 24:49 ends with the promise of the Holy Spirit. “…stay in the city until you receive power from on high…”
    • Acts begins with the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is the background of Acts.

The author (Luke)

His name, Luke, appears only 3 times in the New Testament (in the letters of Paul).

  1. Colossians
  2. Phileman 24
  3. 2 Timothy 4:11

He was mentioned by Paul 3 times – introduced as his dear friend, a doctor.

What we know about Luke clearly is that he was a medical doctor, one of Paul’s most valued helpers and most loyal friends. (He was the only person who was with Paul in his last prison – Paul said, “Only Luke is with me…”) He is also the ONLY Gentile author of the New Testament.

The recipient (Theophilus)

These two books were written to “Theophilus”. We don’t know who this is exactly – and his name ONLY appears here at the beginning of Luke and Acts. We only know much about him from church tradition / history.

There are 3 possibilities:

  1. Perhaps not a real name, just a nickname – it might have been very dangerous (persecution) to become a Christian at that time. Actually, this name comes from 2 Greek words:
    • “Theo” = “God”,
    • “Philus” = “Love”
    • So, perhaps Luke wrote to “Love of God” instead of a real name.
  2. Perhaps this IS actually a real name. If so, he may have been a HIGH government official. Luke writes, “most excellent Theophilus” – and this is only reserved for high officials (governors, kings, etc). Perhaps Luke is trying to show him “Christians are nice people, please do not persecute them.”
  3. Third, is more “romantic”. This is based on the fact that Luke is a medical doctor. Doctors once were “low class” in Korea, and also at that time, they were also considered slaves. So, Luke may have been a personal “slave” doctor to Theophilus.
    1. Story goes: Theophilus was very sick, but thanks to Luke’s dedication, he regained health. Theophilus set him free in thanks, and Luke wanted to give him the MOST precious gift he knew: Eternal life in Christ.

Title of the Book

  • “Acts”
  • “Acts of the Apostles”

But this book does not claim to give an exhaustive account of the Acts of the apostles. Only 4 apostles appear in here.

  1. John – but he doesn’t speak.
  2. James – in one sentence was killed by Herod.
  3. Peter – one of the main characters (chp 1-12)
  4. Paul – the other main character (chp 13-28)

This book ACTUALLY should be called:

“The Acts of the Spirit of Christ working in and through his witnesses”

Peter and Paul were not used because they were apostles, but because they were witnesses. God today is not using apostles, but using his witnesses. That’s why Jesus did not say, “You will be my apostles…” rather he said, “You will be my witnesses…”

The importance and characteristics

This book is so important.

As we know, the New Testament has 27 books.

  • There are 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
  • And 1 historical book,
  • 21 epistles, and
  • 1 book of prophecy / revelation.

Jesus’ key concern in his ministry was:

To establish His church in this world.

Matt: “On this rock, I will build my church…” (the “rock” = the faith of his believers)

The church is called the “body of Christ.”

Acts is the ONLY book that gives us actual historical information about where and how the church began. If we did not have this book, we would not KNOW how the church began – we would only be able to guess through the reading of Paul’s letters. So, in a sense, this is the MOST IMPORTANT book in the New Testament.

There are two ways to write history:

  1. Day to day, week to week (journal)
  2. Giving glimpses into significant periods and events (this is the style of Acts)

This is the central book of transitions.

  • In history – from gospels to epistles.
  • From primarily Jews to predominantly Gentiles
  • From the program / kingdom of God to Church

So this book was written to show the development of the church – from primarily Jewish to predominantly Gentile membership.

The purpose

The key verse = Acts 1:8

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

We may study this book EVERY week until we finish the study of this book. We will FOCUS on 1:8 until the conclusion.

At least, we can say 3 things about the purpose of this book:

  1. To commend Christianity to the Roman government at that time
  2. To show that Christianity is for ALL people of every country (not only for Jews – but also for Jews and Gentiles) –
    • At that time, Jews had their own belief that ONLY THEY were God’s chosen people and that God had no use for other nations – but this was a BIG misunderstanding.
      • In chp 7, Stephen made Christianity universal and was killed.
      • Chp 8, preached in Samaria,
      • Chp 10, Cornelius accepted into the church,
      • Chp 11, preached in Antioch,
      • Chp 15, the church made the great decision to receive Gentiles into the church on the same terms as the Jews, Finally, Paul went far and wide to win all kinds of people to Christ.
  3. Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Actually, with this ONE verse, there is MUCH to say. But this time, let me just say ONE point about this key verse.

This conjunction “and” is repeated 3x, and in Greek it means “kai.”

In Greek, this is not in order of procedure. It means: “happening at the same time” (concurrently, simultaneously). This does not mean “Jerusalem first, THEN Judea, THEN…” No, it means “ALL places at the same time.”

Imagine, if this were the last word of Christ on earth. If they had to try to go beyond Jerusalem AFTER they finished FULL evangelization, then they NEVER would have had an opportunity to leave Jerusalem even up to today.

You know in Korea, Western missionaries came over 100 years ago. Imagine, if they had tried to come to Korea AFTER they had finished the full evangelization of their own country, they never would have come.

You know, in Jerusalem today, there are a few Christians, but they still need missionaries to be sent – and we send some.

In Seoul, years ago, I saw a big banner in a church:

“Today Seoul, tomorrow Korea, the next day Asia, after that ALL the world!”

Sounds good? ONLY sounds good. Sounds ambitious, but in actuality, “today” will take forever. If they are faithful to this banner, they will never have an opportunity to go beyond Seoul.

Each day is ONLY today. We cannot meet tomorrow. We can only face today. The coming Monday is “tomorrow” but when we meet it, it becomes “today.”

Please remember, one day, our Lord Jesus will come again in his body to fulfill full redemption and salvation and reign over the world. Question: What will fill the gap between his ascension and second coming? Answer: The worldwide mission of the church. The evangelism activity of individual Christians.

Luke is the story of Jesus’ ministry on earth – the beginning.

3 Kinds of Immortality

  • There is the immortality of “fame” – Jesus has this. His name will never be forgotten.
  • Immortality of “influence” – Jesus (and some others) leave an effect on the world for a long time – Jesus’ influence can never die
  • Immortality of “presence and power” – Jesus left his fame and influence on this earth – but still he is alive and powerful and active on this earth.

Only Christ has immortality of “presence and power.” He is not the one who WAS once in the past. He is the one who IS always, all the time.

  • Therefore, in Matt he says, “And surely I am with you forever, to the very end of the age.”
  • Heb 10:13 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Are you a Christian? Just as this hand cannot be a real hand without being a part of this body, so a real Christian cannot be a real Christian without being a part of church – because “church” is the body of Christ.

Are you a member of the Church?

If you are a member of the body of Christ, then you are called “witnesses of Jesus Christ in this world.”

God bless you to become MORE active: people of “acts” through the study of Acts.

Let’s pray.

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