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  • Aug 11 / 2019
  • Comments Off on REST (Hebrews 3:19-4:11, Matthew 11:28-30)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

REST (Hebrews 3:19-4:11, Matthew 11:28-30)

Download Notes in a .MD file

REST

Hebrews 3:19-4:11, Matthew 11:28-30 (Pastor Heo)

3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter [the rest of God], because of their unbelief.

A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.


Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Matt 11:28-30 = the direct voice of Christ. Maybe many of you already memorized these verses – they are so familiar. Please memorize, meditate, and put them into practice.

As we know, the first generation of Exodus began their migration from Egypt to Canaan with great success – because of the great power and help of God. But they finished in great disaster because of their own unbelief and disobedience.

All of the first generation died in the desert during their 40 year wandering. Only Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land because they believed in God.

The story of 12 spies – they explored Canaan for 40 days – spending the same time together – but they had very different reports. What was the difference?

10 people with a bad report – saw only what they saw with their eyes.

Joshua and Caleb saw what they saw through their faith in God.

  • 10 = what is seen
  • 2 = what is unseen (faith)

This is the background.

v. 3:19-4:1

“3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”

Romans: “Everything that was written was written to give us a lesson so that we may have hope.”

Several thousand years ago, the Israelites lost the rest of God because of their unbelief. But this same rest is still available today. So, the Bible is warning us: “Today if you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts.” This is a challenge and encouragement.

Keyword: REST

(How many times do we see it?)

  • 12x

We read 11 verses (in chp 4) and the word “rest” is repeated 11x – in every verse.

In this text, Hebrews is using “rest” in 3 senses:

  1. Peace of God
  2. Entering the Promised Land
  3. God’s rest from work (on the 7th day)

Today, God invites us into his rest.

Enjoy these verses:

Matthew 11:28-30

“28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” “

This is the invitation of God to all human beings to come to him and receive rest. Can you imagine? If you receive this invitation – what an exciting thing!

Imagine if the human President (the blue house in Korea, the white house in US) – if he invites you and calls you to come and have dinner in his house – what an exciting thing! This is the invitation of God – the Maker and Creator of All Things.

Rev 3:23 “Here I am. I stand and knock. If anyone hears my voice, I will come in and eat with you and you with me.” This is not only one meal – but your whole life. This is the invitation of God. “Come to me – let us dine together eternally.”

Are you weary [tired, burned out, exhausted] and burdened? All humans are tired in some ways. Even a kindergarten boy said, “I’m so tired.”

All human beings without God are restless wanderers.

In Genesis – Cain is the first son of Adam – he committed sin against God and went away – but no matter where he tried to go nor what he tried to do, he became a “restless wanderer.” This is a symbol of all humanity without God.

If there is no God in you, you are also a restless wanderer. A life without God is just motion without meaning; activity without direction; events without reason. We need rest.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened…”

Everyone has his own burden to bear. What’s yours? At least there are 4 common burdens everyone is carrying. Nobody is free from these:

Common Burdens

  1. Sin – the guilt of sin, regrets, shame, bad memories, the past you cannot remove
    • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… there is no one righteous, not one… the wages of sin is death.” (Romans)
    • After sin, punishment = hell
    • Whether you know or not, conscious or not, SIN is the heaviest burden. It is heavier than the whole universe.
  2. Problems – difficulties, hardships, pains.
    • As long as we live in this world, we cannot escape from problems.
    • From birth – this is a kind of problem – to death – life is filled with problems – physical, spiritual, mental, social, financial, career, emotional, psychological, school, work, relationship – PROBLEMS…
    • We are all carrying the burden of problems.
  3. Worry – anxiety, fear.
    • Many people miss GREAT opportunities because of fear. Fear is a self-imposed prison that prevents us from becoming what God wants us to be.
    • Worry about job, marriage, life, house, children…
  4. Death – “just as a man is destined to die once and after that face the Judgment…”
    • Physical death is NOT annihilation, not the end. This is just a separation – body from spirit. Spiritual death is separation from God.
    • We have some young men.
    • Do you think you will never die because you are young? No, even children instinctively know they must die someday.
    • I also know. You also know.
    • Everybody knows.
    • But, nobody knows HOW and WHEN.
    • And nobody HAS the experience of death. This is the worry / burden of death.

I know I must die, but I have no experience of this thing – directly nor indirectly.

Q: Have you ever died?

Have you ever tasted death?

Have you heard a first-hand eyewitness account of death from someone who has once died?

NO.

We have no knowledge of this – but we all know we must die someday.

Jesus knows this perfectly and says, “Come to me, and I’ll give you rest.”

Real rest:

Found only in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we say to each other, “Take a rest” – but we must know that REAL rest is only found in Christ. And we must know the definition / meaning of “what IS rest?”

What is REST?

What is the REAL meaning of REST?

In preparation for this sermon, I looked in the English dictionary.

“rest” = to stop / cease working or movement in order to sleep or recover strength

Many people think rest = not working, sitting down.

But we must know the biblical meaning is VERY different. Let me show you HOW different this meaning is.

I said already first: for the people of Israel, “rest” was the Promised Land. But do you know that when they entered there, they had MUCH MORE to do? They had to fight and conquer enemies, establish a new kingdom to be ruled by God. They had a HUGE assignment / task to do in Canaan. Yet, entering Canaan is called “rest.”

So, rest does not mean “no work” but rather “obtaining promised inheritance.”

Genesis: God rested on the 7th day. This does not mean that God has no more job.

John 5:17 “My Father is always at his work – since the Creation of this world – to this very day, so I too am working for you.”

God rested: “full satisfaction in his mission / job”

Biblical meaning of rest: FREEDOM

Jesus “I’m truth. If you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”

Galatians “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, so do not allow yourselves to be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Biblical rest

  • Freedom

Remember the 4 common burdens?

  1. Sin
  2. Problems
  3. Worry
  4. Death

Matthew 11:28-30

According to the context here, rest = freedom from these 4 burdens.

REST = Freedom from

  1. Sin = freedom is found only in Jesus Christ – he came into the world as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We all need forgiveness of sin. This can be found only in the blood of Christ.
    • 1 John 2 “Christ is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”
  2. Problems = freedom from difficulties, hardships, pains.
    • Jesus “In this world, you will have trials of many kinds, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
    • As long as we live in this world, we cannot escape problems, but we can overcome and conquer problems. How? In Christ.
    • “You are more than conquerors through Christ” (Romans?)
    • “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
    • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians?)
  3. Worries = freedom through Christ
    • “Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you.”
    • “I will guide you and strengthen you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah)
    • “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (Jesus)
    • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends ALL understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ.”
  4. Death = freedom from Death
    1. Who can be free from THIS burden? Who can set us free? This is common sense, think about it. Only Jesus. He is the only one with power over life and death.
    2. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live though he die.”
    3. “I have come to give you eternal life… No one can snatch you out of my hand.”
    4. “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my voice and believes him who sent me will have eternal life. He shall not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.”

Biblical rest

  1. Salvation rest
  2. Submission rest
  3. Sharing rest of inheritance
  4. Peace rest
  5. Joy rest
  6. Inheritance rest
  7. Eternal glory rest

This is the real biblical meaning of rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest.”

How to enjoy this kind of REAL rest?

“Come to me…”

This is very easy – this is part of reading comprehension.

“Come to me…”

We know now what is real biblical rest, and we know we need it. To receive it: “Come to Christ.”

Q: How can we come to Christ?

Walking over?

Conclusion: (3 points)

this is not literally, but biblically, practically.

  1. A = Accept Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord
  2. B = Believe that he died on the cross for my sin
  3. C = Confess with my mouth that he is Lord

“I can…”

1. Accept / Believe / Confess

Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. With your heart you believe and are justified; with your mouth you confess and are saved.”

“To all those who believed in his name, God gave the right to become children of God.”

“Salvation is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Accept / Believe / Confess (publicly – this is not to be a hidden thing, but a public thing)

You must confess publicly before people.

2. Learn from Jesus

v. 29

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… and you will find rest.”

Even Christians may think “believing in Jesus is enough.” Quick prayer, “Jesus, I love you, I confess, be my Savior. Finished!”

Yes, while making a confession in Christ is so simple, but truly living with faith in Christ is a WHOLE life practice of discipleship – fighting sin, old self, Satan.

Learn from me – Jesus encourages us.

We know to learn anything, we need time – we cannot learn quickly.

“Learn from me” = follow me / walk with me daily.

If we believe in Christ truly, we know that each day requires full effort.

3. This is the most important. If you catch it and put it into practice, you will be so blessed. Are you ready to be blessed?


  1. A-B-C
  2. Learn from Jesus
  3. Mission rest

3. Take the yoke of Christ and carry his burden.

v. 29

“Take my yoke upon you…”

Nobody likes a yoke

v. 30

“… my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This is Mission rest.

It means “take Jesus’ burden as my burden.” Replace my burden with Jesus’ burden. Jesus’ job becomes my job. His task is mine, his burden is mine.

What is his burden? Salvation of the world.

This is a mystery – a secret.

  • If you carry your own burden, you will be exhausted, tired out.
    • But if you carry the burden of Christ, you will be energized.
  • To take the burden of Christ is the best way to be free from my own burden in this world.
    • The more we carry the burden of Christ, the more rest we will enjoy.

The principle is very simple:

“The more trust, the more rest.”

Jesus “If anyone would come to me, he must deny himself daily and take up his cross and follow me.”

v. 11

“11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Let us stand up.

Let’s pray – you may pray following me.

If you want / need real rest, follow me in this prayer.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 28 / 2019
  • Comments Off on When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

When you hear the Word of God, don’t harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-19)

Download Notes in a .MD file

When you hear the Word of God…

Hebrews 3:7-19 (Pastor Heo)

Warning Against Unbelief

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.


Can you say “Amen” to today’s word? The Word of God is food.

Our physical body needs food, also our spiritual body needs food.

Jesus: “I am the bread of life… Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Today’s food is not milk, but meat. Not soft, but solid.

For us to grow and mature and be stronger, sometimes we need hard, solid food and meat. Today’s food is very solid. Do you want to eat it?

Hebrews is a book of warning (yellow card). There are at least 5 exhortations and warnings.

chp 2:1 “Give more attention to what you have heard to not drift away.” (Warning: Neglect) – Don’t drift away without a target / purpose.

Today: second warning: (Warning: Doubt) – danger of mistrust. This is a very simple sentence, but a serious warning in our lives. No one can say, “I’m totally free from this warning.” Not even me.

It is possible to start well and end terribly.

In school, career, marriage, office, church life, etc – it is possible to start well (big celebration) and end poorly, shamefully. Even in the pastoral ministry, this is possible. I know this as well. So I must be careful all the time.

Starting well is good, but finishing well is MORE important.

Paul: “Be careful not to fall, when you think you are standing.”

Romans 15:4 “Everything written in the past was written to give us a lesson.” So that through endurance, patience, encouragement of the Scripture we might have hope.

Today’s example is Israel in the OT.

We are familiar with the story of Israel in the OT – esp. Exodus. The reason that story was written was to give us a lesson. We must learn from history.

In the whole history of earth, no migration of people has started so well – with such a great expectation. They’d experienced 10 great signs and wonders through Moses already. And on that final night, all Israelites were safe in their homes, but the Angel of Destruction struck down the first born of every household – man and animal. There was not a house in Egypt without someone dead. The bad king of Egypt called Moses and yelled, “GO! You are too much for us.”

Can you imagine this migration? 600,000 (about the population of Jeonju) men + women + children. This would be closer to 1.5 – 2 million (Gwangju?).

All these people and animals began this exodus by tribal divisions and they plundered the Egyptians. Many other people also joined in this exodus.

But in the desert, the day is so hot and the night so cold. So, God led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire. This was symbolic of “God with us” and also protection from heat and darkness and cold. Soon, they encountered the Red Sea.

Then, Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued Israel with his best chariots and army. Moses said, “Do not be afraid. God is fighting for us. The Egyptians we see now, we will never see again. We need only be still, and God will deliver us.”

Moses raised his staff and stretched his arm over the Red Sea. The sea parted in two and 2 million people, animals, and belongings all passed safely over on dry land. The Egyptians pursued them. Moses again stretched out his hand and the Red Sea returned to its original state. All the chariots and army were buried in the sea.

What a fabulous beginning! Soon, they would be in their Promised Land, Canaan. But then…

They began so well, but finished so shamefully – because of their doubt and rebellion against God continually.

When they arrived at the BORDER of Canaan, God said to Moses, “Send some men to research and explore that land.” This would be like a short-term vision / mission trip today.

Moses chose 12 assistant pastors (kind of) – one from each tribe, and sent them into the land with a mission: “To see” the land, towns, soil, people.

They explored for 40 days and returned to Moses and reported back. 10/12 gave a bad report of the place (negative). In front of God, negative word is bad, evil, wicked. “We cannot attack them, they are too strong for us. We look like grasshoppers compared to them.”

2/12 (Joshua and Caleb) gave a good report. “No, we can! If God is with us, who can be against us? That land was promised by God. God never breaks his promise. We can take that land.”

But, sorry to say, the bad report prevailed over the entire community of Israel. The entire community raised their voices and cried aloud and complained against Moses and against God – and tried to stone Joshua and Caleb. “Why did God bring us here?!” So, we must be careful with our speaking. “If only we had to die, is it better to die in this desert, or die in Egypt?”

God heard and said, “OK. I will do to you the very things you said.” They had explored for 40 days, but God let them wander for 40 years in the desert (1 year / day). They wandered until they all died – and their children wandered and suffered for their sins.

Remember, at departure 600,000 men departed? All of them died in the desert, except Joshua and Caleb.

This is a serious story. So the great lesson we must receive is: It is possible to start well and end terribly.

v. 7-10

“7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’ “

God was angry. Yes, he is good all the time, and he loves us, but he can become angry because he is a person and he is holy.

One warning: TODAY (x3) do not harden your hearts.

  • v. 7 “Today…”
  • v. 13 “encourage one another daily as long as it is called today…”
  • v. 15 “Today…”

Today = while there is yet time.

While we can speak of “today” we must give our trust and obedience to God. For individuals, “today” means “while life lasts”. In Hebrew: “While you have the opportunity, give God full submission that you must give.”

Someday, my life will end. The sun will set on my life…

But we still have hope. There are great warnings here.

1. God makes man an offer (gift)

just like he offered the people of Israel the blessings of the Promised Land, so he offers us today the blessings of a life that is far beyond a life we can live without him.

But to receive the blessings of God, two things are necessary:

  1. Trust in Christ (“Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.”)
    • We must believe that what he says is true.
  2. Obedience: absolutely necessary. Are you obeying the Word of God? All the time?
    • Imagine, a medical doctor says to a patient, “I can cure you if you obey my instructions…”
    • Or a teacher says to a student, “I’ll make you a scholar if you follow my instructions…”
    • A trainer says to an athlete, “I’ll make you a champion if you do not deviate from the instructions I lay down.”

In this world, success depends on obedience to the word of an expert.

God is THE Expert of the world, and provides joy with full obedience to his Word.

2. There is a limit

“There is a limit to my life.” (The duration of your life) – and we do not know when that duration will end.

We often speak so easily about tomorrow. “I’ll go there tomorrow…” but for us individually, someday “tomorrow” will never come – and nobody knows when and how that will happen. That’s why this is a warning and encouragement.

  • The blessing of God must be accepted TODAY!
  • And full trust and obedience to God must be given TODAY!
  • 2 Corinth “Now is the time of God’s favor; Now is the time of God’s grace…”

v. 11-19

“11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter [the Promised Land], because of their unbelief. “

Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

  • Christ is superior to Moses
  • Jesus is much greater than Moses

The message is: If this is true, that Jesus is much greater than Moses, the loss in rejecting Christ is much greater than rejecting Moses’ word.

  • The loss of rebellion against Moses = 40 years wandering in the desert – not entering the Promised Land.
  • The loss of rebellion against Jesus = the loss of eternal life in heaven.

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so I must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in me may have eternal life.” (Jesus)

Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

John the Baptist introduced him as “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The people of Israel in Egypt were delivered by the blood of the lamb during the Passover. This is a symbol of the believer in Christ – delivered from the slavery to sin through the blood of Christ.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”

Because of their rebellion and distrust, they failed to enter God’s rest, but we (who believe in Christ) are able to enter his rest.

We are living “today”, not “tomorrow”.

Jesus “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.” This is the invitation of Christ. This is real rest, eternal, heavenly rest in Christ.

God bless us to enjoy his rest and peace.

Romans 15:4 “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us a lesson so that through the endurance, patience, and encouragement of the Scriptures, we may have hope.”

  • “Jesus is our hope!”
  • “Jesus is my hope!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is Superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is Superior to Moses

Hebrews 3:1-6 (Pastor Heo)

1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, *fix your thoughts on Jesus*, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.


Theme of Hebrews: Superiority of Christ

We have studied:

  • Jesus over angels
  • Jesus over Moses (today)

Jesus is much superior to Moses – we all agree, I think. If this is true, we may think, “Why we need to review and study this topic. This point is so obvious and natural. We don’t need to study this I guess.”

We know Jesus is God, Savior, Lord, Creator. Moses is a creation – a servant of God (one of the great ones, but not worthy to be compared to Christ).

Then, why do we need to study this topic?

To understand this, we need to understand the background – esp Jewish background. If we are unfamiliar with Jewish history, it is difficult to appreciate Moses’ high standing in their culture.

At that time he was the GREATEST of all men. At that time, some thought he was superior to Jesus, in fact.

In John 9, one day Jesus healed a man born blind. He spit on the ground and made mud with his saliva and put it on his eyes and told him to go wash. He did, and immediately, he could see.

After doing this, the people around him asked, “Who opened your eyes?” He said, “The man they called Jesus.” They asked again and again. He said again, “I answered clearly. Do you want to become his disciple?” They then insulted him. “YOU! You are the disciple of that fellow! But we are disciples of Moses!” (They thought Moses was superior to Jesus.)

According to Jewish history, there are 6 reasons why Moses is so highly exalted.

(But this is not the main topic – only to understand the background.)

  1. He was an inconquerable deliverable
    • (divinely chosen for his task – his life was miraculously preserved even under the sentence of death as a baby – plucked from the Nile river. God ordained him at the burning bush.)
  2. He performed the most miracles
    • (at least 10 plagues over Egypt – Nile -> blood, frogs & gnats, flies, the death of livestock, boils, hail, darkness over Egypt, death of the firstborn – after the plagues, he parted the Red Sea with his staff and passed through on foot – he smote the rock and released mineral water in the desert. In the battle against the Amalakites, when his hands were up, the Jews were winning).
  3. He was the greatest prophet
    • (God communicated to other prophets through visions, dreams, symbols, revelation – but to Moses directly. God said, “Listen to my words” (Numbers 6:12) “with Moses, I speak face to face.”)
  4. He was the Law Giver
    • (The Law was the greatest thing in all the world at that time – 10 commandments, etc – When he received the 10 commandments, his face shown and radiated. He received laws about the tabernacle, the levitical law, etc. The first 5 books of the Bible are the Law of Moses).
  5. He was the greatest historian
    • (The Pentatuch – the first 5 books in the OT – these are still the most important historical and religious books to the Jews today. Moses wrote them all.)
  6. Moses was meeker and gentler than all others
    • (God said, “My servant Moses is meeker than all others on the face of the earth.” He was the MOST “gentle”man.)

The first recipients of the book of Hebrews were the Jews. So, it was important to make it clear that Jesus is superior to Moses.

How about today? Yes, we still need to know that Jesus is much MORE important than the most important thing or person you have in your mind. Are you clear in this matter?

Challenge: If Jesus is NOT #1 in your life, Jesus is not your Lord / Savior.

Please take this and think on it seriously.

Today, who is Moses to you? What is your “Moses”? (The most important other thing / person in your life.) Jesus is much more superior to this.

v. 1

“1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”

Holiness:

  • Set apart FROM something
    • TO something
  • From Satan, sin, the world
    • To God, holiness, service

“I’m holy.”

We are set apart to service to God. Salvation is a heavenly calling. Someday, God will bring us to his home – heaven – and go to live with Christ forever and ever. If we are called, we must fix our thoughts on Jesus. This is the key message.

“Fix our thoughts on Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.” (repeated idea)

Are you doing this?

Let me ask this question: What / who are you becoming?

Consciously or unconsciously, we are BECOMING whatever we are looking at and looking for. We are becoming what we are focusing on and seeking and worshiping. What / who are you worshiping? We are becoming what we are worshiping.

Yes, no we are worshiping Christ – but “to fix on” means to “give diligent and continual observation and mind to”. Continually contemplate on these things.

What do we need to fixate on Christ? Let me share 4 things.

#1 Desire (zeal / passion / enthusiasm)

This is the beginning point. No desire? No fixation.

David showed his desire to see God. Ps 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

Ps 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for God. My tears have been my food day and night.”

NT: Apostle Paul in Phi 3:8-10 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing my Lord Jesus – for whose sake I’ve lost all things – I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I want to know Christ and his resurrection, becoming like him in his death.”

Do you have desire?

Without desire, it is impossible.

If you have no desire, pray for it. “God, give me passion to know you and make you known to others.”

#2 Concentration

We must put Jesus first in our lives and keep him before us at all times in order to fix our thoughts and minds on him.

Concentration is power.

#3 Discipline

This comes from “disciple” – we want to be disciples and disciple-makers.

Without discipline, disciples cannot be made fully.

Discipline = “self-training”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

I need discipline. I know that. And so do you.

#4 Time

This worship service is 11-12:20 or so. “We need time.”

But we know today that people are losing patience – becoming more and more impatient. They like “microwave – culture”. Quick service, “Rocket delivery”, fast food.

But, especially in the spiritual life, we need patience, perseverance, endurance. We need time to meditate, to think, to grow, to heal, to recover, to fix our thoughts on Christ. We need MORE time.

For example: We cannot enjoy the beauty of this country without time.

Please spend more time, much time with him in your devotional time.


Who is Jesus in this verse one?

“…the apostle and high priest…”

This is very interesting. This is the ONLY place in the whole 66-book Bible where he is referred to as this “apostle.”

As “high priest” he is introduced about 12 times. This is one of the themes of Hebrews.

What does this mean?

  • “Apostle” = “the one who is sent”
  • Apostolos = Greek = he who is sent

Jesus explained that he was “sent” by his Father God – more than 10 times in John. This means that Jesus is the FIRST, greatest apostle. He is the source and foundational of ALL following apostles. His apostleship means “Mission Accomplished.” (He shouted this on the cross ‘it is finished.’)

He is also the High Priest (par excellence) – he was fully God and fully Man.

Jesus is the ONLY person through whom God speaks to man; and man can approach God (Jesus is the bridge / mediator).

Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he is always interceding for them.”

Jesus is the representative of the Trinity God in meeting man. Also, he is the representative of ALL human beings in meeting God.

He is the bridge between God and man.

v. 2-6

“2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, *testifying* [this is the real reason Moses was considered a great man before God] to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

The logic:

  • Moses is a house? Jesus is the builder.
  • Moses is a servant? Jesus is the son.

What a difference.

The real spiritual, eternal reason why Moses was accepted by God as “great” was that he was faithful to his task – given by God.

The reality of Moses was that he was faithful in his mission – to testify about Jesus. What a great secret / mystery from the perspective of God.

In John, Jesus evangelized a man named Philip and when he met him he said, “Follow me.” After being evangelized, the first thing Philip did was to evangelize others. Immediately, he met his friend Nathaniel and said, “Come and see! I have found the One whom Moses wrote about in the Law! He is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.”

That’s why Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” – because Moses wrote about Jesus.

Jesus himself testified that Moses wrote the 5 books about him.

That’s why, whenever I preach, I should focus on Jesus. If you believe my sermon, you will believe in Christ as Savior and Lord because I focus on Christ.

We are called as heavenly, holy people and someday we will leave this world and live with him.

The greatest and eternal legacy we can leave behind on earth is to testify about Christ.

Last sentence: are you saved?

Remember, very practically,

To BE saved, yet NOT to proclaim Christ as Savior is impossible – because salvation has such a powerful power.

God bless your thoughts, mouth, hands, feet, interests, purpose in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 07 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ became Humanity. Why? (Hebrews 2:5-18)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ became Humanity. Why? (Hebrews 2:5-18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ became humanity. Why?

Hebrews 2:5-18 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Made Like His Brothers

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?

7 You made him a little lower than the angels;

you crowned him with glory and honor

8 and put everything under his feet.? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers;

in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.” And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


  • v. 5 Angels
  • v. 6-8 About man
  • v. 9-18 About Jesus

v. 5

“5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. “

Angels are servants, but not placed to rule over Creation. They will continue their job serving God and his children.

v. 6-8

“6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?

7 You made him a little lower than the angels;

you crowned him with glory and honor

8 and put everything under his feet.? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. “

Man is a little lower than the angels in knowledge and ability.

God created Man and gave him authority over all animals and plants on earth. God blessed Mankind with his crown, and gave them superiority over all Creation except angels.

How about today? How’s the condition today?

Mankind today lost their rulership, dominion, and superiority over all Creation because of sin. This is the root of all problems of humanity. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans)

God made all Creation obey man – but as we know well today, none of these things obey us today. Why not? Sin.

First, God made all animals be afraid of man and obey men – but now, they are not afraid – we are afraid (lions, tigers, bears, oh my!) Because of sin, we lost every glory, honor, and crown God gave us at first. This is man’s dilemma. That’s why Christ came.

In our lives as human beings (esp as parents) we must know this. If you want children to obey you, you must obey God first. If you worship God completely and perfectly, then all Creation will honor us. That’s why Jesus came – to restore and regain this lost dominion and rulership of humanity.

v. 9-16

“9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers;

in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” [Ps 22:22] 13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.” And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.” [Isaiah]

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.”

I said already, God gave man rulership over all Creation – but because of sin, Mankind lost this.

Jesus came as man, and the first thing he did was restore this rulership over Creation we lost because of sin. There are many examples:

– Fish:

In his first calling to Peter (professional fisherman on the Sea of Galilee) – “put out your net to the deep water”. Peter called out “Master, we’ve worked hard all night, and caught nothing. But because you say so, I will try.” When they did so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Peter knelt down at Jesus feet and confessed: “Lord! Go away from me, for I’m a sinful man.” Jesus: “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be a fisher of men.”

One more story: Jesus said, “Go to the Sea of Galilee and cast your net. Open its mouth and you will find some money. Pay this to the Roman government for our tax.”

– Wild beasts:

HS sent him into the wilderness to be tempted. He fasted 40 days and nights – but he was with wild beasts in the wilderness. This means, he controlled them – they obeyed his orders. Jesus restored this dominion over animals.

Now, we can also see why Jesus became a little lower than the angels willingly. (4 purposes)

#1 To Die

For our forgiveness of sin, someone must die. But God cannot die – angels cannot die – so Jesus became man because only man can die.

v. 9

“9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. “

His death is the chief purpose for his incarnation. This is not an afterthought or accident – but an accomplishment of a purpose. This incarnation is not an end in itself, but a means to its end – the redemption of mankind.

Jesus came and became man: to die.

#2 To Remove Sin

v. 17

“17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. “

It is only Christ who can take away our sin.

1 John 3:5 “The blood of Christ purifies us from all sins.”

You know the story of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16) – this is a symbol of Christ. “Taking away sins” is what the scapegoat did.

On the annual Day of Atonement, one sheep was sacrificed and another was sent away into the wilderness. The sins of the people were “placed” on it and it took them away.

John the Baptist said of Christ: “Here is he who takes away the sins of his people.”

Isaiah said, “God has laid upon him the iniquities of us all.”

#3 To Destroy Satan

v. 14

“14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– “

This is a paradox (irony).

  • To defeat the power of death,
  • Jesus had to die.

Satan is alive today? Yes. And very busy.

The word “destroy” here does not mean “annihilate” but “render powerless”. He is not gone, but has no authority.

After his resurrection, Jesus said, “ALL authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me. Therefore, GO and make disciples of all nations.”

Jesus’ work on the cross brought complete defeat to Satan. He is a conquered enemy, a vanquished foe – so that someday in the near future, Satan will be cast out into the Lake of Fire. All that he has wrought in sin will be nullified – except the actions of those who are following Satan.

#4 To Save us and establish his kingdom

His kingdom is HUGE – a family kingdom. That is why he is not ashamed to call you “brothers & sisters.” We are a family kingdom.

v. 10

“10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. “

Acts: “Salvation is found in no one else; there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Romans “Those God foreknew he also predestined to become like Christ…”

“To those who received him; to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

When he establishes his kingdom, we will reign with him. He is the “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” So who are the small “kings and lords”? We are.

We shall regain what we lost in sin – through Jesus Christ.

Col “When Jesus Christ who is your life appears, you will also appear with him in glory, honor, and crown.”

Conclusion

v. 17-18

“17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. “

Angels cannot understand you – because they have not become like you. They cannot identify and empathize with our weaknesses and needs. But: Jesus can.

Jesus became like us – he became completely identified with us in our weaknesses and needs. That’s why he can empathize with us – through his practical experience.

“He had to be made like his brothers “ – i.e. become man.

He experienced the sinless infirmities of man. He knew what it was to be a helpless baby, growing child, awkward adolescent. He knew what it was like to be lied about, accused, weak, pain, death. All of this was a part of his practical training for his heavenly ministry as our High Priest. He is both merciful and faithful.

  • Especially he is merciful to us,
  • faithful to God.

He made the necessary atonement for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He did not need atonement for himself because he was sinless.

v. 18

“18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. “

He was tempted in every way as we are, but he was not defeated.

Remember what happens to us when we are tempted to sin. Even I, as a pastor, am not perfect, and suffer temptation. When we are tempted, Jesus stands ready to help us.

“Who is it… ? Jesus who was crucified and resurrected. Interceding for us.”

1 Cor 10:13

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 30 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Pay More Attention (Hebrews 2:1-4)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Pay More Attention (Hebrews 2:1-4)

Download Notes in a .MD file (No recording this week)

Pay more attention!

Hebrews 2:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.


Jesus is the creator, sustainer, purifier, sitting down at the right hand of God in heaven. He is the brightness of God’s glory and exact representation of his being. He is the visible representation of the invisible God.

Last week, we saw Jesus’ superiority over all angels. He is NOT a superior angel but is superior TO angels.

  1. Superior name
  2. honor/worship
  3. status
  4. existence
  5. duration

We are much more blessed than the OT believers who received the Word of God through angels and prophets only – but we are receiving God’s Word through Christ’s mouth and actions. This is why we have the Bible. The Word is near you – in your mouths, hearts.

Faith comes from hearing the message – and the message from the Word of Christ.

The fact that we are much more blessed means that we also have much more responsibility.

Today’s message is SERIOUS.

Maybe some of us may dislike today’s message, but I hope and wish that all of us will be blessed through today’s message.

Hebrews is a book of warnings.

Do you like warnings? When you drive on the highway, you may encounter warning signs.

This part is the first warning in Hebrews – the warning of neglect. All warnings SHOUT “danger!”

Yes, our Christian life is a pilgrimage – we are foreigners on this earth. As our journey through this world, it will be dangerous.

Warnings in Hebrews

  1. Danger of Neglect
  2. Danger of Unbelief (chp 3)
  3. Danger of Not growing (chp 5)
  4. Danger of Drawing back – old life (chp 10)
  5. Danger of Refusing God (chp 12)

One of the ancient symbols in Christianity is a boat.

Matthew 15 – after Jesus fed 5,000 men, he made the disciples go in a boat across the water to the other side. He sent the crowd home, and went up onto a mountain to pray. He remained up there until night.

After midnight, the boat was far out in the lake, and buffeted by strong winds and waves. Jesus walked out to them.

They said, “It’s a ghost!”

Jesus said, “Do not worry. It is I.”

Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, call me to you.”

Jesus said, “Come.”

Peter walked out on the water toward Jesus – but when he saw the wind and waves, he began to sink into the water, and cried, “Lord! Save me!”

Jesus did so, but said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

They climbed into the boat and the wind and waves died down. They all knelt before him and worshiped him and called him “Son of God.”

Peter – when he fixed his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on the water. But when he saw the wind and waves, he sank.

Hebrews: “Fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Yes, our lives in this world are also like a boat – and a journey – we are constantly on the move. Paul also confessed this. We cannot be fixed in the same position and status all the time – whether or not we recognize this, we are constantly on the move and changing.

The fact that we are changing means – we are changing:

  • to the better (good)
  • to the worse (bad)

If we are not becoming BETTER, we are becoming WORSE.

Today’s warning: Pay more careful attention to change to the better.

v. 1

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. “

[recording?]

“Drift away” = nautical term = a boat term

This means that a boat on the sea is just moving passively, aimlessly, by wind or waves with no set direction or purpose.

How can we drift away? Very easily: Do nothing.

If you do nothing – the wind, the stream, the waves, life’s circumstances – will make you drift away.

In our Christian life, drifting away is very easy. This does not mean rejecting salvation but neglecting salvation. It’s not a non-Christian, but a service-less Christian.

We may become careless or complacent in our devotion to Christ. We may backslide into sin that we formerly rejected. We may compromise our morals and disobey Christ’s teaching. We may neglect Christian service and become inactive, indifferent Christians.

At this moment, I want to ask very practical questions – also to me – for checking our lives and know whether we are drifting away or not.

In these questions, our answers should be “YES!” (should be, hopefully) – to make it clear that we are not drifting away.

“You must pay. more. careful. attention.”

  1. Pay more attention to the Word of Christ than the words of man?
  2. Pay more attention to your ministry in church than your own hobby, taste, dress?
  3. Pay more attention to your mission from God than your career and salary? (Well…)
  4. Pay more attention to the GOOD news of salvation than the BAD news on channel 9?
  5. Pay more attention to attending worship on Sunday than doing your own schedule on Sunday?
  6. Pay more attention to winning the lost to Christ than pleasing yourself?

0/6

For most of us, the threat is not that we plunge into disaster, but that we drift into sin.

FEW Christians suddenly turn their backs on God, but MANY Christians drift away slowly.

Few Christians commit some drastic, terrible sin at once, but many drift into small sins, slowly, gradually, and one day find they are far off course.

That’s why we must be aware all the time – careful of where we are going.

The REASON to pay attention

v. 2-3

This is the REASON why we must pay more careful attention.

“2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”

Yes, Jesus is much more superior to angels. IF he surpasses angels, then his message must surpass the message of angels.

We know angels are the messengers of God.

“If” is not “maybe” but “because” in this sentence – repeated twice.

“If” angel’s messages are to bring blessing and be obeyed, or if the messages brought punishment, HOW MUCH MORE in the case of Christ?

Christ’s word = much MORE blessing; or greater punishment and judgment.

This is the message of v. 2

This is why we have much more responsibility. “”Ability to respond”

To WHAT we should pay attention

v. 3

“3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”

That’s why salvation is called “Great Salvation.”

You know, this IS great. It is the miracle of miracles; the sign of signs; the wonder of life.

Q: Are you living a Christian life in this world?

This life is ALL about salvation. Our Christian life begins with salvation. If you are not saved, no matter how long you’ve attended church, you are not a Christian.

  • Also, the journey, pilgrimage of a Christian life is salvation.
  • Also, the final destination of a Christian life is salvation.

Eph 2:12 ‘Continue to work out your salvation with humility, fear, and trembling.’

This is the journey of salvation.

1 Peter 2:9 “The final goal of your journey is salvation.”

“Salvation can be found in no one else; there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 2:12)

“What a Beautiful Name it is.” – the name of Jesus Christ – it is beautiful because salvation is found only in this name.

1 Tim 1:15 “Trustworthy saying – Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.”

We all need salvation.

“It is by grace, through faith, you have been saved. It is the GIFT of God so that no one can boast.”

We must remain humble.

Yes, even Father God, Son God, the Holy Spirit God (the Triune God). The HS testifies about the Son because salvation is only available through him.

How to APPLY this lesson

v. 4

This is our job – our practical lessons – how to apply this lesson.

“God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

Even the Father testified to “it” – what is “it”? “It” is “Great Salvation” which can be found only in Jesus Christ.

Signs, wonders, miracles are not the END – they are just the MEANS (method).

There should be no differentiation made between them because God’s work encompasses them all. God’s work = “wonderfully miraculous signs” – and through these, God is testifying to “Great Salvation” through Jesus Christ. Also – the gifts of the HS testify to him – and are distributed according to his will.

John 5:37 “The Father who sent me has testified concerning me…”

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes whom I’ll send to you from the Father, he will testify about me…”

What are the “gifts” of the HS? This word is used in various ways and has various meanings depending on context:

  • salvation, grace, favor, faith, present, talent for ministry, ability for service…

Usually we consider this word to mean talent / ability for service in church. But in this context it means “special ability to help save others.”

The HS empowers every believer with one or more gifts – distributed according to his will. To use these gifts effectively, we must realize that all these gifts come from God and not everyone has the same gifts. The HS decides which gift each believer should have. The gifts are various, but the purpose is one in the same – to testify about Christ, build the church, and spread the kingdom of Christ in this world.

Do you have gifts?

What am I doing with these gifts? With this gift for the salvation of others?

We have a privilege, responsibility, to use and sharpen our gifts.

v. 1 “You must PAY ATTENTION…”

We are given a special task / purpose.

Without purpose, our lives in this world are meaningless motion, directionless activity, reasonless events.

God has given us a “purpose driven life.”

“I must live by God’s given purpose driven life.”

God bless your tongue, your words, that they may be fruitful in this world for his glory.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 23 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ’s Superiority over Angels (Hebrews 1:4-14)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ’s Superiority over Angels (Hebrews 1:4-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Superiority of Christ over Angels

Hebrews 1:4-14 (Pastor Heo)

4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father”? Or again,

“I will be his Father,

and he will be my Son”? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”7 In speaking of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

his servants flames of fire.” 8 But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,

and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions

by anointing you with the oil of joy.”10 He also says,

“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

11 They will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment.

12 You will roll them up like a robe;

like a garment they will be changed.

But you remain the same,

and your years will never end.” 13 To which of the angels did God ever say,

“Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet”? 14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?


  • Theme: The superiority of Christ Jesus
  • Message: Live by Faith! Be assured!

Last part of verse 3: Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, so is superior to everyone – including angels.

What do we need to study about angels? Who are they? What is their function?

Why do we need to be reminded of the superiority of Christ?

Angels – the word is mentioned 100+ times in the OT, and 160+ times in the NT. The doctrine of angels is “angelology”

Let us study briefly about angels. (Actually, I have not much interest in angels, but to know more about Jesus, we need to know about the nature of angels.)

Angels:

  1. Created beings (not creator)
  2. Spiritual beings (not visible)
    1. But sometimes can appear in visible form – like people (Genesis 18, 19 – visited Abram and Lot)
    2. Sometimes they shine like glorious light
    3. Sometimes appear with wings (cherubim, seraphim)
  3. There are several ranks and orders of angels
    1. Archangel, herald, etc.

When were they created? The timeline is indicated nowhere in the Bible – but we can assume it happened before the creation of the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…” – we can assume God created these beings before creating the physical world.

In Genesis 3, Satan (fallen angel) was already there.

In Job, “The angels shouted for joy at the foundations of the earth…”

How many angels?

“Many”

Rev 11:5 “Many angels numbering thousands upon thousands, ten thousand times ten thousand…”

What is their main function? They have their own ministry, mission, job.

Greek “angelos” = English “angels” = “messenger / herald”

There main purpose is to deliver God’s message to men.

Four main functions:

  1. Continual worship and praise to God
  2. Communicate God’s message to Mankind
    1. Angel Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus
    2. When Joseph heard Mary was pregnant, he was going to quietly divorce her – but an angel appeared to him and convinced him otherwise
    3. When Jesus was born, angels appeared and visited the shepherds in an open field at night and announced the “Good News of Great Joy!” (the gospel) – the first person who preached the gospel was an angel
    4. Angels rolled the stone back from Jesus’ tomb and said, “Do not be afraid, he is not here – he has Risen!”
  3. Angels minister to believers (serving and helping us by the order of God)
    1. Angels dramatically delivered Paul and Peter from prison
    2. Angels are present with the church
      1. rejoice at the conversion of sinners
      2. watch believers lives with interest
      3. carry believers spirits away at death
  4. In the future, they will be God’s agents in the final judgment and second coming of Christ – they will execute the judgment against Satan and his demons.

Rev “At the last day, the angels will open the seals and blow the trumpets and pour out the bowl of wrath.”

Wow! Angels are great! So great!

Question: Why do we need to be reminded of the superiority of Christ over all angels?

2 reasons:

  1. Angels are SO great and awesome that some thought (and still think) that Jesus is an angel, or just the “boss” of angels. But this is terribly wrong.
    1. No matter how great angels are, Jesus is not A superior angel but superior TO angels.
  2. Some people thought angels bring believers’ requests to God and intercede on our behalf to God – this is also terribly wrong.
    1. There is only one mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ.
    2. We do not need any other mediator.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life – no one comes to the Father except by me.”

Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and gain access to this grace through him.”

5 Superiorities of Christ over Angels

Even today, this is our faith statement

#1 Jesus’ Superior Name

v. 4-5

“4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father”? Or again,

“I will be his Father,

and he will be my Son”?”

You have your own name. This is a Proper Noun. In Bible times, a name reveals a person’s nature, rank, dignity. So, from eternity to eternity, Jesus has a Proper Noun Name: SON. This is not a common noun.

In the water baptism from John the Baptist, he came out and heaven opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him, I’m well pleased.”

A similar thing happened during Jesus’ transfiguration – with three disciples on top of the mountain. His face and clothes shone like the sun, and a voice from the clouds came, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.”

God wants all human beings to focus on Christ.

“Listen to him!” Are you listening?

His name – from eternity to eternity – is SON. He is the Prince, the future King, the future Ruler, and the Son God.

There is only ONE God – in three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

This is called the “Triune God or Trinity God.”

#2 Superior Honor

v. 6

” 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.””

Worship belongs to God alone.

Yes, we must encourage and build up and edify each other, but worship ONLY God. If you idolize anything else – put in in the place of God in your life, this is sinful.

In Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 4, Satan said, “Bow down and worship me and I will give all the kingdom of this world and its splendor.” Jesus announced strongly (angrily?), “Get away from me Satan! It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God alone.'”

Jesus himself is God.

Rev 5:11 “Many thousands upon thousands of angels gathered together and encircled the throne [Where Jesus sat down] and in a loud voice they worshiped singing, ‘worthy is he who was slain to receive power, and wealth, and wisdom, and honor, and glory, and praise.'”

Can you imagine this today? All the angels in heaven kneeling down and worshiping. So who is higher? Jesus. You can never compare them. But, sadly, some people still make this mistake.

#3 Superior Status

v. 7-9

“7 In speaking of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

his servants flames of fire.” 8 But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,

and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions

by anointing you with the oil of joy.””

The angels are servants, but the Son rules the universe. His throne, scepter, annointing, give us the dimensions of his sovereignty. And he established his righteousness by becoming the sacrifice for our sins. “The oil of joy” is heavenly joy – and he is eternally enthroned, annointed, sceptered, sovereign – in control of everything – past, present, future.

Do you recognize this? Believe this? He is sustainer of all things.

#4 Superior Existence

v. 10-12

“10 He also says,

“In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

11 They will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment.

12 You will roll them up like a robe;

like a garment they will be changed.

But you remain the same,

and your years will never end.””

Already I said, angels are created beings – they are very temporal, changeable, dependent. But Christ is unchangeable in his power, authority, design.

Heb 13:8 “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Listen to the message of Christ.

#5 Superior Vocation

  • His vocation is “Sovereign King”
  • “Sovereign Ruler”
  • “King of Kings; Lord of Lords”

v. 13-14

“13 To which of the angels did God ever say,

“Sit at my right hand

until *I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet*”? 14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? “

Who are Jesus’ enemies? Those who do not confess him as Lord nor accept him as Savior. God considers them his enemies.

In his first coming, Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for the multitudes.

His leadership is shown here. At that time, it was human custom that the defeated king should prostrate himself and kiss the feet of the victorious king – and the victorious king put his feet on that king’s neck so that he became his footstool.

Like this, all people will fall down and worship him as Lord.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names that at his name every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Jesus is superior to ALL – because he is creator and God.

We must trust in Christ with all we are and all we have.

God bless us all through Christ’s superiority.

Let us fix our thoughts and eyes on Christ.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 16 / 2019
  • Comments Off on God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)

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God bless you through Hebrews

Hebrews 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.


“Better, better, more, superior” – this is the repeated theme throughout Hebrews. He is BETTER than all created things.

Theme: The superiority of Christ Jesus

Be assured + Live by Faith

In the sight of God, how can I be accepted by God? If I live by faith. If you put your faith in Christ, you will be accepted by God as righteous.

“The righteous will live by faith”

  • Habakkuk,
  • Romans,
  • Galatians,
  • Hebrews

In the NT, Hebrews is the only book whose human authorship is unknown. There are many suspicions: Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, Aquilla – but the name of the author is not given in the text itself.

Because the author’s name is unknown, also the time it was written is unknown. It is assumed it was written in AD 60s because that is before the temple was destroyed in AD 70. There are religious ceremonies and traditions mentioned, but no mention of the destruction of the temple.

v. 1-3

“1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways (OT), 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NT) 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Think about it: by nature, God is creator; we are his creations. God is infinite; we are finite. God is in heaven; we are on earth. God is spirit; we are material (from dust).

By nature, God is unapproachable, unknowable, hidden.

Q: How is knowing God possible? How is the study of God possible? What makes it possible to know God and something about him? This is a basic question for entrance into the study of Hebrews.

Do you have an answer?

We can say several things, but in one phrase: God’s self-revelation

The self-revelation of God makes it possible to know something of him.

For example, you know your birthday / place / mother / father. But HOW do you know these things? Someone told you. Like this, God reveals himself – and still is revealing himself. That’s why / how it’s possible to know him.

Revelation of God: The action of God by which he discloses himself, or communicates himself to his creation. He makes known about himself what could not be known in any other way.

2 forms:

  1. General
  2. Special

General revelation (3 areas):

  1. Nature
  2. Human history
  3. Your Conscience

1. Nature

Look at the created world – this is God’s handiwork. When we see this, we can know there is a creator, with wisdom, power, glory, and goodness.

Ps 90:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God…”

Also, as all buildings have a builder, so does this world

Romans 1:19-20 “Since what may be known about God, since the creation of the world – his divine power – has been clearly displayed so that no one has an excuse.”

Through Creation, we can know his power and glory.

2. Human History

The Bible speaks of God’s dealings with many nations: Greece, Rome, Israel, Macedonia, etc – more than anything else, he reveals himself through Israel.

By nature, Israel is weak and small – but when they obeyed, God empowered them to drive our 7 nations from Canaan who were greater than they were. But, when they disobeyed, God made them defeated and enslaved. But when they cried out to him, he sent them a deliverer and empowered them again.

Throughout history, we must know that God used more wicked nations or men to punish less wicked nations or men.

It is possible for God to use unbelievers to discipline disbelieving believers.

“From one man, God made every nation of man that they should inhabit the whole earth. God determined the exact times and places they should live.”

3. Human conscience

Conscience is in human beings – and the conscience tells us what is right / wrong. It tells us strongly “Do right ; abstain from wrong.” It also tells us “Every wicked deed must be punished.”

These 3 general revelation of God is ENOUGH to know there is a God who created all things – and know he is powerful, wise, and holy. But even this general revelation of God has limitations.

  • This is not enough to meet and know him.
  • It is not enough for us to have a personal relationship with him.
  • It cannot lead us to salvation (which is only found in Christ).
  • That’s why we need “special revelation” of God.

Special Revelation: God speaks

The action of God by which God makes himself known at specific times and places in specific ways, for specific purposes.

  1. Speaking
  2. Miracles
  3. Prophecy (in the Bible)
  4. Climax: Person, work, word of Jesus Christ

This is the entrance point of Hebrews.

The perfection of God’s special revelation = the purpose, work, word of Jesus Christ.

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

The same God who spoke: “Let there be light” is still speaking to us. He spoke to Adam, Noah, Moses, Joseph, and is still speaking to us.

OT: (v 1): “In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.”

  • Isaiah = vision
  • Jacob = dream
  • Abraham, Moses = personally
  • Jeremiah = object lessons
  • Hosea = marriage experience
  • NT (v 2): “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
  • Before Christ: “In the past…”
  • After Christ: “In these last days…”
  • OT = Covenant, promise, message, prediction
  • NT = New covenant, new promise, new message, new prophecy

In the OT, God spoke through human prophets, but now, no more human prophets. Now, he is speaking to us through Christ: “God’s special revelation” – which is progressing and changeable.

  • God’s revelation is changeable.
  • But GOD is unchangeable.

We are very changeable. Do you like this word? Do you want change? Of course.

The word change = to the better or to the worse. So, change has two meanings, positive and negative.

God is unchangeable. He is immutable, he never changes, because he is God. God can never be better because he is now perfect. God can never be worse or he would not be God.

God cannot be more holy nor more righteous, nor wiser than yesterday – because he is already perfect.

In this sense, God is absolutely unchangeable. That’s why we can trust him and put our faith in him. Are you sure of this?

But, God’s unchangeability does not mean “immobility.” God is a person, he has emotions – he can be sorrowful, happy, angry. He is active, a speaking God. So, he is very changeable. What does this mean?

God wants a personal friendship and partnership with us – who are very changeable – for better or worse. So, in these relationships with changeable man, it is necessary to change his dealings with changeable man to remain unchangeable in his purpose.

God does not show partiality, nor choose favorites – BUT he deals with us each individually very differently according to our obedience or disobedience. But now, we are living in the last days. That’s why Hebrews encourages us very strongly to “focus” on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith.

We know the transfiguration story of Jesus. Let me say it again briefly. This is important to understand the special revelation of God.


One day, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to a high mountain. Before them, he was transfigured – his face shining like the sun; his clothes white like light. Then, two great men appeared before him.

A voice came from heaven, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

We know that Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets in the OT. Moses represented the Law; Elijah the prophets. No matter how great a man, Jesus is greater.


Q: Why are there so many human prophets in the OT? And why Jesus is written in the NT? What is the difference? Why were they all recorded in the Bible? We must be clear in this matter – or we will be confused in our Christian life.

Yes, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, great men of faith.

Then, what is the difference between these men and Jesus? Why were they recorded in the Bible? Still today, God is speaking through Jesus.

The reason all human prophets – including great prophets – are recorded in the Bible so that we may see how they heard, obeyed, and were used by God.

Why Jesus? So we may hear him, obey him, and worship him as Lord and Savior.

There is a BIG difference.

Repeat (next time).

So, who is Christ?

In these short verses, we can see many titles and status’ of Jesus (at least 7).

v. 1-3

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

  1. Jesus is heir of all things – ruler; king; highest position
  2. Jesus is creator
    • 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,
  3. Jesus is visible God – the exact representation of God – the visible expression of the invisible God
    • John “No one has seen God; but God has made him known.”
    • sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
  4. Jesus is sustainer, supporter of all things – including living creation. Even today, God can sustain you in times of stress and hardship. Jesus is sustaining and supporting us always. Also, you are here today by Jesus’ sustaining grace and mercy.
  5. Jesus is provider of all things we need
    • Phil 4:19 “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”
    • Jehovah Jireh (Provider) – this is who Jesus is to us today. What do you need spiritually, mentally, relationally? Jesus will provide – do not be worried.
  6. Jesus is the purifier of sin. He provides also forgiveness. You know, my sins are so dirty. If I’m not purified, I cannot stand here to preach.
    • 1 John 1:9? “The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”
    • The blood of Jesus has power and authority. He is creator and sacrificed himself for us. No sacrifice for our sin could be greater than that offered by the creator himself.
    • Christ cleansed this whole world and took the penalty for our individual sins with his death on the cross.
    • “…he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
  7. His work was complete.
    • In your own job, if you do not finish your job, you cannot sit down.
    • Jesus sat down because his sacrifice was final and complete. “It is finished” on the cross.
    • At the right hand of the Majesty of heaven = he is equal with God – one person (second) of the Trinity God.

Do you need advice? Go first to Jesus. We must go FIRST to Christ for advice, wisdom, faith, love. No human counselor knows more about our ultimate security and well being than our Lord Jesus does.

Conclusion:

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

Only when you fix you eyes on Jesus can you grow spiritually.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus.”

God bless you through Hebrews.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 09 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Acts 29 Vision
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Acts 29 Vision

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Acts 28:30-31 (Pastor Heo)

This is the last study for Acts, but we know that Acts is not yet complete. If you open your spiritual eyes, you can see that Acts is STILL BEING WRITTEN. Today, let us put these words into practice so that we also may be the co-authors of Acts 29. God bless you.

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.


As we know, Paul had been in prison for 2 years just before going to Rome. Now, he’s in house arrest in Rome for another full 2 years.

Through this story, we can learn a very important lesson from Paul about HOW to make the most of a very bad situation.

He remained under house arrest – this great missionary, apostle of Christ – unable to minister as he desired. So, he simply did WHAT HE COULD. He welcomed all who came to him, he taught, preached, counseled, persuaded, prayed, wrote books of the Bible. He wrote 4 letters (Paul’s Prison Epistles) = Eph, Phil, Col, Philemon.

These remember our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus succeeded in his mission completely, in the wilderness and his cross. The first man, Adam, failed his mission completely in the most beautiful circumstances (The Garden of Eden).

So, who can say to God, “I cannot serve you because of my bad situation”? No one. If you find yourself in a bad situation, look for ways to serve God and glorify God.

Eph 5:15 “Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.” (Within your time, save your time, because the days are evil (KJV))

v. 30-31

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

This book of Acts has a SUDDEN ending. Why? How? This shows the spread of the gospel going to Rome and the world continually as the Great Commission had directed. Why does Acts stop HERE? Because it’s not about the life of the person Paul, but about the process of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Acts 1:8 is the 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.”

  • Chp 1-7 = Spread of the gospel in Jerusalem
  • Chp 8-11 = Spread of the gospel in Judea and Samaria
  • Chp 12-28 = Spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth (Rome)

Among 66 books in the Bible, Acts is the ONLY book which is not yet over – in its mission.

In the Greek Bible, *acolotos* is the last word in this book. The meaning? “Without stop; without hindrance; continually.” This makes the final word in Acts very meaningful.

Today’s Christians are the ones who are to do the continual writing of Acts in the NEXT chapter (Acts chapter 29).

You all have your own personal history, right? This is simple and easy to understand, but meaningful and important.

Everyone – Christian or non – has his own (good or bad) life story and personal history. Then, every Christian is to have TWO life stories (before / after; earthly / spiritual) Every Christian has this life story.

  • Earthy = temporary; on earth
  • Heavenly = eternal; on earth and in heaven

Check your own life story.

“One life; two stories.”

I have one LIFE, but two stories.

All Christians throughout the Bible and throughout history, all have this one life; two stories. Let me show you 3 examples:

#1: Joseph

He was hated / envied by his elder 10 brothers. They sold him into slavery to Egypt. He was Potifer’s slave (one of the king’s officials). He was wrongly accused by the wife and thrown into prison. 2 years later, he interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh – and through this, he became the Prime Minister of Egypt (the greatest country of that time). One day, years later, in a great famine, his brothers came to buy food from him twice. In the second coming, he revealed himself to them. “I’m your brother Joseph who you sold into slavery.”

This is Joseph’s earthly life story, but he also interpreted this into two stories.

“Brothers, do not be distressed, because God sent me here ahead of you to save your lives. You intended harm for me, but God intended it for good – the saving of many lives.” This is Joseph’s spiritual life story.

  • Earthly life: “you sold me”
  • Heavenly life: “God sent me”

We are made to have meaning. If your life has meaning, you can bear almost anything. “With a strong enough WHY, you can bear almost any HOW.”

Giving our lives spiritual meaning is important.

#2 Jesus

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, 2,000 years ago through the womb of the virgin Mary. Like Joseph, he was hated and misunderstood by his fellow Jews. They delivered him to the Roman guards. Pontias Pilate was a profession in finding someone’s faults, but could not find anything wrong with Jesus. He knew he was innocent, but had no courage to set him free – so he handed him over to be executed. He was crucified, dead and buried, and rose again. This is Jesus’ life story (earthly).

Heavenly: God became man in Jesus to come to earth to save us, to die for us, and save us. He was not killed unwillingly, but chose by his own accord to be killed for the salvation of all. “Nobody takes my life from me. I lay my life down of my own accord. I have authority to lay down my life and take it up again, for I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

Jesus died and rose again and ascended into heaven and is STILL interceding for us on the right hand of God. And one day he will come to complete it all.

  • Earthly: he was killed
  • Heavenly: he sacrificed himself

#3: Paul

Like Joseph and Jesus, he was hated and misunderstood by his Jewish brothers. They arrested him and handed him over to the Romans. Felix, Festus, and Agrippa heard his story, but none set him free. So he appealed to Caesar. He came to Rome to stand on trial before Caesar. This is Paul’s earthly life story.

Heavenly: Paul’s coming to Rome is the sovereign will of God. Some time before, Jesus appeared to him and said, “You will testify about me in Rome.” Also going to Rome and preaching the gospel was Paul’s vision. In Romans: “God, whom I serve with my whole heart is my witness about how constantly I pray for you. I long to see you and impart some spiritual gift to make you strong. I’m eager to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome. I’m not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for all who believe.”

  • Earthly: sent to Rome as a prisoner
  • Heavenly: lead to Rome as a missionary

You also have your own life story.

v. 31

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts finishes not with Paul’s earthly life (and end) but with his spiritual life (and continuation). Earthly life is temporary, heavenly life is eternal.

Who are the ones who are continuing the book of Acts?

Acts 29 Vision

The book is like a relay race (계주/경주).

Do you have experience with this?

In the relay, the ending of the first runner becomes the starting point of the second runner – and the baton is passed on. Those who begin running at the end of Acts 28, continue into Acts 29.

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who focus on preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ are the ones who are writing the continuation of Acts.

At the end, I want to focus on:

  • the kingdom of God
  • the Lord Jesus Christ

Kingdom of God

Do you have interest in the Kingdom of God? This is our country.

Phil 3:20 “Your citizenship is in heaven.”

So, we must be very interested in this country – this is our country (kingdom).

What / why / when / where / how is the Kingdom of God?

  • Who: You / us / Christians
  • What: Jesus’ first message is about the kingdom of God. John the Baptist’s first message was the same: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.”

The key teaching of Jesus in his ministry was the Kingdom of God – the Beatitudes’ first and last sentences are about the KOG. “Blessed … for theirs is the KOG.”

Especially in Matthew, we can see Jesus say so many times, “The KOG is like….”

Also, our daily and first prayer is about the KOG.

“This is how you should pray: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus also teaches that your first priority must be about the KOG: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and then all these things will be added to you.”

The fulfillment of the KOG and the end of this age will happen at the same time – they coincide with each other. Jesus says, Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached to ALL nations, and THEN then end will come.”

The fulfillment of the gospel and the end of the world will coincide.

After his resurrection, Christ stayed on earth for 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God. In a sense, we can say, Acts starts with the Kingdom of God and closes with the KOG.

What is it?

Kingdom of God === Kingdom of Heaven === Kingdom of Christ

It is a country. Essential elements of a state in the physical world = population, territory, government. In the spiritual world, in the KOG, the most basic idea is = rule / reign / sovereignty.

So, the KOG is the rule / reign of Christ (sovereignty of Christ). This is the rule / reign of God over ALL Creation.

But more narrowly speaking, it is about Christ’s spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who submit and obey willingly the will of God by confessing Christ as Savior and Lord and King.

His Lordship / Kingship / Sovereign governance – if your are really ruled by Christ, then you are a part of the KOG.

When: Now and here

It has been established already,

but not yet made complete (at the age that has yet to happen)

With Jesus’ first coming, the KOG began. “Repent, the KOG is near.” It is present, but also future. With his Second Coming, his Kingdom will be established perfectly and completely.

Where?

It is a country so it can be in a particular place, but it is not limited by space. It transcends time and space. It is in you.

How?

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you know your position in this world? We are ambassadors of Christ. We are sent from our country to this world to establish his kingdom in this world.

“My kingdom is not of this world.” (Jesus)

This world belongs to Satan (temporarily) – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (Next verse) “We do not preach ourselves, but Christ crucified.”

Our mission is to spread and establish his kingdom in this world: by confessing and preaching Jesus as Lord and Savior, and inviting others in.

Phil 2:10-11 “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

This is the fulfillment of the KOG.

We are now between the first and second coming. (Between the cross and the crown).

Our mission is very simple and clear: to profess and preach Jesus as Lord and Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and to invite others in – to make the population of the KOG larger and larger.

If we do this, we also are writing Acts 29 with God in heaven.

Let us pray together.

  • Jun 02 / 2019
  • Comments Off on At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

At last, Paul arrives in Rome (Acts 28:10-28)

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10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

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

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”


From Rhegium to Puteoli is about 180 miles. From Puteoli, they had no more boat – but had to walk. It was another 140 miles to Rome (like from Jeonju to Seoul).

Some believers in Rome heard about Paul’s imminent arrival and intercepted his party at Appii Forum (an open square for meeting and discussion).

v. 10-15

” 10They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

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

When Paul was greeted by these Italian brothers & sisters in Christ, he was refreshed and thanked God. Imagine this, after a long, hard, dangerous journey, Paul was thankful and encouraged to see some friendly faces like you.

Today, we also can perform a similar role in the lives of full-time missionaries. TIP:

Paul Mission will have an upcoming mission conference in Gyeonggi-do. If you want you can be blessed by blessing them with your time, little money, loving hearts.

Paul arrived at Rome finally in v. 16

“16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. “

At long last, Paul arrived at Rome – the most powerful and influential city at that time. It was the fulfillment of his long-term vision. Paul received special treatment. The others were delivered to the captain of the soldiers, but he was put under house arrest in a rented house under the guard of one soldier.

What did Paul do first?

v. 17-22

“Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

Paul’s first action was to call together the Jewish brothers & sisters in Rome and explain why he had to come.

Briefly: The Jews arrested him in Jerusalem and delivered him to the Roman government. They examined him, but did not find him guilty. So they wanted to set him free. But the Jewish religious leaders disagreed strongly, so Paul was forced to appeal to Caesar.

His real purpose for meeting the Italian Christians was to share the kingdom of God and the Messiah-ship of Jesus.

This hope for which he was accused is the message of the gospel. In his defense, Paul mentioned the phrase, “the hope of Israel” several times.

  • on trial for my hope in the resurrection
  • I have hope in God for the resurrection (before Felix)
  • I have hope in Christ – because of this I was charged (before Agrippa)

v. 21-22

“21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” “

In Rome, everyone was talking against Christianity. “Heresy” = wrong doctrine, cult, terrible doctrine.

Christians believed in only ONE God, but Romans had many false gods, including Caesar. His hope is the hope of Israel, the hope of the world.

v. 23-24

“23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. “

This must have been the most exciting home Bible study in history. Can you be patient with me if I share the Bible with you from morning to evening? This must be 10 hours.

Paul tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and Prophets (Old Testament). He tried to convince them about Jesus from the OT.

Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you have eternal life, but these Scriptures testify about me.”

Today’s Christians are more blessed than Christians from 2,000 years ago – because we have OT and NT.

Early Christians believed in Christ only through the witness of the OT and lived powerful influential Christian lives at that time. We must be able to live more powerful Christian lives today because we have the complete, perfect Bible. We are also much nearer to the end of this world than they were.

The main theme of the Bible is about Jesus.

The religious leaders studied hard, but refused to come to Jesus. Even today, many Christians study much but don’t come to Christ.

v. 25-28

“25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

26 ” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!””

What is the response of this congregation to Paul’s message? Disagreement, some believed, some rejected. Some were persuaded, some would not believe regardless of Paul’s passion and urging.

Today is the same. I’m delivering the sermon. This is an attempt to convince the congregation about Christ through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Sermon’s purpose is always the same: to persuade the church members about Christ by the ministry of the HS.

Some are convinced, but some reject.

This is always the same. The same sunlight melts ice and also hardens the clay.

Moses and Pharaoh experienced the same works of God, the same miracles, and powers, at the same time and same place. Moses came nearer and nearer to God, his heart softer and meeker, and humble. But Pharaoh went farther and farther from God, his heart becoming calloused and proud.

God gave Pharaoh many opportunities to repent, but he rejected them all.

Whenever we receive the Word of God, we should check our attitudes.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Paul quoted v. 26-28 from Isaiah 6:9-10

Even though the Jews knew all about God in an academic way, they did not know God in a personal way. Though the Word of God was in their heads, it had never filtered down to their hearts and changed their lives.

Today, is the Word of God changing your life?

Conclusion:

From Paul’s journey to Rome, we can learn 3 lessons.

Remember his journey story, let’s get these lessons.

1. Nothing can stop the will of God

The will of God for Paul was that he would go to Rome and preach the gospel. Yes, we know this looked impossible – there were many plots to kill Paul, Jewish accusations against him – years of imprisonment, a shipwreck in a typhoon, bitten by a viper. There were so many hindrances – but no attack from Satan would hinder God’s will.

1 John 2:17 “This world and its desires pass away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

Question: Do you have a vision? Just like Paul, or vision must be worldwide – but at the same time it must be focused. We must include the whole world with our hearts and prayer – but we must focus on a particular target because we are limited in knowledge and skills. God’s way is always better, he knows what he’s doing.

1 Thess “The one who calls us is faithful.”

2. We can serve God by helping others under any circumstances IF WE WILL

What are your circumstances? God knows. But remember under any circumstances, we can serve God by helping others if we choose to.

Paul’s situation was BAD from a human perspective. He was a shipwrecked prisoner but on this trek to Rome alone, he continued to minister to others:

  • Roman centurion, Julius
  • Captain and owner of the ship
  • Passengers of the ship
  • Leader of Malta and his father
  • People of Malta
  • Jewish believers
  • Roman believers

Almost all were affected by PAUL.

What the power and influence of only one person!

Because of this one faithful person, the gospel continued to spread.

v. 28 = if you accept the gospel, it will spread through you.

But if you reject it, the gospel will continue to spread through others.

The gospel has life.

Do not make any excuses before God.

3. God is so faithful in keeping his promise

Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”

But God provides what we NEED not always what we WANT.

Paul lost everything in the shipwreck – he was merely a survivor. He had nothing but life in Christ. But remember, in this terrible situation, if his first priority was eating, drinking, wearing, then he would be a literal beggar. But his priority #1 was the kingdom of God and sharing the gospel.

So, God’s promise was realized in his life.

“Do not worry about what you should eat and drink and wear. Pagans run after these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them, so seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

This promise was proven in Paul’s life. Question: Is God’s promise real in your life?

v. 10

“10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed. “

Still today, his promise is available. Don’t worry about what to eat, drink, wear – but seek first his kingdom and righteousness and then all these things will be given to you as well.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 01 / 2019
  • Comments Off on In Malta (Acts 28:1-10)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In Malta (Acts 28:1-10)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/in-malta

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Acts 28:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.


The distance from Fair Havens to Malta = 720 km.

Malta became a British colony in 1815 – played a very important role in WWII. Got independence in 1964, joined the European Union later as well.

I say this things to emphasize that the Bible is not just a story, but all facts. Today’s story is “what happened during their stay at Malta”. They stayed there for three months.


Can you picture this? They survived but became beggars, losing all their things. The people of Malta were very kind and generous, showing hospitality to the shipwrecked survivors. It was raining and cold, but they were already wet. They were probably trembling with cold, so they needed heat.

The islanders built a fire for heat. Paul gathered a bundle of wood. We know he was a very good man, he was like a savior or hero to the survivors – but no task is too small for the man of God. Paul was not ashamed to be useful in the smallest thing – like Jesus.

Phil 2 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. In humility… our attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ.”

Paul gathered the bundle of wood – a very practical action. As he put it on the fire, a viper jumped from the bundle and bit him on his hand. Maybe that snake was hibernating.

The islanders knew how dangerous a viper bite was, so they thought he must have been a murderer – believing “karma” would not let him live. They thought something bad must happen to him – but nothing bad happened to him. So they changed their minds and called him “god.”

We remember in Lystra in chp 14, a similar thing happened. Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man and the people called them gods. Paul tore his clothes and stopped them saying, “We too are men like you.” Then he preached the gospel of salvation in Christ.

In this way Paul became outstanding among them. Publius, the leader welcomed Paul and his team and entertained them. But his father was sick with fever and dysentery. Paul prayed for him and healed him – and immediately the whole island came to him for healing.

We know that Luke is a medical doctor. In this situation, Luke could use his medical skill and expertise – so they could work together in this ministry. In church history, this job is the first Medical Mission (Paul + Luke).

So, what was the problem with these people of Malta? Humanly speaking, they were very kind, warm, generous. They had morality, they were nice, but didn’t know who God was. They didn’t know how to be saved.

  • They first called Paul “murderer.”
  • Then they called Paul “god.”

From murderer to god – both were wrong. So, today, we also must be careful to not only understand who people are from their outward appearance.

They were nice, but they didn’t know who God was. Many people in this world don’t know who God is, nor how to be saved, rescued.

So, let me make clear:

  1. Who God is
  2. What God is like
  3. How to be saved

Are you clear on these matters?

If so, our mission / ministry is to help / serve / tell others.

Not only that time, but since the creation of the world, there are SO many wrong beliefs and opinions about God. This is one of the biggest problems in human history. There are 8-9 beliefs about God and they are all wrong – except ONE.

We must know that in your study and theory, there may be many opinions, but the “right” one is only one. Also in this matter, there is only one “right” one.

Let us make it very clear in this limited time and then help and serve others with this information. God bless you.

Wrong beliefs about God

1. Atheism – denies the existence of God.

“There is no god.”

But they are cheating their own spiritual conscience. “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no god.'”

Heb 3:4 “All buildings have a builder. Like this, all creation has a creator.” Imagine someone looking at a building and saying, “Look at this amazing building with no builder!” How foolish! How can what has been made have been made by chance? This is foolish.

2. Agnosticism – Does not deny God, but denies the possibility of the knowledge of God.

“There may be a god, but we cannot know him.”

“I don’t know. How can we know?”

This is a comfortable refuge for intellectuals – but it means they escape / hide from any responsibility about God. Sooner or later, a seeker will FIND God. “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities have been made known, so that no one is without excuse.” (Romans 1)

3. Materialism – denies the existence of the spirit – all reality is only physical matter

Practical question: Is money god? NO. But practically, money can be a small god.

“You cannot serve both God and money” (Jesus) – money cannot be served / worshiped. (The love of money) is a root of all kinds of evil.

Our spirit knows this visible world is only preparation for eternity.

“A man is destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.” We must remember this crucial word of God.

4. Pantheism – (many / all gods) – “pan” (all) “theism” (god) – all is god, god is all

This is Hinduism (among other beliefs). Its highest hope is Nirvana (to desire less). But this is impossible because we are created to seek something, to fill ourselves with something. So the Bible says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit”

5. Polytheism – “poly” (many) “theism” (god)

Many gods. Kitchen god, rain god, computer god, passion god. In Japan there are 8 million gods.

The Bible condemns this paganism as idolatry. The FIRST commandment of the 10 commandments = “You shall have no other gods before me.”

6. Deism (“dios”) God – believes in a transcendent but absent God.

He created the universe and LEFT it to sustain it by itself according to the natural laws.

They say with their mouths, “There is god”, but they live like there is no god. So, practically, they are like atheists.

7. Dualism – belief of 2 opposite gods who are fighting each other.

One god is god of spirit and light and life. The other is god of matter and darkness and death.

Some people may think this is true.

Yes, God is God, and Satan is the opposite god of God. He is called “god of this Age.”

The problem? The two gods are EQUAL in power and authority – so the conflict is neverending. This is totally unbiblical. Satan is a CREATED being who is limited in his power. He will be cast out by God and punished in hell. Satan has ZERO authority because Jesus proclaimed, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.”

He has temporary, limited power.

8. Monotheism – ONE God

One and only one God. We believe in God only – only one God who created the universe and is sustaining all things with his power and word. He is a person, with a personality, so it is possible to have a relationship with him. He is compassionate, but righteous and just.

“I’m a monotheist. I believe in monotheism.”

This is good. Up to now, no problem. But there is a practical problem. We must be very careful from this point in helping others.

Even Judaism believes in only one God. In a sense they are stronger than us in believing in only God.

Muslims also say they are monotheists – there is only one God.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, believe in only one God. The problem? The difference? Jesus.

What is the biblical belief about God.

Biblical monotheism = Triune monotheism (Trinity Monotheism)

Yes, there is only ONE God (in three persons):

  1. Father God
  2. Son Jesus Christ
  3. Holy Spirit

There is ONE God – one essence – one purpose – in three persons.

This is a big mystery, so here is a small illustration to help understand this.

I (pastor) am one person in three elements:

  1. Body,
  2. mind,
  3. soul (body, soul, spirit)

I am one intelligence in three areas:

  1. intelligence,
  2. willpower,
  3. knowledge

But this is NOT ENOUGH to explain the mystery of mysteries of the Trinity God, but it helps to shed SOME light on this complex problem.

God’s thought is higher than our thoughts, and his ways are higher than our ways. He is infinite / limitless in his power, wisdom, authority. But we are very limited in our understanding and wisdom.

So, if EVERYTHING is understandable to us, he is not God. If we understand ALL things about God, then he is not higher than us, and he is not God.

How can we apply these mysteries of God?

The second person God became man: John 1:14 “God became man; the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Nobody has ever seen God.

Jesus is full God and became full man. 1 Tim 2:5 “There is only one God and one mediator between God and man.”

“Jesus is full God and full man.”

Jesus is full God and full man = left hand (God), right hand (man) – as full God Jesus is the representation of the Trinity God facing man – so how we treat Jesus is exactly the same way we treat the Father God.

“To accept me is the accept the one who sent me. To hate me is to hate the one who sent me.”

  • Jesus (as God) is the representation of the Trinity God facing man.
  • Jesus (as man) is the representative of all human beings in approaching God.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – no one comes to the father except through me.”

The Bible encourages us, “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith.”

  • “Fix my eyes on Jesus Christ;
  • Focus my thought on Jesus Christ.”

Let’s pray.

  • May 19 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Four Things we can do in a Storm (Acts 27:1-44)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Four Things we can do in a Storm (Acts 27:1-44)

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Acts 27:1-44 (Pastor Heo)

Paul Sails for Rome

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

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

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

The Storm

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

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

The Shipwreck

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

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

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

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


Today’s sermon may take 1 hour. If you cannot stay, you may go, but I will finish what I have to say.

Today, Paul starts from Caesarea, and he was in the care of a nice Roman centurion named Julius~~ He was accompanied by his close friends: Luke and his friend from Thessalonica.

In his first step, he was treated well. The next day, when they arrived in Sidon, Paul was allowed to go out from the ship to visit his friends there.

Caesarea to Sidon – so far so good.

From Sidon, things rapidly got worse. They didn’t sail the shorter way through the Sea because of the wind. So they sailed around Cyprus to Myra. Julius found an Alexandria ship to Italy, and he put Paul and the jailors on that ship. It was a grain ship – huge – to carry 276 people. Egyptian grain was a staple food in that day and Myra was a hub for this.

They sailed for many days to Cnidus.

This story is v. 1-6

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

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.”

From Myra to Fair Havens = v. 7-13

They arrived at Fair Havens Port – the day of the Fast had passed. The “Fast” is the Day of Atonement (Sept / Oct) – so when they arrived at Fair Havens, sailing was very dangerous and difficult during that time period. Sailing was impossible from mid-Nov – Feb. During the winter, they could not sail.

So when they arrived at Fair Havens, “Winter is Coming.” So, they would have to wait until after winter. But the captain, pilot, the majority of passengers wanted to continue sailing up to Phoenix (for three reasons):

  1. Fair Havens – Phoenix = not far, only 40 miles
  2. Phoenix was more comfortable and beautiful to spend winter
  3. An enticing south wind began to blow – so they thought they could approach it without difficulty.

Most of them wanted to winter in Phoenix.

Only Paul said, “No, we should winter here. If we sail continually, there will be great loss – even to our lives and cargo.” The final decision was Julius’ – the centurion.

We know Paul has much experience traveling in the sea – 1, 2, 3 missionary journeys. Only Paul said, “Let’s stay.” But the centurion followed the advice of the majority. After that, something terrible happened.

v. 7-13

“7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

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

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.”

They sailed for Phoenix, but couldn’t reach it.

v. 14

“14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island.”

“Northeaster” = euraquilo in their language

From this point, the beginning of the shipwreck happened. They threw much of the ship’s cargo and tackle into the sea. They saw no stars for many days and did not eat for 14 days. Eventually, they gave up ALL hope of being saved. They became powerless, hopeless, helpless.

We know there are many kinds of wrecks – cars, airplanes, trains, ships. The most terrifying of all is a shipwreck because it is a LONG agony for the passengers, sailors, and crew. This shipwreck is one of the most famous shipwrecks in history. This shipwreck is also one of the best told, most famous, and most profitable to the hearer.

We know, 2 years ago, Jesus appeared to Paul and stood beside him and promised, “You wil go to Rome.” God is faithful in keeping his promise, but we must remember, even when we serve God in this life, there will be storms. But, at the same time, we can experience peace and the presence of God.

This life is like a storm on the sea.

v. 14-20 = the terror of the storm on the sea

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

In this terrible storm, we must focus on what Paul did. There are at least 4 things Paul did that we also can do in our daily lives.

First, what is Paul’s status? A prisoner. But in this terrible situation – he became

  1. Comforter,
  2. Counselor,
  3. Commander,
  4. Savior.

This is the power of a Christian in a storm.

“I can imitate Paul.”

Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

#1 Paul shared the Word of God (Comforter)

v. 21-26

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

First, Paul gently rebuked them, but then encouraged them. – He comforted them.

Yes, today also, our lives are like voyages on the sea – so we sometimes use metaphors to describe our lives.

  • “smooth sailing”
  • “don’t make waves”
  • “sink or swim”

This world needs comfort

It needs the good news of salvation, promise of safety, guarantee for security. We can give encouragement, the good news of salvation, the promise of security, the guarantee for safety. HOW? We cannot give encouragement with our own words, but with the Words and promise of God.

Paul did not encourage them with his own word and thinking – but with the word / promise of God.

v. 23 “Last night, an angel of the Lord whose I am and whom I serve, said, …”

He said, “I have faith in God, so believe in God!” We can encourage them with the Word of God, and not our own power – so we must be filled with the Word of God.

Col 3:16 “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

#2 Paul warned them (Commander)

“I can warn unbelievers.” HOW?

Yes, we can, we have a right.

v. 27-32

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

Paul warned them in v. 31.

In this situation, some sailors tried to escape in lifeboats pretending they were lowering anchors. This was an act of selfishness (“Save yourself”), revolt, negligence of duty, unbelief (because Paul had already told them God’s promise – but they didn’t believe the word / promise of God and tried to save themselves by their own method).

“Unless you stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”

Today the situation is the same. We have the Word / promise of God. Do you believe the Word / promise of God? God promised “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.” This is the promise of God.

Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

“If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.”

This is very simple, very clear. But still today, around us, there are many who do not believe the Word / promise of God and try to save themselves by their own work / effort / power / religion. To them, we must warn, “Repent!”

The first message of John the Baptist and Jesus, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is near.”

Repent = turn from your ways.

We can warn them. Do you believe the Word / promise of God? Remember, when you warn unbelievers, do so with love. Warning without love just hardens their hearts more.

“Do everything in love. Anything done without love is nothing.”

#3 Paul showed a good example to them (Counselor)

You also are showing examples today – what kind of example are you showing?

v. 33-38

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

Paul did a kind of communion now.

They lost all things, their property, their business, almost their lives. Still they were fearful, disappointed, afraid, depressed.

From human perspective, they had NOTHING to give thanks to God for. They could not say, “Thank you, God” but Paul still took some food and prayed openly and gave thanks in public.

What a difference just ONE person can make who has faith and trust in God.

Remember, this gives a powerful impact to others. Giving thanks to God in public is powerful – it has a great impact on others.

“Give thanks to God under all circumstances. Pray continuously.”

If we are still breathing and really saved, then we have ENOUGH reason to give thanks to God regardless of our current situation.

“In everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God – and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus.”

Yes, in our daily lives, we pray in public. This is powerful. Do not be ashamed of this. It is a simple, easy job, but powerful.

#4: Climax: Paul Saved all of them (Savior)

v. 39-44

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

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

Hallelujah~ They breathed a sigh of relief.

They arrived on the island of Malta.

Finally, that ship was stuck to a sandbar. Can you imagine? The front of the ship was stuck on the bottom – and the back of the ship was broken into two pieces by the wind and waves. In this situation, the ONLY thing they could all do was jump into the sea and make for the land.

The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners because that was their job – if a prisoner ran away, the soldier could be killed for neglecting his duty. But the centurion rescued all the people just for the sake of Paul. – For the sake of Paul, all 276 people were saved.

In this game of the storm, God was the super head coach and Paul was the MVP (Most Valuable Person).

Yes, then, and also at another time in history, God saved the lives of ALL people through the life of ONE person. Joseph – in the famine in Egypt, now in the life of Paul.

You know, God still wants to save the lives of ALL people through the life of ONE person: Jesus.

Imagine when you go to heaven someday, guess how many people will rush to you and say, “I’m here safe, thanks to you!”

How many? God bless you.

I want to close my sermon with this question: Are you in a storm in your life today? Does it look like your ship is going down and down? If so, you need some anchors.

  1. God’s presence (God is there / here in your storm)
  2. God’s ownership (you are God’s possession and creation and child)
  3. Serving Christ by saving others (you have a mission, I have a mission)
  4. Faith / Trust in Christ (he died for you and me and rose again from the dead and is alive with us today)

We are very safe in him. We can stand safe and true and for real IN Him – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God bless us to be victorious in living life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • May 12 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)

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Acts 26:1-32 (Pastor Heo)

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

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

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

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

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

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Felix kept Paul in prison for 2 years – not because Paul was guilty, but because he wanted bribes from Paul and favor from the Jewish people. He was not courageous to release him.

Festus, the next governor, also did not release him – as a favor to the Jews.

  • He said, “Do you want to stand trial before me in Jerusalem?”
  • Paul, “No, I’ve done nothing wrong. I appeal to Caesar!”

He decided to send Paul to Rome, but needed an “official” reason and documentation to send him.

At this moment, King Agrippa and Bernice (his sister) visited. He was great grandson of Herod who was afraid of baby Jesus a long time ago. Festus explained the situation and Agrippa expressed interest in hearing Paul. So, once again, Paul stood on trial.

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa

In this chapter, this is the longest of Paul’s speeches found in the book of Acts. He had to stop his speech because governor Festus stopped him. If Festus had not interrupted him, he may have gone on speaking more.

This chp is much more than a defense of himself and a review of his own personal religious experience. It is a statement of the Christian experience, and it explains his experience of conversion on the way to Damascus. (repeated also in chp 9, 22, 26 – here).

Paul received permission to speak for himself, but he spoke for Christ. v 2-23 = Paul’s defense. v. 24 = Festus’ interruption

5 Part Summary

of Paul’s defense

  1. v. 2-3 = Introductory remarks
  2. v. 4-11 = His early life (who / what he was before Christ)
  3. v. 12-18 = His conversion and call by Christ (main body)
  4. v. 19-21 = His confession of obedience to the vision and ministry
  5. v. 22-23 = Key message of the gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection)

When Paul preached the key message of the gospel, Festus hindered him from going on.

1. Introductory remarks

v. 2-3

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

He hinted that his speech would be long and that he would appreciate patience.

2. His early life

(I also used to be anti-Christian.)

v. 4-11

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

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

3. His conversion & call

“I saw a light (from heaven)! I heard a voice (from heaven). Christ called me and spoke to me from heaven.”

v. 12-18

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

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

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

Once Paul considered himself an “enlightened” man. He was a Jew, Pharisee, doctor, scholar – with great enthusiasm for God. He thought he was in the light when he was totally in darkness. But he saw the light on the road to Damascus. What / who is this light? Jesus

  • Jesus: “I am the Light of the World…”
  • Also, the Bible says “God is light; in him there is no darkness.”
  • (Eph 5:8) “Once you were in darkness, now you are in the light of the Lord, so live in the light.”
  • Genesis 1 “In the beginning, there was God… and God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. He saw that it was good. And he separated the Light from the darkness.”
    • This light that God created first was not the sun and stars (he created that on the 4th day). This Light was Life – the energy of life – all coming from God, from Jesus Christ.
  • John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God… all things were made by him and through him… In him was Light, the light of Man. The light has shined in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

All kinds of light comes from God.

Paul saw the light, and heard a voice, “Paul!” (he heard his own name)

Paul was shocked.

  • He thought Jesus was dead! – but here he was alive!
  • He also knew Paul BY NAME

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and he knows your name and he is calling you (by name).

Jesus called Paul, then sent him again. (v. 17 “…I am sending you…”)

We must know that Jesus’ calling and sending go hand-in-hand.

  • Jesus calls us from this world toward SALVATION.
  • But at the same time, he is sending us for SERVICE.

Outside Christ, people are in darkness.

2 Cor 4:4 “Our enemy Satan has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the Light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

Jesus sends us to help them, to open their eyes.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation belonging to God – so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”

The same Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world” also says to us, “YOU are the light of the world.” What does this mean? Are we the same as Jesus?

No, we are the reflection of the real light in this world. Outsiders can find real light through us because we are the reflection of real light.

  • “I’m the light of the world.”
  • “I’m a reflection of the REAL light.”
  • “A city on a hill, a lamp on a stand… gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so that they may glorify God in heaven.”
v. 17-18 The Perfect Summary of what God has done for us

“17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

This is a perfect summary of what Jesus has done for you. If you believe, it will be yours, if you don’t believe, it will not. Jesus says, “It will be done to you as you believe.”

What Christ does for us

  1. He opens our eyes to things we’ve never seen before
  2. He turns us from darkness to Light (He himself is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”)
  3. Transforms us from the power of Satan to the power of God
  4. Gives us forgiveness of sins
  5. Sanctifies us

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the New has come.”

4. His confession to obedience of Christ’s calling

v. 19-21

“19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.”

I call Jesus my Lord.

Do you call him your Lord?

How can you prove it?

By obedience.

God does not make us obey him (like robots) – but he wants us to obey him willingly, joyfully, thankfully. God is a person, we are persons – so God wants a personal relationship. God created us as people with personalities – he also has a personality – so he wants a personal, intimate relationship. God bless us all to prove his lordship over our lives through obedience.

5. Key message of the gospel

This is the highlight of the defense

v. 22-23

“22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer [die] and, as the first to rise from the dead [resurrect], would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” “

He introduced Jesus as the first person to rise from the dead. But actually, Jesus was NOT the first person to rise from the dead. There were at least 5 more before him.

  1. OT – Elijah – one boy
  2. OT – Elisha – one boy
  3. Paul raised one
  4. Jesus raised a boy (Lazarus)
  5. and girl (Tabitha)

But all of them died again. Yet, Jesus STILL lives. He exists still in the same body. And some day he will come again – in the same body. Believe this now to enjoy abundant, eternal, heavenly life in Christ. If you wait, it may be too late.

At this point, the governor STOPPED Paul.

Shall I stop? Soon. But let us finish.

v. 24-25

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

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”

Yes, Jesus was once called insane. People pointed at him and said, “He is out of his mind and demon-possessed.”

What is the purpose of Jesus in this world? To destroy the works of the devil. Yet, they called him “demon-possessed.”

We are followers of Christ.

Have you ever been called “crazy” because of Jesus? “Jesus freak.”

What is your answer?

Don’t ask me, I’m asking you.

Today, it’s the same. Think about it honestly. Which is more important? Football or salvation? Climbing mountain or salvation? Your name in lights or in the Book of Life? Temporary physical pleasure or eternal joy? Temporary reputation and popularity or glory, reward crown from God in eternity?

Be honest in giving answers to these simple, basic questions.

IF you risk your life for football, or mountains, or pop songs, this world will respect you and honor you and call you, “hero” and “icon.”

But if you risk your life for Jesus, this world will call you “crazy.”

If this is true, I want to be called “crazy” in this world. I want to challenge you with this.

v. 26-32

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

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

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

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

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

At this last part, Paul became the judge, and the King became the defendant. He witnessed about the difference Jesus makes in someone’s life. Can you witness even in court like this? Yes, with Christ, you can.

Rather than complain about your present circumstances, look for ways to use EVERY circumstance to share God with others.

Unfortunately, all of them rejected the message of the gospel – Felix, Festus, Agrippa. “No thank you.” They all had excuses.

  • Felix: “I’m too busy.”
  • Festus: “I’m too smart.”
  • Agrippa: “I’m too important.”

Today, these excuses (and many more) are still common. What excuses do you use to avoid Jesus’ word, ministry, mission, evangelism?

On THAT day, when we stand before God face-to-face, you are without excuse.

Please, say to God, “Forgive me” but never say, “Excuse me.”

On THAT day, you have no excuse.

What a wonderful thing is the opportunity to trust Christ and be saved. But what a terrible thing is missing that opportunity and not getting another.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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