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  • Feb 10 / 2019
  • Comments Off on No Retiring from Ministry! (Acts 19:13-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

No Retiring from Ministry! (Acts 19:13-22)

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

Acts 19:13-22

Exorcism used to be a more common practice. Even in Korea, we once could see this happening on the street.

Some people tried to call on the name of a stronger demon to cast out a weaker demon. (Often this meant “more money”).

But when these people saw extraordinary miracles happening with Paul’s aprons and handkerchiefs, they thought “Wow, this Jesus must be the most powerful evil spirit!” So they started to use his name in their own exorcisms.

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

Acts 19:13

These people thought that they could use God’s power (Christ’s power) for bad practices. They realized they couldn’t use his name like a magic charm – they were calling on his name without knowing him personally.

Even today, we must be careful not to misuse this name. This is the most powerful, strongest, purest, holiest name.

One of the 10 Commandments says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” (Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain).

Jesus says, “Many will come to me and say, ‘Lord, did we not drive out demons, perform miracles, preach in your name?’ But I will tell them, ‘I never knew you! Away from me evil doers!'”

Yes, we may use his name, but we must not misuse his name.

Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

Acts 19:15-16

These men were overpowered and received a beating.

  • The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent.
  • Satan is NOT everywhere, all-knowing, all-powerful. But he KNOWS Jesus.

In the gospels (Luke 4:34), when a man encountered Jesus he cried out, “What do you want from me Jesus? Have you come to destroy me?” Yes, demons KNOW about Jesus, but they don’t KNOW him.

John 17:3 “This is eternal life: that they know God and him he sent.”

Knowing about Jesus is totally different from knowing him personally. This includes having a personal relationship, fellowship with him.

Do you know the US President? I know about him, but since he doesn’t know about me, then I can’t say I know him. Knowing Jesus saves us – not knowing about him.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

Acts 19:17

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:8-11

Please remember, God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names that all would bow and worship him.

18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

Acts 19:18-19

The lesson from this story is: we should do our best to avoid all kinds of evil.

1 Thes 5:22 “Avoid every kind of evil.”

  • sorcery
  • black magic
  • magic arts
  • fortune telling
  • idolatry

These are all Satanic, demonic, evil jobs. We must keep ourselves clean from these things. You know, making a clean break from sin can be costly. How much was the cost here? 50,000 drachmas – consisting of fortune telling scrolls and books. They burned them publicly.

NLT (New Living Translation) says, 50,000 drachmas = several million dollars. (Drachmas were silver coins at that time).

This means that a person CANNOT believe in Christ and hold onto the magic, demonic arts. It is too easy to become obsessed with these things. Satan is VERY powerful, but God’s power is even greater. That’s why we have hope.

1 John 4:4 “You, children of God, can overcome all these things because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in this world.”

Satan’s nickname is “god of this Age.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Remember that one of the main purposes of Jesus’ appearance in this world was to destroy the work of the devil.

  • save us
  • make us children of God
  • give us eternal life
  • destroy the works of the devil

1 John 1:8 “Whoever does what is sinful belongs to the devil for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The purpose of the Son of God in this world is to destroy the works of the devil.”

Yes, we know the Holy Spirit has many ministries, but the KEY ministry is to “testify about Christ.” To encourage us that we have eternal life. If we know this ministry, then we can also understand the ministry of demons. Also, they have many jobs, but their key job is to “prevent us from believing in Christ.”

2 Cor “Satan has blinded the eyes so they cannot see the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”

One of Jesus’ main purposes: remove sin + undo the work of Satan

His coming brought defeat to Satan (already). So, do not be afraid, for Satan is already a vanquished foe. He has lost his hold on his subjects. Someday (soon), he will be cast out into the lake of fire, and all things he has worked through sin will be undone.

If this is true, Jesus’ purpose is to remove sin, then we must also NOT compromise with sin in the purposes of the devil – or we will find ourselves fighting against Christ! Do you prefer to serve Christ or fight Christ? If you sin, you fight Christ. We should not fight him, but worship him.

20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Acts 19:20

This is another progress report in Ephesus. Events demonstrate that the gospel was spreading. Christ was building his church (“I will build my church,” he says, “On this rock [this confession of faith], I will build my church, and the power of hell cannot overcome it. I give you the keys to heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Did you know you were so powerful, holding these keys? So, we have a mission.

Paul’s final resolution

21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

Acts 19:21-22

Paul’s resolution: to visit Rome

Do you have also New Year’s resolutions?

Let us follow Paul’s resolution – he is a good example, a good martyr. His resolution: to go to Jerusalem, and then to Rome. Why?

  • Why go to Jerusalem?
  • Why go to Rome?

Jerusalem

It was very poor financially, materially. So, he wanted to take a collection through all the churches he planted in Macedonia – as a contribution to the Jerusalem church. The references to these collections are in his epistles: Corinthians, Romans

25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.

Romans 15:25-26

His first purpose for going to Jerusalem was to collect money for the church – he had two reasons:

  1. To emphasize the unity of the church, the ONE body of Christ
  2. Also to take them away from a single church focus and give them a vision of a universal church

You know, Antioch church is a complete unit, a church, but itself is also just a part of the universal body of Christ.

“Let us love not only in our words, but also in action and truth.”

Rome

This was his final mission place. Where is your Rome?

“I must visit Rome also.” He had a sense of divine conviction to go. Everywhere he looked, he could see the influence of Rome. So, he wanted to take the eternal truth of God to the “eternal city” of Rome – the center of influence at that time. How old was he at that time? Mid 50s (older than me). At that time, this was very old.

We know that Paul had already finished his two fruitful, but difficult missionary journeys. And now, he was at the end of the third missionary journey. But, he never thought of retiring from ministry.

When he wrote Romans, he wrote, “God, whom I serve with my whole heart, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers. I pray, now, at last, the door may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you to give you a spiritual gift to make you strong. I planned to come to you so many times. I’m a debtor to the gospel, to the Jews and Greeks, and all, that’s why I’m so eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome.” This is not the eagerness of a sightseer, but an evangelist.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of salvation for all who believe.”

Yes, after this, we also must go OUT into this world.

Jesus says, “As my Father sent me into this world, so I’m sending you out to the world.” (not into the church) – even twice he repeated this.

We cannot sit back. That is the example we have in Christ. Before man came to Christ, Christ came to man. This is the story throughout the Bible. Before we called him “Lord, Lord” he called us. Before we chose him, he chose us (even before the foundation of the world) to be holy and blameless in his sight – to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Christ.

Do you want to be happy? (Raise your hand)

Also I want to be happy. Our Lord Jesus says, “He who wants to save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.” What does this mean practically?

In our application – to be happy – do not live for happiness. That is the secret. I know this secret, so I am standing here.

  • If you want to be happy, do not live for happiness.
  • If you want to be happy, live for the mission given you from God, then you will be happy as a bonus.

If I want to be happy, do not live for happiness.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 03 / 2019
  • Comments Off on God Wants to Use what is in your Hands (Acts 19:6-12)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God Wants to Use what is in your Hands (Acts 19:6-12)

19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 19:6-12

When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he asked the 12 men he met, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” “No, we have received only John’s baptism.” Paul realized they needed the good news of salvation – so he told them about Jesus’ death, resurrection, saving power of the Holy Spirit in his name, and so they believed and were baptized. Then the Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke in tongues and preached the gospel message in other languages.

For by one Spirit we were baptized…

1 Cor 12:13

This event was a mini-Pentecost.

In Acts, this is the final event of tongue speaking recorded. So, in order to remember the work of the Holy Spirit, we must remember several things.

  1. The book of transitions
  2. The starting of the New Covenant age
  3. The new History book

So, about speaking in tongues, we must remember, these instances are erratic, not very often.

Yes, this is ONE of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but is NOT evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not evidence of the fullness of the Spirit.

“Do all speak in tongues?” No.

So, remember, the key point of the book of Acts = the Spread of the Gospel and its inclusiveness. The key verse is Acts 1:8:

When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

We must seek to share our faith through the power of the Holy Spirit in this way. Nowhere are we admonished to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit nor to speak in tongues, but we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s ministry lasted 3 years and was marked by the movement of the Holy Spirit. “The name of Christ was held in high honor through transformed lives…”

6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:6-8

Paul was asked to stay in Ephesus on his first missionary journey, but he declined their offer. Still, he promised to return later if God allowed. Now, he’s kept his promise by entering the same synagogue and speaking boldly about Christ for three months – until encountering opposition.

In Christian life, keeping your word is very important. This is not just for good intentions. One of the commonest promises we Christians make to each other is: “I’ll pray for you.”

I will….

I’ll pray for you.

This promise, from a Christian mouth is a VERY serious promise – with God as witness before you. So, whenever we make this promise, we must keep this promise at least more than one time. This is a promise we make not only before the other person, but also before God – because we pray TO God.

9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:9-10

This means that the whole province of Asia Minor was evangelized.

When the door of the synagogue was closed, God opened the Way much wider through the whole province of Asia.

At that time, synagogues were usually schools for Jews. But this lecture hall of Tyrannus was larger and more available for Gentiles.

Tyrannus may have been a Greek philosopher or just the owner of that building at that time. Such buildings were often used in the mornings to teach Greek philosophy, but they were often empty during the middle of the day – due to the heat (the hot part of the day).

In Ephesus, the work day ran:

  • From at 7am,
  • Break at 11am – 4pm.
  • Work again until 9:30pm

Paul worked all morning and evening at his secular job. But during the break period, he preached the gospel daily for two years. Can you calculate how many hours he preached the gospel? 10,000+ hours?

  • 5 hours * 2 years =
  • 3, 120 hours of lecturing =
  • 130 days of lecturing without stop at 24 hours per day

Paul kept a “killer” schedule. Why? Because at that time, religion was a “big business” in Ephesus. So, he WORKED hard to keep himself free from appearing that he was “in” this “business” for money.

You remember my toil and hardship, working night and day, to not be a burden to anyone while I preached the gospel of God to you.

1 Thess 2:9

10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:10

It was during this time of year that the churches mentioned in Revelation came into being.

  • Paul taught and preached,
  • admonished the believers,
  • went and evangelized house to house,
  • planted many churches,
  • directed a great missionary enterprise.

In today’s age of “meism” and selfishness, “hedonism” and self-pleasure, we need “tough” Christians like Paul.

We can learn three lessons we can apply to our own lives today.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 19:11-12

It was not Paul who did miracles, but God. They had a three-fold purpose:

  1. To demonstrate God’s power and authority
  2. To authenticate Paul as the spokesman for the true God
  3. To demonstrate God’s compassion, mercy, and grace to those in great need

From these miracles, we can find three lessons for our own Christian lives today.

3 Lessons

#1 God wants us to be holy

As our Father is holy, we must be holy. You know, at that time, aprons and handkerchiefs were dirty, sweatbands, used from making tents, they were not special.

But the ultimate purpose of Paul’s tentmaking was to preach the gospel more effectively. That’s why God blessed his secular job.

How about us?

God does not want us to do sometimes what is holy and sometimes what is not holy. He doesn’t want holiness only in the church, and unholiness out of the church. He wants holiness everywhere.

Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Cor 10:31

In your office, your hagwon, your school, are you doing a “holy” job or a “secular” job? At the time of Noah: “They were eating, drinking, giving in marriage” – but it was unholy, secular, because their motivation for doing so was only for their own physical pleasure.

Even though we are eating, drinking, making money – if we do this for his glory, it will be accepted as holy. Thus, this is our mission field given by God. He wants us to do what is holy all the time, not just sometimes.

#2 God wants to use what is in your hand

In serving and saving others, God wants to use what you’ve got in your hands.

  • God used what was in Moses’ hands to save Israel from Egypt.
  • He used the sling in David’s hand to kill the giant and save Israel.
  • He used the loaves and fishes in the boy’s hand to feed 5,000.
  • He used the clothes in Paul’s hand to save and heal others.

These things were merely symbols of dignity of heart, sincerity, humility, and God used them to release his power.

Yes, today, we may not be able to do these kinds of miracles, but we are able to give him our hands – and through our hands, he is able.

#3 Healing is still possible and available today

Physical, bodily, spiritual, mental, psychological healing, all are possible through Jehovah Rafar.

He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our sins. By his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

He himself bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his death, we have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

He took up our iniquities; he carried our diseases.

Matthew 8:17

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This kind of miracle is still available for those who have faith and trust in Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 27 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Whose Disciple are you? (Acts 19:1-7)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Whose Disciple are you? (Acts 19:1-7)

Whose Disciple are You? (Acts 19:1-7)

Paul at Ephesus

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Paul’s 3rd missionary journey took 4 years. We saw what happened before that last week. Apollos came to Ephesus and ministered there before Paul arrived. And when Paul arrived, he had already gone on to Corinth to continue the ministry.

1 Cor “I planted; Apollos watered; God made it grow.”

Review

Apollos was bold, sincere, but his message was incomplete because he knew only the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla heard his message and realized that it was incomplete. So, they invited him to their home and shared with him the complete message. Through this sharing, he became a “complete” Christian, and was able to move on in ministry.

Paul later met some people who had the same problem that Apollos had.

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.

Acts 19:1-3

These men were disciples, but the question was: whose disciples? Their answer to this question was vague and unclear, and so was their discipleship. They had not heard of the Holy Spirit, so they would have been unable to be Jesus’ disciples because the MAIN ministry of the HS is to testify about Jesus.

If they were disciples of John, they should have heard of the HS, because he also spoke of the HS in his preaching.

“I baptize you with water, but one is coming who is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with fire.”

We also must be very clear about whose disciples we are.

At that time, some people were confused about who Jesus and John the Baptist were – and what the difference was. Many called Jesus “John the Baptist” and many challenged John and said, “Who are you?” He said of himself, “I’m the voice of one calling in the desert, make straight the way for the Lord.”

Are you clear about whose disciple you are?

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:4-5

What is the difference between John’s baptism and the baptism into the name of Christ?

  • John’s: repentance
  • Jesus’: forgiveness of sin

The message of John was a threat and a warning. “You brood of vipers! Who warned you of the coming wrath? Do not think Abraham is your father, because God can create children from these roots. Any tree that is not good will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Jesus’ message was a consolation. “Peace I give to you. Do not be afraid. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in me.” (This means: I will be responsible for you, your life, your future. I will care for you and keep you.) Jesus is our KEEPER.

  • John’s: looked forward to the appearance of the Messiah. This was good until the Messiah appeared. He has come! And finished all jobs that are needed for our victory through his death and resurrection. Thus, he proclaimed:
    • “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He must increase; I must decrease.”

The preaching of John was a stage on the road to Jesus. He knew this clearly.

  • Jesus: looks back to Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

This means, yes, even today in the church building, there may be somebody who needs salvation. Here, there were 12 men in all who needed this.

Through verse 5, they became truly born-again Christians. There is no record of the “between” verses 4 and 5, but it is sure that Paul preached the good news of the gospel of Christ, the news of his death and resurrection, and they called on the name of the Lord and were saved and baptized into his name.

Today: if we call all people in the church “Christians” there may be 4 kinds.

4 kinds of Christians inside the church

  1. Nominal Christians: (not really Christians) – they don’t believe in their hearts in Jesus Christ. To them, Christianity is just “a” religion out of many and they say, “it is my religion.”
  2. Incomplete Christians: (at one time, Apollos also was one) – They have abundant knowledge about the Scriptures, smart, gentlemen. They believe Jesus died, they believe his death and resurrection is necessary for our salvation. BUT, in their heart of hearts they still believe, “But it’s not enough. I must do something I more to achieve my salvation.” How about you? Do you believe his death and resurrection ARE enough?
  3. Uncertain / ignorant Christians: They believe that Jesus is their Savior, but they are unsure about their salvation – unclear about what they believe. Sometimes they are doubtful about their salvation, often depending on their situation.
    1. When they feel “good” about their spiritual lives, they feel, “Yes, I am saved!”
    2. But when they feel “bad”, they feel, “I’m not sure of my salvation…”
  4. Assured Christians: (this must come from the Holy Spirit) – They believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. They believe his death and resurrection are not only necessary but also enough for our salvation and forgiveness of sins. They have absolute overjoyed assurance of salvation – based on WHAT Christ has done, not what we have done.

I’m a pastor, but I cannot give you the Assurance of Salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can do so: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Story

John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist church

At one time, he was like Apollos. He was a born Christian (“born into a Christian family”). He studied at Oxford and he was a leader of a “holy club” – called so because they attempted to cultivate their spiritual lives.

He became a pastor and missionary to Native Americans in Georgia. He was more accurate and knowledgeable in the Scriptures than most Christians at that time. But he had no joy. He had no assurance of salvation. One day he wrote in his diary:

I went to America to convert the Indians, but who shall convert me?

May 24, 1738

His problem was solved – at ONE time – by putting his faith in Christ wholly.

In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society … where one was reading Luther’s writing on Romans. About 8:45, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ; Christ alone. An assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from death.

The fruit of his absolute assurance of salvation was the great Wesleyan Revival that swept the nation of England very powerfully.

  • If you are Christian, are you saved?
  • What kind of Christian are you?

I hope we all can have the Assurance of Salvation.

Assurance of Salvation verses:

  • John 1:12 “To all those who believed in him and called on his name, he gave the right to be called ‘children of God.'”
    • How long does a child-parent relationship last? Our whole lives.
    • How long does salvation last? Eternity
    • soteria = “deliverance” (Greek) – moving from one place to another – a ONE WAY deliverance from death to life
  • John 5:24 “Whoever believes in me … has crossed over from death to life.”
    • Salvation is an absolute promise and guarantee of Christ. If we believe in him, we can trust in his promise.
  • John 10:28-29 “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish and no one can snatch you out of my hand.”
    • Our salvation does not depend on us holding his hand, but his holding our hand
    • His personality and character is so great to keep his promise. He guarantees us eternal life.
    • Salvation can also be like the HIGHEST Judicial verdict. God is the highest judge – higher than any human judge in history.
  • Romans 8:1~ “There is now no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • This is the highest declaration. Who shall bring any charge against those whom God has declared righteous? Who or what shall separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:28-39)

God bless all of us to be clear in our Assurance of Salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 20 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Point is: Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 18:22-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Point is: Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 18:22-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The point is: Jesus is the Christ!

Acts 18:22-28 (Pastor Heo)

22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the [Jerusalem] church and then went down to Antioch [his mother church].

— Second missionary journey END —

— This missionary journey START (18:23 – 21:16)—

23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. [tour of Galatia and Phrygia]

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. [move to Ephesus, Thessalonia, Macedonia, Troas, etc and back to Jerusalem] He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.


The point is: Jesus is the Christ. This is the conclusion.

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (18:23 – 21:16) ends at Jerusalem. He has no chance to go back to his home church (Antioch) because he will be arrested in Jerusalem and sent to Rome.

In the second part of his Second journey, he went to Ephesus and reasoned with the people. So, they asked him to stay with them a little more, but he hurried on to Jerusalem – to complete his Nazarite vow with his shaved hair in the Jerusalem temple. “But I will return if the Lord wills.” (Aquila and Priscilla remained there.)

In his Third Journey, he returned. It was a 4-year journey, and he spent 3 years in Ephesus. This is his main target of the third journey. “Be on your guard. Don’t forget that for three years I warned you with tears.”

Now, what happened in Ephesus BEFORE Paul arrived there?

v. 24

“24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.”

Still today, Alexandria exists in Egypt. This is the second largest city along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. At that time, it was the second largest in the Roman world – after Rome – and it boasted a huge university and library (with 700,000 books). At that time, this was the LARGEST library.

Also, at that time Athens and Alexandria were rivals – fighting each other for reputation of philosophy and education.

This city was named for Alexander the Great. From this city, Apollos came to Ephesus.

Who is Apollos?

A great scholar, learned man, thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, fervor, passion, zeal in the Spirit, a man of courage and boldness. He vigorously defended the Scriptures (energy, vitality, etc).

1 Cor 3 “Who is Apollos? Who am I? Only servants of Christ. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But only God made it grow.”

He had one weakness though.

v. 25

“25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”

At that time, Christianity was “The Way.”

This is one of the commonest titles for Christianity in the book of Acts. At that time, there was no name “Christianity.”

But this word shows us not only believing in certain things but also putting them into practice. Christianity is “The act of putting Christ’s words into practice.”

v. 28 “Jesus was the Christ” – the Anointed Messiah

Jesus says, “I am THE Way… therefore everyone who hears this word of mine and puts it into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…”

Apollos was a good man, a scholar, full of spiritual knowledge and passion, courage, stamina, energy. He was elegant, a talented speaker. But his one problem was:

  • He knew ONLY the baptism of John.
  • He did NOT know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He knew of Christ, very clearly and accurately. He knew the human and historic Christ. He knew of the task Jesus gave men to do. But he did NOT know of the Helping power Jesus gave them to do it. He did not know of the salvation of Jesus and the coming of the HS in power.

What is the MAIN ministry of the HS?

To witness / testify about Jesus Christ.

“Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, if you can say this, then you have already received the baptism of the HS.

The fact that he didn’t know this means that he didn’t yet know of Jesus’ Kingship, Lordship, Divinity fully, and the coming of the HS in power. He needed to know this one point.

v. 26

“26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God [Christianity = the doctrine of Christ] more adequately.”

We saw the story of this beautiful couple last Sunday.

Who were they?

A couple and business-couple (tentmakers).

Why were they here in Ephesus?

Paul first met them in Corinth. They were expelled from Rome at that time. Immediately they became partners (tentmakers + missionaries) – so they traveled together from Corinth to Ephesus.

Paul left Ephesus for Jerusalem – leaving them behind at Ephesus to carry on the ministry and prepare for his return.

This couple were steeped in the truth and the Word of God. They worked with Paul so long and so much, they heard his message so deeply, they knew his message well. And their eyes were focused on eternity – something more significant – PEOPLE over things, investing in the kingdom of God, their home was always open to others.

When they heard Apollos preaching, they found one deficiency: He did not know about the baptism of the HS and Jesus becoming the Messiah and eternal life.

But this couple did not correct him at once in a public place, but they invited him to their home (with delicious food) and explained to him about “The Way” more adequately.

Apollos’ message was accurate and sincere, but incomplete. But with the help of this couple, the message became complete – focusing on Christ – his Messiahship, Kingship, Lordship.

  • From this couple we can learn wisdom and hospitality.
  • From Apollos we can learn humility.

P&A were simple laymen workers. But Apollos was a professional scholar. P&A’s hospitality and Apollos’ humility worked together to open the door for more people’s salvation.

We should be humble. Humility is not a weakness; but power, courage, possibility for growth, a channel through which we receive God’s grace.

“God gives grace to the humble.”

If I’m humble, I can learn more from anyone, then I can grow, then I can be used by God more, then I can be more of a blessing, through this is gives greater glory to God.

Also, the Christian home is one of the BEST tools for spreading the gospel. Do others see and find Jesus through your home? God bless our home as a mission home.

v. 27

“27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.”

Achaia was a part of southern Greece – the capital city of this province was Corinth. Thus, Apollos went to Corinth. Believers at Ephesus encouraged and helped him by writing a letter to the believers there asking them to welcome him.

There, he was used as a greater tool for the salvation of many people. How is this possible? Because his message, his conclusion, finally focuses on JESUS as the Christ. (This is the point.)

Remember, the point of the message: Jesus is the Christ – can save and change others. Our own message and words cannot change others, but THIS message can.

v. 28

“28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures [Old Testament] that Jesus was the Christ. “

With his strong argument, he defeated the Jews in public debate – proving that Jesus was the anointed Messiah.

Yes, even today, we need to be “on fire” for God. Do you have “holy fire” for God?

How can we capture and maintain enthusiasm for God?

“The key is conviction.”

I have beliefs, we all have faith. But the problem is, when beliefs move from our heads down into our hearts. Also, when we are overpowered by truth and become a thing is TRUE and MATTERS, it gives us passion.

Yes, we must do the things that increase our passion for God:

  • Worship,
  • witness,
  • prayer,
  • testimony,
  • service,
  • ministry.

From a gospel perspective, there are only two kinds of human beings:

  1. The Lost – in need of being saved
  2. Christians – in need of encouragement, edification, and being equipped for more mission

I like this word: “enthusiasm.”

This English word came from Greek:

“en-thus-iasumos “

  • en = “in”
  • thus = “Theos” = “God”
  1. Enthusiasm = “inspired”
  2. Root of this word = “in God”

An enthusiastic person = inspiring because he is IN God.

Jesus asked one day, “Who do people say I am?” John the B, Elijah, one of the prophets?

Peter: “You are the Christ!”

Jesus was surprised and happy, satisfied. “You are blessed. This was revealed to you by heavenly revelation. On this rock [this faith], I will build my church and the gates of hell will never overcome it.”

Yes, knowledge of the Scriptures is necessary.

Passion / Enthusiasm in the Spirit…

  • Fluency in speech is necessary
  • Boldness
  • Accuracy
  • Logic

But remember, none of them, and all of them together cannot give us salvation.

Christ alone can.

  • “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved…”

The point is: Jesus is the Christ.

2,000 years ago, and today, and 2,000 years later, and until Jesus’ Second Coming, this truth is the same. This is a timeless truth.

Jesus is THE WAY, the Truth, the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by him.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 13 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Keep on Speaking (Acts 18:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Keep on Speaking (Acts 18:1-22)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/keep-on-speaking

Download Notes in a .MD file

Keep on Speaking!

Acts 18:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

In Corinth

1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”

14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law–settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he had them ejected from the court. 17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.

Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.


Corinth was 80km SW from Berea.

At that time, Corinth’s reputation for wickedness was well-known at that time. It was a center for trade, business, and travel. It was very notorious for its immorality.

  • “To Corinthianize” = “to practice sexual immorality”.
  • A prostitute was often referred to as “a Corinthian girl.”

This was not (seemingly) an ideal place to launch a ministry. But Paul saw it as both a great challenge AND opportunity.

In challenge, there is opportunity.

In opportunity, there is challenge.

v. 1-3

“1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”

By the providence / guidance of God, Paul met this couple. They were “tentmakers” – they made canopies and other leather goods. They had lived in Rome, but had been expelled by the Emperor Claudius – the (fourth) emperor of the Roman Empire. His successor was Nero (fifth).

At that time, all Jewish boys were expected to learn a hand-skill. Paul was a tentmaker as his secular job. Rabbis said, “A man who does not teach his man to work, teaches him to steal.”

So, from this story, self-supporting missionaries are still called “tentmaker missionaries” today.

This couple was a wonderful role-model for modern Christian couples who wanted to make an eternal difference in the world. Their names appear here 4 times, and Paul mentions them 3 times in his letters. 2 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Romans. “Aquila and Priscilla, my fellow workers in Christ.”

At least 4 timeless qualities enabled them to have the ability to minister with Paul.

4 Qualities of this Christian couple

1. Lives were steeped in the Word of God

They spent much time with Paul, heard him preach and teach many times, so they knew and understood the Scriptures very well.

2. They had spiritual eyes toward eternity

Even though tentmakers by trade, they were focused on something far more important and significant. They were investing in people, seeking to build Christ’s church.

3. They were always available

They were willing to go and move where needed, their house was always open.

4. They were radically committed to ministry with Paul.

They were very stable, very committed, and God worked powerfully through them.

How much does God work in your marriage? God bless your marriage.

v. 4-10

“4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” “

As usual, there was still opposition against Paul and his ministry. But we must remember that to walk by faith, this means “to see opportunities in the midst of opposition.”

  • Pessimist = opposition all the time
  • Optimist = opportunities all the time

Which are you?

  • Realist? = opportunities IN opposition

Even though Paul confronts many oppositions and abuses here, he did not close his eyes to these dangers and difficulties – but he did look at them from a divine, godly point of view. To “obey” means to follow and do the will of God regardless of our circumstances.

There is NO easy place in this world. If there is, there may be something wrong.

Timothy 3:12 “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in this world will be persecuted.”

What matters is NOT our circumstances but our ATTITUDE about our circumstances.

“Our attitudes should be the same as Christ Jesus.”


Story

There was a big shoe company. They sent workers to an undeveloped country to figure out a marketing strategy.

  • One man said, “Impossible! We cannot sell shoes because they are all barefoot!”
  • Another man, “Oh yeah! So exciting! We can sell MANY because all of them NEED shoes!”

This is the same in the Bible:

12 men of Israel when spying out Canaan experienced the same thing.

  • 10 said, “We are too few, and too small. We will die.”
  • 2 (Joshua and Caleb): “No! We can go forward and conquer them! Let’s go!”

What made them different?

  • The 10 saw only what is VISIBLE.
    • But the 2 saw what is INvisible in the visible.
  • 10 did not see the unseen God who was with them.
    • 2 saw the unseen God who was with them.

Yes, even today, with real faith in Christ, we must be able to SEE what is unseen. We must see the unseen God who is with us all the time. This is the vision.

Paul’s European mission started with a vision of the Man of Macedonia (chp 16). “Come to Macedonia and help us.” His vision ended with a vision of the Lord.

v. 9-10

“9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.””

In this vision, the first word God said to Paul was “Do not be afraid.” (The same word he spoke to Joshua in Canaan – the same word he speaks to US when we are in trouble.)

“Do not be afraid.” can calm the storms in our lives when everything looks chaotic.

  • To Abraham: “Do not be afraid. I’m your shield, your very great reward.”
  • To Isaac: “Do not be afraid. I’m with you.”
  • To Jacob: “Do not be afraid to go to Egypt. I’m with you and will make you into a great nation.”
  • Isaiah 10:41 “Do not be afraid. I’m with you and will uphold you and strengthen you with my mighty right hand.”
  • John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

Can you not hear his voice today calling to you as well?


“Do not be afraid.”

Why? “I am with you.”


Do you recognize that God is with you?

God is a spirit, within all things, out of all things, above all things, below all things, holy, presiding, supporting, sustaining, filling, he is here with us, over, under, inside us, but not confined – not shut in.

His name is “EMMANUEL” (God with us). He lives up to his name.


Story

One Sunday school teacher read to his class: Matthew 28:20 “I am with you to the very end of the age!”

  • He said, “What a wonderful promise! Isn’t it?”
  • One small student said, “Teacher? This is not a promise. It’s a fact…”

We can enjoy and feel this now and here.

So, as long as we remember and feel that God is with us – through his Holy Spirit, we can be sure that nothing can (ultimately) attack or harm us. (v. 10)

  • But we know that Paul experienced so many kinds of hardships and sufferings.
  • But God said, “No one can harm you.” Hmm. Contradictory? No.

From an eternal perspective, we are not living only 100 years on this earth. From ETERNITY, this is true.

Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes, no one can harm you.”

Remember, Jesus FIRST concern is on his witness and witnesses.

“All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me; therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.”

This means that WHEN we go and preach of him, HIS authority will be shown through us.

Jesus’ first concern is on his witness. This is logical.

Also, “Do not be silent. Keep on speaking. Because I have many people in this city.”

This sentence implies: the doctrine of divine election because God KNOWS who will be saved. He knows those who are his.

John 10:16 “I have other sheep.”

We are Jesus’ sheep; he is our shepherd.

Jesus says, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them to this sheep pen and they must listen to my voice. They shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

However,

God’s sovereignty in Divine Election does not negate Man’s responsibility. Actually, quite the opposite. We should remember that BECAUSE God has some set aside for himself, we must obey his commission.

  1. His job is to “save sinners.” That’s not OUR job.
  2. You know, if others’ salvation depended on OUR work, voices, skill, it would be hopeless.
  3. But because others’ salvation is dependent wholly on God, we can depend and trust him that when we preach the Word, (scatter seed), he will do the rest.

“God desires all men to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

“Here is a trustworthy saying, that Christ came to save sinners.”

God says, “I have many people in THIS city” today! (Jeonju)

I have MANY people to save, and to BE saved in THIS city (Jeonju).

So, we have more than enough reason to keep on preaching and not be silent.

v. 18-22

“18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea [seaport of Corinth] because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church [Jerusalem church] and then went down to Antioch [church].”

Paul completed his mission at Corinth and then before sailing to Ephesus, cut off his hair as a sign of a vow.

Would you do this? Cut your hair for a vow? We do not know this vow nor this reason, but it is a special dedication to God and a special expression to God for all the things he’d done through Paul’s missionary journey until now.

He then sailed for Ephesus (returning to Asia Minor – part of Turkey today). In Ephesus, the people asked Paul to stay more with them, but he said, “No, sorry, I must hurry on. But, if it is God’s will, I will return later.”

Why? According to Jewish Law, the Nazarite vow had to be completed AT Jerusalem with offerings of proper sacrifices. That’s why Paul was in a hurry to go to Jerusalem and complete his vow. Then, he went to his home church Antioch to report to his missionary team.

Still today, God is working through his workers. He says,

  • “Do not be afraid!
  • Keep on speaking!
  • Do not be silent!
  • I have many people (to save) in this city!”

That is the main reason to keep on speaking and not be silent.

God bless us all as his missionaries in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 06 / 2019
  • Comments Off on In 2019, let’s go to our Athens! (Acts 17:16-34)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

In 2019, let’s go to our Athens! (Acts 17:16-34)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/in-2019-lets-go-to-our-athens

Download Notes in a .MD file

In 2019, Let’s go to our Athens!

Acts 17:16-34 (Pastor Heo)

In Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 **’For in him we live and move and have our being.’** As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.


  • Hedonism : The chief end of man is pleasure.
  • Stoicism : Strong self-discipline, avoiding all kinds of self-indulgence and pleasure.

Athens was very proud of their philosophies and philosophers.

  • “Philea” = Love (agape, philia, …, eros) –
  • “Sophia” = Wisdom

So “philosophy” = “love of wisdom”

In the study of philosophy:

  • Who Am I?
  • Where am I from?
  • Where am I going?
  • How did this universe come to exist?

Yes, these questions are very important questions – if we are not clear about them, our lives will be frustrated without action – events without reason.

Only IN God and BY God can we get correct answers to these questions. Outside of God, human philosophy makes us more meaningless and frustrated. (It’s true, I studied it in college…)

The Athenians lived Romans 1:25:

“25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”

  • The Jews want miraculous signs;
  • Greeks seek philosophy and wisdom;
  • we preach Jesus Christ resurrected –
  • a stumbling block to the Jews and Greeks.

Based on this background, the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom; the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

v. 16

“16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”

At that time there were more gods than men in Athens. So, Paul was greatly distressed.

Like Paul, we must feel anger and hatred against Satan who is holding him/her, and at the same time compassion for their soul. We must also have open (spiritual) eyes like Paul.

v. 17

“17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.”

The Areopagus Sermon of Paul

  1. Opening: Jesus’ resurrection
  2. Closing: Jesus’ resurrection
  • Epicurean = believed everything happened by chance and death is the end, and God is far from the world – practically, they were materialists like today’s.
  • Stoics = everything that happened by the will of A god (pantheists = everything is god, god is everything) and must be accepted.

What is a babbler? Someone picking up trash – it’s a criticism about Paul – someone speaking something very strange and with unknown sounds. (because Paul was speaking of the resurrection).

To the Greeks, this was a fable; a myth; some silly story to give a moral lesson (like Aesop). So, they called Paul a babbler.

v. 19-23

“19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) [gossip] 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. *Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.* [wow]”

The Areopagus was just a hill – an open area, called “Mars Hill.”

These men sneered at Paul, but he was very wise and kind to them. We must learn from him about his outreach.

  • He didn’t say, “You SINNERS! You IDOLATERS!”
  • No, he said, “Wow, I see you are so religious!” (He gave them compliments and praise first)
  • He also saw the “Unknown God” and said, “You CAN know him!”
  • How? Because he is revealing himself through his Creation (also Romans 1).

Through this story (2,000 years ago), we can see that our world is another Athens.

“Our world is an(other) Athens.”

“In 2019, let’s go to our Athens!”

3 points about “our Athens”

#1 Athens is FULL of idols

Our world today is so full of idols (physical, spiritual) (idols “of the heart” Ezekiel)

Everybody has his/her own personal god. They think “this is my God” but really they often have another god.

Why? Man is not Creator, but created TO WORSHIP – so if you don’t have one, you will find one. Everybody has his own God:

  • Material
  • Money “You cannot serve both God and Money”
  • Family
  • Children
  • Popularity / reputation / YouTube fame
  • Health

Our world is FULL of idols. BE CLEAR about Who is your God in 2019. Who/what is the Driving Force in your life?

#2 They ALWAYS looked for “something new”

[Novelty seekers]

v. 19, 21

“19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “*May we know what this new teaching* is that you are presenting? … 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but *talking about and listening to the latest ideas*.) “

Are you addicted to your phone?

Facebook pull-down-to-refresh = always looking for something new – like a slot machine in a casino (it’s designed that way).

Everybody wants something new. But the Bible reminds us : “There is NOTHING NEW under the sun.” ONLY “in Christ there is a new Creation; the old is gone, the new has come.”

  • What is OLD in your life?
  • What is NEW in your life?

Remember, NEW is only possible IN CHRIST. Old is gone; New has come.

  • Old: Penalty, punishment, fear, worry, anxiety, has gone. Only in Christ – hatred, bitterness, all these evil things are gone.
  • New: Only in Christ – NEW has come: new hope, new vision, new mind, new start, new day. ONLY in Christ.

1 Cor 5:17? “If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation. The old has gone; the new has come.”

#3 All citizens spent all their time sitting and talking (gossiping) with each other

Sounds like social media…

Our world likes an EASY life, a comfortable, convenient life. Our world does not like a dangerous, difficult, dirty, sacrificial job.

Remember, we are saved by faith in Christ PLUS nothing. Because Christ has done ALL things for our salvation.

We are SAVED TO SERVE others

The church is the body of Christ; it needs DOERS not talkers, it needs WORKERS not sitters, it needs HELPERS not on-lookers.

Christ shed his _blood_ to save us.

If this is true, we must shed our _sweat_ to serve others.

SHOW the evidence of your salvation with your hands, your feet, your sweat, your blood. If Christ has shed his blood for me, I should be READY to shed my blood for him.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are FEW.”

v. 24-31

“24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. **28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’** As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” “

How wonderful [how powerful] a sermon.

  • v. 18 = Jesus’ resurrection (opening)
  • v. 31 = Jesus’ resurrection (closing)

“God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice…” (The Areopagus was a court of justice, so they were very familiar with this concept) “…by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

By Paul’s sermon, God is:

  • Creator
  • Sustainer
  • Provider
  • Savior
  • Judge

We must be clear on WHO God is:

We do not believe atheism (no gods), nor pantheism (many gods), we believe monotheism (ONE God). We believe in ONE and only God – but remember, it is not enough to say “I am a monotheist. That God is my God.” This is not enough to reach salvation.

Even today,

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses also say this.
  • Mormons also say this.
  • Muslims say it;
  • Jews say it.

So, what is the BIGGEST difference between them and us?

The FUNDAMENTAL difference: We are the ones who say “JESUS is my God.”

Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ, but when he saw the resurrected Christ, he knelt immediately and confessed, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said, “You believe because you see; but more blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.”

One day we will stand before Christ to be judged and he will ask to each of us only TWO questions (remember them):

  1. What did you do with me on earth?
  2. What did you do with what I gave you on earth?

Your Time, Treasure, Talents: what did you do with it?

  1. answer = WHERE we will spend eternity
  2. answer = HOW we will spend eternity

May God bless all of us with his final reward and praise: “Well done, my good and faithful servant; you have been faithful with a few things in this world, now I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness.”

v. 32-34

“32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council [Areopagus]. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. “

At this sermon of Paul, there were THREE reactions:

  1. Sneering
  2. Delay
  3. Accepting

Today, these same three reactions are possible to our own witness about the resurrection of Christ. Do not be surprised.

At our witness of Christ, some may sneer; others will say, “later”; others will accept and believe and kneel down and confess Christ as Savior and Lord.

Please remember, even today, God is happy to save those who believe in Christ through our witness: the story of the death and resurrection of Christ; which sounds FOOLISH to those who are perishing.

God gave us a NEW opportunity in 2019.

“Let’s go to our Athens!” (x5)

God bless you; your shouting; your mouth; your feet; your hands; your life.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 30 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Let’s Turn the World Upside Down! (Acts 16:31-17:15)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Let’s Turn the World Upside Down! (Acts 16:31-17:15)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Let’s Turn the World Upside Down!

Acts 16:31-17:15 (Pastor Heo)

16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

[Ministry in Philippi is complete – they move on to Thessalonica next.]

17:1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, ” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. 5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

[Now on to the next mission field, Berea.]

10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. 13 When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.


Proverbs 16:9: “A man plans his steps, but God determines the way…”

Philippi

Paul planned his path, but God led him to Macedonia. In his first mission field, his first convert was a woman named Lydia and she opened her house to the missionaries as a mission base.

They were then thrown in prison for casting a demon out of a slave girl who made her masters lots of money. In prison, they did not complain, but rather worshiped God with prayer and songs. Why? 4 reasons:

  1. God was with them
    • With God there is freedom
    • With God, there is light
  2. God is in control of all things
  3. They believed Jesus would reward them
  4. They believed the END would be fine

Yes, in Christian life, we believe there is no “end” because we have everlasting life – but at the END of the long road, everything would be fine.

“If I live, I live to the Lord; if I die, I die to the Lord. Whether I live or die, I do it for the Lord.”

At that time, God shook the foundations of the prison and opened the doors, and shook off the shackles. The jailer ran in and became their prisoner: “What must I do to be saved?” (This is the cry of all lost people in this world. He realized his need – he was lost. He realized his greatest need was salvation – this is the greatest need of all people on earth.)

  • To this, Paul answered: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your whole household.”
  • Yes, we know “if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. It is with your heart you are justified and by your mouth you confess and are saved.”
  • “Salvation is the gift of God; by faith alone through grace alone – so that no one can boast.”

In this time, the jailer trusted in Christ + nothing and received his salvation.

One minute earlier, they had a jailer / prisoner relationship, but now they sat down together for breakfast – brothers in Christ, children of God together.

At that moment, the authorities sent a message to release them.

v. 32-40

“32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.”

Paul and Silas could have just left. But Paul said, “No! We are Roman citizens! Let them come and escort us out!” i.e. He didn’t reveal this information when he was being beaten and thrown in prison, but only afterward.

Like this, Jesus was fully divine, but did not use his divinity for his own benefit (as Paul also did not in this case). Paul likewise didn’t use his birth and Roman citizenship for his own privilege, but rather for the new Christians.

If he had left quietly, it would have been under a cloud of doubt: “Who were those men? Maybe they did something wrong…”

Rather, Paul wanted to leave behind the strong witness of his own integrity as a good witness for the baby Christians in Philippi. They went to Lydia’s house.

Can you imagine what must have happened there? Imagine the JOY as Paul and Silas recounted the events of the previous night. There was undoubtedly tears and laughter. Maybe they sang a few prison songs again and reenacted the earthquake. Whatever the agenda, it culminated in praise and worship again.

Also imagine the church in Philippi: Lydia and her household, maybe ex-slave girl, Philippian jailer and household, some ex-prisoners, etc. Rich, poor, slave, free, male, female – all are united in Christ Jesus. What a gospel!

Paul confessed: “I’m not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for all who believe.”

What is the gospel?

  • A gospel that cannot save a dying man is no gospel.
  • A gospel that requires MORE than faith in Christ is no gospel.
  • Salvation comes through ONLY faith in Christ + nothing.
  • This is the story of the good news of Jesus Christ, the gospel.

But, we must remember that Jesus requires of us – ALL we are and have.

— Then they left —

Thessalonica

v. 1-3

“1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, ” he said.”

Key verse = v. 6

” 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,”

Paul and Silas were accused of:

TURNING THE WHOLE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!

In a sense the Christians were ones who were Turning the World upside down.

“I will turn the world upside down.”

In Paul’s day, Turkey was called: “Asia Minor” and Macedonia was probably over in that area.

  1. After he saw the vision of Macedonia, the first place he went was Philippi (in Greece).
  2. Next, he went to Thessalonica (farther east in Greece). 100 miles southwest of Philippi – he wrote two epistles. Thessalonica today is the second largest city in Greece.
  3. After this, he went to Berea – about 45 miles southwest from Thessalonica.
  4. Next (next Sunday), they went to Athens – the largest city in Greece (capital) and on the far southern end of the peninsula.
  5. Next, he went to Corinth (west of Athens).

Philippi > Thessalonica > Berea > Athens > Corinth

At that time, there were no country divisions. God said, “Go to Macedonia” and so he went. At that time, all of Greece was inside the province of Macedonia. (There is still a small country north of Greece called Macedonia). And at that time, Turkey was called “Asia Minor.”

Greece is the “cradle of Western civilization” – the birthplace of Western drama, literature, democracy, math, science, the Olympics, and so on. You know, the first mission field was in Greece 2,000 years ago…

Paul wrote two letters to the Thessalonians from there.

His practice was to go to the synagogue first. In Philippi, there was no synagogue, but in Thessalonica there was one, so he went on three consecutive Sabbath days.

Synagogues could be established wherever there were at least 10 Jewish males – and each had its own “hadongja” (leader) – and they were decide who would speak and give the sermon (it was customary to invite visiting rabbis – so this was Paul’s opportunity to share the gospel at the synagogue.) But usually, whenever he spoke the name “Jesus Christ”, the door was slammed to him and he was cast out.

But here is Paul, 3 Sabbaths in Thessalonica to preach about Jesus. We must remember, there is no greater word to be spoken than that of Christ – new life in Christ, forgiveness of sins.

When you have the opportunity to speak of Christ, SPEAK! Because the story of Christ is the Greatest word of encouragement.

To Paul’s preaching, some believed and were saved, but others opposed and persecuted him – but God continued to use the opposition and persecution to spread the good news of Christ.

There was an uproar in Thessalonica that forced them to travel to Berea (small town). In Berea, Paul and Silas met a very teachable Gentile audience, but bad (hostile) Jews came to Berea from Thessalonica to attack Paul’s work again. They succeeded only in getting Paul and Silas to Athens – the great capital city of Greece.

Paul and Silas were accused of turning the world upside down.

v. 6

“6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men **who have caused trouble all over the world** have now come here,”

KJV = “who have turned the world upside down

The doors of the prison were thrown open, people began to love each other deeply and serve and worship God.

This means the gospel is about TRANSFORMING lives. Let us ask God how he can transform our own lives and boundaries.

Even today (especially today), our world NEEDS to be “turned upside down.”

In a sense, Christ came into this world TO turn it upside down.

Yes, Christ was kind, and meek, and gentle, but he also came to turn this world upside down. Christ came to give us eternal, abundant life, salvation, peace. Jesus came here to give us peace. Do you have peace? He is the PRINCE of Peace. He is OUR Peace. He has made the two into One, and has torn down all barriers.

“My peace I leave with you; do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Matt 10:34 “Do not suppose I have come to bring peace. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

There is no question, Jesus is OUR peace, but he turns the WORLD upside down.

He has come to make the world right – to destroy the building of false peace in order to make real heavenly, lasting peace.

When God spoke in the Bible, he used human language.

When God spoke through Jesus Christ, he assumed human flesh, not that of an angel. i.e. in order to reveal himself to us, he emptied himself, humbled himself.

This is the essence of evangelism today. There is an essential emptying, humbling in any witness today. “Your attitude must be the same as Christ Jesus.”

Like Christ, we must be humble, and kind in our evangelism – we must be generous. We must not be culture-proud, nor culture-blind. We are not culture-Christianity peddlers. We must respect others lives, art, culture, habits, patterns. BUT at the same time, remember this key: “Jesus came to turn the world upside down.”

“Jesus challenges EVERY culture.”

Whenever we preach the gospel to non-Christians (Buddhists, Jews, Atheists, etc), Christ confronts them with his demands – “remove whatever has taken your allegiance and loyalty and replace it with me.” Christ is the Lord of every human culture and every human. This confrontation cannot be escaped, it is necessary.

But at the same time, our gospel invitation is the greatest invitation, blessing, encouragement for salvation.

And yet, at the same time, our gospel message is also the greatest challenge in this world because our message “Believe in Christ, receive him as your Lord” means “Change your God; change your Master; change your life; change your life view; change your values; change your pattern.”

This is the message of the gospel and this is why it is the greatest challenge to this world.

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

Jesus is the Lord of every person, every culture, every thing in this world. So, the gospel is the greatest blessing and encouragement, and also greatest threat and confrontation in this world.

Let us go on to “turn the world upside down” in the name of Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 23 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What’s your reaction to Jesus’ Coming? (Matthew 2:1-11)
Christmas, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What’s your reaction to Jesus’ Coming? (Matthew 2:1-11)

Download Notes in a .MD file

What’s your reaction to Jesus’ Coming?

Matthew 2:1-11 (Pastor Heo)

The Visit of the Magi

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ “

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were **overjoyed**. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.


Merry Christmas!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, yes, but I also want to ask you a question: to whom can Christmas become really Christmas? Is Christmas really a merry Christmas to you?

We know the spelling of “Christmas” = “Christ” + “mass”

  1. “Christ” = Greek christos (The Anointed One, the Promised Messiah, the offices of King, Prophet, Priest)
  2. “Mass” = Latin? mas or mista? (this means “worship”)
  • So, “Christmas” = “worship Christ”
  • “Merry Christmas” = “worship Christ merrily”

So, when you greet others, please let them know the REAL meaning of Christmas. Please, bless your neighbor with “Merry Christmas” from your deep heart.

Based on this story, not only at THAT time, but even today, there are 3 reactions of man toward Jesus’ coming.

When hearing these, consider: which is mine?

# 3 Reactions to Jesus’ Coming

1. Reaction of Herod

Hatred / anger / fear

He was a temporary king, and was so afraid of a “real” king that he gave orders to kill ALL the baby boys in that area under 2 years old. He was afraid that this little baby would interfere with his power, position, influence, etc. So, he wanted to kill the baby Jesus.

Even today, there are those who want to (spiritually) kill Jesus – even in their attitudes – because they wish to do whatever they like / want to do. But Jesus will not allow them to.

The man who only wants to do whatever he wants has no use for Jesus Christ.

The coming of Christ is the greatest challenge in this world.

Imagine if I say: “Change your job / hobby / health / hairstyle / weight / etc” – this may be a big challenge and he will be angry at me.

But Jesus’ coming can be the GREATEST challenge and attack to his life. This means: “Change your Lord / Savior / Master / life purpose / priorities / etc”

Please remember, the Christian in the one who has STOPPED doing only what he likes and has committed himself to doing what CHRIST likes and wants.

This is the true identity of a Christian in front of Christ.

2. Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law

Indifference / apathy

At that time, they were so engrossed in their own temple actions and rituals that they completely disregarded Jesus Christ. Jesus meant NOTHING to them.

This is a strange story.

The chief priests were the MOST religious leaders, so their FIRST concern should be God. But when God became man, they missed it.

The teachers of the Law were doctors and masters and professors in the matter of Scripture. The theme of the Scriptures is the Messiah to come – but when the Messiah himself CAME, they did not recognize it. How sad!

Imagine:

  • they spend their WHOLE lives studying Scripture and
  • the WHOLE topic of Scripture is Jesus Christ,
  • but they MISSED Christ.

This is also possible today:

Someone spends his WHOLE life and activity attending church, but he missed Christ.

Thus, a Christian’s FIRST concern must be Christ. Please, do not forget: A Christian’s FIRST concern must be Christ.

A believer’s first purpose, first interest should be Jesus Christ.

3. Reaction of the Magi

(wise men from the East)

Adoring worship = the purpose of the journey of the Magi

God bless you to be wise men.

  • Say, “I’m wise…”
  • Tell your neighbor, “You look so wise!”

Jesus says in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7) “Anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. When the rains come and the winds blow, the house remains standing because it is built on the rock – with a firm foundation…”

Adoring worship = the purpose of the journey of the Magi

Yes, our life in this world is a journey. On coming to the house (3 or more? because there are 3 kinds of gifts), they saw Mary and Jesus (maybe Joseph as well) – but they worshiped Jesus ONLY.

Joseph and Mary are NOT the objects of our worship. Worship belongs to God alone – this means that we recognize that Jesus is God – the very nature God.

When we recognize the love of God IN Jesus Christ, we also should be lost in wonder and praise.

  • They came to worship Christ as their best gifts.
  • We must know that for our worship to be true worship, we must give Jesus our best gifts as well.

Gifts of the Magi

They knelt down and worshiped him with their BEST gifts. These are very symbolic gifts: characteristic of his ministry and person:

1. Gold = for a KING

Jesus was born to be King of the world

Whether he or she knows it or not, EVERYONE has their own king.

Jesus is to rule over our whole hearts and lives – he is our personal king. Before we can be best friends with Jesus Christ, we must submit to him. When we say, “Jesus is my King” it means we are totally ready to give our complete submission to him and to kneel down before him.

What is the gold you will give Jesus today?

2. Incense (frankincense) = for PRIESTS

This perfume was used in the temple.

We know the main job of the priest was to open the way for God to man. “Pontifax” = bridge builder = between God and man.

Because of sin, there is a big gap between God and man. This is what Jesus did. Jesus opened the way to God for us. But he did not say, “I made the way to God for you.” But rather he said, “I AM the way.”

“No one comes to the Father except by me.” He is:

  • Wonderful Counselor,
  • Mighty God,
  • Everlasting Father,
  • Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

3. Myrrh = to embalm the one who was to die (PROPHECY)

Jesus came into the world to live for us and then to die for us. He came to give his best for us, and his death for us.

He gave us his BEST gift, so it is only natural (our privilege) to also give OUR best gift to him. Isn’t that just logical?

Jesus: “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for all people.”

Remember, since the creation of the heavens and earth, Jesus is the ONLY person whose ancestry, birth time, place, manner, reception, rejection, suffering, persecution, crucifixion, resurrection was ALL prophesied – even hundreds of years before he was born.

This means that Jesus is the CENTER of the world’s desire, the keystone, the foundation, the cornerstone of ALL prophecy from the creation of the world.

So, the WISEST man is the one who gives his BEST to Jesus.

There is hope.

The WISEST gives Jesus his BEST.

To give to Jesus is the BEST investment, the best insurance, the best savings, the best deposit in eternity and for eternity.

How and for what do you spend your

  • Time,
  • Treasures, and
  • Talents?

Merry Christmas! (Really?)

Yes, I wish a Merry Christmas to all of us until we stand before Christ as Lord and God.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”


Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “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. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.

 

  • Dec 09 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)

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The story of the first Christian in Europe

Acts 16:11-15 (Pastor Heo)

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.


15:36-18:32 = Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

The original plan was to revisit the churches he’d previously established already in Asian Minor. But the area of his journey was unexpectedly widened.

First part: revisited Derbe, Lystra, Iconium – and tried to preach in neighboring areas. But he was prevented from preaching the gospel by the HS. So, he tried to go near the Black Sea, but he wasn’t allowed. God closed the door twice. So, he went to Troas – the west end of Asia Minor. Here, God opened the door through a vision.

Yes, God closes some doors and opens others. Even today, all our steps and all our stops should be led and guided by God.

In this story, God closed the familiar, easy, known doors, but opened the difficult, impossible, farther doors. We can see 4 wonderful openings in this chapter.

  1. Opened the doors for Europe mission
  2. Opened the heart of Lydia
  3. Opened the doors of the prison (earthquake) – next Sunday
  4. Opened the doors of the Philippian jailors – next Sunday

Practical lesson:

  • Some doors we want to be opened may be closed (job seeking, children’s education, dreams, ambitions, family, etc).
  • But what is important is that though some doors are closed DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED – because God can open unexpected doors.
  • Never give up expecting the unexpected guidance of God.

Chp 16 highlights 3 individuals who became believers by Paul’s ministry in Macedonia:

  1. Lydia – business woman
  2. Demon-possessed girl
  3. Philippian jailor

Even today, the gospel reaches old and young, rich and poor, male and female, because it is unchangeable and immutable. “The gospel is the POWER of God for everyone who believes.”

v. 11-12

“11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. “

We know Troas was the place where Paul saw the vision of the man of Macedonia. In response to this, Paul and his team immediately boarded the ship and sailed across the Aegean Sea. They traveled 10 miles inland to Philippi from there. This is a significant location for European mission.

The city name = named after Philip II of Macedon – the father of Alexander the Great. This city became a Roman colony in 42 BC. This place is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe. It was Paul’s first mission in Europe as well. He wrote a letter called: “Philippians” to this church – it is very tender, showing his relationship with this first church he planted.

Remember: Philippi is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe and the first mission of Paul in Europe.

v. 13

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. “

Are you also looking for a “place of prayer” in your life?

Remember, Paul always went to the synagogue first in a new city. This is where the truth-seekers went – the Jews and the Gentiles who liked the Jewish traditions.

Actually, there was no synagogue in Philippi – there were very few Jews. In Jewish traditions, at least 10 Jewish men needed to be present for their to be a synagogue. In this situation, the Jewish people would often go outside the city near the riverbank or seaside for prayer. That’s why Paul went out there – also to pray for guidance in his ministry and to find the people who were praying.

Paul knew personally that God had called him there – but he still needed to pray.

  • Yes, when we do NOT know God’s will, we must pray. We know this.
  • But, when we DO know God’s will, we ALSO must pray.

Someone said, “We don’t need to pray because ‘God knows your needs before you ask.'” But actually the OPPOSITE is true. If we believe this, then we absolutely MUST pray! Because God will meet our need through our prayer. It is not enough to know WHAT and WHERE God wants us to work, but we must also learn WHEN and HOW he wants us to work.

In this place, Paul’s first contact was with a group of women (even though he’d seen a man in his vision). He presented the gospel to these women.

God led Paul to a Roman colony and a Christian flag was “unfurled” in Rome that day. This area became the beginning of the mission.

v. 14

“14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

One woman responded to his message – a woman from Thyatira (referenced in Revelation later) named Lydia.

This woman Lydia, like Cornelius, was very religious and sincere – a worshiper of God – a woman of high character, but not yet saved (so she needed salvation). She needed Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else.” (this is a basic pillar of Christianity).

We need to notice that God opened her heart to respond to the message of the gospel. God opened her heart. This woman listened earnestly, positively, attentively, to the Word of God. It is the Word of God that brings the hearer to Christ (Rom 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing”)

  • Phil 2:12 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”
  • Jesus: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and obeys them … has crossed over from death to life.”

Paul’s witness of Christ and Lydia’s attentive listening was opened and orchestrated by God. God is opening and closing the doors.

  • Proverbs 13:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his footsteps.”
  • “Trust in God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength; in all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

v. 15

“15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. “

As Lydia placed her trust in Christ, she experienced the joy of all her sins being forgiven, and her joy overflowed into her whole household – and they were all saved and baptized together. This is “household salvation”. In Acts, there are at least 4 instances of this occurring.

  1. Chp 10: Cornelius and family
  2. Chp 16: Lydia and family
  3. Chp 16: Jailor and family (next week)
  4. Chp 18: Crispus and family

They were all converted together and baptized together (not necessary for salvation). Baptism is an OUTWARD sign of an INWARD reality – that you now belong to Christ.

She then invited the missionaries to use her house as their home base while in Philippi.

The fruit of her conversion: hospitality

Actually, this is so important: the ministry of hospitality.

  • Romans 12:13 “Share with those who are in need, practice hospitality.”
  • 1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Hospitality is related to “hospital” and “hospice.” We practice this when we generously and cordially throw open the doors of our house to care for, strengthen, edify, build up others.

The result? Others find emotional, mental, physical help – they leave us as healthier, happier, more whole people than when they came to us.

Is this your hospitality? Is this your practice?

Our house should be a hospital and hospice.

We are saved by grace alone through faith alone (plus nothing). But remember, salvation has POWER and generates FRUIT.

  • “Salvation has POWER”
  • “Salvation is new Life”
  • “Salvation is new Creation”

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation. Behold! The Old has gone, the New has come!”

So, if we are TRULY saved, then we will be changed, and there will be transformation in our lives as evidence of this change.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 02 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Are you hearing the cry of the Lost? (Acts 15:36-16:10)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Are you hearing the cry of the Lost? (Acts 15:36-16:10)

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Are you hearing the cry of the Lost?

Acts 15:36-16:10 (Pastor Heo)

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16:1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.


Antioch was not a parking lot for Paul, but a Launching Point. In Jerusalem, after his first missionary journey, there was a council that discussed whether a Gentile believer should be circumcised or not to be “saved.” Paul and Barnabas were there. After the conference, they returned to their home church at Antioch with wonderful news:

  • Gentiles are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.
  • Gentiles do not need circumcision nor any other Jewish traditions to be saved.

But they were asked to restrain themselves from 4 things:

  1. sexual immorality
  2. food sacrificed to idols
  3. meat of strangled animals
  4. blood

This was for the purpose of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

They were joyous about this and Paul suggested they revisit the same churches they had previously visited to deliver this wonderful news.

v. 36

“36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.””

Yes, Paul and Barnabas agreed on the importance of the next trip, but disagreed upon the selection of their team.

v. 37-41

“37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. “

Barnabas wanted to take John Mark (cousin or nephew) but Paul disagreed because he had left them in the middle of their first missionary journey (at Perga, Pamphylia).

They were both good, devoted Christians, but they were unable to solve their disagreement.

  • Paul focused on: God’s work – what can a man do for God’s work?
  • Barnabas focused on: God’s man – what can God’s work do for a man?

Yes, both of these are very important, but sometimes it is difficult to keep these things balanced.

[parak susmos] – parachism? (violent attack, conversion, eruption, explosion) 발작 (지랄)

Who was right? Who was wrong? BOTH were right in some things, BOTH were wrong in other things.

At this moment, they agreed to disagree.

We know their long-term personal relationship and story.

Long ago, when Paul first believed, the other Christians didn’t trust him, but Barnabas did and brought him with him to Tarsus to work together. They shared all things, victories, joys, abundant fruit, hardship, suffering.

They were soul brothers.

They may never have dreamed of being separated except by physical death, but now, they separated and each formed his own missionary team.

  • Barnabas + John Mark -> to Cyrus
  • Paul + Silas -> another place

The positive thing:

  1. Through man’s disagreement and failure, God made DOUBLE the missionary work.
  2. The purposes of God cannot be delayed or failed through man’s disagreements.
  3. If one man fails, another is put there in his place.

Even today, the BEST Christians do not always agreed. Even sometimes intensely disagree.

But what is important, is finally, our disagreements and differences should be forgiven, forgotten, reconciled someday.

These three, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark, sometime later, forgave each other. This is the nature of a true Christian.

But from now, in the book of Acts, it focuses on Paul and his companions and their missionary journey.

v. 1-3

“16:1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”

Paul went through Syria and Silicia, then Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium – the reverse of his first journey. These last three are where he was persecuted at the second half of his journey. In Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead, and now, this is the third time he journeys here – and risks his life – to encourage the believers there. He found Timothy there – possibly an eye-witness to Paul’s stoning, deeply affected by it.

  • Timothy’s mother (Eunice) was a good Christian, as he was. And his grandmother (Lois) was also a good Christian.
  • Timothy is the FIRST third-generation Christian mentioned in the NT. The faithfulness of his mother and grandmother prevailed, so we can see a beautiful lesson here: we need to treat our children – in our homes, in our care, as a “future Timothy.” So that’s why in some churches, Sunday school is called “Timothy school.”

Paul wanted him to join this ministry, but there was a problem: Timothy’s mother was a Jew, and his father was a Greek. At that time, if this kind of international marriage occurred, the family considered the two of them “as good as dead.” This kind of marriage was not accepted. So, Timothy was “technically” an illegitimate child. So, Paul circumcised him – NOT as a matter of salvation – but as a matter of effectiveness in ministry. This would remove the biggest barrier in his ministry.

Also, we must go beyond minimum requirements in order to help our audience receive our testimony. What personal sacrifices would you be willing to make for the sake of the gospel?

So, now Timothy is added to the group with Paul and Silas.

v. 4-5

“4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. “

Remember, one of the new items on this missionary journey agenda was to share the message of the Jerusalem council: “You don’t need to adapt the Jewish lifestyle to be saved. You are saved by grace alone, through faith alone.” But a problem happened.

v. 6

“6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. “

There was a problem. For a time, all doors seemed closed to Paul. He wanted to preach the gospel, but God closed all the doors. Why? This seems very strange that Paul is prevented from preaching the gospel in Asia – by the Holy Spirit. WHY?

Phrygia and Galatia were part of much of Turkey. This “Asia” was what is now called “Asia Minor” (also Turkey).

Because he was blocked by the HS here, next he tried to go to another place: Mysia.

v. 7

“7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”

Bithynia is very near the Black Sea today.

Because he was hindered in this area, he moved to another place, and another place. But the Holy Spirit again did not allow them to go there. The HS had shut the door now multiple times. Paul must have wondered: “Which geographic direction should I take?”

We don’t know how he was instructed to go to Asia, but God called them to Macedonia. Even today, it is very difficult to know the will of God for you. To know the will of God is the BEST knowledge we can get in this world. HOW can we know the will of God? This doesn’t mean we must hear an audible voice because God leads in various ways. We must be sure of these things:

  1. Your plan is in harmony with the Word of God
  2. Get help from mature Christians
  3. Check your motivation, hidden motives (“Am I seeking what Iwant or what God wants)
  4. Pray that God will open and close the doors as he desires
  5. The BASIC direction = the Bible

Basically, fundamentally, the Bible, the Word of God shows the will of God to us. It is very important for us to learn what God wants us to do and not do; where God wants us to go and not go. So, we need to pray to God in all our steps and all our stops.

“All your steps; all your stops.”

In this moment, Paul was not just sitting around waiting for a light or a voice. Before he began this work, he was plowing until God told him to stop – he was hindered here, and hindered there. Then he tried to go to another place (Troas) – and there God opened the door.

The next few verses are a very important turning point in Christian history.

v. 8-10

“8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. “

This passage is called “Paul’s Macedonian Vision at Troas.” This means: “go as far as Europe.”

Where is Macedonia today? Greece (the northern part).

Paul planned to go east in Asia, but God led him west to Europe. This means that Europe was crying for help – the people needed the gospel of Christ.

In church history, through Paul’s second missionary journey, the churches were planted and cultivated in Europe:

Phillip, Thesalonica, etc

Alexander had moved from west to east to conquer the world with everything Greek. Now, Paul is moving from east to west to conquer the world for Christ.

This is the first step of Christian missionaries into Europe.

Now, see here that the Trinity God is at work:

  1. The HS prevented them
  2. The Spirit of Jesus didn’t allow them
  3. God called them

The three-in-One called them.

This is a great turning point in church history.

v. 10 shows the first appearance of “we” in the book of Acts – this is a major turning point.

v. 10

“10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. “

This is the FIRST appearance of “us” here – this means the author (Luke) joined the missionary team here.

The team consisted now of 4 men:

  1. Paul
  2. Silas
  3. Timothy
  4. Luke

And they set out for Europe. They got ready “at once” – as soon as Paul saw the vision.

Paul saw a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and calling:

“Come over to us! Help us!”

The four men prepared immediately to head out.

How about you? Are you ready NOW, immediately, to do the vision God has for you?

All members of this missionary team agreed that God was calling them to Europe. Usually, nothing makes a person so strong as hearing a voice crying out, “Help me! Help us!”

Perhaps you’re walking along the road, so exhausted, ready for bed, but you hear a voice: “Help me! Someone is dying!” If you hear this voice, you will forget your tiredness in order to become strong to help others (actually, people have been able to lift CARS off of people in this kind of situation).

If you hear this miserable, desperate cry of the lost, you will go immediately as well. In this world, so many souls are crying out, “Help me!” If your spiritual ears are open, you will hear. God bless us all to hear this desperate cry.

If you can hear this cry, you are blessed in God’s plan of world evangelization.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ [Amos 9:11-12] 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain (1) from food sacrificed to idols, (2) from blood, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. 30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them [34 but Silas decided to remain there]. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.


This, chp 15 is the first church council / conference in history. This is “The Jerusalem Council”. Main locations are Jerusalem and Antioch (300 miles / 500 km between them). This council happens between Paul’s 1st and 2nd Missionary Journeys.

  • Chp 13, 14 = Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey
  • Chp 16, 17, 18 = Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey

There is only one agenda here: is circumcision essential for Gentile salvation? No. This may seem very clear to us today, but at that time, it was very divisive and debated.

The question was: Should Gentiles be circumcised first to be saved?

In many cities, during Paul’s Missionary Journey, many Gentiles turned to the Lord and became believers. Also many Gentile churches were planted there, and this news spread rapidly even to Jerusalem.

Some Jewish believers were happy, but others were not – they also doubted the salvation of the Gentiles and their sincerity.

To Jews, at that time, circumcision signified them as God’s covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back – he would be a Jew forever. Of all the traditions of the Jews, at that time, circumcision was the MOST IMPORTANT to distinguish them from their pagan neighbors.

When the Gentiles began to believe, Paul and Barnabas were preaching the simple message, “Just believe in Christ and be saved.” But the Judaizers were afraid that soon the Gentiles would outnumber the Jews and that the Gentile believers would lower the moral standard of the Jews – if they didn’t strictly follow the Jewish laws.

So, elders came down from Antioch and strongly argued that the Gentiles must become circumcised (must become Jewish) first before being saved.

Consider this situation:

  • A Korean says to a non-Korean, “You must become Korean before you can become a Christian.”
  • Or a black man to a white man, “You must become black before you can become a Christian.”

This is silly.

We should say to EVERYONE, “Believe in Christ Jesus and be saved!” Short and simple.

So, Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to make this clear.

v. 1-2

“1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

As delegates, Paul and Barnabas and others, went to Jerusalem to have this big meeting with the other elders there. At first, in this meeting, Paul and Barnabas gave their first missionary report (just as they did at Antioch church). If Antioch church is the mother church in that Paul and Barnabas are foreign ministers sent by the church, then the Jerusalem church is the “grandmother church.” Jerusalem was the mother church of Antioch church.

After their mission report, strong Judaizers stood up and argued strongly, “No! Gentiles must be circumcised first!”

v. 5

“5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” “

They had much discussion, and the head of the conference, Peter stood up and spoke. He made it very clear that Gentile salvation is only “by faith in Christ through grace” (“plus nothing”). The decision of this council is:

“Salvation is the grace of God through faith in Christ PLUS nothing

Peter also made it clear that God had purified Gentiles as a result of his ministry experience (Cornelius in chp 10) – this happened about 10 years earlier. Peter shared his own ministry experience with Cornelius to the assembly. Then, Paul and Barnabas also shared their experiences in their First Missionary journey – the signs, miracles, and wonders that are evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles.

v. 12

“12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. “

  • First speaker: Peter
  • Second speaker: Paul and Barnabas
    • They shared their ministry experiences and supported each other.
  • Final speaker: James

After listening to his argument, this conference reached its conclusion with their final decision.

v. 13-21

“13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: [Amos 9:11-12] 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain (1) from food polluted by idols, (2) from sexual immorality, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.””

This James is the brother of Jesus and the writer of the epistle James, as well as one of the head leaders of the Jerusalem church. He was well-respected and well-known for his holiness and devotion to the Law. He was called “Camel Knees” (because he prayed so much) 낙타 무릎

His point is: God’s promise given to David – to keep his kingdom – was not earthly/politically, but by the Messiah who would renew the spiritual kingdom and rule forever. This was evidenced by the resurrection of Christ and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. So, the salvation of Gentiles by the grace of God through faith alone, does not contradict the Old Testament scriptures.

  • Peter, Paul, and Barnabas used: missionary experience to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • James used: the Word of God (Amos) to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone

The four of them had the same argument. The difference =

  • Paul, Peter, Barnabas used the experience;
  • James used the Word of God.

Thus, we can witness that the final test of truth is the Word of God.

Yes, ministry experience and our own beliefs are important. But the final test of truth must be the Word of God. This is the only absolute proof and absolute standard. Thus, what is important is what the Word of God says. The more we read, meditate, etc, the better able we will be able to determine what is correct in times of doctrinal debate.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

  1. Idolatry (free FROM it, not TO it)
  2. Sexual immorality
  3. Meat of strangled animals
  4. Blood

Do you eat blood? No problem, this is not a matter of salvation.

In fellowship, eating together is a big part of fellowship. Without eating together, having fellowship is almost impossible.

Lev 17:11, 12 “The life of a creature is in the blood. Do not eat blood.”

Do you know strangling an animal would keep the blood in the circulatory system and not drained away. This would cause the blood to be eaten with the meat.

If we kill by strangling, it is difficult to remove blood from the meat. So at that time, Jews never ate blood. But doing this was very common to Gentiles. So, by eating blood, it would be almost impossible to have fellowship between Jews and Gentiles.

At that time, they often shared common meals like our potluck. This is not a matter of salvation, but a matter of nutrition, unity, fellowship, etc. We want unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Even today, we must learn the art of “loving compromise.”

Yes, no question, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But IF we are, there must be evidence of change – by rejecting the old lifestyle – because “salvation has power” and “salvation is NEW life.”

2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation…”

They reached this final agreement and wrote a letter – the decision of this council – to send to Antioch church to encourage and strengthen them.


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


Antioch sent two delegates: Paul & Barnabas to Jerusalem with this debate. Jerusalem sent two delegates back: Judas (Jew) & Silas (Gentile) with this news

v. 34

“34 but Silas decided to remain there” (some manuscripts have this, some don’t) NIV: no KJV: yes

Later, this Silas will accompany Paul in his Second Missionary journey in the place of Barnabas who visited different cities with John Mark.

Next Sunday, we will begin the study of this Second Missionary journey.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

Yes, we say this today, but practically, there are many challenges and temptations to add small things.

  • Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – this not of yourselves, it is the work of God – so that no one can boast.”
  • Romans “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation in Christ, for the law of Christ sets me free from the law of sin and death…”

Remember, the death of Christ is the price paid for our redemption and salvation and freedom.

In ancient markets, slaves were bought for a price. Redemption speaks of the purchase of our salvation – as the price for our sin. The emphasis is on our “freedom” which we receive by the price paid by Christ.

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

  • Essentials: Unity
  • Non-essentials: Diversity
  • All things: Charity and freedom
  1. “In essentials: unity;” (Eph 4 – “One God, one faith, one baptism, one hope”)
  2. “In non-essentials: diversity and variety;”
  3. “In all things: Charity and liberty.”

“God bless you with unity, variety, charity, and liberty.”

Let’s pray.

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