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  • Dec 27 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Circumcision: The Identity of God’s People (Genesis 17:9-10)
Pastor Kang, Sermons, Who is God?

Circumcision: The Identity of God’s People (Genesis 17:9-10)

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< Circumcision: the identity of God’s people >

9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Genesis 17:9-10

0. Do you know your identity? 

Laurell K. Hamilton, an American fantasy and romance writer said.

“The only true happiness lies in knowing who you are … and making peace with it”

Many people think that happiness is outside, but as this writer said, true happiness is knowing yourself on the inside, specifically, it is knowing your true identity.

  • A chef once said.
    • “I’m a cook.” “I give people joy by cooking.”
  • A singer said.
    • “I’m a pop star.” “I impress people with songs.”

Because these people know their identity well, they know where their happiness lies.

But Do you know your true identity?

Who are you, deep down, at the very core of your being?

What is your life’s purpose?

1. Circumcision = Obedience

Today’s keyword is circumcision

Circumcision has a very important meaning to the identity of God’s people.

Genesis 17:1-2

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

First, circumcision means obedience.

Abram, who was older at this time, has not yet had a single heir born to him.

But God has promised Abram that he would give him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, or the sand on the seashore.

In the absence of external changes, God continues to pay attention to Abram’s faith.

At this time, God demanded the circumcision of Abram as proof of his faith in God’s promise. And at this time, Abram did not ask God for any guarantee of his promise.

He simply obeyed.

Circumcision means obedience.

The obedient person becomes a person of God.

2. Circumcision shows God’s sovereignty

Genesis 17:3-4

3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

The promise made between God and his people was entirely up to God’s will.

God wanted his people to be distinguished, or at apart, from other peoples on earth through circumcision.

Genesis 17:10; 14

10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

The Covenant of God demanded duty from Abram and his descendants.

This demand was imperative, without compromise.

In other words, circumcision shows God’s full sovereignty.

3. Circumcision is a privilege of the people of God

 As we have seen, circumcision shows both God’s sovereignty and the obedience of his people. But often times, when we think about circumcision, we may have negative opinions of it.

  • ‘why is circumcision is imperative?’ or
  • ‘Circumcision is a dreadful and burdensome thing’

But, in fact, when the practice was begun by Abram through the command of God, not everyone could be circumcised. This is because circumcision was a unique privilege of the people of God.

Genesis 17:17-19

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” 19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

Abraham couldn’t believe God’s amazing promise, the huge covenant that would change the world.

So he put forward Ishmael as a more realistic alternative.

But God overcame Abraham’s distrust through his sovereignty.

In fact, man’s distrust of God can never prevent him from fulfilling his promise.

This is the privilege of the people that God has chosen.

Even if the faith of God’s people is weakened or becomes changed, God himself remains faithful always to lead them to the path of salvation.

And at that time, a representative act that demonstrated God’s people responding to his grace was a circumcision ceremony.

For other people, circumcision was an act of unknown meaning, but circumcision was a proud and sacred ceremony for the Israelites who knew God.

This act was a unique privilege of God’s chosen people, and a response to his grace.

The person chosen by God must obey God’s command in response to his grace because obedience itself is the privilege of his people.

4. Circumcision represents The identity of God’s people

Genesis 17:26-27

26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day. 27 And every male in Abraham`s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

circumcision represents the identity of God’s people

Remember the questions we asked about identity in the first part of this message?

Do you know your true identity?

Who are you, deep down, at the very core of your being?

What is your life’s purpose?

What God wants most of all is for us to be identified as his people.

Through the priority of circumcision, we can see how important it is to have the identity of the people of God.

Let me give you some details about this regarding cases where the circumcision ceremony overlapped with the Israeli calendar.

What if a circumcision fell on the same day as the Sabbath?

Even if it was on a Sabbath, the circumcision was enforced and called out, even though by the Law of Moses, no work should be performed on that day.

The meaning of Sabbath is for the rest and recovery of one’s life and remembering that God is the one who gives rest.

However, circumcision is an act of marking a person and identifying them as set apart for God, so it takes precedence over Sabbath Day regulations.

What about Yom Kippur, which is more strictly celebrated than the Sabbath?

Yom Kippur is the biggest Jewish holiday, meaning the atonement day. On this day,

All the Jews fast and repent to God of their sins in order to practice forgiveness and reconciliation.

And even if a circumcision was to be performed on Yom Kippur, it would be carried out because this act outwardly identifies a person’s body as a child of God, and this engraving of the new identity onto their person takes precedence over the ceremonial practices of Yom Kippur. 

5. Circumcision is a foreshadowing of Baptism

circumcision was a mark of the covenant between God and his people, identifying them as his own with an inscription on their bodies.

The mark of circumcision declared, “I am your God and you are my people!”

This was almost like a certificate of God’s people in the Old Testament, clearly identifying them and seeing them apart from other nations. In other words, it was a little like a resident registration card.

But what is the true meaning behind circumcision? 

John 3:5-6

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Jesus, the perfection of the covenant of circumcision, told Nicodemus that he would only enter heaven if he was born again with the Holy Spirit.

In the Exodus, Israeli descendants who escaped from Egypt circumcised their bodies, but only Joshua and Caleb, who gave a favorable report of the land God was sending them into, were able to enter the land of Canaan, while all other leaders died in the wilderness. Circumcision alone was not what saved them and allowed them to enter God’s promised land, for all the Israelites were physically circumcised. Rather, it was their trust in God alone, to fulfill his promises and be forever true to his word that caused God to favor Joshua and Caleb above the others. 

In the same way for us today, it is not a circumcision of the body that will save us, but a circumcision of our hearts and minds. Just as the Israelites demonstrated that they were set apart from the other nations by performing an outward sign on their bodies, so we too can demonstrate that we also are children of God with the outward sign of baptism.

1 Peter 3:21

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Baptism is an outward sign of an inner reality. It indicates that our hearts have been circumcised by God, and our lives fully changed, that we have been reborn by the Spirit of God, and have received a new identity as the children of God.

Baptism is an outward confession that Jesus Christ is my savior, and a declaration that he is Lord of my life. 

And to practice that confession, we have to live a life that follows Jesus every day, through reading the Bible and prayer.

This is the true meaning of circumcision, which identifies us as the people of God.

Circumcision alone did not save the Israelites in the wilderness and baptism alone does not save us from sin and death – only Jesus does that. But both practices have been used to identify God’s people as his chosen people. And once you know and embrace your true identity in Christ as a child of God, you will experience a deeper happiness and satisfaction than anything else in life can give. 

(because that isn’t just you making peace with your identity, it’s God making peace with you.)


< 할례, 하나님의 백성의 정체성 >

9 하나님이 또 아브라함에게 이르시되 그런즉 너는 내 언약을 지키고 네 후손도 대대로 지키라 10 너희 중 남자는 다 할례를 받으라 이것이 나와 너희와 너희 후손 사이에 지킬 내 언약이니라

창세기 17:9-10

0. 당신의 정체성을 알고 있습니까?

 미국의 판타지 및 로맨스 작가인 로렐 해밀턴은 말했습니다.

“유일한 행복은 무엇일까? 그것은 자신을 아는 것이지. 그리고 그것으로 평화를 만들어 가는 것이지.”

Laurell K. Hamilton, an American fantasy and romance writer said.

“The only true happiness lies in knowing who you are … and making peace with it”

 많은 사람들은 행복이 외부에 있다고 생각하지만, 이 작가가 말했듯이 행복은 자신을 아는 것입니다. 좀 더 자세하게 말하면 그것은 자신의 정체성을 아는 것입니다.

한 요리사가 말했습니다. “나는 요리하는 사람이야” “나는 요리로 사람들에게 기쁨을 주지”

한 가수가 말했습니다. “나는 노래하는 사람이야” “나는 노래로 사람들에게 감동을 주지”

이 사람들은 자신의 정체성을 잘 알고 있기 때문에, 그들은 행복이 무엇인지 알고 있었습니다.

당신의 당신의 정체성을 알고 있습니까?

당신은 누구입니까? 당신은 목적은 무엇입니까?

1. 할례 : 순종

 오늘의 핵심 단어는 “할례” 입니다. 

“할례”는 하나님의 백성이라는 정체성에서 아주 중요한 의미를 가지고 있습니다.

창 17:1-2

1 아브람이 구십구 세 때에 여호와께서 아브람에게 나타나서 그에게 이르시되 나는 전능한 하나님이라 너는 내 앞에서 행하여 완전하라 2 내가 내 언약을 나와 너 사이에 두어 너를 크게 번성하게 하리라 하시니

첫 번째 할례의 의미는 “순종”입니다.

나이가 많이 든 아브람은 아직 그에게 단 한 사람의 상속자도 없었습니다.

그러나 하나님은 아브람에게 반복해서 많은 후손을 주시겠다고 약속하셨습니다.

외부적인 환경의 변화가 없는 상황에서 하나님은 아브람의 믿음을 주목하고 계셨습니다.

하나님은 이 약속의 증거로 삼기 위해 아브람에게 할례를 요구하셨습니다.

아브람은 하나님께 이 약속에 대한 어떤 보증도 요구하지 않았습니다.

그는 그저 하나님께 순종하였습니다.

할례의 의미는 순종입니다. 

순종하는 사람이 하나님의 백성이 되는 것입니다.

2. 할례 : 하나님의 주권

창 17:3-4

3 아브람이 엎드렸더니 하나님이 또 그에게 말씀하여 이르시되 4 보라 내 언약이 너와 함께 있으니 너는 여러 민족의 아버지가 될지라

하나님과 그의 백성들 사이에 맺어진 약속은 전적으로 하나님의 선택에 달려있었습니다.

하나님은 할례를 통해 하나님의 백성이 다른 민족들과 구별되기를 원하셨습니다.

창 17:10; 14

10 너희 중 남자는 다 할례를 받으라 이것이 나와 너희와 너희 후손 사이에 지킬 내 언약이니라

14 할례를 받지 아니한 남자 곧 그 포피를 베지 아니한 자는 백성 중에서 끊어지리니 그가 내 언약을 배반하였음이니라

하나님의 언약은 아브람과 그의 자손에게 의무를 요구하였습니다.

이 요구는 타협이 없는 강압적인 것이었습니다.

다시 말해, 할례는 하나님의 주권을 의미합니다.

3. 할례 : 하나님 백성의 특권

 앞서 살펴보았듯이 할례는 “하나님의 주권”과 “순종”을 의미합니다.

이로 인해 우리는 할례에 대해 부정적인 것이라 생각 할 수도 있습니다.

  • ‘할례는 너무 강압적이다.’
  • ‘할례는 두렵고 부담스러운 것이다’

하지만 누구나 “할례”를 받을 수는 없습니다.

할례는 하나님 백성의 특권이기 때문입니다.

창 17:17-19

17 아브라함이 엎드려 웃으며 마음속으로 이르되 백 세 된 사람이 어찌 자식을 낳을까 사라는 구십 세니 어찌 출산하리요 하고 18 아브라함이 이에 하나님께 아뢰되 이스마엘이나 하나님 앞에 살기를 원하나이다 19 하나님이 이르시되 아니라 네 아내 사라가 네게 아들을 낳으리니 너는 그 이름을 이삭이라 하라 내가 그와 내 언약을 세우리니 그의 후손에게 영원한 언약이 되리라

아브라함은 이 엄청난 약속을 믿을 수 없었습니다.

그래서 그는 좀더 현실적인 대안으로 이스마엘을 내세웠습니다.

하지만 하나님은 그분의 주권을 통해 아브라함의 불신앙도 극복하셨습니다.

하나님이 약속을 이루시는 것을 사람의 불신앙이 막지 못한다는 것입니다.

이것은 하나님께서 선택하신 백성에 대한 특권입니다.

하나님 백성의 믿음이 약해지거나 심지어 변한다고 하더라도 하나님께서는 그들을 구원의 길로 인도하시는 것입니다.

이러한 하나님의 은혜에 대한 응답의 대표적인 행위가 할례 예식입니다.

다른 민족들에게 할례 예식은 의미를 알 수 없는 행위였지만, 하나님을 아는 이스라엘 백성들에게 할례는 자랑스럽고 성스러운 의식이었습니다. 

할례는 하나님께 선택 받은 민족의 특권이었기 때문입니다.

하나님께 선택 받은 사람은 하나님의 은혜에 응답하여 하나님의 명령에 순종해야 합니다.

그 순종이 하나님 백성의 특권이기 때문입니다.

4. 할례 : 하나님 백성의 정체성

창 17:26-27

26 그 날에 아브라함과 그 아들 이스마엘이 할례를 받았고 27 그 집의 모든 남자 곧 집에서 태어난 자와 돈으로 이방 사람에게서 사온 자가 다 그와 함께 할례를 받았더라

할례는 하나님 백성의 정체성을 나타냅니다.

우리는 앞서 정체성에 대한 질문을 나누었습니다.

당신의 정체성을 알고 있습니까?

당신은 누구입니까? 당신은 목적은 무엇입니까?

하나님이 우리에게 가장 원하시는 것은 우리가 하나님의 사람으로 정체성을 가지는 것입니다.

우리는 “할례 의식”의 중요성을 통해 하나님 백성으로서 정체성을 갖는 것이 얼마나 중요한 것인 것 알 수 있습니다.

“할례 의식”이 이스라엘 절기와 겹칠 경우가 있습니다.

만약 “할례 의식”이 “안식일”과 같은 날이라면 어떻게 해야 할까요?

비록 그날이 안식일이라고 할지라도 할례를 시행합니다.

안식일의 의미는 “생명의 회복”이며 안식을 주시는 분이 하나님이라는 것을 기억하는 것입니다.

그러나 할례 의식은 스스로 하나님의 사람이라는 정체성을 새기는 행위 임으로 안식일 규정보다 우선하게 되는 것입니다.

안식일보다 더 엄격하게 지켜지는 “대속죄일”은 어떨까요?

대속죄일은 ‘속죄의 날’이라는 뜻으로 유대교 최대의 명절입니다. 

모든 유대인들은 이날 금식하며 하나님께 죄를 회개하여 용서와 화해를 실천합니다.

비록 그날이 대속죄일이라고 할지라도 할례를 시행합니다.

이것은 할례가 하나님의 자녀라는 정체성을 몸에 새기는 행위이기 때문입니다.

5. 할례의 진정한 의미 : 세례

할례는 하나님의 백성이 되었다는 언약의 표시로 이스라엘 백성의 몸에 새겨진 흔적이었습니다. 할례는 “나는 네 하나님이 되고 너는 내 백성이라!”는 표시(mark)였습니다. 이것은 구약 시대에 하나님의 백성이라는 증명서, 즉 주민등록증과 같은 것이었습니다.

할례의 진정한 의미는 무엇일가요?

요 3:5-6

5 예수께서 대답하시되 진실로 진실로 네게 이르노니 사람이 물과 성령으로 나지 아니하면 하나님의 나라에 들어갈 수 없느니라 6 육으로 난 것은 육이요 영으로 난 것은 영이니

할례의 실상인 예수님은 니고데모에게 육체의 할례로는 천국에 들어가지 못하고 영이 물(말씀)과 성령으로 거듭나야 천국에 들어간다고 말씀하셨습니다.

출애굽한 이스라엘 자손이 육체의 할례를 다 행하였으나 가나안땅에 들어간 자는 오직 여호수아와 갈렙뿐이었고 나머지는 다 멸망하였습니다. 마찬가지로 천국은 마음의 할례를 해야 가는 것이지 육체의 할례로는 갈수 없습니다.

벧전 3:21

21 물은 예수 그리스도께서 부활하심으로 말미암아 이제 너희를 구원하는 표니 곧 세례라 이는 육체의 더러운 것을 제하여 버림이 아니요 하나님을 향한 선한 양심의 간구니라

세례는 마음의 할례를 드러내는 의식입니다.

세례는 예수 그리스도를 나의 구원자로 믿는 믿음을 고백하는 것입니다.

그리고 그 고백에 따라 성경을 통해 계속해서 거듭난 삶을 살아가는 것입니다.

이것이 하나님 백성으로 정체성을 나타내는 할례의 진정한 의미입니다.

  • Sep 15 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Grow up in Christ!

Hebrews 6:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.


Why do we like babies? We like to see them grow. I also love to see these children in our service grow up.

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

We are God’s children, so he loves to see us grow. If we do not grow, he is unhappy. This is sad because he is our Father.

Where there is life, there is growth.

To go to HS, we must leave elementary school. To go to college, we must leave HS. But, we do not leave what we learned in elementary school even though we move on. In elementary school, we learn the fundamentals, foundational knowledge of reading, writing, speaking, math. In HS, we can learn more difficult subjects, and read heavier books. In university, we use fundamental mathematics in our classes.

“Elementary” means “fundamental” or “foundational”.

In these 3 verses of Hebrews, there are 6 elementary teachings of Christian doctrine. This is the foundation on which we must stand, so we must be sure, unshakeable in this elementary foundation. But we must not stop here, we should continue on, continue learning. So we should practice these 6 foundational doctrines in our lives, but we must also continue on and on to build our higher progress.

We must practice these daily and on and on:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

v. 1-3

“1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”

Christian life begins with salvation – conversion, justification, regeneration, union with Christ, adoption, all take place at the same time, but logically, there is an order.

Logically, the first we experience is conversion. There are two elements: repentance and faith. So, the first elementary teachings about Christ are these two.

1 Repentance

The first is repentance.

Without repentance, there is no start to the Christian life. That’s why the first preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus was the same, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Luke 15:7 “There will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent.”

This is the fundamental of fundamentals.

Essentially, repentance = a change of heart, but it has 3 elements:

  1. Intellectual
  2. Emotional
  3. Volitional
  • Repentance = change of viewpoint with regard to sin, Christ, and yourself.
  • Sin = anything against the will of God. The biggest sin = not to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord.
  • Jesus = the Savior and Lord of the world and God who became man to die on the cross for our sin and save the world through his blood shed on the cross.
  • Self = now I recognize that I’m a sinner – powerless, helpless, I need forgiveness, I need a Savior.

But we must know that true repentance cannot exist apart from faith – for we cannot turn AWAY from sin without at the same time turning TOWARD God in faith.

Also, true faith never exists without repentance. These two are inseparably bound together.

  • Emotional: sorrow for sin, desire for forgiveness = evidence of repentance.
  • Volitional: change of will, purpose, disposition. This is the inward turning from sin. Surrender for forgiveness – to seek cleansing. This is repentance in volition (will).

2 Faith

Practically, repentance and faith go together. We must practice them everyday.

We know we are saved by faith.

Everyone’s life is governed by what we believe – in what we have faith. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are driven by what you believe.

We are saved by faith.

  • “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
  • Eph “It is by faith you have been saved. It is not of yourselves so that no one may boast.”
  • Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

How can we get a saving faith? Can you get it through your own effort?

There are two sides to this coin.

  • God’s side: It is his gift – we have nothing to do to receive it.
  • Human side: we must practice our faith to grow in faith.

Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word.”

Please remember, saving faith is much more than intellectual agreement or acceptance. It is total surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior.

3 Baptism

Did you receive water baptism? This is just a symbol of cleansing and identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. This is an outward symbol of an inward experience.

Did you receive baptism by the Holy Spirit? The HS testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

“I’m a child of God.” This is the spiritual meaning of baptism.

4 Laying on of hands (안수)

This also means the sharing of some blessing from God.

If we have received a blessing, it is our responsibility to share it with others. Also, this laying on of hands shows a setting apart for good works.

We are saved by faith + nothing. (Good works cannot DO anything for our salvation – but we are saved TO DO good works.)

Eph “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works which he has prepared for us to do in advance.”

Matt 5:16 “In this same way, let your light shine before men so that everyone who sees your good deeds will praise your father in heaven.”

If we are really saved by faith, we have a responsibility to do good works – ministry IN church, mission OUTSIDE church.

5 Resurrection

If there is no resurrection, there is no hope in Christianity.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will never die.” Jesus “Do you believe this?”

We all experienced remaining in our mother’s womb. Do you remember this? 40 weeks.
West: end of 9 months
Korea: beginning of 10 months
same – same

Just as staying in our mother’s womb was preparation to live in THIS world, so also our lives in this world are only preparation to live in the NEXT world. We can live up to 100 or so years, but no matter how long we live in this world, the next life has no end. Our lives in this world are as short as a blink of an eye – but the consequences are eternal.

One day, our hearts will stop beating. This will be the end of our bodies (physical) – but it will not be the end of YOU. Our physical bodies are a “tent” – and our next bodies are a “house”.

1 Cor “If our physical tent is destroyed, we have a house from God built in heaven – not built by human hands.”

So, as long as we live a short time in this world, we must live in light of eternity. We will use our time, treasure, talents more wisely. Our priorities will be reordered.

Remember: physical death is not annihilation but transition into eternity. We are looking forward to our eternal home.

Secular people say: “When he died, he left home.”
Christians say: “When we die, we go home.”

6 Judgment

Are you expecting this? Anticipating it? Or dreading it?

Hebrews 9:7 “Just as a man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

Someday, we will stand before God face-to-face. Nobody can escape this fate.

Many people spend their physical lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, but we must remember that what matters most is not what other people say about my life, but what God says about my life. We are not put here for others only, but to prepare for the next life. God will do an audit and in this final judgment seat, he will ask only two questions:

What is the most important question in your life?

God asks only two:

  1. “What did you do with Jesus?” (Did you receive him? Learn to love and trust in him?)
  2. “What did you do with all things I gave you?” (Your time, treasure, talents. What did you do with it all? Did you spend it on yourself alone? Or use it for the purposes I made it for?)

Are you ready to give a correct answer to these two questions? That’s why we must practice these 6 elements daily:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of Hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

“For his kingdom! For his glory!”

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.

  • Sep 23 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Two Crucial Questions (Acts 10:44-11:18)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Two Crucial Questions (Acts 10:44-11:18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Two crucial questions

Acts 10:44-11:18 (Pastor Heo)

10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. 47 Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

11:1 The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ 8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. 11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”


The term centurion = title for Roman soldier (captain of few 100 soldiers).

In the NT, there are 4 centurion stories – ALL of them are “good men” in faith or human character:

  1. Gospel of Matthew chp 8: Centurion came to Jesus to ask help for his paralyzed servant.
    • Jesus said, “I’ll go.”
    • Centurion said, “No, I don’t deserve this. Just say the word and it will be done.”
    • Jesus was surprised: “I have never found in Israel such a great faith. Go and it will be done as you’ve said.”
  2. Gospel of Matthew chp 27: Jesus’ crucifixion – this centurion was in charge of the soldiers to crucify Jesus. When he saw the earthquake, and all, he exclaimed, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.” He testified that this was the real Messiah to come.
  3. Acts 27: Julius the centurion was guarding Paul and other prisoners on the boat to Rome. He was very kind to Paul on that ship, but the ship was wrecked, broken on the rocks. At this situation, the soldiers planned to kill all the prisoners to prevent them from swimming away. But the centurion wanted to save Paul – so he saved them all.
  4. [This story] Acts 10: Cornelius, a man of devotion, prayer, true seeker, but not yet saved. He received a vision from the angel of God and invited Peter to his house to speak the message of salvation. So Peter went and spoke to the first Gentile Christian community in the NT. When he spoke, the HS touched their hearts and they responded in faith, receiving Christ as Savior and Lord.

Do you know the key ministry of the HS?

The KEY ministry of the HS is to “testify / witness about Christ” in people whenever the message of the gospel is spoken. Thus, the Word of God = the Sword of the HS.

“No one can confess, ‘Jesus is Lord’ without the power of the HS.”

“Faith comes from hearing – and this Word is the Word of God.”

If you want the HS to work in and through you, preach the gospel of salvation. Please remember – whenever you preach the message of salvation in Christ, the HS works so powerfully, so effectively. This is the basic principle of the Bible – a timeless truth.

A Christian is a witness of the resurrection of Christ – so to us, Jesus is not just a historical nor fictional figure. He is a LIVING PRESENCE.

“Jesus Christ is a living presence” whom we meet every day, every moment.

v. 44

“44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.”

What are “these words”? The gospel message:

  1. Jesus’ life
  2. His ministry
  3. His crucifixion
  4. His resurrection
  5. His lordship

“These words” are the core message of the gospel.

As soon as they received Jesus as Lord and Savior, all of them received water baptism as well. Have you also received this? Do you know the meaning of this? What is the spiritual meaning of this?

v. 47-48

“47 Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.”

In the NT, immediate water baptism followed confession of faith in Christ.

  • Acts 8: Philip preached to a Samaritan and many believed and all of them received water baptism.
  • Also in the same chapter, the same man preached to an Ethiopian eunuch (high position – financial minister) in his chariot on the desert. He also accepted Christ and confessed his faith and immediately, as they traveled, they found some water (maybe an oasis) by the side of the road and he was baptized.
  • Chp 9: Saul’s (Jewish name) conversion story – as soon as he was converted, he was also baptized.
  • Chp 16: Paul (Greek name) – preached, but was put in prison. He praised God even in this terrible situation and all of a sudden, there was a violent earthquake and all the prison doors flew open. All the chains were loosed. The jailer drew his sword to commit suicide because he assumed everyone had escaped.
    • Paul shouted: “Do not harm yourself! We are all here!”
    • He rushed in and trembled before Paul and asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
    • Paul shouted: “Believe in Jesus as Lord, and you will be saved – you and all your household.”
    • Immediately, he accepted Christ as Savior and Lord. They were saved immediately – because salvation is a kind of birth (not gradual growth).

Salvation is “born again” – and immediately they received water baptism.

Let’s clear up Water Baptism

This is NOT essential for salvation.

The condition for salvation is ONLY FAITH in Christ. But after salvation, water baptism is essential for several things commanded:

  1. To fulfill the Great Commission: Matt 28 (“make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…”)
  2. To show our ID publicly in this world: just as we WERE Id’ed with Adam in our first birth, now we choose to show we are Id’ed with Christ in our second (spiritual) birth. It shows our own death, burial, and resurrection with Christ.
  3. To declare and show our allegiance to Christ publicly: we are his slaves (dulos) – he is our Lord (curios) – We have no rights of our own, only duty to him who saved us. “You are Lord” = “I’m your slave”
  4. To join our ID with the Christian community

God put these two together in doing his spiritual job. Maybe this is a mosaic of God. Cornelius and Peter are VERY different in human background:

  1. Cornelius: Roman, military, rich, centurion
  2. Peter: Jewish, fisherman, poor, preacher

In that day, a “new chapter” in church history was written (chp 10). As a Jewish leader, and a Gentile convert, both discovered something very meaningful about God in the other person.

  • Cornelius NEEDED Peter and his preaching to find the way to God and salvation.
  • Peter NEEDED Cornelius and his conversion experience to know that God’s plan included Gentiles for world salvation.

So, today, you and another believer, even unbeliever NEED each other to see how God works.

Peter’s Journey (Jerusalem -> Jerusalem)

chp 11:1-3

“11:1 The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.””

  • After finishing his great task of preaching the gospel, he returned to Jerusalem.
  • Before arriving, the report had already reached them there.
  • The Gentiles had received the Word of God (news is faster than our walking)

They SHOULD HAVE praised God – giving thanks “Even Gentiles!”

But instead of rejoicing, they criticized Peter, “Even Gentiles?”

We must be careful:

  • Critics criticize first, and gather information later.

Please, do not criticize fellow Christians’ great job without first hearing the FULL story.

Because of this, Peter began to explain his story (v. 4-17)

v. 4-17

“11:4 Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened:

17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?””

He said, “I’m nothing. I have no right to say ‘no’ to God.” And the conclusion was praising God. We also will conclude our journeys with praising God.

v. 18

“18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.””

From this story of Peter, there is a very important lesson we can apply in our daily lives.

Peter’s journey as an itinerant preacher from / to Jerusalem:

  • He was like a senior pastor of the Jerusalem church (the first local church, his mother church)
  • This story began in chp 8 – the church grew greatly and persecution broke out
  • Only Peter and other apostles remained in Jerusalem, the others scattered
  • Philip (deacon) preached in Samaria, and many believed
  • Apostles heard that news, so they sent Peter and John to Samaria to help
  • Peter and John came and they prayed for them, placing their hands on them and they became filled with the HS
  • Afterward, they returned to Jerusalem
  • Peter did not go DIRECTLY to Jerusalem. On his way back, he preached the gospel here and there (all over the place) – nearly all the villages in Samaria
  • He arrived at Lyda and found a sick (paralyzed) man whom he healed in the name of Christ
  • There he stayed for a while
  • In Joppa (nearby), Tabitha (woman) died, and they had heard of Peter, so they sent for him. He raised her to life and many people believed
  • There he stayed for a (longer) while
  • During his stay, Cornelius from Caesarea sent for him and he went – he preached to them there
  • He stayed there a while longer as well (education, etc)
  • And he FINALLY made it back to his “home church” in Jerusalem

v. 2

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, …”

Our journeys on earth are ALSO like this – we are also itinerant preachers.

  • From God -> God
  • From heaven -> heaven

This is our spiritual journey in this world

We begin and end with God.

Our lives on earth are only spiritual preparation for eternity.

One day our hearts will stop, but that will not be the end of us. “Physical death is not the end of me.” This is just a transition into eternity – so there are eternal consequences to everything you do in this world.

To make the most of your life, keep the vision of eternity forever in your heart.

Measured against eternity, our times in this world are the blink of an eye, but the consequences will last forever. So, we must never forget TWO things:

This life is very short, earth is a temporary residence. Thus the Bible calls us, “pilgrims, aliens, travelers, visitors, foreigners” – we are IN this world, but not OF this world. Hebrews 11 is the Faith chapter with the intro of those who lived by faith. One common thing = they admitted they were aliens, strangers, pilgrims on earth and they were all LONGING for a better (heavenly) country.

Thus, God was not ashamed to be called their “Father”. We are not put here on earth to impress men but to prepare to stand before God our Father. One day we will all stand before him, and we cannot escape this place. One day, we will stand before God and he will do an audit of our lives. This is our “Final Exam” just before we enter eternity.

In this final Judgment Seat, he will ask us only TWO questions.

  1. “What did you do WITH Jesus Christ?”
  2. “What did you do FOR Jesus Christ?”

He will not ask us about our denomination or background, our doctrine or views. He will not ask how long you lived, how much you made, your educational / business background. Only: Jesus

  1. 1st: “Did you accept Christ, what he did for you, and love him?”
    • Because “no one comes to God except by me.”
  2. 2nd: What did you do FOR God with what he gave you?

What did you do with your relationships, money, time, talents, treasure, etc. Do you use them on yourself? Or did you use them for him?

  1. Will determine WHERE you spend eternity.
  2. Will determine WHAT you will do in eternity.

Can you calculate how long eternity is?

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

“My citizenship is in heaven.”

If you believe this, say it! If you don’t believe, don’t say it!

We are Christ’s ambassadors on earth, sent by him from our country, heaven.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 23 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Good News About Jesus (Acts 8:26-40)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Good News About Jesus (Acts 8:26-40)

03.23

03.22.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Philip and the Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–the desert road–that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.


Verse 37? Where are you?

Some late manuscripts: Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

A lot of commentators believe this was an addition (interpolation) – the scribe copying it felt it should be in there. It was not explicit, rather implicit, so the scribe may have added it explicitly. (Thus, it’s a footnote.)

So, in Acts 8, after the persecution in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered through Judea, some to Samaria. We saw some of the history of the conflict between Jerusalem and Samaria – and that this spread of the gospel is the first of the world-wide spread of the gospel.

Samaria was a hybrid branch of Judaism – not totally pagan, not totally Jewish. So the Jews didn’t want to deal with them and the Samaritans liked it that way. But it was their time to receive the good news. So, thanks to the persecution of the believers in Jerusalem, the gospel came to Samaria.

Philip came to Samaria and the people saw the signs and wonders, and heard the gospel. It was like Jesus walking around again doing the same works – it was Philip empowered by the Spirit walking around continuing Jesus’ work.

There was Stephen and Philip also – wherever there is true belief in Christ, unclean spirits will be cast out, healings will happen, etc. What was, will be. What happened, will happen. There surely will be some signs of the gospel – Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Some (Cessationists) believe that these kinds of miracles have since ceased to exist.

There was in Jerusalem at that time a magician – Simon the sorcerer – who had tapped into the occult (like the magicians in Exodus with Moses). But GOD is all powerful and all knowing – and where his power is/was, people were healed, spirits cast out, there was great joy in the city. Why? Well, why wouldn’t there be?

If someone is troubled by unclean spirits and suddenly set free… If Grandma hears the gospel and believes and is spiritually restored…

Even Simon was impressed and believed.

This was even without the baptism and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We know that the Jerusalem church had heard of the receipt of the gospel – so they sent people down (like Philip) to lay hands on the people and pray for receipt of the Holy Spirit.

At Pentecost, there were great signs and wonders and speaking in tongues. And when Peter preached to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house, it was the same. And here in Samaria, we can safely assume it would have been the same.

Simon wanted to buy this power from the disciples, but Philip said, “God save you from your bitterness.” Hopefully he repented of his sin but we aren’t sure.

Here Samaria is in a bit of a revival! Philip may have been tempted to stay, but it wasn’t to be. There were many believers and even house churches begun there, so a Spirit of the Lord came and told Philip to go down another road. The road led to the final settlement before the barren desert of Egypt.

Now, Philip is brought out of this publicity and heads out alone toward Gaza.

There was an Ethiopian eunuch driving down in a “chariot” – but it was probably more like a cart and ox. Philip ran to catch up to him.

Eunuch – he’s no longer a “man” – physical deformity prevents him from having kids. But, some commentators thought it was just a term for an “official.” However, he’s called a eunuch official – so it would be redundant to repeat that. These eunuchs would be prevented from going into the temple.

He was a servant of Candace (Kan-dake – a title like Pharaoh) – The queen served in place of the Son. The Son was so “holy” that he didn’t dirty his hands with issues of state. So the queen was the actual ruler.

So, this eunuch – was a Gentile (strike 1), a eunuch (strike 2) – he would have been prevented from even entering the court of the Gentiles. Yet, here he is reading from Isaiah – he probably bought a scroll (very expensive – a scroll of Isaiah would take about a YEAR to reproduce). If he’d bought one it would have not been cheap.

Isaiah 53 – he’s reading. Philip hears from the Spirit “go to him.” Philip says, “Do you understand?” Eunuch, “How can I? No one taught me.” He’s reading the portion of Isaiah about the Suffering Servant (Jesus). He’s asks Philip, “Who is this? Himself? Someone else?” Wow, great opportunity to share the gospel right there. And Philip doesn’t waste the opportunity. In fact, Jesus had quoted this same Scripture before his death and said, “This must be fulfilled.”

He was like a Lamb, a sheep before the slaughter. He didn’t open his mouth. Jesus was (is) a King – the King of Kings.

Philip takes this great opportunity to detail the historical reality of Jesus’ suffering, trial before Pilate (who tried three times to clear his name), the egging on of the religious leaders (”If you don’t you’re no friend of Caesar!” – Pilate was worried about his politics – so he did it), his death and resurrection.

We know that Jesus’ death would be our own salvation – it was ordained (predestined, appointed) for him to die. Just because this was ordained, doesn’t mean he didn’t have a choice – he DID have a choice (remember his stress in Gethsemane). The Spirit of God can be resisted. But he chose to go and die.

Jesus also had preached to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and opened their eyes about him – using all the Scriptures to show them him.

Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures, thinking that in them you have life. But you don’t realize that they are all about me and you refuse to come to me so that you may have life.” (Seriously, Jesus is in EVERY book of the Bible.)

Now, Philip had probably spoken about baptism to the eunuch. He’d talked about Pentecost and Peter’s preaching of the meaning of the signs and wonders (prophecy from Joel). Peter had shown that Jesus was their Messiah.

Now, all these people were not liars, murderers, cheaters, they were “religious people.” But Peter showed them that they’d actually murdered God. They’d murdered their Messiah. This burdened them heavily and they said, “What should we do?” Peter said, “Repent – primarily of that murder and also your sins – and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.”

Clearly, Philip had been preaching this to the eunuch.

Also, remember that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. And when he came up from the water, the Spirit of God had come upon him.

And so, along the way, they came upon some water and the eunuch said, “Hey hey, here’s some water! Let’s do it!” And Philip said, “OK.”

There’s no need for a gap to exist between belief in Christ and baptism. Here, it happens immediately. Also, in jail with Peter, the jailer was baptized immediately.

These are the steps of obedience:

  1. Repentance
  2. Belief
  3. Baptism
  4. Receipt of the Holy Spirit

All of these things go together.

Clearly this was a baptism by immersion for the eunuch – the eunuch went down under water (died to his old self – buried under water), and came back up (rose to new life in Christ). Then Philip was taken away – the eunuch was probably shocked initially, but then went on rejoicing and probably became a good missionary where he went.

Philip later got married and had 4 daughters who prophesied. He settled in Caesarea.

This is the account of the further progression of the gospel – not a full-on “mission” to the Gentiles – but clearly an indication of God’s full desire to preach the gospel to all the world. The eunuch went on with the joy of the Lord and was able to proclaim the good news to the people back home.

It’s interesting that Philip could be brought away from this HUGE revival and on to ONE guy. God may also want you to speak to ONE person – who they themselves might go on to preach to millions.

Nicky Gumble “Everybody knows Billy Graham. But nobody knows the name of the one who preached to Billy Graham. Just think about how important THAT guy is.”

Richard Wurmbrand: a Jewish convert who spent many years in Romanian prisons and was a great witness. Previously another man had prayed sincerely to reach one man who would reach others for God. This was Richard – who had previously been a playboy.

Starfish Story.

There was a young boy walking along the shore throwing starfish back one by one. (A freak of nature had washed millions onto the beach).

A man said, “This is impossible – what difference does this make?” The boy threw another back “It made a difference to THAT one.”

What difference can me make?

Who is ONE that you can reach?

Pastor – “I was a slave to drugs, lust, sin. I had been brought up a Christian. ‘Do this, do that. Sin, confess, repent, sin, confess, repent.’ But someone had reached me.”

Michael Brown: Some friends had invited “anti-Christ” to church once – he was open to Christ, received him, and as a Jew started conversing with rabbis. He tried to persuade them and convince them. Even today, in some Jewish areas Isaiah is not even read because it is so obviously about Jesus. Even Christianity has not been good to the Jews. Even Martin Luther said terrible things about them – he had hoped that they would be converted in his lifetime but they weren’t. We know that in these days, finally, many Jews are recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. These days, Michael Brown has become one of the foremost experts on Messianic Christianity – one of the leading preachers and teachers to the Jews about Christ.

“When we don’t consider the END of something (like a hole in my coat – whenever I pass people, they think I’m crazy) – there is a consequence for DOING or NOT doing things.”

Consequences:

Hyper grace = Grace that is too far, it’s not grace but license (People don’t want to repent of sin – gay Christianity is a prime example. This is not to put them down but to show that if people continually live IN sin and don’t repent, there is no change, there is no grace. Jesus came to save us FROM our sins – not IN our sins as we continue IN them.) There will ALWAYS be a struggle of spirit vs. flesh because we aren’t perfect yet.

We can’t say, “Eh, God loves me. I can do what I want.” No. It doesn’t work like that. We struggle against sin, even if we lose – we don’t embrace it.

There is a story of a pastor – depressed, got drunk, had a homosexual one-night stand, went home, his wife got AIDS, his baby got AIDS, they all died.

Where there is life, there is hope, where there is hope there is life. This is not a message of condemnation – Timothy “Take heed to your faith, and your doctrine, because by it you will save yourselves and save others.”

Thank you God for grace. Forgive us when we fall.

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

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

06.02

06.02.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

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

 v.14-15 

JB tried to prevent him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4: To foreshadow his future baptism on the cross

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

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

v. 16 

He went up out of the water, 

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

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

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

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

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

v. 17

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

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

1. The Transfiguration –

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

2. As Jesus approached the cross –

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

3. This instance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless us with his work. 

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 21 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Paul and Apollos (Acts 18:18-19:7)

10.21-Acts-Sermon-Title-0710102

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

In the last study, Paul was granted permission to stay in Corinth. The Jews had accused him of teaching against their own law, but the Pro Consul was not influenced by the Jews. Galieo didn’t care about their law, said, “You take care of it yourself.” So, this gave a kind of precedent for Christianity to be accepted and at least tolerated.

v. 18 – He stayed for some time, then left with Priscilla, Aquila – until 52A.D. spring, when it was safe to sail.

Athens had been a pretty big disappointment, only a few converts.
Corinth, initially discouraged, Paul had a vision where God said, “Carry on” and many were saved there (in Sin City). God was patient, long-suffering, used Paul to correct the Corinthians.

Also in Corinth, most converts were from the lower classes. 1 Cor. 1:26 – “Not many of you were wise, influential, of noble birth” But God blessed the city with many converts.

Now, he was off – ultimately to Jerusalem, then Antioch. But on his way, he stopped over in Ephesus – Asia Minor.

Church in Cenchrea had grown.
2 Cor. Paul writes to Achaea? southern Greece.

Romans 16:1 – Paul mentions Phoebe as being a member of the Cenchrean church – helpful to him (she was a deaconess).
In Cenchrea, he made a vow and cut his hair.

Paul continued to be faithful to his Jewish traditions – taking a vow would underscore this. Who knows what kind of vow?
He was still clearly a Jew, unashamed and unopposed to keeping Jewish traditions, though a Christian, and he didn’t impose Jewish tradition upon Gentiles.

In Ephesus, he preached the gospel.
Here, they seemed interested in his teaching, wanted him to stay longer, but Paul declined. Seems a bit strange, he usually took advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel. His journey must have been important, and he gave a promise to return, which he did – and ministered there later for 2 years.

Priscilla and Aquila later returned to Rome after the death of Claudius the Emperor.
However, when Paul left, they stayed in Ephesus.

From here, Luke’s account is very compressed. Summarizes many events – sea voyage, journey south, etc in a few sentences.

Paul’s destination was Antioch, and from there he went on a journey to the other churches.

Luke mentions the stop to Jerusalem (out of his way 300 miles north), to imply that Paul was still loyal to the apostolic church and his Jewish heritage. This is important because later, people would accuse him of leaving his Jewish faith and encouraging others to do so.

Paul likely remained in Antioch for quite some time, then v. 23 he traveled place to place on a pastoral journey, strengthening the disciples. He likely revisited the towns from earlier Acts where he preached the gospel. He’d been there one proclaiming the gospel, a second time appointing elders, and now a third time.

Now, Apollos – a Jew, born in Egypt, came to Ephesus. He knew the Scriptures thoroughly, and destroyed the Jews in debate.
He became one of Paul’s trusted brothers in the faith, a great apologist (defender of the faith).
Later, some Christians would claim “I’m of Apollos” and “I’m of Paul” but Paul would say, “neither is anything, but God gives the increase” and “Paul and Apollos are one – in mind, unity, and each will receive his own reward in his work.”
1 Cor 6:12 – “Now concerning Apollos, I strongly urged him to come, but he was unwilling, but he will come when he has a convenient time.”

Paul has no authority over him, respects him.

Titus 3:13 “Send Zemas and Apollos with haste that they lack nothing.”

Luke has a good reason for including this story of Apollos. Some Corinthians were adopting a partisan spirit (I’m Apollos, I’m Paul), but that was wrong.

Apollos knew well of Jesus and the prophecies in the Scriptures of him, but didn’t know of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, only John’s.

The Jewish leaders had been responsible for the death of their Messiah that had been promised for thousands of years. Peter, with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 2?) preached, and the men were convicted – Peter said “He is risen!” “What shall we do?” they asked, “Repent! and be baptized in the name of Christ and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!” And thousands (2,000?) were added to their number that day.

So, it’s a bit strange that Apollos hadn’t heard of this. It may be that he had the Holy Spirit already since he taught of Jesus quite accurately. Sometimes, with the laying on of hands, or through preaching, some received the HS. There is a method, but also exceptions.

Apollos was humble enough to receive further instruction from Aquila and Priscilla. We thank God that he was humble enough to receive that.

Neil (commentator) “Luke’s vague and brief account doesn’t teach us much of Apollos. Perhaps he was a member of a John the Baptist sect (chapter 19))”

Apollos wanted to go on to Achaea. He met with unconverted Jews and proving that Jesus was the Christ. He went back to some places that Paul had been and was highly regarded by the churches there – great public speaker.

Apollos had become another important member of the team.

Also, Paul had not abandoned his missionary work for the Jews.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul came to Ephesus – rich in history. Paul had received a favorable response earlier, and promised to return – he has. Acts 18:19-21 (favorable acceptance) – but at that time, he carried on along his journey.

Now, the events of Ephesus. Curious story – Paul met some of John’s disciples, slightly defective in their knowledge of the Way of Life (Christianity). Eph 1:13 “In Him (Christ), you also trusted after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel, and you trusted and believed and were sealed with the Holy Spirit.”

These disciples had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps “disciples” means “of John”. They were certainly Jews, and hadn’t heard of the Holy Spirit – it was a little puzzling.

Matt 3:11 – John, “I baptize with water, unto repentance, but he who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Paul “Which have you received?” They “John’s”
Paul “You should receive the HS baptism.”

These may have been hardcore followers of John the Baptist.
Josephus – historian, writes that JB was highly praised and loved and influential to the Jewish people.

John was arrested in Matthew because he preached against Herod’s second marriage. He wanted to kill him, but was afraid of the crowds who loved him.

Influence of John – in the gospel of John – John always makes sure to keep the ministry of JB inferior to Jesus’ ministry – to be sure that those who read it would be clear – he is NOT the Messiah, NOT Elijah, NOT the Prophet (Moses). John says “NO, to all.” “Who are you then, what about you?” “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”

John _:21-31 JB “Behold the Lamb of God, who was before me, yet after me. I did not know him, but that he would be revealed to Israel, so, I’ve baptized with water.” HS comes down in a dove.
“Now, I’ve seen and testify that THIS is the son of God.”

Luke was careful to define JB’s ministry.

This is the fifth time in Acts that JB’s role has been clarified.
Chp 1:5 “Wait for the promise of the Father, John baptized with water, you with the HS.”
Chp 11:16 Peter “As I spoke (to Cornelius), the HS fell upon them as upon us, who am I to deny them baptism?” Chp 13:25 Paul “As John finished, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? Not HE, but the one who comes after me, I’m not fit to untie his sandals.’”
Chp 18:25 Apollos “This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord, though he knew ONLY the baptism of John.”
Chp 19:4 “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one who came after him.”

JB’s ministry may have grown opposite the Christian one – even in opposition to it perhaps. It was a sect.
Luke includes this to show that the Church believes in Jesus and follows Him, not John.

JB was a faithful servant who POINTED to the true King, Jesus.

Again here, the HS is given as Jesus is proclaimed Lord and they believe in Him.

The main things are explained.
1. Receiving the HS (born from above) – the MOST important thing we need to know.

Whitefield (great preacher) accused of saying “You must be born again.” WHY? Because “You must be born again!”

Let’s pray.

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