:::: MENU ::::

Posts Tagged / children

  • May 05 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Waiting is a Test of Patience and Faith (Acts 25:1-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 25:1-22 (Pastor Heo)

The Trial Before Festus

1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”

Festus Consults King Agrippa

13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”


Paul has been in prison for 2 years. He had returned to Jerusalem after his 3rd missionary journey, but the leaders had arrested him. Even 40 Jewish men took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they’d killed him. So, the commander of the Roman army there sent him away to Governor Felix (about 60 miles away). Felix knew that he was innocent after hearing the case, but to receive bribes from Paul and favor from the Jews, he kept Paul in prison for 2 years. This is after that story – now the new governor Festus has become governor.

There are 2 sections today:

  1. v. 1-12 Conciliation between Festus the new governor and the Jewish leaders
  2. v. 13-22 Consultation between Festus and King Agrippa

Part 1

v. 1-12

“1 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul. 3 They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea, and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me and press charges against the man there, if he has done anything wrong.”

6 After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.

8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.”

9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”

10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Only three days after his new appointment as Governor, Festus visited Jerusalem to find favor with the Jewish leaders – and the Jewish leaders (2 years later) were still the same in their hatred of Paul and moral abasement.

Once again, the Jewish people had formed a plot to kill Paul in ambush on the way. They asked the new governor to send Paul again to Jerusalem so they might kill Paul on the way. In secular history, this governor was governor from AD 58-62 after Felix.

Paul was a Jew whose countrymen wanted to kill him.

At the same time, a Roman whose government didn’t know what to do with him.

If the new governor were to release him, the Jews would hate him. But if he kept him in prison, he would have to explain why a Roman citizen was being held in prison without charge.

In this situation, the Jewish leaders urged Festus to send Paul to them again (so they could kill him). He urged them to come to Caesarea to reopen their charges against him. 8-10 days later, he left and they followed to do as he said.

Festus opened the court, the Jews accused him, Paul defended himself. But there was nothing new – nothing different from 2 years ago. But the governor Festus didn’t want to be against the Jewish people, so he asked Paul – “Do you want to go to Jerusalem?”

Paul: “No! I appeal to Caesar!”

This was the key answer to solve ALL the problems at once. He appealed to the emperor. At that time, every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar. This did not mean that Caesar himself would hear the case, but the Supreme Court would. Who was the emperor at that time? Nero. (AD 60) He had not yet started the persecution of Christians. But when he appealed to Caesar, Festus had no choice but to send Paul to Rome.

What made Paul make this wise decision?

  1. He knew his final destination (Rome)
  2. He knew the fastest way to go was to appeal to Caesar
  3. He knew the Jews would never give up their hope of killing him

v. 12

“After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” “

Paul knew that because the Jews still wanted to kill him, it was wise to stay under the protection of Rome (they would have to guard him). But even though he appealed to Rome, Festus’ problems were not over.

Part 2

v. 13-22

“13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.

16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man before he has faced his accusers and has had an opportunity to defend himself against their charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 When Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.” “

Next Sunday, we will also hear him – what Paul said to Agrippa.

Festus’ problems were not over. He hadn’t hurt the Jews, but he also hadn’t formally charged Paul. He couldn’t send Paul to Rome without documentation. This was the official course of action.

Then, King Agrippa visited him to say, “Congratulations on your new position.”

Who is this Agrippa?

  • Herod Agrippa II.
  • Son of Herod Agrippa I who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter.
  • He was the grand nephew of Herod who killed John the Baptist.
  • He was great grandson of Herod the Great who killed all the boys 2 years and under in Bethlehem just to kill Jesus.
  • This is the last of Herod’s dynasty that ruled Palestine from 40BC – 100AD.

Just like a father to son, Agrippa received a flawed personality passed down from his father. Each son received mistakes and missed opportunities from his father. Each generation had a direct or indirect connection with Jesus but missed the opportunity. This is in the line of Esau (half-Jews). They were eager to please the Roman government who appointed them as the kings of the Jews.

From this story we can get many lessons.

From the family of Herod:

They had a great opportunity – a long history of encountering Christ – but each time they rejected forgiveness and eternal life.

One of the most sobering lessons form this family is: Families tend to pass on both positive and negative traits to the next generation.

Today’s is Children’s Day. My question: What kind of spiritual example are you setting? What will be your legacy you leave to the next generation?

Second, Paul is still in prison, but his main purpose was not his own defense but being a witness of Jesus.

v. 19

“Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.”

Paul was defending much more than religion in general. He was defending and declaring the resurrection of Christ. We also are witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.

We know there are famous graves in this world.

  • The Pyramids (mummified bodies of Egyptian kings)
  • Westminster in UK (bodies of nobles)
  • Wellington Nat. Cemetery in Washington DC (bodies of dead soldiers)
  • Mohammed’s Tomb (beautiful decorations)
  • Jesus’ Tomb is also very famous – because it is EMPTY – there is no landmark

Jesus’ resurrection is the basis and foundation that all that is necessary for our lives and ministries is available to us – and also a guarantee that our bodies will also be resurrected very soon.

  • Romans 11 “If the one who raised Christ is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies…”
  • Jesus “If anyone believes in me, he will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”
  • Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live though he dies.”

If we are children of God, we also are not only defenders of ourselves, but of Christ’s resurrection. Yet, we will not escape false accusations – because Satan is “the god of this age.”

v. 7

“When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. “

Paul, simply because he was a witness of Jesus’ resurrection, was surrounded by false witnesses and accusations. He had to listen to these false accusations for more than 2 years.

Have you ever been accused, condemned, criticized wrongly for doing nothing wrong? Remember, if we are really born-again Christians, we are not free from false accusations. “Satan” means “Accuser” – The Bible says, when we suffer false accusations and criticisms, the first thing we must do is consider Christ.

Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes upon Christ, the author and perfector of our faith… he endured the cross…”

1 Peter 2:19 “It is commendable if a man bears the pain of unjust sufferings because he remembers Christ. What credit is it to you if you receive a beating for doing evil? But it is credited to you if you receive such for doing good. To this you are called… No lie or cheating was found in Christ’s mouth. When he suffered, he did not make threats, but entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He bore our sins on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live righteously. By his wounds, we are healed.” He is our healer.

Our enemy, Satan, never gives up his job/ministry against us: Accusing us. Condemning, criticizing.

You must know that Satan is never gonna give you up…

  • Satan can see what you did (not what you will do), and he accuses you because of it, “Look at you. You’re such a ….”
  • We reply, “Yes, I know!” (And we should reply, “I know I’m not worthy of salvation, but I’m not saved by my deeds, but by my faith in Christ.”)

Do not be defeated by the false accusation of Satan. Our spiritual lives are a spiritual war.

Finally,

We must WAIT.

We are studying chp 25. Remember, in chp 23, God had promised that Paul would go to Rome and preach the gospel. But for two years, nothing has happened. Is God sleeping? No, he is working and waiting for the BEST time.

  • Our time is not the best time.
  • We should not be impatient when we need to be patient.

Paul waited for 2 years, but remember Joseph as well – the stories are similar.

Joseph’s story

Joseph was in prison, unjustly, for 2 years (like Paul). But Joseph continued to trust in God and God was with him and God gave him success in whatever he did.

One day the king’s cupbearer and baker were put in the same cell. They both had a dream – very meaningful – so they were upset and troubled. So Joseph explained the dreams and just as he interpreted, one man was hanged 3 days later, the other (cupbearer) was restored to his original job. In this situation, Joseph asked, “Remember me” when you are restored and work with Pharaoh again. But when he was set free, he forgot Joseph – for 2 years.

Question: When we wait for a LONG time, when the issue of waiting for God to act for us, when we have little to do but trust God and wait for him to act – are you angry? Troubled? Upset? Disappointed? Discouraged? Anxious? That time is very important and serious. A crucial time.

Being forced to wait is a good test for our patience and faith.

Then, when 2 full years had passed, the king of Egypt also had a meaningful dream. The king called all the magicians and wisemen but nobody could interpret this dream. It was JUST THEN when God made the cupbearer remember Joseph. Then (eventually) Joseph became made Prime Minister of the greatest country of that time.

God never sleeps. Remember!

  • Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
  • Paul “Give thanks in ALL circumstances – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you…. God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 13 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wheat Among Weeds, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast (Matthew 13:24-43)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like: Wheat Among Weeds, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast (Matthew 13:24-43)

07.13

07.13.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Wheat, Mustard Seeds, and Yeast
Matthew 13:24-43 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
13:31,32pp — Mk 4:30-32 13:31-33pp — Lk 13:18-21
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.


Matthew 13 is a parable chapter of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus uses 7 material things to teach us something about the KOH. Parable = earthly story with heavenly meaning/truth.

Parable #1: The Sower with 4 kinds of Soil

  1. Hard
  2. Rocky
  3. Thorny
  4. Good

Today, 3 parables about the KOH.

  1. Man sows a good seed – Wheat among Weeds
  2. Mustard seed
  3. Yeast (leaven)

#1: KOH = Wheat among Weeds

v. 24-30

There is a saying “Ill weeds grow apace.” This was very familiar to the Palestinian audience. Weeds are a curse against which farmers must labor. During their early stages, the weeds and wheat look the same. It’s impossible to distinguish one from the other.

But, when they grow a little more, they could be distinguish. But, their roots were twisted together, so it was impossible to uproot the weeds without affecting/hurting the wheat. So, both had to be left to grow together until the time of harvest.

Then, at the time of harvest, the wheat and weeds had to be separated. The weeds were poisonous and bitter – a narcotic and causing sickness.

The Jews called the weeds “bastard wheat.”

  • The one who sows the good seed = Jesus.
  • The good seed = the children of the KOH.
  • The enemy who sowed the evil seed = Satan.
  • The weeds = the children of this world.
  • The field = this world.
  • The harvesters = angels.

Satan CANNOT uproot true Christians.

So, Satan merely plants FALSE Christians to infect and influence the true Christians.

Our task is not to pull the weeds, but plant the wheat. We are not detectives, but evangelists. We are not pullers, but planters.

Yes, we should expose the lies of the Devil, but we must also (more importantly) bear fruit.

In this world, there is always a hostile power waiting and seeking to destroy the good seed.

  1. Helps the seed of the world?Word? to grow and flourish.
  2. Tries to destroy the good seed.

We must always be on guard, on watch in this world.

Believers and unbelievers are living together – even here in this service. There are some in the KOH and some who are not. So hard it is to distinguish. A man may appear good, but be in fact bad. A man may appear bad, but be in fact good.

We (dangerously) quickly classify men as “good” or “bad” without knowing the truth. We must wait until the time of the harvest to know the truth. A man is not judged by a single mistake in his life – but by his whole life. Through the grace and sacrifice of Christ, a man may make an ugly life a beautiful thing. Alternatively, a man may live his entire life purely, and at the last moment, fall into sin. Judgment comes someday, at the end, not hastily.

Humanly speaking, a sinner in this world may not ever receive his consequences in this world. But there is a new life to come. Goodness likewise may not ever receive its reward in this world, but there is a new life to come. Only Jesus knows and can judge all things perfectly, completely. At the last time, God will judge all things rightly. Therefore, we must judge ourselves (2 Cor 3?) “Judge yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test.”

The KOH = wheat among weeds (present and growing in this world full of sin and unbelief).

#2: KOH = mustard seed

v. 31-32

The smallest of seeds – produces a large tree.

The point is very clear: the growing power of the mustard seed – from smallest to largest. The KOH is like this – from insignificance to magnificence.

The KOH began with the smallest – JC as a baby in the manger, his death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension. Then, the church was left in the care of 12 apostles and a few hundred followers.

But someday the KOH will cover all the world (2 billion Christians in the world today).

Humanly speaking, Jesus came as a weak person – in a manger, son of a poor carpenter.

When Jesus comes again, he will come as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and his kingdom will cover all the world. At that time, all knees will bow and worship him, and all mouths will confess he is the Lord, Son of God.

In daily application?

This can be true in our small group, churches, schools, academies, careers. The KOH may start with only one person, and nobody knows how big that may grow one day.

A man who is set on fire for Christ is a person who kindles others.

If you plant (preach the gospel message) – this is your mustard seed in his heart and it CAN (with God’s water and help) can grow large in his heart.

#3: Yeast

v. 33

This parable was shocking to them.

Actually, throughout the Bible, yeast is a symbol of SIN – uncleanness. For example, during the Passover, they had to eat unleavened (un-yeasted) bread. Yeast had to be removed from their sacrifices as well.

Yeast was also a symbol of carnality and hypocrisy on the church.

This would be shocking.
“The KOH is like the symbol for uncleanness.”

“What?” This obviously got their attention.

The point? The transformational power of yeast. Just a LITTLE bit with transform the entire loaf of bread.

Without yeast, the bread is hard, tasteless, unappetizing, not delicious. With yeast = soft, spongy, delicious. The yeast transforms it all.

Like this, the KOH transforms our whole lives. The hidden reality of the KOH = Jesus and he transforms our personal, spiritual, physical, social lives.

In human history, there are great societies, great communities where the KOH transformed the whole society.

Examples:

1. Life for women in history.

  • At that time, women were considered property. Men would pray, “Thank God I’m not a Gentile, slave, or woman.” She was completely secluded.
  • In Korea, until Christianity came, a woman was like a half-slave to her husband and his family.
  • In India, until Christianity came, there was a horrible practice – when a husband died, his wife was buried alive to follow her husband.

2. Life for slaves

In human history, until Christianity came, in every community, country, society, there were slaves. Even in Abraham’s community, in Greek, Rome, America, India, Korea – every place there were slaves. A slave was a piece of property – a walking piece of real estate – not a person. But, wherever Christianity penetrated, slavery has gone.

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. So stand firm, do not let yourselves submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

In all aspects of life, only Jesus can give you freedom.

3. Life for children

In ancient times, children had a good chance of dying during his childhood. So, a child was not counted in number, not allowed to attend public meetings. Jesus said, “Let them come to me. Do not stop them. The KOH belongs to such as these.” Jesus received them and blessed them.

4. Life for the weak, sick, and aged

In pagan life at that time, these people were considered a nuisance, irritation. In Greece, in Sparta, when a boy was born, he was to be shown to the examiners – if healthy, he was allowed to live. If weak, sick, or deformed, he was put on the mountain to “live” alone (he died).

In history, Christianity is the first faith to be interested in these broken things in life.

Yes, even today, only Jesus can transform our lives and societies.

From slaves to free, from children of hell to children of God.

May God bless us all with this transforming power in our lives.

Let’s pray.

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