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  • Jul 01 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Church must be kept Pure and Holy (Acts 5:1-16)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Church must be kept Pure and Holy (Acts 5:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Church must be kept pure and holy

Acts 5:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.


Satan is our enemy – and we must understand that he is alive. He had failed completely in his attempt to silence the witness of the church in chp 3-4, but he never gives up, he just changes his tactics.

As we know, according to chp 3, his first approach was to attack the church from outside – hoping that the threats would frighten the leaders and apostles. But when that failed, Satan attacked from the inside – using people who belonged to the fellowship of the church. Yes, we must know that Satan is very clever. He is a murderer and a liar. When he doesn’t succeed as a liar, he attacks as a deceiving serpent or an angel of light.

  • “Be self controlled and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a roaring lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour.” (Peter)
  • “Our enemy masquerades as an angel of light…”
  • John “You belong to your father the devil, he is a murderer from the beginning. When he lies, he speaks his native language.”

We also have our own native languages – what is yours? But remember, when you speak a lie, you are speaking Satan’s native language.

Today’s story is a very heavy one to accept.

Ananias & Sapphira

Ananias + Sapphira – sold a piece of their own property, and kept some of the money for themselves, but LIED and said, “This is the FULL amount of money we received for this property” when they presented the money to the church (Peter).

Ananias lied to Peter about offering the FULL money, and he fell down and died.

Sapphira came three hours later, lied about the FULL amount of the money they offered, and she also fell down and died.

v. 1-11

“5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. 7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.”

Yes, this is terrible and terrifying, but we must accept it. We can learn 3 lessons from this story.

Background

v. 1

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, **also** sold a piece of property.”

“Also” is connected with some happening in the church at that time. We can look to the last verse of the previous chapter about Barnabas to see what this was about.

4:36-37

“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

This act apparently filled Ananias and Sapphira with envy and they wanted to get praise and glory before the church by doing a similar thing.

#1 God hates hypocrisy

  • Hypocrisy = “wearing a mask and playing an actor”
  • Hypocrisy = deliberate deception – trying to make others think we are more spiritual, more generous than we really are

This sin, hypocrisy was the sin of this couple.

Ananias means “God is gracious” – good name – but he learned “God is holy”

Sapphira means “Beautiful” but her heart was “ugly” with sin

Yes, no doubt, some people are shocked because they read that some people lied about a business transaction and their church giving.

But, when we read further into this, we can see that God was justified and right in judging them. All throughout the Bible, especially at the beginning of a NEW period of salvation, God judges sin severely.

  • Ex: In Exodus, after the temple was built, God killed the sons of the priest because they tried to give God false fire.
  • Ex: In the land of Canaan, after a battle, God killed Achan because of his disobedience regarding money.

These examples were warnings to God’s people – and also to us.

“These things happened as examples for us… so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.”

Even today, Satan never gives up in his attacking and attempt to push us – his main purpose in coming is to lie, steal, and kill (destroy).

This is the first lesson we can get from this terrible story.

To begin with the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was energized by Satan (v. 3) “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

If Satan cannot defeat the church from attacks outside, then he will attempt to go INSIDE and use the members of the church – even generous Christians. So, remember that we are always very close to the attack of Satan – always enduring spiritual warfare.

Eph “Be strong in the Lord’s mighty power and put on the full armor of God – because our struggling is not against physical powers, but against the powers of the spiritual realm. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that in the day of evil you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything, to stand.”

This warning is given to Christians, not non-Christians – so we must remember that we are who Satan wants to use to attack the church from the inside. Satan knows how to lie well – and he spoke a lie to Ananias and Sapphira and that lie led to death. So, when God judged Ananias and Sapphira, he was judging Satan.

#2 Their actions were motivated by the sin of Pride

God hates Pride and judges it.

Pr 8:13 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil… God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.”

Yes, already Christ made it very clear that we must be very careful about how we give lest the glory to be given to God is given to us.

“Be careful not to do your giving before man… Do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do. They have received their reward in full. When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” How is this possible? We must be filled with the HS. “Then you Father, who sees what is done in heaven will reward you.”

The Pharisees were adept at giving in public so that they might receive the praises of man. But, that is ALL they received.

Remember, we are merely STEWARDS of what God has given us, so we must use what he has given us for his glory. How can we remember God if we seek praise from man? If we seek praise from man, it is very difficult to believe in God. But we should not apply glory and praise to ourselves. We only praise our Father God, and not expect praise from men.

This is the second lesson from this story. Yes, pride is also always very near us. Are you riding pride?

Pride is the sin that opens the door to all other sins – it is the original, the gateway sin. So, if we are only interested in our own character, then their is no limit to what we might do to look good in the eyes of others.

#3 God loves the church and the sin was directed against the church

We cannot know how much God loves the church. The church was purchased by the blood of God’s only Son.

Imagine, if you bought something with the blood of your son, how much could you love that thing?

So, God loves the church so much. But at the same time, Satan wants to destroy the church all the time. So, he seeks to use those who are INSIDE the church to destroy it.

Imagine, if Peter had not been discerning, then Ananias and Sapphira would have become influential people in the early church and Satan would have been using them to do his own work from within.

  • Church is God’s temple in which God dwells, but Satan also wants to move in and dwell there with us.
  • Church is also God’s army, and Satan seeks to get as many spies and traitors into its ranks as possible.

So, church is VERY SAFE when Satan is attacking from OUTSIDE, but it is in danger when Satan can get inside and attack from within.

So, at this moment, we need to examine ourselves. Do we really mean everything we pray about in public? Do we sing hymns and gospel songs faithfully and sincerely, or routinely?

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Jesus)

Imagine, if God still killed religious deceivers today, how many church members would be left?

In this story, Ananias was dead and buried, but his wife did not know what had happened. This also shows that:

  • Satan keeps his servants always in the dark, but
  • Jesus guides his servants in the light.

Their sin was NOT in holding some money back, but rather it was in lying to the church, to the HS. They were not required to give all the money, but their evil desire and lust to receive praise from men led to their downfall.

James 1:15 “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and the sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.”

What is the result of this event? GREAT FEAR (x2) – this means “godly fear” or the “fear of God”. Actually, the “fear of God” is the secret to be free from ALL other fears in this world.

Yes, in the previous chapter, we saw there was great power and great grace. Now, there is great fear. All of these should be present in the church:

  1. Godly power
  2. Godly grace
  3. Godly fear

“God is a consuming fire.”

Remember 3 lessons:

  1. No hypocrisy
  2. No pride
  3. Not against the church

Opposites (we must do these things):

  1. Honesty, integrity, sincerity
  2. Humility
  3. For the church

We must do our best to keep the church pure and holy.

#Conclusion

v. 12-16

“And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.”

We can be encouraged by the last words: “all of them were healed.”

  • Yes, our enemy Satan always wants to divide the church, disgrace, decrease, destroy the church.
  • But the church filled with the HS is unified, magnified, multiplied.
  1. Yes, the early church began with only 120 in the upper room, and
  2. in the second stage to 3,000,
  3. in the third stage to 5,000 (excluding women and children).
  4. “Nevertheless, more and more people believed and were added to their number.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This means that miracles are still possible. If you believe, miracles are possible. The problem is whether or not you believe.

This is especially possible for the miracle of healing – not only physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual, psychological. Remember, only eternal, everlasting healing can be found in Jesus Christ our Lord – because only by believing in him, we are to live in heaven completely freed from all kinds of diseases and sickness.

The greatest miracle of all is the transformation (complete change) of a lost sinner into a child of God based on the power of the resurrection of Christ. That is the greatest miracle, the greatest need of all humans, lasts the longest, and cost the greatest price (the blood of Christ). This is one (the greatest) miracle that we can all participate in as members of the church.

We can share this miracle when we share the message of the gospel.

God bless us all.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 11 / 2018
  • Comments Off on We are God’s Co-workers (Romans 16:1-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We are God’s Co-workers (Romans 16:1-23)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We are God’s co-workers

Romans 16:1-23 (Pastor Heo)

16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. 17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.


There were three workers, doing the same thing at the same time, in the same place. But there was a big difference in their attitude / interpretation of what they were doing. Like this : What is YOUR approaching attitude / interpretation of what you’re doing today? What is your interpretation of your job?

Remember: Your own interpretation of your job can make it more meaningful and exciting, or more boring and meaningless to you.

We all have jobs, but what is important = what your own interpretation of your job.

Today is almost the last part of Romans.

Yes, we know Rome was the capital of the empire at that time, just like Jerusalem was the religious center, Rome was the political and economic center of the world. Therefore, it was filled with many internationals – and had potential for great things, or great conflict.

Here, Paul has greeted 26 people by name – and 2 unnamed people. He greeted churches and closed his greetings with the names of 9 people who were with him in Corinth.

These people were varied in their background – male / female, educated / uneducated, rich / poor. So, what is the similarity? They were all Paul’s friends – he was a soul-winner as well as a friend-maker. They were all important to his ministry. Let’s look at a few of them today.

#1 Phoebe (fee – bee)

v. 1-2

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.”

She was a member and deaconess in Cenchrea. According to Acts 18:18, Cenchrea was the place where Paul had his hair cut off as part of a vow he had taken. She delivered this letter to the saints in Rome.

Yes, we know at that time, the Bible was not published in one single volume as we have today. At that time, they were collected in scrolls. This book Romans was probably a very large scroll. So, we must thank Phoebe for her help and prayer and financial support. That’s why her name is first.

#2 Priscilla and Aquila

v. 3-4

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”

Maybe we are familiar with these names. They were a married couple (maybe the lady’s name is first here). Their names appear in the Bible 7 times:

  • Acts 4x
  • Romans 1x
  • 1 Corinthians 1x
  • 1 Timothy 1x

All the time, their names appear together. Even today, this couple are used sometimes (many times) as a good model of a good Christian couple. They were a business couple – tent-makers like Paul. We can guess they were rich.

At first, they were living in Rome (the center of the world at that time). But because of the order of Emperor Claudius, they were expelled from Rome, so they moved to Corinth. There, they met Paul while he was on his second missionary journey. They invited Paul to live with them for a long time, and they became very faithful co-workers with Paul for a long time.

They moved several times after that: Rome, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, etc

Wherever they went, their home became a center of Christian fellowship and service. They opened their home and hearts as a mission base.

Yes, we know in this world there are many institutes – but you know, there are only 2 institutes that GOD himself established.

  1. Home
  2. Church

God’s ideal plan for these is:

  1. Home = small church
  2. Church = big home

Do you believe your home is a church? (Big encouragement).

Home should be like church. Church should be like a home.

  • Church is the place where Jesus dwells as Savior, Lord, Master, King, and God.

Here is a list of 5 questions to determine the state of your home (is it a church?):

  1. Is your home a place where Jesus Christ is recognized, confessed, and proclaimed as Head, Savior, Lord, King, and God?
  2. Are all members of your home Christians? (At least the couple – husband and wife)
  3. Is there regular worship, prayer, Bible reading and study together in your home?
  4. Is your home full of partnership, fellowship, friendship and sharing in / by / for Christ?
  5. Is your home open to others – even the lost – for sharing, offering, providing, evangelizing?

If your answer is “YES” to these questions, then God bless your home as a church. And, if not, God bless your home to BECOME a church.

Let’s see 2 lessons from this greeting story of Paul.

Lesson #1 We must be IN Christ Jesus

“I must be in Christ Jesus.”

“I am in Christ Jesus.”

In this text, there are 11x repeated “in Christ” or “in the Lord.”

  1. v. 2 “…receive her in the Lord…”
  2. v. 3 “…in Christ Jesus.”
  3. v. 7 “…they were in Christ before I was.”
  4. v. 8 “… whom I love in the Lord”
  5. v. 9 “…our fellow worker in Christ”
  6. v. 10 “… approved in Christ”
  7. v. 11 ” who are in the Lord”
  8. v. 12 ” who work hard in the Lord” (x 2)
  9. v. 13 “…chosen in the Lord…”
  10. v. 22 “…greet you in the Lord.”

“In the Lord” is the HEART of Paul’s theology.

So:

  1. What is NOT in Christ?
  2. What IS in Christ?

IN Christ

  • there is no condemnation, no obligation, no fear, no judgment, no penalty, no punishment, no wrath of God
  • there is forgiveness of sins, redemption, deliverance, salvation, freedom, peace, joy, justification, righteousness, holiness, victory, glorification, glory

(2 Cor 5:7 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”)

“In Christ, everything is NEW.”

New position, standing, faith, life.

Practically, what does “in Christ” mean?

4 Points

  1. Meeting Jesus Christ personally, individually, accepting him as Savior and Lord, being united with him in his death and resurrection “Jesus death is mine, his resurrection is mine.” (Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ…”)
  2. Dwelling, staying, remaining IN him and having continual relationship and fellowship with him through prayer, commitment, and full obedience to him (is there this in your life?)
  3. Knowing Jesus more and making him known by testifying and witnessing to others (is there this in your life?)
  4. Becoming more and more continually like Christ in our character, attitudes, purpose, mindset, lifestyle (“Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are IN Christ Jesus…”)

Students are very familiar with examinations. EXAMINE yourself – test yourself. “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you, unless you fail the test?”

Lesson #2: If we are IN Christ, we should be God’s workers

We should do God’s work.

Yes, we work and do something all the time. The question is, are you doing your work or God’s work?

Several times we can see “work” or “workers” repeated:

  1. v. 3 “my fellow workers”
  2. v. 6 “worked”
  3. v. 9 “fellow worker”
  4. v. 12 “work hard, work very hard”
  5. v. 21 “Timothy, my fellow worker”
  6. v. 23 “public works”

If we are in Christ, we should do God’s work. We must be God’s workers (co-workers with each other). God is doing his work through his workers – through all ages. In OT, NT time, and until now, God is doing his work through his workers.

Matt 9 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the Harvest to send workers out into his harvest field.”

Since the beginning of the world, in redemptive history, God did his work through his workers.

  1. The ark – Noah
  2. Feeding the world – Joseph
  3. Delivering people from Egypt – Moses
  4. Felling down the enemy, Goliath – David
  5. Speaking his word – Prophets
  6. Saving the lost – you (and other evangelists)

Yes, Paul was a great man of faith – but he wasn’t a “super man” who did everything himself. He needed co-workers – to provide prayer, financial, emotional support.

He was a friend-maker in the Lord, and partner-maker in the Lord.

Also repeated is “greet” 18x (nearly every verse) and “greeting” 4x.

Church is the body of God, community of believers. It is not simply an organization of people – but it is an organism – with many cells in one body. We need partnership, friendship, loving, support for each other.

  • I need your prayer support, friendship.
  • We all need support from each other.

I’m sure there is SOMETHING you can do – you can make some kind of contribution to make the church the house of God – for maturity and growth and fellowship.

Christian greeting is much more than “hi” and shaking hands. It is welcoming, sharing, and blessing. Especially BLESSING – and feeling and sharing others’ problems and sadness and failure and success, as my own. (Empathy)

Greeting is BLESSING.

Bless as many as possible, as long as you live in this world – greet and bless as many as possible.

Let us take individual time to pray.

Examine yourselves whether you are in Christ or not.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 31 / 2017
  • Comments Off on We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)

We Belong to Each Other (Romans 12:3-8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We Belong to Each Other

Romans 12:3-8 (Pastor Heo)

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


“We belong to each other”

Today is the LAST DAY of this year.

There is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3).

  • Every “today” is the first day of the rest of your life.
  • Tomorrow will soon be called “today.”
  • One day which is called “today” will be called the “last day.”
  • So, “today” is the day of God’s favor.

We are called to be worshipers of God, but we are also SENT into this world. We are not permanent citizens of earth, but permanent citizens of heaven.

“If anyone says in his heart, ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he is a liar.” Our faith in God is verified by the kind of relationships we have with each other.

We belong to each other.

v. 3

“3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

This means: “Know thyself”

Evaluate yourself rightly.

An honest assessment of your abilities – without conceit, without false modesty – is very important for your life.

  • Some Christians even think TOO low of themselves.
  • Other Christians OVER-evaluate themselves.

The key to honest and accurate evaluation is:

knowing the basis of your self-worth IN Jesus Christ.

  • Apart from Christ, we are nothing, and can do nothing.
  • IN Christ, through Him, we are SOMEthing – somebody – we are valuable, and can do everything that God wants us to do by his power.
  1. We are saved by grace; grace is a gift.
  2. We are saved on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the power of his resurrection; this is the greatest gift of God.
  3. We are saved by faith; faith is a gift of God.

We have received sooo many gifts from God.

Here are two lessons:

1. Don’t OVER-rate yourself (know yourself)

Eph 2:9 “It is by grace you have been saved, it is a gift from God…”

1 Cor 1 “Think of what you were (who you were) when you were called: not many of you were wise, not many were noble. God called the foolish things to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong, the lowly things, the despised, to nullify the things that are, so that you may not boast before God.”

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Story (Illustration):

One day, two men went to the entrance of heaven.

  • Angel: “You need 1 billion points to get in. What did you do?”
  • Man 1 (proudly): “Of course! I have a great family background – Christianity, pastor father, elder in the church.”
  • Angel: “OK, 1 point.”
  • Man 1 (less proudly): “I supported so many missionaries, built church buildings, gave lots of money, helped the needy.”
  • Angel: “Not bad, 1 point.”
  • Man 1 (dismayed): “I never missed a single worship service – EVERY dawn, Wednesday, all-night, cell group, Sunday. I offered FULL tithe.”
  • Angel: “Good. 1 point. But your pride, arrogance, self-justification reduces your score by 100. You are below 0.” (to Man 2) “So… what did you do?”
  • Man 2: “I’m not qualified at all. I need mercy, grace, compassion from God. But one thing: I trusted in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead for my life. I just called him my Savior, Master, Lord, King, God. That’s the only one thing I did. Please, don’t look at me, but look at Christ IN me.”
  • Angel: “You have Jesus? Wow ∞ points.”

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

2. Don’t UNDER-rate yourself

Eph 2:10 “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works that he’s prepared in advance for us to do.”

IN Christ, we are capable of MUCH service. Please do not UNDERestimate yourselves if you are IN Christ.

v. 3

“3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

v. 4-5

“4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

We are ONE body – with many parts.

This is true.

Each of us has ONE body as well. In our ONE body, there are so many parts: mouth, neck, nose, eyes, feet, hands. We are a living part of ONE body. Look at your own body. None of these members fight with one another, nor dispute with each other about their relative importance. Each member carries its own function. Each member has its own task to do.

AICF (a Christian church) should be:

  • The church is the BODY of Christ;
  • Christ is the HEAD of the church;
  • each member is a member of the BODY.
  1. A man cannot be a man separated from another man.
  2. Christians cannot be Christians by being isolated from other Christians.
  3. A man can be a man only among men.
  4. A Christian can be a Christian only among other Christians.

1 Cor 12:14-27

“14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

The head exists for the body; the body exists for the head; each member is both a means AND an end to each other.

Here are some letters – the meaning is very biblical (rich in meaning) – there are three.

  1. 나너 (I, you) (nah, nuh) –
    • I and you have HALF in common (as do these letters) – but the two vowels are facing each other. If 나 turns, it becomes 너, and vice versa (나 and 너 belong to each other – 나 is because of 너, and vice versa). I and you are ONE. We are one coin with two sides. This is very biblical.
  2. 人(Chinese symbol for people) (인 – 사람) –
    • without the left side, the right falls down. The right stands because of the left. The sticks (legs) depend on each other.
  3. 來 (Chinese symbol for “come”) (올래) –
    • there are three men hanging from the cross – on the left and right are two small men (two robbers – sinners – this is US, represents humanity), the one large man in the center is Christ. The second meaning is “Come” to Christ to be saved.

v. 6-8

“6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

All things we have and are doing in Christ are gifts. So, we must be humble and recognize our partnership with Christ and in the body of Christ.

  1. Only then can our gifts be used effectively.
  2. Only then can we appreciate others’ gifts.
  3. We must recognize that ALL gifts come from God and that not everyone has the same gifts, nor all the gifts.
  4. We must dedicate our gifts to the service of God – not ourselves.
  5. We must also give our gifts freely and willingly and whole-heartedly.

There are MANY gifts – many that are hidden from the public. Many are quietly serving God.

1 Cor also shows at least 9 other gifts

  • Wisdom,
  • Knowledge,
  • Faith,
  • Healing,
  • Prophesy,
  • Distinguishing Spirits,
  • Speaking in Tongues,
  • Interpreting Tongues

This passage shows 7 – Note: Prophesy (not always predicting the future – in the NT it means communicating the gospel effectively)

  1. Prophets: bold, fearless, articulate
  2. Servers: faithful, loyal, consistent, steadfast
  3. Teachers: logical thinkers, clear, persuasive explainers
  4. Encouragers: know how to motivate others, giving others hope and courage
  5. Contributors (Givers): generous, hospitable, trustworthy
  6. Leaders: good organizers, managers, having impact and influence
  7. Mercy Givers: caring, helping, compassionate hearts

Let me make 4 things clear:

  1. EVERY Christian has received gifts –
    • there is no Christian with no gift – grace, salvation, eternal life, skills, all these things are gifts. Do you know what is your gift? You have received this already. Use it!
  2. There is NO RANK among the gifts.
    • All are necessary gifts – none are superior nor inferior. All are the same in value and rank before God. So, be careful not to emphasize your own gifts, nor minimize the gifts of others.
  3. Gifts are not FRUIT.
    • “The gift of the Holy Spirit” vs. “The fruit of the Holy Spirit” – Gifts are not fruit, not toys, not weapons. Gifts are TOOLS to help BUILD UP the body of Christ. These gifts are given to benefit OTHERS, not ourselves.
  4. Giving gifts is the job of the Holy Spirit –
    • according to his will. We are very passive in receiving our gifts. The Holy Spirit gives according to the will of God. BUT, we have a responsibility to USE, increase, develop our gifts for the good of the body of Christ.

Matt 25 – The Story of the Talents.

There were 3 servants – each received gifts from their Master. One got 5 talents, one 2, the last 1 talent. They were totally passive in receiving, but they had a responsibility to use those gifts.

Two servants put their gifts to work and gained double:

5 doubled to 10, 2 doubled to 4.

The last servant was fearful and put his gift in the ground. He kept it very safe, but he did not put it to use. So he received condemnation from his Master: “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be cast out into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Yes, we have also received gifts.

This is the end of 2017. What have we done with the gifts of the Holy Spirit this last year?

If God gives us another year (from tomorrow) – remember this also is a gift. How will you put God’s gifts to use “tomorrow”? (and next year)

Let us pray to put our gifts to good use in the next year. Let us also give thanks to God for his many, many gifts.

Grace, salvation, faith, Jesus Christ, these are all great gifts from God. Let us give thanks for all these things.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 12 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Saving Faith leads to “God sent” Faith

Romans 10:13-21 (Pastor Heo)

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”


Salvation is easy, simple, free, open, available – but there is a cost. It is not cheap.

Why is salvation FREE, yet so expensive? It’s actually too expensive to pay – it’s priceless. The price for our salvation that God paid = the life of his One and Only Son, Jesus.

Imagine, if you have only one child – son or daughter. For what in this world could you put your only child in the place of death? Nothing. Yet, our Father God put his only child – Jesus – in our place to die on the cross for our sins. And Jesus says, “salvation is like a treasure found in a field, and when a man found it – he sold ALL he had and bought that field.” Or also, “like a merchant looking for a good purse, and when he found one of great value, he sold everything he had and bought that purse.”

This Bible is the same book –

  • yet in one place, it says, “salvation is FREE – you pay nothing for it.”
  • yet, in another place it says, “You must pay ALL you have for salvation.”

So, how can we combine these two seemingly contradictory verses?

  • Free vs. Expensive.
  • Nothing vs. Everything.

I hope we are very clear in this matter – don’t be confused. Yes, salvation is FREE – God paid the price for us already through Jesus on the cross. We have nothing to pay, buy, to receive salvation.

But the Christian life in this world is a holy journey, a pilgrimage – to know, more and more, the true value of salvation.

Which is more valuable? Salvation or ALL your possessions? The Christian life is “the more we understand the value of salvation, the more we want to give and dedicate ourselves to Christ who died on the cross for our sins.”

Yes, I’m convinced I’m saved by the blood of Christ, yet everyday – though I read the Bible and pray everyday, I can’t say I fully know the true value of salvation. But, the more we know, the more we want to dedicate ourselves to it.

v. 13-15

“13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” “

This “good news” is good news of peace and salvation (Isaiah 52:7).

Yes, we are saved and justified only by believing in Christ and confessing with our mouths before men. We retain righteousness through no work, no power, not our own honor, etc.

Many people want to be recognized as “righteous” because they give, serve, read, study MORE. No, no, this is only self-righteousness. Rather, we receive faith, Christ-righteousness only by believing in Christ.

In these verses we see the word “how” repeated 5x.

v. 13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  1. How can they call if they don’t believe?
  2. How can they believe if they don’t hear?
  3. How can they hear without someone preaching?
  4. How can someone preach without being sent?
  5. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Topic today: Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith

If you have saving faith, you are to have “God sent” faith. God sent his Son to this world. And in his intercessory prayer, Jesus repeats two times, “Father, as you sent me, I’m sending them.” At his resurrection, “Peace be with you as the Father sent me.”

Story of Joseph

You are familiar with his story. He was hated by his 10 older brothers because of his dream.

Also Christ was hated by his people, the Jews, for nothing.

One day, his brothers sold Joseph to slave traders from Egypt. Joseph had so many hardships and injustices – even in prison. Yet, through God’s provision and providence, Joseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt (second most powerful man in the most powerful country on earth at that time) – at the age of 30. Can you do this on your own power? No, impossible.

There were 7 years of abundance – so Joseph had the people save enough food for the following 7 years of famine (even neighboring countries suffered). Even Joseph’s father Jacob suffered, so he sent the 10 brothers to Egypt to buy food. And who did they stand before? Their brother Joseph. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him.

The first deal was done, but later they came a second time – and then he revealed himself to them. Can you imagine this? “I’m Joseph! Your brother! The one you sold into slavery!” Imagine, they must have been so fearful. But Joseph said, “Do not fear, do not be distressed. You sold me, but God sent me – to save many lives.” This is the Christian life.

  • Yes, they SOLD Joseph. This is his earthly life story.
  • Yet, his interpretation of this fact was opposite.
  • “God SENT me.” This is his heavenly life story.

Are you Christian? Then you are writing two stories at the same time. You are writing your heavenly life story THROUGH you earthly life story.

  • If we ask, “Why are you here, in Korea, in Jeonju, in AICF?”
  • We can answer, “I got married here / I’m studying here / I’m working here / etc.”

Yes, this is true, but this is our earthly life story. Our heavenly life story is, “Through this earthly life story, I’m here because God SENT me.”

We are living invisible life through visible life, spiritual life through physical life. Only our earthly life is meaningful when it is connected to our heavenly life. Our earthly life is meaningless, vanity, unless it’s connected to the heavenly story.

  • “You sold me, but God SENT me.”
  • “I’m here because God SENT me.”
  • This is the Christian’s heavenly life story.

v. 16-17

“16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Even in the OT, they had heard the good news, but few received it. (quoted from Isaiah 53:1). This is the gospel of the OT. Chp 53 is the “Suffering Messiah” chapter.

Isaiah 53:1-8
“1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. “

  • “by his wounds we are healed”
  • “he did not open his mouth”
  • “he was led by God”
  • John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

These are all fulfilled in the NT

Summary of the fulfillment of these things:

1 Peter 2:21-24
“21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” “

Let us come back to Romans 10:17 (key verse)

“17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. “

  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
  • “Let us fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Within 10 min I will summarize the WHOLE story of the Bible. Please, pray for me. Genesis to Revelation – focusing on THIS verse (Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing”)

There are 12 main characters in the Bible:
But the key mission / ministry is the same:
“To bear witness to Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Ready? Ok, go!

12 main characters have the same mission: “to testify about Christ.”

Yes, there are many jobs in this world, but we must be clear about our #1 job. (This is the conclusion – in advance.)

#1 Bible (first character) –

It says many things about life, society, politics, music, family, etc, but the key mission is to testify about Christ

  • John 20:31 “The Bible is written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that you may have life in his name.”
  • Jesus says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them, you have life, but these are the Scriptures that testify about me.”

#2 Father God

His main ministry is to testify about his son

  • When Jesus was baptized, heaven opened and he said, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was with Moses and Abraham and after they left, heaven opened and God spoke, “This is my Son, in whom I’m well pleased. Listen to him.”
  • Jesus also says, “My Father who sent me into this world testifies about me. To see me is to see him.”

#3 Holy Spirit

The key mission is to witness about Christ.

  • “Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Can you do this? Then you are doing so with the HS power.
  • John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I’ll send to you from the Father, the HS will testify about me.”

#4 Abraham

He had many jobs, but Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John)

  • Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

#5 Moses

The first 5 books of the OT are the books of the Law – written by Moses. Even Moses’ key mission is to testify about Christ.

John – Jesus says, “If you believe Moses, you would believe in me because Moses wrote / testified about me.” Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy are written about Jesus – to show, bear witness, testify about Christ.

#6 David

He is the greatest king in Israel’s history. He is a symbol of Christ. That’s why Jesus came through the family line of David.

  • Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Abraham, David, and Jesus.”
  • Psalm 110:1 “1 The LORD says to my lord:“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.””
    • Lord is repeated twice – but the letters are different.
    • The first LORD is all capital, the second, all lowercase. What is the difference?
      1. Father God is the first – but at that time, they were afraid to call the personal name of God “Jehovah Jireh”
      2. Messiah is the second

That’s why this is repeated in Matt 22:33-34.

  • Jesus quotes this verse and asks, “What do you think about Christ?”
  • They answered, “Son of David” Jesus said, “If so, how does David call Christ ‘Lord’?”

This means that even the key mission of David was to testify about Christ.

#7 All prophets

From Isaiah to Malachi – ALL prophets’ key mission was to testify about Christ.

Acts 10:43 “All prophets in the OT testify about Jesus Christ that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name.”

This is the end of the summary of the OT.

#8 (NT) John the Baptist

His key mission was very important because he was a forerunner for Christ. He pointed at Christ and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! He must become greater and I lesser.”

John 1:4 “In him was life and this life was the light of man. It has shone in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. A man came, sent from God, his name was John. He came as a witness to testify about Christ – that all men might believe in him.”

#9 All apostles (representative: Peter)

Acts 3:15 “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are the witnesses of this.”

After his resurrection, before ascension, Christ said, “You are my witnesses.”

#10 Paul

There is no doubt about Paul as a witness of Christ. 1 Cor 2:4 “I resolved to know NOTHING except Christ and him crucified. I have nothing to boast of except the cross of Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. If I live, I live for Christ, if I die, I die for Christ – so to die is GAIN.”

#11 The Church

No question – the church is the body of Christ.

The church is not a building, it is the PEOPLE of God who confess Christ, “You are Christ, the Son of God.” We are a holy gathering of God’s people who proclaim the same.

  • Jesus says, “On this confession, I will build my church. The gates of hell will never overcome this church. I give the keys of heaven to the church. Whatever is bound by the church will be bound in hell, whatever is loosed by the church will be loosed in heaven.”

This church is in the world, but the world must not be in the church.

#12 YOU (Holy-spirit filled believers)

Your key mission (“be filled with the HS” Eph 5:18 “be wise, do not follow the pattern of this world – be filled with the HS” – check yourselves)

You can check yourself to see if you are pregnant or not. Like this, you can check if you are filled with the HS or not.

  • If you #1 job is to testify about Christ – then you are definitely filled with the HS.
  • But, if it’s not priority #1, you need to be filled with the HS.

Acts 1:8 “When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This is evidence of being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 05 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)

04.05-easter
04.05.2015-PHeo-Easter

Sermon Notes

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The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 

19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


 

Jesus is alive! again!

So, Jesus’ resurrection holds a unique place in Christianity. Christianity is the ONLY religion on earth that bases its foundation of faith on the resurrection of its founder.

Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to our faith and to our salvation – provided for by his death.

In 1 Cor 15, this is the Resurrection chapter.

Paul wrote 13 books, 87 chapters – but THIS chapter is the longest chapter. EVERY line, every verse, every sentence is concentrated on the resurrection of Christ.

Everything in our faith stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus.

Are you Christian? Who is a Christian? One who is united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. Believe his death is “my death” and his resurrection is “my resurrection.”

We can see one very short word repeated many times in almost every verse today: IF (repeated 7 times today). Through these IFs we can see 5-6 negative facts:

  1. (v. 14) IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. (Our gospel is robbed of its joy – the joy would become a funeral dirge?) – What’s the point without the resurrection? There’s nothing to preach.
  2. (v. 14) IF there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain and worthless. All we have we received as a free gift of God – divine childship, justification, sanctification, glorification, salvation, a home in heaven – it’s all worthless.
  3. (v. 15) IF no resurrection, then all witnesses are false – liars and deceivers (essential for apostleship = a witness of the resurrection) – the KEY message of all missionaries, evangelists, preachers, etc is Jesus substituationary death and resurrection
  4. (v. 17) IF no resurrection, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.
    Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Only Jesus is our Savior from sin and death – the wages of sin = death. Only Jesus paid completely and totally the punishment, power, presence, of sin. Only Jesus defeated the LAST enemy, death.
    But IF he didn’t rise from the dead, then he has no more saving power than any other man throughout history.
  5. (v.18-19) IF no resurrection, all who died in Christ are LOST = in hell, and WE are the most miserable – above ALL people in the world – we ought to be the most pitied. 
    Up to today, throughout the world, many Christians have been martyred with only ONE hope – the hope of the resurrection. So, how miserable they are if there is NO hope – if there is NO resurrection.

Isn’t that true?

It is better to be sorrowful for NO hope than sorrowful for FALSE hope.

So, today, I want to share the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ.

Yes, this is a miracle. The kind of evidence needed to prove this fact is the same evidence that we need to prove any other miracle. i.e. reference to the laws of nature cannot apply when the laws of nature are bent (miracles work outside natural laws). So, competent witnesses and other proofs are the most appropriate methods to show the credibility of this fact.

  1. Cause and Effect = the first
  2. Argument from witnesses = the second

Every effect around us has a cause. Without an effect, no cause.

So, if Jesus’ resurrection = a cause, then what are the effects? There are MANY throughout history, but I will share only 4.

1. The empty tomb

The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by many competent witnesses – both friends and enemies, angels, Roman soldiers, women, disciples.

How can we explain this? The angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it, said to the women, “Don’t fear, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, but he is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the very place where Jesus lay.”

2. The Lord’s Day

(Sabbath = Saturday, right?) then why do we worship on Sunday? For us, every day is “technically” the Lord’s day because he created them all, but the first day of the week is the “Lord’s Day” because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

At that time, to keep the Sabbath (Saturday) service had been VERY important. So, who would ever dare to change it? On what grounds could it be changed?

The origin of the Sunday worship service can only be explained by the resurrection.

3. This building

The temple of Jesus Christ – the Christian church – all over the world

There are so many churches all over the world, the Church is a grand institution all over the world. What would the world be without church? Helping ministry, mercy ministry, worship, songs, preaching, etc. Where did this church come from? This is an effect, what is the cause?

The reason Jesus appeared and visited the discouraged and revived the faith of the disciples to send them forth on mission to announce BOLDLY and LOUDLY (the character change of the disciples is also another effect of the cause of the resurrection) the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ – to continue his work and expand his kingdom on earth.

This is HOW the church began. This is why the church is called the “body of Christ” and Jesus is the “head of the Church.”

4. The New Testament

This is the Word of God written in human language for us to understand clearly. For our understanding, the Bible is written in human language. This is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had Christ remained dead, his story ALSO would have remained buried with him. What would be the point to tell such a story of a dead zealot/rebel?

As you know, in the New Testament, his resurrection is spoken of more than 100 times. There are fruits, interpretations, meanings, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the “Book of the Resurrection” – the WHOLE New Testament.

—-

Next, there are the testimonies of the witnesses:

We need three things:

  1. Capable, eye-witnesses
  2. Enough in number (more than 2)
  3. Have a good reputation

All the disciples qualify in these respects. They all said, “We are EYE WITNESSES” – there were at least 12 appearances of Jesus to the disciples. There were MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses to his resurrection.

If only I said, “Wow, I saw a tiger running on the street yesterday.” (But do you trust my reputation?) What if Pastor Brian said that? The same thing. Would it still be difficult to believe? If FIVE people said the same thing, would you believe? What about 10, 50, 100, ALL members of AICF? Would you believe then? Jesus appeared to MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses who testified to his resurrection.

What about their character, human reputation? Yes, we know before the resurrection, many of the disciples were timid, cowardly – Peter denied Christ 3 times at the cross and all the others RAN AWAY returning to their old lifestyles. They lost their faith and hope totally.

Yet, after they met the risen Christ again, these believing disciples became STRONG and TIRELESS believers and they ANNOUNCED his resurrection LOUDLY putting their own lives at risk and DIED as martyrs.

Yes, today, this message remains the same.

The resurrection is our HOPE, our JOY, our HOPE of HOPES.

(v. 58) “STAND FIRM” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Let nothing move you” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” – why? Because Christ has risen. “And we know that our service for the Lord is not in vain” – why? Because Christ’s resurrection is HOPE for us.

Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits (guarantee) for us who believe in him. Only Christ can say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.” Do you believe this? If we believe, then we also believe that Jesus is still guiding us now. If we believe, it means that we are to give our lives to his service – we will also be resurrected into eternal life later.

  • Romans 8 “If the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in you and me, then he will also give you life.”
  • Phil “We want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and sharing in his suffering.”

Why? Without death, no resurrection.

May God bless us with his resurrection joy, power, and HOPE.

Let’s pray.

  • John 11:26 “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will never die…”

We must share in his death and cross. Without these, there is no resurrection nor crown.

  • Oct 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)

10.12

10.12.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Saving Faith is Confessing Christ

Matthew 16:1-19 (Pastor Heo)

The Demand for a Sign

16:1-12pp — Mk 8:11-21

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”Jesus then left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Confession of Christ

16:13-16pp — Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”


 

Jesus taught the disciples about his crucifixion and upcoming death, but they were slow to catch on.

This whole chapter is all about Faith.

4 Kinds of Faith

  1. No Faith (v. 1-4) – Challenging Christ
  2. Little Faith (v. 5-12) –
  3. Saving Faith (v. 13-19/20) – Confessing Christ
  4. Serving Faith (v. 21-28) – Following Christ

Sadducees and Pharisees came together and challenged Christ.

Originally, fundamentally, these two were diametrically opposed – totally different in beliefs, policies, and lifestyles.

  • Pharisees = traditionalists, conservative, legalists, unbelieving religious party looking for self-righteousness
  • Believed in life after death, angel and demons
  • Were waiting and hopeful for the Messiah
  • Sadducees = political, wealthy, small aristocracy, a collaborationist party that cooperated with the Roman govt to keep their wealth
  • Did not
  • Were not

These two groups were so totally different, and yet they united so completely to kill and accuse Jesus Christ.

  • They didn’t lack evidence, but lacked honesty and humility.
  • They were spiritually adulterous and wicked (v. 4)

The sign of Jonah – also previously mentioned in chp 12. In this sign, just as Jonah was 3 days and nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. This is the sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is ENOUGH sign that Jesus is the promised Savior and Lord and King of Kings.

This is ENOUGH sign also for US to believe in Christ.

Parable: Luke 16 – The rich man and the beggar (Lazarus?)

The rich man lived in luxury every day and the beggar laid at his gate. One day, both died. The rich man went to hell. Lazarus went to heaven. This rich man’s name wasn’t written in the Book of Life (so we don’t know it), but Lazarus’ name WAS written there.

The rich man lived on earth for a short time with much – in riches, in luxury. Now, he lives on in hell as a beggar. Lazarus lived on earth for a short time as a beggar, but now lives in heaven in luxury.

The rich man said to Abraham, “Please, send Lazarus to tell my family (5 brothers)!” “No, they have Moses and the Prophets.” “But… if someone comes back from the grave to tell them…” “No, if they didn’t listen to Moses, they won’t listen to Lazarus.”

  1. We have ENOUGH evidence.
  2. We have ENOUGH witnesses.
  3. We have ENOUGH to know.
  • Look around at the houses – you don’t know who built them, but there is some kind of evidence that they WERE built and didn’t just “come to exist.”
  • Look at the sky – at the stars – there is also some evidence that SOMEONE put them there. If they were not put there by a man, then someone wiser than a man must have.
  1. Psalm 119? “The heavens declare the glory of God…”
  2. Romans 1 – ‘Since the beginning of time, God’s power and qualities have been CLEAR and can be understood so that NO ONE can be excused before God.”

#2 – Misunderstanding Christ (Little Faith) – v. 5-12

Spiritual things can be understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

“Oh you of little faith… Don’t you remember the feeding of the 5,000 (Jews) and the 4,000 (Gentiles)? I wasn’t talking about bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus left his confrontation with the Ps and Ss and his disciples went with him, but they forgot bread (and worried). Jesus used this opportunity to teach them about the dangers of the Ps and Ss: the “yeast”. Yeast makes bread grow larger and larger. Meaning: Evil influence, evil doctrine.

In the ministry of Jesus on earth, many people misinterpreted the meaning of his words physically, rather than spiritually. Ex: “You must be born again” to Nicodemus. “How is this possible?” Ex 2: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst, it will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – to the Samaritan woman “Yes, sir! Give me this water so that I don’t have to come to this well again!” Ex 3: “Whoever eats my body and blood will be raised by me at the last day.” – to his disciples “How can we eat him???” Maybe turned away at that point and no longer followed.

Misunderstanding produces little faith. (almost non-faith) – Therefore, “be on your guard” – keep Jesus at the center of your faith.

#3: Saving Faith – Confessing Jesus Christ

At least we must reach THIS level of faith

(v. 13-19)

In the New Testament – this is the first place the word “church” appears (referring to Peter and how Jesus will “build my church upon the Rock”)

Jesus took his disciples to the Gentile territory. Sycerea – near Philippi – it was the center for Baal worship and had many idols. Even the Greek god Pan had its shrines here. When Philip became the ruler here, he named the city Philippi.

Jesus asked “Who do men say I am? Who do you say I am?” Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Isaiah – there are similarities

  1. John the Baptist – STRONG messages – about repentance – “You brood of vipers”
  2. Elijah – omnipotent?
  3. Jeremiah – the weeping prophet, also rejected and despised by his own brothers and nation, a man of sorrows and humility and suffering

These answers are all incorrect, this answer cannot save them. “How about you? What do you think?” “Don’t ask me, ‘How about you?’ ask yourself, ‘How about you (me)?’”

Who do people say Jesus is?

We may think this kind of question is silly – but our personal destiny is determined by the answer to this question. The most important question we should ask ourselves throughout our whole lives is “Who is Jesus Christ to me?”

Peter answered: v. 16 “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

Jesus was pleased and said, “You are blessed.”

Even today, if we confess like this, Jesus will say to us, “You are blessed.”

What is the meaning? Christ (Greek word) = Messiah (Hebrew word) = Anointed One

3 offices were anointed by oil in those days:

  1. Priest (interceding for man to God by prayer),
  2. Prophet (preaching the Word of God),
  3. King (overseeing the people of God and leading them)

All the offices of all the men were merely shadows of the ONE man who would fulfill ALL of them – Jesus. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s self-revelation.

  1. Romans 8 – “He is interceding for us…”
  2. Hebrews 1
  3. Colossians – “All the fullness of the diety in bodily form…”
  4. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – no one can snatch you out of my hands…”
  5. Jesus says continually (v. 17) – “Blessed are you Simon Peter, for this was not revealed to you by man but by God my Father.”

We don’t learn and understand about Jesus through our own personal investigation – it is only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we can get to know him and believe in him.

“On this Rock, I will build my church.”

Who/what is the Rock? NOT Peter himself.

The Rock = a symbol of God (repeated many times in the OT) – this Rock is Jesus Christ himself and the confession of believers who say “You are the Christ and the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “I will build your church” nor “you will build my church” but rather “I will build MY church.” The builder, founder, top-line AND bottom-line of the church (the head pastor) IS Jesus Christ alone. And anyone who confesses Christ as Savior and King is a living STONE that builds HIS church.

What is the church? (this is the first appearance of this word in the NT)

  • Ecclesia – Ec = out of; clesia = congregation/ assembly/ gathering
  • Ecclesia = “calling the people of God OUT of this world to establish the Kingdom of God IN this unholy world”

The gates of Hell (Hades) will never overcome it. (Not Peter, the church). Gates = symbol of power, Hades = symbol of death. This will never overcome the church because JESUS is the holder of the keys and the builder of the church.

“I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” Do you have this key in your pocket?

Jesus (continual truth-teller) says “You have the keys, whatever you bind/loose on earth will be bound/loosed in heaven.”

Today, Jesus is giving this key (the key of salvation) to the church. Jesus died for the church and then trusts the church to open or close the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven. Since his death to his Second Coming = the “Church Age”. During this Church Age, the timeless truth = it is the ONLY church in this age. There are many “institutions” (schools, govts, etc) in this world – but Jesus only died for ONE and only gives the responsibility and power to ONE – the church, his church.

If we confess Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and King “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” then you ARE the church – a member, a living/working stone in this church.

Jesus says, “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven…”

May God bless us with his blessing upon the church.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 20 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Christ Has Risen! – Easter 2014 (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ Has Risen! – Easter 2014 (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)

04.20-easter 

04.20.2014 (Easter) Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

58 Therefore, my dear brother, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


Amen.

God bless us all with his Word. Christ HAS risen from the dead!

That Christ has risen, holds a unique place in Christianity. This is the only religion on earth that places its hope and claims on the resurrection of its founder. Only Christianity does this. SO, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is fundamental to Christianity.

In the New Testament, there are more than 100 instances of the resurrection of Christ being spoken of. Also, it is very essential in the application of our salvation – provided by in his death. So, about his resurrection, much more could be said. But because of limited time, let’s talk about only ONE topic: the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ (good topic).

  • Credibility = the acceptance of fact in a manner that demands fact and belief.
  • Belief upon good authority, reliable facts, and competent witnesses – belief, facts.

This resurrection is a FACT proven by competent facts and deserving full acceptance as a belief. This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity proven by many infallible proofs. So, for the credibility of the resurrection, there are at least TWO arguments:

  1. Argument from cause and effect
  2. Argument from testimony

For example, around us, certain things, conditions, institutions exist today. They are effects of causes or a cause. Every effect has a cause. So, if the resurrection of Christ is a cause, what is the effect?

In church history, there are MANY effects that can be traced to the bodily, physical resurrection of Christ.

#1: The Empty Tomb!

That was an effect. What was the cause? The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by MANY eyewitnesses – including his friends AND his enemies. The women were first, the angels, the disciples, the Roman soldiers – even the Pharisees later said, “Tell them to say the disciples stole the body.”

On that day, in the early morning, the angels came and rolled away the stone, and sat on the stone and spoke to the women who came to annoint his body with oil. “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is NOT here. He has RISEN from the dead. Come and see the place where he (once) lay.” Pointing.

Wow. Pretty strong evidence that he rose from the dead.

#2: Sunday worship services

Sunday is not the original Sabbath (actually that was Saturday). Who would DARE to change this extremely ingrained and protected day? The Jews NEVER celebrated anybody’s birthday – even great men. They only celebrated events – like the Passover.

Strange then that in the New Testament, the Jewish Christians change this century’s old Saturday sabbath into the FIRST day of the week (Sunday). This is a massive effect, a marvelous effect. What was the cause? Why did they do that?

The resurrection of Christ was the cause for the great change in worship to Sunday.

#3: The Christian church – the body of Christ

Are you here now? We know this is a grand and noble institution. Imagine, what would this world be like without church? Churches sing hymns, and worship God, but also provide mercy, grace, help for others, social justice, social ministries. Where did this great institution come from?

It is a glorious effect from the resurrection of Christ. When Christ appeared to the discouraged disciples and restored their hope, they went out with restored faith in their risen Lord. They preached the story of his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming again. And men believed their preaching. And they gathered themselves together to study the Scriptures, and pray, and worship God and preach Jesus to the lost nations. This is how the Christian church was born in this world. It’s cause was the resurrection of Christ. That’s why the church is called “the BODY of Christ.” He is the HEAD of the church.

#4: The Bible – especially the New Testament

If Jesus had NOT been raised. If he’d remained buried, the story of his life and death would have remained buried with him – just like so many other revolutionaries before him. The New Testament is a fact – evidence, proof – of the resurrection of Christ. The New Testament wouldn’t grow out of nothing. But the beautiful story of Jesus life (through the New Testament) grew out of the story of his resurrection. The New Testament is THE BOOK of resurrection.

#5: Testimony of eye-witnesses

Humanly speaking, we need three things to make a trustworthy testimony:

  1. The witnesses must be competent and 1st-hand witnesses
  2. The witnesses must be sufficient in number
  3. The witnesses must have a good character and reputation

All the apostles/disciples qualify in these three. They repeatedly, continually said, “We are eye-witnesses” (and they were witnesses in different places – even up to 500 people at a time – no hallucination can ever be like that).

How many witnesses do we need to make a case today? ONE. Only one eyewitness is enough to prove murder. Two witnesses is OK for a suit against the government. Three is OK for the execution of a Will. In a human court, 7 witnesses is OK for a Spoken (Oral) Will. This is the largest number of witnesses required for court.

But Jesus’ resurrection had OVER 500 witnesses!

Imagine their character and reputation. 12 disciples = we know up until the resurrection they were COWARDS – timid, afraid, even Peter denied him 3 times to a slave girl. And all the others abandoned him and returned to their lives as fishermen when he was arrested.

But, after they saw the risen Lord, they TOTALLY changed – many of them even DIED for him – martyred.

  • The fearful became fearless.
  • The faithless became faithful.
  • They became the tireless preachers of the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
  • They proclaimed/declared his story at the risk of their own lives (what a big change!)
  • ALL of them died a martyr’s death because of the story of the resurrection (they tried to boil John alive, but he lived and wrote Revelation later).

#6: YOU

If somebody asks you about the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection, show yourself.

The resurrection of Christ is the HOPE of ALL hopes.

So, the last verse says, “Stand firm!” because Jesus is risen! “Let nothing move you!” because Jesus is risen! “Always give yourselves FULLY to the work of the Lord!” because Jesus is risen! “And we know that your (our) labor in the Lord is NEVER in vain!” because Jesus is risen! and he has defeated the last enemy – Satan, sin, death, and hell.

ONLY Jesus can say this (John): “I am the resurrection and the life, and he who believes in me will never die but have eternal life.”

God bless us all with assurance and POWER in the resurrection of Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 01 / 2013
  • Comments Off on All About This New Life (Acts 5:12-29)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

All About This New Life (Acts 5:12-29)

12.01

12.01.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Apostles Heal Many

12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

The Apostles Persecuted

17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees,were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”


Previously, Ananias and Sapphira died after lying to the community of believers by falsifying the amount of money they’d received and given after the sale of their property.

Before that, Peter and John had been released from prison by God, and they’d prayed for signs and wonders from God for healing. There were some.

The church agreed to sell and give their money at times to give to the poor among them so that no one would be in need. Barnabas was a good example of this. He sold a field and gave all the money to the apostles.

Ananias and Sapphira also sold a field and tried to give the impression that they were giving ALL the money, BUT, that was a lie. Peter said, “Why has Satan filled your heart with these things?” Ananias fell down dead and three hours later, his wife arrived and lied as well – she also fell down dead.

Great fear came upon the church.

Later in Acts, we read that “great grace was upon them all.”

We’ve all been guilty of hypocrisy, but it was likely the intensity of the power and Spirit of God there that their attitude was taken and dealt with more harshly. It had to be cut out. (I believe they were “promoted to heaven” early before they could do anything else.)

We can’t just emphasize the LOVE of God without also emphasizing his HOLINESS. He has a HOLY love. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, the beginning of wisdom.

Jesus delighted in that – in Isaiah we read that he was filled with and walked in the fear of the Lord. Is this enslaving fear? No, perfect love casts out all fear. There is, however, a reverence for God. A fear of grieving Him, of walking outside of His will, it keeps us from evil.

Ananias and Sapphira ignored that fear and paid the price ultimately.

The atmosphere of the early church was charged with grace and now also with this kind of fear.

In v 12, the apostles performed many signs and wonders.

A&S didn’t repent, Peter gave them a chance, so they were killed. There was a holy fear, holy awe both in and OUT of the church after this.

Luke, the writer of Acts uses “ecclesia” for the first time in the book – this is the Greek word for “church.” He uses it to describe both the local and the universal church. This is a different word from “synagogue.” It actually means, a citizen’s assembly. These are the citizen’s of heaven – so it is appropriate here.

Church sometimes has bad meanings that ecclesia doesn’t.

  1. Do we “go” to church? We are the church. We GO.
  2. Is the church the building? We are the church.

Luke writes that the apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. Earlier they’d prayed that God would do this. A&S’s deaths were also examples of supernatural powers (this was a negative example among many positive examples). In fact, the supernatural powers of God were so great that if people merely lay under Peter’s shadow, there were ALL healed. Imagine that. People lining the sides of the street…

It was in this atmosphere that people were healed.

Jesus had also said that the apostles would do greater works than he had. In fact, even just the amount of the converts on Pentecost was greater than Jesus’ work previously. But, it was Jesus’ spirit in them that enabled that.

When a woman came asking Jesus for help for her daughter, Jesus tested her faith. “It’s not fit to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” She responded well, “But it’s OK for the dogs to eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” She wasn’t a Jew, she wanted the crumbs from the Master’s table – Jesus was pleased with her faith and said, “Go, the demon is out of your daughter.” This was an instance of a distance healing.

In Acts 19:11, through Paul, God did extraordinary miracles through Paul – just by touching a handkerchief he touched, people were healed.

The church now regularly meets in Solomon’s Colonnade – a part of the temple. And they are held in such awe and reverence that “no one dared join them.” (v. 13). No one was willing to pretend to believe unless they actually did. They’d seen what had happened to others.

Yet, more and more DID believe and were added to their numbers. There were some whose minds and hearts were opened and who joined the community.

William Barclay: “Of the others, no one dared to meddle with them – interfere without invitation.”

v. 16 – Gospel is spreading to the towns around Jerusalem and is advancing into all of Judea. But the effectiveness of the words and deeds of the apostles causes the religious leaders to become jealous and take action.

The High Priests and the “Sad You Sees” arrested the apostles – ALL of them and put them in the public jail. Essentially, they are being punished for the (Counsel’s) order to not preach in Jesus’ name. Yet, another miracle happens – the doors are opened by angels – and they tell them to go BACK to the temple and continue preaching about this “New Life”.

The new life has a present and a future tense.

  • Future: resurrection – some to eternal life (great for those who believe) some to eternal condemnation (not so hot).
  • Present: those who believe begin a literal NEW life RIGHT NOW. They grow in faith, the fruit of the Spirit, try to go away from sin and toward God.

1 Corinthians 15: “Now brothers I want to remind you of the gospel which I preached and on which you’ve believed…if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you, and haven’t believed in vain.”

The new life also means the “after-conversion” life. They are buried with Jesus in his death (in baptism) but are also raised with Christ in his resurrection (Romans 6:4). “We too may live a new life.”

Do we have that new life? How do we get it?

By believing that Jesus was the Son of God, came to earth to die for our sins, to be a substitutionary attonement for our sins, to grant us forgiveness for our sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life forever after. And to continue believing that.

We begin the life of faith by believing, we live the life of faith by belief, and we end the life of faith by belief.

In the Counsel, someone rushes in and says “Hey guys! Those guys! Preaching to other guys!”

An angel set them free and they are back making more trouble in the temple. So, the religious guys go from the temple, to the jail, back to the temple, back to jail – they aren’t there, back to the temple, arrest them AGAIN (they don’t resist) and the religious leaders are concerned that they are being singled-out for the death of Jesus “The apostles are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Apostles, “No, no, no, it’s all about repentance man!” They say, “we should obey God rather than men.”

Communion next. Let’s prepare our hearts. Examine your hearts so that we can partake worthily of the elements that represent the body and blood of Christ.

  • 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)

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Sermon Notes

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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