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  • Mar 31 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Take Courage!
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Take Courage!

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 22:21-23:11 (Pastor Heo)

[Review last week]

The crowd was angry at Paul and mobbed him.

A Roman commander came and arrested him and started to take him away to calm the mob.

Paul asked to speak to the crowd, so the commander let him.

He spoke in Aramaic, so the commander didn’t understand – except that he riled up the crowd again.

He commanded Paul be taken and flogged.

“Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen?”

Surprised, the commander said, “I paid lots of money for my citizenship.”

Paul, “I was born one.”

Eventually, the commander handed him over to the Sanhedrin to deal with this.

[/Review]

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Paul the Roman Citizen

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Before the Sanhedrin

30 The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

23:1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?”

5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'”

6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

**11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” **


Now we see the picture:

Paul is standing before the Sanhedrin – much as Jesus once did. Jesus’ apostles Peter, James, and John were also there, and now here is Paul.

Look at how many great opportunities they had to be saved, but they missed them all.

v. 1

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, ‘My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.'”

“Conscience” is one of Paul’s favorite words. (here and 24:16 “I did my best to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”) – He also mentioned this word 20 times in his epistles.

Conscience is the inner witness that approves when we do right and disapproves when we do wrong. It does not make the standards, it only applies the standards of any person – right or wrong, good or bad.

Conscience can be related to a window. God’s Word is the light. The cleaner the window, the more light shines in.

  • Good / pure consciences are those that let God’s light in so that we are properly convicted when we do wrong and encouraged when we do right.
  • Defiled consciences are those that have been sinned against so much, they become unreliable. These consciences become evil, seared consciences.

Imagine this situation with Paul. This is the Supreme Court.

Usually, when addressing the court, they will bow, and address, “Rulers of the people, and elders of the nation…” But Paul said, “My brothers…” – he put himself on equal footing with the court.

Due to this initial address, they were so angry. The High Priest ordered he be struck!

Paul said, “God will strike you! You sit in the seat of the Law, but violate that Law!”

Others, “He’s the High Priest.”

Paul, “Ooops, sorry, didn’t know that.” (is this truth or a lie? we don’t actually know)

Then, in THIS situation, he began his defense again.


To the crowd, he shared with his personal experience.

Now, to the court, he shared with his faith, in the resurrection of the dead.

  • According to their doctrine, Sadducees were “sad, you see” and didn’t believe in spiritual things – they only believed in the visible, secular world.
  • But the Pharisees believed in spirits, and angels, and the resurrection of the dead.

So, there became an uproar in the court over this, and Paul was again in the middle of it. He was taken out by the guards and thrown again into the dark barracks.

Imagine how Paul would feel in this situation. This was one of the darkest nights in Paul’s life. Paul was emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausted and humiliated – he was completely alone and disheartened.

In this situation (we also can become like this) Jesus himself stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!”

v. 11

“11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” “

This story is similar to the story in the OT with Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego. When these three spoke BOLDLY and the king threatened to throw them into the fire, the three said to him, “King! We do not defend ourselves before you only. God is able to rescue us from this fire! But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know that we will never serve your gods, nor bow to the image of gold you have made!”

They were thrown into the fire, and the guards who took them close died from the heat. The king looked in, and saw FOUR! men. He’s an unbeliever, but he saw four men walking through the fire, unbound, unharmed. The fourth man looked like a Son of God.

(This is another pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ in human history.)

John 1:14 – We know that Jesus was incarnated as a baby.

But here, in the OT, we also see the incarnation of God.

And again, Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever – stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage!”

This same sentence is still being spoken by Christ to us today~ but some hear and others don’t here.

There are 5 times in the NT this encouragement is spoken by Christ. In all situations, it is ONLY Jesus Christ who said, “Take heart, take courage.” Only Jesus has the right to say this to us.

  1. To the bedridden paralytic – “Take heart! Your sins are forgiven.”
  2. A woman, subjected to bleeding for 12 years – touched his cloak (he knew who) – “My daughter, take heart! Your faith has healed you.”
  3. To his terrified disciples, on the stormy sea, Jesus approached by walking on the water (they thought it was a ghost) – “Take courage! It is I!”
  4. On the night before his crucifixion, in the upper room – “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in me.” (Also in John – “Take heart! For I have overcome the world!”)
  5. Here in Acts – to Paul

All of these are only said by Jesus.

If I say to you, ‘Take courage’ it will have a minor impact. But if CHRIST says this to you – directly, strongly – it will have a MAJOR impact on your life – because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  1. So, HOW can we listen to his living voice today, now and here?
  2. A: Through his Word.
  • John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word… we have seen his glory…”
  • Romans 10 “Do not say in your hearts, who will ascend or descend to bring Christ to you? The Word is near you – in your mouth, in your heart.”

We can hear his Word through the Bible.

Also, in the OT, God said to Joshua this same message – multiple times, “Be strong and VERY courageous!”

  • Joshua “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
  • Psalm 1:2 “Blessed is the man who meditates on the word of the Lord day and night…”

HOW can we meditate on the Word of God?

We already know (in our hearts).

Do you know how to worry? You think about it all the time, all the ins-and-outs, all the bad possibilities. You are meditating on your worry…

If you think about something over and over in your mind – this is meditation.

  • If you think negatively over and over in your mind, this is worry. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.
  • If you think about the Word of God over and over in your mind, this is meditation.

Merely shift your attention from your PROBLEM -> The WORD of God. The MORE you meditation on the Word of God, the less you will worry. (Your mind cannot think about both things at once. Whichever you meditate on will fill your thoughts.)

Romans 8:34 “Who is it that condemns us? Jesus Christ is sitting on the right hand of God and interceding for us.”

TAKE COURAGE!

There are three messages here:

  1. Message of Courage (encouragement)
  2. Message of Commendation (praise) – “As *you have* testified about me in Jerusalem” – Jesus did not rebuke him for no (obvious) fruit, but Jesus praised him for his ministry. Remember, there is NO failure in our preaching the gospel to this world – because preaching the gospel ITSELF is success.
  3. Message of Confidence – “You *will go* to Rome.” (You will not die before you finish your mission)

Are you servants of Christ? Then you have a mission – given to you by Christ. And the servants of Christ are immortal until your task is DONE. No servant of Christ dies until his / her task is done – that which is given by Christ.

“Take courage” has so many messages

  • …because I’m with you.
  • …because I care for you,
  • I’m responsible for you, your life,
  • I will do my job through you,

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 18 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Our Mission is Good News (Acts 14:20-28)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Our Mission is Good News (Acts 14:20-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Our Mission is Good News

Acts 14:20-28 (Pastor Heo)

20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.


We don’t know how long this “sabbatical” was for the two. Our sabbatical will happen in heaven – not on earth.

These two chapters are the story of Paul and Barnabas’ First missionary journey. They were constantly on the move to multiple cities through the region.

Last Sunday, what happened at Lystra? Paul healed a crippled man by the power of Christ. After this, the crowd thought they were gods. So they wanted to worship P&B by offering them sacrifices. But they shouted “NO!” tearing their clothes and said, “We too are only men like you.” At this moment, their worshiping attitude turned to anger and they stoned Paul and left him for dead.

This is human nature.

Also with Jesus, he understood how fickle the crowd could be. In his earthly ministry, many people watched many signs he did, but he never entrusted himself to the crowd because he knew what was in men’s hearts.

Yes, when people praise us and recognize us, we feel proud, but we must not allow this to cloud our judgment. Do not put your trust in the crowd – it is so changeable and fickle. So:

“Trust in God with all you heart.. in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Jesus says, “Trust in God, trust also in me.”

So, Paul was thrown out of the city, but when the disciples gathered around him, they were overjoyed to see him rise again. Then they immediately re-entered the hostile city, and the next morning, they left for Derbe (the last mission field in this missionary journey.)

v. 20-21

“20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. 21 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,”

Derbe is the next city east of Lystra (small city). As usual, the first thing P&B did in the city was preach the “good news” (gospel).

Missionary’s priority #1 is to preach good news all the time. Also, this is my priority. And if you are a true Christian in this world, then your priority is also to preach the good news.

Only good news can win souls to Christ. What is this good news? “Good news of great joy for all the people at the same time for eternity.” – this is the death and resurrection of Christ.

This is a strange story actually.

The story of “death” is “good”? Can you say this? Even if my enemy dies, we cannot say this is “good news” to me.

But in the world, there is no religion that says the death of its founder is good news. Christianity is the ONLY one that says this. Can you say that the death of Christ is “good news”?

Why? Why and how is this possible?

If your parents die, can you say this is “good news”? No.

But there are billions of reasons the death of Christ is good news (actually, you are one).

This time, finishing their missionary journey, let me share 7 reasons why the death of Christ is good news.

7 Reasons why Jesus’ Death is “Good”

#1 Jesus died for others

Evidently: Jesus did not die for his own sins – he died for others. “Jesus died just for me.” He bore the punishment for our sins in his body on the cross.

“God demonstrated his own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“By his wounds we have been healed.”

His death is the substitutionary death for our sins (propitiation).

That’s why the day he was crucified is called “Good Friday.”

#2: Satisfied God’s justice

His death fully satisfied the demands of God’s Law and his justice.

The death of Christ is not only the satisfaction of the justice of God, but also the requirements of his Law. The transgression of that Law brings with it a punishment – but we can never meet the requirements of the Law. But Jesus met these requirements fully.

Romans 10:4 “Jesus is the end (fulfillment) of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

#3: Gives us forgiveness of sin

Do you need this?

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans) – spiritual and physical death.

This means everybody needs forgiveness of sin – and only his death gives us this forgiveness. The IMMEDIATE result is forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews: “The Law requires that everything be cleansed with blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no cleansing. But the blood of Christ cleanses our sins…”

“If you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

This is good news to you and me!

#4: Removes the wrath of God

God is holy – too holy to see sins.

Habakkuk 1:13 “God’s eyes are too pure to look upon sin.”

God cannot tolerate any kind of wrong. Thus, there is wrath of God against sin and against the sinner.

Eph 2 “We were by our very nature, the objects of wrath.”

John 3:36 “Whoever rejects Christ cannot see eternal life because the wrath of God remains on him.”

Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed against all men who suppress the truth.”

Only the blood of Christ can cover / remove the wrath of God against us.

1 John 2 “Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins.”

Imagine, if the wrath of God remains on my head, can I live in peace? No!

#5: Reconciles us to God

“Be reconciled to God.” the Bible admonishes us.

We need reconciliation (회복) – the restoration of relationship with God.

The idea of reconciliation is like this:

Gen 1, 2 before the Fall of Man.

There are more than 1,000 chapters in the Bible (1,069?).

In only 2 chapters, God and man (Adam) stood face to face in perfect relationship. But, in sinning, man turned his back to God and walked away.

Then, in his sadness, God turned his back on man and was sad.

Now, only the death of Christ has satisfied the demands of the Law. So, now God has turned his face back toward man and is waiting. This is the invitation of God. It is now up to man to turn back around to be reconciled with God.

#6: It gives us the ministry of reconciliation

2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation: the old has gone, the new has come.”

2 Cor 5:18 “All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Remember, if you are reconciled to Christ, you have received the ministry of reconciliation.

Thus, we must say that preaching the gospel is our priority #1.

#7: God declares us righteous

Do you have a bank book? Check it.

When you believe in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is “transferred” into your “bank book.” (A full account!)

Then, God declares us righteous through Christ’s resurrection.

Finally, we can say his death is good news because he rose again from the dead!

v. 21b, 22-25

“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.”

Attalia is a sea port in Perga – to sail to their home base (Antioch).

After finishing their final ministry in Derbe, they went to Perga to return to their sending church. And on their returning, they backtracked, retraced their steps.

  1. Derbe (end of journey)
  2. Lystra (Paul had been stoned)
  3. Iconium (almost stoned)
  4. Pisidia (expelled)

What courage!

They went back home through a hard way, willingly. Yes, they knew the dangers they faced before. They knew the dangers, but why did they go then?

Even though they knew of these dangers, they had a responsibility to encourage the new believers there.

Lesson: No matter how uncomfortable or dangerous the task, we must always encourage new believers who need our help. We should have a clear strategy to help them grow in faith.

Paul: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Can you say this to new believers?

Two purposes to revisit these former mission fields:

1. Strengthen new believers in the things of Christ and encourage them to remain in the faith

(continuation is strong proof of faith in Christ “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”) If we have real faith, we must show our faithfulness to Christ.

Remember, living a Christian life in this world, I can say like this to you and me: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Because this world is sinful and adulterous and ruled by Satan. Around us, we have all seen good, faithful Christians who are going through hard times.

Sometimes even dedication to Christ, commitment often brings us face-to-face with MORE difficulties than if we live only for ourselves without commitment to Christ. And Paul? If he had aimed lower, he would not have experienced such a variety of pains and sorrows, BUT he also would not have been used so powerfully by God.

Remember, Jesus did not save us to make our lives easy. He saved us to make us great, strong, powerful.

He did not save us to follow the pattern of the world, but to fight the pattern of the world. He made us fighters.

Thus, everyone who wants to live a godly life, will be persecuted.

“If the world hates you, remember it hated me first.”

“Take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

Romans: “If you are children of God you are heirs and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. These sufferings on earth are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

“We can do all things through him who gives us strength.”

v. 26-28

“26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples. “

After returning home, they gave their mission report. They reported the work God had done through them – they reported the blessings joyfully to the church.

Maybe this was the first “missionary conference” in history.

From this conference, we must learn some lessons.

v 27 – in their mission report, P&B did not say, “We did this for God…” – they were not the subject (주어) in this story – they made God the subject “God did this through us…” – also in our testimony and mission report should be like this. “God did this through me…”

Another amazing thing is that P&B did this great job without the modern missionary tools we have today (cars, computer, KakaoTalk, smartphones, …)

In mission history, some believers have done SO much with so little. But other Christians have done SO little with so much. (These are two kinds of missionaries).

Remember, one day, we will stand before God, face to face, to give our mission report.

“A man is destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.”

Revelation “Behold, I am coming soon. My reward is in my hand and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

Just like P&B, we will give this report to God. As long as we live, our priorities will be reordered.

God bless you to be missionaries.

Let’s start the Second Missionary Journey next time.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 11 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Be a Christian of Courage (Acts 14:1-20)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be a Christian of Courage (Acts 14:1-20)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be a Christian of Courage

Acts 14:1-20 (Pastor Heo)

In Iconium

1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the good news.

In Lystra and Derbe

8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.


  • Chp 13 = first half of first missionary journey
  • Chp 14 = second half of first missionary journey

In Paul’s early ministry, he went to large cities and planted churches, hoping to reach out to smaller cities from the central locations. He moved along the line of least resistance – through the open gates – and went to his own countrymen first. But when rejected, he turned to the Gentiles.

Chp 13, first half, Paul and Barnabas sailed to Cyprus, to Pamphilia, to Pisidia Antioch. Here, there were filled with joy and the HS, but they still encountered hardships and persecution. They also expelled Paul and Barnabas from their region – so the two shook the dust form their feet and moved to another place: Iconium (in chp 14 here) – about 90 miles east of Antioch.

v 1-5

“1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.”

v 1: “Paul and Barnabas went as usual…”

They went into the Jewish synagogues (Jewish churches). Israel was ruled by Rome at that time, and the Jews were scattered all over the world (the Diaspora), and when they scattered, they built “sune – goge” (synagogues) wherever they went.

Greek “sune” = “together”; “goge” = “bring”

This was a religious, social, public building specifically set aside for the Jewish people.

The first thing Paul did was look for a synagogue because he knew he could meet many people there.

Today, there are 10s of thousands:

  • about 10,000 synagogues in Israel,
  • 4,000 in North America,
  • 3,500 in Europe and Asia

Paul and Barnabas began preaching there, but they ran into difficulties – more serious than at Antioch. Greeks and Jews were plotting to stone them, so they had to move on.

In Corinthians, Paul writes, “I have been constantly on the move…”

2 Cor. 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life maybe expressed through ours.”

v 6-7

“6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the good news.”

Whatever happened to them, whatever circumstances / surroundings, Paul and Barnabas continued to preach the gospel. Paul was a realist but also an optimist.

Are you a realist? Optimist? Pessimist?

Some preachers say like this:

  • Optimist: “85 year old man who married a 35-year old woman and moved to a 12 room house near an elementary school”
  • Optimist does not allow the facts surrounding him to take away his faith, vision, etc that something great can happen.

Remember Paul’s declaration from prison: “I know what it is to be in need, or to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in all circumstances: well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13)

Four reactions to the gospel

How are you showing your reaction to the word of God?

1. A crippled man’s response

v 8-10

“8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”

As usual, Paul preached the gospel message – and among the audience was a crippled man.

He reacted with faith

The Word of God produces faith and by faith, he was healed.

This also should be applied in our own reaction to the Word of God. At least every Sunday, we receive the Word of God and we should react by faith.

Rom 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God.”

Heb 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith.”

2. Crowd’s reaction

v 11-13

“11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.”

The crowd tried to worship them as though they were the visual representation of gods.

Yes, miracles happen. Our lives are miracles. Salvation is the miracle of miracles.

But we know that miracles by themselves do not produce confession nor faith. Miracles must be accompanied by the Word of God.

This shows the crowd was superstitious and interpreted these things through their own mythology.

  • Zeus = Jupiter = Barnabas = chief of gods
  • Hermes = Mercury = Paul

Do you know how many gods in Japan? 8,000,000

How many in Hindu? ALL

This is “pantheism” = ALL gods

Barnabas evidently looked older, had a more noble appearance. Paul spoke for the two – and Hermes was the messenger of all gods, so that was Paul’s “unofficial” title.

What lesson can we get? Even today, Jesus is made a captive of man’s presuppositions – they do not REALLY understand Christ.

What they think, what they want him to be like, they create him as such.

  • Long ago, in the room in the inn in Bethlehem, there was no room –
    • but today, we have mansions, but no room. To many people, just is just a hero, a teacher, a priest, a culture, but not the Lord of their lives.
  • When Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly on Palm Sunday, so many people were delirious shouting “Hosannah! The King to come!”
    • But when Jesus spoke of his coming death, they became full because this did not fit their preconceived notion about him. Only days later, the SAME crowd shouted “crucify him!”

This is the same in this adulterous, unbelieving world today.

  • Yes, almost everyone will receive Christ as the greatest man who ever lived – he is the supreme psychologist of history – the most important man of all time. He is safe, and soft, and mild, and gentle.
    • But they reject him as personal Savior, Lord, God.

How about us today? We Christians often wear blinders as we read the Bible. We only see what we seek. We find our own preconceived ideas.

It is only with God’s help and the illuminating power of the HS that we can see the truth.

Another thing we can get from this attitude: (this is a basic weakness in our attitude): We often exalt the messenger instead of the message itself.

Check yourself, when you receive the sermon every Sunday, do you receive the messenger or the Message? This is a serious and important point.

We have a tendency to make human beings (rather than God) our security. We have a tendency to have our own Christian pantheism. Yes, we “know” God hates idol worship the most and we “try” to go away from idols. But we can also have “Christian idols.” So with God’s help, we must examine our hearts to see:

WHOM am I worshiping?

Are we worshiping ourselves? Our favorite Internet preacher? A Christian author? Entertainer? Or do you worship and serve Christ himself?

In the next response, P&B make it very clear whom we should serve.

How about this? If you do something great in public and the people exalt you and honor you, what attitude should you have?

3. Apostles’ response to the crowd

v 14-18

“14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they *tore their clothes*[expression of repentance, sorrow, anger] and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. “

If somebody glorifies you, tear your clothes and run away. ….

Yes, we must desire that one day God will glorify us – this is our final hope – that we share in the glory of Christ. But we should reject any kind of glory in this world from human beings.

What a great temptation this must have been for them – even Satan knew it.

How easy it would be to accept this kind of worship. They could rationalize it by saying, “Well, OK, we will accommodate them and THEN point them to the true God.” They could say, “We will use this honor to teach them the truth.” But this is not the way of God.

It is to their credit that they did not receive any kind of glory from men. They boldly told them that the gods of this area were nothing. “All kinds of gods made by men are nothing / worthless.” They cannot speak, hear, see, – they are just ideas out of man’s head.

Paul challenged them: “Turn away from your fake gods to the TRUE God.”

This is true / basic / fundamental repentance that should happen once for all in our lives.

This God is the Living God. Do you believe in a living or dead god? Living, Sustaining, Supporting, Forgiving, Self-revealing God.

Also we should follow and worship this God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

4. Mixed reactions

v. 19-20

“19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”

They moved to the next small city the next day.

P&B tried to calm the crowd, but some trouble-making Jews came from Iconium and Pisidia Antioch to stir up the crowd.

  • At Antioch, they expelled P&B.
  • At Iconium, they TRIED to stone P&B, so they fled.
  • Now, in Lystra, maybe the same people came and DID stone Paul.

They thought he was dead (so he was almost dead – he was not a pretender). When they realized what they had done, they were afraid. Iconium was a Roman colony, and Lystra was an outpost. But stoning a Roman citizen (Paul) without trial was terribly illegal. They were afraid, thought he was dead, and they dragged his half-dead body out of the city and threw it away in order to escape the consequences of their riot.

A stoning is a terrible, bloody thing. Have you ever been stoned?

Jesus was crucified. This is a historical fact. Jesus was crucified to give us eternal life. Have you ever received even a single stone for Jesus Christ?

“Jesus was crucified for me. Have I ever been stoned for Jesus?”

Maybe at this time, Paul’s mind flashed back to the stoning of Stephen. At that time, Paul was there, approving of the stoning of Stephen.

In this case, they did the same to Paul. Paul was lying in a lonely place with blood, dust, dirt, his clothes torn, he was motionless.

At this time, the Christians came and stood around him, likely crying, weeping, praying. “How can we give him a funeral, a burial?” But suddenly, one eye “popped” open and he said, “It’s alright.” They said, “Paul, how are you?” “Fine, thank you. And you?” And he got up.

When he came to his senses, the FIRST THING he did was go right back into the city in which we was almost murdered. What bravery! What an act! This much pain and blood must have been quite a spectacle. This was more effective than 1,000 sermons. No one could stop P&B from preaching about Christ – because they KNEW that Jesus died “for me.”

  • Do you have this kind of courage?
  • Do you have bravery to preach the gospel?
  • Do you have courage to share the gospel message?

Today, we need this kind of courage and bravery.

  • Courage = “not the absence of fear, but the ability to be VERY afraid, and still do the right and good thing anyway”
  • Courage and “fearlessness” are not synonyms
  • Courage = doing the right thing in spite of GREAT fear

Even Christ encourages us to “be courageous” – “You will have troubles of many kinds, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”

OT and NT, God encourages us to be “strong and courageous.” (Joshua in the OT)

Be a Christian of Courage.

Challenge and encourage yourself.

We need this kind of courage in this world.

Remember Jesus was historically, truly crucified – have you ever received a stone for him?

This is our big blessing, responsibility.

God bless us. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 17 / 2018
  • Comments Off on I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak

Acts 4:13-22 (Pastor Heo)

4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


Persecution starts. The Sanhedrin had put Peter and John in jail, and the next day questioned them. The Sanhedrin was like the Supreme Court of that day.

  • And they questioned them, “By what name do you do what you did?”
  • Peter and John said, “by the name of Jesus whom you crucified.”
  • Then the Sanhedrin conferred together to decide what to do with them. They came to them again and said, “Anyway, do not preach or perform miracles in this name again.”
  • Peter, “If you are judges, judge for yourselves. Which is right? To obey you or to obey God?”

In everything, we are judges – we must choose one of two ways.

  • Peter said, “We cannot stop preaching what we have heard, what we have seen.”

Actually, the Sanhedrin wanted to kill Peter and John, but they couldn’t do anything to them – because outside (over 5,000) people were praising God because of their work and preaching.

  • They threatened them again, “If you do this again, you will be killed.”

Last verse says the man’s age was over 40. Let’s read once more.


v. 13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were *astonished* and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John had great courage. Do you? Even today, we need courage. Yes, we know how cowardly Peter was only a few months before, but now he’s become such a courageous and fearless man. They were shocked.

This courage is possible because they were filled with the HS. Today to be powerful and effective witnesses for Christ, we need courage. Even in the secular world, to be successful, we need courage.

There are 3 kinds of courage.

1. Reckless courage –

we don’t know what will happen, we are unaware of the consequences.

2. Fearless courage (convinced) –

Yes, we are aware of the possible difficulties and dangers, but we also know there is something else beyond those dangers.

3. Decisive courage (resolute) –

Sometimes, courage does not mean “fearlessness” – actually, it may include GREAT fear, but a decision to DO what must be done and do it.

The courage of Peter and John now was “fearless courage”. How can we have courage? Do you want to be powerful effective witnesses for Christ? Then we need courage.

The best courage is fearless courage because we know there is something greater, beyond earth, heavenly reward. So, to have this courage, we need 4 things.

4 Necessities for courage

1. Pray – and your courage will increase

Phil 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.”

2. Proclaim God’s promises to yourself

“Whoever acknowledges me, I will acknowledge, whoever disowns me, I will disown.” Jesus

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear. I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I will strengthen you, I will uplift you with my righteous right hand.”

Yes, we need to proclaim the Word of God to others, but we also need to apply it and proclaim it to ourselves.

3. Fear God

Fear God to fear nothing.

If you fear God fully, you will never fear anything in this world.

“The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.” – Proverbs

“Do not fear those who can kill the body, but not the soul. Rather, fear the one who can throw both soul and body into hell.”

The secret to be free from fears is to fear God – because he is maker and creator of all things.

4. Believe what Jesus has been doing and that there will be a reward from him

If we believe what he has been doing, past, present, future, then we will be free from all kinds of fears.

Yes, he died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

“God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“… Christ died for the ungodly”

Romans “Therefore, there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (in Christ theology)

If we are Christians, children of God, then we are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ. If we share in his sufferings, we may share in his glory. The present sufferings are nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed.

Rev “Behold I am coming soon.” – Jesus said 3 times. “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

If it is true that Jesus is God become man and died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our salvation and justification, then, no matter how much we do for him, we cannot do too much for him.

In this story, we can see Enemies attack, Christians defend. We also experience this in spiritual war. In this case, we should have our defense. What kind of defense?

Enemies’ attack: 2 characteristics

1. Contempt

v. 13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and **realized that they were unschooled [ignorant], ordinary men [laymen without special professional qualifications], they were astonished** and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

They had no learning in the regulation of the Law.

i.e. The Sanhedrin regarded Peter and John with contempt: as ignorant and non-professional – no certifications or fancy letters at the end of their names.

But “in Christ” provides a certain (real and holy) dignity that no special qualifications or titles can give.

2. Threats

v. 21 “After **further threats** they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.”

We must remember that what men do to us are only temporal – but the things of God are eternal.

The things of Man are temporal, but the things of God are eternal.

In the face of these attacks from the enemies, Peter and John had 3 defenses.

3 Defenses against enemy attacks

1. The defense of unanswerable fact

The man who was lame was healed. They couldn’t deny it.

The most unanswerable fact of Christianity is a Christian man or woman – the changed life of a Christian.

2. Total loyalty to Christ

If they had to choose between obeying man or God, Peter and John would have no question which path to take.

“The trouble with so many people today is that the voice of their neighbor sounds so much louder than the voice of God.”

Yes, we have 2-3 voices in our lives:

  1. The voice of God
  2. The voice of Satan

[also, the voice of neighbors – and our own voice]

  • The voice of God in Genesis: “If you eat this fruit, you will surely die.”
  • The voice of Satan in Genesis: “God is a liar. If you eat this, you will be like God. God wants you to be unhappy.”

Yes, even today, the voice of God (or Satan) can come through the voice of our neighbors. That’s why we need to be wise, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • Satan: “Do what seems safe, easy, comfortable, gives glory to yourself.”
  • God: “Do what is right, true, good, glorious to Christ.”

3. (Greatest defense): Personal experience of Jesus Christ

Peter and John’s story of Christ: they knew first hand that it was true and sure – and they were willing to stake their lives on it.

5 Points as real lessons for application in our lives

1. God is LONG-suffering with lost sinners

The religious leaders had rejected:

  1. John the Baptist
  2. Jesus

So, God gave them another opportunity to repent and be saved. So, we must also give thanks to God for his patience and long-suffering with us. We need patience when we witness to this world.

2. True witness involves bad news of sin and guilt as well as the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ

Remember, there can be no true faith in Christ if there is not first repentance of sin. We are preaching the good news of salvation, but when we preach this wonderful good news, we must also preach the bad news of sin and guilt so that they may truly receive the good news.

Without the bad news, they cannot truly experience the good news.

3. Whenever God blesses, Satan appears.

Are you blessed? Satan appears to oppose the work, to silence the witness. Even today, sometimes Satan uses religious people to do his job.

In this story, the same crowd who opposed the ministry of Christ is also opposing the ministry of the apostles, and Satan today is trying to oppose our own ministry. Expect the attack of Satan, but do not let it stop your ministry.

The important thing is not that we’re comfortable, but that the name of Christ is glorified through our message.

4. God has also promised to bless and use his Word,

so let us be faithful continuously. Even today, Christ is praying earnestly for us so that our witness may be successful. So, we have every reason to be encouraged because there is power in the name of Christ. We need not fear witnessing and calling others to repent.

5. The name of Christ has power and authority.

Even today, we can give somebody a cup of cold / hot water, or receive a child / baby in the name of Christ. Still these ministries are important. We can ask in the name of Christ – and when we do it is as though Christ himself is asking it.

Do you know what “In Jesus’ name” means? “In the name of Jesus Christ”

This means: It is like Jesus himself is asking what we are asking. If we remember this, it will help us ask only something worthy of the name of Christ.

Let us go forth in the name of Christ as conquerors – he gave his life for our salvation and justification.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 24 / 2016
  • Comments Off on Esther: From Grave Threat to Great Triumph (1:1-22, 4:14, 8:17)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Esther: From Grave Threat to Great Triumph (1:1-22, 4:14, 8:17)

01.24.2016

Bulletin 01.24.2016-PHeo

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  • Jul 19 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

07.19.2015

07.19.2015-PHeo

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The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-46 (Pastor Heo)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”


 

Conclusion: Rise! Let us go!

Our conclusion is the same: Rise! Let us go!

Even, “here comes my betrayer” – to confront/face everything that comes before us.

Last time, we saw the Passover meal and communion. In the middle of the meal, Judas ran away to betray him. After the communion Jesus took with his 11 disciples, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane (the Mount of Olives) – a private garden – he’d often used as a retreat.

Gethsemane = “oil press” – this is a significant name in the light of Jesus’ passion here. This is something we must approach on our own knees. We must observe this passage in reverence – to see his passion in this passage.

The word “passion” can be negative or positive. Here, Jesus has a “holy passion” – enthusiasm:

FIVE points:

1. The agony of Christ (v. 37-38)

“my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” – he left 8 disciples at the entrance and took only 3 inside the garden with him. He could feel the death that lay before him – death as a TRUE, real, 100% man – no man wants to die at the age of 33 – at the pain of the cross.

Here is a supreme struggle to submit his earthly will to the will of God. This was not play-acting, this was a HARD struggle – in which the salvation of the world swayed back and forth – it was at risk in the garden. Jesus had a choice to turn back and God’s will would be frustrated. All Jesus knew at this point was that he must go on continually.

Jesus started his ministry with temptation from Satan (Matthew 4) “if you are the Son of God…prove it”

  • Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” 
  • Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, rather he was tempted in EVERY way just as we are, yet was without sin.”

Why was he tempted like us? So he could fully understand us, be like us, help us. This is the true reality of the incarnation.

Yet, even though he was tempted in every way, his LAST determination all the time was, “not my will; YOUR will be done.” (Even in the Lord’s Prayer we see this).

Yes, we will struggle with trials, temptations, difficulties – but if we are TRULY Christians, we must be able to say, “not my will; but YOUR will” – “not I; but Christ.”

2. The loneliness of Christ

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Yes, there had been such a great multitude that had followed him at one time, but ALL of them abandoned him – one disciple betrayed/sold him, 8 waited for him, only THREE (Peter, James, John) went with him – this was the third time he’d taken only the inner circle with him:

  1. 1. Mt. of Transfiguration
  2. 2. Room of Jarius (resurrected his daughter)
  3. 3. Garden of Gethsemane

He wanted them to watch and pray. Jesus was entering into a very difficult time, so their prayer support would be a GREAT encouragement to Jesus – but they fell asleep THREE times in this final crucial moment. They were not “with” Jesus in spirit. Jesus had to fight his battle ALL alone.

As long as we live in this world, this is the truth for all people – there are certain things we all face, certain decisions we must make, certain times ALL other comfort and help is gone (visibly) – but remember God is always with you (was with Christ at this time too). Even when you feel ALL alone – there is the presence of Christ who also experienced this GREAT aloneness like you.

Even when you feel all alone, Jesus is there.

3. The trust of Christ

The situation is very terrible. This trust is even more visible in Mark’s account (14:36) “Jesus started his prayer with ‘Abba, Father,…’” 

There is a world of loveliness in this word – it’s not Hebrew, nor Greek – it’s Arabic meaning “Daddy” from a little child to their father. “아빠”

Until this time, no one had thought to call God by this word. But Jesus did. In his childlike, trustful, intimate way – as a little child to his Daddy.

Yes, we know what our little children call us when we are fathers. Yes, even his spiritual conviction was that God was pushing him to a cross – he called him as a little child.

Isaiah 40:55 “God’s thought/plans/ways are HIGHER than ours.” – because He is Creator – “just as far as the heavens are from the earth, so are God’s thoughts from our thoughts.” We may not be able to understand what’s happening TO us or AROUND us, but we know we can TRUST Christ – because his FINAL plan is good and best for us.

Also, we are allowed to call God “Abba” as Jesus did.

  • Romans 2:8 “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, you received a spirit of sonship by which we call him “Abba, Father.””

Yes, even when all is against us, we can trust God as our Abba, Father.

4. The prayer of Christ

Here are three times that Jesus prayed, prayed, and prayed. Jesus wanted them to pray and watch not to fall into temptation. Jesus closed his ministry here with prayer, and his life on earth with prayer “Father, God, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Sometimes Jesus spent all night in prayer. Sometimes he rose very early (3, 4,am) to pray.

  1. He prayed before great tasks.
  2. He prayed before missionary tours.
  3. He prayed before choosing the disciples.
  4. He’s praying before the cross.

Luke “In anguish, Jesus prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

  • Heb 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent position.”

Is the SON of God needed to pray and wait, how much MORE do we need to pray and wait?

5. The courage of Christ

Even though he prayed earnestly three times about this visible situation, the situation itself did not change. Yet, in the last verse, he says, “Rise, let’s go.”

It means the time for prayer, for this garden is past, now is the time for action – to take action – to face everything set before him. He rose from his knees to go out into the battle of life.

This is the PURPOSE OF PRAYER.

Do you pray? In prayer, we kneel down before God. Then we can stand erect before men. The more you kneel before God in prayer, the more you can stand up before men.

  1. In prayer, we submit to the will of God, so that we can resist and defeat the will of Satan.
  2. In prayer, we meet heaven, so after prayer we can confront this earth.

This passage shows the:

  1. Agony of Christ
  2. Loneliness of Christ
  3. Trust of Christ
  4. Prayer of Christ
  5. Courage of Christ

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 14 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)

12.14

12.14.2014-R.Ahn

Sermon Notes

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Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow

Joshua 7:6-15 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.7 And Joshua said, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” 10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymoreunless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. 14 ” ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!’ “


 

This is the third week/day of Advent. This Scripture we read isn’t really related. So, why did I choose it? Here’s the reason:

One day the Lord said to Moses, “Go up the Abraham’s mountain and look over the land I’m giving to the Israelites. After you’ve seen it, you’ll die. Take Joshua and place your hand on his head – he will be your successor.”

Joshua was a great man in many ways.

  1. A field commander in the battle against the Ammonites
  2. Moses’ helper, they went to the Mt. to get the 10 Commandments
  3. Joshua stayed in a tent for leadership service all the time
  4. He was one of 4 spies sent to explore the land of Canaan
  5. He was one of 2 spies that said, “Don ‘t be afraid of the people over there. The Lord is with us and has defended us – so don’t be afraid.”

Joshua was the right person to lead the people to the Promised Land. He was a man of responsibility and faithful to obey God’s commands, and a faithful person to keep his own promises at the risk of his own life.

But he was in danger here by the battle with the Ammonites. He sent some men from Jericho to explore the land. They reported back to him, “There is no need for everyone to attack – send only about 2-3,000 people. It is not a large city.” So he did, but the outcome was totally unexpected. They were driven away and chased away by the people.

36 people were killed and the Israelites lost their courage.

Joshua and the Israelites tore their clothes in grief and laid before the ark of the covenant until evening, praying, “Lord, why did we even come across the Jordan? Are you handing us over to the enemies? Why did we not stay there? What can I say Lord, we’ve retreated and everyone else in the country will hear about this. They will surround us and kill us all. And what will you do to protect your honor?”

This is a prayer of extreme heartbreak and sadness. This is (he’s worried) the cause of God’s dishonor. He’s worried that the people might back down from God’s given Promised Land.

God said, “UP! Why are you lying down?”

Here’s the cause:

  • God didn ‘t leave them alone, rather the people broke the agreement with the Lord that God ordered them to keep. The cause of defeat = Israel has sin.
  • God told Joshua the sins in detail: thievery, lies, put the possessions in their own houses.

Why did God rebuke Israel with such strong language? Go back to the story of Jericho. On the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times and the men shouted and the trumpets blasted and Joshua said, “EVERYTHING must be destroyed in the city as an offering to the Lord. Do not take anything from the city or you will bring destruction upon Israel. All bronze, silver, gold, and iron is the Lord’s to be put into his treasury.”

The Lord knew that the Israelites (who had nothing in the wilderness – houses, suits, silverware, etc – after 40 YEARS of this) would eye the decorations and keep them…

Jericho was a once great city and it means “City of Gardens”? It’s a very rich city.

According to Luke, there was a chief tax collector named Zaccheus – he stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, I will give half of my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back 4x as much.”

He made so much money because this city he worked in was an important city on a trade route that joined east and west. Many merchants were passing through the route and he collected money from not only store owners, but also the foreign traders.

The Lord wanted his people to stay away from that kind of way of life – cheating and greed. If they were involved in that kind of life, they would be unable to live the kind of life that God had called them to. This is why the Lord spoke so strongly to the Israelites.

The next morning, Joshua called ALL of the Israelites out and found out Achan. He said, “Confess before the Lord – don’t hide what you’ve done.” Achan answered “It’s true, I’ve sinned. I took a beautiful coat, 2kg of silver, and 1/2kg of gold.” Joshua sent some men to the tent and found that stuff under the tent. The men of Israel seized Achan, the stuff, all his possessions, and his family and told him, “Why have you brought such trouble upon us? Now the Lord will bring trouble upon you.” The people then stoned and burned him and his whole family and all his possessions.

What’s the meaning today? Why so cruel to Achan and his family?

This is a relationship between the individual and the community in which that individual belongs. For example, Achan’s greed doesn’t just affect HIM, but also the ENTIRE community.

  • The Lord said to Joshua very clearly, “I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy all the things you were ordered not to take.” The Lord chose the community as a whole and not just the individual.
  • The Lord said to the NATION, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and through you I’ll bless all nations.”

In the spring of this year, remember the Sewol sinking? The captain’s mistake became a national disaster – grief, anger, distrust, are a national wound. Individuals within the community cannot be separated from the community. The greed, sin of an individual affects the WHOLE community.

The Lord wanted to get the whole community of Israel ready and pure before him to meet him tomorrow. He said, “You have some things in your possession which I told you not to take. You cannot stand before your enemies before you deal with your sin.”

Remember the Beatitudes?

  1. Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.
  2. Blessed are the hungry and thirsty for righteousness, they will be filled.
  3. Blessed are the merciful, they’ll get mercy.
  4. Blessed are the pure in heart, they’ll see God.

That the Lord demanded purity is related to these things. The Lord said, “I won’t stay any longer unless you purify yourself from your sins.”

The way of purity for ourselves is cutting off our desire and self. Cut off the one who sees greed and is not truly a community member.

Zaccheus – after he spoke his promise and confession, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today for he is also a descendant of Abraham.” The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.

How does a hunter capture a monkey?

  1. Make an iron box
  2. Put many fruits into the box
  3. Monkeys see the fruit and stick their hands into the box to get the fruit
  4. The hole in the box is just the size of his fist
  5. Because of his character, the monkey cannot take out the fruit one by one – he uses the monkey’s character of greed to catch the monkey

(Same way they used to catch racoons in America)

Do you want Jesus to stay in our hearts and minds and remain in our families and work places and homes? Purify your hearts and your homes. Repent and confess like John the Baptist declares.

The shopping malls and music and decorations are out there waiting for shoppers, not for Jesus. Let us purify ourselves and wait for Jesus. Let’s cut off all our material greed and consumerism and prepare for his coming.

Let’s pray.

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