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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:13-22

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 4:12

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

Acts 19:15-16

These men were overpowered and received a beating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:17

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

Philippians 2:8-11

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

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

Acts 19:18-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:20

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

Paul’s final resolution

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

Acts 19:21-22

Paul’s resolution: to visit Rome

Do you have also New Year’s resolutions?

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

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

Jerusalem

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

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

Romans 15:25-26

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

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

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

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

Rome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Let’s Turn the World Upside Down!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Philippi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 32-40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the gospel?

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

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

— Then they left —

Thessalonica

v. 1-3

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

Key verse = v. 6

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

Paul and Silas were accused of:

TURNING THE WHOLE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!

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

“I will turn the world upside down.”

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

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

Philippi > Thessalonica > Berea > Athens > Corinth

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

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

Paul wrote two letters to the Thessalonians from there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 6

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

KJV = “who have turned the world upside down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Jesus challenges EVERY culture.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 05 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Everyday Evangelism (Acts 8:14-40)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Everyday Evangelism (Acts 8:14-40)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Everyday Evangelism

Acts 8:14-40 (Pastor Heo)

8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” 24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” 25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–the desert road– that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture [Isaiah 53:7-8]: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 37 Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.


After the death of Stephen, a great persecution broke out against all the church – so they all (except the apostles) were scattered like seed.

Philip went to Samaria and preached there. There was a sorcerer named Simon – he drew attention to himself with his magic skill.

When Philip arrived in Samaria, it was filled with something bad spiritually. He preached powerfully and effectively. So many people were healed spiritually and physically. “There was great joy” in that city.

The apostles in Jerusalem heard this report and sent two apostles to Samaria – Peter and John. They came and prayed for them and laid their hands on the believers there and they received the HS. (v. 16 “because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.”)

You may wonder.

  1. They received the Word of God,
  2. they had believed in Christ,
  3. they had been baptized into his name –
  4. but WHY didn’t the HS come?

Actually, without the HS, nobody can believe in Christ. So in this text, receiving the HS was receiving the “gift” of the HS – in some visible phenomenon.

God wanted to unite the Samaritan believers with the church in Jerusalem. God did not want a division of two churches.

We are given the keys of the kingdom of heaven if we believe in Christ. But Peter is the initial person who received these keys.

  • Jesus asked, “How about you? Who do you say I am?”
  • Peter: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
  • Jesus was pleased and said, “You are blessed, this information was not given you by man – but by my Father in heaven. On this rock [your confession of faith], I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

In church history, Peter had the privilege of opening the door of faith to:

  • Jews (chp 3 in Jerusalem),
  • Samaritans (chp 8 here), and
  • Gentiles (chp 10 later).

John

We can see the change in John’s life here also. During his earthly ministry, one day, Jesus had to go to Jerusalem, and had to pass through Samaria. But they didn’t welcome them. John (with his brother) asked Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?”

  • Just a few years ago, John wanted Samaria to be consumed by fire.
  • But now, a few years later, after the resurrection of Christ, John is laying his hands on the believers to give a different kind of fire (the HS).

Look how differently Christ can change our minds and hearts about others.

Simon

Also we can see the story of Simon (v. 18-19)

“8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.””

  • Simony = (term) = from this person
    • Just like Sodomy came from Sodom
  • Simony = “unworthy selling or buying of church offices” (성직매매)

This term came from THIS Simon. He thought he could buy the power of the HS with money. But Peter rebuked him sharply. We must know that the only way to receive the power of the HS is to:

  1. repent from our sins,
  2. turn from them,
  3. ask God for forgiveness,
  4. accept Christ as Savior and Lord, and
  5. be filled with the HS.

No amount of money can buy this.

So what is wrong with Simon?

v. 13 “Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”

Simon believed and followed Philip wherever he went. What does this mean, “Simon believed”?

We can answer this with another question. What was the basis of Simon’s faith? Do you believe? In the case of Simon, his faith was not based on the Word of God but on miracles he saw Philip perform. He followed Philip, not to believe in Christ, but to learn the skill for making miracles like Philip had. His faith was not saving faith.

Thus, we must check ourselves to see what kind of faith we have. God is not mocked, not deceived.

In John 2, almost the same thing happened. Many people saw the miracles Jesus was performing, and believed in his name, but he would not entrust himself to them. Their believing was not saving faith.

Of course, they believed SOMETHING about Christ, but did not believe IN Christ. “Even demons believe about Christ” – but there believing is not saving faith.

This event of Simon only shows how close a person can come to salvation without being converted. This Simon heard the message of the gospel, saw the miracles, gave a profession of faith, was baptized, but he was never saved, never born again.

Please, do not be just a church comer / goer. Do not be an “almost” Christian (this is a “non”- Christian). But we must be genuine Christians by believing in Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Philip’s evangelism to the Ethiopian eunuch

v. 26-40

“8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–the desert road– that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 37 Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”


Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Messiah)

(Summary of Jesus’ life from birth to resurrection)

Jesus’ birth

53: 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.

Jesus’ life and ministry

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus’ substitutionary death

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten 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 upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his 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 her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’ victorious resurrection

10 Yet it was the Lord ‘s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


The angel of the Lord said to Philip in a vision, “go to the desert road on the way to Gaza.” There, he saw a chariot, and inside an Ethiopian eunuch. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way home. He was in charge of the treasury of “Candace” (the public title – not personal name) of the queen of Ethiopia.

God told Philip to approach the chariot. The eunuch was reading out loud.

Can you imagine this picture? The chariot was running and Philip was running beside it.

  • “Hey, do you understand that?”
  • “How can I unless someone explains it? Get in.”
  • He got in.
  • “Who is this prophet talking about? Himself or someone else?”
  • Philip preached Christ from this very passage. (v. 35 “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”)

v. 25 “When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.”

Yes, there was still persecution in Jerusalem, but they returned – even knowing there was persecution. This means that evangelism was a lifestyle to them.

v. 40 “Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”

20 years later, Philip was still there preaching the gospel.

The idea of substitutionary death of Christ is one that is found throughout the entire Bible.

  • Genesis 3 – God killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve
  • Genesis 22 – God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice for Isaac
  • Exodus – So many animals died for the people at Passover

All the sacrifices of the OT symbolize the death of Christ. These are substitutionary deaths for the sins of the people.

So, John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of his people.”

This eunuch became a full man in Christ – and wanted everyone to know what happened to his life – when he became baptized.

We can learn principles of evangelism from this story:

The angel of the Lord sent Philip to preach to somebody – angels are wiser than us – they could guide Philip, but angels do not have this great commission for evangelism. This commission is given to God’s people.

This Ethiopian man was so religious and sincere – he was a seeker of the truth and reading the Scriptures, but he was lost and not saved. So, he needed somebody to show the Way to him.

Jesus, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Principles of effective evangelism:

  1. Be where God wants you. God set up the appointment and time with this man
  2. Be watching the people around you. See carefully the people around you and God will help us to perceive who will be receptive and responsive to the message of the gospel.
  3. Be ready to adapt yourself to where others are. In this story, Philip began where that person was, and immediately, clearly, took him where he needed to go.
    • Listening first
    • Meeting the person there and taking him where he needs to go.
  4. Be bold in preaching the gospel.

Let me tell a final story in evangelism history. It is simple, but meaningful to us.

In October 1857, Hudson Taylor (English missionary to China) began his ministry in Ningpo village. He preached the gospel in that village and won many souls to Christ. One of them, Mr. Ni received the message of the gospel was saved and overjoyed and wanted to share his faith with others.

One day, he asked Hudson Taylor, “How long have you had this wonderful news of great joy in England?”

HT: “England has known this message for centuries.”

Ni: “Why didn’t you come sooner? My father died seeking the truth.”

HT: Could not answer this penetrating question.

We can also ask ourselves today.

  • How long have you had / known this gospel? In your personal life.
  • How far have you shared it with others?
  • Up to now, with how many people have you shared this gospel?

This is a serious question given to us in v. 25 “When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.”

v. 40 “Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”

Peter, John, and Philip eagerly shared the message of the gospel with others wherever they went. They did not see evangelism as a “scheduled” event to do only at scheduled times and carefully designated places. Why? Because Jesus was LIFE to them. Their personal lives completely changed after being filled with the HS.

Evangelism is a lifestyle to them – because Jesus is life to them.

Is this true for you?

Let’s pray.

  • May 20 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Fourfold embodiment of the Gospel (Acts 2:41-47)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Fourfold embodiment of the Gospel (Acts 2:41-47)

 

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Fourfold embodiment of the gospel

Acts 2:41-47 (Pastor Heo)

2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Yes, we know a baby MUST grow up.

Imagine, in your home, 10 babies are born in ONE day. What does this mean to your home / family / parents? Maybe = full of joy! But also: lots of work! Positive troubles, difficulties: cleaning, feeding, changing, etc. You need many hands, and lots of money. Babies require lots of responsibility and lots of work.

Today, in this passage, 3000 (spiritual) babies were added to the family (church) in a single day.

Last time, we saw that Peter’s sermon in Acts is the first sermon after the coming of the HS. It is full of:

  1. The HS
  2. The Word of God
  3. Jesus Christ

His sermon is a good model for how a sermon SHOULD be.

Today we see the first community / church life after the coming of the HS. So, today’s passage also is a good model of what Christian community / church life should be like today.

Fourfold embodiment of the gospel (four pillars of the church / four characteristics of Christian individual life – check yourself individually)

  1. Teaching (Bible study)
  2. Fellowship
  3. Worship
  4. Evangelism

Are these four pillars in your life? These four pillars must be done WITH Prayer (v. 42)

#1 Teaching (Bible study)

v. 42

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”

For growth, food is essential, and spiritual food is the Word of God.

1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborns crave pure spiritual milk that is the Word of God so that you may grow up in your salvation.”

At this time, there was no New Testament – it was in the process of being written – and was not written. So, the Old Testament was like a NT book. And the apostles were eyewitnesses of all that Jesus had done and said.

Jesus “The HS that the Father will send in my name will teach you and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Filling with the HS and hunger for the Word of God go together hand in hand. If you are filled with the Spirit, you will love the Word of God.

  • “Be filled with the Spirit.”
  • Col “Let your hearts be filled with the Word of God.”
  • The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.

Are you a Bible-reading / Bible-studying / Bible-believing / Bible-loving / Bible-living Christian?

The first essential pillar in Christian community is the study of the Word of God.

#2 Fellowship

v. 42-46

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching **and to the fellowship**, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything **in common**. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,”

Family, home, community without fellowship is totally unthinkable. The church is the family and community of God – so fellowship is essential.

For a Christian community to BE a Christian community, there must be fellowship. But this is totally different from the world’s fellowship. In Greek: “koinonia” (means “togetherness“). In Christian community, this means sharing and giving and offering.

Christian fellowship is sharing in common and giving. This does not take place simply because we are sitting in the same building. Christian fellowship = giving. It COSTS something.

As we know, even today, many people just visit the church for their own needs and go home the same. There is no fellowship there.

If there is no fellowship, no love in a church, it means you are only hear to BE loved, not to love.

Our koinonia (“fellowship”) is with God and his Son and the HS.

  • God is a fellowship God.
  • God is a koinonia God.

“… The grace of Christ, the love of God, and the koinonia (fellowship) of the HS be with you forever…”

God is ONE – but three persons. In God himself, there is enough, perfect fellowship. Therefore, without fellowship with God, and without giving, there is no Christian fellowship.

Long ago, the people gave a fellowship offering (the middle of 5 offerings) for fellowship (also KJV = “peace offering”). In the early church, they sold their goods for fellowship. In the OT, they gave a fellowship offering. How about today? What are we doing for church fellowship? Tithe offering. So in a sense, this is our fellowship offering.

What is the biblical meaning of tithes? (There are 4 – at least.)

1. Tithes = Obedience to the Word of God

Malachi 3:8-9 – not giving tithe offerings is robbing / cheating God

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me.”

Someone will say, “No, this is the OT, we are NT, so we are under grace, not Law.”

But Jesus says in Matt 23 “Woe to you – yes you give tithes, but you ignore more of the Law.” (i.e. giving tithes is basic – so don’t think you are obedient to the Law fully)

2. Tithes = Acknowledgment of our stewardship

We are not owners, but managers in this world.

1 Tim 6:7 “We brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out.”

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and traps that plunge men into ruin and destruction. The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

We cannot serve God AND money, but we can serve God WITH money.

How many Masters do you serve? Money is BOTH a Test and a Trust from God. God is watching HOW we spend and use money to see how trustworthy we are.

Luke “If you are untrustworthy with money, then God will not trust you with spiritual things.”

3. Tithes = Investment and storage of our treasures in heaven

Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy… But store up your treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

God encourages us to TEST him.

But the Bible always says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the TEST.”

But here, God challenges us to TEST him with our tithes. This is the ONLY area in which God allows us to test him.

This is storing our treasures in heaven.

4. Tithes = Contribution for church fellowship and ministry

A real Christian cannot possess TOO much when fellow Christians possess TOO little. Eating together is very important – whether spiritual or secular fellowship. Can you imagine fellowship without eating together? That’s why in his last fellowship with his disciples, Jesus ate the Last Supper with them.

Rev 3:20 “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat and fellowship with him.”

Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.

But practically, we need money to eat.

Koinonia = togetherness, sharing, and includes “money shared.”

#3 Worship (pillar)

Are you Christians?

They are the ones who praise God and receive praise from others with persecution.

Worship is our first responsibility and first privilege. We worship God by enjoying God. He wants our worship to be motivated by love and thanksgiving, joy, delight, gladness – but not duty.

Worship is more than praising, singing, praying to God. Worship is a lifestyle. When we use our lives for his glory, then EVERYTHING we do can become an act of worship.

Romans: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

This means: worship is our lifestyle.

#4 Evangelism

v. 47

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Yes, the HS came and they were filled. This means, where the HS reigns:

  1. we relate to the Word of God (teaching),
  2. we relate to each other (fellowship),
  3. we relate to God (worship),
  4. we relate to the world (evangelism)

This passage does not say, “Peter’s preaching added to their number” nor “the community of believers” nor “the apostles’ wisdom” – no, it is GOD HIMSELF who saves those who are being saved.

1 Cor 3:6, Paul, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but GOD made it grow.”

Yes, we must plant the seed, we must water the planted seeds, but GOD makes it grow. So, we must have faith when we do this and great expectation that GOD will save.

All 4 of these things must be done together with PRAYER.

  1. Teaching with prayer
  2. Fellowship with prayer
  3. Worship with prayer
  4. Evangelism with prayer

The church is not OF the world, but it must remain IN the world for the purpose of evangelism. We are not OF this world, but IN this world for the mission of evangelism.

  • Church is called the “house of God”
  • Church is the “house of prayer for all nations”

What does this mean? (2 meanings)

  1. The place widely open to anyone who wants to pray to God
  2. The place whose members must pray for the salvation of all nations

Are you praying for the salvation of somebody in your heart?

1 Cor “Don’t you know that you yourselves are a temple and God’s spirit lives in you… Don’t you know that God’s spirit lives in you and you are not your own? Worship God and honor God with your body.”

God bless you.

4 pillars of Christian life

  1. Teaching (Bible study)
  2. Fellowship (including tithes)
  3. Worship
  4. Evangelism

Without evangelism, we have no reason to stay in this world. If we finish our mission of evangelism, we should go to heaven.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Holy Spirit came and filled the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Holy Spirit came and filled the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)

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The Holy Spirit Came and filled the Church at Pentecost

Acts 2:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

2:1 When the day of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. “


The early church had no money, no beautiful building, political influence, educational degree, etc. The founding members of the early church (120 people) were a minority – maybe like you and me. But they were a huge multitude to Christ, and they saw a huge amount of churches established and Christians born again. What was their secret? A: The Power of the Holy Spirit.

The better we understand the power of the HS at Pentacost, the better. The more we will then be able to relate to him and understand him and believe. The power of the HS is still available today.

The main ministry of the HS is to glorify Jesus Christ. “The HS will bring glory to me.” John 15:26 “When the HS comes, he will testify about me.”

Another keyword: Holy Spirit

Keywords:

  1. Witness / testify
  2. One accord
  3. Prayer
  4. Holy Spirit

How many times does this appear in the NIV? 55 times (I counted yesterday).

The HS is the spirit of Christ, the spirit of God. He first came and spoke from human to human. This is very meaningful.

v. 1

“When the day of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place.”

Pentecost = 50 (Penta = 5) – this is the Feast of the First Fruits.

In Levitucus, Passover (Jesus’ crucifixion)is first, then the Feast of the First Fruits (Pentecost). Pentecost is 50 days after Passover – or 50 days after the crucifixion.

After Jesus was crucified, he was resurrected 3 days later. He stayed with them for 40 days. Then, 10 days later, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.

  • 1 Cor 7:5 “Christ, our lamb of Passover has been sacrificed.”
  • 1 Cor 15 = Jesus’ resurrection = the First Fruit

Pentecost pictures the formation of the body of Christ – that is the church. In the OT, the Jews at Pentecost celebrated the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. But these days, we Christians celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.

At that time, there were 3 great feasts:

  1. Passover (Feast of the First Fruits)
  2. Pentecost
  3. Feast of Tabernacles
  • Passover = crucifixion including resurrection
  • Pentecost = coming of the HS as another Counselor
  • Tabernacles = Jesus’ Second Coming (heaven)

During these three greatest feasts, all Jews and others gathered in Jerusalem. This is the historical situation. (This is God’s plan and timing for world evangelism.)

v. 2-3

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”

“The Holy Spirit came down – to dwell in believers forever!”

The HS is one person of the Trinity God.

This means, we believe in ONE God in essence – with three persons:

  1. Father God
  2. Son (Jesus)
  3. Holy Spirit God (another Counselor)

The HS dwelling in us means that Jesus Christ still dwells in us through his Spirit.

  • Gen 1:1 “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
  • Gen 1:2 “It was formless and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

The HS came down forever and ever – permanently. The HS could not have come sooner. Why not? It was essential that Jesus die and rise again from the dead – and go up to heaven – before the HS could be given.

John 7:37 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Streams of living water will flow from within him. (Holy Spirit)” Up to that time, the HS could not have been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified (taken up to heaven).

John 16:7 “It is for your benefit that I am going to heaven. Unless I go, the HS will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.”

So, Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension is ESSENTIAL for the HS to come and dwell among us and in us. This is a basic Christian doctrine.

There were 2 startling signs that accompanied this:

  1. wind
  2. fire

Jesus says, “You should not be surprised at my saying ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but cannot tell where it is coming nor going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Interesting vocab (Greek):

penuma / pnuma

Literal meaning = “breath” or “wind”

Like wind, the HS is invisible, but SO powerful, like a hurricane. The HS is a life-giving Spirit.

“Fire” pictures the powerful witness of the church to the world. All throughout the Bible, fire is a sign of God – from the burning bush with Moses to the consuming fire on the mountain.

The HS is so holy – he cannot be together with unholy, dirty things. So the “fire” burns away our uncleanliness, bitterness, etc, and “wind” brings to us the presence and sign of God.

After the fire burns away our uncleanliness, we are filled with the HS.

Eph “Do not get DRUNK on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the HS.”

v. 4

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

The filling of the HS has to do with power, witness, service, victorious Christian life. If we are really Christians, we no longer need to be baptized by the HS, but we need to be FILLED by the HS constantly – if we are to serve God effectively and truthfully.

“In a few days, you will receive the baptism of the HS.”

We must not be confused between the:

  1. Baptism of the HS
  2. The fullness of the HS
  • Baptism = the HS identifies us with the head of the church (Jesus) – this happens whenever a sinner trusts in Jesus Christ and is born again. “I belong to the body of Christ.”
  • Filling = “My body belongs to Jesus Christ.”

Once more:

  • Baptism: “I belong to Christ’s body.”
  • Fullness: “My body belongs to Christ.”
  1. Baptism = final, once and for all, one time event.
    1. Fullness = daily, repeated as we trust him in earnest prayer and earnest devotion – for more effective service
  2. Baptism: We are ONE in the baptism of the HS – we are the same. (Eph. 4 “One body, one Lord, one God, one baptism…”) – this unites us.
    1. Fullness: This is a personal experience. Yesterday’s filling with the HS does not guarantee today’s filling with the HS.

So, what happens when we are really filled with the HS?

Spiritual medical check-up

v. 5-13

“5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.””

What does this mean?

There were at least 15 geographical locations represented here. And surely the citizens of each heard Peter and the others declare the wonderful works of God in their own languages. Why did God do this? There are 2 lessons we can apply in our daily lives – because the HS power is still available.

#1 Reverse of God’s Judgment at Tower of Babel

Gen 11:1 “At that time, the whole world had 1 language.” (Many languages today is the fruit of human sin.) “Come let us build a tower that reaches to heaven to make a name for Man.” (So, God came and scattered them all over the whole world.)

  1. “Babel” = “confused”
  2. “Babylon” = “rebellion against God”
  • Babel: God’s judgment scattered the people
    • Pentecost: God’s blessing brought them together
  • Babel: unable to understand what was said
    • Pentecost: able to understand in the own language
  • Babel: scheme to make a name for man
    • Pentecost: make a name for God
  • Babel: rebellion against God
    • Pentecost: ministry of humble submission to God

What a contrast.

“The HS is the spirit of perfect communication.”

Yes, the basic tool for communication is language – but for perfect communication, we need more than language. If we are angry, look at cell phones while talking, etc, we have bad communication – even if we speak the same language.

But, if we have the HS, even if we don’t speak the same language, we can overcome the barrier of language and have communication.

  1. The HS is the spirit of perfect communication – between friends, coworkers, spouses, etc.

#2 Let the people know the gospel is for ALL people

The emphasis of this book is worldwide evangelization. (Acts 1:8)

HS is the Spirit of:

  1. evangelization
  2. world mission
  3. perfect communication

How far or near are you to Christ now? Remember, the nearer you come to Christ, the farther you will go OUT to reach the people.

Once more:

“The nearer you are to Christ,
The farther you will go out to reach the lost.”

What was the spirit of the people?

  1. Bewilderment
  2. Amazed
  3. Confused
  4. Perplexed
  5. Mocked / ridiculed (“They have had too much wine.”)

Actually, they were filled with the HS.

But those who didn’t understand thought they were filled with strong drink. Interesting?

Still today, if we are really filled with the HS, we can be misunderstood. If someone misunderstands you, please understand their misunderstanding.

Eph 5:18 “Do not get drunk on soju (wine) which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the HS.”

Why does the Word of God compare filling with the HS and filling with strong drink?

  • Drink: We lose control of ourselves and end up being ashamed.
    • HS: We have self-control and glorify God.
  • Drink: Can give a high spirit.
    • HS: Gives deep satisfaction and lasting joy.
  • Drink: Makes us brave, fearless to do something sinful.
    • HS: Makes us brave, fearless to do something holy.
  • Drink: Gives us degeneration.
    • HS: Gives us regeneration.
  • Drink: Practically, strong drink destroys families, homes, relationships.
    • HS: Builds up, edifies families, homes, relationships.
  • Drink: Makes self, family, home like hell on earth.
    • HS: Makes self, family, home like heaven on earth.

We can foretaste heaven on earth by being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 08 / 2018
  • Comments Off on You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)

Download Notes in a .MD file

You Will be my Witness

Acts 1:4-11 (Pastor Heo)

1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


  • In the 4 gospels, we see Jesus’ ministry, death, burial, and resurrection.
  • In Acts, we see Jesus’ ministry from heaven – through his church.

This book shows the spread of the church from predominantly Jewish to predominantly Gentile. It shows the spread of the gospel – beginning in Jerusalem and spreading throughout the Roman Empire.

Key verse: 1:8

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  • Jerusalem = city evangelization
  • Judea and Samaria = home missions
  • The ends of the earth = world missions

Every Christian has 2 jobs:

  1. Ministry
  2. Mission
  • What is your ministry?
  • What is your mission?
  • What is “ministry”?
  • What is “mission”?

As a born again Christian, ask yourselves:

  • What is MY ministry? 사역
  • What is MY mission? 사명

Let’s make it clear what is ministry and what is mission. Let’s compare and contrast: what’s the same / what’s different?

  • Ministry: We can be different in ministry just as our body parts are all different and each part of the body has its own function.
  • Mission: ONE (Eph “There is one hope, one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God – one MISSION”)

We can enjoy variety in our various ministries, but we must keep unity in our collective mission.

Not everyone is called to be a pastor, choir member, Sunday school teacher, etc.

  • Ministry = service for members INSIDE the church
  • Mission = service for the lost OUTSIDE the church so that they may come in to worship together and confess Jesus as Lord together.

1:8 – This is the final written statement of Christ before his ascension.

“You will be my witnesses.” – this is our mission.

Are you really Jesus’ witnesses in this world? This is our mission.

In this sentence, Jesus doesn’t say, “You will be evangelists, you will be gospel preachers.” Rather, to be a witness = evangelist + something more. This is gospel preaching + something more. This is more than just evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning. WHY?

What is “witnessing” like?

1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

5 Characteristics of Witnessing

#1 WHO can be a witness?

Only the one who personally saw, heard, or experienced. This is one who can say, “I KNOW this is true.” This is not one who says his own feelings or guessing or thinking. He doesn’t say, “maybe, probably, perhaps, hopefully”

No, he says, from his own personal experience, “This is true.”

A witness in court does not give a witness a carried word. The message of a witness is a marvel of simplicity. This is the key message of Christ in this world.

“Jesus is God come in the flesh. He died to pay for our sins. He was resurrected. He lives now in heaven. He calls us to call him Savior and Lord and so receive the forgiveness of sin.”

There is nothing to gain, no system to climb, just a person to accept to receive eternal life.

Do you have this message?

Yes, we witness through our mouths.

#2 Not only WORD, but also DEED

The witness of a witness’ life is irresistible. Our witness should be supported by our subjective testimony. But this witness should also be lived out in our lives: our characteristics, actions, deeds, interactions with others, etc.

Sometimes we can see “before / after” pictures in magazines. Do you have this?

Before Christ / After Christ?

Our testimony of our mouth must be characterized by our lives. It must be satisfied and edified by the Holy Spirit – not only through word but also our deeds. Even though this witness, message, is very simple, it requires a costly commitment from its carriers.

Yes, not only we must witness through our worth, but we must also attract a magnificent compliment. We must be praised by God AND men – in our character, especially as Christians.

#3 The tongue

Legal, court tongue.

Yes, witness = sharing the gospel of Christ – the communication of the gospel message to our neighbors and family members and co-workers. Yes, that is good – we should do it. But, remember, the key word of this book is “witness” – repeated in this book 29 times. The reference to “witness” and “witnessing” are almost ALL in a PUBLIC setting.

This shows a public display.

  • Stephen witnessed before the Sanhedrin.
  • Peter before the people in Jerusalem
  • Paul before the government officials and kings in court

Are you really ready to be a witness for Christ in an open and public place? Yes, they witnessed in a public square. Are you ready to witness in public to your co-workers? Even the President in the blue/white house?

The tongue – the word witness – is basically set in a PUBLIC setting (not private).

#4 Paradox of Shame and Honor

When you witness for Christ, do you feel shamed or honored? (It depends)

What we witness for Christ in this world is not a matter of material / earthly / worldly things. What we witness is a matter of heavenly / spiritual things. So, what we witness for Christ can be rejected, misunderstood, shamed, persecuted.

Yes, Christ willingly took the cross upon him. This was the symbol of the greatest shame. He took this dishonor to give us honor. He took shame and insults to give us grace. He took death to give us life.

So our witnessing can be a shame to us, but our receipt of shame may bring glory to God. Yes, in our own experience of witnessing to the lost of this world, we know it can be very shameful – but in heaven, this is very honorable. It can be stressful, but also exciting.

Witnessing for Christ is a great privilege but also a great responsibility.

The apostles, after witnessing before the Sanhedrin, left rejoicing. Why? Did they receive praise from men? No, they received shame from men for the glory of Christ.

Can you also receive shame in this world for the glory of Christ? If you are a true Christian, you can, but not of your power. You need the Holy Spirit.

#5 (Conclusion) Be ready to die

Witness (in English) = from Greek “martus

From this word, we also have the word “martyr” 순교자

In this sense, “witness” and “martyr” are the same in the root of the language.

Witnesses should be ready to DIE – to be killed for Christ. If we are not ready to be killed for Christ, then we are not witnesses.

In court, if I give a false witness, they may kill me (or jail). Even though I give a right witness in court, if they THINK it’s wrong, they still may kill me (or jail).

We know one day, we ALL must die. There is no exception.

“Once a man is destined to die, and after that to face the judgment.” (Bible)

We all must die one day. So, think of this matter wisely. _IF_ we are to die _once_ – is being a martyr a blessing or a curse? We will _all_ die one day.

  • Starting well is important.
  • Finishing well is _more_ important.
  1. Well-being is important.
  2. Well-dying is _more_ important.

What is a better way to die?

By a car accident, gun man, cancer, natural disaster, suicide, old age, or as a martyr?

Martyr (from the light of eternity) – finishing our lives as a martyr is the best blessing and privilege we can enjoy.

But don’t worry, if we cannot endure this, God does not allow us to become one. But if this will happen, God will provide a super power at that time to die as a martyr. (I also want at the age of 92 – because I need time to support my wife.)

God bless you. Witness is like that.

That’s why I said, “witness is more than evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning.” Because witnessing is like that, we need MORE than human power – the power of the Holy Spirit.

1:8 “You will receive *power* when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”

The key mission of the Holy Spirit:

  • Witnessing for Christ
  • Testifying about Christ

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”

1 Cor 12:3 “Nobody can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, we need power of the Holy Spirit – this includes wisdom, courage, fearlessness, patience, kindness, miracles if need be. It means, we must pray.

“Praying and witnessing go together.”

v. 4 says “Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift my Father promised.”

  • Witness without prayer has no power.
  • Prayer without witness has no purpose.

Why did Jesus not say, “Leave immediately for the world mission movement”? Rather, he said, “Do not leave. Wait.” WHY?

If we look at this carefully, this is a very big challenge to them.

In v. 11, the angel called them “Men of Galilee” – this means they were not from Jerusalem – they were from Galilee. They were countrymen. But Jerusalem was the capital city for Jews. They were low-class, uneducated. But the most elite Jews lived in Jerusalem.

Humanly speaking, they were not comfortable in Jerusalem. It was the most dangerous place for them in the early church.

v. 8 “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the ends of the earth” – this is NOT in order of events, but rather simultaneous movements.

Missionary movements should happen at the same time on earth, all over the earth.

One more thing we should make clear. Sometimes we thing: start at home (easy places) and going to far places (hard places) – no this is not true. Actually for them, Jerusalem (their own back yard) was the most dangerous and the most difficult place to evangelize for them.

  • Jerusalem: Jesus had been crucified in that city and buried. Most people would know this and that he’d been buried very recently. Also, Jerusalem was very strong in their own religion. They thought Christianity was the FIRST enemy against Judaism.
  • Samaria? It was soaked with half Judaism and half paganism.
  • The ends of the earth? They had no idea even where this was. They thought the earth was flat. They had never traveled anywhere even by car.

In their situation, EVERY place was very, very difficult. Also for us today, EVERY place is very, very difficult.

“The god of this age, Satan, has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.”

Remember, even today, there is NO easy place to witness for Christ. But, WE CAN, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • There is nothing impossible with God.
  • Much is impossible with man, but nothing is impossible with God.

v. 9-11

“9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Yes, Christ will come soon – someday – to fulfill his full redemption and to remain in a personal bodily, tangible form in a specific place in this world, for all people to see. But what is to fill the gap before he comes? World-wide mission and evangelism of the church.

What is the “body of Christ”? It is multi-national, international community for witnessing for Christ.

Remember, this is the last sentence. This is a comfort, but also a challenge.

Individual Christians and local churches who are NOT committed to world evangelization, are CONTRARY to their identity and purpose as Christians – as witnesses of Christ.

“I’m a witness of Christ.”

“I’m a witness for Christ.”

“I’m a witness by Christ.”

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Introduction to Acts

Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.


Acts 1:8 = key verse

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

From today, we will study Acts.

Acts = actions = activity = mission.

God bless all of us to become “people of acts” / “people of action” more than before through the study of this book.

Who can say, “I’m too old to be more active…”

Nobody can say that.

God said to Abram (at age 99), “Be perfect before me.” This means = you must grow, learn, increase continually. There is MUCH room and space for you to grow.

I bless you in the name of Christ that we may become people of “acts” through the study of this book.

Introduction

Let me share 6 things.

  1. Intro, the background
  2. The human author (Luke)
  3. The receiver (Theophilus)
  4. The title
  5. The characteristics and importance
  6. The purpose of this book

In this book, two main characters are Peter (chp 1-12) and Paul (13-28).

Background

The reason we read the first part of Luke and Acts is to show that the two are written by the same person.

Acts is the 2nd volume of the gospel of Luke.

  • Luke 1:3 “..most excellent Theophilus..”
  • Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus…”

These are written in the same fashion, style, with the same language.

Yes, we know the gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus: his birth, life, miracles, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension.

  • Luke: The story of Jesus’ ministry on earth in a physical body
  • Acts: The story of Jesus’ ministry from heaven

Acts begins where Luke leaves off. The two sometimes overlap.

  • Luke closes with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
    • Acts opens with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
  • Luke 24:48 ends with a Great Commission: “you are witnesses of these things.”
    • Acts begins with a Great Commission: “You will receive power…”
  • Luke 24:49 ends with the promise of the Holy Spirit. “…stay in the city until you receive power from on high…”
    • Acts begins with the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is the background of Acts.

The author (Luke)

His name, Luke, appears only 3 times in the New Testament (in the letters of Paul).

  1. Colossians
  2. Phileman 24
  3. 2 Timothy 4:11

He was mentioned by Paul 3 times – introduced as his dear friend, a doctor.

What we know about Luke clearly is that he was a medical doctor, one of Paul’s most valued helpers and most loyal friends. (He was the only person who was with Paul in his last prison – Paul said, “Only Luke is with me…”) He is also the ONLY Gentile author of the New Testament.

The recipient (Theophilus)

These two books were written to “Theophilus”. We don’t know who this is exactly – and his name ONLY appears here at the beginning of Luke and Acts. We only know much about him from church tradition / history.

There are 3 possibilities:

  1. Perhaps not a real name, just a nickname – it might have been very dangerous (persecution) to become a Christian at that time. Actually, this name comes from 2 Greek words:
    • “Theo” = “God”,
    • “Philus” = “Love”
    • So, perhaps Luke wrote to “Love of God” instead of a real name.
  2. Perhaps this IS actually a real name. If so, he may have been a HIGH government official. Luke writes, “most excellent Theophilus” – and this is only reserved for high officials (governors, kings, etc). Perhaps Luke is trying to show him “Christians are nice people, please do not persecute them.”
  3. Third, is more “romantic”. This is based on the fact that Luke is a medical doctor. Doctors once were “low class” in Korea, and also at that time, they were also considered slaves. So, Luke may have been a personal “slave” doctor to Theophilus.
    1. Story goes: Theophilus was very sick, but thanks to Luke’s dedication, he regained health. Theophilus set him free in thanks, and Luke wanted to give him the MOST precious gift he knew: Eternal life in Christ.

Title of the Book

  • “Acts”
  • “Acts of the Apostles”

But this book does not claim to give an exhaustive account of the Acts of the apostles. Only 4 apostles appear in here.

  1. John – but he doesn’t speak.
  2. James – in one sentence was killed by Herod.
  3. Peter – one of the main characters (chp 1-12)
  4. Paul – the other main character (chp 13-28)

This book ACTUALLY should be called:

“The Acts of the Spirit of Christ working in and through his witnesses”

Peter and Paul were not used because they were apostles, but because they were witnesses. God today is not using apostles, but using his witnesses. That’s why Jesus did not say, “You will be my apostles…” rather he said, “You will be my witnesses…”

The importance and characteristics

This book is so important.

As we know, the New Testament has 27 books.

  • There are 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
  • And 1 historical book,
  • 21 epistles, and
  • 1 book of prophecy / revelation.

Jesus’ key concern in his ministry was:

To establish His church in this world.

Matt: “On this rock, I will build my church…” (the “rock” = the faith of his believers)

The church is called the “body of Christ.”

Acts is the ONLY book that gives us actual historical information about where and how the church began. If we did not have this book, we would not KNOW how the church began – we would only be able to guess through the reading of Paul’s letters. So, in a sense, this is the MOST IMPORTANT book in the New Testament.

There are two ways to write history:

  1. Day to day, week to week (journal)
  2. Giving glimpses into significant periods and events (this is the style of Acts)

This is the central book of transitions.

  • In history – from gospels to epistles.
  • From primarily Jews to predominantly Gentiles
  • From the program / kingdom of God to Church

So this book was written to show the development of the church – from primarily Jewish to predominantly Gentile membership.

The purpose

The key verse = Acts 1:8

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We may study this book EVERY week until we finish the study of this book. We will FOCUS on 1:8 until the conclusion.

At least, we can say 3 things about the purpose of this book:

  1. To commend Christianity to the Roman government at that time
  2. To show that Christianity is for ALL people of every country (not only for Jews – but also for Jews and Gentiles) –
    • At that time, Jews had their own belief that ONLY THEY were God’s chosen people and that God had no use for other nations – but this was a BIG misunderstanding.
      • In chp 7, Stephen made Christianity universal and was killed.
      • Chp 8, preached in Samaria,
      • Chp 10, Cornelius accepted into the church,
      • Chp 11, preached in Antioch,
      • Chp 15, the church made the great decision to receive Gentiles into the church on the same terms as the Jews, Finally, Paul went far and wide to win all kinds of people to Christ.
  3. Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Actually, with this ONE verse, there is MUCH to say. But this time, let me just say ONE point about this key verse.

This conjunction “and” is repeated 3x, and in Greek it means “kai.”

In Greek, this is not in order of procedure. It means: “happening at the same time” (concurrently, simultaneously). This does not mean “Jerusalem first, THEN Judea, THEN…” No, it means “ALL places at the same time.”

Imagine, if this were the last word of Christ on earth. If they had to try to go beyond Jerusalem AFTER they finished FULL evangelization, then they NEVER would have had an opportunity to leave Jerusalem even up to today.

You know in Korea, Western missionaries came over 100 years ago. Imagine, if they had tried to come to Korea AFTER they had finished the full evangelization of their own country, they never would have come.

You know, in Jerusalem today, there are a few Christians, but they still need missionaries to be sent – and we send some.

In Seoul, years ago, I saw a big banner in a church:

“Today Seoul, tomorrow Korea, the next day Asia, after that ALL the world!”

Sounds good? ONLY sounds good. Sounds ambitious, but in actuality, “today” will take forever. If they are faithful to this banner, they will never have an opportunity to go beyond Seoul.

Each day is ONLY today. We cannot meet tomorrow. We can only face today. The coming Monday is “tomorrow” but when we meet it, it becomes “today.”

Please remember, one day, our Lord Jesus will come again in his body to fulfill full redemption and salvation and reign over the world. Question: What will fill the gap between his ascension and second coming? Answer: The worldwide mission of the church. The evangelism activity of individual Christians.

Luke is the story of Jesus’ ministry on earth – the beginning.

3 Kinds of Immortality

  • There is the immortality of “fame” – Jesus has this. His name will never be forgotten.
  • Immortality of “influence” – Jesus (and some others) leave an effect on the world for a long time – Jesus’ influence can never die
  • Immortality of “presence and power” – Jesus left his fame and influence on this earth – but still he is alive and powerful and active on this earth.

Only Christ has immortality of “presence and power.” He is not the one who WAS once in the past. He is the one who IS always, all the time.

  • Therefore, in Matt he says, “And surely I am with you forever, to the very end of the age.”
  • Heb 10:13 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Are you a Christian? Just as this hand cannot be a real hand without being a part of this body, so a real Christian cannot be a real Christian without being a part of church – because “church” is the body of Christ.

Are you a member of the Church?

If you are a member of the body of Christ, then you are called “witnesses of Jesus Christ in this world.”

God bless you to become MORE active: people of “acts” through the study of Acts.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:8-14 (Pastor Heo)

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


Let me tell my experience.

About 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a helping ministry on a small island (Mango-do?) – my church planted a small church on that island (population < 150 – only about 40 families). There was no clinic, hospital, post office, etc. There was only one elementary school – with only 5 students. In 2000, that school closed. One of the students was the pastor’s daughter.

I helped with cleaning and evangelism.

The people were surrounded by water. In ALL directions, they could only see a horizontal line. There was nothing to see except water.

Can you imagine? The most difficult thing was that there was NO water to drink, cook with, shower with, etc. There was NO way to GET water. There was only ONE way to get water: from heaven. It was called “heavenly water” by the people. So, every time it rained, the whole population came out to receive as much water as they could – even 2am. Water seemed to be a savior to them.

I stayed there for 6 days but did not take a shower even though I sweat so much. Through this experience, I think this generation is like this spiritually.

Our generation is FULL of love, but LACK *real* love.

Music, books, movies use the word love so easily.

2 Tim 3 “Mark this, there will be terrible times at the last days. They will be lovers of self, money, physical pleasure.” (sinful, sensual love – but little love of God and neighbors and enemies)

That’s why Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commands.”

“A new commandment I give you: love one another. By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Whoever does not love, does not know God.”

This means – “whoever does not love proves he is not saved – or does not know he is saved” – because God’s saving power is motivated by his unconditional love.

If we are saved, we have already experienced his unconditional love. To experience this love and then NOT show it to others is to not have experienced this love at all.

“I should love.”

But I have no power to show this agape love.

Today gives us the KEY to this love.

Yes, there are many many reasons for us to love if we are really born again Christians. But there are three reasons here in this passage why we should love: God, our neighbors, our enemies.

3 Reasons WHY we should love

#1 Because we are debtors

v. 8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Our duty to love one another is called “continual debt.”

v. 7 says “give everyone what you owe him. If taxes, then tax, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This means that ALL kinds of debt must be repaid.

If you have debt, you must pay – without paying, you will go to prison.

In this life, there is only one debt that cannot be paid fully: God’s love.

Apostle Paul confessed: “I’m a debtor – both to the Greeks and Jews – Christ demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us.”

John 3:16

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and gave his son as the propitiation for our sins.”

“Try to grasp how wide, how long, how deep, how far is the love of Christ.” (wider, higher, farther, longer than eternity).

This love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. No matter how much we try to repay this love, we can never repay it because God continually pours his love into us.

This is agape (godly, unconditional, sacrificial) love.

If we are Christians, we are debtors to God’s love.

#2 Because love is the fulfillment of the Law

v. 9-10

“The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Love is the fulfillment (basis) of the Law.

Yes, as children of God, we are not under Law, but under Grace. We are living under the grace of God, by the grace of God. But this does not mean we are free to live a lawless life.

When we are living by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enables us to meet the requirements of the Law.

If you practice true agape love, there is no reason for another Law. Our motivation is the love of God in our hearts.

If your WHOLE life is motivated and operated by love for God and your neighbors, we do not need any other Law.

Last time, we studied about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit:

  • the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

These are NOT the same.

  • Gifts (9 in 1 Cor 12): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Power, Tongues, Distinguishing spirits, Interpretation, Healing, Teaching, Serving, Prophecy
  • Fruit (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
  • Gift: related to skill, for a purpose
  • Fruit: related to character, personality, spirituality

LOVE is BOTH gift and fruit.

  • Love is means and end.
  • Love is method and purpose.
  • Love is the gift of gifts.
  • Love is the firstfruit of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 13 “If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I’m a resounding gong. If I’m a super genius, with massive mountain moving faith, but have not love, I’m nothing. If I give all I have and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

“Do everything in love.”

#3 Because our salvation is near(er) than when we first believed

v. 11-13

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

We can see terms related to time here:

  • Present time,
  • the hour has come,
  • nearer,
  • now,
  • night,
  • nearly over,
  • day,
  • almost here,

Yes, as long as time is flying on, one day, our Lord Jesus Christ will come in his body.

Everyday we are nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation (one day). Tomorrow we will be nearer by one day than today.

And ONE DAY will be our LAST DAY on this earth. Everybody has his own LAST DAY. But nobody knows when this day will be.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for nobody knows what it may bring forth. You are but a mist and disappear after a little while.”

But THIS one day is not a normal day – it is the FINAL DAY – to receive our reward, blessing, or judgment from Christ. “Christ will bring ALL things into judgment – including the hidden things. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

  • Spiritually “slumber” means disregard or ignorance and indifference in activity of good work.
  • “Night” = unbelief
  • “Day”= faith
  • “Put on the armor of light” – the first thing God created was light.

Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” – and then challenges us, “you are the Light of the world”. So what is darkness? The first thing God asked Adam after he sinned was, “Where are you?” even though he knew. This means “Do you not know where you are?” Trying to hide yourself from the sight of God = you are in darkness.

  • Test yourself. If you have something you are trying to hide from the sight of God, you are in darkness.

1 John “Whoever claims to be in the light but hates his brother is in darkness.”

There is nothing to hide because all will be exposed in the light (Jesus).

Up to now, we have seen 3 reasons WHY we must love: God, our neighbors, our enemies:

  1. We are debtors to love
  2. It is the fulfillment of the Law
  3. We are nearer our salvation now than when we first believed

Do you agree?

  1. I must love God with all my heart, mind, soul, strength.
  2. I must love my neighbor as myself.

BUT, I have no power to do so myself.

That’s why we need the Last verse.

  1. “I need Jesus Christ absolutely.”
  2. “Jesus is my clothes, my dress.”
  3. 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

#Conclusion

v. 14

“14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

“Jesus is my dress.” 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

No one is naked here.

What are the functions of our dress?

Here are 4 functions of our dress (spiritually):

#1 Protection

  • from cold, hurt, danger, shame
  • from the attack of Satan
  • the temptation and shame of sin

Even as a pastor, if I’m totally naked before you, I’m so shameful. But Jesus is my protection from all the evil things in this world.

#2 Clothes reveal our status / identity

Especially at that time, clothes showed social rank (king, noble, middle-class, poor)

Even today, we can see this: police, doctors, nurses, uniforms, etc.

Our identity as a Christian is revealed in this world – as a light of the world, aroma of Christ. Can you *smell* Jesus on your neighbor?? ^^

#3 It influences your attitude, tongue, character

  • For example, if I put on loose fitting clothes, my actions become loose – and my tongue as well – then my thinking and my language will be loose. Then my head, character, personality will become loose. If everything is loose, my whole life is loose.
  • If I wear noble dress, my tongue, thinking, habits, character, etc, will be noble.
  • If I put on Jesus Christ, he will continually affect and impact my attitude and character and personality.

#4 They are my company wherever I go

Clothes go together with me all the time. When you see me, you see my clothes first.

If I put on Jesus, people will see Jesus FIRST – wherever you go.

Conclusion: The best way to do and show this kind of agape love (to win souls to Christ) is to clothe yourselves with Christ.

  1. Love = greatest commandment
  2. Evangelism = greatest commission

These two pillars go together hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. They can never be separated.

Let’s pray.

  • May 31 / 2015
  • Comments Off on And Then THE END Will Come (Matthew 24:14)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

And Then THE END Will Come (Matthew 24:14)

05.31.2015

05.31.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

And then THE END will come!

Download Notes in an .RTF file

Matthew 24:14 (Pastor Heo)

And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then THE END will come.


 

This verse is the KEY verse of this whole chapter. I challenge you to memorize this verse in your mind, heart, and actions.

“And then THE END will come” = “And then I will come” – someday Jesus will come back bodily so that every eye can see him.

Last time, we studied about the “Last Days” – from the Fall of Adam (Genesis 3) was the Beginning of the Last Days and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the End of the Last Days. There were many horrors in the Last Days: love of money, self, pleasure, false Christs and prophets, wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, droughts, famines, etc.

This verse is the sign of all signs of the Last Days. The End is not yet – all the other signs.

This sign = the End is coming.

Jesus says, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” The only way is to FOCUS our eyes and thoughts on Jesus Christ. There is no Savior outside the Bible. Whenever we look for signs outside the Bible, we become very susceptible to deception.

Another only sure way to prepare the Last Days is to preach the gospel to all nations.

Here is one question for us all to ponder: What is the most rewarding, best thing, we can do in this world but cannot do in the next world any longer? What is the most important thing we cannot do in heaven? Do you want to live a truly meaningful life?

The answer is: I cannot be an evangelist in heaven.

You may have not thought of this answer before, but to share our faith, our testimony with non-believers is the #1 thing we can do on earth that we will not be able to do in heaven. How are you doing? When was the last time you told someone about Christ?

The truth is, God has chosen us to preach the gospel in this world. Is it any wonder why more people are NOT becoming Christians? If we do not do our best, if we neglect to make the most of every opportunity to share our faith with others, they have no chance to hear the gospel, nor make a decision for Christ, they will die in their sins, and be separated from God in eternity in a very real place of torment: Hell.

Maybe you think: I have no gift of evangelism, so isn’t it OK for me to defer this task of evangelism to those who do?

Yes, some are gifted in evangelism, but this doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. The Great Commission is to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

The first step in this is to make a decision that Jesus is our Savior, the Creator, and God.

In this short verse: 14 – the keywords are plentiful.

EACH word is a keyword.

“This gospel of the kingdom…”

The term gospel = “good news” – we are familiar with this – but the full meaning of this is “good news of great joy for all people for all time.” This gospel word is used in various ways. The first four books of the New Testament are called “Gospels according to…” – and of course the whole Bible is God’s gospel to humanity – all the revelation of God to his Creation is “gospel” – human history, revelation, human consciousness, etc. This is a very broad definition.

More narrowly, the death and resurrection of Christ is the more focused gospel “good news” message.

Yes, there are many ways to the United Kingdom, but only ONE way to the Heavenly Kingdom. Only through Christ.

Yes, there are many remedies for physical sicknesses, but the only remedy for sin is Jesus Christ.

  • 1 John 1:7 “The blood of Christ covers us.”
  • 1 John 2:2 “Jesus is our atoning sacrifice – for the whole world.”
  • John 3:16 “God so loved the world…”
  • John “God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…”
  • “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved.”

This is the gospel message of Heaven.

What is your decision for Christ? This is the most serious and vital question we must solve. Our decision for Christ decides our eternity.

Hebrews 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

No matter how beautiful a bridge may look, we do not build our house on that bridge. Bridges are for us to pass by. Don’t build your house on that bridge – this is life in this world.

James 4:14 “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Your life in this world is an opportunity to make a decision for Christ – your decision in this life determines how you will be in the next world. This is the heart of the gospel message of heaven.

“…all nations…”

  • Mark 16:14 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all Creation because God wants ALL to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”
  • “God is not slow in delivering on his promises, but he wants ALL to come to repentance in Jesus Christ.”

In this sentence, “nation” does not count “countries” divided politically by lines. I did not count, but I heard there are 206 countries divided on this earth. Within these countries, there are the same people groups sharing ethnic culture and languages.

… Winter – from US – mysiologically? Indonesia has more than 780 nations. China has over 500 nations. Bangaladesh, Pakistan 400, Nepal 350?

Why is it so difficult to be an evangelist?

Yes, there are many obstacles that get in the way – but here are TWO and how to overcome these obstacles:

#1: Lack of knowledge barrier

This is when we THINK we do not know enough about the Bible or theology to effectively answer people’s questions.

Answer: FOCUS our witnessing opportunities on JESUS and his divinity.

How many times did you hear someone say: “OK I believe Jesus lived 2000 years ago. I know he was a good man, a good moral teacher, a good prophet. But I NEVER believe he was God, NOR that he said he was God.”?

But the truth is that Jesus DID claim to be God – there are many examples in the Book of John – one day he asked the Jews why they were about to stone him – “for which of these miracles from heaven do you stone me?” – “Not for these miracles, but because you, a mere man, claim to be God – blasphemy!” We can see how the Bible uses Jesus’ personal testimony as a tool for evangelism.

When a person is faced with evidence of Jesus divine stature and sees it with their own eyes, they MUST make a decision.

This is the quickest, shortest means for getting to the heart of the gospel message.

  • 2 Cor 4:5 “We do not preach, but Christ in us preaches.”
  • 1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

#2: Fear barrier

Are you afraid of rejection? And persecution? Please remember, if you receive persecution because of your evangelism activity, BE JOYFUL! because Jesus says (Matthew 5) “Blessed are you when people persecute you because of me, for great is your reward in heaven.”

Actually, how can we NOT receive ANY persecution in this world because of Christ?

Remember, our job is NOT conversion.

Our job is just to SCATTER seed – the seed of truth that reveals the character and deity of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us on the cross.

Bible says,

  1. “God is pleased through the foolishness of what was preaching for the harvest?”
  2. “One sows, another reaps.”

Even Paul (the greatest evangelist in history) did NOT say, “Yup, that was me. I did that. I converted that guy.” Rather he said, “I just planted the seed. Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything. It is only God who makes something grow.” (Eph?)

The foolishness of God is more powerful than the strength of human beings.

Remember, an evangelist’s life can NEVER be fruitless. It can NEVER be a failure. But, a fruitless evangelist’s life is MORE fruitful than a fruitful businessman’s life in the eternal perspective.

If you fail as an evangelist, you are more fruitful (eternally) than a successful businessman.

This is not to say “don’t go into business” but the point is, if we are truly born again Christians, no matter what secular job we have in this world, we REMAIN in this world as an evangelist.

Are you a businessman? You are businessman evangelist. Are you a teacher? You are a teacher evangelist….

  1. Evangelists are the world’s history leading heroes.
  2. Evangelists are the world’s leading heroes throughout history.

The Bible closes with a last verse: Rev. 22:25 “He who testifies to these things, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ ‘AMEN.’”

Jesus Christ, the author of history is tuning, arranging his Second Coming’s schedule based on the activity of his evangelists.

Let us shout and proclaim this verse together:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then THE END will come.

Do you believe this?

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 21 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Immanuel (Matthew 1:23, 28:18-20) – Christmas 2014
Christmas, Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Immanuel (Matthew 1:23, 28:18-20) – Christmas 2014

12.21.christmas

12.21.2014-PHeo-Christmas

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Immanuel (Christmas 2014)

Matthew 1:23, 28:18-20 (Pastor Heo)

23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


 

The key message of Christmas is “God With Us”. How is this possible? By nature, we have no right/authority for God to be with us.

  • God is spirit, we are physical.
  • God is Creator, we are his Creations.
  • God is in heaven and heavenly, we are on the earth and earthly.
  • God is absolutely pure and holy, all human beings are totally unclean and sinful.
  • By nature, God is unreachable, unapproachable. Then how is it possible that God is with us, among us, and IN us?

That became possible by the Christmas story, by Jesus coming into the world as a FULL man, as a person.

John 1:14 “God became man and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory. The glory of his one and only Son.”

  • Q: Do you recognize, enjoy, experience that God is with you wherever you are and whatever you do?
  • Q: If “yes”, how much does this fact affect you and your daily life?

In the Bible, the word Immanuel has different meanings – there are 5 levels in the Bible.

Let me share with you these 5 kinds of Immanuel in the Bible.

#1: Level 1 – one-dimensional Immanuel (“God with us”) – applied to ALL Creation.

God is with ALL things – living and unliving, all his things and Creations, he is “with” them.

God is with men, bad men, women, trees, stars, the sun, moon, birds, mountains, fish, everything, everywhere, God is “with” those BECAUSE God is Creator, Sustainer, Ruler, Governor over all things.

  • Eph 4:6 “There is only One God, the Father of all who is above all, and in all, and through all.”
  • Heb 1:3 “The Son, Jesus, is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s being, and is sustaining ALL things with his powerful Word.”

#2: Level 2 – two-dimensional Immanuel

Applied to only human beings – ALL human beings. Yes, God is with ALL human beings, believers and non-, good and bad, the saved, the lost, ALL men.

There’s no place we can be hidden from God. We cannot flee from the presence of God.

Unbelievers do not know/recognize God’s being “with” them BUT regardless of their ignorance that God is with them, he IS with them.

“God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain and snow on the righteous and unrighteous – and causes money and blessings to come to the believers and unbelievers alike.” (Proverbs?)

This unlimited favor to ALL human beings = “General Grace”

#3: Level 3 – three-dimensional Immanuel

Applied only to believers – those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, Lord, and God.

This Immanuel guarantees no penalty for sin, and guarantees special freedom in Truth. And absolute heavenly peace and joy and intimate relationship and fellowship with God and the right to pray (directly to him) anytime, everytime. We have access to God with confidence and assurance to get help in our time of need.

  • Jesus says, “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish. No one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John’s gospel)
  • Jesus says, “My Father who has given you to me is greater than ALL so that no one can snatch you out of my hand.”
  • Immanuel God promised, “I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.” This promise given only to believers is called “Special Grace.”

#4: Level 4 – four-dimensional Immanuel

The BEST/highest Immanuel that we, true Christians can experience in this world.

This Immanuel is applied to only evangelists, preachers of the gospel – to make disciples of ALL nations.

Matthew 28:18-20 = The “Great Commission” for world salvation and evanglization.

“All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go, baptizing all men in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you, and surely I am with you always until the very end of the age.”

“…to the very end of the age.” = There is a limitation in time – ONLY until the end of this “age.”

It means, this kind of Immanuel is applied ONLY in this “age” and it means that this Immanuel will be no more after the end of this age.

This kind of Immanuel is applied only (1) in this age, (2) to true believers who (3) go and preach the Word to all nations.

Q: What is the effect of this 4-dimensional Immanuel? This is where the power and authority of Jesus Christ is revealed through the people who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Example: Moses:

  • God called Moses and said, “Go to Pharaoh and save my people out of Egypt.” This means (today) “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
  • God gave him a promise – the best promise he could give him that “I will be WITH you always.”

This promise was a 4-dimensional Immanuel promise. This means, Moses became LIKE God before Pharaoh, before the people, before his brother Aaron.

Moses performed 10 miracles before Pharaoh. After coming out of Egypt, in front of the Red Sea, Moses raised his staff and stretched out his hand and the Red Sea was divided and they crossed by walking on foot.

Later, Moses made drinking water out of the rock. Moses performed many miracles. God’s promise “I will be WITH you” meant “my power will be done/manifested through you as long as you DO the mission I gave you.”

Today, in our time, this is the same.

Jesus says, “All authority is mine… Therefore, GO, and make disciples of all nations… Surely I am always WITH you to the very end of the age.”

This means, whenever you “go and make disciples” Jesus authority will be manifested through YOU who preach the gospel of salvation.

#5: Level 5 – five-dimensional Immanuel

Applied in the LITERAL heaven – in the world to come after this world. This means the redemption of our bodies. We will be LIKE Jesus – seeing him face-to-face – in heaven forever and ever.

At that time, we will receive spiritual, heavenly, immortal, glorious, radiant, REAL, recognizable as the SAME person – bodies.

1 Thess 16:17 “The Lord (Jesus) will come back again from heaven with a loud command with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and then the dead in Christ will be raised first. And we who are alive in Christ will be caught up in the air to receive him in the air, and we will be caught up to heaven and be with him forever and ever.”

May God bless all of us with Immanuel God.

“God be WITH us.”

Remember and enjoy abundantly this last sentence: God is WITH you IN Christ Jesus who was

  1. born for us,
  2. died for us,
  3. was raised for us, and
  4. will come back for us, and
  5. live with us forever and ever Amen.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 19 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Missionary Chapter: Be as Shrewd as Snakes and as Innocent as Doves (Matthew 10:9-16)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Missionary Chapter: Be as Shrewd as Snakes and as Innocent as Doves (Matthew 10:9-16)

01.19

01.19.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. 11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 


May God bless all of us with this word of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Matt 10 = Missionary Chapter (Christian worker’s Manual) 

Before he sent the apostles out to evangelize, he preached, encouraged, prepared them. In this sermon, he has something to say to ALL missionaries: Past, Present, and Future. To make light of the King’s voice is to be in danger at the end time.

Last time we saw:

  1. Who are the missionaries
  2. Who is the Lord of the Harvest
  3. What is their message
  4. Who is their audience

Today, we see HOW they are to go and evangelize.

No gold, no silver, no copper, no bag, no extra clothes, no sandals, no staff.

This seems contrary to normal travel plans. Most people would probably take money and extra clothes when they travel – as well as extra sandals and a staff for long walking. All of these seem very essential in travel. But Jesus forbade them from taking any of these essentials. 

He sent them in pairs, 2-by-2 expecting them to return SOON with a full report. We don’t know how long this campaign lasted, but this was a TRAINING mission. They had to move quickly, taking minimal supplies.  

What can we learn from this today, spiritually? 

3 Things for Today:

#1: We must understand the urgency of the mission task.

The imminence of the mission task. Paul, “When I preach, I must not boast. This is my mission, my goal, my life – if I do NOT preach, cursed am I.”

Many Christians today say, “Of course, I WANT to preach the gospel…later…when I’m (smarter/ready/wiser/older/finished with this problem/etc).”

NO. If you are not a NOW-Christian worker, then you are not a TRUE-Christian worker.

#2: We must understand the simplicity of a Christian-worker’s lifestyle.

If we are the ambassador’s of Christ, we can show his lifestyle by our lifestyles. We must show the simplicity of his lifestyle when we carry out our ministries without excessive worldliness. His first concern is God and Mission.

  • In Proverbs: “Give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I might have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ or I might have too light and steal and dishonor your name.”
  • Hebrews: “Therefore, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run the race with perseverance that is marked out before us.” 

If we want to be Christian-workers, we must make our lives simple and light. Like athletes without too much equipment that weighs them down. And we must focus on what is really important.

#3: We must learn to trust and depend on God absolutely – in action, not just in mind.

  1. Phil. “God will meet all your needs through Christ.”
  2. Luke “Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink…Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

Is God in your life? Then he must be FIRST. If not first, he’s not in your life.

v.11 

Who is the worthy person? A person who received their message and invited them to stay in their house. 

If they find a worthy person, they should stay there until they leave that town. It was a matter of courtesy. If they begin staying in one house in one village and then move to another house the next day…(maybe they had better food/luxury/entertainment…) They shouldn’t move to THAT other house, but stay in the first house that welcomed them. Why? 

The messenger of Christ must never give the impression that he is a seeker of material convenience.

They should depend on God’s provision, not their own ability. Homestay was an excellent approach for an apostle’s short mission – it was not to be a permanent way of life for them. 

v. 12-13

Another way to approach: with Blessing.

If the house is worthy, give it your peace, if not, keep it. Greeting = blessing the house, the owner, the family, the community, the town. 

Evangelist = true peace-maker, true peace-blesser.

“Peace to you” = Shalom

Blessed are the Peace-makers for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5)

Long ago, he was called the Prince of Peace, the King of Peace, so Jesus Christ himself is our Peace. “Therefore since we have been justified by Christ through faith, we have peace with God…” Romans? 

Therefore, we HAVE peace with God, so we must bless as much as possible! Your peace will not return to you empty.

Isaiah “As the rain and snow comes from heaven and never returns to heaven. As the earth produces wheat and the wheat, bread for the eater. Likewise, my Word never returns empty – it will accomplish the purpose I have for it.”

Like this, God’s peace, when we give it, will never return to us empty.

Abraham was called out to a new nation when he was just a young husband. But God made him a great nation “I will bless those who bless you; I will curse those who curse you.”

This also means “I will bless those whom you bless; I will curse those whom you curse.”

The blessing you give to men will never return empty – even though they are not worthy – the blessing we bless will work on somebody and not return to us empty. Hallelujah! Please bless with peace as many as possible. That blessing never fails – it will work on somebody – maybe even yourself. 

v. 14

If they don’t welcome you, shake the dust off your feet. 

Shaking dust off their feet was very familiar to the Jews. The dust of the Gentile land was defiled. So, when the Jews crossed Palestine and entered his own country after a journey, he shook his feet of the dust so that the last particle of pollution might be shaken away.

This instruction has 2 truths: Temporary, Permanent

  • Temporary: Jesus was not saying certain people had to be permanently abandoned from salvation. This needs to be understood by the opening sentence of Jesus “Do not go to the Gentiles, go to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Refusal of the message was like Gentiles – they had to move quickly and efficiently – they had no time to talk with stubborn refusals of their message – that would come later.)
  • Permanent: This is one of the great basic facts of life. We know, again and again, time and opportunity come to a man, but time does not come back.

Proverbs: 3 things do not come back.

  1. Spoken word
  2. Flown arrow
  3. Lost opportunity

Please remember, now is the opportunity.

Past has passed. Future is uncertain. The present is a gift – a present opportunity. 

As long as we preach the gospel, we are not responsible when the listeners refuse our message. But we DO have a responsibility to DO it – to preach it. We have a VIP position in this world as Christian workers, ambassadors of Christ. How important? More than Obama, Park Geun-Hye, President. 

v. 15 HOW important?

With emphasis: I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on JUDGMENT day than for that town. 

Sodom and Gomorrah = in the Old Testament (Genesis – same time as Abraham/Lot) – they were destroyed by fire from heaven. They rejected the messengers (angels) from heaven. But they never had the opportunity to reject the gospel of Christ. 

The greater the opportunity, the greater the responsibility. 

That’s why it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a lesson to us: God’s destruction and the permanence of that destruction. 

Those who reject the message of the gospel will receive THIS same spiritual, eternal, destruction.

v. 16 The model of the message

Sheep among wolves. We must go to the wolves – hallelujah – God will be with you.

Double attitudes we must have (two sides to one coin):

  1. Shrewd as snakes
  2. Innocent as doves

Our mission field is not in the church, but in the world. Missionaries are Christian workers among the lost, not among the saved.

Shrewd = wise, clever, prudent

Why snakes? Do you like snakes? 

When I was younger, I always approached snakes first at the zoo.

At that time in history, there was no place that snakes could not approach quietly yet powerfully.

  • God is a God of peace, and yet wrath.
  • Jesus is a full Man, and yet fully God.

This is a model for all evangelism. If we are ambassadors of Christ in this world, we must identify with those we serve. We must go among them, inside their groups, identify with them. Are you like them? Can you approach quietly yet powerfully like snakes? 

  • Yet we must also be totally different from them.
  • We must identify with them, yet not lose our own identity as we are in Christ.

Paul “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live…Yet even though I’m free, I belong to nobody, yet I make myself like a slave to everybody. I became weak to save the weak, I became strong to win the strong. I became like the Gentile to win the Gentile. I became like the Jew to save the Jew. I have become all things so that I might win as many as possible.”

One final sentence:

We must be faithful to the Word to save ourselves. We must be flexible to the World to save others. 

Let’s pray.

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