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  • May 12 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s Defense before King Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)

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Acts 26:1-32 (Pastor Heo)

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”


Felix kept Paul in prison for 2 years – not because Paul was guilty, but because he wanted bribes from Paul and favor from the Jewish people. He was not courageous to release him.

Festus, the next governor, also did not release him – as a favor to the Jews.

  • He said, “Do you want to stand trial before me in Jerusalem?”
  • Paul, “No, I’ve done nothing wrong. I appeal to Caesar!”

He decided to send Paul to Rome, but needed an “official” reason and documentation to send him.

At this moment, King Agrippa and Bernice (his sister) visited. He was great grandson of Herod who was afraid of baby Jesus a long time ago. Festus explained the situation and Agrippa expressed interest in hearing Paul. So, once again, Paul stood on trial.

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa

In this chapter, this is the longest of Paul’s speeches found in the book of Acts. He had to stop his speech because governor Festus stopped him. If Festus had not interrupted him, he may have gone on speaking more.

This chp is much more than a defense of himself and a review of his own personal religious experience. It is a statement of the Christian experience, and it explains his experience of conversion on the way to Damascus. (repeated also in chp 9, 22, 26 – here).

Paul received permission to speak for himself, but he spoke for Christ. v 2-23 = Paul’s defense. v. 24 = Festus’ interruption

5 Part Summary

of Paul’s defense

  1. v. 2-3 = Introductory remarks
  2. v. 4-11 = His early life (who / what he was before Christ)
  3. v. 12-18 = His conversion and call by Christ (main body)
  4. v. 19-21 = His confession of obedience to the vision and ministry
  5. v. 22-23 = Key message of the gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection)

When Paul preached the key message of the gospel, Festus hindered him from going on.

1. Introductory remarks

v. 2-3

“2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.”

He hinted that his speech would be long and that he would appreciate patience.

2. His early life

(I also used to be anti-Christian.)

v. 4-11

“4 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.”

3. His conversion & call

“I saw a light (from heaven)! I heard a voice (from heaven). Christ called me and spoke to me from heaven.”

v. 12-18

“12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

16 ” ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

Once Paul considered himself an “enlightened” man. He was a Jew, Pharisee, doctor, scholar – with great enthusiasm for God. He thought he was in the light when he was totally in darkness. But he saw the light on the road to Damascus. What / who is this light? Jesus

  • Jesus: “I am the Light of the World…”
  • Also, the Bible says “God is light; in him there is no darkness.”
  • (Eph 5:8) “Once you were in darkness, now you are in the light of the Lord, so live in the light.”
  • Genesis 1 “In the beginning, there was God… and God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. He saw that it was good. And he separated the Light from the darkness.”
    • This light that God created first was not the sun and stars (he created that on the 4th day). This Light was Life – the energy of life – all coming from God, from Jesus Christ.
  • John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God… all things were made by him and through him… In him was Light, the light of Man. The light has shined in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

All kinds of light comes from God.

Paul saw the light, and heard a voice, “Paul!” (he heard his own name)

Paul was shocked.

  • He thought Jesus was dead! – but here he was alive!
  • He also knew Paul BY NAME

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and he knows your name and he is calling you (by name).

Jesus called Paul, then sent him again. (v. 17 “…I am sending you…”)

We must know that Jesus’ calling and sending go hand-in-hand.

  • Jesus calls us from this world toward SALVATION.
  • But at the same time, he is sending us for SERVICE.

Outside Christ, people are in darkness.

2 Cor 4:4 “Our enemy Satan has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the Light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”

Jesus sends us to help them, to open their eyes.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation belonging to God – so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”

The same Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world” also says to us, “YOU are the light of the world.” What does this mean? Are we the same as Jesus?

No, we are the reflection of the real light in this world. Outsiders can find real light through us because we are the reflection of real light.

  • “I’m the light of the world.”
  • “I’m a reflection of the REAL light.”
  • “A city on a hill, a lamp on a stand… gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so that they may glorify God in heaven.”
v. 17-18 The Perfect Summary of what God has done for us

“17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “

This is a perfect summary of what Jesus has done for you. If you believe, it will be yours, if you don’t believe, it will not. Jesus says, “It will be done to you as you believe.”

What Christ does for us

  1. He opens our eyes to things we’ve never seen before
  2. He turns us from darkness to Light (He himself is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”)
  3. Transforms us from the power of Satan to the power of God
  4. Gives us forgiveness of sins
  5. Sanctifies us

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the New has come.”

4. His confession to obedience of Christ’s calling

v. 19-21

“19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.”

I call Jesus my Lord.

Do you call him your Lord?

How can you prove it?

By obedience.

God does not make us obey him (like robots) – but he wants us to obey him willingly, joyfully, thankfully. God is a person, we are persons – so God wants a personal relationship. God created us as people with personalities – he also has a personality – so he wants a personal, intimate relationship. God bless us all to prove his lordship over our lives through obedience.

5. Key message of the gospel

This is the highlight of the defense

v. 22-23

“22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer [die] and, as the first to rise from the dead [resurrect], would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” “

He introduced Jesus as the first person to rise from the dead. But actually, Jesus was NOT the first person to rise from the dead. There were at least 5 more before him.

  1. OT – Elijah – one boy
  2. OT – Elisha – one boy
  3. Paul raised one
  4. Jesus raised a boy (Lazarus)
  5. and girl (Tabitha)

But all of them died again. Yet, Jesus STILL lives. He exists still in the same body. And some day he will come again – in the same body. Believe this now to enjoy abundant, eternal, heavenly life in Christ. If you wait, it may be too late.

At this point, the governor STOPPED Paul.

Shall I stop? Soon. But let us finish.

v. 24-25

“24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”

Yes, Jesus was once called insane. People pointed at him and said, “He is out of his mind and demon-possessed.”

What is the purpose of Jesus in this world? To destroy the works of the devil. Yet, they called him “demon-possessed.”

We are followers of Christ.

Have you ever been called “crazy” because of Jesus? “Jesus freak.”

What is your answer?

Don’t ask me, I’m asking you.

Today, it’s the same. Think about it honestly. Which is more important? Football or salvation? Climbing mountain or salvation? Your name in lights or in the Book of Life? Temporary physical pleasure or eternal joy? Temporary reputation and popularity or glory, reward crown from God in eternity?

Be honest in giving answers to these simple, basic questions.

IF you risk your life for football, or mountains, or pop songs, this world will respect you and honor you and call you, “hero” and “icon.”

But if you risk your life for Jesus, this world will call you “crazy.”

If this is true, I want to be called “crazy” in this world. I want to challenge you with this.

v. 26-32

“26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” “

At this last part, Paul became the judge, and the King became the defendant. He witnessed about the difference Jesus makes in someone’s life. Can you witness even in court like this? Yes, with Christ, you can.

Rather than complain about your present circumstances, look for ways to use EVERY circumstance to share God with others.

Unfortunately, all of them rejected the message of the gospel – Felix, Festus, Agrippa. “No thank you.” They all had excuses.

  • Felix: “I’m too busy.”
  • Festus: “I’m too smart.”
  • Agrippa: “I’m too important.”

Today, these excuses (and many more) are still common. What excuses do you use to avoid Jesus’ word, ministry, mission, evangelism?

On THAT day, when we stand before God face-to-face, you are without excuse.

Please, say to God, “Forgive me” but never say, “Excuse me.”

On THAT day, you have no excuse.

What a wonderful thing is the opportunity to trust Christ and be saved. But what a terrible thing is missing that opportunity and not getting another.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 26 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Gospel (Romans 1:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

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Romans: The Gospel (Pastor Heo)

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Cor 15:1-4

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Cor 15:1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


These verses are the CORE message of the gospel. We know (we recently studied) that ALL the books in the Bible are “All About Jesus”. Also, this book, Romans, is focused on the gospel. Romans is the gospel of gospels – and it is focused on the gospel from first to last. The full, pure, clear, direct gospel – the essence of the gospel.

The word “gospel” appears 12 times. This is more than in any other book than the whole Bible. Interestingly, even more often than in the first 4 books of the New Testament (these are referred to as the “Gospels”: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). So, in this way, Romans is “The Gospel according to Paul.”

We know this gospel is not a new story, but a very, very old story. This is not invented by men, but originates from God – it is always unchangeable – the same message forever.

The Christian Truth is a paradox = something that appears wrong/strange but it true.

  • Jesus: “He who wants to save his life, will lose it.”
  • “He who wants to be first, will be last.” – To be a leader, you must serve.
  • Last week: “True freedom is found in slavery (to Christ).”

This morning’s paradox: “The gospel is an OLD story, but it is NEWS. It should be proclaimed everyday, even today. It is the story of Death (but we call it ‘Good News of Great Joy’). The gospel is an unchangeable story, but it changes you and me – from death to life, purposeless to purposeful, defeat to victory.”

Romans 1:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4 are the BEST and MOST CLEAR messages of the Gospel in the whole Bible.

“…according to the Scriptures” = according to Old Testament prophecy.

Jesus =

  • fully Man (proven by his physical birth – Romans 1:3), and
  • fully God (proven by his resurrection – Romans 1:4)

So, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the core message of the gospel = the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “What I received I pass on to you as of first importance…” The gospel message = that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again from the dead for our complete salvation and he is able to save completely those who trust in him.

This is the miraculous story of the substitutionary death of Jesus for us.

The core message of the gospel is: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Today’s sermon title: “Gospel”

Today in our sermon, I want all of us to focus on the core message of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ). Let me share 6 characteristics of this core message:

Core: Jesus Died on the cross for you sin (my sin) and rose again from the dead, and is now able to save completely from death those who trust in Him. This message is begun from before Genesis. Yet, this is “news” that should be announced and known and revealed today as “good news.”

Characteristics of the Death & Resurrection:

#1 These are MAIN prophecies in the OT

This was promised and preached even in the OT, long ago – even though they didn’t realize what they were writing.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring [devil, evil spirits] and hers [the Messiah]; he [Jesus] will crush your head [Satan’s – first prophesy of Jesus’ resurrection], and you [Satan] will strike his heel [his suffering, crucifixion, and death on the cross].” Literally, this is a curse given to the serpent – the first curse.

This verse, in the very first curse in the world, the gospel is included. So, this verse is called the “Primitive Gospel” (원시복음) – Euangelion = gospel (Greek)

We can trace the path of blood through the whole Old Testament.

  1. Genesis 4: Able,
  2. Ram on the mountain (Isaac),
  3. sacrifices throughout Israel’s history
  4. David, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, etc…

ALL these offerings point to ONE offering that will be offered on the cross by Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied: “He was crushed for our iniquities…”

#2: The pages that mark the story of the gospel take up more pages in the NT than any others – this is remarkable.

Jesus lived on earth for 33 years, but the gospel message (death and resurrection) = 1/5 of all the Gospel books. Even in the OT, this event was marked as supreme importance (focus of prophecies).

#3: The death and resurrection is the MAIN PURPOSE of The Incarnation (God becoming Man)

There are several purposes of The Incarnation:

  1. To teach us doctrine
  2. To show an example
  3. To become our High Priest
  4. To die (the MAIN purpose) and rise (for our salvation)

Actually, God cannot die – but he became a Man to die. That’s why Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” John “If a kernel of wheat does not die, it does not produce a crop, but if it dies, it produces MANY.”

This is the direct purpose and connection with the Incarnation (the redemption of the lost). The Incarnation is not an “end” in itself, but it is a “means to an end” – to save the lost.

#4: Essential for our forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life

John 3:14-15 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Yes, this gospel is absolutely necessary for our eternal life.

Hebrews 4:2 “Jesus Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Question: how can we be saved from our sin?

We need forgiveness everyday, every moment. Just like we need to wash our hands everyday, every night and morning. So, how can we receive this forgiveness from God? By repentance – Yes and No.

  • God is a righteous God, so he cannot pardon sin ONLY on the ground of the sinner’s repentance.
  • God can forgive a sinner ONLY when the penalty is first PAID. He is a holy and righteous God.

In order to forgive sinners, and still remain a holy and righteous God, Jesus first PAID the penalty for us in our place. Now, if we believe in him, there is no condemnation against us and God can forgive our sins and welcome us back into his kingdom.

“The blood of Christ purifies us from all sins.”

The root of all disease, sickness, suffering is sin. There is only one remedy for sin: the blood of Christ.

#5: These are Vital elements in Christianity

Honestly speaking, Christianity is NOT a religion, but it is called a religion – because in this world there are many religions. Actually, Christianity is LIFE itself. So, what is the difference between Christianity and other religions?

Other religions base their claims on the teaching of their founders (Muhammad, Buddha, etc).

But Christianity assigns all its importance on the DEATH of its founder. If we remove the death of Christ from Christianity, then it becomes the same as a religion of the world. This is the heart of Christianity.

Other religions do not even mention the death of their founders. Why? Because they are dead and gone (and they have massive, beautiful tombs enshrining them that many take pilgrimages to visit). But, Christianity’s founder? Where is his tomb? There is none.

Jesus’ resurrection is called the “First Fruits” of human resurrection. Only Christ has the power and authority to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me.”

  • He died for our sins,
  • he is living for our salvation, and
  • he is coming again soon for our eternal glorification.

The founders of other religions are dead, gone, entombed, and leave only a memory.

But Christ is risen from the dead and gives us a power and love and life through his resurrection.

#6: This is of supreme interest even in heaven

In the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the first concern. For example, do you know the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain? Jesus, Peter, and John met Elijah (the Prophets) and Moses (the Law). (This is repeated in Matthew and Luke). They spoke with Jesus on the mountain about his “departure” (i.e. death and resurrection) which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem soon. This indicates that the main concern of heaven is this event. You know, even in Revelation, the elders and choir sang a song about the redemption accomplished by the death and resurrection of Christ. Rev 5:11 “thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands of angels joined in the chorus…” – to sing a song of the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This indicates that this event is the #1 concern even in heaven.

So, those who have the veil of humanity removed from their eyes and can see the kingdom of heaven, fully praise and exalt the death and resurrection of Christ. So, we also must study this.

Romans 1:1-7 we can see “called” 4 times:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, *called* to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship *to call* all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and *called* to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this mean?

We are called by God to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

Who were the great men in the OT? The men who HEARD the call of God and ANSWERED. (Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Moses)

Even today, this is the same.

  • We are CALLED. Did you hear? Are you hearing?
  • We are called to call others to God through the message of the gospel.

God bless all of us so that we may hear and respond to the call of God.

God is calling me to call others to God through the message of the gospel, the message of salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 28 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Paul’s First Sermon (Acts 13:6-41)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s First Sermon (Acts 13:6-41)

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Paul’s First Sermon

Acts 13:6-41 (Pastor Heo)

13:6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.”

12 Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Pisidian Antioch

13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

<PaulsFirstSermon>

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

21 “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

” ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’

34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

” ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 ” ‘Look, you scoffers,wonder and perish,

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “

</PaulsFirstSermon>

Usually there is a tendency to ID the missionary and the enterprise as going to rural, small, remote, isolated areas – like the jungle, etc – whose people are poor, uneducated, uncivilized – and helping them for his whole life with medicine, education, etc, and then finally, sharing the story of the gospel, very personally. Yes, this is a KIND of missionary job – BUT Paul’s missionary enterprise is very different. Here are 3 key differences:

1. Paul focused on BIG cities –

because he wanted to preach to as many people as possible in a limited time.

If Paul were in Korea, he would travel to

  • Seoul,
  • Incheon,
  • Daejeon,
  • Gwangju,
  • Daegu,
  • Busan,
  • Jeonju, etc.

Later, he wanted to go to Rome very much because it was the biggest city at that time. In the book of Romans, he wrote, “God, whom I serve with my whole heart is my witness how I constantly remember you in my prayers at all times. I long to see you that I may impart a spiritual gift to make you strong. I’m obligated to ALL people, that’s why I’m so eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome.” This was the eagerness of a soul-winner, not a sightseer.

City Mission 도시선교

2. He didn’t live his whole life in ONE place, but moved continuously.

2 Cor he confessed, “I have been constantly on the move – in danger from rivers, the Gentiles, the city, my own countrymen, the sea, false brothers, etc.” If he preached the gospel and the hearers accepted the message, he helped them to organize their own local church and very soon he moved again to another place – because he wanted to preach the gospel to those who did not hear the gospel. But, if the hearers rejected their message, he ALSO moved to another place – because he wanted to preach the message to those who WANTED to hear and were ready to receive the message.

[Later, “Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet” and moved on.]

3. He was VERY clear in the knowledge of what his FIRST priority was as a missionary.

He was “set apart” as a “servant” and “slave” of God. All the time, the did the MOST important job FIRST (never second). He had his priorities in order. He was very clear about this. Remember, sometimes the second important job is the greatest enemy to the MOST important job.

What is the FIRST important job to a missionary? PREACH the gospel.

1 Cor 1:17 “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power and wisdom of God.” Are you saved? Then you are, at present, BEING saved. And finally, you will BE saved.

This sentence does not mean that baptism is not important, rather, that he was very clear in his priorities. Are you clear in your priorities?

“I’m a Child of God!”

We are! Are you very clear in your priority as a child of God?

God bless us to be so.

v. 13

“13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”

Before this verse:

v. 9

“9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,”

This is the FIRST appearance of “Paul” – and from this point, his name is continually referred to as Paul. From this point, “Saul” appears no more.

v. 13

“13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”

This is interesting. His companions include: Barnabas (the original leader) – “Barnabas and Saul” (but here, there is not even the name of Barnabas).

Who is this John? John Mark. He joined in the missionary team as a helper.

There were Barnabas (leader), Paul (second), John (helper).

Here, John left and returned to his home in Jerusalem. Why? According to the record, we do not know exactly why he left. We can only guess.

  • Homesick?
  • Miss his father?
  • Uncomfortable with saved Gentiles? (he was a very devoted Jew)
  • Fear of danger? (this team was moving into dangerous areas)
  • He wasn’t happy about the leadership? – from Barnabas to Paul (Barnabas was his uncle or cousin)

This sentence (v. 13) indicates that the leadership of the team came over to Paul.

Whatever the case, Paul didn’t like this departure of John. In chp 15, Paul and Barnabas were ready for the Second Missionary Journey (after a second sabbatical year). For this journey, Barnabas wanted to take John again, but Paul did not want to. They fought very sharply over this matter, and separated company. From that point (chp 15), there is no more mention of Barnabas in this book.

Barnabas took John, Paul took Silas.

Anyway, the point is: finally, John Mark redeemed himself in the eyes of Paul – he was respected and restored in Paul’s eyes.

In his last letter, 2 Timothy, chp 4:11, Paul said, “Bring (John) Mark to me. He is very helpful to me in my ministry.”

Key point:

We have no right to give up any person for his salvation nor restoration in being used by God in his kingdom and for his glory.

Who can we give up that God does not give up?

v. 16-41: Paul’s first sermon in his missionary work

“13:16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

21 “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

” ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’

34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

” ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 ” ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish,

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “”

Amen.

His first sermon has 3 parts:

  1. v. 16-25
  2.  v. 26-37
  3. v. 38-41

Each part begins with an addressing word.

Part One v. 16

“”Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!”

Part Two v. 26

“”Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.”

Part Three v. 38

“”Therefore, my brothers, “

We can see his audience was mixed Jews and Gentiles. In the third part, he doesn’t address them separately, but just says, “My brothers.” – to him there is NO more separation Jew / Gentile in Christ.

Part One

Paul summarized the history of Israel – climaxing with the coming of John the Baptist as forerunner of Christ – and with the coming of Christ as promised in the OT.

This was the Introduction (preparation)

Part Two (main body – declaration)

The main theme: The death and resurrection of Christ

Jesus came as Savior and Lord, but the world didn’t recognize him. They killed him. But he was raised from the dead. (at least 4x repeated)

  1. v. 30 “But God raised him from the dead, “
  2. v. 33 “by raising up Jesus.”
  3. v. 34 “The fact that God raised him from the dead, “
  4. v. 37 “But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.” (this is the final sentence in the second part of this sermon)

v. 37 Why? Because Jesus is original God.

John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. .. In him was light, and it shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. … This world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him…”

The death and resurrection of Christ is “good news” (i.e. gospel) – do you agree?

Paul’s message is the same as my message today.

What is the application? If we really believe in Jesus’ death, resurrection, our salvation, forgiveness of sin, sanctification, glorification, the conclusion / application is v. 38-39

v. 38-39

“38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

Two key ideas in these two sentences:

  1. Forgiveness of sin
  2. Justification by faith

Forgiveness of Sin

Can be found only in the death and resurrection of Christ. Do you believe this? We know the Law of Moses demands perfection – the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the teaching of Christ and his example – all are perfect – but they all reveal our sin. They reveal our need for a Savior – but they do not provide the remedy for sin. The remedy can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Christ.

v. 38 “I want you to know…”

God is a righteous God. He is good all the time.

The FACT that God is righteous means that God cannot pardon / forgive sin simply on the grounds of the sinner’s repentance. This would be impossible for a righteous God to do. Sin can ONLY be forgiven when the penalty of the sin is already paid.

So, in order to be able to forgive sin, and still remain a righteous God, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins already – in his body, on the cross.

This is a fact – the forgiveness of sin is proclaimed to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

v. 39 “Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

Justification by Faith

You can be involved in this (EVERYONE). Everyone who believes. What is the justification of God? This is when God declares the believing sinner as “righteous.” This is a declarative act of God.

Negatively: we cannot be justified by the Law of Moses, by our own power, effort, knowledge, good works, human made religion. We cannot be declared by God to be righteous by any religion made by man.

Only the grace of God is the root and source of our justification. This originates in the heart of God.

Knowing our inability to do this for ourselves, God decided to provide righteousness for you and me. It was God’s grace that provides righteousness for you and me.

In his mercy, he had regard for our miserable situation. That’s why we are justified only by the grace of God.

The blood of Christ is the foundation for our justification. Why? Because Heb 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”

To receive the forgiveness of sins, somebody must shed blood. But even if I do it myself – shed my own blood, it will not work – because my blood (and your blood) is dirty – not clean. Only Christ’s blood is pure and holy.

1 John “The blood of Christ purifies us from all wickedness and all unrighteousness.” God is able to remit our penalty and restore us to his favor and his grace.

In justification, your sins are NOT excused. Rather, your sins are PUNISHED in the person of Christ. That’s why he is called our substitute (propitiation).

We are justified only by faith. Our faith is the condition for justification – not on merit. It is not FOR faith but BY / THROUGH faith that we are justified.

This means, our faith is not a prize for our justification.

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Two crucial questions

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

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

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


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

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

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

Do you know the key ministry of the HS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 44

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

What are “these words”? The gospel message:

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

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

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

v. 47-48

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

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

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

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

Let’s clear up Water Baptism

This is NOT essential for salvation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter’s Journey (Jerusalem -> Jerusalem)

chp 11:1-3

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

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

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

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

We must be careful:

  • Critics criticize first, and gather information later.

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

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

v. 4-17

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

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

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

v. 18

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

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

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

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

v. 2

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, …”

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

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

This is our spiritual journey in this world

We begin and end with God.

Our lives on earth are only spiritual preparation for eternity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you calculate how long eternity is?

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

“My citizenship is in heaven.”

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 04 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Eagerness to Go to Rome (Romans 15:23-33)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Paul’s Eagerness to Go to Rome (Romans 15:23-33)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Paul’s Eagerness to go to Rome

Romans 15:23-33 (Pastor Heo)

But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.


v. 24-28

15:24 “I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.”

Paul and his associates received collection money from Gentile Christians in Greece to help the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.

As we know, Christianity began in Jerusalem (historically). Interestingly, (ironically) as a Christian living in Jerusalem was very difficult. Being a Christian and being poor went together in Jerusalem – and it was not accepted well by Jewish authorities – so they had many difficulties spiritually and financially.

This was not the first collection that was taken for the Jewish Christians. This is at least the second time they collected offerings from Gentile Christians to help the Jerusalem church (the mother church). Other churches in the Roman empire were daughter churches.

Paul’s logic: Gentile Christians received spiritual blessings from the mother church (in Jerusalem) – so they had an obligation to repay them (in part) through financial blessings. It was the Jews who gave them the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. So, this is an expression of love from the Gentiles to their Jewish brothers and sisters.
  2. It was also practical relief for them when they needed it the most.
  3. It was a bond to unite Jews and Gentiles in church – to bring them closer together.

Even today, all Christians are debtors. If you are a Christian, you are a debtor. Paul confesses this in chapter 1.

Please remember, a Christian’s life is a “giving life” – “it is more blessed to give than receive.”

1 Cor 9:6-7 “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; whoever sows generously will also reap generously. So each of you must decide in your hearts what to give, not under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

God gives more to the giver.

  • Whoever sows little, reaps little.
  • Whoever sows much, reaps much.

Yes, without sowing seed, there is no harvest, no fruit. Giving is essential for Christian life and debt paying life. It is essential for holy life, influential life, blessed and growing life, more receiving life, Christ-imitating life, becoming like Christ in our attitude.

Yes, we are called “Christians” – this means “Christ-like people.” Christ gave all he had to us – even his cross. On the cross, he became totally naked. During this time, Romans soldiers divided his clothes by lot. Christ gave ALL to this world – including you and me.

Giving to the church, offering to church is saving up your treasures in heaven. Giving to the poor is lending to God. Later, check if this is right or wrong.

  • Give to the church = store your treasures in heaven.
  • Give to the poor = lend to God.

Later, Paul hoped to journey to Rome. But actually, this was a very dangerous journey. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he was arrested in the temple, and falsely accused by the Jewish authorities. He was then sent to Rome as prisoner and preacher.

His ship was broken on the journey – shipwrecked at sea. He spent the next 4 years in prison. 2 in Caesarea. 2 in Rome.

Later, Rome was conquered, arrested by the gospel Paul preached.

Why was Paul so eager to go to Rome?

If you read this book from first to last, you can see at least 10 times his strong desire to go to Rome. Even in this text, he mentioned it 7 times.

  • v. 23: “I have been longing for many years to see you”
  • v. 24 “I plan to do so when I go to Spain.
  • “I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
  • v. 28 “I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.”
  • v. 29 “when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

This is WHY he was so eager to go to Rome: to share the full measure of the blessing of Christ (the gospel).

  • v. 32 “by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.”

v. 29-33

“29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

In his personal writing, he asked the saints in Rome to pray for his safety. (v. 31)

Paul knew of the possible danger waiting for him in Jerusalem (Acts 23-24) “I know very well, in every city, that prison and hardships are waiting for me – but I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given to me.”

Even in the first chapter of Romans, he revealed his strong desire to go to Rome.

Chp 1 “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his son, remembers how constantly I remember all of you in my prayers. And I pray that by God’s will the way may be opened for me that I may come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you so that you may be strong. I planned many times to come to you. I’m obligated to both Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and non-Greeks, and so I am eager to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.”

WHY was Paul so eager to go to Rome?
To preach the gospel.

Because the “gospel is the power of God to save everyone who believes.”

Here are 3 characteristics of the gospel (the full measure of the blessing of Christ):

3 Characteristics of the gospel

The gospel is:

1. The POWER of God

Power was the one thing Rome was most proud of and boasted the most of. Greece had its own philosophy, but Rome had its own power – to conquer the whole known world. The fear of Rome hovered over the known world at that time. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But, this is wrong.

The city of Rome was called the “cesspool of iniquity.” 죄악의 소굴

Spiritually, this was Rome.

That is why Paul was so eager to carry the power of the gospel – which has the power to change men’s lives – to sinful, wicked Rome. Paul had seen this gospel work already in many other sinful cities (Corinth, Ephesus, even his own life).

Have you experienced this gospel-changed life? Your mission, purpose, life, changed completely?

Even today, what can change our sinful community and lives? Only the gospel has saving power. The heart message of the gospel is “Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our salvation.” That’s why Paul’s heart burned with a holy enthusiasm to go to Rome.

2. The FRUIT is salvation

The gospel is the POWER of God for the FRUIT (purpose) of salvation.

There is no redeemer, Savior, other than Jesus.
The literal meaning of his name is: “He saves people from their sins.”

“There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

1 Tim “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.”

There is no other way except by our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The gospel is for EVERYONE

The outreach of the gospel = the whole world

The gospel is the (1) POWER of God (2) FOR salvation for (3) EVERYONE who believes.

We are not to behave,
but to believe.

We have nothing to do for our salvation, because Jesus did ALL for us. As long as we try to do something for our salvation, as long as we try to ADD something to it, that salvation goes far from us – this is the mystery of salvation.

Saving faith is like pure gold.

If this is pure gold (Bible), then if I add something to the gold – even diamonds – then this gold is no longer pure gold.

Saving faith is like pure gold. If you try to add something to it – from your effort, power, merit, etc – then this faith is no longer saving faith.

So, the Bible says, “The gospel is the POWER of God for the SALVATION of EVERYONE who believes.”

Christ paid all, did all for us, for our salvation.

Also today, our hearts must burn with a holy enthusiasm to preach the gospel.

I said in the middle of this sermon that giving is essential to the Christian life because “God is blessing us to be a blessing to others.”

  • God is saving us to save others.
  • God is giving us good continually so that we may give good to others in his kingdom, for his glory.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 13 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Ministries of the Law (Romans 7:7-13)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Ministries of the Law (Romans 7:7-13)

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The Ministries of the Law

Romans 7:7-13 (Pastor Heo)

The Law and Sin

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.


Sin is utterly sinful.

Last time in the first part of this chapter (v. 1-6) we saw our new relationship to the Law due to our union with Jesus in his death / resurrection. If we are united with him in these things, surely our relationship with the Law is that we are dead to the Law, and under Christ (under Grace).

Somebody might argue saying, “What good is the Law if we do not need it any longer?”

A: (v. 7-13) – this is the ministries of the Law (why we need the Law)

The ministries (businesses/jobs) of the Law = 4.

These ministries function even today.

#1. Law reveals sin

The Law defines sin as sin – it exposes it as what it is.

(v. 7) “7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.””

Romans 3:20 “Through the Law we become conscious of sin – the knowledge of sin.” Without Law, there is lawlessness. This reveals to us the inner man and shows us how dirty/sinful we are.

Paul doesn’t use “obvious sins” (killing, adultery, stealing) is sin. This is not difficult to understand. But rather, he uses “coveting” (I want what you’ve got). This is not an outward action, but an inward attitude – and almost every human has covetousness in their heart (this is the last of the 10 Commandments in Exodus).

Covetousness = leads to the breaking of the other 9 Commandments – it is an insidious sin that most people do not recognize in their own lives, but God reveals it.

Mark 10 – the Young Rich Ruler –

This is an example of revealing sin to show his need for a Savior.

“One day, a young man came to Jesus and knelt down and said, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

Jesus, ‘No one is good except God alone. You know the Commandments.’

Man, ‘I have done all this since I was a boy.’

Jesus loved him and said, ‘One thing you lack. Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Come again, and follow me.’

At this, the young man’s face fell, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

No question, outwardly, this man was moral. It may be certain that he’d never broken the Commandments as he said. But when Jesus said, ‘Go and sell your possessions, and give to the poor.’ the Commandment to not covet revealed just how sinful he was. He did not realize that coveting was sin. But the Law revealed to him how covetous he was.

Jesus didn’t tell him the Law to save him, but to reveal to him his inward sinfulness.

This world says, Develop yourself, your greed, your wealth. But the Bible says, Covetousness is sin. Also “Put to death whatever is in your nature: greed, selfish desires, covetousness.”

Coveting, greed is idolatry.

  • “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs….
  • Be content with what you have…
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
  • Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus, then you will be able to know and approve his good, pleasing, perfect will.”

Our standard (as a Christian) is NOT the world.

Our standard is what God says in his Word.

First ministry: it reveals sin.

#2. Law arouses Man’s sinful nature to sin

What does this mean?

Is the Law itself good or bad? (Good)

(v. 12) “12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”

Because the Law is from God, who is all of the above.

How does the Law provoke us to sin?

There is no problem in the Law itself. The problem is human nature. Sin has evil power.

Sin uses our sinful nature to rebel against the Law. (We know the story of the Fall of Man in Genesis 3 – the serpent used the Word of God to make Man fall – “Did God really say, ‘Don’t eat from these trees?’ No, no, no, eat, and you will become like God.” Eve thought it looked good – and from Adam all Men have received this same inclination – to do that which is prohibited.)

There’s a saying, “Stolen apples are sweeter.”

Forbidden things look more appealing.

  • Mom says, “Children, do not open this box. NEVER open this box! NEVER EVER EVER!”
  • So, what do children want to do? Open it quickly, just once, then close it forever.

Phil “The strength/power of the Law is sin.”

Genesis 1-3, at first, Adam lived in perfect surroundings – a commandment was given to him to NOT eat ONE fruit. It was given for his benefit. But the serpent turned this into his temptation. The mere fact that it was forbidden made it tempting.

Biblical scholar:

  • Serpent = a symbol of pleasure.
  • Eve = senses (emotion).
  • Adam = reason (logic).

Which is stronger? Sense or reason?

Follow your heart, or follow your mind?

Pleasure attacked through emotion – through the senses, then reason was led astray and sinned. Even a man with reasoning may say, “Look, other people are doing the same thing! If I do this small thing only once, it will make no difference.” In this way, emotion can lead Mankind away from his reasoning.

Strong passions, desires, feelings, reasoning, knowledge, understanding, etc – must all be put under control of the Holy Spirit.

#3. Law kills

If you are outside Christ, the Law kills you. Thus, we must be INSIDE Christ. “There is no more condemnation (of Law) for those who are in Christ.”

(v. 10-11) “10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”

Gal 3:24 says the final ultimate job of the Law is: “The Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ…”

Let’s read and memorize this verse. It’s a key verse to understanding this.

Gal 3:24 “24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

The Law is our tutor – in leading us to Christ.

Romans says, “Christ is the END of the Law.” This has many meanings, but one meaning is: The Law is the sign board pointing to Jesus (an arrow). If you go to Seoul, follow the sign boards. If you go in the opposite direction, you go to Busan. The Law is the final sign board pointing to Jesus Christ – to have life. Because only IN Jesus Christ, there is eternal, abundant, heavenly life.

John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my voice and believes in me shall not be condemned. The thief Satan comes to kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

“I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.” (I am the WAY to LIFE, and that is TRUTH.) This is the reason why the book of God is written. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have eternal life.”

John 5 “Whoever has the Son of God has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

We are studying the Law, but is it not the same as the gospel?

There is a book called Gospel/Law.

  • OT = Book of Law.
  • NT = Book of Gospel.

Outwardly, this looks true, but inwardly, they are the SAME.

  • Gospel is “If you believe in and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you will have eternal life.”
  • Law says, “If you reject Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you will die.”

This is the same. Like two sides of one coin.

  • Gospel: “Believe in Christ as your Savior, and live forever.”
  • Law: “Reject Christ as your Savior, and die forever.”

#4. Law shows sinfulness of sin

Do you hate sin? (or sinners?)

We heard many times, “God hates sin, but loves sinners.”

(v. 12-13) “12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”

Sin might become utterly (exceedingly) sinful.

The Law shows the sinfulness of sin.

Even unsaved, unbelievers know there is such a thing as sin – murder, stealing, lying, adultery, all sins. But, they do not realize the sinfulness (seriousness, true nature)of sin. Even today, some Christians may excuse their sin with words like “My mistake, human nature, instinct, bad habits…”

God condemns our sins. Yes, there is no penalty for condemnation for those who are IN Christ, but he still condemns our sins and tries to get us to see that they are utterly sinful. Until we realize how wicked sin really is, we will never want to oppose it and live in victory and holiness.

Ps. 19:12 “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.”

The root of ALL problems: SIN

Do you have any kind of problems? The ROOT: SIN.

Then we have hope, and we can rejoice that the answer is JESUS – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Problems?

  1. ROOT: SIN
  2. SOLUTION: JESUS
  • 1 John 2:2 “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.”
  • 1 John 3:5 “Jesus appeared in this world that he might take away our sins – because in him there is no sin.”

In Him: no sin.

 

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 16 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ is Risen! How about to you? (Easter 2017)
Easter, Sermons

Jesus Christ is Risen! How about to you? (Easter 2017)

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Jesus Christ is Risen!

1 Cor 15:1-8 (Pastor Heo)

The Resurrection of Christ

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.


Is Jesus Christ risen to you?

Jesus died for our sins and rose for our salvation and lives now and forever in his risen and same body and will come again in his same body.

Behold, he is coming again soon and every eye will see him, even those that pierced him.

What a Savior, Lord, King, God!

  • v.1 = I want to remind you of the gospel.
  • v. 2 = By this gospel we are saved.
  • v. 3-4 = The message of the gospel is that Christ died, he was buried, raised on the third day (according to the Scriptures).

According to the Scriptures = “according to the WHOLE Bible” = this is the key message of the WHOLE Bible – that Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our salvation

Summary of the WHOLE Bible

  1. OT: Prophecy of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus
  2. M, M, L, J (gospels): The Literal fulfillment of these prophesies (thus, gospel books)
  3. Acts: Historical fruit of the death and resurrection of Jesus (the church)
    1. From Jesus’ Ascension to his Second Coming is the Mission of the Church
  4. Epistles: The meanings / responsibilities of the blessings of the church
  5. Revelation: The same Jesus will come in the same body and destroy all who are against him and establish his perfect kingdom

Crucifixion and resurrection go together all the time, inseparably.

  1. Without the cross, no resurrection.
  2. Without death, no life.
  3. Without resurrection, his death is a failure.
  • Romans 4:25 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and raised for our justification.”
  • “God demonstrated his own love for us in this. That while we were still sinners, he died for us.”
  • Hebrews “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him.”
  • Bible says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, and become like him…”
  • v. 5-8 = Many appearances of Jesus as Lord (the argument for his resurrection from the testimony of many witnesses)

Three things are necessary to make a testimony trustworthy.

  1. Witnesses = able, competent, first-hand
  2. Witnesses = sufficient in number
  3. Witnesses = good reputation

The apostles are all of these, they did not just base their teaching on the witness of others.

  • There are more than 500 confirmed witnesses of Jesus as Lord.
  • The OT requires only 2-3 witnesses to establish a case.

And their character? No scholar has ever attacked them on ethical grounds. They could not have had an ulterior motive for claiming this stupendous effect.

The 12 followed Jesus for more than 3 years and learned from Jesus as his disciples. But when he was killed, they all ran away. But they were totally reversed in their attitudes and characters after they saw him alive again. They became un-silence-able witnesses after this.

In the following order, events of Jesus’ resurrection occurred:

Events after the Resurrection

  1. Early in the morning, 3 women came to the tomb and saw the angels
  2. They separated there – Mary Magdalene went to tell Peter and John, the other two went to tell the others (in Bethlehem)
  3. Peter and John ran to the tomb, but returned to their place without seeing the Lord

After this, 12 appearances of Jesus:

  1. Mary – at the tomb after Peter and John had left
  2. The other women on the street
  3. 2 disciples on the way to Emmaus
  4. Peter – personally
  5. 10 disciples without Judas and Thomas
  6. 11 disciples (including Thomas)
  7. Apostles at the Sea of Tiberius
  8. Apostles on the Mt. of Galilee
  9. More than 500 brothers at the same time
  10. James – his half brother
  11. Disciples on the Mt. of Ascension
  12. Paul – on the way to Damascus
  13. And even still today, Jesus is continuing to appear to believers on and on – because he promised “Surely, I am with you always to the very end of the Age.”

Do you recognize this? How?

Through the gospel preached to you by somebody.

  • v.1, 2 = “I preached to you”
  • v.3 = “preached to me, pass on to you”
  1. Gospel is “news”
  2. News is “news” when it is made known

Gospel is like a river, it must run and run to remain a river. If it stops running, no more river.

Can you check yourself, if this gospel was preached / passed on to you?

If preached to you and passed to you, this gospel will continue to be preached by you and will continue to be passed by you.

“…as of FIRST IMPORTANCE…” (v. 3)

This will continue until He comes again. Nobody can stop it. God bless you to be involved in this wonderful gospel news for all the people – all the time, forever.

Let us pray.

  • Mar 26 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Let God Alone Judge! (Romans 2:1-16)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Let God Alone Judge! (Romans 2:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Let God alone judge!

Romans 2:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

God’s Righteous Judgment

2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism. 12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.


Remember last week, a bad story? Idolatry, etc. This is the continuation of that story.

Let me ask a question: difficult/easy:

  • When you stand before a mirror, what is the first thing you see? (Myself) Is that right?

Likewise, whenever we stand before the Word of God, the first thing we MUST see is Myself (in God). We can, of course, see the world, others, the future, and many other things. But the FIRST thing we must see is MYSELF. This is a spiritual mirror:

James 3:23-24 “Anyone who listens to the WOG, but doesn’t do what it says is like a man who looks in the mirror but goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Couples:

2 couples heard the same message in the same place in the same seminar.

  • One became stronger, happier, and more faithful to God.
  • Another became worse, fighting more, and complaining more.

What is the difference?

  • One couple SAW THEMSELVES (“I must love my wife more. I must respect my husband more.”)
  • The other couple SAW THEIR PARTNER. (“THAT person must love/respect ME more!!!”)

This is the difference.

Jesus said this, “Once, two men went to the temple to pray. One man said, ‘Thanks, God, I’m not like THAT MAN!’ The other man said, ‘God, have mercy on me, I’m a sinner!’

  • The first man saw the other man and justified himself, and returned home condemned.
  • The other man saw himself, repented, and walked home justified.

In this passage, we can see the word “YOU” 15 times.

First, Paul is addressing the Jews.

Previously, we saw a terrible, grim, ugly picture of humanity (last Sunday). This world was under condemnation by God. At that time, the Jews totally agreed with that condemnation – but they never dreamed that THEY ALSO were under such condemnation. They always thought that they were privileged before God. They thought God only judged the Gentiles, but protected them. They thought that Abraham sat at the gates of hell and would not allow even evil Israelites to go to hell.

Actually, God loves ALL nations. But they believed at that time that God judged all nations except their own. That’s why we need chapter 2.

Also, last Sunday, if you thought “Oh, this is not MY story, but someone else’s story” then we NEED chapter 2. Who cannot find in himself at least ONE terrible sin (of 24 listed there)?

v. 1-4

1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Today’s topic: Let God alone judge!

What shall we do?

If we say, “Let God judge” then we also must be ready/prepared to be judged by God. Are you ready?

Let me tell you WHY we cannot judge others. There are at least 4 reasons.

#1: We have no authority to judge

This is common sense. The Creator judges his creation. Creation does not judge its Creator. The Master judges his servants, not vice versa.

Please remember, we have no right to judge others.

#2: We have no power to judge

In order to judge without shame, I must be PERFECT, sinless, faultless, errorless, stainless, blameless in my character, personality, actions, ideas, thoughts. I must be PERFECT 100% to judge without shame. Who can say “I am perfect 100%”?

#3: We have no knowledge to judge

In order to judge RIGHTLY, correctly, I must have 100% knowledge about his background, ideas, motivation, hidden history, etc. I must know WHY he did it. Nobody can say, “I’m omniscient (all-knowing).”

#4: We have no permission to judge

We are not permitted by God to judge. Yes, Jesus says directly, “Do not judge or you will be judged. In this same way, you will be judged. With the same measure you use, you will be judged. He has a speck of sawdust in his eye. You have a plank in your eye.”

Of course, I can see my neighbor’s eyes, but I cannot see my own eyes. Therefore, we cannot judge others.

God hates judgment because judgment belongs to GOD ALONE. He has the right, privilege, power, and permission to judge all.

  • “Nothing is hidden before the eyes of God, everything is revealed, made bear before him.”
  • Ecclesiastes conclusion: “God will bring ALL THINGS into judgment – including all hidden things, whether good or evil.”

In this passage, God alone judges.

Let me share 3 items regarding this:

God judges according to:

  1. Truth (v. 2)
  2. Our actions – what we have done/been doing (v. 6)
  3. Our secrets (v. 16)

#1: Truth

v. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is **based on truth.**

This means, God has ONLY ONE standard. There is only ONE principle. There are no double standards for differing people. God is the God of ALL. He does not show favoritism – he is a universal God.

God judges according to Truth = “inward reality as a foundation of outward phenomena”

So, before God, the invisible, spirit God, looking at some woman lustfully = committing adultery with her in his heart.

  • Greed = idolatry
  • Hate = murder
  • Everything not of faith = sin

God judges according to the inward reality of a person.

God judges according to Truth = our attitude toward Christ (Jesus IS the Truth – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and no one comes to the Father except through me.”) Rejecting Jesus = the original sin, the root of sin, the sin of sins. What is your attitude toward Christ? Why? Because THIS ATTITUDE determines how we will be in eternity.

This is the basic principle “God judges”. Also, God judges according to Truth = the Bible. This is the Standard (B.I.B.L.E = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth…)

“Heaven and earth will disappear, but the WOG will remain forever.”

#2: Our actions / deeds

v. 6 God “will repay each person according to **what they have done.**”

God judges according to deeds DOES NOT mean “we are saved by deeds.” No, we are justified and saved by FAITH alone. But remember, TRUE SAVING FAITH results in obedience and godly living (deeds).

True faith = godly works (deeds)

God says, “Be holy as I am holy.”

God does not judge based on our heritage, but on the lives we live – the total impact of our character and actions – even though there may be occasional faults.

  • David = not perfect = murderer, stole another man’s wife – BUT, the TOTAL impact = “a man after God’s own heart”
  • Judas = did some good things working with Jesus – BUT, the TOTAL impact = sinful
  1. Consider agriculture: if we do not keep the laws of farming, we starve.
  2. Or health: if we do not follow the laws of health, our bodies suffer.
  3. Like this, we must keep the laws of God to not suffer – to prosper.

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Yes, right now, we have a big blessing to have and possess and hear the Word of God. BUT, this wonderful privilege and blessing makes our responsibility and accountability even GREATER to obey his Word. That’s why God judges according to what we have done.

#3: Our secrets

v. 16 This will take place on the day when God judges **my secrets** through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

What does this mean?

This is a serious issue.

Yes, God is holy, and commands us to be holy like him (like Father, like son). God is not holy sometimes, but is holy ALWAYS. Like this God does not want “sometimes” but wants “all the time.” God does not want sometimes holy things, sometimes worldly things. Actually, God wants us to do spiritual things in this unspiritual world ALL THE TIME. He wants us to be holy in this unholy place ALL THE TIME.

Question: What is heavenly/divine, and what is worldly? How can we distinguish between these two?

  • Pray, study the Bible, etc = spiritual?
  • Working, shopping, computer, KakaoTalk = worldly?

Is this true? Then we are holy/unholy/holy/unholy all day all the time.

How can we be holy all the time? God judges us according to “secrets” = according to our motivation, final purpose, etc.

  • Yes, now, I’m preaching. Do you think I’m doing holy things? Actually, only God knows. If I’m preaching the Word of God without love for you and the glory of God, but rather for MY GLORY, then this is an UNholy thing.
  • Likewise, if YOU work, shop, clean the house, etc, with love and for the glory of God, then YOU are doing HOLY things.

“Do everything with love.”

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of GOD.” – This is a holy thing. We will do this (holy thing) after service today.

God judges according to our secrets = “our methods” or how we handle the truth.

In this passage, “…my gospel” = Paul’s gospel. But honestly, before God, are you able to call this gospel also “my gospel”? Who can call this gospel “my gospel”? God bless us all to be able to call this gospel “my gospel.”

Yes, the gospel is of God, from God, not the message of men but of God. This is the gospel message of God. Also, the gospel is the message of Jesus Christ, especially his death and resurrection. Also, the gospel is the message of the Holy Spirit in that only the HS is able to regenerate a sinner into a child of God.

Gospel = the gospel of

  1. God
  2. Jesus
  3. Holy Spirit

So, WHO can call this gospel “my gospel”?

There are 2 qualifications.

  1. experience
  2. commitment

Do you have experience? Have you experienced the power of the gospel in your life? Creating, transforming, life-giving, life-changing power. Have you experienced this? Has the gospel changed even your hobbies? Hallelujah~

Only those who EXPERIENCE the power of the gospel in their own lives can call this gospel “my gospel.”

Commitment: Are you committed? Have you dedicated your WHOLE life to this gospel message?

“The Gospel is GOOD News (of great joy for all the people at the same time forever and ever)!”

News that is not told, announced, is not news.

If you have this gospel, this news in you, is it being declared?

Only those who share the good news can call the gospel “my gospel.”

God bless us to live like this.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 05 / 2017
  • Comments Off on That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

That is why I’m so eager to Preach the Gospel (Romans 1:8-15)

Download Notes in a .MD file

That is why I am so eager to preach…

Romans 1:8-15 (Pastor Heo)

Welcome to new people, especially students. And welcome to Korea.

Acts 17:26 “From one man, God made all the nations that they should inherit the whole earth and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…”

Today, the population of the world is around 7 billion (did you count?). From one man, God created all men.

Welcome in the name of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 **That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel** also to you who are in Rome [Jeonju].


Today is the third time to study Romans.

  1. Our identity in Christ (slaves of Christ) – this means “apostles sent by Christ into this world as his ambassadors with a great commission = we are set apart, sanctified, and ordained to preach the gospel”
  2. The core message of the gospel = Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection – Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our lives – to forgive our sins and grant us eternal life
  3. Today: 5 keywords that are related to the gospel – for/because of the gospel
    1. Thanksgiving (thankfulness)
    2. Prayer
    3. Love
    4. Fruit
    5. Debt (I don’t like this – so it’s difficult to pronounce)

All these 5 words are related to the gospel.

#1 Thankfulness (v. 8)

8 First, I **thank** my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

This is a vital characteristic in the Christian life. It measures the degree of our spiritual and mental development.

  • 1 Thess 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances.”
  • Psalm 104 “Enter the gate of God with thanksgiving and praise”

Yes, we know this is actually very easy to give thanks for what we WANT: success, health, money. But the Bible says, “Give thanks in ALL circumstances” (i.e. even the HARD things). How is this possible?

2 Keys:

  1. Assurance of salvation – if we have this, we can definitely give thanks in ALL situations. Salvation means “guarantee of the best” – even the worst of this world = the entrance to the BEST of God in the world to come.
  2. If we trust God and believe in his attributes: “good all the time, faithfulness to heaven” – then, yes, we can give thanks in all circumstances (“We know that in all things, God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes” – Romans 8).

Paul gives thanks to God simply because he hears the news that is scattered, that the gospel is working among them. Actually, at that time, Paul had never been to Rome, and the church had not been planted. Most of the Christians were unknown to him in Rome. Personally, he had NO relationship with them personally. But he gave thanks to God because the gospel was working among them. This thankfulness is pure and acceptable to God.

May God bless all of us to be people of thanksgiving to the good / benefit of others.

#2: Prayer

If you pray? For what do you pray? (For ALL = correct answer)

9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

They did not know of Paul’s prayer support – but God knew it and honored it. I wonder how many of us know of the people who pray for us. I wonder how many of us pray for others who do not know we pray for them.

Personally, I do not know how many pray for me. But I know there are some or many who pray for me. Honestly, I need your prayer support and we need each other’s prayer support.

Then, for what do we pray? 2 Supporters:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. Jesus Christ

Romans 8:26 “In this way, the HS helps us in our weaknesses, and though we don’t know what to pray for, the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Also, at the same time, Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:40? “Yes, Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us. So, Christ is able to save completely all those who come to him…”

Paul’s prayer request #1 is “to preach the gospel”.

You have prayer requests, right? What is your #1 request? These can change. For example: “I pray for a better job.” If answered, then I will change my request.

Yet, in the Christian life, there is ONE overarching prayer request: “to preach the gospel.”

Yes, we may pray for daily things in our lives: bread to eat, clothes to wear, success, etc.

But ONE thing we should NOT miss = to pray for World Salvation, World Evangelization, World Mission.

We know how Paul suffered, simply because of the gospel, Paul received much suffering (40 lashes minus 1 twice), he was stoned, shipwrecked, danger from Jews, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, mountain, country, desert, many sleepless nights, days without food, without clothes, etc. Why? The gospel.

Simply because of the gospel, he was imprisoned. Imagine this. If I write a prayer letter with requests to my brothers and sisters outside of prison, I would write: “Please, pray for my release as soon as possible.” But Paul wrote: “Please, pray for me to ALWAYS preach the gospel fearlessly.”

Amazing Prayer request:

Ephesians 6:19-20 (personal prayer request)

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Wow. What a prayer request. Remember, prayer is not merely preparation for some great work. This is also a great work. Remember, when we pray, GOD WORKS. Yes, talking to man is a great job, but also, talking to God FOR OTHERS is a great job.

God bless us all to be great people of prayer for others’ salvation.

#3: Love

Do you love?

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Paul says: “I long to see you. I long to preach to you, to make you strong, to be blessed by blessing you. I long to bless you.” This is the loving heart (pastoral heart) of the Lord in Paul. It is an affectionate heart.

Yes, LOVE is the Greatest commandment.

  • Jesus: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, strength. And love your neighbors as you love yourself.” Is this possible?
  • Jesus says: “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Is this possible? Amen. If so, you are great.

Paul says, (1 Cor 13):

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

This love is agape love, unfailing love, sacrificial love. No one can love their neighbor like this, yet the Bible demands it.

  • Love is sharing
  • Love is giving

Bible asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we have no power. God has provided one solution in which we can fulfill this divine love: By preaching the gospel. Why? Because in the gospel message is the FULL love of God. In this gospel, we can get the Best of the Best, salvation, eternal life, heirs / children of God, reconciliation with God, real joy/peace/freedom/victory, final glory.

All of this is found in the gospel. That’s why sharing the gospel is the great commission.

  • Love is the greatest commandment.
  • Gospel is the greatest commission.

These two ALWAYS go hand-in-hand. They are inseparable.

#4: Fruit

Do you have fruit?

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

The fruit Paul desires to bear = winning souls to Christ by preaching the gospel. Yes, fruit is very important.

  1. Do you have fruit as a Christian?
  2. If we have fruit, what kind of fruit do you have as a Christian?

Fruit is essential to SHOW that “I’m alive” and “I’m growing” and to show who I am (what kind of person), also necessary to receive reward – also that “I’m producing seed for the next generation without stop”. If there is no fruit for the next generation, then that is the end.

Non-living things have no fruit, no matter how huge and fantastic they look. If we have life (Jesus’ life), then it is very natural for us to produce fruit. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (Jesus). “By their fruit, you will recognize them. Every good tree bears good fruit… good trees cannot bear bad fruit… every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also we are to be recognized by our fruit. So, what fruit should we bear?

There is only one kind.

Yes, we can produce much fruit, but there is only ONE kind on a tree.

  • Apple trees only produce apples.
  • Banana trees only produce bananas.
  • Mango trees = mangoes.
  • Coconut trees = coconuts.
  • Cats = cats.
  • Dogs = dogs.
  • Tigers = tigers.
  • Lions = lions.
  • Humans = humans.
  • Christians = Christians. New Christians. Another Christian who also has the ability to reproduce another Christian.
  • Fruit of non-Christian = non-Christians.

That’s why Paul says, “13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”

#5: Debt

Do you have experience with debt? If you do not pay it back, you must go to jail.

14 I am obligated [a debtor] both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

If we are born again Christians, we are debtors of the gospel. – We owe a debt we cannot pay back. – But Christ paid the debt he did not owe.

Are you Christians?

  • We are debtors of the gospel to the Father God who so loved us he sent his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
  • We are debtors to Christ who died for us and rose again to pay the penalty for our sin
  • We are debtors to the Holy Spirit who touched our hearts and opened our eyes to see and receive Jesus as our Savior
  • We are debtors to the people who helped lead us to Christ

So, HOW can we repay these large debts?

Only by preaching the gospel to others.

Paul says, “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, because I am compelled to preach the gospel. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”

On our part, preaching the gospel = repayment. But God counts this as a GREAT reward – the greatest reward in this life.

Conclusion:

God bless all of us so that we may become:

  1. People of thanksgiving for the gospel
  2. People of prayer through the message of the gospel
  3. People of love through preaching the gospel
  4. People of fruit through preaching the gospel
  5. People of (repayment of) debt by preaching the gospel

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 20 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)
Pastor Brian, Philippians: A Study in Contentment, Sermons

Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)

07.20

07.20.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

JOY IN JESUS

Philippians 1:1-30 (Pastor Brian)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

  • May 04 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Christian’s Magna Carta (Galatians 1:1-24)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Christian’s Magna Carta (Galatians 1:1-24)

05.04

05.04.2014

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 Paul, an apostle–sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead– 2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

 


The Magna Carta of Christian Liberty.
Magna Carta? = “The Great Charter”

  • established in 13th century in medieval England – signed by King John & the barons (leaders under the king, ruling England under a feudal system).
  • This Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in medieval England. The US Constitution is based partly upon it.

King John had all authority in England. So then why agree to this document that gave privileges to the people? At that time, England owned land in France and the king relied on the barons to provide money and men to defend those lands in France.

As long as they were successful abroad, the barons were happy to give money and men to the wars. But, King John wasn’t that successful. The barons weren’t happy about that. But King John insisted upon more and more men and money.

The King used to consult with the barons before raising the taxes and demanding men. John didn’t do that. Eventually the barons rebelled and took over the city of London.

This could have led to a great civil war in England. John realized he had to do something and signed this charter – it gave promises and privileges to the people and stopped his abuse of power.

This was a great charter for the people in England.

The letter the Galatians is a great charter for the people of heaven (including us and all Christians).

Martin Luther called this letter his betrothed – his Katy Van Vora. He considered this letter as precious as his wife.

Luther also loved the letter of Romans – he was a monk in a monastery, and was troubled greatly by the first chapter of Romans – speaking of the righteousness of God as being revealed from heaven. Many priests thought this was God’s wrath against sinners. Luther confessed he was angry with God because of this verse. He thought the gospel was an extension of the Law – that God was still an angry God, Jesus was just a more righteous Moses.

Luther struggled with this for a long time, but God revealed later that the righteousness was not an active righteousness that we must do and get – but a passive righteousness that God bestows upon unrighteous sinners. To those who are guilty, simply by believing in the person, death, atonement, resurrection of Jesus, God declared us to be righteous. “It’s as if God has given us a robe of righteousness.”

This changed everything for Luther – that God wasn’t angry, but that he received him as a son.

Similarly, he continued his study in the book of Galatians – God declares those who are guilty to be free from guilt. Jesus takes his righteousness and gives it to us as our righteousness (”The Great Exchange”). So this is a “Great Charter” for us as Christians (and sinners).

“Your blood has washed away our sins, Jesus, thank you.”

It’s our understanding of this and growth in the knowledge of this that helps us to persevere and grow in the Christian life.

Now, who are the Galatians?

Paul and Barnabas.
Paul – immediately after his conversion, began preaching all over. After numerous threats to his life, he went to Damascus, and kept preaching.

Antioch

While Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, they were called to go on a missionary journey (the First Journey – Acts 13:14).
Recap: Acts 13:14 – on the Sabbath, they entered the synagogue and the rulers invited them to bring a word of encouragement. Paul began to remind them of the history of Israel – how they were chosen through Abraham – God had led them through Egypt – led them out of Egypt, into the land of Canaan – God gave them judges up to the time of Samuel – they asked for a king, received King Saul, then King David. “From David’s line, a Messiah (ruler) would come – and in due time, Jesus, born of a virgin came to redeem those under the Law.” It is Jesus he’s preaching.

John the Baptist came first, preparing the way, that they all should look to the One to come after.

Paul later shows how the leaders rejected Jesus, didn’t accept him as their Messiah – “but God raised him from the dead according to many promises in the Scriptures” (Psalm 2, Psalm 16:10) – This together with other promises were seen to be fulfilled in Christ.

Paul gives this history and says, “I want you to know that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed. Everyone is proclaimed justified and free from guilt from everything.” The Law was not enough to cleanse from guilt (only expose it) – but the Grace of God, through belief in Jesus IS sufficient to cleanse from guilt.

Paul said, “Take care that what the prophets say does not happen to you – ‘Look you scoffers, you mockers, I’m going to do something among you that you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you.’”

The “God worshipers” – non-Jews – had at that time joined with the Jews and listened with the Jews in the synagogues. Many of the Jews and these “God worshiping” Gentiles received Jesus and Paul and Barnabas were invited back to preach again the second Sabbath. Pretty much the whole city turned up, but the few Jews who didn’t believe stood up and poisoned the minds of the others and caused the leaders to expel the two of them from Antioch. They brushed off the dust from their sandals – to show that they were not guilty of neglecting to share the gospel – and the continued on.

(These are the cities of Galatia)

Iconia

After Antioch, they went to Iconia. They preached in the synagogues. Some believed and received it joyfully. Others rejected it and poisoned the minds of the people against them. Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a time and God showed his power through them with signs and wonders. Eventually, they had to flee because of the plot to kill them.

Lystra

Next, Lystra. Here, Paul saw a man, lame from birth – who had FAITH. He said, “Stand up” and he did – “WOAH!” The people thought Paul and Barnabas were gods – or at least angels – and tried to worship them. They denied it, and tore their clothes and said, “Stop this! Turn AWAY from your idolatry and to the living God!” These people were pagans with no religious background – so he couldn’t show them Jesus in the Scriptures. So, he rather pointed them toward the Providence of God – this is the God they are preaching. For a time, the people believed. But again the Jews from the neighboring towns came and stood up the people. (Just shows how fickle people are. One minute listening and loving it, the next, stoning him and dragging him out of the city.)

Derby

The two then went on to Derby – many people believed. Then, they backtracked to all of their previous cities. They established churches, and appointed elders and told them they’d have to suffer hardships for the Kingdom of God. They knew Paul had risked his life to bring the good news of the gospel to them. They’d seen the power of God, received the Holy Spirit, and HOPEFULLY been established firmly.

Unfortunately, the Jews had been continually trying to get the people away from Jesus and back toward Moses and the Law of Moses. They would come into the churches and say, “Yeah, good for you, believe in Jesus BUT you better get circumcised as well…”

Some came from Jerusalem – without the authority of the church in Jerusalem – and said that the new believers would all have to adhere to the Law of Moses.

Paul and Barnabas said:

JESUS + NOTHING = EVERYTHING

Jesus + nothing else saves you.

The Gentiles did not need to be circumcised, did not need to follow the Law, just stay away from strangled food, food with blood in its veins, food sacrificed to idols, and sexual immorality.

Peter was one of the main guys who testified during this time – remember he’d already been sent to the house of Cornelius the Gentile and they received the Holy Spirit and were shown to be fully accepted just as the Jews. Peter presented this to the church in Jerusalem and James led the church to agree and accept it. (Interesting that later Peter kind of backslides from this testimony and Paul must confront him.)

Interesting that throughout these towns, the Jews had gone in to these towns and churches and said basically, “Yeah, Paul ain’t nothing. We are the TRUE apostles. You guys better get back to the Law of Moses, yo!”

Paul begins his letter here by saying “Hey guys! Remember me? APOSTLE. Not by men but through the revelation of Christ.”

Remember that Christ himself – the Risen Christ – had given Paul the revelation, the mission, the apostleship, and so on. So, Paul emphasizes that right from the beginning. And Paul emphasizes that there are “other brothers” with him who recognize his apostleship. He continues that he is astounded that the churches had listened so easily, so readily to those Jews who would twist and pervert the gospel. Paul is so worked up that he basically cursed them (twice!). “Look guys, I’m not trying to please men, but God. If I were trying to please men, I wouldn’t be a witness of Christ.” So, why you going back to that powerless/pointless Law? That’s just a step along the way to revealing the truth of JESUS. He’s the substance. Don’t go backward…

Later in the epistle, he shows through argument and demonstrations that it is ONLY by faith that they are saved and justified. They need to continue to believe in Christ. And you know what? If you love Jesus, you WILL fulfill the Law – almost unconsciously – because the Law IS love for Jesus.

As we continue through Galatians, let’s pray that God will open our eyes to see what God has done and accomplished through Jesus.

Martin Luther has said we need to continue to remember and refresh our minds about the “beautiful basics” of the gospel – FAITH IN CHRIST.

Let’s pray.

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