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  • Feb 03 / 2019
  • Comments Off on God Wants to Use what is in your Hands (Acts 19:6-12)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God Wants to Use what is in your Hands (Acts 19:6-12)

19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 19:6-12

When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he asked the 12 men he met, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” “No, we have received only John’s baptism.” Paul realized they needed the good news of salvation – so he told them about Jesus’ death, resurrection, saving power of the Holy Spirit in his name, and so they believed and were baptized. Then the Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke in tongues and preached the gospel message in other languages.

For by one Spirit we were baptized…

1 Cor 12:13

This event was a mini-Pentecost.

In Acts, this is the final event of tongue speaking recorded. So, in order to remember the work of the Holy Spirit, we must remember several things.

  1. The book of transitions
  2. The starting of the New Covenant age
  3. The new History book

So, about speaking in tongues, we must remember, these instances are erratic, not very often.

Yes, this is ONE of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but is NOT evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not evidence of the fullness of the Spirit.

“Do all speak in tongues?” No.

So, remember, the key point of the book of Acts = the Spread of the Gospel and its inclusiveness. The key verse is Acts 1:8:

When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

We must seek to share our faith through the power of the Holy Spirit in this way. Nowhere are we admonished to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit nor to speak in tongues, but we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s ministry lasted 3 years and was marked by the movement of the Holy Spirit. “The name of Christ was held in high honor through transformed lives…”

6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:6-8

Paul was asked to stay in Ephesus on his first missionary journey, but he declined their offer. Still, he promised to return later if God allowed. Now, he’s kept his promise by entering the same synagogue and speaking boldly about Christ for three months – until encountering opposition.

In Christian life, keeping your word is very important. This is not just for good intentions. One of the commonest promises we Christians make to each other is: “I’ll pray for you.”

I will….

I’ll pray for you.

This promise, from a Christian mouth is a VERY serious promise – with God as witness before you. So, whenever we make this promise, we must keep this promise at least more than one time. This is a promise we make not only before the other person, but also before God – because we pray TO God.

9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:9-10

This means that the whole province of Asia Minor was evangelized.

When the door of the synagogue was closed, God opened the Way much wider through the whole province of Asia.

At that time, synagogues were usually schools for Jews. But this lecture hall of Tyrannus was larger and more available for Gentiles.

Tyrannus may have been a Greek philosopher or just the owner of that building at that time. Such buildings were often used in the mornings to teach Greek philosophy, but they were often empty during the middle of the day – due to the heat (the hot part of the day).

In Ephesus, the work day ran:

  • From at 7am,
  • Break at 11am – 4pm.
  • Work again until 9:30pm

Paul worked all morning and evening at his secular job. But during the break period, he preached the gospel daily for two years. Can you calculate how many hours he preached the gospel? 10,000+ hours?

  • 5 hours * 2 years =
  • 3, 120 hours of lecturing =
  • 130 days of lecturing without stop at 24 hours per day

Paul kept a “killer” schedule. Why? Because at that time, religion was a “big business” in Ephesus. So, he WORKED hard to keep himself free from appearing that he was “in” this “business” for money.

You remember my toil and hardship, working night and day, to not be a burden to anyone while I preached the gospel of God to you.

1 Thess 2:9

10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19:10

It was during this time of year that the churches mentioned in Revelation came into being.

  • Paul taught and preached,
  • admonished the believers,
  • went and evangelized house to house,
  • planted many churches,
  • directed a great missionary enterprise.

In today’s age of “meism” and selfishness, “hedonism” and self-pleasure, we need “tough” Christians like Paul.

We can learn three lessons we can apply to our own lives today.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 19:11-12

It was not Paul who did miracles, but God. They had a three-fold purpose:

  1. To demonstrate God’s power and authority
  2. To authenticate Paul as the spokesman for the true God
  3. To demonstrate God’s compassion, mercy, and grace to those in great need

From these miracles, we can find three lessons for our own Christian lives today.

3 Lessons

#1 God wants us to be holy

As our Father is holy, we must be holy. You know, at that time, aprons and handkerchiefs were dirty, sweatbands, used from making tents, they were not special.

But the ultimate purpose of Paul’s tentmaking was to preach the gospel more effectively. That’s why God blessed his secular job.

How about us?

God does not want us to do sometimes what is holy and sometimes what is not holy. He doesn’t want holiness only in the church, and unholiness out of the church. He wants holiness everywhere.

Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Cor 10:31

In your office, your hagwon, your school, are you doing a “holy” job or a “secular” job? At the time of Noah: “They were eating, drinking, giving in marriage” – but it was unholy, secular, because their motivation for doing so was only for their own physical pleasure.

Even though we are eating, drinking, making money – if we do this for his glory, it will be accepted as holy. Thus, this is our mission field given by God. He wants us to do what is holy all the time, not just sometimes.

#2 God wants to use what is in your hand

In serving and saving others, God wants to use what you’ve got in your hands.

  • God used what was in Moses’ hands to save Israel from Egypt.
  • He used the sling in David’s hand to kill the giant and save Israel.
  • He used the loaves and fishes in the boy’s hand to feed 5,000.
  • He used the clothes in Paul’s hand to save and heal others.

These things were merely symbols of dignity of heart, sincerity, humility, and God used them to release his power.

Yes, today, we may not be able to do these kinds of miracles, but we are able to give him our hands – and through our hands, he is able.

#3 Healing is still possible and available today

Physical, bodily, spiritual, mental, psychological healing, all are possible through Jehovah Rafar.

He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our sins. By his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

He himself bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his death, we have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

He took up our iniquities; he carried our diseases.

Matthew 8:17

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This kind of miracle is still available for those who have faith and trust in Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 26 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Greatest Miracle (Acts 9:32-43)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Greatest Miracle (Acts 9:32-43)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Greatest Miracle~!

Acts 9:32-43 (Pastor Heo)

32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.


Basic question: what is the greatest miracle God can do for us?

  • Healing the body? Of course, it’s pretty great.
  • Raising the dead? That’s amazing.

But the GREATEST miracle is the salvation of a lost sinner. Winning lost sinners is the greatest miracle that God can do for us – in this or the next world.

  1. Because salvation cost the most expensive price (the blood of Christ).
  2. Because salvation produces the greatest result (eternal life).
  3. Because salvation brings the greatest glory to God (by acknowledging Christ’s kingship, lordship, divinity).

Have you experienced this greatest miracle in your life? Praise the Lord.

Today we are continuing in the study of the book of Acts. After Paul’s amazing conversion story, today the ministry of Peter appears again – specifically the performing of miraculous signs.

There are two stories:

  1. Healing Aeneas (a paralytic)
  2. Raising Dorcas back to life
  3. There is also mention of him staying in Lydda with Simon the tanner

This passage really follows after chp 8:25 “25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.”

Peter began an itinerant ministry intended to encourage and strengthen the Christians scattered throughout the land. Lydda is Lod today (modern day) – at the site of the Tel Aviv airport.

Peter continually preached and encouraged the believers at that time. But Lydda was primarily a Gentile city.

So, how did the message come to them?

  • Mass conversion at Pentecost?
  • Those who fled persecution in chp 8?

Peter came to visit them in Lydda.

In this place, he came and healed a crippled man named Aeneas.

#1 Miracle: Healing a paralytic

v. 33-34

“33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.”

This man’s name appears only here in the whole Bible. We don’t know much about him (Jew or Gentile?) but what we know is that he was paralyzed for eight years. He was bedridden and crippled. He was helpless, hopeless, powerless, a burden for himself and others, no prospect for his recovery.

But Peter healed him by the power of Christ. (This was also Peter’s first miracle in chp 3 – healing a crippled man. Also in John 5, Jesus healed a crippled man – paralyzed for 38 years.)

  • In John 5, Jesus said, “Take up your mat and walk.” Immediately, he walked.
  • In chp 3, Peter said, “Silver or gold I have not, but what I have I give you. In the name of Christ, walk.” Immediately, he walked.
  • In chp 9, Peter says, “Jesus Christ heals you.” Immediately he got up and walked.

The authority of Jesus’ name brought full soundness, wholeness to this man.

“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”

Col 2:3 “In Christ are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

This power, raising physically, spiritually, healing, is possible only by the power of Jesus Christ.

Do you believe Jesus is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever?

Do you experience this same power that is working in your life?

Additional Ministry Work

v. 35

“35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.”

This miracle was not an end in itself, but just a confirmation of the gospel. He did much more than just healing Aeneas, he continually preached and taught and encouraged.

Remember, the “greatest” miracle we can experience is salvation of a lost sinner. There was great salvation in that area.

Salvation = eternal, glorious, heavenly life – in salvation, all we need is there already – spiritually and physically. Salvation = life eternally.

Think about it. Is it possible to live eternally without being healthy? Impossible. Salvation = perfect health, physical / spiritual. We should be in perfect health to live eternally.

#2 Miracle: Raising the Dead

v. 36-37

“36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.”

Today Joppa is called Jaffa – about 16km from Lydda, which is 60km from Jerusalem. Jaffa is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This place is very important in Bible history as the place from where the prophet Jonah embarked when he tried to flee from God.


Jonah’s story

God called and said, “Go and preach to the sinful city of Ninevah.” He fled. He went to Joppa to take a ship to Tarsis?


Tabitha = “little girl / young deer / gazelle” – her name was Dorcas

She made a great difference in her community – by helping the poor, spiritually and physically. She made robes and other clothing for the poor. She became sick and died and the room was filled with mourners – most probably received big help from Tabitha.

Yes, God uses the Pauls and Peters of the church, but he also uses those who show kindness and helpfulness like this woman, Dorcas.

v. 38-41

“38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.”

The believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in nearby Lydda. To go and find Peter and bring him back would take several hours by two young men. Peter got up and went with them to Joppa. This text indicates the haste with which he moved, {…immediately} – when he arrived, he met the mourners – especially widows who had received much help from Tabitha.

This scene bears a striking resemblance to Jesus’ raising of the daughter of Darius (ruler of the synagogue) in Mark chp 5. Jesus raised 3 people during his ministry.

They called Jesus to their home. Immediately he went, and when he arrived, he met many mourners. He put everyone outside except Peter, James, and John. And he said to her, “Talitha, koum.” Peter was an eyewitness of THAT miracle. So, in this case he followed that example.

  • In Aramaic, “Talitha, koum” = “little deer, get up.”
  • Peter said, “Tabitha, koum” = “little dear, get up.”

There is only ONE difference, the letter “l” or “b”. This means, in both instances, the power of the raising of the dead came from the power of Christ.

As we know, the dead certainly cannot exercise faith.

  • We received salvation by faith,
  • we receive answers to prayer by faith,
  • we experience miracles by faith,
  • we can be healed by faith.

But the dead person cannot exercise faith – they cannot react to Jesus by faith. This means that our salvation is entirely by the grace of God – even our own faith that is working in our salvation is a gift of God.

Eph 2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, raised us from the dead in Christ. He raised us in Christ and seated us with him in heaven. It is by grace through faith we have been saved, not by works… so that no one can boast.”

Yes, in the healing of Aeneas, we found that the source of the power of healing is only in Jesus.

And in this story, we find that the source of faith, the source of life is also only Christ.

The source of our life / faith is only Christ.

  • Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”
  • Jesus, “I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son will have eternal life and I will raise him up at the Last Day.”

We may often think of the many things we can do, but the little that Christ can do.

We ought to do the opposite. Think very little of what we can do ourselves, but think much of what we can do through Christ.

Are you believers? Saints?

If we are really born-again Christians, we must think little of what we can do, but much more of what Christ can do in us, because “apart from [him], we can do nothing.”

Conclusion

v. 42-43

“42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.”

Remember the conclusion of the first miracle?

v. 35

“35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.”

Many new believers were added to the church. But the problem – they were new believers. They needed follow-up, discipleship, maturity. So, Peter stayed “for some time” (a considerable time).

Read again the last verse, it’s very meaningful.

v. 43

“43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some [considerable] time with a tanner named Simon.”

It is very significant that Peter stayed with Simon. His job was as a tanner (making leather). This job has contact with dead animals – so this job was very smelly, not honorable by Jewish tradition (unclean). So, a tanner had to live some distance out of the town. According to traditional law at that time, if an engaged woman discovered that her finance was involved with tanning, she could break the engagement. But Peter stayed for a long time with this tanner.

This means, Peter is already beginning to break down his prejudice against those who are not of his kind, traditions, customs.

We can see “saints” two times here.

  • “Saints” = “holy” – this means “different” or “set apart for a purpose”

We are different, set apart for a purpose. But for what purpose?

Yes, we are different, but not for greater honor in this world. We are different for greater service in this world. We are saved for service – to glorify God by preaching for the salvation of others.

“I’m saved to serve others.”

“I’m saved for greater service.”

Can you approach the tanner of today (the social outcast) for the benefit of his salvation? If we are truly saved, there is no one we cannot approach to serve and preach salvation to.

Remember, the GREATEST miracle we can experience in this world is the salvation of a lost sinner.

Let’s pray.

  • May 27 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:1-16)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the name of Jesus Christ

Acts 3:1-16 (Pastor Heo)

3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.


The Jews had 3 times to pray (set times).

Daniel prayed 3 times per day – even in Babylon, opening his windows toward Jerusalem.

Do you also have your own fixed time(s) to pray during the day?

Our lives should be one long and running conversation with Christ through prayer. Eph 6:8-10 “Pray in the HS in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and pray for all the saints.”

1 Thess “Pray unceasingly.”

The secret to success for endless prayer = to set times during the day to practice it.

Today’s story is a miracle: the healing of a lame man (crippled man).

There was a crippled man lying down by the temple gate and he asked Peter and John for some money. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” He looked straight at him with John. Usually when we help a beggar, we just give a coin and he doesn’t look at us.

Peter said, “Look at us!” – so maybe he expected big money. But Peter said, “Sorry, no money.” He was probably disappointed / angry. “BUT what I have, I’ll give you.” Peter said, “Rise up and walk” and immediately, his feet and ankles became strong. He stood – walking, jumping, leaping, praising God and he entered the temple with Peter and John and worshiped God. He praised God.

What is important is that he didn’t praise Peter, but he praised God. He knew that the source of the healing power was from God. Even in this exciting and emotional moment, he praised God who’d given him a new lease on life.

Yes, we should also thank our neighbors. “Thank you very much.” But we must praise and worship only God – because he is behind every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).

Yes, this miracle is our story today as well. Don’t you know that we have already experienced such a miracle as this? Stand up please. Wow! You can stand! You can walk! You can jump!

Please know that if you can stand, walk, jump, then you have reason enough to praise God.

Yes, today, our standing, walking, jumping is a miracle. We should praise God MORE than this guy – because he began all these things at age 40. But we began all these things at the age of 1 or 2.

If I say, “Stand up please” and you are the only one who is able – you will feel this is a miracle – a special grace from God. But you don’t think this because all of us can do it.

Please remember, miracles are ABSOLUTE experiences, not RELATIVE experiences.

If my salvation is a miracle, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s salvation. If you can stand and walk and jump, it is a miracle regardless of other people’s ability to do so.

  • The wrong question: Why is this a miracle?
  • No, we must know what a miracle is.

Yes, a doctor or surgeon today can do the things that were understood as miracles long ago. It means that God has revealed new truths about medicine. One doctor has said, “I bandaged the wound, but God healed it.” Even today, miracles are available in the hands of many people – because God is alive and unchangeable in his power and attributes – and he is the one who performs miracles through our hands.

The question is “What can we give to this world?” We can give only what we have, not what we do not have. We cannot give what we pretend to have. We can only give what we HAVE.

This man’s crippled condition is a picture of the powerless, hopeless condition of the sinner. Romans “While we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”

What God can do for this man is an illustration of what God can do in our lives today.

Are you saved?

Yes, salvation is very basic. The first step in the Christian life. So my first prayer request for all AICF members is that all members have Assurance of Salvation. This is the miracle of miracles. If we have this, we have all we need.

Let me share 8 points (similarities) between this man’s story of healing and our own salvation.

8 similarities between the Beggar and Ourselves

#1 Born Lame

  • This man was born like this.
  • We also were born unable – even unable to walk – but unable to please God.

Adam passed on his lameness (inability to please God) to all his descendants (including us).

#2 Beggar

  • This man was a beggar.
  • We also were beggars before God – unable to pay the tremendous debt we owed God.

#3 Separated from God

  • He was also outside the temple gate (he was put there every day).

At that time, there were 9 gates that led from the Court of Gentiles to the temple itself.

This gate, Gate Beautiful, was probably the western gate.

  • Like this, all sinners are separated (outside) from God – no matter how good they look, nor how near to the gate they may be.

#4 Wholly Healed by the Grace of God through the Power of the Name of Christ

Next time, we also will study MORE about how powerful the name of Christ is. Is this name in you? Are you using it practically in your daily lives?

He was saved by the grace of God through the name of Christ.

We also are saved like this.

Eph “You are saved by grace, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

#5 Instant Healing

v. 7

“Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

How long do YOU need to be saved? One month, year, day?

No, our salvation is also IMMEDIATE.

This is instant healing because HE did nothing to be healed. It is only by the grace of God that he was healed.

Also, we can do nothing to be saved. If we try, we need almost an infinite number of years to do so. But, our salvation happened immediately – because Christ did all things necessary for our salvation, justification, glorification. How amazing!

#6 Evidence

Are you saved? Let me see the evidence.

This man showed the evidence of what God had done for him – by standing, jumping, walking, praising God. He showed the evidence of what God had done in public, in the sight of many eyes.

If we are really saved, we can show the evidence of what Jesus has done by saying, “Jesus is my Lord” and witnessing before others in public. This is our witness (evidence) before others. Are you showing this evidence every day in public? That is why there is always persecution found in the Christian life – because our witness should be done in public.

In the book of Acts (Mission), all witnessing and preaching is done in public.

#7 People could see the change

The change in this man’s life was amazing and gave people wonder and amazement. Actually, it is natural that the Christian life is wonderful – full of wonder.

Even today, Jesus is the same – he has changed our lives totally. He can, has, is, changing us physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually. Remember – the internal changes are just as miraculous as external healings.

Important question: The people who knew you before you became Christian must be able to see amazing changes in your life. They must be able to recognize the difference between your “how I was” and “how I am.” They must also see that we are continually growing and changing.

Tim “Let the see / know your progress.”

In what ways has God changed your life? Can others see changes in your life? Can outsiders see changes in my life? “yes”

We can worship God, praise God for all he has done in our lives.

#8 He didn’t get what he asked for, but what he needed

  • He asked for money, but God gave him something MUCH better – the use of his legs.
  • In our own lives, we often ask God to solve our small problems – but God wants to give us a NEW life and help ALL the problems.

Yes, you may ask God for what you WANT.

But do not be surprised when God gives you what you really NEED.

We do not know what we really need – we do not know what to pray – we do not know what is best for our future. Our wisdom and knowledge is not perfect, but God’s is. That’s why the HS helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray – but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

  • Eph “Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we think or imagine.”
  • Romans 8:28 “In all these things, God works all things together for good, for those who love him.”

The outside world is looking and waiting earnestly for a solution to their problems. Our task is to give – only what you HAVE – not what you pretend to have.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Perils of Partiality (James 2:1-13)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Perils of Partiality (James 2:1-13)

11.16

11.16.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Perils of Partiality

James 2:1-13 (Pastor Brian)

Favoritism Forbidden

1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!


 

In James, remember where we’ve been.

James is writing to Christians, scattered abroad, discussing how important it is to practice what we preach “Walk the walk, and talk the talk.” Be DOERS of the Word, not just readers.

  1. Keep a bridle on your tongue.
  2. Show love to those in need.
  3. Keep yourself unstained by the world.

Things that are outright temptations in the world are obviously to be avoided, BUT ALSO, the attitudes and philosophies of the world show be avoided. (Romans 12:2 also “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – This is a process. Take in the Word, walk in the light of it, see the value of it.)

  • Here, James shows how conformity to the world’s standards can compromise God’s standards.
  • Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould (mold).
  • Don’t show favoritism (partiality) – the state of being biased against or for one certain group or person over another group or person.

We are all likely guilty of this in some degree.

The Jews exonerated Jesus of being this (but this was hypocritical of them). Luke 20? The leaders came to Jesus and used his impartiality as their weapon. “Teacher, we know you teach correctly, and you don’t show favoritism to any, but teach the Word of God in truth…” But they tried to use this as a weapon “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”

(If YES, the Jews wouldn’t find it very pleasing – he’d become unpopular. If NO, the Romans would see him as a rebel – he’d get in trouble. But you can’t outwit Jesus. “Who’s face is on this coin? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”)

They recognized that Jesus didn’t show partiality – even though they were enemies.

Partiality = undue favoritism

When he says “favoritism” he’s using a term in the Greek that means “lift up the countenance of somebody” (show a favor, encourage, lift up, etc). Think of Cain after he murdered Able – his countenance had fallen. And God saw that and said, “Why has it fallen?”

When your countenance is up, you are receiving favor, encouragement, etc. Originally, this was a pleasant term, but eventually, it became negative – when there is overt (too much) favoritism it’s no good.

For example, when the church was expanding, the Greek ajummas were not receiving the proper portion of the food and they had to resolve this issue so that there was no favoritism of Israel’s ajummas over the Greek ajummas.

Personal favoritism = lifting up or putting down someone else (you lift up one, you put down someone else)

Think of celebrities and the successful in their career/profession. We show tremendous respect to them, and to the “nobodies” we don’t care. God doesn’t do that – he looks at the heart.

Philip Yancy has interviewed many celebrities and has found that many have shallow hearts and depend wholly on the praise of others, not God.

The Lord looks at the heart.

Abe Lincoln “God must love the common man because he made so many of them.”

Even men of God – 1 Samuel 16 (after the failure of Saul – God was to choose a new king) verse 1 “So the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul? Fill you horn with oil and head to Jesse – I’ve chosen one of his sons to be king.’ Samuel ‘Saul will kill me.’ God ‘Take a lamb and say you’re going to sacrifice and invite Jesse. I will show you then.’ So Samuel went and the elders in the town shook in fear of him worrying he didn’t come in peace. When the sons of Jesse came, he saw the tallest, biggest, best and thought, ‘I bet this guy is who the Lord wants.’ But God said, ‘Nah, nah, nah – don’t look at his physique, I look at the heart.’ None of the young (7) sons that Jesse brought to Samuel were the ones that God had chosen. The youngest (David) was just a boy and was tending the sheep. So he was brought in – he was ruddy and handsome and the Lord said, ‘Bingo! He’s the guy!’ Samuel rose and anointed him with oil, then went on to Rama.”

Samuel even thought differently, but was sensitive enough to the Spirit of God that he knew there was another son and asked for him particularly.

There is a tendency (even among the prophets) to look at the outward appearance. Even Jesus said, “Do not judge by the outward appearance.” Romans 2:11 “There is no partiality with God.” Proverbs “To show partiality is not good.”

But we all have a tendency (from childhood) to show favoritism.

Still, James warns against this. So, he provides a common, practical example. Even in churches throughout the ages this is a big problem. The BIG givers usually get the best spots, the most preferential treatment, and the poor are told “Sit in the back.” Still, the Lord spoke strongly against this (Leviticus “Do not be partial to the poor…judge your neighbor fairly.” – we may even sometimes treat the poor better to the neglect of the rich. Don’t do this either.)

Use righteous judgment in whatever you do.

One pastor had been preaching on this and meditating for about a week. On Friday, a homeless man came in, he was almost getting sent to jail – he’d gone to every agency in town and didn’t get any help. He passed the office door and came in. We got him a Grey Hound (bus) ticket to Denver. He came back and said that his shoes were too small to walk – he asked for a ride. I obliged, nervously, but he was a good conversationalist and spoke of Jesus. He said, “Thank you, Father.” The preacher said, “Although I’d been meditating on this all week, it hadn’t yet touched my actions. I hope that I’ve learned this lesson.”

My experience:

In Canada, people often passed through, and people ask for money, a ride, etc. After a time, your heart can become hard. But the Lord says, “Repent of those attitudes. You have the means to help, so help.”

In Acts, the Jews had no dealings with the Gentiles, and yet God called Cornelius to know about Jesus and receive salvation through him. He was a centurion and tithed in the synagogue and prayed daily. An angel told him to go to Joppa and find Simon Peter and bring him to them – to their household – to tell them words by which they’d be saved. So he did it.

At the same time, the Lord was preparing Peter’s heart. The Lord gave him a (hungry) vision on the top of the roof of his building. A sheet came down from heaven with “unclean” animals and the Lord said, “Rise and kill and eat.” Peter said, “No, surely not.” God said, “Do not call unclean that which I’ve cleansed.” At that time the messengers from Cornelius arrived and called on Peter. The Lord said, “Go with them.” So he did, and he witnessed to them.

As he was speaking and explaining the ministry and life and salvation of Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles – and then Simon and the other Jews (witnesses) were able to testify to this to the greater Jewish church.

Then, Peter realized that God is not partial and that even Gentiles whose hearts are turned toward him can be saved.

Yet, even later, Peter still showed partiality to the Jews – separated himself from the Gentiles. Paul corrected him. “Old habits die hard.” You know that and I know that. We have to crucify the flesh daily. Peter subjected himself to Paul’s correction. We also must do that.

Remind ourselves: “That wasn’t right of me to judge him/her in that way. Just because he smelled, had bad hair, etc.”

Sex trafficking – in India – girls as young as 10 or 12 have no hope except through Christ. They are often enslaved by the government of the pimps. The pimps usually give loans with ENORMOUS interest which can NEVER be paid back.

Often these women may be saved and go right back into the prostitution. There’s not an immediate actual break from this kind of trauma. There takes time for the layers of brokenness to be healed.

“Over the mountains and the sea, your river runs with love for me, and I will open up my heart and let the Healer set me free.” But the healing takes time.

We should open our hearts to our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world – don’t show partiality to any. Where there’s a need, try to meet it.

Ceneka – Greek philosopher – said, “They love to put rings on their fingers.” Just to show off how wealthy they were (even if they weren’t) – they just wanted to give the IMPRESSION that they were wealthy (how many of us do that today?)

These people were often given special treatment in the church.

Another person comes in who hasn’t showered in a few days and is told, “sit in the back… or at least not too close to the rich because their noses are sensitive…”

Yet, it’s the RICH who drag you to court and sue. The RICH oppress you. The RICH blaspheme the name of the Lord.

In Antioch they were called “Christians” first (in mockery) – but they took that name and ran with it – making it a badge of honor.

James concludes and says, “Show mercy TO EVERYONE.” No one can CHOOSE who is worthy or not worthy of salvation. Then you are becoming judges with evil thoughts.

Remember: Mercy TRIUMPHS over judgment.

The picture of the Roman general with all his treasures from the war would come out and honor the general – he’d come back with MORE than he’d gone out with. This is TRIUMPH. This is a good picture of what Mercy over Judgment means.

Even as Christians, we will face the Judgment at the Bema Seat – “what have you done with the life you’ve been given?” – this is not to enslave us with fear, and this is not the judgment of condemnation. But when we are merciful, we also will receive mercy.

“Love covers over a multitude of sins.”

May the Lord bless the Word to our hearts and enable us to put it into practice this week.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 27 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Encouraged by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:26-42)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Encouraged by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:26-42)

04.27

04.27.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Aeneas and Dorcas
32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. 36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.


Acts 9 = The tremendous event of Saul’s conversion – while on the way to Damascus to take Christians prisoners. He was authorized to take any Christians there captive and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.

On the way, Jesus met him in a blinding light – and he realized what he’d been doing. He was told to go into Damascus and wait. Ananias was then told to go and pray for Saul – but he was hesitant due to the words he’d heard of Saul. But God told him that Saul was chosen by God to take the word of the Lord before the Gentiles – even kings and rulers.

Ananias prayed for Saul, he was healed, and Saul immediately went out to preach the good news of Jesus in the places he used to persecute Christians. The Christian leaders didn’t recognize him at first – because of what he’d previously done.

Saul preached of the murder of God – but also the resurrection (as we saw last week at Easter) – and it is due to the resurrection and as evidenced by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the believers – that Jesus is the son of God, Messiah, Savior of the world.

Saul had previously been ignorant of all these things because he was only book-learned, and it took an encounter with Jesus (the living, risen Jesus himself) to change his mind and be able to finally understand and piece together the Scriptures that spoke OF Jesus. Then he was able to preach effectively in the synagogues and many were converted.

There are two images of Jesus in the Bible:

  1. The Suffering Servant
  2. The Glorious King

The Jews were focused on the second and many missed the first. We are now living between the former time and the latter.

“A time is coming when people will worship in spirit and in truth” when we receive Jesus as Savior. Saul finally realized this and preached it in the synagogues – in Damascus first. Then he went to Silicea and preached for 3 years. Then he came back – and there was a plot by the Jews and the governors of that area to kill Saul – so his followers let him down in a basket from the wall.

This updates us to today.

The disciples in Jerusalem had probably heard of Saul’s conversion (it’s been over 3 years). But they were still wary of him because of his long, hard reputation.

At this time, Barnabas (the Son of Encouragement) lived up to his namesake (nick-namesake) and blessed Saul before them.

Barnabas has been mentioned before in Acts 4 – his generosity noted – and he helped many people who were in need at that time. He “had a heart of gold.” Later, when the Antioch Gentiles received the gospel, Barnabas is sent down as one of the delegates to meet them and check out this move of the Spirit. He found that it was a genuine move of the Spirit and he encouraged them there.

Acts 13, Barnabas is chosen with Paul (Saul) to go on their first missionary journey.

Acts 15, Barnabas went with Paul to Jerusalem to help settle the controversy of Gentiles entering the church (did they need to keep all the Jewish Law? circumsicion? diet?) It was decided they didn’t need to keep all the rites and rituals that were part of the Old Covenant.

Later, Barnabas shows this same kind of “take a chance generosity” with Mark. Mark had let them down previously, and though Paul refused to accept him back into their missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to. This eventually split the two of them, but later Paul praised Mark and wanted him back – in a letter he wrote.

We all fail in different ways – but God is able to help and restore and strengthen us.

Barnabas brought Paul to the apostles (probably before Peter and James (Jesus’ brother)). Probably the others were busy elsewhere.

Paul doesn’t meet with the disciples around the churches in Judea, and some of the believers were probably not too eager to meet with him – suspecting him of being a secret spy. There was an air of suspicion about him, until Barnabas vouched for him.

v. 28-29

Paul speaks boldly in the name of the Lord – he’s debating with the Helenistic/Grecian Jews who’d been hostile to Stephen and stoned him to death. Quite a turn of events – because he’d held their coats while they had stoned Stephen. And eventually, these same guys tried to kill Paul. But they sent him away, back to his home in Tarsus.

The disciples were concerned with Paul’s safety and the safety of the church members with good reason (Acts 22). Paul (in Acts 22) mentions this time – he was in the temple in Jerusalem praying and the Lord appeared to him and said, “Quick! Leave Jerusalem immediately! The people here won’t accept your testimony!” Paul tried to argue saying his testimony is so amazing that people will have to believe. But God is firm and says, No, I will send you to the Gentiles. So, Paul agrees to go and the disciples send him off to Tarsus.

So this departure is really based on God’s will.

This whole portion of Scripture (Acts) reads as if it’s one event after the other, but there may have been much time that passes between events. For example, Paul may have stayed in Tarsus for up to 10 years.

Paul was a Roman citizen (received from his father – probably who did some service for Rome, got the citizenship and passed it on to Paul). So, Paul was learned in the popular culture as well – and was able to quote from poetry and other sources that the non-Christians would be familiar with. Paul eventually becomes the central focus of Acts.

Acts 9:31

There was a time of peace, encouraged by the Holy Spirit, the church grew (and possibly spread to Galilee).

People are being healed, saved, meeting the reality of the good news.

Acts 6:7

“So the Word of God spread.” Many in Jerusalem, including priests, believed.

This is a fulfillment of the Word of Jesus before his ascension – that the gospel would spread throughout Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 9:32-35

Peter evangelizes the countryside in Judea.

Philip has passed through, preaching the gospel there after his encounter with the Ethiopian. Peter is backing up that missionary tour – going the same route, preaching and confirming the disciples as he goes.

He comes to Lydda to visit the saints (believers). Lydda = 25 miles NW of Jerusalem – at the crossroads of two major highways. Here, he meets Aeneas – bedridden for 8 years. He heals him and word of it spreads. Luke writes “all those who lived in Lydda saw him and turned to the Lord.” (Probably not ALL, but this is emphasis to show that this was a pretty major event.)

Peter next goes to Joppa – modern Jaffa (Tel-Abib?) Here there is a much-loved disciple “Tabitha” Aramaic = “Dorcas” Greek = Gazelle in English. She was doing well and loved by all the people and she suddenly dies. The whole church is mourning her, hear that Peter is nearby, so send for him.

What could he do? She’s dead. She’s lying in preparation for burial. And Peter goes upstairs, sends everyone out, kneels and prays, then tells her to “get up.” He takes up by the hand, helps her up, and presents her alive to the others. WOW. Lots of joy there.

There are many similarities between this story and Jesus’ story of raising Talitha? daughter of Jarius.

  1. The sending of messengers
  2. The mourners around the room
  3. The kicking everyone out of the room
  4. The calling for her to wake up
  5. The taking of her hand

Here, Peter is recreating the miracle that Jesus’ did earlier.

  • Jesus said, “Talitha, get up.”
  • Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.”
  • There is only one letter difference there.

Jesus had said, “What I have done, you will do.” Here is evidence of that. Peter obviously has an open line with God, and so he can speak with authority.

Luke 5 – the healing of the paralytic (through the roof) and Jesus had encouraged the man “your sins are forgiven.” When people get sick, we often self-examine. (What have I done? What have I not done with my life?) And Jesus spoke to that heart and said, “You’re forgiven.” But to prove he has authority to say that, he also healed his body.

Elijah (and Jesus?) also raised a widow’s son to life.

Throughout the Scriptures, there are similar accounts of raising people.

  • Elijah raised a widow’s son.
  • Elisha also raised someone.

Jesus is willing to use these servants – even you and me – if we recognizes him for who he is and what he’s done. He has promised to not bring the same diseases upon his people (in the Old Testament) as those who didn’t believe in him in other lands. He’s able to heal today as well.

Physical, Spiritual healing – related to forgiveness. When we ask for forgiveness, God expects us to forgive others. Many people find that healing takes place only AFTER they forgive other people. Many times we harm ourselves and prevent God’s healing power to come through us because of our own unforgiveness. If we hold a grudge, unforgiveness against people – even close relatives – we are not free, we are not healed. Release them from the grudge, forgive them, and find healing for your own spirits.

We’ve all been touched and healed by the Lord. Let’s be prepared to share this with others.

Healing from death, physical, emotional, spiritual healing is available in Christ.

Acts 9 finishes with Peter at the house of Simon the tanner. The rabbis thought that tanning was unclean (because the animals might be unclean). But they also wrote the Scriptures on the hides of animals that were clean. Peter doesn’t seem to mind so much.

Later we see in Acts 10 that Peter learns to eat even unclean animals.

Interesting that Luke records strange details that don’t really help his story. BUT it does prove that Luke was an accurate historian – this is not myth, it’s history, it happened, it’s real. These little details demonstrate that.

In the final short section, Luke shows that the gospel has been preached in the whole province by now. And the Christian mission in the Jewish nation has now widened. The reader of Acts is now prepared for the next leap that the gospel message must take. That’s where Acts 10 begins the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles – to Cornelius and his household.

The good news is still good. Jesus heals, saves, He is Lord. Is he YOUR healer, Savior, Lord? If not, perhaps today is the day for you to be healed. We’ve been studying the resurrection, perhaps today is your day to be restored to life in your spirit.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)

03.16

03.16.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.


Do you have ears? God bless us with our hands, ears, eyes, feet, mouth. 

As we know, in Chp 10, we studied 3 times – Jesus called his 12 disciples (apostles) and gave them authority and power to go on mission. After that, he didn’t take a rest – he went on to do his mission continually: Preaching, Teaching, & Healing.

At that time, JB was in prison by Herod – because he’d publicly rejected Herod’s adulterous relationship and marriage. JB was very active, he was sent as the forerunner of God to testify to Jesus so that through him all men might believe in Christ. Now, in prison, he cannot speak outside publicly anymore. He thought more and more about Jesus, and the more and more he thought, the more and more he was convinced that YES Jesus was the Messiah. So he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him – and he put all his hope in this one question. “Are you the One who was to come?”

This question may look like a doubtful question – but it can also be seen as a question through which the light of hope is shining. 

Jesus’ answer = v.4-6

This answer of Jesus is a quotation from Isaiah 29, and 35:4-6. In two places in Isaiah, these same words can be found. So, Jesus reminded him of the OT prophecies about the works of the Messiah. He pointed him toward his acts of healing, his preaching, and his teaching. YES! With so much evidence, Jesus’ identity should have been obvious. In this answer, we hear the accent of confidence. He didn’t say, “Tell John what I’m talking about.” He said, “Tell John what you SEE.”

Jesus’ answer is the same today. SEE what I can do for you. SEE what I have done for others. 

The very things Jesus did 2000 years ago in Galilee, he is doing still today.

  • The truth about God and his works can only be seen (eyes opened) when you have faith in Christ.
  • Feet that are not strong, can be strengthened in Jesus.
  • Those contaminated by the disease of sin can only be purified by Jesus Christ.
  • Those who are deaf to the voice of God can only hear in Christ.
  • Those who are dead in sin can be raised to the newness and liveliness of life in Jesus.
  • Those who are poor in spirit can receive the richness of the love of God only in Christ. 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His invitation is, was, and will be the same. Give your life to me and see and experience what I can do with your life. 

The supreme argument for Christ is not intellectual debate, but the experience of his life-changing power.

v. 7-10

After this, Jesus talks about JB.

This is a quotation from Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger ahead of you…”

Jesus asks and answers 3 questions about JB:

What did you go out to see in the desert?

  1. A reed swayed in the wind? NO. – A reed was a kind of grass on the banks of the Jordan River – symbolizing the most COMMON of things to see. Another meaning = a weak vacillator – he never takes a stand on anything – always tossed about by various opinions (flip-flopper). We know they did NOT go to see this – JB’s fiery preaching was not like a reed.
  2. A man with fine clothes? NO – John’s clothes = camel’s hair. If they wanted to see a rich man, they should have gone to a palace. Such a man would be a courtier. He was not a courtier. He was an ambassador of God – not a courtier of King Herod.
  3. A prophet? YES – The prophet is a foreteller of the truth of God. He had confidence in God and the wisdom of God in his mind, the truth of God in his mouth, the courage of God in his heart. The job of the prophet was to show the true Messiah to man. JB was the LAST of the OT prophets – and he saw the Son of Man with his own two eyes. This made him more than a prophet.

Today, what do you come to church to see in Jesus Christ? Yes, we worship God, but what do you come to SEE in Jesus? Entertainment? No. Luxurious clothes? No. 

Why do you come to church? What do you come to see? “I come to see my personal Lord, Savior, God, in Jesus Christ and to worship him together with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Jesus continues to talk about JB in v. 11 (much meaning).

“I tell you the truth” = “listen well, this is SUPER important…”

First Jesus exalts JB to the highest place among all human beings “He is THE greatest among all born of women.” Yes, he is the greatest, biggest man in the history of the world. 

But then, Jesus lowers JB to the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven. How can these two opposites both be true? 

Yes, JB is THE greatest in human history. Before sharing this, let’s have one question: Who is greater, JB or you? Before God? (Silently)

Your personal answer to this question is the correct answer…to you.

Yes, he was the GREATEST in history – the only one who baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the only prophet to see and point people DIRECTLY to Jesus. In this sense, JB is the greatest in all of history. Yes, in this world.

BUT, in the kingdom of heaven, the least is greater than JB. It means, if we are truly in the kingdom of heaven by believing in Jesus, we are greater than JB. What did John lack? It’s simple and fundamental. He’d never seen the cross. Therefore, he never understood the FULL revelation of the love of God manifested through the cross.

The love of God, the holiness, the judgment, the warning, the penalty of God he preached, but he never FULLY understood the love of God because he died before Jesus died (and rose again to inaugurate his kingdom). 

No one ever fulfilled his God-given purpose better than JB, but he never saw the cross with his eyes.

It is an amazing thing for us to know more about God than the greatest of the great OT prophets. 

Yes, in his coming kingdom, we have a greater spiritual heritage than JB, because we have known and seen the FINISHED work of Christ on the cross. We can have greater privilege than JB.

Yes, JB is great, greater, the greatest – in that his FIRST message was the same as that of Jesus Christ “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” And Jesus came as the king of his kingdom. It means, Jesus is the REALITY of the kingdom of heaven – this is Jesus’ dominion as king. Wherever Jesus is in control as King, that is the kingdom of heaven. How can we receive this? 

ONE WAY: by believing in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin and rose again for my salvation – and accept him as my personal Lord, King, Savior, and God. We receive by believing in the truth of Jesus’ substitutionary attonement. This is the gospel message. 

JB did preach a powerful and wonderful message, BUT it wasn’t the gospel – because there was no story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

We can be greater than JB in this sense. He had no opportunity to preach the message of the cross – the message of the gospel. But we have this wonderful blessing to preach and share this very message of the cross. 

IF you and I preach and share the message of the gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus – then we are greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

That’s why this passage says “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

v. 12-15

Jesus continues to talk about JB. 

Let’s see two verses:

  1. Malachi 4:5 (last book, last chapter, almost last verse of OT) “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day when the Lord comes.”
  2. Matthew 24:14 (prophecy of the last day of the last days) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and THEN the end will come.” (This is the prophecy of the last day of the last days.)

v. 12 “Forcefully advancing – forceful men” 

Yes, the kingdom of heaven was started with the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is YET to come. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world now stand AGAINST each other – because Satan is the king/prince of this world/age. So, until the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is finished, there is fighting between these two kingdoms. 

From when JB was imprisoned wrongly, the kingdom of heaven has experienced violence and persecution. So, if we accept the kingdom of heaven, we need violent devotion – forceful attitude, assertive action – to keep the kingdom of heaven safely and peacefully. 

“John is like Elijah”

JB came in spirit and power of Elijah – he also dressed like Elijah and ministered like him – and had a message of judgment for the apostate nation of Israel. 

The last book, chp, almost verse – it prophesied the coming of Elijah again before the last day. Jesus regarded the coming of JB as the fulfillment of that prophecy. 

How about us? Yes, we can be greater than JB IF we are used in fulfilling the prophecy of the last days in Matthew 24:14. “This gospel will be preached to all nations and then the end will come.” (And then I will come.)

If we are used in fulfilling this prophecy, we will be counted, regarded by God as greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

“He who has ears, let him hear. She who has ears, let her hear.”

God bless us with our hands, feet, ears, and mouth. 

Let’s pray. 

  • Jan 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)

01.12

01.12.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 


Have you received something freely? Undeserved?

Last time, Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion on them. He looked outside and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Few = almost none

“Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus is the same then and now, so he also has compassion today on man, sinners, the lost. It is the dream/hope of Jesus Christ that every single Christian = a missionary/reaper. Why? Because there is somebody that every one of us must bring to God.

He asks us to see what he saw, do what he’s done, feel what he’s felt.

  • Matthew 10: The Missionary Chapter
  • The King’s Ambassador’s Chapter
  • 1 Cor 13 = Love
  • 1 Cor 15 = Resurrection
  • Hebrews 11 = Faith
  • Matthew 10 = Missionary
  1. Who is the Lord/King of the missionaries?
  2. Who are the missionaries?
  3. Where is their mission field?
  4. What is the main target?
  5. What is the main message?
  6. What are the main tasks?

1: Who is the Lord of the missionary?

This is the Missionary chapter. The key subject = HE (Jesus Christ). The Lord = Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the Lord of Salvation.

v. 1 = “HE…”

The work of salvation can only be accomplished by Jesus Christ, but the witness of salvation can only be accomplished by his workers. That’s why Jesus needs (needs) these messengers.

In Isaiah, the prophet was before the throne of God in his vision, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” God said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Trinity)” Isaiah, “Here am I, send me!”

Like this, if we really experience salvation, we must respond to the calling of Jesus Christ. Who shall go for us (Trinity)?

Chp 9 did say, “Pray for workers.” But that is not enough. We must also make ourselves available to serve him.

2. Who can be missionaries? Called and sent?

There are two steps in the calling:

1. Jesus calls a sinner to be saved (to be his disciple/learner/follower).

Yes, Jesus had MANY disciples – some only hangers-on, but some were truly converted. In his first calling, Jesus calls a sinner to be saved = salvation.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.

Here I am. I stand at the door and knock…

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to salvation.

2. Calling for OTHER’S salvation.

From this large group of disciples, Jesus selected a smaller group of disciples (called apostles). In church today, we have no name “apostles” – but the most suitable name = “missionaries.”

v. 2-4 Can you memorize the 12 apostles?

  1. Simon (Peter)
  2. Andrew
  3. James (Zebedee)
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Thomas
  8. Matthew (this guy)
  9. James (Alphaeus)
  10. Thaddeus
  11. Simon (Zealot)
  12. Judas Iscariot

These guys are TOTALLY AVERAGE. Not rich, not academically gifted or learned, not high status, etc, etc.

They were very mixed – fishers, tax collectors (the most hated of the Jews), Simon the Zealot (very religious).

Zealots = the most nationalist of all nationalists – prepared to die for their country’s independence.

They had a strong resolution to undergo ANY suffering for their country – they were also ready to kill anyone who was against their country – with assassination or murder.

Imagine, if Simon the Zealot had met Matthew in another place (not with Jesus), he might have killed him.

The wonderful truth – 2-3 men who HATE each other can LOVE each other in Christ.

Who is God? He is the God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He can do something EXTRAORDINARY with ordinary people. Jesus sees not only who we ARE, but also what he CAN MAKE us.

  • Yes, we are ordinary – not great.
  • But Jesus can make us extraordinary – to do something great through us.

Why? Because Jesus is a great king.

Are you called for salvation? (#1). Are you assured of your salvation? Then you should give thanks in ALL circumstances.

“It is by grace you have been saved, not by works so that no one may boast.”

Are you called as a missionary (#2)? Then also give thanks in all circumstances – because we have nothing to boast.

1 Cor ?:27-29 “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. God chose the things that are not to nullify the things that are so that no one can boast.”

If you have a strong calling, and realize that you are also called as a missionary, and you have a heart to truly win people to Christ, then you are TRUE apostles – you are TRULY his ambassadors.

3. Where is the mission field?

If we are missionaries, where is our mission field? Who are the main target people?

v.5-6 Lost sheep of Israel. 

Jesus gave them very specific instructions regarding their ministry.

  • Not Gentiles
  • Not Samaria
  • Only lost sheep of Israel

Does this mean he opposed the others? Didn’t love them? Was a nationalist?

No, he’d already encountered the Gentiles in Matthew 8 and healed them, and in John 4, the Samaritan woman.

What does this mean? 

Jesus came not to the Jews ONLY, but to the Jews FIRST.

Why are the Jews called the “Chosen People?” Because they were chosen FIRST – to give the message of salvation to other nations.

In that time, the Gentile territory lay to the North and Samaritan territory to the South. This is the very FIRST evangelism activity for the apostles – it was not long-term, but short-term. They must come back soon and report to Jesus. Now is also before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

So, this time is for maximizing efficiency and effect – not for exclusivity, not for partiality, but for FRUIT, concentration of limited energy for a specific target.

After his crucifixion and resurrection, THEN Jesus commands, “Go into ALL nations, ALL Creation and proclaim the Good News!”

So, how can we apply this principle in our own mission fields? If we are truly missionaries, we need to have 2 attitudes:

  1. Personal evangelist – be ready at all times to preach the Word of God, in season and out of season
  2. Specific target – we are limited in time and place, and wisdom, so we need a specific target for maximizing the fruit of our ministries.

3. What Was Their Message?

v. 7 “As you go…”

The message: short, simple, clear

“The kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus himself is the kingdom of heaven – kingdom = the king’s domain, country.

John the Baptist’s message was also the same.

It means, “The King is hear, the King is near, receive him!”

Now, we are after his crucifixion and before his Second Coming – so now what is our key message?

  1. Jesus DIED for your sins
  2. He was RAISED for your salvation
  3. He is COMING again soon

4. What were their tasks?

  1. Heal the sick
  2. Raise the dead
  3. Cleanse those with leprosy
  4. Drive out demons

Can you do these things?

We cannot. But Jesus can do them through us.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever in his power and authority. Yes, these things can happen literally if Jesus wills. But, more importantly is the SPIRITUAL ministry.

Basically, fundamentally, the ministry of the missionaries is these things:

  1. The lost are sick – unable, invalid, hopeless, powerless. If he accepts Jesus, he is healed perfectly, immediately.
  2. The lost are dead (Eph 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”). If he accepts Jesus, he is ALIVE immediately. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live, though he dies.” Accepting Jesus Christ means rising from the dead immediately, physically, spiritually, eternally.
  3. The lost are lepers – without sense of spiritual things – unclean and ugly. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately cleansed, purified, forgiven, restored in fellowship. Accepting Christ = purification.
  4. The lost are under the control of devils spiritually. Do you believe? “You belong to your father, the devil” – Jesus says to those who reject him. Whether we understand or agree or not, this is the spiritual truth. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately freed to serve Jesus.

Accepting Jesus =

  1. Healing
  2. Resurrection
  3. Purification
  4. Freedom

Freely we have received. Freely we are to give.

John 10:10 “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”

If we are in Christ, we have eternal life. But God wants us to enjoy this life abundantly, fully. How? The secret = by giving freely. Give THIS life freely to others and you will experience THIS life more abundantly.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 29 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead (Matthew 9:14-26)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead (Matthew 9:14-26)

12.29

12.29.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

18 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his clock, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. 23 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24 he said, “Go away…


Remember, fasting must be done at the right time, for the right reason, with the right motivation.

  • Pharisees fasted very often, but with the wrong reason at the wrong time.
  • John’s disciples fasted to prepare themselves to receive the coming Messiah, but he’d already come, so they should have been feasting with him, not fasting. John’s disciples fasted with ignorance.
  • Pharisees fasted for “show.” They wanted to show others that they were Super Holy Dudes. The fasted with pride and self-righteousness.

A wedding is a time of celebration and feasting. Likewise, Jesus’ coming is a time of celebration and feasting.

There is a time coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them (John 16) – the crucifixion and death and burial of Jesus. You will weep and mourn while this world rejoices. – Jesus told them.

But their sorrow turned into joy when they saw their risen resurrected Lord.

To be with Jesus Christ is a sign of celebration.

Someday, we must die, all relationships must end someday. Only Jesus remains forever the same. Only the joy of heaven lasts forever and ever. Nobody can take the joy of heaven from our hearts.

New wine and wineskins (v.16-17)

At that time, they stored wine in wineskins.

The illustration of the cross shows that Jesus came to give wholeness, not just patch us up. Also, the wineskins show that Jesus is giving completeness. The old Judaism is the old wineskins – the Law. He didn’t come to repair or mix with the old religion. He came with a new covenant, the covenant of Grace, a new way to express personal faith – the newness of the gospel could not be combined with the legalism of the Pharisees.

Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. He is the END, the FULFILLMENT of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

He didn’t come to repair and fix up the old Judaism. His purpose is to bring something totally new. The message that the Son of God offers to all people the forgiveness of sins – the reconciliation of God and Man and life everlasting. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor) “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

There are 2 miracles that follow here – restoration of broken hope, broken families, broken homes. (Also in Luke and John)

v.18-19

This ruler’s name is Jarius. Mark 5, Luke 8, also show this story in more detail. He is a synagogue ruler. When he came to Jesus first, his daughter was CLOSE to death, not dead. “My daughter is DYING” he said. But the delay caused by the healing of the next woman gave death the opportunity to do its work. Jarius’ friends came after the healing and said, “Your daughter has died.” But Jesus quickly reassured him.

——–

Just then, a woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years touched his cloak.

Her bleeding made her ceremonially unclean. So even everybody and everything she touched became unclean. She was cut of from the synagogue and other men and women. She did EVERYTHING possible to be saved from this terrible life of isolation. She actually should not have even been in this crowd surrounding Jesus. Because if they had known it, she was infecting many people with her uncleanness. So, she came quietly, secretly and touched Jesus’ garment with her hand. Jesus said, “who did that?”

Jesus actually knew and his disciples knew he knew, but he kept looking around for her anyway. She eventually came out and trembling with fear, kneeled down before him. “Take heart, daughter. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jesus not only gave her physical healing, but also PEACE – heavenly healing. He gave her more than she wanted. Eph “God is able to do immeasureably MORE than we ask.”

Yesterday, today, and forever, he is living with us in his Spirit. He can do more and more than we ask, than we wish. 

While he was talking with this woman, Jarius’ friends came and said, “Your daughter is dead.”

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. Just believe.” Jesus went to his house with only 3 disciples – Peter, James, and John?

There was a funeral procession there – loud weeping and crying and a large crowd. He said, “Go out” but they laughed at him. Mark: Jesus said, “Talitha, get up.”

A lack of crying was disrespectful, a disgrace. Jarius was a synagogue ruler/leader at that time, so lots of people came and expressed their sorrow with loud cries and weeping. Maybe Jarius was angry with the first healed woman because they delayed to arrive before they arrived. The problem wasn’t the woman, but his faith, his attitude.

God is NEVER late in answering us.

If you see a dead person, what do you see? A dead person? An unbeliever’s death = death to God’s eyes AND people’s eyes. A believer’s death = death to people’s eyes BUT sleep to God’s eyes.

We may also be laughed at because of our faith in Christ. 2 Cor “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to those who believe it is life.”

Have you ever been laughed at for your faith in Christianity? Do not lose heart. Take heart. The most dramatic of all, Jesus, rose again from the dead. ONLY Jesus has the authority and power to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies. Whoever believes in me will never die because I will raise him up at the last day.” (John’s gospel).

Soon, this is the last day.

The last day of 2013, the last day of school, last day of work, last day of friendship, the last day of life, the last day of the material world.

But in heaven, there is NO MORE last day. This is our hope, our faith in Jesus’ Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 15 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Futile Fight Against God (Acts 5:27-42)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Futile Fight Against God (Acts 5:27-42)

12.15

12.15.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


At the beginning of Acts 5, there was a lot of consternation because of the sudden death of Ananias and Sapphaira – deceivers of the HS and other disciples. They didn’t have the fear of the Lord they should have. And they paid the ultimate price because of it. That brought a great fear on the church.

Also, there was great grace during that time. They prayed in the evenings for those who were troubled and afflicted by spirits or diseases.

So, in this great grace and great fear, many more joined the apostles, and many also stayed farther and farther away.

Many people benefited from the outpouring of the Spirit. The apostles were preaching and teaching and the church was growing, and the Pharisees and Sadducees started to become jealous and had them arrested. They wanted to punish them so they put them in jail – but at night an angel came and freed them and sent them back to preach some more. So, they did. At daybreak, the members of the Council sent for the disciples – who weren’t there. They went back to report, and at the same time someone else reported “Hey! Those dudes are back!” So, they sent someone to arrest them AGAIN. Then they appeared before the Council.

The Pharisees said, “Didn’t we tell you not to preach in THAT name?” (Couldn’t even say the name “Jesus”).

All the apostles agreed that it was their duty to obey God rather than men and to continue preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus.

Now the Council members get quite angry, because Peter had pretty much showed that they were responsible for Jesus’ death – but he wasn’t out to BLAME them for it. They said, “You put the guilt of this on us!” He said, “Jesus was raised by God as a man, from the dead, in his ascension.” (3 steps). Because he was glorified, he was therefore also called out on the Pentecost (the HS – his Spirit). He was also sent to be the Savior of the world.

Jesus was raised as the Savior of the world (the WHOLE world) – first to the Jew, then the Gentile.

Even though Peter presents his case in this manner, the Pharisees were angry. Peter says, “You hung him on a tree.” In Greek (zulon) = something made of wood.

In Deuteronomy, anyone who was guilty of a capital was hung up on a tree or a pole during the day, but the body had to be taken down at nightfall because it was believed to be condemned by God.

  • Peter is basically saying, “You thought of him as a curse (probably still do). YET, this was God’s plan from the Beginning anyway. This was to be God’s plan for restoration.”
  • Paul: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having been cursed for us – because it is written ‘cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree.’”

Remember the Old Covenant under Abraham. If the people obeyed God, they would be blessed in every way. But if the disobeyed God, they would receive the curses of God – disease, hurt, trouble.

Even though they said, “We will obey” they didn’t understand their own inability to do so. So, God made a way for them to be cleansed regardless – the spotless lamb that was sacrificed. Paul says that this was just a “warm-up.” The true sacrifice, the eternal sacrifice is Jesus. Paul points everything to Jesus. Even the Centurion who guarded Jesus’ body at his death said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”

Romans “There’s not one righteous, no not one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Derick Prince (theologian) “Everything is provided in the cross.” – He suffered our hell for us, he took our punishment, he was wounded for us – so that we would be made whole, we would be healed, we could have eternal life.

What we all need = spiritual healing. Physical, mental, emotional healing is all appropriate as well and Christ (ultimately) has provided all these.

Prince was very sick (after WWII) and read and meditated on the Scriptures and became well. His wife as well – after meditating on the Scriptures.

We can do so as well – but must also get rid of any barriers that might prevent healing – such as unforgiveness or hidden sins.

The scapegoat (in the Old Testament) was given all the sins of the people, then led off into the wilderness and was destroyed. Jesus was OUR scapegoat – he bore the penalty for our sins. He exchanged his righteousness for our sins, and we have received his righteousness in place of our sins. What a cost.

He was punished, wounded for us. He was made SIN for us. He died. We all die. Why do we die? Sin brings death. (Genesis 2 “You may eat of any tree in the Garden except that one. If you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 3 Snake “You won’t die…” – but that sin brings death – not instantly, but inevitably).

If we receive Christ, his spirit is an eternal Spirit, so that we might have life. Jesus says, “I’ve come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (Gospel of John).

Jesus also became poor for us. If the OT Law was broken, then poverty, a loss of all things was the consequence. Jesus didn’t even have a grave – a different guy – a rich guy – donated one for him. Even the presence of his Father in Heaven was taken away “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He died in poverty, but rose again in splendor and glory.

When people receive Jesus, they are blessed – inevitably.

Example: Alcohol, sexual addictions, drugs – when you receive Christ and know that he is enough (and you don’t need your old crutches) – you become blessed. You get cleaned up, help others get cleaned up. Jesus takes away the barriers to your blessing.

Jesus bore our shame. When we sin or even are sinned against – violence, abuse, sexual abuse – even if it’s not your fault – sometimes you experience guilt and shame. But Jesus KNOWS that same shame – he bore it – he TOOK it. He was naked and abused, hanging and dying on that cross. Shame is eliminated in the cross.

  • He bore our shame that we might share in his glory (not his intrinsic God glory) – but his heavenly, resurrected glory. He is the first of our family in heaven.
  • He also took our rejection as he bore the consequence of our sin. He = our rejection. We = now accepted by God.
  • He bore the curse of the broken law.

(Gap for spent battery)

Let’s pray…

  • Dec 08 / 2013
  • Comments Off on What Have You Lost For Christ? What Have You Gained In Christ? (Matthew 9:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What Have You Lost For Christ? What Have You Gained In Christ? (Matthew 9:1-13)

12.08

12.08.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thought, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe, and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. 

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”


Matthew is the book of the King. Is Jesus your king? If so, do you acknowledge his authority and power in all areas of your life? Maybe. Sometimes… 

Matthew is the book of the King of Kings. Matthew closes the last chapter and verse with “his authority.” “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” 

  • Chp 5-7 = his authority in his Word
  • Chp 8 = his authority over Nature and the Spiritual Realms
  • Chp 9 = his authority over Man (healing) and to call Man

Both stories are written in Mark and Luke as well. 

Jesus came to his own town. Once, Jesus said, “I have no place to put my head.” So, where is his town? Capernaum. (Born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, during his ministry, he became so identified with Capernaum it became his “hometown” i.e. his “base of operations”).

This was a good choice for his base of operations because it was a RICH city and a CULTURAL capital/melting-pot. At that time, the Roman garrison was there and it kept peace there. Then, in his town, he went into a house – maybe Peter’s house, and he was teaching. Some people at that time (4) brought a paralyzed man. 

In Mark and Luke – so many people gathered around Jesus that there was no room left – even outside the gate. There was no way to take the man to Jesus, so they went up on the roof of the building and took off the tiles to make a hole to lower the man on his mat (tied with ropes on the four corners). He was teaching with a huge crowd and SUDDENLY – a mat came down in front of him.

This is a beautiful picture of faith. It is important. Traditionally, these men are “friends” but we don’t actually know – family, relatives, neighbors, friends, mixed? Anyway, this man couldn’t help himself but he had some helpers – with love, faith and enthusiastic action.

The very interesting thing = Jesus saw THEIR faith and said to HIM “Son, take heart, your sins are forgiven.” So, was this physical sickness the result of sin? We don’t know, but we cannot conclude that all sickness is from sin, nor that forgiveness results in healing. 

But, fundamentally (Genesis 3), all sickness and death ARE the result of sin. This man was paralyzed because of sin – fundamentally. Sin is the root, the cause of all problems. Even though he was paralyzed in body, he needed spiritual healing. To Jesus, the heart (sin) is more important that the body (temporary). 

Spiritual healing/sickness is Jesus’ primary concern – even NOW. He wants us to have a right relationship with him even now. 

Jesus saw THEIR faith and forgave the paralyzed person. This man was healed and forgiven by the faith of the other men. If it hadn’t been for them, he’d have never reached the healing presence of Jesus. Do you have this kind of true faith in Christ? If so, you can help others to come to Christ. You can help others to be healed spiritually and physically.

Do you have any friends or family members who don’t know Jesus or aren’t concerned with Jesus or who are hostile to Jesus? Our duty/privilege is not to let that man go until we’ve brought him into the presence of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we cannot force someone to be a Christian, but we can do everything we can do to bring others into the presence of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is your Savior and King and YOU enjoy forgiveness and freedom? WHY don’t you also bring others so that they may experience God’s blessings on their lives?

Now, there is somebody against Jesus. 

v.3 “This fellow” (Jesus) “is blaspheming.” They were SUPER Bible scholars (probably memorized whole books). They KNEW only God could forgive sins. But they didn’t know that Jesus was God. Do you believe Jesus is God? 

“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” God is all-knowing, all-understanding, ever-present – he had the access to every person’s thoughts. Interesting how he called them out on what they were THINKING and not even what they said…

Even on this Earth, Jesus never ceased to be God. He became man (completely) and remained God (completely). 

Jesus continued to say (v 5-8) “Which is easier?”

Forgive sins or heal? “The Son of Man has authority.”

At this, the man went home with a sound (healed) body and soul. At that time, the scribes (Pharisees) believed that nobody could just up and walk without his sins being forgiven. So, for them, this should have been unconditional proof that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins.  

  • It is easy to say “Your sins are forgiven.” 
  • It is much more difficult to UN-paralyze someone.

Jesus backed up his Word by healing the man. He proved his Words were true by healing. 

Here is one very important lesson:

Our language can be meaningless if our actions cannot back up our words.

“Of course I love you.” And do nothing. Empty words.

How will, how DO your actions back up your words? In Jesus’ story/life, his actions and Words ALWAYS went together.

————– 

The calling of Matthew

v. 9-13 “Follow me” while he was on the clock at his day job. And Matthew just GOT UP. – He left everything – including his boss and desk and money.

At Matthew’s house, many “sinners” joined for dinner. Why? Jesus “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus quotes also Hosea 6:6 “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

At that time, many people had two names – Matthew (Roman) and Labai (Jewish)? Jewish name and Roman name.

At that time (possibly still today) tax collectors were universally hated – but not for just collecting taxes (as today). At that time, the tax collectors joined with the conquerors of a nation and leached off of their own people. They cheated their own people and cheated the Romans – they accepted bribes.

The Jews REALLY hated them. The Jews were fanatical nationalists. They even banned the tax collectors from all religious fellowship – they were forbidden to enter the temple. The were lower than dirt – PURE sinners. 

  • Jesus called a man who ALL men hated.
  • He loved a man who ALL men hated.

This is one of the greatest examples of Jesus’ power to see into his heart to see what he really was and what he had the capability to become. No one else can see into your heart like he can. 

The fact that we are all here today shows that Jesus wants to receive us all AS WE ARE, but also that Jesus has hope for WHO WE WILL BECOME in his kingdom. 

So, Matthew dropped everything and followed.

Let’s think together. 

  1. What did Matthew LOSE for following?
  2. What did Matthew GAIN for following?

Lost:

chair, table, tax records, computer, comfortable job, big income, full benefits and retirement package, 

Gain:

forgiveness, peace of heart, salvation, eating together with Jesus at the same table, becoming one of 12 disciples, privilege of writing THIS book Matthew

Since this event in Matthew, 2000 years has passed. Now, from OUR perspective…

Then (gain):

It still remains up to now and will remain forever. He is alive in heaven forever. His book lives on and many people study and receive blessing from this book.

Then (lost):

It was all gone within the week. IF he hadn’t followed Christ, it would all be gone at his death – if not sooner.

  • What about OUR story? Are you disciples? Are you true Christians? 
  • What have YOU lost? What have you GAINED?

Sometime take your quiet time and write down a list in your notebook.

What I have Lost: What I have Gained:

  1. 1.
  2. 2….

Have you lost your money? Your job? A relationship? 

You know. 

What have you gained? This is between you and God. You know.

  • What you HAVE in this life will be lost sooner or later whether or not you follow Jesus.
  • What you will/have gained will be eternal if you follow Jesus.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

Knowing this very well, the apostle Paul confesses “Yes, I know what I’ve lost, I know what I’ve gained.” 

“Whatever I had gained, I now consider loss. And whatever I’ve lost, I now consider great gain for my Savior. I consider all that past to be rubbish, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.”

By nature are you righteous or sinners?

Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

May God bless us all so that we may lose more and more for Him and that we may gain more and more in Him.

  • Nov 10 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus is the Healer of All Diseases (Matthew 8:1-17)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is the Healer of All Diseases (Matthew 8:1-17)

11.10

11.10.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Man With Leprosy
8:2-4pp — Mk 1:40-44; Lk 5:12-14

1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosycame and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

The Faith of the Centurion
8:5-13pp — Lk 7:1-10

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.

Jesus Heals Many
8:14-16pp — Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-41

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. 16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”


Matthew is the book of the King.

Up to now, we have seen the PERSON of this King.

  • Chp 1: Genealogy
  • Chp 2: Birth
  • Chp 3: Baptism
  • Chp 4: Temptation
  • Chp 5-7: His Principles
  • Chp 8-9: His Power (here we can see 10 miracles of Jesus – mostly healings – physical/spiritual)

It is very natural – what good are his credentials/principles – if he doesn’t have the power to accomplish his will.

Why did Jesus perform miracles?

  1. Jesus wants to meet human needs. God is good. He is conscious about our temporal well-being – not only our eternal joy/happiness/peace.
  2. He wanted to prove his claim as Messiah.
  3. He was fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah 53:4 “He took up our iniquities and carried our sorrows.”
  4. He was revealing the saving truth. These miracles are sermons IN ACTION.

Today, in the reading, he healed many.

  1. Leper
  2. Gentile’s servant
  3. A woman (mother-in-law of Peter)

All of these are “outcasts” according to the Pharisees. (Many prayed at that time, “I give thanks to God that I’m a MAN, I’m a JEW, I’m FREE – and not those others.”)

v. 1-4

Healed the leper

  • In Chapter 5, when he saw many crowds, he taught them on the mountain side.
  • In Chapter 8, he came down from that same mountain – still large crowds followed him.

In that situation, a leper came and said, “Lord, heal me.” Jesus touched him and healed him.

In the ancient world, leprosy was the most terrible disease of that time (kind of like skin cancer – it decays all parts of the body progressively – every part loses feeling, parts fall off, eyes become staring eyes, the voice becomes hoarse).

Long ago, Korea had lepers. There was a saying, “If a leper eats a baby, he will be healed.” So, if a leper appeared in a village, all the people cursed him, closed their doors and windows, and watched carefully. They treated lepers worse than animals, as if they were dead. They were completely separated and banished from ALL society. They could never participate in any social or religious activities. And if they walked on the street, they had to yell, “I’m unclean! Don’t come near me!”

From this story, we need to note that the leper approached Jesus.

1. This man came to Jesus will courage, passion, enthusiasm, zeal, desperation.

There were MANY people there – he was FORBIDDEN to go. It was possible for the people to riot against him and kill him. But he wanted to become a person again so badly, to be reunited with his family/home, he needed to approach Jesus.

Also, in this sinful, adulterous generation, we need passion and courage to approach Jesus.

2. This man came with confidence, assurance, faith, trusting.

IF Jesus willed, he could make him clean. He had confidence that Jesus would accept him as he was, even though his own family members cast him out. Jesus could do something no one else could do.

In our lives, there is no uncurable, unforgivable thing before Jesus.

3. He came in humility, with a broken heart.

He didn’t ask directly, he said, “IF you are willing…” This means, “I have no right to ask you, but have pity on me.” In your divine condescension, you will give me your grace.

Even today, God gives grace to the humble, but rejects the proud and arrogant.

4. He came with reverence and worship in his heart.

He knelt before Jesus. Note that word. KNELT. Greek = proscunane (prostrate) – translated as “kneeling” and “worship”. In the NIV, and ESV, this is “knelt” but KJV, NASB translate as “worship”. Living Bible = “knelt AND worshiped”. In this translation, Living Bible is the best. He felt that he was in the presence of God.

Do you feel you are in the presence of God?

  1. Jesus reached out and TOUCHED him, and cleansed him. He could have done it without touching him. We know everyone shunned him, but Jesus touched him in unclean robes.
  2. Jesus BECAME unclean willingly (Leviticus…)
  3. Jesus took the uncleanness from his body into himself. This is Jesus’ sermon in action. Leprosy = sin, sin is deeper than leprosy. Both spread, defile, isolate. Both bring death in the end.
  4. Jesus came down from heaven to earth and became a man and touched our sinful souls and took our sin upon him. Isaiah 53:6? “We all have gone astray…”
  • 2 Corithians 5:21? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us….”
  • 1 Peter 4:22? “Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to him…”

When Jesus touched him, whole, perfect, healing happened. Salvation is like this. If we are saved really, truly, we must obviously continually work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. But the INITIAL salvation happens only by his power, immediately, wholly, perfectly.

v. 5-13

Question to yourself: Do you believe, think that even today, Jesus is touched, moved, or impressed by our great faith? I hope so.

Centurion is an officer of 100 soldiers in the Roman army at that time. From a human perspective, it was very difficult for him to come to Jesus. He was a fighter, a Gentile. Jesus was a man of peace, a Jew. At that time, the Jews hated the Romans, and thought of them as unclean.

This man came, not for himself, nor family members, but for his servant – maybe his slave.

Jesus said, “Yes, I’ll go.”

Centurion was probably shocked by his quick response. He knew the principle of authority through experience – so he knew Jesus had authority to heal with a word.

Jesus honored his faith and praised his faith highly. “Many will come to the feast in the kingdom of heaven, but the subjects will be cast out into hell.”

This means “I am for EVERYBODY.” There is no difference from Jews and Gentiles. Jews with NO faith will be rejected. Gentiles WITH faith will be accepted.

From this story we can see many lessons, but the most important lesson = we must understand and apply the principle of authority and the chain of command.

TRUE authority = nothing to do with physical distance, nor physical presence.

In the world, Brazil is the farthest country from Korea – but the Korean ambassador is under the authority of the Korean President. If the President wants something, she need only call. This is true in the physical world, but in the spiritual world, it is MORE.

The greater the leader, the less necessary his presence to fulfill his will. (Good for Twitter)

True authority comes out from authority. Authority comes from “author”. Jesus is the author of authority.

God created the heavens and the earth with just a word. God made something out of nothing. Man makes nothing out of nothing. Only God has the authority.

When God created Adam, he gave Adam ALL authority over Creation. When Adam disobeyed the authority of God, immediately he lost all authority over Creation.

Do you want authority over your children, students, etc? The more we obey the authority of Jesus, the more authority we will be given. The less we obey the authority of Jesus, the less authority we will be given.

If you obey the authority of Jesus, you will obey his word and act on it.

This is true faith by which Jesus will be astonished and surprised.

v. 14-17

Peter’s mother-in-law probably had a type of malaria at that time.

If we are healed by Jesus, we must wait on him.

That is why church is called a “worship SERVICE”.

From this passage, Jesus has healed all kinds of diseases and all kinds of humans. He is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. Even still today, his authority and power over all diseases, disabilities, mentalities is available. Do you believe? It will be done as you believe.

Put your trust in Jesus and act on his word, and Jesus will do his work in us.

May God bless us with his word.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 03 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Signs, Wonders, & Sharing (Acts 4:23-37)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Signs, Wonders, & Sharing (Acts 4:23-37)

11.03

11.03.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Previously, Peter and John went to the gate, found a crippled man who begged for alms, but they healed him. People were amazed and a crowd gathered, but Peter pushed any credit away from himself and onto Christ – the Healer.

They then began proclaiming the gospel, that Christ was the Messiah, had died and risen from the dead, and that his good works would be multiplied in his apostles and disciples.

The early church was baptized by the HS on Pentecost to carry out Jesus’ work. Likewise, Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan by JohnB.

After Jesus baptism, he went out into the wilderness and was tempted (as Adam was tempted the first time – though Adam failed, Jesus overcame temptation).

After his temptation, Jesus went and began his ministry through the power of the HS, and he began to dismantle Satan’s kingdom.

Jesus had said that the disciples would also receive power when the HS came upon them (Pentecost) and they would be able to heal and do miracles through the power of the HS, in Jesus name.

This previous healing was one of the most significant up to that time.

Now when the temple guards and priests heard about this (those in the higher class – Sadduccees) they didn’t like it, came and arrested Peter and John. They put them in prison and brought them before the Sanhedrin. This was difficult, because the healed man was also with them.

A notable miracle had obviously been performed, the man was obviously healed, people obviously had heard, so they decided to just tell them to quit preaching – and they let them go. Peter said, “Whether to obey you or God…”

This brings us up to where we are now.

They went back and told the church people about what had just happened, and they began to pray in earnest. The Sanhedrin had POWER – aligned with the Romans, upper-class, etc. The church realized they needed divine help.

They used Psalm 2:1-2 as a basis for their prayer.

This was a common practice in the OT. “Peshuh?” It meant to take an old text and bring it into the modern day and interpret it as applicable to their time. They believed the prophets didn’t know fully what they had written because they couldn’t see into the future.

When they predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glory that would be revealed, they knew it was from God. “Even angels long to look into these things…” Peter – the real, inspired writings could only be interpreted IN the actual times and events with which they transpired.

People still try to do this. “The end of the world is coming!!!!” “This guy is the Anti-Christ!!!! He has all the marks of the AC!!!”

(These are usually all wrong – even Jesus said “no man knows the day nor the hour…” – not even Jesus knew.)

In Acts, the church is saying that Jesus’ death and persecution of God’s people were foretold in the Scriptures. God knew these things were coming and told his prophets.

4:28 “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

Here is an interesting parallel stream of (1) what God knows and (2) man’s free-will.

Where Man makes his own free choices and yet fulfills what God foreknew. – a bit of a mystery.

Matthew Henry – “Justice must be satisfied… As to the people’s act, it was an awful act of sin and folly.”

Genesis 45 – Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. (He was Jacob’s obvious favorite baby vs. 11 other brothers. They became murderously envious, and wanted to kill him – instead they sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph was taken into the house of Potiphar. He was accused of trying to rape his wife – he was put into prison. Many, many bad things happened to him, but in prison he interpreted dreams of the Pharaoh’s servants. One died, one went back to work. Pharaoh then had a dream and the butler said, ‘Oh, that dude Joseph can tell you about your dream.’ Joseph came and said, ‘Wow. 7 years of plenty and after 7 years of famine.’ Pharaoh, ‘Wow. You’re the man to do it. 2nd in command, son ;)’ Then, in Canaan, the famine was affecting the family of Jacob – they went down to Egypt for food. And though they hadn’t recognized him the first time, they recognized him the second time when he revealed himself. So there is lots of fear, guilt and shame for all the time they’ve harbored this sin.)

In Genesis 45 Joseph said, “Don’t be too hard on yourselves. God sent me ahead of you to save you.” He saw God’s sovereign hand at work from the painful past into the promised future.

Joseph is a type of Christ. Transpose those same words to Jesus, “Don’t be too hard on yourselves (for your sin). God sent me ahead of you to save you.”

We’re all guilty of “selling” Jesus – crucifying him on the cross. We all sin, we all fail. Jesus alone provides the righteousness that we lack. Through his death on the cross, we are saved.

1 John 1:9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

There is a dual working together of God in his sovereignty ( “nobody can be snatched out of my hand” Jesus ) and the fact that we also must guard ourselves. (Martin Luther “all of Christian life is one of repentance.”)

The whole tenant of the gospel is that God has taken the initiative, and we must accept his free gift through faith.

We will take the Lord’s supper, but as Paul says, “examine yourselves”. So if we sin – or sin during the week – remember those words “don’t be too hard on yourself” and confess your sins.

Jesus has taken our guilt and suffering and shame. Hebrews “Jesus bore the cross, despising its shame…”

Derick Prince – received a testimony of a young woman who’d been gang-raped in her younger years, and had married a Christian man – but had never been able to truly consummate their union because of the past. You know, when Jesus was crucified, he was naked on the cross – he’d borne HER shame, he was naked, he was a man, he was her Savior. If she loved him, she loved the one he represented. That healed her – she finally understood how Jesus had borne her shame. It healed her personal life and marriage.

Jesus took our rejection.

His own people rejected him. He had gone around doing good, healing, and because of the jealousy of the priests, he was lied against and brought before Pilate – and they freed a criminal in place of him. How did he feel as a man? Rejected.

Then, whipped, scourged, crucified.

Then, on the cross, he’d been conscious of his Father God all through his life – but finally, even God couldn’t look at him “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Now, no one could say that we are totally rejected.

Because Jesus was totally rejected, shamed, and bore all our guilt FOR us – now we are accepted.

In Paul’s letters (even Corinthians – the wild early Christians), we are called “Saints” – not by anything we’ve done – but because of what HE’S done.

Remembering all these things, the only thing that can hold us back – is if we don’t forgive others.

“If you don’t forgive others their sins, then your sins also won’t be forgiven.”

That’s the secret of the Christian life – forgiving others AND forgiving ourselves (if you don’t forgive yourself, aren’t you putting yourself in the place of GOD in your life? He’s already forgiven you. Are you greater than God? So that you won’t forgive yourself?)

Psalm 2:1-2 “The nations rage in vain.”

After crucifying Jesus, Herod and Pilate (former enemies) became friends (or frienemies) because they are united against Jesus.

The apostles’ prayer is also humble – they don’t want relief, but boldness and healing SO THAT they gospel will be heard and God’s name glorified.

In Acts, all things that are done effectively are done in the name of Jesus.

  • Acts 9: Barnabas told of how Saul had been saved by Jesus and how he’d preached fearlessly in Damascus in the name of Jesus.
  • Acts 8:16 Peter and John arrived in Samaria prayed for the people that they might receive the HS, they’d simply been baptized into the name of Jesus – but they still needed the empowering of the HS.
  • Acts 10:43 Sins are forgiven – Peter goes to Cornelius’ household and says, “All the Prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness from sins.”
  • Acts 15:17-18: Demons are cast out. A girl following Paul shouts out “These guys are God’s servants that are telling you how to be saved!” Paul got frustrated after many days, and he addressed the spirit and said, “COME OUT!” And he came out – but the owners of the slave girl had lost their fortune-telling spirit. The spirit was of Satan.

Just because it was right didn’t make it TRUE. Even prophets who prophecy something “right” doesn’t make it TRUE. If it takes worship AWAY from the Lord, it’s trouble. Especially the occult – even a Ouija board – needs to be repented of.

Since we are coming around the table of the Lord soon, it’s important to examine ourselves. Even somethings that look innocent or insignificant, ANY sin is an abomination to the Lord.

Keep yourselves clean and clear from anything that involves the occult. These things are loathsome and an abomination.

All of these things are done in Jesus’ name.

The NAME of Jesus Christ reveals the PRESENCE of Jesus Christ.

Flawed humans can bring about salvation by proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ.

In his name we can overcome, we can be forgiven, and we can forgive others.

Let’s take some time to examine our hearts – to confess – we just “say the same things as” the Lord. We just say “Yes, Lord, you don’t like that, I confess that” and then we turn away from those things (repentance = doing a 180 away from sin, not MERELY saying “oops, sorry.”) and then we accept his salvation and his sacrifice for us.

On the day he was crucified, Jesus took the bread and the wine and said, “Do this in [loving] remembrance of me.”

Pages:12
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen