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  • Oct 21 / 2018
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

For What were you Set Apart? (Acts 12:25-13:5)

Download Notes in a .MD file

For what were you set apart?

Acts 12:25-13:5 (Pastor Heo)

12:25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

On Cyprus

4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.


This chp 13 takes off where chp 12 ended.

12:25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

What mission? Delivering their gift to the mother church in Jerusalem.

Returned from where? From Antioch.

Let me introduce briefly the background of the birth of Antioch church (chp 11, 12, 13 connection).

Chp 11

Remember with the death of Stephen, there was great persecution in the Jerusalem church. Because of this, most of the believers scattered like seed – Judea, Galilee, even Antioch. They preached the gospel there, and some people accepted the Lord and the mother church heard about this and sent Barnabas to Antioch to help them.

Barnabas was the organizer and first senior pastor of that church. But he needed a helper, so he went to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch and they worked together for 1 year.

There became a big famine over the entire Roman empire, so they gathered a special offering for the mother church (Jerusalem) and they sent this gift to the mother church with Barnabas and Saul.

This is the story of chp 11.

Chp 12

Then, James was killed, Peter in prison. At that time, Barnabas and Saul were there together with them. After Paul’s deliverance, they returned to Antioch – their sending church.

This is chp 12.

They returned with John Mark (Barnabas’ nephew – or young cousin).

We know that Antioch church is a very significant Antioch in church history. There are two, but this was the Antioch in Syria. Later, in 13:14, we can see the other Antioch.

This Antioch is 300 miles north of Jerusalem and near the Mediterranean. It was the 3rd biggest city of that time (after Rome, and Alexandria).

This Antioch holds many FIRST records:

  1. The FIRST public, willing evangelism to Gentiles
  2. The FIRST place believers were given the nickname “Christians”
  3. The FIRST to give an offering to their mother church
  4. The FIRST to pray with fasting (all together) – at least according to the record of the Bible
  5. The FIRST to send foreign missionaries abroad “officially”

Our Antioch is named after THIS Antioch (this is a good model – and we are trying to follow this model – so we need to understand how the original Antioch was at that time)

v. 1

“13:1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.”

At that time, Antioch had 5 pastors – Barnabas was the “senior” pastor and these others were the “assistant” pastors.

Antioch was amazingly heterogeneous – very international. Let’s look at each briefly.

  1. Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement”) – native of Cyprus (island in the Mediterranean)
  2. Simon (very common name in the Bible) – this name suggests his Jewish background. But he had a Latin name also (“Niger” – which literally means “black skin”). He may have been mixed – Jew and African
  3. Lucius of Cyrene (Latin name) – Cyrene was in northern Africa, as the capital of Libya (so he was black)
  4. Manean (means “comforter”) – he had grown up with Herod the tetrarch (Herod Antipas who’d had John the Baptist beheaded) – he was a foster brother of this Herod. They grew up together and spent their childhood together – one grew to be an evil politician, one grew to be a leader in the Christian church. How ironic that a member of Herod’s family grew up to be a member of the church.
  5. Saul – Pharisee of the Pharisees, highly trained – a Jew and Roman (“Paul”). He was listed last because he was the newest believer, or because he was the second most important person in this list. (Sometimes in Greek, the two most important words in a sentence were placed at the first and last position.) – Anyway, he will be FIRST soon.

The social geography and racial variety of these men shows the spirit of God had been moving rapidly, over a broad geographic area. Not only had the word spread, but also the Spirit of God had assembled this team for the next phase of the adventure.

They were a human patchwork (like a quilt – or mosaic).

What variety is found in God’s church! These men were from different cultural and different racial backgrounds. So, it is very reasonable to assume they had different skills, abilities, ages, personalities, characters, likes, dislikes. The common trend among them was their deep faith and love for Jesus.

So, from this story, we must NEVER exclude anybody whom Jesus has called to follow him.

One sign that we are in God’s mission is when our church is a human patchwork of people from all kinds of races, colors, backgrounds, etc.

Gal, “There is no longer any slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female, for we are ONE in Christ.”

Eph “Make every effort to keep unity in the bond of peace – for there is ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God – who is over all, in all, through all. “

Remember, if we are really in God, our differences cannot be a reason for disunity, but rather, they should be life-fulfilling.

Variety in unity;
unity in variety.

This is the heart of our Father God.

This is the heart of God.

v. 2-3

“13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Today’s title: “For WHAT are you set apart?”

Notice that the commission of the HS (in v. 2) is “set apart for me” – this came on them while they were worshiping and praying. Also, Jesus gave us a Great Commission: “Therefore, go, … baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and HS, and teaching them all I have commanded you.”

The HS came on them in worship.

This means that Worship and Service go together hand-in-hand all the time.

We call is a “worship service” – this is “serving” God with our worship (trying to make him happy). But another meaning is “our worship must be FOLLOWED BY our service to others.” Remember, worship and ministry service must go together. If you are really a Christian, remember this.

“Worship and service go together.”

They can never be separated. If you try to work for the Lord, without worshiping him, you will be Legalistic (self-centered, religious service for self-righteousness – like humanitarian satisfaction)

If you worship without service, you will be outwardly godly, but internally empty – no power, no fruit, no testimony to share with others.

Do you have your own Christian life story? Remember, without service, without work for God, there is no testimony.

After Paul was set aside for God, he confesses Gal X:15-16 “God set me apart from birth, he called me from my mother’s womb. He revealed his Son in me that I might preach his Son to the Gentiles.”

Romans “Set apart for the gospel of Christ.”

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us [the children of God] before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. He predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ for his will and purpose.”

Fasting is always a mark of deep spiritual concern indicating that someone has set aside the demands of life to concentrate on what God wants.

Fasting is intense prayer without food for a specified period of time in order to focus on the Lord.

Yes, sometimes these days, some Christians are fasting for the solutions to individual problems. This is not bad, BUT fasting (biblically) should be done for commitment and sacrifice to the Lord, and for the benefit of the Christian community, and the salvation of others. Christ also fasted 40 days and nights before his ministry began.

v. 4-5

“13:4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”

Let us bless the beginning of their ministry.

In chp 13 & 14 we will continue to follow their missionary tour, so today, let me just quickly summarize.

  • Chp 13-14 is Paul’s First Missionary Journey
  • Chp 15:36-18:22 is his Second
  • Chp 18:23-21:16 is his Third
  • Chp 21:17-28:31 (the end) is his Journey to Rome as a prisoner to be tried by Caesar

After finishing his First, he returned to the sending church (Antioch) and stayed for some time (like a sabbatical year)

After finishing his Second, he returned to the sending church (Antioch) and stayed some time again

After finishing his Third, he did not return to Antioch, but went to Jerusalem – to be arrested. He knew, if he went to Jerusalem that he would be arrested. The HS taught that to him through a vision – but he went to be arrested because he wanted to go to Rome.

His FINAL goal was to go to Spain, through Rome – because they thought this was the end of the earth at that time. That’s why he willingly was arrested. Can you also do that?

Yes, we can, if we are filled with the HS.

God bless you.

First mission field was Cyprus (island in the Mediterranean Sea). Remember, the first thing they did when they arrived at their mission field was preach the Word of God in the synagogues.

v. 5 “When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”

In this sentence, there are at least two things we must remember.

1. Barnabas and Saul were sent by the HS (outwardly it looks like sent by Antioch church members) – this is also our story. Yes, we are here today being sent by somebody – our own choice / decision, but BEHIND this, we are sent here by the HS. Jesus, “As the Father sent me into this world, so I am sending you into this world.” (He repeated this two times – before his crucifixion and after his resurrection).

After this worship service, where will you be? Wherever you are, this is the very place GOD SENT YOU. This is your mission field.

CBNU? THAT is your mission field. You are SENT by Christ.

The HS is a spirit of mission, evangelism, witnessing about Jesus Christ – because his main ministry is to testify about Christ to human beings.

2. If we pray, “show me, tell me what to do” – God will say to you, “preach the Word of God in season and out of season”

Do you want to come closer to Christ? Closer to God? Before saying “Amen” you need to think about this. Because the nearer you come to the Lord, the more intensely “missionary evangelist” you must become.

Is this a blessing or a burden? Both!

God bless us with his peace and joy and assurance of mission.

Let’s pray.

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

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

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Two crucial questions

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

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

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


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

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

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

Do you know the key ministry of the HS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 44

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

What are “these words”? The gospel message:

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

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

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

v. 47-48

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

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

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

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

Let’s clear up Water Baptism

This is NOT essential for salvation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter’s Journey (Jerusalem -> Jerusalem)

chp 11:1-3

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

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

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

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

We must be careful:

  • Critics criticize first, and gather information later.

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

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

v. 4-17

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

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

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

v. 18

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

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

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

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

v. 2

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, …”

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

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

This is our spiritual journey in this world

We begin and end with God.

Our lives on earth are only spiritual preparation for eternity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you calculate how long eternity is?

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

“My citizenship is in heaven.”

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Church Reaching Out! (Acts 8:1-13)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Church Reaching Out! (Acts 8:1-13)

Download notes in a .MD file

The Church Reaching Out!

Acts 8:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

Let me finish last week’s story about Stephen – the meaning of his death. Here are 5 results of the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

#1 Crown for Stephen

Rev 3:22 “Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Only here at the death of Stephen is Jesus said to be “standing” at the right hand of God. He could not remain sitting, so he stood up to receive the first Christian martyr into heaven.

The death of Stephen and Jesus are similar.

  • They both finished their earthly lives by praying forgiveness for those who were killing them. “Lord, do not hold these sins against them.” Jesus, looking at Stephen at his moment of death, gave Stephen super grace so that he could pray for forgiveness for those who murdered him.

#2 Judgment for Israel

This was the third murder of the people of Israel.

  1. John the Baptist = permitted to be murdered (sin against God the Father who sent him)
  2. Jesus = requested death (sin against God the Son)
  3. Stephen = stoned him (sinned against God the HS, working through the witnesses including Stephen)

Jesus says, “Sin against the ministry of the HS cannot be forgiven.” So, finally, when Titus and the Roman armies invaded and burned the city and the temple in AD 70? the judgment was realized.

#3 Liberation for the early church

The early church had been witnessing first to Jews ever since Pentecost – but now would be directed to take the gospel to other areas – including Judea and Samaria (chp 8).

Yes, they preached at the risk of their lives, but they never went beyond Jerusalem – but the Great Commission says,

  • “You will receive power when the HS comes on you and you will by my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
  • Also Matthew: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
  • Also Mark: “Preach this message to all nations.”

So, the death of Stephen is the turning point / starting point for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

#4 Salvation for Saul

He was the champion for persecuting the church, but he saw and heard Stephen’s message and prayer and glorious, beautiful death. This death was used by God in preparing his meeting with the Lord later – because God never wastes the blood of his saints.

Some time later, Saul would behold the same glory of God that Stephen saw and see him and hear him speak to him.

#5 Living Sacrifices as Christians

A Christian’s death is not death. If we open our spiritual eyes, we will realize that this is just sleeping. When Christians die, they “fall asleep” from God’s perspective.

The body sleeps and the spirit goes into heaven to be with the Lord. Then, when he returns into this world, he will bring the spirits of those who have died, and their bodies will be raised and glorified and their bodies and spirits will be reunited to be with him in glory forever and ever.

God does not call all of us to be martyrs, but we must know that God does call us to be living sacrifices.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you brothers, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

In some ways, living for Christ may be more difficult than to die for him. But if we continually live for him, then we will be prepared to die for him if he calls us to.

As children of God, what is really important is not HOW we die, but for what we die; not HOW LONG we live, but for what we live.

Jesus (Rev) says, “Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.”


8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip [one of the 7 deacons, not one of the 12 apostles] and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.


This chp (chp 8) is a very important chapter in the history of the church. The church began as a Jewish institution, but Philip had a mind beyond national limitations and boundaries. So here we can see the church reaching out.

In the beginning of this chapter, we see a “Great Persecution” but wherever they were scattered, they preached the gospel.

The Samaritans formed a bridge between the Jews and Gentiles because they were half-Jew and half-Gentile by descent.

v. 1-4

“8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

The death of Stephen is a signal for the outbreak of Great Persecution that caused all Christians to scatter and seek safety in a remote area of the country. The most dangerous place for Christians was Jerusalem.

Yet, in this most dangerous place, the 12 apostles remained to maintain the local church. But, except these, the rest scattered. Yet, even still, they did not hide in the shadows – but preached the gospel wherever they went.

Also, we can see the zealous Saul, persecutor of the church. He was:

  • born in modern day Turkey,
  • a Pharisee of the Pharisees,
  • a Hebrew of the Hebrews,
  • trained by Gamaliel, and
  • his life seemed blameless,
  • one of the most promising young Pharisees,
  • his ambition for the Law was shown most vividly in his persecution of the church.

At that time, he really thought that persecuting the Christians was one way to serve God.

  • He spent his time arresting Christians, but was soon to be arrested by Christ.
  • He did his best to arrest all Christians up to Damascus, but on the way, he will be arrested by Christ.

v. 5-13

“8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”

Remember, in church history, persecution does to the church what the wind does to seeds. Wind scatters seeds and produces a greater harvest. The Word “scatter” means to “scatter seed.” So, persecution is like scattering seeds. God used this to spread them out and plant seeds to bear more fruit.

  • Some went to Judea and Samaria,
  • others went much farther (the ends of the earth).

Philip at this point, came to Samaria to preach the Word. This was a BIG turning point – a BIG deal – because the Jews, up to now, had no dealings with the Samaritans.

Background:

In history, Israel was one country.

It was divided into 2 countries in BC 915 – southern and northern kingdoms – after Solomon.

In the 8th century, Assyria conquered the Northern kingdom (Samaria) and they put their people in that area.

Later in the 7th century, the Southern kingdom was conquered by Babylon and many were carried away – but they stubbornly remained Jewish – refusing to give up their national identity.

In the 5th century BC, those who were left in Palestine and the Northern kingdom, had intermarried with the Assyrians and other Gentiles.

When the Jews returned to the Southern kingdom to rebuild the temple and the city walls, the Northern kingdom offered their help, but were refused because the Southern kingdom thought they were “dirty” and no longer Jews.

Since then, there was bad blood between the two.

But here, Philip taking the gospel to the Samaritans is a BIG step – helping the Christians to realize that the gospel is truly for ALL people.

Simon, the sorcerer, was there, practicing magic. He made money and drew attention to himself by performing magic. The people exclaimed, “This man [Simon] is the divine power known as the Great Power.” And in this situation, Philip preached the gospel to the people and many miracles and signs and wonders were performed by Philip. And the people believed in Jesus as Savior and they were baptized.

  • When Philip arrived in this area, the people were amazed by Simon.
  • But after the ministry of Philip, that same Simon was amazed by the power of God through Philip.

This is a good reminder that no human power, nor Satanic, demonic, or even angelic power, is any match for the power of the gospel.

So, when we allow the gospel to touch us and change our lives, others around us will be astonished by the transformative effects it has on us.

  • v. 1 – starts with Great Persecution
  • v. 8 – continues with Great Joy in the city of Samaria

The people in that city were afflicted with demonic presences, and sins, so no wonder there was great joy after seeing these things.

Remember that the Samaritans are half-Jew and half-Gentile, but this experience shows that God built a bridge between the two.

Even today, we need people to carry the gospel to new places and challenge ancient ideas because the message of the gospel is “the power of God to all who believe.” It sets spiritual prisoners free, giving us real and powerful freedom.

Acts is the Book of Mission.

  • Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles (The Book of Mission)
  • But we can also say that Acts is the Book of Persecution.

Can you enjoy Joy with Persecution? Ask yourself honestly.

Can I experience REAL joy within persecution? Is it possible?

Acts is a book of persecution. Let me briefly explain how full of persecution it is. If we read first to last:

  • chp 4: Peter and John imprisoned and threatened for preaching and healing in the name of Christ
  • chp 5: apostles in prison and flogged
  • chp 7: Stephen is killed (stoned)
  • chp 8: Great persecution
  • chp 9: Saul is breathing out murderous threats to arrest all Christians up to Damascus
  • chp 10: James killed, Peter in prison
  • chp 11: Paul stoned, threw his body outside the city thinking he was dead
  • chp 16: Paul and Silas in prison, stripped naked, and beaten
  • chp 21: Paul arrested in Jerusalem – and continually tried before the Sanhedrin, the governor, the king, and sent to Rome to be tried by Caesar

This is the book of persecution. Yet, amazingly, there is no atmosphere of depression, darkness, shadows, gloominess, disappointment. There is no phenomenon of darkness.

The Book of Persecution is also the Book of Joy. There is no time to show ALL the verses that have the word “joy”, but let me show 5.

  • chp 2: The ate together in joy
  • chp 5: Left the Sanhedrin rejoicing
  • chp 8: Great joy in that city
  • chp 13: Joy in the HS
  • chp 14: God filled their hearts with joy.

This is the power of real Christians in this world. What is the real meaning of the “gospel” (evangelion) “Good news of Great Joy for All the People”

This is the message of Christ – regardless of the problems, persecution, etc, around us.

“Be joyful always; pray unceasingly; give thanks in all circumstance, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 24 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:23-37)
Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:23-37)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the resurrection

Acts 4:23-37 (Pastor Heo)

4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.


Peter and John were arrested and put in prison one night. The next day, the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) questioned them – just because they healed a beggar in the name of Christ and preached the resurrection of Christ. The Sanhedrin wanted to punish Peter and John but could not because so many people were praising God – so instead, they commanded them not to preach of Christ (especially not his resurrection) any longer. Then, they released them with a strong warning.

Upon their release, Peter and John immediately returned to their group and reported to them the persecutions and sufferings they’d received from the Sanhedrin.

At the report of Peter and John,

  • the church did not complain against God –
  • they didn’t condemn nor judge the Sanhedrin,
  • nor fall down into deep depression and disappointment.

No, their first reaction to this difficult situation was … to pray to God. This is a very important principle that we should apply in our own lives.

How about your own reaction with your difficulties? Your first reaction should be prayer / talking with God. Prayer is our strength – this is our practical strength. This is our first strategy, our first weapon.

Let us see their prayer – and how they prayed.

How the disciples prayed

v. 23-31 (First reaction to the bad situation and prayer)

“4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ [Messiah] 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Looks like the Pentecost in chp 2 again. The earth was shaken and they were filled with the HS.

5 Points we can apply in our lives

#1 They addressed God as “Sovereign Lord”

Yes, we are talking to God personally and individually. Usually we start “Our Father in Heaven…”

This means they had strong conviction of the power and authority of God. (“You are Creator and Sustainer of all things – there is nothing impossible with you”).

You are omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.

One day, someone threatened Martin Luther: “If you continue to go on in your course against us, you will be excommunicated, kicked out, deserted by all your supporters. Then, where will you be?”

Martin Luther: “Then, I’ll be in the hands of God.”

God is “Sovereign Lord”

Strong conviction of the power and authority of God

#2 Conviction of the uselessness of man’s rebellion against God

Acts 4:25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘

This is quoted from Psalm 2:1-2

“Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed,”

They applied the Psalm here in their situation. Their hearts and minds turned for comfort to the Scriptures. The parallel is perfect.

In these two verses, we see:

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles (unbelivers)
  • Israelites (believers)

This is the story of the crucifixion of Christ. “Anointed One” = Christ

The members of the Sanhedrin – arrested Peter and John – and had also arrested Christ. They decided to kill Christ, but had no right to carry it out according to Roman Law. So, they handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate – ruler over Judea at that time. But, he also did not want to execute Jesus because he could find nothing guilty in Christ. He heard that Christ was from Galilee – so he sent him to Herod (ruler of Galilee at that time). He received Christ, but did not judge him – he only ridiculed and mocked him – then sent him back.

So, Pilate had no choice against the crowd, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar!” So, he handed Christ over to be crucified by the soldiers.

What does this mean?

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles
  • Israelites

Altogether banded together to crucify Christ. ALL humans defy God, but in the end “God must prevail.”

The prayer is based solidly on the Word of God

Psalm 2:1-2

Like this, the Word of God and our prayer must go together.

John 15:7 “If you remain in me, and my Word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”

  • In his Word, God speaks to us and tells us what he wants us to do.
  • In our prayer, we speak to God and make ourselves available to accomplish his will.
    • The true prayer is NOT telling God what to do, but asking God to do his will through us.
    • It means getting God’s will done on earth through us, not getting our will done in heaven through God.

#3 The set the remembrance of Christ before them

And remembered his suffering and triumph – and they found strong conviction.

Jesus is your Lord? Then this is (more than) enough.

“Jesus is my Lord!~”

#4 For what did they pray?

For what shall we pray in a hard and difficult situation?

They prayed for courage.

v. 29

“29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

They did not think they could face this situation in their own strength, but they prayed for God’s strength – to empower them and make the best use of their circumstances to accomplish their mission.

  • They did not pray for protection, but power.
  • Not fire from heaven, but power from heaven to preach and heal.

How about in our application? Do you pray?

  • If you pray, please do not pray for an EASY life, but pray for STRENGTH.
  • Do not pray for tasks equal to your power, but pray for power equal to your tasks.

#5 Through this prayer, we can see the result – again the gift of the HS.

v. 31

“31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

This is a similar event to Pentecost – they were filled with the HS again. They found the courage and strength they needed to witness about Christ.

Today we need to be filled with the HS again – yesterday is yesterday’s story. We need to be filled again and again and again until we see Christ face-to-face.

“Again!”

Christian community

v. 32-37

“32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

Especially in the community of the church, prayer is supremely important. Yes, the witness of Christ is also supremely important, but the highest culmination is LOVE.

They had an intense love for each other – and a desire to share all they had with one another. Why? Because they are brothers and sisters in Christ – they are one family.

This kind of lifestyle is not the result of regulation, but it is spontaneous. The Law does not compel us to share, but the love in our hearts compels us to share – that is true Christian community.

Joseph (nicknamed “Barnabas”)

He is introduced here for several reasons:

  • he was a generous giver
  • he illustrated the things Luke was describing
  • had the most important ministry in the church (mentioned 25 times in Acts, and 5 times in the epistles)
  • he encouraged Paul in his early ministry and service to the Lord
  • he was Paul’s partner in his first missionary journey
  • he was HS filled – a good man because he was a big encouragement to the church

Also today, we need Barnabas. We need many Barnabusses? Barnabi?

v. 33 (KEY VERSE)

“33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

Great power + great grace = Great Christian / church

If you were in this situation, could you do like this?

They “continued” to testify of the resurrection of Christ.

Situation:

The real reason the Sanhedrin arrested, jailed, and persecuted the early church was NOT because of the healing of the beggar, but because of the gospel message – the preaching of the resurrection of Christ.

If this news spread widely, it would mean that the Sanhedrin (elders, priests, etc) were TERRIBLY wrong. When Christ rose again from the dead, they met together and created a plan. They bribed the soldiers to spread a rumor that the disciples stole his body away. If the news of this spread, they would lose their position and status. So, they did their best to stop the spreading of the news of the resurrection of Christ.

They commanded Peter and John NOT to preach of the resurrection any longer.

But… they “continued”

How about our story? Is there a warning? Is their a threat from the Korean government? Is there persecution?

WITH THIS persecution, they “continued” preaching. But we have no such strong warning from the government. So, then, why don’t we preach the resurrection of Christ? We have freedom to do so. So, if we don’t, we commit a double fault.

What does the resurrection mean to you and me? What does this say to us practically, really?

Yes, about the resurrection, I can preach ALL day. But if I do so, you will be angry, hungry, etc.

So, let me share 2 points quickly.

What the resurrection of Christ says to us

#1 Jesus is God

Do you believe this?

Romans 1:4-6 “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are *called* to belong to Jesus Christ.”

If you are not called, there is no relationship.

We can call Jesus “Lord” – more than 1,000 things “hope, love, peace, purpose, rock, shepherd, friend, brother, etc”

Jesus can be all positions we need – how is it possible? Because he is God – so all positions we need are possible.

He is God through his resurrection – this is the evidence.

#2 The guarantee of our resurrection

This is the “first fruits” of those who believe and belong to him.

Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.”

Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Yes, we experience death all the time, all around us. Somebody dies every day. Death is very near us. We experience death indirectly continually – and one day we will all experience death directly.

Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, so he who believes in me will rise again even though he dies.”

Our physical death is literal, tangible, so our resurrection body will also be real, literal, tangible. That’s why Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life… do you believe this?”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 10 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation (Acts 4:1-12)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation (Acts 4:1-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Jesus Christ is the only way

Acts 4:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

4:1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. 5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ **12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”**


Today we see Peter’s 3rd sermon.

Peter’s 1st sermon: chpt 2: filled with the HS, focused on the resurrection of Christ and 3,000 people were added to the church.

Peter’s 2nd sermon: they met a crippled beggar at the temple gate – during the time of prayer, and they healed him, through the power of Christ. So many people gathered around them: his message was filled with the HS, and focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The total believers totaled up to 5,000 at that time – not counting women and children. But, persecution began.

Historic Context

At that time, 25,000 to 85,000 people lived in Jerusalem. There were 6,000 Pharisees in Palestine at that time. There were 5,000 Christian men at that time – this was a high percentage of the population at that time. So, the current religious leaders (Pharisees, etc) were greatly disturbed. They came to Peter and John and arrested them and questioned them.

But, now it was already evening – late to assemble the necessary leaders to hold the inquiry. So, they put them in jail until the following morning.

v. 1-5

“4:1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. *4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of **men** grew to about five thousand.* 5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.”

In this situation, persecution began. Jesus had already won his followers.

Spiritually, what is persecution? This is proof that the gates of hell are being stormed and that spiritual captives are being set free.

This same group who had tried and crucified Christ now sought to intimidate, threaten, and silence Jesus’ witnesses again. Peter and John shared the gospel but ended up in jail.

Even today, there can be risks in trying to win others to Christ:

  • being rejected,
  • whispered about,
  • misunderstood, etc.

Yes, we might be willing to face jail for one night if it would bring 5,000 to Christ. But at the same time, we must be willing to suffer for only one lost soul.

  • How about all of us today?
  • What do you risk in witnessing?

This is a practical question.

Whatever the risks, we must realize that nothing done for Christ is ever wasted. No matter how great the risk, the reward is surely greater. Jesus, “Blessed are you when people insult, persecute you, and say all kinds of false evil about you because of me. Rejoice and be glad – for your reward in heaven will be great. They did the same to the prophets.”

  • Romans: “Our present suffering cannot compare to eternal glory…”
  • Jesus, “On my account you will be brought to kings and leaders – at that time you will be given what to say. It will not be you speaking, but the HS speaking through you.”

Still persecution is alive around us if we are really witnesses of Christ.

v. 5-12 is Peter’s 3rd sermon. It’s very short but powerful and effective.

v. 6-7

“6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?””

At that time, the priests, teachers of the Law, etc, made up a Sanhedrin (Council) – like a Supreme Court. They gathered together and it was the HIGHEST ruling government of Israel. They handled local problems. It consisted of 70 members + the current high priest = 71 total members.

v. 6 – Annas and Caiaphas = high priests together (but actually, there was only one high priest at a time).

Annas was the original high priest, but the Roman government deposed him, and appointed Caiaphas in his place (his son-in-law). But the Jews thought of the high priest as a lifetime position – so they continued to call him “high priest” and give him respect in this council.

They both had played a significant role in Jesus’ trial. They were at the front place of condemning Christ.

v. 7-11 (Peter’s answer and sermon)

“7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ‘”

Imagine this situation, this picture. This is the Supreme Court – the highest class, wealthiest, most powerful, most intellectual in Israel. They crucified Christ. They did not like his teaching, nor any new movement, nor any campaign. They only wanted to maintain the status quo to keep their wealth, privilege, status, etc. Also, the majority of the members were Saducceesthey were the richest, and very worldly, materialistic. They did not believe in angels, nor the resurrection of the dead.

So, Peter and John were arrested because they preached the resurrection of Christ. They were fishermen, ordinary people. Yet they stood here to be questioned.

And to the question, Peter answered: “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom YOU crucified!” (pointing) “whom God raised – whom you rejected. He has become the cornerstone.” By THAT name the man was healed.

How is this boldness, fearlessness possible?

The HS made this attitude possible.

v. 8

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”

I said already,

  • The baptism of the HS is a one-time event in our lives – this is at our conversion.
  • But the FILLING of the HS is a continual event if we are to be powerful witnesses of Christ.

His message is again focused on the death and resurrection of Christ.

Peter and John were arrested and there to be judged as the accused. Yet Peter is proclaiming judgment over them.

“Know this!”

The heart of the message of the gospel is always the death and resurrection of Christ. Do you have a heart? Without a heart, we cannot live nor breath. The death and resurrection of Christ is the heart of the gospel message.

If in your preaching, unless you tell the story of the death and resurrection of Christ, there is no heart in your message.

Other religions base their claims on recognition to the teaching of their founders. But Christianity is distinguished from all other religions based on the significance it places on the death and resurrection of Christ – because this is THE most significant teaching.

The death of Christ

  • Without the death and resurrection of Christ, our faith, our repentance is groundless, useless.
  • Our God is a righteous and just and right God.
  • He cannot forgive sin nor sinners merely on the grounds of a sinner’s repentance.
  • God can pardon sin only when the penalty is first paid.
  • So, in order to pardon a sinner and also to remain as a righteous God at all times, Jesus Christ paid the penalty FOR us on the cross.
  • “He is the propitiation for our sins.” (atoning sacrifice)

The resurrection of Christ

  • The resurrection proves he is the Son of God –
  • that his sacrifice for our sins was acceptable to God –
  • so our salvation is perfectly finished and we can be forgiven.
  • And because of these proofs, we can believe in all the things he said as truth.
  • We also belong to Christ – are called “Christians” – and we know he still lives on.
  • We also understand that because of HIS resurrection, we also will experience a resurrection in Christ one day.

All this evidence is based on the death and resurrection of Christ.

So, when you share your faith with others, do not forget the HEART of the gospel message.

If Christ is REAL to you, IN you, NEAR you, important to you, Number One in your heart and life and mind, then you will speak about Christ at any and every opportunity. Why? Because we are to speak what is filled in our hearts.

Luke “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Something comes out through your mouth that is overflowing in your heart.

Climax/conclusion:

memorize this verse and keep it in your hearts.

v. 12

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

This verse is both a big encouragement and a big challenge.

Today, we must make our reactions very clear to this verse.

Is this verse a blessing or a burden to you?

“no one else”

no other religion, philosophy, doctrine, principle, person, man – except for Jesus Christ – for salvation

What is your reaction, answer, response?

It can be “good news” or “heavy news” to you.

Good News!

  • There is salvation! Salvation can be found!

Heavy News…

  • No one else?…

Some react very negatively. Why not anything else? Other religions are not wrong. There are many great men and heroes in history. Why only Jesus? Why so exclusive? Why so narrow minded?

Some react praising God. Thank God! There’s a way! We can be forgiven! This is called the narrow way – the narrow door – the narrow path. It is narrow, yes, but it is a way. The only way.

What is your reaction to this?

Sinking ship

Imagine you are in a cruise ship, and it is broken and sinking. Sewol or Titanic.

Then somebody says, “There’s a life boat! It’s very near!”

In this situation, what will you do? You can choose your action.

Will you throw yourself into that life boat and be secured with thankfulness? Or will you remain on that sinking ship complaining, “Why only one lifeboat? Where are all the others?” You can choose.

Burning building

We are in this building. This building is burning on fire. We are locked completely inside. We have no choice but to die.

But someone outside the building makes a single, small hole to the outside. “Hey! Is there anyone inside? Come out and be rescued!”

What shall you do?

Will you rush out through the way out and thank God? Or will you remain inside the burning building and complain: “Why only one way out? What about the doors? Why not another way out?”

Reality

These are just stories. But they are illustrations of our lives. All humans are spiritually dead (Eph “As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions”). “All humans are destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.”

God has provided only ONE way to salvation: Christ.

This is a REAL situation. It’s not a story. In this situation, what shall you do?

Will you be saved through that only way – Jesus Christ – by believing in him and accepting him as your personal Savior and Lord?

Or will you remain unsaved complaining and criticizing, “Why only one way? There are many religions. Why only this way?”

So, you must make your action before this sentence very clear. Your reaction to this one short sentence will decide your eternal destiny.

v. 12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Let us shout this sentence together.

Today, repeat this sentence 100 times.

Let’s pray.

  • May 13 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation (Acts 2:32-41)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation (Acts 2:32-41)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Save Yourself from this Corrupt Generation

Acts 2:32-41 (Pastor Heo)

2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ (Psalm 110:1) 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


This is the first sermon in the Age of the Church after the coming of the HS, and ascension and exaltation of Christ.

This is full of:

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

This is the BEST example of apostolic preaching. EVERY sermon from every local church should follow this example and focus on Christ and his resurrection.

The resurrection of Christ is ALL important. Without this, there would be no NT at all, no Christianity at all, no church at all, no hope at all. So, this sermon is focused on the resurrection of Christ.

Every Sunday is the Lord’s Day and every Lord’s Day should be kept as the remembrance of his resurrection. Here are 4 proofs (evidences) of the resurrection of Christ.

Actually, this is covered from v. 22.

v. 32-35

“32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and **we are all witnesses of the fact.** 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘”

4 Proofs of the resurrection

#1 The PERSON of Christ

The audience of this sermon at that time KNEW that Jesus was a real person from the town of Nazareth. He was called a “Nazarene” – this is a real place, 120km north of Jerusalem. He grew up and lived in this place for 30 years.

  • They saw that Jesus had performed many signs, miracles, wonders.
  • They had heard him speak.
  • They had seen him raise the dead (Lazarus).
  • They could not find any fault in his life.
  • This was all done publicly.
  1. From one point of view, the crucifixion was a terrible sin/crime.
  2. From another point of view, this was a marvelous victory.

We can see the word “agony” in the Scripture – this translates to “birth pains” – so we can see that the tomb was like a womb – and Christ was resurrected from it.

#2 The word of David

Psalm 16:8-11 (last Sunday) – these verses could not possibly apply to David because he was already dead and buried. “His soul could not see decay; his body would not see decay” – this is talking about the resurrection of Christ.

v. 34 “For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘” (Psalm 110:1)

This is the most frequently quoted text in the NT to explain the exaltation of Christ.

In Luke – Christ applies this very verse to himself because he has the highest authority due to his resurrection. This is also a strong proof of the resurrection of Christ.

#3 The proclamation of the witnesses

v. 32

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

After his resurrection, Jesus didn’t appear to the world at large, but he appeared to his followers whom he had commissioned. Prior to this, even the disciples did not believe that Christ would be raised from the dead. They had to be convinced about this. They had nothing to gain by preaching a lie – because their message aroused public opposition. It even led to the imprisonment and death of some believers.

After Christ’s death, all the believers became frustrated and confused. Their dreams were broken, lives shattered. They returned to their old lives. But, the resurrection of Christ changed all these things and changed them from cowards to heroes. They proclaimed the resurrection of Christ at the risk of their lives. They became heralds of this news of the resurrection.

Yes, even today, the story of Christ’s resurrection should not be confined to only Sunday. The truth of it should be spoken on every Lord’s Day like this:

Every Lord’s Day, we gather to celebrate his resurrection by praising him, and the other six days, we go out into the world witnessing about his resurrection – so that the others may come inside with us to celebrate his resurrection as well.

Their witness was/is trustworthy.

If we really believe in the resurrection of Christ, our witness should be trustworthy for others to hear and believe in Christ.

Review:

  1. Person of Christ
  2. Prophecy of David
  3. Proclamation of the Witnesses
  4. Presence of the Holy Spirit

#4 Presence of the Holy Spirit

Do you feel his presence? He is not material, but invisible. If the HS is in this world, then God must have sent him.

We saw already the prophet Joel prophesied that the HS would come. Even Jesus also promised many times that he would send the HS as his helper.

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes whom I send from the Father, he will testify about me. It is for your good that I go, unless I go, the Counselor will not come, but if I go, I will send him.”

Imagine, if Jesus is dead, he cannot send the HS.

Also, Jesus could not send the HS unless he had ascended into heaven. Because nowadays is called the Age of the HS.

After this 4 proofs, as the conclusion, there is a declaration / proclamation – that Jesus is both Lord and Christ and Messiah. But also there is a big accusation.

v. 36

“Therefore let [all Israel](all Christians) be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

  • This is a strong proclamation: Jesus is Lord and Christ
  • This is also a strong accusation: YOU crucified Christ

How about you? Do you believe you also helped crucify Christ? Amen~

Physically, we are not the ones who did so – we were not physically there 2000 years ago. But spiritually, we are the ones who crucified Christ. We nailed him to the cross – because he was crucified for your and my sins as the Lamb of God, the propitiation for our sins. (atoning sacrifice) – not only our sins, but also the sins of the whole world.

Short (real) Story

Once a missionary told the story of Christ in an Indian village. After saying this, he showed the life of Christ in lantern slides thrown against a whitewashed wall of the house. When the cross appeared on the wall, a man rose from the audience and yelled, “No! Please come down! I must be the one on the cross!”

What does this mean?

When we realize our own place in crucifying Christ, our hearts must be broken.

John “When I am lifted up (crucified), I will draw my people to myself.” Every person has had a hand in this terrible crime.

The following passage shows the effect of the cross with clarity.

v. 37

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?“”

  • “Cut to the heart” speaks of genuine spiritual pain. Literally, it means “prick violently” or “sting sharply” or “stun / strike.” The crowd was stunned and asked the question that warms the heart of any gospel messenger. “What shall we do?”

This is the most basic question to ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins. We must allow God to forgive our sins, and we must live as forgiven people / children of God.

Remember, God does not give his truth to provide information / knowledge. He wants transformation.

  • God does not want information.
  • God wants transformation.

Anytime, every time we stand before the Word of God, we must ask honestly, “God, what shall I do?” If you ask this from you honest, deep heart, the HS will teach you what to do.

To answer this question: Peter presents 4 challenges.

v. 38

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

4 Challenges

  1. Repent
  2. Turn to God
  3. Be baptized in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins
  4. Receive the Holy Spirit
  • Repent = “turning away” = “change of direction”
  • Sin = “hamartia” (Greek) = “missing the target”

God made a target we should shoot for. If we miss the target established by God, this is hamartia.

#1 Repent

Repent = change our mind, not just “sorrow” for our sin, but a change in the way a person thinks. This is basic and wholehearted change of mind – resulting in a change of purpose, direction, values, – finally, a change of action.

Change of mind -> change of action

This message is for “each one of you.” (including you and me) – each person must make a decision about Christ.

Only Jesus’ offer is the effective solution for the sin problem that is placed on every child of Adam.

#2 “Turn to God”

  • Turn from sin = starting point
  • Turn to God = the final point
  1. We cannot turn to God without turning to sin.
  2. We cannot turn from sin without turning to God.

These can be separated verbally, but practically, they are the same.

Jesus says, “I am the Way, no one comes to the Father except through me.”

#3 Be baptized

Matt 28:19 “Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Here, Jesus’ name is enough – because in him there are already the three.

For believers, baptism is visible proof of real change and repentance. Baptism itself does not result in the forgiveness of sin. But rather, the repentance from sin, and forgiveness of sin as a result of accepting Christ – results in baptism.

Baptism does not forgive sin.

Baptism is an outward display of inner conviction / change / confession of Christ as Lord.

#4 Receive the HS

Only after all these things we can receive the HS, and only through him can we receive all things. He is the Comforter, Counselor, the Guide of Jesus’ people.

v. 39-40

“The promise [of the work of the HS in the life of a believer] is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.””

The truth presented in the previous verses have a universal application. The promise of the work of the HS in the life of a believer has a personal application (you) – and a generational application (your children) – and a global application (for all who are far away).

Today, there are many unbelievers around us. Today, unbelievers are potential believers. We are now believers, but we were once unbelievers.

Like this, if you are a real Christian, if your heart is burning with a holy passion to witness, then see the unbelievers around you as potential believers.

The last sentence: “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Actually, we cannot save ourselves, so this sentence means “be saved”.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved; that name is Jesus Christ.”

Only by repenting, turning to God, being baptized in the name of Christ (to identify ourselves publicly with Christ), and receipt of the HS can we be saved.

The last verse = the fruit of this sermon.

v. 41

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

This is the fruit of this message by the power of the HS – 3000! They took the first step of obedience – identifying themselves with Christ. This means, they were added to the church and immediately joined the fellowship of believers. 3000 new children of God. 3000 new shepherded responsibilities of the apostles.

This is the start of the completion of the plan of God to bring salvation to all nations. Christ had finished the redemptive work. So, today, nothing more need be done except to SHARE this “good news of great joy” – that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (v. 21)

How many times is this single sentence repeated throughout the whole Bible? You can check.

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved~”

Let’s pray.

  • May 06 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Great Preaching of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-37)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Great Preaching of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-37)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Great preaching

Acts 2:14-37 (Pastor Heo)

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”


What shall we do? (next time)

As we know, at Pentecost, the HS came down on all true believers to dwell in them forever. Pentecost was the 50th day after Jesus’ resurrection.

John 14, 15, 16 was the farewell sermon of Christ before his crucifixion. In each chapter, he mentioned the HS.

  • 14:16 “I will ask the Father. He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
  • 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”
  • 16:7 “It is for your advantage that I’m going to heaven. Unless I go, the HS will not come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.”

After resurrection, his first greeting was “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the opening, Jesus said, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the coming of the HS. John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the HS. (1:8) And you will receive power when the HS comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The HS came down with fire and wind and power and strength. HS = “The Spirit of Holiness”

With the coming of the HS, indwelling, baptizing, sealing, and filling the disciples – this is something new, wonderful, marvelous, dynamic. And they were filled with the HS.

The time is Pentecost, one of the biggest Jewish festivals. Because of this festival, so many people gathered in Jerusalem. Imagine this picture:

They were inside the upper room and filled with the HS – their hearts were burning with the fire of the HS. (Imagine if we were them – we would NEED to get outside.) And outside the building, so many other people were gathered together to celebrate the Pentecost festival.

They came

  • from inside to outside,
  • from the safety zone to the danger zone,
  • from the church to the world –

in order to be priests and witnesses to the world.

Even though they were Galileans, and simple, they explained in words and language that the other (even non-natives) could understand. The people were amazed (but some mocked them and said, “They’ve had too much wine.”)

At this moment, Peter, the representative of the church stood up and spoke the first sermon of the early church. This may be Peter’s GREATEST sermon.

Imagine, just 50 days ago, Peter had done the greatest denial of Christ in history, but only 50 days later, he became the greatest preacher in the history of Christianity.

When Jesus first met Peter, he said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you will be called Peter.” (Peter = “rock”) – this is a strong foundation.

Today’s sermon is so great because of its place it occupies in the history of redemption. This is the inaugural sermon in the period of grace. And through this sermon 3,000 were added to the church that day.

Let me share 6 characteristics of this sermon. We also are listening to this sermon.

#1 Simple & Clear

This is not difficult to understand.

Peter first answered their question, then told them about Christ, third he enlisted their commitment.

The preacher should not assume intelligibility – we should fight for simplicity and clearness of our message so that they may come to Christ.

#2 Scriptural

Today, to us, what is the Word of God? The Bible. (Old and New testament) – but at that time, they only had the Old testament.

In this sermon of Peter, about half of this sermon is direct quotations from the OT.

v. 14-21

“14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (2:28-32):

17 ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

v. 21 is a famous verse (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21)

In these passages,

  • “in the last days” includes ALL the days between Jesus’ first and second coming.
  • “prophesying” = not only the prediction of the future events, but also declaration of the nature and will and purpose of God.
    • Today, we are living in the Last Days. And preaching the gospel of Christ is prophesying.
  • “Dreams and visions” = common means that God used to reveal himself to his people.
    • Today, our vision / dream is to be effective and powerful witnesses of Christ.

The second part (of Joel) is not yet happening on this day. Some of this passage is happening on Pentecost, and some will happen in the future, surrounding the second coming of Christ.

v. 19, 20 for example:

“19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”

Another quotation from Psalm 16:8-11

v. 25-28

“25 David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'”

This passage is almost identical to Psalm 16:8-11

Another v. 34-35 = direct quotation from Psalm 110:1 (this is THE MOST frequently quoted passage from the OT in the NT – and it was used to explain the relationship of Jesus to God)

v. 34-35

“34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord (Jehovah God) said to my Lord (Jesus): “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘”

Physically speaking, David was the father (great grandfather) of Jesus – he lived about 1,000 years before him. And yet, he confessed, “My Lord.” It is impossible to do so without the guidance of the HS. David was not only king, but also prophet.

This passage (Psalm 110:1) is the most frequently quoted in the NT.

In the throne of God, the greatest archangels are standing, ready to serve, ready to wait on God. But none are allowed to sit down at the right hand of God. So, this “sitting at the right hand of God” = equality + perfect completion of his task / mission. That’s why on the cross he said, “It is finished.”

Can you imagine, humanly speaking, Peter did not prepare this sermon in advance on the desk with notes. He was a fisherman, uneducated. But, Peter memorized most of the OT – he was filled with the Word of God. He knew Joel, and David’s Messianic Prophecies by heart.

In applying these to our daily lives:

To be powerful and effective witnesses of Christ:

  1. Be filled with the HS
  2. Be filled with the Word of God – with constant honest prayer

The fullness of the HS and the fullness of the Word of God cannot be separated, they must go together all the time.

  • Eph 5:18 “Be filled with the HS, not wine.”
  • Col 3:16 “Let your hearts be filled with the Word of Christ. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
  • Eph 6 “Take the sword of the HS that is the Word of God.”

Please challenge yourself to memorize the Word of God, to keep it in your mind and your spirit.

#3 Christ-centered

  • Joel’s prophecy points to Christ.
  • David’s prophecy points to Christ.

This WHOLE sermon is filled with Jesus Christ. It begins and ends with Christ. The conclusion is all about Christ (v. 36)

v. 36

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

That’s why personally, whenever I stand to give a sermon, I do my best to FOCUS on Christ.

A sermon is the story of Jesus Christ.

v. 22 (Jesus’ incarnation)

“22 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”

v. 23 (Jesus’ crucifixion)

“23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

v. 24 (Jesus’ resurrection)

“24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

v. 33 (Jesus’ ascension & exaltation)

“33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

This sermon is FULL of 3 things:

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

This is the sermon of all sermons – a great representation of how a sermon should be preached.

#4 Practical, relevant

It is practical, applicable, relevant, attention-grabbing even today (and especially then).

  • It answers their first question: “What does this mean?” Peter begins by answering this question.
  • And then he leads up to their final question.
    • Their final question: “Brothers, what should we do?” (next week)

#5 Convicting

I want to ask you honestly: almost every Sunday, are you listening and being convicted by my sermons?

v. 37

“When the people heard this, *they were cut to the heart* and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?””

While they were listening to this sermon, they were cut to the heart (convicted). We know the HS came down – and one of his main ministries is convicting.

John 16:8-11 “When the HS comes, he will convict in regard to sin (they don’t believe), in regard to righteousness (I’m going to heaven), in regard to judgment (the prince of this world now stands condemned already).”

Convicting is one of the main ministries of the HS. We must know that sermons are more than lectures, instructions, etc. This is not just giving and receiving knowledge in your brain. Rather, it is for convicting and changing your life – your heart, your attitude, etc – for growth to become more and more like Christ.

So, if you are not impacted, convicted by my sermon, then there is something wrong with you, or me, or both.

Whenever I prepare and preach, I pray for myself and I pray for you. Also you must pray for yourself, and also for me. Please pray for me. We are united.

Even though I’m speaking the sermon, I’m also listening to the sermon through the guidance of the HS.

#6 Faithful to the Mission

What is the final mission Christ left before his ascension? (Acts 1:8)

v. 32

“32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

Conclusion: v. 36

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Our conclusion: Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King, and we are all witnesses of this fact. We are also all witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

We can say that Acts is the Gospel of the Resurrection.

We are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Without the resurrection of Christ, there are no more Christians, no more church, no more Christianity.

The fact of the resurrection of Christ should not be confined to only Easter Sunday. Actually, EVERY Sunday is the Lord’s Day and should be kept and remembered and celebrated as the resurrection of Christ.

If we are truly born-again Christians, don’t forget. We are living and working with the risen Lord.

God bless you. He is still alive. Do you feel this?

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Holy Spirit Came and filled the Church at Pentecost

Acts 2:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

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


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

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

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

Another keyword: Holy Spirit

Keywords:

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

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

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

v. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

At that time, there were 3 great feasts:

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

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

v. 2-3

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

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

The HS is one person of the Trinity God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were 2 startling signs that accompanied this:

  1. wind
  2. fire

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

Interesting vocab (Greek):

penuma / pnuma

Literal meaning = “breath” or “wind”

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

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

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

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

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

v. 4

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

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

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

We must not be confused between the:

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

Once more:

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

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

Spiritual medical check-up

v. 5-13

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

What does this mean?

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

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

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

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

What a contrast.

“The HS is the spirit of perfect communication.”

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

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

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

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

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

HS is the Spirit of:

  1. evangelization
  2. world mission
  3. perfect communication

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

Once more:

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

What was the spirit of the people?

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

Actually, they were filled with the HS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

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The Introduction to Acts

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

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

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


Acts 1:8 = key verse

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

From today, we will study Acts.

Acts = actions = activity = mission.

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

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

Nobody can say that.

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

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

Introduction

Let me share 6 things.

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the background of Acts.

The author (Luke)

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

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

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

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

The recipient (Theophilus)

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

There are 3 possibilities:

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

Title of the Book

  • “Acts”
  • “Acts of the Apostles”

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

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

This book ACTUALLY should be called:

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

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

The importance and characteristics

This book is so important.

As we know, the New Testament has 27 books.

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

Jesus’ key concern in his ministry was:

To establish His church in this world.

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

The church is called the “body of Christ.”

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

There are two ways to write history:

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

This is the central book of transitions.

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

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

The purpose

The key verse = Acts 1:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Kinds of Immortality

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

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

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

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

Are you a member of the Church?

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Saving Faith leads to “God sent” Faith

Romans 10:13-21 (Pastor Heo)

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


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

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

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

This Bible is the same book –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 13-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story of Joseph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 16-17

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

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

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

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

These are all fulfilled in the NT

Summary of the fulfillment of these things:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready? Ok, go!

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

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

#1 Bible (first character) –

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

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

#2 Father God

His main ministry is to testify about his son

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

#3 Holy Spirit

The key mission is to witness about Christ.

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

#4 Abraham

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

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

#5 Moses

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

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

#6 David

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

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

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

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

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

#7 All prophets

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

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

This is the end of the summary of the OT.

#8 (NT) John the Baptist

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

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

#9 All apostles (representative: Peter)

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

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

#10 Paul

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

#11 The Church

No question – the church is the body of Christ.

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

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

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

#12 YOU (Holy-spirit filled believers)

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

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

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

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

This is evidence of being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 22 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Hold on Mission!

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (Pastor Jack Tan)

A Final Charge to Timothy

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


Nice to meet you. We are family in Christ. It’s the first time to meet you, but I’m happy to go home after meeting others.

I will share a Scripture from Paul. This is the last letter of Paul. And also it’s very important – what Paul said to others. It is Paul’s response to God’s calling to finish his mission.

The purpose of this letter: to ask Timothy whatever the situation is, you have to hold onto the mission.

Do not be affected by the situation. He hopes that Timothy will also experience God like Paul has experienced him.

This time, I will share what Paul writes.

Today’s topic is “Hold on Mission” – this is the mission that EVERY Christian should have.

I think this letter is not only sent to Timothy, but also to all Christians. I’m privileged to come here to see your church – it’s a missionary church. It’s really doing the “Mission” – Thank God.

The Mission must continue. There are many pastors who do God’s mission. They have the mission and testimony. This should be continued.

So, how to “Hold on Mission”?

1: Keep the Faith

Paul says, 4:7

“7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

This is Paul’s experience. He doesn’t only do it, but at first he was chosen by God and he will continue to the end until death. Why can he continue on this, God’s mission? Because it is God’s mission.

He said this when he was about to die, he already finished the mission. If we hold onto what we believe (about God) we can finish the mission.

To fight for God, God’s Word is the best weapon. Through it, we can stand firm during the test. We will not waver in uncertain circumstances.

Why it is important to keep God’s Word? Because we easily go the wrong way in a spiritual path if not. At first, Paul obeyed God’s Word, but then he didn’t listen to God’s Word – so it is very important to listen to God’s Word and take it seriously. We must hold onto God’s Word as a Mission and hold onto that Mission. Then we can finish God’s will in our lives and communities.

Only if we keep God’s Word can we continue God’s Will and not go the wrong way. If we go the wrong way, everything is in vain. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches the city, the guardsmen guard it in vain.”

When you do everything, in the end, what is the price you will pay? Should you continue? Not on your own strength. So, we can see it is very important to hold onto God’s Word, and God’s Mission.

If we want to fight the good fight, we must obey God’s Word. So, let us learn from Paul.

2: Through the Power of the Holy Spirit

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

This word comes from after Jesus appeared to the disciples 3 times. At that time, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples. They went back to fish – they had already given up their mission.

So Peter’s witness is a powerful witness. Before, he was a man who was frightened, scared of death, disowned Jesus 3 times. But after Peter was touched by the HS, he stood again, even to be killed for Christ. Where does that bravery, faith, strength come from? It’s from the HS.

So, today, we have no excuse.

With the HS, we can hold on to the Mission. Thank God.

We can see your church’s background is touched by the HS.

Depending on the HS, our lives can be changed.


I will give my testimony to you.

I became a Christian from 1978. At that time, I was caught and put in jail. At that time, I turned to God from 1979 to today. I thank God. The HS works in me. So I encourage those who have a similar background as me. My life was totally changed. This is because I have the will to repent. I had been addicted to drugs. But, from 1979 until now, I never used drugs again. God gave me the chance to experience the HS.

Because of the drugs I had been caught. So, thank God for this difference. Because I received Christ as my Savior and the power of the HS, today there are many testimonies like this.

There are many like this in Singapore and also Malaysia. It is very important to receive the HS.


Peter was afraid of being caught at first, but after he received the HS, he was afraid of nothing – even death for Christ.

This is because Jesus said, “You will receive power when the HS comes on you.” And then, they were to share the Mission with the Gentiles.

At that time, Peter responded to God’s mission again. And we can see how powerfully Peter was used by God. He overcame his weakness by the power of the HS.

We can see from his mission – 3,000 people believed in God, in Jerusalem, on a single day, from his testimony. They asked Peter what they should do to respond to God and Peter said, “You must repent and be baptized.” At that meeting, 3,000 people believed in Christ (in the same city that crucified him I believe.)

“You are no longer controlled by the sinful nature, but by the HS.”

We can see this in the early Antioch Church. Thank God your church’s name is ALSO Antioch Church. You are worthy to have this name. Give a hand to God. Your church is a missionary church.

The missionary church is what God wants.

At that time, Antioch Church sought God.

Acts 13:1-2 “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.””

At that time, they had to do mission work. The HS told them to send Paul and Barnabas to evangelize. So, after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

We can see the power of Antioch Church – touched by the HS. Today, the power of the church is touched by the HS.

After Jesus finished his work and ascended into heaven, he sits (now) at the right hand of God the Father. At that time, he sent the disciples. And we know that the HS still works in our church today. He helps us finish the mission, and helps us to love Jesus and love God, and he prepares for the Last Day when Jesus will come. So, this Age is the Work of the HS.

Now, we believe in the same God as today.

  • The heavenly Father is the same God as the one who did Creation.
  • Jesus is Salvation.
  • And through 3 years, he trained the disciples to do God’s work – to continue his own work.

We ask God to work in our hearts and lives. We want to do God’s work – if we want to see God’s reward, we must ask for the power of the HS.

Mission work (and the power to do it) is given by the HS. So, it is very important to respond to the calling of the HS.

Many churches were given the HS – and Paul visited many churches and many believers who loved God. This is very important. Respond to the HS.

Now, we are in the spiritual world. This spiritual world cannot fight with the physical world.

Let us see 2 Corinthians 10:4 “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

At that time, many people became Christians. Peter and John were called by God. Because of P&J, many people trusted God. So, they were caught – later set free on the condition that they don’t share the gospel. But they went back to church and reported all that the Chief Priest and elders had done. At this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:22-30 They preached with great boldness. At first, they could not share the gospel at that time, but with the power of the HS, they were able to. So, we can see that the best weapon of spiritual warfare is the Word of God.

Acts 4:31 “31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We can see that spiritual warfare is a serious business. Continuing in chapter 4, we can see the heart of the early church:

4:32-37 “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

So, we can see that we need the power of the HS to teach us the right way to behave, how to love one another.

In Malaysia, I opened one church, and one brother was a tutor there. Evil took control of him at one time, and he couldn’t teach any longer. He was originally a very handsome fellow, like Pastor Heo, but when evil took hold of him, when we had a service, we tried to cast out the evil, but could not. Afterward, we prayed “In Jesus Name” and when we did that, he fell prostate – laid down. This is spiritual war.

We can see, if we fight by the power of the HS, evil cannot resist – it will flee.

So, we must fight by the power of the HS.

Many things may threaten us, so let us ask for help from God. We need to hold on to the mission, and trust what we believe. And in the power of the HS, he will help us overcome our weakness, and fight.

If we do this, we can fight the good fight for God. At this, we can work hard for God. So, thank God.

I hope everyone can learn from this sermon.

At this time, we have many needs. I hope and pray that we will all hold to the mission and do missionary work from this generation to the next and next and next generation.

Thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to preach this sermon.


  • Say to yourself, “I’m a missionary.”
  • Beat your heart and say it, “I’m a missionary.”

Today’s sermon title is very suitable. “Hold on Mission.” (Catch, possess, continually, without stop).

Actually, if you “Hold on Mission”, you are a missionary before God in this world. Missionary = “Mission holder” – so we are all missionaries in this world.

Let’s give a hand and praise to God.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)

Download notes in a .MD file

The Best is Yet to Come

Romans 8:18-27 (Pastor Heo)

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.


This is the chapter of Freedom in Christ

  1. 1. Freedom from judgment (Assurance of Salvation)
  2. 2. Freedom from defeat (no obligation to the sinful nature) – last week
  3. 3. Freedom from disappointment / discouragement (no frustration) – today

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Do you like suffering? We should like suffering and also NOT like suffering. (It is well, with my soul)

Ex: When you drive, if you have no skill, you may suffer. Also, if we do some things – without the necessary skills, ideas, information – we may suffer.

There are many sufferings in this world – but ALL can be typified in only two categories:

  1. GOOD suffering (for Christ)
  2. BAD suffering (against God)

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

These sufferings are not due to our carelessness, sins, mistakes, etc. In this sentence, “our present sufferings” = those sufferings because of Christ.

v. 18 (alt) “18 I consider that our present sufferings (for Christ) are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (in Christ).”

We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – in all areas – in duties, privileges, responsibilities, and even sufferings. (this is the previous verse – v. 17)

v. 17 “17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Imagine: If someone paid $1,000,000(,000) for your house bill, would you find it difficult to pay $1 for his ice cream? This should not be difficult.

v. 18 means = Our service, sacrifice for Christ is less than $1 compared with the $1 bil sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. (and vice versa)

  • Present suffering = temporary
  • Future glory = eternal

If we open our spiritual eyes, we can see and know that the present glory that Abraham/Paul is now enjoying with Christ in heaven is non-comparable with the previous sufferings he received on earth for Christ.

How about us?

Yes, a day will come (soon) when the next generation will witness about us – “My grand/parents now enjoy such glory in heaven with Christ that cannot be compared with the sufferings they once paid in the past” (now)

Keyword: Groan (x3)

Literal meaning = “long and deep sound due to pain, suffering, trouble, disappointment, discouragement”

Usually, actually, this word is used negatively. BUT in this section, this word is used positively. It is not useless, but useful. Not meaningless, hopeless, but meaningful, hopeful groaning. This is a very positive meaning.

To understand this inward, eager, positive groaning, we most open our spiritual eyes and ears. If we open these, it is not difficult to understand. But if our spiritual eyes and ears are closed, this looks a little strange. Let’s open our spiritual eyes and ears now.

#3 Groans

1. Groaning of Creation (inwardly)

v. 19-22 “19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation *has been groaning* as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (현재 완료 진행)

This is not meaningless, hopeless groaning. This is like the pain of childbirth.

When God finished Creation in Genesis 1, at first, the Creation was “good.” (7x the same sentence “it was good” – finally “it was VERY good”) – Because God is good all the time, everything God created and does was, is, will be always and forever GOOD.

Because of the fall of Adam, this “good” Creation became “groaning” Creation – from “blessed” to “cursed” (Genesis 3).

Yes, Creation could not / did not sin – but because of human sin, the land of Creation was cursed and became a “groaning” Creation. Also today, we must pray “heal this land.” –

  • If this land is full of children of God, this land will be blessed.
  • But, if this land is filled with evil men, this land will be cursed and filled with “groaning.”

When we go out to a picnic (even Niagara Falls) – we may say, “Wow! Beautiful!” – but this is only outwardly. Inwardly, Creation is groaning. We must be able to see this if we are spiritual men.

Even today – Nature is angry with man through Fires, Droughts, Famine, massive Hurricanes, etc. This is surely not what Creation was meant to be. This is an outward expression of inward groaning.

But this groaning is still not hopeless, meaningless. It is hopeful and meaningful – as the pains of childbirth.

Mothers, did you have the experience to deliver your child? I respect and honor you. Yes, in this delivery, there is so much pain. But this pain will FINISH when the child is born.

Like this, a day will come when this groaning Creation will be exchanged for glorious freedom in Christ. When this earth becomes full of the children of God.

v. 21 “21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

This sentence will be fulfilled in Revelation – when Jesus returns. Even Nature is earnestly looking forward to the return of Christ.

Rev “The first heaven and earth have passed away and the New heaven and earth have come.”

  • First groaning: All Creation

2. Groaning of Believers’ spirits

Are you groaning? For what?

In the spirits of non-believers, there is not this inward groaning.

v. 23-25 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, *who have the firstfruits of the Spirit*, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

If we are really Children of God, our spirits inwardly groan. The reason – we have the experience of the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit (v. 23)

What does this mean? It’s a foretaste (시식) of the future glory to come.

Ex: If you go shopping (Mall of Hyoja) – there are many “tasting” corners. There are many things to taste. If that foretaste is very delicious, a satisfying foretaste is not enough, but makes you GROAN for more (고구마). My experience yesterday.

Pleasant talking on the phone (Skype) with your son/daughter from America – makes you GROAN to talk to him/her face to face soon.

These are all foretastes.

The first miracle of the Lord Jesus is turning water into wine. This first miracle gives us a meaningful and practical message. The person who had tasted that water (became wine) said, “Wow! All men bring out the best wine first and cheap wine later! But you have saved the best wine until now!”

This means Christian life is “better” than before – because we are living with Christ our Saviour.

  • Our today is better than yesterday.
  • Our tomorrow is better than today.
  • Next year is better than this year.

Why? Because our lives – as Christians – are holy pilgrimages – getting nearer and nearer to the BEST. Because “The Best is Yet to Come!”

But at the same time, the earthly life without Jesus is the opposite. A journey, nearer and nearer to the WORST destination – hell. That is why we must preach the gospel.

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

But wait, this looks a little strange. We know (from last week) that we have already received the spirit of adoption / sonship. We are ALREADY adopted. So then why does THIS verse say, “We wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies.”

We must remember there are 3 times in our adoption.

1. PAST – In the counsel of God

this was the action of God in eternity PAST – before the Creation of the world (Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy, blameless, and set apart. He chose us to be adopted as sons and daughters in Christ…”)

2. PRESENT – Personal experience

at the time of receiving Christ as Savior (John 1:12 “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, God gave the right to become children of God.”) – so at the moment we accept Christ, we are adopted

3. FUTURE – full realization / consummation of this adoption (Redemption of the body)

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, *the redemption of our bodies.*”

Yes, even though we are saved, our physical bodies are not perfect. But when Christ comes again, our bodies will be changed into perfect, heavenly bodies. This is the redemption of our bodies.

This eager anticipation is like a person who drives all night and looks forward to the morning when all the darkness, mist, and fog will be driven away.

Like this, we eagerly await our new bodies. (I have hope for my new body – eagerly.) Also, we look forward to the New Heaven and Earth – to rest and reward for our service, – to eternal family and home – to the absence of sin and suffering – to being with Jesus Christ face-to-face

“Look forward to eagerly” (학수 고대하다)

  • First, All Creation groans
  • Second, Believers’ spirits groan

3. The Holy Spirit groans

v. 26-27 “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

v. 26 “the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us through groans that words cannot express.”

Our weaknesses may sometimes be emotional, physical, spiritual. The HS intercedes for us and fills the burdens of our weaknesses.

  1. Actually, no one can call Jesus “Lord” except by the ministry of the HS.
  2. “The HS testifies with our spirits that we are children of God.”
  3. And we call God “Abba, Father” through his ministry.

Prayer in the Christian life is “breath”

  • To pray according to the will of God is much more important.

Most of us know what we like, what we want. But many of us don’t know what we NEED. (Consider kids at the mart.)

We do not know exactly what we NEED. So we often do not know what we must pray for. So the HS helps us to intercede for us and pray for the will of God in our lives.

The will of God is SO important in our lives. (Let’s continue with this next time.)

Let’s pray.

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