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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 30 / 2018
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

If you are Christian, BE Christian! (Acts 11:19-30)

Download Notes in a .MD file

If you are Christian, BE Christian!

Acts 11:19-30 (Pastor Heo)

11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.


There were at least three steps on the ladder to preach to the Gentiles.

  1. Chp 8: Philip preached to the Samaritans (half-Jews)
  2. Chp 10: Peter preached to the Gentiles (Cornelius + family and friends) – but it was Cornelius who took the initiative – he sought the church and was ALREADY a God-fearer – ready to be saved.
  3. Chp 11: In Antioch, the gospel was preached openly and publicly to Gentiles. The gospel is finally launched on its worldwide mission.

Christianity took the most important turning point in church mission history in these three – Philip, Peter, Antioch.

We don’t know the names of the people from Antioch who took the gospel to the Gentiles – they go down in history as nameless pioneers of Christ. Nobody remembered this courageous act – but God does.

Their names may not be written in human history, but their names are written in God’s book of life.

Challenge:

When you do something at church or for church, do not do it to be recognized by man – do it to be recognized by God – because his memory lasts for eternity, but man’s memory lasts but a short while.

v. 19-22

“11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.”

Chp 7 – Stephen was killed

  • As a result, great persecution broke out
  • Because of this, only the apostles and a few leaders remained in Jerusalem
  • All the others scattered – mostly throughout Palestine

Chp 8 – Philip preached to the Samaritans

  • The mother church heard, and sent Peter and John there
  • At the same time, the gospel spread throughout the land to many other places
  • At first, they preached only to Jews.

But later, some from Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch and preached to the Greeks.

  • God was so happy with them, he worked through them, and a great number of people turned to the Lord.
  • The mother church heard this news
  • So, they sent Barnabas to confirm the news and witness this new work.

The most important place in this story is Antioch. At that time in history, there were at least 16 Antiochs – and even in the Bible there are 2.

  1. Antioch in Syria (this one)
  2. Antioch in Pisidia

The Antioch of Syria was the capital of Syria, 300 miles north of Jerusalem – beyond Palestine and 50 miles in from the Mediterranean.

At that time, the biggest three cities in the world:

  1. Rome
  2. Alexandria
  3. Antioch (this one)
    • Metropolitan – but corrupt
    • It was famous for chariot racing and deliberate pursuit of pleasure (like Las Vegas today) – luxurious immorality.
    • It was most famous for Daphene (a god with whom a mortal fell in love) idol worship.

But in this dark place, the gospel began to shine. We must understand that there is nowhere in the world that the gospel cannot shine. No stronghold of Satan that the gospel cannot destroy.

So in church history, Antioch is very meaningful. There are at least 4 “world records” here:

  1. The FIRST place the gospel was preached to the Gentiles openly and deliberately
  2. The FIRST place the believers were called “Christians” (nickname)
    • At first, this was a contemptuous nickname
  3. The FIRST local church which collected special offerings to help Jewish believers in Judea in time of famine
  4. The FIRST local church which dispatched missionaries to the Gentiles (Barnabas and Saul)

“I am Antioch”

Our Antioch church is named after THIS Antioch church.

v. 23-26

“11:23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

(Tarsus is Saul’s hometown)

Remember, when the Jerusalem church heard about Antioch, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate it and confirm the new converts.

The mother church did not send one of the 12 apostles, but it is by the providence and grace of God that Barnabas was sent – he was the most suitable choice. (v. 24)

Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement” (open-minded), native of Cyprus – he was a blend of Roman, Greek, Jewish culture. And when he arrived he rejoiced to see the grace of God in this Gentile city. He was so happy to welcome new believers into the church.

Actually, he had TOO MUCH to do – so he needed help. At this moment, Barnabas could have asked to the mother church to send somebody to him to help him – or he could have sent a messenger to Jerusalem to get someone. But he didn’t, he himself went personally to Tarsus to bring Saul specifically.

Several years earlier, Barnabas had stood up for Saul and supported him when the other believers doubted him. Some time later, men tried to kill Saul, so he escaped to his hometown, Tarsus. And up to now, several years have passed – and there is no real record of what he did. But we can be sure he must have preached the gospel in his hometown faithfully and Barnabas remembered him in his mind.

The right mind has the ability to see the right person at the right time for the right purpose.

Barnabas must have realized that if he worked with Saul he would sink into the place of secondary importance.

v. 26

“26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” (Barnabas is first)

v. 30

“30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.” (Barnabas is first – the leader)

Chp 13:1

“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.” (Barnabas first, Saul last)

But Barnabas’ name disappears in chp 16, and Paul’s name goes on to the last sentence of this book.

From Chp 13:43 we can see this change:

“43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.”

Barnabas to Paul was like John the Baptist to Jesus: “He must become greater and I must become less.”

Actually, I HOPE that you also will do likewise to ME. And Children to your parents as well. We must raise up people / leaders greater than we are.

v. 11:27

“27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.”

Interestingly, this title was not given in Jerusalem or Samaria. This title was given by non-Christians.

There were many terms:

  • Brother & sisters,
  • saints,
  • disciples,
  • the church, etc

The believers had no idea to call themselves “Christians” – this is mixed “Christ” + “ian”

  • “Christ” (Greek) = “Messiah” (Hebrew)
  • “ian” (Latin suffix) = belonging to the party of

To them, the believers could not apply the divine name to themselves. At that time, the term “Messiah” was a term of divinity – so if they took it for themselves, it would be considered very blasphemous.

So the outsiders nicknamed them “Christians” because at that time, this was a name of ridicule, contempt, etc.

To outsiders, the lifestyle of Christians was too high – they could not understand their moral standards. It was too high to follow. Even in poverty, persecution, they responded with joy, thanksgiving, blessings. Why? Because they always focused on heaven, not this world. So, many people called them “crazy.”

Even in Korean, sometimes outsiders call you, “예수쟁이”. Who can be called a “Christian” by outsiders?

Paul said, “If I live, I live to Christ. If I die, I die to Christ. Whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.” He MUST be called a “Christian” by outsiders.

Are you a Christian? BE a Christian.

Personal experience

About 15 years ago (in Turkey?), I had trouble in a mission conference. I went shopping and the seller tried to explain something to me, but his words were strange.

  • I said, “Truly?”
  • He looked at me very solemnly and said, “I AM MUSLIM.”

This short sentence gave me much meaning. “Muslims NEVER tell lies, etc”.

He was SO proud of being Muslim. Our pride in being Christian must be higher.

“I am CHRISTIAN.”

This should give so many meanings.

“I am honest, don’t lie, bless when cursed, etc.”

  • George Folks and his followers trembled whenever they opened the Bible. They were called “Quakers” 퀘이커 교도?
    • At that time, there were so many Puritans, these were called Quakers.
  • Methodists also – due to their very strict pursuit of holiness – became “Methodists”

Conclusion

Alexander the Great: one day in his army there was another “Alexander.” (Like we have many Aarons, Davids, Johns, Pauls, etc). He was famous for his timidity.

But we know Alexander the Great conquered the world at age 23. He called the soldier to himself,

“Are you named after me?”

“Yes, sir, I am.”

“If you’re named Alexander, BE an Alexander! Or change your name!”

Fortunately, our Lord Christ, full of mercy, love, compassion, does not say this to us. But he does challenge, encourage, and empower us to BE who we are.

If you are Christian~ BE Christian~ let others KNOW who you are through your lifestyle!

Because “Christian” lifestyle is the visible representation of Christ to those who cannot see.

“God bless you Christians.”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 19 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What a Transformation! (2) (Acts 9:19-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

What a Transformation! (2)

Acts 9:19-31

Galatians 1:15-21

Acts 9:19-31

18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.


Galatians 1:15-21

15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Later I went to Syria and Cilicia.


What a transformation!

  • The leader became a follower.
  • Persecutor became persecuted.
  • He was a hunter of the saved, but became a hunter of the lost.
  • His physical eyes were closed for three days, but spiritual eyes were opened for eternity.
  • He was a wild bull, but became like a docile lamb to preach the gospel as far as possible.
  • He started to Damascus breathing out murderous threats, but surrendered in humility in Damascus.
  • Paul’s mindset / belief set were turned completely 180 degrees upside-down.
  • Up to then he had been doing what he wanted, what his own will commanded. But from then on, he must do what Christ commanded.

We must understand, if we’re living a Christian life, it means doing what Christ wants us to do. A Christian is a man who stops doing what he wants and does what Christ wants.

v. 19-22

“19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”

If we want to know the chronology of the whole period of Paul’s whole conversion, we must also read Paul’s own account of the matter.

Galatians 1:15-21

When we put these two accounts together, the chain of events runs like this:

  1. Paul is converted on the Damascus road.
  2. He preaches immediately in Damascus.
  3. He goes away to Arabia, the desert.
  4. He returns to Damascus and preaches there again.
  5. After three years, he goes to Jerusalem.
  6. He escapes to Caesarea.
  7. He returns to Syria and Cilicia. (southern Turkey)

We can see Paul began with 2 important things:

1. Immediately witnessed for Christ in Damascus.

At that time, there were many Jews in Damascus – so many synagogues there. It was in those very synagogues where Paul raised up his voice for Christ.

This was boldness, fearless, moral courage. The same synagogues he preached the gospel – were the same synagogues where he had been going to persecute the believers. It would have been much easier to start his Christian life somewhere he wasn’t well known.

“I’m a changed man!”

Those who know me / you best should know that.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

2. Commune alone with God

Not mentioned in Acts, but let me share with you. We can get a hint from Galatians. After that, he went to Arabia (the lonely, isolated desert).

Into Paul’s life had come a life-shattering change, so he had to be alone with God for a time. Before him stretched a new life, so he needed:

  1. Guidance
  2. Strength

For these things, he went to Arabia to be alone with God. Also, he needed time to know three things (we can check ourselves on these as well – are we clear on these?)

  1. Who is Jesus Christ?
  2. Who am I?
  3. What shall I do then?

These are the very basic, fundamental questions.

  1. Who is Christ (to me)?
  2. Who am I (in Christ)?
  3. What shall I do about it then?

#1: Who is Christ?

Remember, on the way to Damascus, Saul heard a voice and saw a bright light:

  • “Saul, why do you persecute me?”
    • “Who are you, Lord?”
  • “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
    • “What shall I do?”
  • “You will be told what to do.”

So, Paul went to Arabia to learn these three things.

Do you know Christ?

  • Jesus says, “This is eternal life, that you may know God and Jesus whom he sent.”
  • Jesus asked two disciples: “Who am I to you?”
  • Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
  • Jesus: “You are very blessed, but this was revealed to you by my Father in heaven. On this confession, I’ll build my church.”

Those who know Christ have power to open the gates of heaven – to salvation, and also power to bind the workers of Satan.

Phil 3 “Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything in this world a loss for the sake of Christ. I consider everything as rubbish so that I may be found in Christ and know Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.”

Remember, if you know Christ, you will want to know him more.

Do you know Christ?

#2 Who Am I?

Whenever we see Christ truly, we truly see ourselves. This is like when we see our reflection in a mirror.

Isaiah did when he saw the Holy God (chp 6): “Holy, holy, holy, sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The train of his robe filled with the temple.” Immediately he cried in response: “Woe to me, I’m ruined for I’m a man of unclean lips!”

Are your lips clean?

He saw himself as he was – as God saw him.

Paul also needed this same experience – he needed to get over being Saul.

Actually, Saul had two names from the beginning.

Some people think he was Saul in the beginning, then converted, and he changed his name to Paul.

False.

  • Saul is a Hebrew name – after Israel’s first king, Saul.
  • Paul is his Roman name.

Until his conversion, he preferred the name Saul – after Israel’s first king. He was very proud of being a Benjamite (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) – these went into battle in the front lines in history. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees.

  • “Saul” means “asked” – it’s very high.
  • But after his conversion, he preferred the name “Paul” – which means “small.”

He was now yoked to Christ for his service.

Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, I’m gentle and humble in heart.”

Are you holding Jesus’ yoke on your shoulders?

When God wants us to do an impossible task, God asks an impossible man and crushes him.

God always uses, takes, ourselves to the end of ourselves before he uses us.

But Paul learned who he was in Christ.

Not knowing who Jesus is makes it impossible to know who I am.

#3 What shall I do?

What should you do?

He was chosen – a chosen instrument of God to be a mighty hunter, missionary, apologist. But – he would not only climb mountains, but also endure pain. When Christ called him, he said to him (through Ananias), “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

  • When Jesus called Paul, he did not say, “You must know how blessed you are.”
  • Rather, he said, “I will show you how much you must suffer for my name.”

Paul was prepared for powerful, effective service through the time he spent alone with God in Arabia.

Also, today is the same.

If we want to serve Christ, we need some time to be alone with him. God may not ask us to seclude ourselves for several years, nor even several months, but we need time with Christ – one on one.

Moses also spent 40 years learning to think he was “somebody” – but then spent another 40 years learning who he REALLY was. Only after that, could he serve Christ effectively.

Even Christ spent at least 18 years preparing for the 3 years of his ministry.

  • Also, at the beginning of his ministry, he spent 40 days and nights alone in the desert with God.
  • Moses was also alone with God in the desert.
  • Paul also went to the desert to be with God.

We need to retreat to be with God daily – to have communication with him, to be prepared by him, to have his purposes in us.

We can, yes, immediately be saved, but preparation for ministry never happens overnight. God is never in a hurry. He is building us for eternity.

Remember:

  1. Damascus
  2. Desert (Arabia)
  3. Damascus (3 years) – but the response of the Jews was not good

v. 23-25

“23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.”

The Jews even set a guard on the gate lest Paul should escape them. At that time, the Asian cities were walled cities. Those walls were open wide enough for chariots to be driven around the top of them. On the walls there were houses whose windows opened over the walls. And in the dead of night, Paul was taken into one of those houses and let down with a rope in a basket – and smuggled out of Damascus. Then, he began his journey to Jerusalem.

This is only the gateway of his adventures for Christ – but he is already escaping by the skin of his teeth. This is a witness of his courage.

He must have seen the great gatherings against him in the synagogues. He had also seen what had happened to Stephen years ago. And he knew what he himself had intended to do to the Christians. So, he knew well that the Christian life is not a “safe” life in this world.

He knew through his own observations and experiences that a Christian’s life is not easy, not “safe.”

A wolf will never attack a painted sheep.

What idea can you get from this sentence?

Don’t be fake. Counterfeit Christianity is always “safe” in this world, but real Christianity is in danger in this world.

To suffer for Christ is certain proof that others think we really matter.

v. 26-31

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

From Damascus, he went to Jerusalem. When he arrived, he found himself regarded with grave doubt and suspicion. How could it be otherwise? They did not believe that Paul became a real Christian. This is natural – from a human perspective.

In this same city, several years ago, Saul had dragged men and women from the church here to prison.

But, we can see how certain people help Paul at certain points in his ministry.

Yes, we also were saved by grace through faith in Christ, but through our faith journey, whether we know it or not, there were several people who helped us grow in faith. Also, we can help others grow in faith.

  1. Stephen helped Paul grow in faith. When Saul was an enemy of the church, Stephen helped with his message and loving, interceding prayer, and death. He gave a great impact to Saul.
  2. Ananias also helped Paul very much when he was in great confusion and bewilderment. He came kindly and said, “Brother Paul, the Lord has sent me to you.”
  3. Barnabas helped with encouragement and confidence. When everyone else was afraid of Paul – doubting him – Barnabas took him by the hand and stood before the apostles with him. How beautiful is the ministry of Barnabas?
    • Giving a word of encouragement,
    • reconciling believers with other believers,
    • taking a risk for Christ in relationships,
    • promoting the ministry of others,
    • giving encouragement,
    • rejoicing in others’ successes.

Even today, God mightily uses men and women like you, like us. We need men and women like Barnabas today.

Barnabas insisted on believing the best of others. When others suspected Paul of being a spy, Barnabas insisted on believing he was a real Christian. Even today, there are two kinds of men.

  1. Those who think the best of others
  2. Those who think the worst of others

Which side are you?

Do you think the best / worst of others?

1 Cor 13 “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Nobody is perfect. Yes, including me, we have failed, made mistakes, sinned. If God held our past against us, nobody could come to God. Who could come to God.

“If you confess you sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Are you Christian?

Please, do not condemn others – NEVER condemn others due to their past failures or mistakes.

God receives us as we are today. We can approach him at any time due to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

v. 31

“31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”

This was a time of peace, not complacency. They grew spiritually and numerically.

Acts 1:8

  • The door of faith opened to the Jews in chp 2,
  • opened to Samaritans in chp 8, and
  • will open to the Gentiles in chp 10.

Saul has moved out of the scene, and in chp 10, 15, Peter will appear again. Then, Paul will fill the rest of the pages of Acts.

God changes his workmen.

20 years ago, I was not a pastor in AICF. God changes his workmen, but his work goes on and on continually. Today, you and I are blessed and privileged to be a part of that work.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 12 / 2018
  • Comments Off on What a Transformation! (Acts 9:1-19)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What a Transformation! (Acts 9:1-19)

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What a Transformation!

Acts 9:1-19 (Pastor Heo)

9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 6 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.


This is the conversion story of Saul/Paul

This story is one of the greatest events in church history – after

  1. the coming of the HS at Pentecost, and
  2. the conversion of the Gentiles in chp 10, this –
  3. Paul will become a great apostle to the Gentiles.

This is an event of supreme importance. In world history, both secular and church history. The conversion of Paul is mentioned 3 times in Acts: chp 9, 22, 26.

There is no one else whose conversion story is repeated 3 times – only Saul’s.

As we know,

  • in chp 7, when Stephen was stoned to death, Saul was there, giving approval to his death. And
  • in chp 8, he began to persecute the Christians, dragging them from their houses and putting them in prison.

Actually, Saul’s conversion is not “sudden conversion” – but a “sudden acceptance.”

Saul was there when Stephen died, he heard him and saw him – what he said and how he died. Perhaps something about this stayed with him for the rest of his life. “How could a bad man die like this?” maybe he asked himself. So, he plunged into the most violent action possible in chp 8 – putting Christians into prison. But this only made it worse.

He had to ask himself: “What secret gives them this boldness, peace, joy, etc in the face of suffering, persecution, and even death.”

He went on to the Sanhedrin and asked for a letter of credit to go to Damascus and kill all the Christians to destroy the church. It was about 175 miles northeast from Jerusalem. It was a key commercial city – one of the largest at that time, and it had a large Jewish population. This journey would be taken by foot, for about one week.

The only companions he had were officers of the Sanhedrin. But because he was a Pharisee, he could have nothing to do with them. So, he could only walk and think.

Saul (origin)

v. 1-2

“9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

When he almost arrived at Damascus, suddenly a light flashed around him – at noontime. It was brighter than the sunlight. Because of this light, he fell to the ground and the voice from the light said, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord.” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” “What should I do?” “Get up and go into the city and you will hear what you should do.” He went and fasted in the city for 3 days.

Saul (transformation)

v. 3-9

“9:3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 6 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. “

  • Jesus knew Saul by his personal name. Likewise, Jesus also calls us by name.
  • Jesus didn’t say, “Why do you persecute my believers?” but rather, “Why do you persecute me?” Anyone who persecutes the church – even today – is guilty of persecuting Christ – because believers are the body of Christ.

Here, Saul’s experience is no mere hallucination, vision, he saw the actual, risen Lord. Later, he continually insisted that he looked upon the risen Lord just as the disciples did in the Upper Room on the first Easter. Saul continually insists that he saw the risen Lord – and he based his apostleship on this reality.

  • Before, he saw Jesus dead (crucified) but now he saw him alive.
  • He thought he was a bad man, but discovered he was the Messiah, prophesied by the OT. If Jesus is alive, then Paul would have to change his mind about his message.
  • He thought he was God’s man, but discovered that he was persecuting God.
  • He thought he was righteous, but discovered he was a lost sinner – in need of repentance and forgiveness and salvation.

Remember, true conversion comes from a personal encounter with Jesus and gives new life in relationship with Jesus Christ.

Have you ever experienced this true conversion by having a personal meeting with Christ?

In this event, Saul entered Damascus a changed man. What a transformation! What a changed man! (Remember v. 1-2?)

  • He started to go to Damascus to arrest all Christians and take them to Jerusalem. But he arrived totally changed.
  • The persecutor changed into the persecuted.
  • The leader became the follower. And his physical eyes closed, but his spiritual eyes opened.
  • He was like a wild animal, a bull, but became like a lamb – a vessel of honor, the instrument of Christ – to preach the gospel to the ends of the world.
  • He started his journey with murderous threats, but ended with humility and obedience.

What a transformation!

This is the biggest change in his whole life – also in Christian history.

Up to this time, Saul had been doing what he liked and what he wanted – what his will dictated – what he thought best and righteous. But from this time on, he would do what God wants him to do. This is the life of a real Christian. So, let me ask, “what do you do?”

The Christian is the one who has stopped doing what he wants to do and has started doing what God wants him to do.

  • Do you do what you want to do?
  • Or do you do what God wants you to do?

Are you sure that what you’re doing recently is what Christ wants you to do? Or is it just what you want to do?

Also from this story, we can know, “yes” Saul was saved completely by believing in the risen Christ. Saul didn’t choose him, but Christ chose him.

v. 15

“15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.””

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace we are saved, not by works. It is the gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

Saul didn’t choose Christ but Christ chose him.

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us before the Creation of the world and predestined us to be his sons and daughters through Christ in accordance with his will.”

Jesus “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit.”

This is the greatest conversion story in the church.

  • The greatest persecutor became the greatest preacher.

So, we must not limit God. God can reach anybody and everybody for salvation.

Saul confesses later he is the “chief of sinners” : 1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: that Christ died to save sinners, of whom I’m the worst.”

We should never think in our minds: “That person is too strong, impossible to be saved.”

Actually, God “wants all people to be saved – he desires that no one perish.” He can save anyone by his grace through faith in Christ.

Ananias’ story

v. 10-19

“9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.”

Without a doubt, Ananias is one of the forgotten heroes of the Christian church. But God remembers. We can only find his story here – only once.

Yes, Ananias knew the reputation of Saul – he knew Saul’s purpose to come to Damascus. Humanly speaking, he was probably very afraid. But in a vision, God said, “Go, that man is my chosen instrument.”

This mission of Ananias was scary, dangerous, etc. But his first words to Saul were, “Brother Saul…” These men had been the bitterest enemies but they became brothers in Christ. This is one of the strongest examples of Christian love.

From this story of Ananias, we can get 3 lessons.

#1: God can use the most unknown servant in doing something great

Ananias was an obscure and unknown saint at that time – but God used him. Behind many well-known servants of the Lord were many less-known servants. But God keeps a record, and rewards all according to his ministry, service, sacrifice.

What is important is not “faith” before men, but faithfulness before God.

#2: We shouldn’t be afraid to obey God’s command/will

At first, Ananias argued and gave many good reasons not to visit Saul. But we should remember that God had everything under control, and Ananias obeyed. We must remember that God is always working – at first and last.

At the same time that God gave a vision to Ananias, he also gave a vision to Saul.

God’s perfect will is always best.

#3: God’s works are always balanced

This is a kind of miracle.

Anyone among us experienced a “light” from heaven? This is a miracle.

But God’s works are always balanced.

  • He balanced a great, public miracle with a quiet, private meeting with Saul and Ananias.
  • The light and voice were loud, bright, dramatic. But the visit with Ananias was a very ordinary thing.
  • The hand of God pushed Saul from pride to the ground of humility. But he used Ananias’ hand to bring Saul up to where he needed.
  • God spoke directly from heaven, but also spoke through the voice of Ananias.

Today, God is the same. He is doing something great, extraordinary, marvelous, beautiful – but he can use our small-looking obedience in doing his great miracles. He can use ordinary people like you and me in doing his extraordinary miracles.

God bless you.

Still, God is doing his job behind us and ahead of us.

  • Peter preached before several thousand.
  • But Ananias was sent to preach to only one person – Saul – but what a person!

He would become the great apostle for the Gentiles. Even secular historians agree that Paul is one of the great figures in secular world history.

It means that God is doing something great in the invisible world.

  • We know in church history – Billy Graham – he did great things in church history. But who knows who led Billy Graham to Christ?
  • We know Martin Luther, William Carrey, did great jobs in Christian history. But who knows who led them all to Christ? Only God knows.

In our situation, if you preach just to one person, who knows if that person will touch thousands, millions, etc. We do not know. Only God knows. So every person is important before God.

“I’m so important before God.”

All the time, expecting, – when you evangelize one person, maybe that person will touch millions and millions. Through this story, we can know that God does great things through us, around us, and in us.

God bless you.

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.

  • Mar 18 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Glory to God through the Gospel (Romans 16:25-27)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Glory to God through the Gospel (Romans 16:25-27)

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Glory to God through the Gospel

Romans 16:25-27 (Pastor Heo)

16:25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him– 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.


Continue Reading

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

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

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Paul’s Eagerness to go to Rome

Romans 15:23-33 (Pastor Heo)

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


v. 24-28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God gives more to the giver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why was Paul so eager to go to Rome?

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

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

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

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

v. 29-33

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Characteristics of the gospel

The gospel is:

1. The POWER of God

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

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

Spiritually, this was Rome.

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

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

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

2. The FRUIT is salvation

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

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

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

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

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

3. The gospel is for EVERYONE

The outreach of the gospel = the whole world

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

We are not to behave,
but to believe.

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

Saving faith is like pure gold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 26 / 2017
  • Comments Off on There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)

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There is a Future for Israel

Romans 11:11-24 (Pastor Heo)

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


Romans 9, 10, 11 as one unit = the Vindication of God’s Righteousness through Israel’s full history

  1. Past election
  2. present rejection
  3. future restoration

This is full of the story of Israel.

Each chapter starts with a great concern about Israel.

  • chp 9: I speak the truth, my conscience confirms it, I have unceasing sorrow and anguish in my heart for the salvation of Israel.
  • chp 10: My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
  • chp 11: Did God reject them? By no means, I’m an Israelite myself.

Jesus: “Blessed is the one who cries, for he will laugh.”

If you have joy/peace/laughing in your heart because of your salvation, you must have great sorrow/pain/weeping for the salvation of others.

For whom do you cry?

Last Sunday, we saw 2 of 5 proofs for the restoration of Israel.

In chp 11, there are 5 proofs that God is not yet finished with Israel.

Proofs

  1. Paul himself – his own conversion is an illustration of the future restoration of Israel
  2. Elijah – he lived in the worst era of Israel’s history – God said, “I have reserved 7000 for myself who don’t bow down to Baal”

What does this mean?

  1. There has never been, nor never will be a time in history when the WHOLE nation has been faithful to God
  2. NOR is there a time when the WHOLE nation has been unfaithful.
  3. There is a remnant in every country.

This morning. Let us see proofs #3, 4

#3. Gentiles

v. 11-15

“11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

In chp 2:1-3, Paul used the Gentiles to prove the Jews guilty of sin. “You, Jews, have no excuse – you who pass judgment on others – because you are doing the same things.”

Here, again, Paul uses the Gentiles to assure the Jews’ future restoration.

When the Jews rejected this gospel, God sent it to the Gentiles, and they accepted and believed and were saved. At least three tragedies happened to the Jews.

  • v. 11 – the nation fell
  • v. 12 – the nation diminished
  • v. 15 – the nation was rejected

But none of these three things suggest a “final judgment” on Israel. The amazing thing is that through the fall of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.

Hosea 2:23 “God says, ‘I will show my love to the one I call not my loved one, and I will call them my people who are not my people, and they will call me their God.'”

These OT promises to the Gentiles were connected to Israel’s rise. Isaiah 60 make it clear that the Gentiles will share in the kingdom and life of the Gentiles. But… Israel did not rise, they fell. So, what did God do to the Gentiles? He introduced a new factor: the church. This church is called a “mystery.” (Eph 3) This was not revealed in the OT. But this does not mean that God has abandoned his kingdom project for Israel. They are only set aside until the appropriate time.

Now, the Gentiles have a vital ministry to Israel. They provoke Israel to jealousy because of their spiritual blessings in Christ.

Today, Israel is spiritually bankrupt, and have fallen away. When Jesus comes again, they will be accepted again. This is called “full inclusion” (v 12) and “acceptance” (v 15).

Yes, God wanted to rule over Israel in their history – but they didn’t allow God to rule over them. So, God will OVERrule them. This is God’s plan for them.

#4 Patriarchs – founders of Israel

Today’s lesson is Hard Food, not soft.

Review the 4 proofs up to now:

  1. Paul
  2. Elijah
  3. Gentiles
  4. Patriarchs

Paul looks to the past to show this. He used two illustrations to prove that God is not finished with Israel.

  1. Lump of dough (for baking bread)
  2. Olive tree

v. 16a “16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy;” (reference: Numbers 15, Leviticus 23)

1. Lump of Dough

The first part of the dough had to be offered to God as a symbol that the whole lump belonged to God (tithes & firstfruits). This also happens in the Feast of the Firstfruits. The priest offered the first sheaf of the harvest as a symbol that the whole harvest belonged to God – by God’s mercy and grace.

The principle: If God receives part, he sanctifies the whole.

God received the founder of the nation of Israel (Abraham) and so set apart the whole nation as holy. He also received the other patriarchs – Isaac, Jacob, etc – despite their flaws and sins. This is another proof that God has set the whole nation apart as holy and has a plan for them.

In our personal lifestyles, we also offer tithes.

We recognize that “all I have and earn” belong to God. “I’m a steward” and all I have belongs to God. This is the starting point, the beginning of the true Christian life – practically and spiritually. Offering tithes is the beginning point of the Christian lifestyle.

If the first part is holy, the whole batch is holy.

2. Olive tree

This is a symbol of the nation Israel. (Jeremiah)

v. 16b-24 “if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

To understand this passage clearly: keywords

  1. Olive tree
  2. Root
  3. Grafted in (접목하다)

Paul is not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God. But he is discussing the place of Israel in the plan of God.

  1. Jeremiah / Hosea declare the olive tree as a symbol of the nation Israel.
  2. The Root is a symbol of patriarchs who founded the nation. God made his covenant with the patriarchs. He never denied them nor changed them. Thus, his promise to Abraham sustains the nation of Israel even today.
  3. Many Jews do not believe in Christ even today. They are pictured as the branches that are broken off the tree.
  4. Other branches are grafted onto the tree and share the life of that tree. These other branches are the Gentiles (collectively).

But there is one strange thing (v. 24) – Paul says that this grafting in is “contrary to nature” – going against the natural principles of this world.

  • Usually, cultivated branches must be grafted into wild trees to share the tree’s life.
  • But in this case, wild branches were grafted into a cultivated tree.

This is because “Salvation is from the Jews.”

No matter how far the nation of Israel (branches) stray, the root (patriarchs & God’s covenant to them) is still good. God will never neglect his covenant with them. That means that some day, the nation of Israel will flourish again in God’s kingdom.

Some of us may ask today:

“So what does this matter to me?”

Even through three chapters – in one of the most important books in the NT – the #1 epistle of Paul’s – we cover the story of Israel. Why is this so important?

Application to our lives (4 things):

#1 Physically, Christ came as a Jew

Salvation is from the Jews. The Bible is the story of the Jews (past, present, future)

  • PAST: Elected by God’s grace/mercy – not because of their faithfulness or merit
  • PRESENT: Rejected because of their faithlessness

If this rejection lasts forever, then our own salvation is completely unstable. It would mean that our salvation also depends on our faithfulness.

BUT – we can say that our salvation is due to God’s grace, not our own merit.

So, we must be humble and thankful to God through our study of Israel. Our own salvation is due to God’s covenant and promise to the patriarchs of the Jewish nation (through whom the Messiah, Jesus, came).

#2 We are debtors of the gospel

The message of the gospel came to us through the rejection of Israel.

So, we enjoy the gospel today, but it must go back to Israel through our preaching.

  • Because of Israel’s rejection, we received the gospel.
  • This gospel must return to Israel through our preaching.

#3 God’s covenant with Abraham is still alive

We are “children of Abraham”

The first covenant is in Genesis 12:1-3 “I will make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. All people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This is through God’s “WILL”

This covenant is being fulfilled spiritually through us (Gentiles) – and in secular, physical history, it is already fulfilled through the Jews as well.

In history, no nations that remain against the Jews, remain prosperous.

  • BC 721, Assyria conquered Israel. There is no more Assyria.
  • BC 586, Babylon conquered Israel. There is no more Babylon.
  • Amalites, Moabites, Edomites, Hittites, etc, no longer exist anywhere on earth.
  • But there exists the nation of Israel.

This is the physical fulfillment of God’s covenant.

And spiritually, all nations will be blessed through you (through us) – is happening now.

#4 God’s final plan: to unite in Christ

No more Jew and Gentile, no more male and female, no more slave and free, etc.

Eph 2:11-18

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Getniles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human nhands )- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foriengers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

In Christ, we are ONE. Brothers and sisters. We are members of one eternal family.

Conclusion: Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We are all ONE in Christ.”

In the eyes of God, there are only 2 kinds of people:

  1. IN Christ (saved)
  2. OUTSIDE Christ (lost)
  • If you are outside Christ, you must come to Christ to be saved.
  • If you are in Christ, you must go to the lost and say to them, “Come!”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you life, rest, salvation, peace for your souls.”

Let’s pray individually now.

In the beginning of my sermon I said, “If we have joy for our salvation, we must have sorrow for others. If we laugh for our salvation, we must cry for the salvation of others.” Your brothers, sisters, family, loved ones, parents, children, neighbors, etc.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 19 / 2017
  • Comments Off on There is a Remnant by God’s Grace (Romans 10:21-11:10)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Remnant by God’s Grace (Romans 10:21-11:10)

Download Notes in a .MD file

There is a Remnant by God’s Grace

Romans 10:21-11:10 (Pastor Heo)

21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

The Remnant of Israel

1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”


Chp 11 = God’s faithfulness

Chp 10:21 “But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Their hearts were hard, we can see 3 results of their rejection:

1. Still today, they are guilty

(we also will be guilty if we reject God’s free gift of salvation) – God reveals himself in nature, Creation, the Word of God – these go together and reveal the glory of God. Israel had the benefit of BOTH – they saw God at work in Nature, and received the Word of God (but they did not heed the Word of God). No wonder many times in Scripture it says, “he who has ears, let him hear” – this is repeated at least 7 times in Revelation.

2. God sent this gospel to the Gentiles

When Israel rejected this Messiah, God sent this gospel to the Gentiles that they might be saved. One reason was to provoke Israel to “holy jealousy”.

3. Still today, God yearns over his people

v. 21 is from Isaiah 55:2

This refers to the present day of salvation (1 Cor “NOW is the day of God’s favor”).

Even 2000 years ago, Christ longed to gather his chosen people to his arms. He wept over Jerusalem. But instead, those arms were stretched out on a cross.

Today, Christ is stretching his hands out, waiting, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” – this is the message of the gospel for the Jews and the Gentiles.

Last Sunday, “how beautiful the feet of those who bring good news.”

Also, God can use our feet and arms as he used Paul’s 2000 years ago.

Everything is of God (behind everything) – and at the same time everything is of man (we have free will). 100% God-control & sovereignty & at the same time 100% human free-will (this is a paradox).

Are you a person? This means you have a personality.

  1. Feelings
  2. Emotions
  3. Interests
  4. Will

So, we are responsible/accountable before Christ. But he will NEVER give up his people. This is the story of the next chapter.

Actually, Paul devotes all of Romans 11 to presenting that God is not finished yet with Israel. He is discussing a literal future for the nation of Israel. And Paul is showing 5 proofs (witnesses) that God has a plan for Israel. Today, let’s look at just the first 2.

God’s future restoration plan for Israel is also very important for us.

God called Abraham, chose Israel, Jesus came from Israel. IF God abandoned them… then that would show that our salvation could also be lost in the same way. Thus, their future restoration is SO important for our own salvation.

Next Sunday, we will look in depth at: (the conclusion)

  • v. 26 “26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”

There are a total of 5 witnesses to this. Today, we’ll see 2:

2 (of 5) Witnesses of God’s Plan for Israel

#1 Paul himself

Paul who wrote this book Romans.

v. 1 “1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.”

Honestly speaking, I have no right to say, “Korea will be saved – because I am Korean!” Nobody has a right to say this. But Paul is saying like this. How is this possible? On what foundation/grounds?

What is the difference between his and our salvation? We must know the background.

Paul’s conversion testimony is written in the Bible in Acts, 3 times (chp 9, 22, 26) – this is not by accident – but on purpose for something to show us.

This is not written to exalt Paul himself, but it is written to show his conversion is an illustration of the future restoration and conversion of the nation Israel. This is a secret, the mystery of God.

Paul’s Story

Yes, before his conversion, Paul had such great zeal for God. “I’m faultless – legalistically speaking.” Before his conversion, he was a champion of persecuting the followers of Christ – because he persecuted Christ for God. (He fought God, on behalf of God) – because he didn’t know Jesus was God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He was so zealous for God, but it was misplaced. This was not based on the correct foundation of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

One day, on the way to Damascus, breathing out murderous threats. Christ appeared to him on the road and spoke, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” At this moment, he became blind, fell to the ground, and called out. “Lord, who are you?” “I’m Jesus, who you are persecuting. Get up, go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” After this experience, his life was 100% (180deg) changed and he became the champion of the gospel.

  • From persecutor of the gospel to the champion of the gospel.
  • From destroying the followers of Christ, to making new followers of Christ.

Israel’s Story

Israel, likewise, has been zealous for God – looking and waiting for the Messiah for a LONG time. This was their final hope. But, when he came, they did not recognize him. Still now, they are waiting for the Messiah.

Someday (maybe soon) there will be a day when Israel will recognize that same Jesus their forefathers crucified in 33 AD. And at that time, they will be totally 100% (180deg) changed. Their lives, lifestyles, etc will be transformed completely, and they will play a great role in closing human history with Jesus’ Second Coming.

Basic Question: Up to now, in your life, which event is the GREATEST event? Having the most POWERFUL impact on your personal life?

Ans: Conversion – salvation to Jesus Christ.

To be converted to Christ and NOT change your lifestyle is absolutely impossible.

That’s why Paul says what he does in v. 1.

#2 Elijah

v. 2-10 “2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.””

Two keywords here: Elijah & remnant

We know the background of this story. Elijah was one of the greatest OT prophets. He had many nicknames:

  • Man of Fire, Man of Miracle, Man of Prayer, Man of Power.

He raised a dead boy through prayer. When he prayed, there was no rain for 3 years – then prayed and received heavy rain. He alone defeated 450 prophets of Baal + 450 prophets of Asherah. He was a man of prayer, power.

Elijah’s Story

He worked during the time of Ahab, 850 BC.

At that time, Israel was divided in two (north and south) – like Korea (because of the sins of Solomon).

  • South = Judah
  • North = Israel

This is the story of the Northern king during the reign of the 7th (of 19) king, Ahab (among all 19, not a one was “good” in the eyes of God). But Ahab was just… THE WORST.

During his reign, Israel was full of idol worship.

So, this guy was “bad” but his lady (Jezebel) was “really bad.” (much worse than him). Do you know the story of Nabath?

There was a vineyard near Ahab’s palace, so he coveted it – he wanted to buy it – even for a better vineyard. “No, God forbid, this is inheritance from my father.” So, he got sulky and didn’t eat. His wife said, “Honey, why aren’t you eating?… What? Are you the ‘king’? Get up and eat – I will get that vineyard for you.” That very day, she “got” the vineyard through murder. She said to her husband, “Oh, look, he’s dead. Now, you can get it.”

Later, Jezebel said to Elijah, “Hey, boy, I’ll kill you.”

  • So, he ran off and hid and shook in fear and said to God, “Please God, kill me.”
  • But God said, “No, and you don’t try it either.”
  • God did not scold him, but encouraged him with a soft whisper, “Elijah, you still have a mission.”
  • Elijah appealed it. “God, Israel rejected your covenant, killed your prophets, and I’m the ONLY ONE left, and they are all trying to kill me.”
  • God said, “No, no, no. You’re not the only one. I’ve yet reserved 7,000 who do not kneel before Baal. This is my remnant.”

Immediately he got 3 missions.

  • To anoint 2 kings, and
  • anoint Elisha to succeed himself as prophet.

He received power and encouragement again, and fulfilled his mission and was caught up in a chariot of fire afterward and did not taste death.

Israel’s Story

Yes, even today, Israel is rejecting the Messiah, Jesus.

But, there is a remnant in Israel who is faithful to God, by the grace of God.

I’m sure, even in North Korea, there is a remnant, even in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, Europe, every single local church, even in AICF. A few remnants may be among us – but many (even all) of us may be remnants before God.

I hope and pray we all are a remnant and faithful before God.

“He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Only the remnant who remains faithful to God will be saved.

Who is the remnant? The one who calls on the name of the Lord.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

If you call Jesus “Lord” – this means he is Lord in EVERY area of our lives. He is Lord of our time, concern, interest, motive, purpose, priority, incentive, hobbies, job, ambition, dream, vision, money, wallet, material possessions. This is the true meaning of “Jesus is Lord.” God bless us to call Jesus our Lord, truly.

God is not deceived, not mocked. God knows if we are truthful in our proclamation. God knows if you are speaking from your heart, or just paying him “lip service.”

Jesus is Lord of every area of our lives.

God bless all of us so that our calling Jesus, “Lord” may be accepted fully by God our father.

Let’s take individual time to pray and shout and cry, “Lord, may my cry be acceptable to you.”

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 17 / 2017
  • Comments Off on No Separation from the Love of God (Romans 8:28-39)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

No Separation from the Love of God (Romans 8:28-39)

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No Separation from the Love of God

Romans 8:28-39 (Pastor Heo)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  • Romans 8 opens with: No condemnation in Christ (v. 1)
  • Romans 8 closes with: No separation from the love of God

Romans 8 is the Christian’s proclamation of freedom in Christ

  1. Freedom from condemnation
  2. Freedom from defeat
  3. Freedom from discouragement
  4. Freedom from fear (today)
  • There is no judgment because we have the righteousness of God
  • There is no defeat because we have the Spirit of God
  • There is no frustration because we share the glory of God
  • There is no separation because we experience the love of God (v. 35)

v. 35 “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

v. 38-39 “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

v. 28 “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What is important is: Do you love God?

If you love God: then you are “called according to His purpose” – AND in all things, he works for your good.

Just remember, because of our limitations in knowledge, wisdom, understanding, faith, we may many times feel like saying, “Everything is going AGAINST me!” – but actually, “Everything is OK with me.” This is due to my own limitation.

Example of Jacob:

Once he said, “Everything is going against me” – but actually, everything was going well with him.

  • Jacob thought his dearest son Joseph was killed by wild animals.
  • Another time, there was no food – famine – so he sent his 10 sons (except Benjamin) to Egypt for food. Only 9 returned (not Simeon).
  • Sometime later, there was no food again, so he had to send 9 sons – but they said, “We must take Benjamin! Or we cannot get food!”
  • Jacob said, “No! Why? Everything is against me! Joseph and Simeon are no more. Why are you taking my last, dearest son?” Jacob shouted like this.

But the truth was the opposite. Joseph was the Prime Minister in Egypt. And Simeon was with him, in the rich land of Egypt – filled with food. And they waited for their whole family to come.

We also can be like Jacob. So, we must be faithful to remember that GOD is faithful – not only with our words “God is good, all the time” – but also with our actions – our daily, practical lives.

“In ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”

The Golden Chain of God’s full salvation

v. 29-30

“29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

  1. Foreknew
  2. Predestined
  3. Called
  4. Justified
  5. Glorified

#1. Foreknowledge

God is infinite in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, nothing is hidden. But what does THIS mean?

Matt 7:22 “Jesus: ‘On that day, many will come to me and say to me, “Lord, we did much in your name” but I will say to them, “I never knew you.”‘”

Jesus saying “you are evildoers” means he knows what kind of person they are – but this “knew you” = have a personal relationship with you

The meaning of God’s “foreknowledge” = has a relationship, plan, purpose for you.

#2. Predestined

God ordained, determined, decided, in advance to save you and me – before we were born – even before the Creation of the world.

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight, and God predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ in accordance with his good pleasure and purpose.”

#3. Calling

For an active relationship and communication, calling is very essential. You call your children, for example. This same God who called Moses, Abraham, etc, is still calling his people today.

There are TWO callings – and we must respond personally, individually by faith, not sight:

  1. Calling for salvation
    1. TO Christ
    2. OUT of this world – to be holy, separate, different from the world
  2. Calling for blessing
    1. INTO this world – to be a herald of Christ – a transformer of the world – we serve them with the message of the gospel

Are you hearing this calling? God is calling us all the time.

#4. Justification

5:1 “Since we have been justified by faith in Christ, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Justification = the act of God – where he declares (as highest judge) – “you are innocent & righteous” simply because you put your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.

This is a declarative word of God – not an action in us.

#5. Glorification

(Wait… is that PAST tense? – but glorification comes in the FUTURE, right?)

In the Greek Bible, the tense is “Past Perfect” = ONCE, done, for all.

Are you Christians?

Our final glorification is to be like Christ perfectly.

v. 29 “29 For those God foreknew he also predestined *to be conformed to the image of his Son*, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Review:

  1. Foreknowledge
  2. Predestination
  3. Calling
  4. Justification
  5. Glorification

Question: How far, from first to last? How long does it take to cover ALL steps? (God is not bound by time.)

  • In our experience, this process covers from ETERNITY PAST to ETERNITY FUTURE.
  • On God’s part, all five are INSTANTANEOUS – immediate and perfect at once.

This doctrine, “Predestination” is a GREAT mystery, but true and real.

  1. Point: Predestination applies only to the SAVED people. Nowhere does it say that “God predestined some to be eternally condemned.” – Predestination only applies to the Children of God. And this should make us humble, not proud. This should make us not doubt our salvation – but provide the ground for the Assurance of Salvation. Because this is not “you and me” – but GOD who initiates our salvation.
  2. Another point: This is not a source for debate, but rather a grounds for praise and worship to God.
  3. Last point: If we really believe this doctrine, “predestination” still DOES NOT excuse us from preaching the gospel. Rather, we must preach with GREAT responsibility for the lost. We must be very careful to understand the full heart of God in this case.

Story:

William Carey – the father of modern missions (British missionary to India)

Motto:

  • “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”

At that time, his heart was burning for world missions. Before going to India, in his 20s, there was a very important meeting – many of the members were church elders. In this meeting, he stood up and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we must DO world mission – we must send MORE missionaries abroad – please SEND ME!”

At that time, the Chairman said, “Hey! Sit down! You don’t know, God is Almighty, Omnipotent, can do ALL things. If God wants to save them, he can save them even if you do not go. But if God does not want them to be saved, he will not save them EVEN IF you go.'”

They understood only the “doctrine” of Predestination – but not the HEART of God.

Predestination means “God wants to save those he wants to save THROUGH OUR WITNESS.”

In the Bible, who uses this term “predestination”? Paul. (In Romans, in Ephesians)

This man who made the doctrine of Predestination clear confessed: 1 Cor 9:16 “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel of salvation. Even though I preach, I have nothing to boast. I’m forced to preach the gospel.'”

This is a REAL understanding of the Doctrine of Predestination.

This is the last review:

  1. Foreknowledge
  2. Predestination
  3. Calling
  4. Justification
  5. Glorification

If we believe this full course of our salvation, then we can SHOUT five things (with questions):

These are all rhetorical questions (spoken for emphasis): “Who knows” = “nobody knows”

1. (v. 31) If God is for us, who can be against us?

NO ONE

2. (v. 32) -how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

HE WILL GIVE US ALL THINGS – (what does he spare if he did not spare his own Son)

  • Phil 4:9 “My God will graciously meet all your needs”
  • Ps 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want”

3. (v. 33) Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

NO ONE

(But, actually, others may accuse us, even I can accuse myself – Satan always accuses us, prosecuting us – BUT all accusations against us are rejected and dismissed by God because HE has chosen us. For God to accuse us, it would mean his salvation job was a failure. Jesus already paid all penalties on the cross)

4. (v. 34) Who then is the one who condemns?

NO ONE

v. 1 “There is now no longer any condemnation in Christ” – there are 4 points:

  1. Jesus died for us
  2. Jesus rose for us
  3. Jesus is still alive for us
  4. This same Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God (dual intercession):
    1. Holy Spirit also intercedes for us (v. 28) and
    2. Christ intercedes for us at the right hand of God
      1. Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he lives to intercede for them.”

5. (v. 35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are **more than conquerors** through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • “I’m a Super Conqueror in Christ.”
  • “We are more than conquerors.”

In Christ,

  1. We are COMPLETELY victorious – because Christ paid the penalty and we enjoy his righteousness.
  2. We have freedom from defeat because Christ lives in us and we have his life.
  3. We have freedom from discouragement because Christ is coming soon and we will reign with him.
  4. We have freedom from fear because Christ is interceding for us and we cannot be separated from the Love of God.
  • Romans 8 opens: NO condemnation
  • Romans 8 closes: NO separation

“If God is for you, who can be against you?”

Let’s pray.

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