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  • Mar 31 / 2019
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Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Take Courage!

Download Notes in a .MD file

Acts 22:21-23:11 (Pastor Heo)

[Review last week]

The crowd was angry at Paul and mobbed him.

A Roman commander came and arrested him and started to take him away to calm the mob.

Paul asked to speak to the crowd, so the commander let him.

He spoke in Aramaic, so the commander didn’t understand – except that he riled up the crowd again.

He commanded Paul be taken and flogged.

“Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen?”

Surprised, the commander said, “I paid lots of money for my citizenship.”

Paul, “I was born one.”

Eventually, the commander handed him over to the Sanhedrin to deal with this.

[/Review]

21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Paul the Roman Citizen

22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Before the Sanhedrin

30 The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.

23:1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?”

5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'”

6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)

9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

**11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” **


Now we see the picture:

Paul is standing before the Sanhedrin – much as Jesus once did. Jesus’ apostles Peter, James, and John were also there, and now here is Paul.

Look at how many great opportunities they had to be saved, but they missed them all.

v. 1

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, ‘My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.'”

“Conscience” is one of Paul’s favorite words. (here and 24:16 “I did my best to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”) – He also mentioned this word 20 times in his epistles.

Conscience is the inner witness that approves when we do right and disapproves when we do wrong. It does not make the standards, it only applies the standards of any person – right or wrong, good or bad.

Conscience can be related to a window. God’s Word is the light. The cleaner the window, the more light shines in.

  • Good / pure consciences are those that let God’s light in so that we are properly convicted when we do wrong and encouraged when we do right.
  • Defiled consciences are those that have been sinned against so much, they become unreliable. These consciences become evil, seared consciences.

Imagine this situation with Paul. This is the Supreme Court.

Usually, when addressing the court, they will bow, and address, “Rulers of the people, and elders of the nation…” But Paul said, “My brothers…” – he put himself on equal footing with the court.

Due to this initial address, they were so angry. The High Priest ordered he be struck!

Paul said, “God will strike you! You sit in the seat of the Law, but violate that Law!”

Others, “He’s the High Priest.”

Paul, “Ooops, sorry, didn’t know that.” (is this truth or a lie? we don’t actually know)

Then, in THIS situation, he began his defense again.


To the crowd, he shared with his personal experience.

Now, to the court, he shared with his faith, in the resurrection of the dead.

  • According to their doctrine, Sadducees were “sad, you see” and didn’t believe in spiritual things – they only believed in the visible, secular world.
  • But the Pharisees believed in spirits, and angels, and the resurrection of the dead.

So, there became an uproar in the court over this, and Paul was again in the middle of it. He was taken out by the guards and thrown again into the dark barracks.

Imagine how Paul would feel in this situation. This was one of the darkest nights in Paul’s life. Paul was emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausted and humiliated – he was completely alone and disheartened.

In this situation (we also can become like this) Jesus himself stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!”

v. 11

“11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” “

This story is similar to the story in the OT with Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego. When these three spoke BOLDLY and the king threatened to throw them into the fire, the three said to him, “King! We do not defend ourselves before you only. God is able to rescue us from this fire! But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know that we will never serve your gods, nor bow to the image of gold you have made!”

They were thrown into the fire, and the guards who took them close died from the heat. The king looked in, and saw FOUR! men. He’s an unbeliever, but he saw four men walking through the fire, unbound, unharmed. The fourth man looked like a Son of God.

(This is another pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ in human history.)

John 1:14 – We know that Jesus was incarnated as a baby.

But here, in the OT, we also see the incarnation of God.

And again, Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever – stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage!”

This same sentence is still being spoken by Christ to us today~ but some hear and others don’t here.

There are 5 times in the NT this encouragement is spoken by Christ. In all situations, it is ONLY Jesus Christ who said, “Take heart, take courage.” Only Jesus has the right to say this to us.

  1. To the bedridden paralytic – “Take heart! Your sins are forgiven.”
  2. A woman, subjected to bleeding for 12 years – touched his cloak (he knew who) – “My daughter, take heart! Your faith has healed you.”
  3. To his terrified disciples, on the stormy sea, Jesus approached by walking on the water (they thought it was a ghost) – “Take courage! It is I!”
  4. On the night before his crucifixion, in the upper room – “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in me.” (Also in John – “Take heart! For I have overcome the world!”)
  5. Here in Acts – to Paul

All of these are only said by Jesus.

If I say to you, ‘Take courage’ it will have a minor impact. But if CHRIST says this to you – directly, strongly – it will have a MAJOR impact on your life – because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  1. So, HOW can we listen to his living voice today, now and here?
  2. A: Through his Word.
  • John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word… we have seen his glory…”
  • Romans 10 “Do not say in your hearts, who will ascend or descend to bring Christ to you? The Word is near you – in your mouth, in your heart.”

We can hear his Word through the Bible.

Also, in the OT, God said to Joshua this same message – multiple times, “Be strong and VERY courageous!”

  • Joshua “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
  • Psalm 1:2 “Blessed is the man who meditates on the word of the Lord day and night…”

HOW can we meditate on the Word of God?

We already know (in our hearts).

Do you know how to worry? You think about it all the time, all the ins-and-outs, all the bad possibilities. You are meditating on your worry…

If you think about something over and over in your mind – this is meditation.

  • If you think negatively over and over in your mind, this is worry. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.
  • If you think about the Word of God over and over in your mind, this is meditation.

Merely shift your attention from your PROBLEM -> The WORD of God. The MORE you meditation on the Word of God, the less you will worry. (Your mind cannot think about both things at once. Whichever you meditate on will fill your thoughts.)

Romans 8:34 “Who is it that condemns us? Jesus Christ is sitting on the right hand of God and interceding for us.”

TAKE COURAGE!

There are three messages here:

  1. Message of Courage (encouragement)
  2. Message of Commendation (praise) – “As *you have* testified about me in Jerusalem” – Jesus did not rebuke him for no (obvious) fruit, but Jesus praised him for his ministry. Remember, there is NO failure in our preaching the gospel to this world – because preaching the gospel ITSELF is success.
  3. Message of Confidence – “You *will go* to Rome.” (You will not die before you finish your mission)

Are you servants of Christ? Then you have a mission – given to you by Christ. And the servants of Christ are immortal until your task is DONE. No servant of Christ dies until his / her task is done – that which is given by Christ.

“Take courage” has so many messages

  • …because I’m with you.
  • …because I care for you,
  • I’m responsible for you, your life,
  • I will do my job through you,

Let’s pray.

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:13-22

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 4:12

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

Acts 19:15-16

These men were overpowered and received a beating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:17

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

Philippians 2:8-11

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

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

Acts 19:18-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 19:20

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

Paul’s final resolution

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

Acts 19:21-22

Paul’s resolution: to visit Rome

Do you have also New Year’s resolutions?

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

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

Jerusalem

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

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

Romans 15:25-26

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

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

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

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

Rome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Paul’s Eagerness to go to Rome

Romans 15:23-33 (Pastor Heo)

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


v. 24-28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God gives more to the giver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why was Paul so eager to go to Rome?

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

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

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

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

v. 29-33

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Characteristics of the gospel

The gospel is:

1. The POWER of God

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

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

Spiritually, this was Rome.

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

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

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

2. The FRUIT is salvation

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

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

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

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

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

3. The gospel is for EVERYONE

The outreach of the gospel = the whole world

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

We are not to behave,
but to believe.

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

Saving faith is like pure gold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 09 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Triumphant Finale! (Acts 28:1-31)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Triumphant Finale! (Acts 28:1-31)

06.09

06.09.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Ashore on Malta

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” 23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 ” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

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