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  • Dec 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”


Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.

 

  • Dec 09 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Story of the First Christian in Europe (Acts 16:11-15)

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The story of the first Christian in Europe

Acts 16:11-15 (Pastor Heo)

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.


15:36-18:32 = Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

The original plan was to revisit the churches he’d previously established already in Asian Minor. But the area of his journey was unexpectedly widened.

First part: revisited Derbe, Lystra, Iconium – and tried to preach in neighboring areas. But he was prevented from preaching the gospel by the HS. So, he tried to go near the Black Sea, but he wasn’t allowed. God closed the door twice. So, he went to Troas – the west end of Asia Minor. Here, God opened the door through a vision.

Yes, God closes some doors and opens others. Even today, all our steps and all our stops should be led and guided by God.

In this story, God closed the familiar, easy, known doors, but opened the difficult, impossible, farther doors. We can see 4 wonderful openings in this chapter.

  1. Opened the doors for Europe mission
  2. Opened the heart of Lydia
  3. Opened the doors of the prison (earthquake) – next Sunday
  4. Opened the doors of the Philippian jailors – next Sunday

Practical lesson:

  • Some doors we want to be opened may be closed (job seeking, children’s education, dreams, ambitions, family, etc).
  • But what is important is that though some doors are closed DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED – because God can open unexpected doors.
  • Never give up expecting the unexpected guidance of God.

Chp 16 highlights 3 individuals who became believers by Paul’s ministry in Macedonia:

  1. Lydia – business woman
  2. Demon-possessed girl
  3. Philippian jailor

Even today, the gospel reaches old and young, rich and poor, male and female, because it is unchangeable and immutable. “The gospel is the POWER of God for everyone who believes.”

v. 11-12

“11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. “

We know Troas was the place where Paul saw the vision of the man of Macedonia. In response to this, Paul and his team immediately boarded the ship and sailed across the Aegean Sea. They traveled 10 miles inland to Philippi from there. This is a significant location for European mission.

The city name = named after Philip II of Macedon – the father of Alexander the Great. This city became a Roman colony in 42 BC. This place is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe. It was Paul’s first mission in Europe as well. He wrote a letter called: “Philippians” to this church – it is very tender, showing his relationship with this first church he planted.

Remember: Philippi is the FIRST place the gospel was preached in Europe and the first mission of Paul in Europe.

v. 13

“13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. “

Are you also looking for a “place of prayer” in your life?

Remember, Paul always went to the synagogue first in a new city. This is where the truth-seekers went – the Jews and the Gentiles who liked the Jewish traditions.

Actually, there was no synagogue in Philippi – there were very few Jews. In Jewish traditions, at least 10 Jewish men needed to be present for their to be a synagogue. In this situation, the Jewish people would often go outside the city near the riverbank or seaside for prayer. That’s why Paul went out there – also to pray for guidance in his ministry and to find the people who were praying.

Paul knew personally that God had called him there – but he still needed to pray.

  • Yes, when we do NOT know God’s will, we must pray. We know this.
  • But, when we DO know God’s will, we ALSO must pray.

Someone said, “We don’t need to pray because ‘God knows your needs before you ask.'” But actually the OPPOSITE is true. If we believe this, then we absolutely MUST pray! Because God will meet our need through our prayer. It is not enough to know WHAT and WHERE God wants us to work, but we must also learn WHEN and HOW he wants us to work.

In this place, Paul’s first contact was with a group of women (even though he’d seen a man in his vision). He presented the gospel to these women.

God led Paul to a Roman colony and a Christian flag was “unfurled” in Rome that day. This area became the beginning of the mission.

v. 14

“14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

One woman responded to his message – a woman from Thyatira (referenced in Revelation later) named Lydia.

This woman Lydia, like Cornelius, was very religious and sincere – a worshiper of God – a woman of high character, but not yet saved (so she needed salvation). She needed Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else.” (this is a basic pillar of Christianity).

We need to notice that God opened her heart to respond to the message of the gospel. God opened her heart. This woman listened earnestly, positively, attentively, to the Word of God. It is the Word of God that brings the hearer to Christ (Rom 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing”)

  • Phil 2:12 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”
  • Jesus: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and obeys them … has crossed over from death to life.”

Paul’s witness of Christ and Lydia’s attentive listening was opened and orchestrated by God. God is opening and closing the doors.

  • Proverbs 13:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his footsteps.”
  • “Trust in God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength; in all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

v. 15

“15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. “

As Lydia placed her trust in Christ, she experienced the joy of all her sins being forgiven, and her joy overflowed into her whole household – and they were all saved and baptized together. This is “household salvation”. In Acts, there are at least 4 instances of this occurring.

  1. Chp 10: Cornelius and family
  2. Chp 16: Lydia and family
  3. Chp 16: Jailor and family (next week)
  4. Chp 18: Crispus and family

They were all converted together and baptized together (not necessary for salvation). Baptism is an OUTWARD sign of an INWARD reality – that you now belong to Christ.

She then invited the missionaries to use her house as their home base while in Philippi.

The fruit of her conversion: hospitality

Actually, this is so important: the ministry of hospitality.

  • Romans 12:13 “Share with those who are in need, practice hospitality.”
  • 1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Hospitality is related to “hospital” and “hospice.” We practice this when we generously and cordially throw open the doors of our house to care for, strengthen, edify, build up others.

The result? Others find emotional, mental, physical help – they leave us as healthier, happier, more whole people than when they came to us.

Is this your hospitality? Is this your practice?

Our house should be a hospital and hospice.

We are saved by grace alone through faith alone (plus nothing). But remember, salvation has POWER and generates FRUIT.

  • “Salvation has POWER”
  • “Salvation is new Life”
  • “Salvation is new Creation”

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation. Behold! The Old has gone, the New has come!”

So, if we are TRULY saved, then we will be changed, and there will be transformation in our lives as evidence of this change.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)

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The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ [Amos 9:11-12] 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain (1) from food sacrificed to idols, (2) from blood, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. 30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them [34 but Silas decided to remain there]. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.


This, chp 15 is the first church council / conference in history. This is “The Jerusalem Council”. Main locations are Jerusalem and Antioch (300 miles / 500 km between them). This council happens between Paul’s 1st and 2nd Missionary Journeys.

  • Chp 13, 14 = Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey
  • Chp 16, 17, 18 = Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey

There is only one agenda here: is circumcision essential for Gentile salvation? No. This may seem very clear to us today, but at that time, it was very divisive and debated.

The question was: Should Gentiles be circumcised first to be saved?

In many cities, during Paul’s Missionary Journey, many Gentiles turned to the Lord and became believers. Also many Gentile churches were planted there, and this news spread rapidly even to Jerusalem.

Some Jewish believers were happy, but others were not – they also doubted the salvation of the Gentiles and their sincerity.

To Jews, at that time, circumcision signified them as God’s covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back – he would be a Jew forever. Of all the traditions of the Jews, at that time, circumcision was the MOST IMPORTANT to distinguish them from their pagan neighbors.

When the Gentiles began to believe, Paul and Barnabas were preaching the simple message, “Just believe in Christ and be saved.” But the Judaizers were afraid that soon the Gentiles would outnumber the Jews and that the Gentile believers would lower the moral standard of the Jews – if they didn’t strictly follow the Jewish laws.

So, elders came down from Antioch and strongly argued that the Gentiles must become circumcised (must become Jewish) first before being saved.

Consider this situation:

  • A Korean says to a non-Korean, “You must become Korean before you can become a Christian.”
  • Or a black man to a white man, “You must become black before you can become a Christian.”

This is silly.

We should say to EVERYONE, “Believe in Christ Jesus and be saved!” Short and simple.

So, Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to make this clear.

v. 1-2

“1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

As delegates, Paul and Barnabas and others, went to Jerusalem to have this big meeting with the other elders there. At first, in this meeting, Paul and Barnabas gave their first missionary report (just as they did at Antioch church). If Antioch church is the mother church in that Paul and Barnabas are foreign ministers sent by the church, then the Jerusalem church is the “grandmother church.” Jerusalem was the mother church of Antioch church.

After their mission report, strong Judaizers stood up and argued strongly, “No! Gentiles must be circumcised first!”

v. 5

“5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” “

They had much discussion, and the head of the conference, Peter stood up and spoke. He made it very clear that Gentile salvation is only “by faith in Christ through grace” (“plus nothing”). The decision of this council is:

“Salvation is the grace of God through faith in Christ PLUS nothing

Peter also made it clear that God had purified Gentiles as a result of his ministry experience (Cornelius in chp 10) – this happened about 10 years earlier. Peter shared his own ministry experience with Cornelius to the assembly. Then, Paul and Barnabas also shared their experiences in their First Missionary journey – the signs, miracles, and wonders that are evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles.

v. 12

“12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. “

  • First speaker: Peter
  • Second speaker: Paul and Barnabas
    • They shared their ministry experiences and supported each other.
  • Final speaker: James

After listening to his argument, this conference reached its conclusion with their final decision.

v. 13-21

“13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: [Amos 9:11-12] 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain (1) from food polluted by idols, (2) from sexual immorality, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.””

This James is the brother of Jesus and the writer of the epistle James, as well as one of the head leaders of the Jerusalem church. He was well-respected and well-known for his holiness and devotion to the Law. He was called “Camel Knees” (because he prayed so much) 낙타 무릎

His point is: God’s promise given to David – to keep his kingdom – was not earthly/politically, but by the Messiah who would renew the spiritual kingdom and rule forever. This was evidenced by the resurrection of Christ and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. So, the salvation of Gentiles by the grace of God through faith alone, does not contradict the Old Testament scriptures.

  • Peter, Paul, and Barnabas used: missionary experience to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • James used: the Word of God (Amos) to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone

The four of them had the same argument. The difference =

  • Paul, Peter, Barnabas used the experience;
  • James used the Word of God.

Thus, we can witness that the final test of truth is the Word of God.

Yes, ministry experience and our own beliefs are important. But the final test of truth must be the Word of God. This is the only absolute proof and absolute standard. Thus, what is important is what the Word of God says. The more we read, meditate, etc, the better able we will be able to determine what is correct in times of doctrinal debate.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

  1. Idolatry (free FROM it, not TO it)
  2. Sexual immorality
  3. Meat of strangled animals
  4. Blood

Do you eat blood? No problem, this is not a matter of salvation.

In fellowship, eating together is a big part of fellowship. Without eating together, having fellowship is almost impossible.

Lev 17:11, 12 “The life of a creature is in the blood. Do not eat blood.”

Do you know strangling an animal would keep the blood in the circulatory system and not drained away. This would cause the blood to be eaten with the meat.

If we kill by strangling, it is difficult to remove blood from the meat. So at that time, Jews never ate blood. But doing this was very common to Gentiles. So, by eating blood, it would be almost impossible to have fellowship between Jews and Gentiles.

At that time, they often shared common meals like our potluck. This is not a matter of salvation, but a matter of nutrition, unity, fellowship, etc. We want unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Even today, we must learn the art of “loving compromise.”

Yes, no question, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But IF we are, there must be evidence of change – by rejecting the old lifestyle – because “salvation has power” and “salvation is NEW life.”

2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation…”

They reached this final agreement and wrote a letter – the decision of this council – to send to Antioch church to encourage and strengthen them.


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


Antioch sent two delegates: Paul & Barnabas to Jerusalem with this debate. Jerusalem sent two delegates back: Judas (Jew) & Silas (Gentile) with this news

v. 34

“34 but Silas decided to remain there” (some manuscripts have this, some don’t) NIV: no KJV: yes

Later, this Silas will accompany Paul in his Second Missionary journey in the place of Barnabas who visited different cities with John Mark.

Next Sunday, we will begin the study of this Second Missionary journey.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

Yes, we say this today, but practically, there are many challenges and temptations to add small things.

  • Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – this not of yourselves, it is the work of God – so that no one can boast.”
  • Romans “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation in Christ, for the law of Christ sets me free from the law of sin and death…”

Remember, the death of Christ is the price paid for our redemption and salvation and freedom.

In ancient markets, slaves were bought for a price. Redemption speaks of the purchase of our salvation – as the price for our sin. The emphasis is on our “freedom” which we receive by the price paid by Christ.

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

  • Essentials: Unity
  • Non-essentials: Diversity
  • All things: Charity and freedom
  1. “In essentials: unity;” (Eph 4 – “One God, one faith, one baptism, one hope”)
  2. “In non-essentials: diversity and variety;”
  3. “In all things: Charity and liberty.”

“God bless you with unity, variety, charity, and liberty.”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 02 / 2018
  • Comments Off on You are an Usher of Christ to the World (Acts 10:1-33)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You are an Usher of Christ to the World (Acts 10:1-33)

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You are an usher of Christ

Acts 10:1-33 (Pastor Heo)

10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. 5 The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa. 9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.

13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. 17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

24 The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”


The first part of chp 10 is the story of the conversion of Gentiles – Cornelius and his relatives. This is a pivotal chapter – a turning point in the history of the church. The one true God, the God of the Hebrews was about to unveil his plan – hidden throughout the ages. There was no Jew or Gentile – all are united in Christ.

Peter was holding the keys to faith.

  • Chp 2 – He opened the door of faith to the Jews.
  • Chp 8 – To the Samaritans
  • Chp 10 – To the Gentiles

This chp 10 happened about 10 years after the Pentecost. God is expanding the growth of the church founded on the crucifixion of Christ on the cross.

Cornelius and his family are the first Gentile converts – they are the beginning of the expansion of the church. This is starting to fulfill the prophecy of Christ (Acts 1:8)

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

v. 1-2

“10:1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”

This Caesarea was located on the coast of the Mediterranean – 100 km NW of Jerusalem. It was the largest and most important port city of the sea. It was the capital of its province and the first to have non-Jewish converts and a non-Jewish Christian church.

Cornelius was a centurion (cent = 100) = commander of 100 soldiers (but actually the regiment had 300-600 soldiers). They were the backbone of the Roman legion, doing most of the work – intermediate ranking.

  1. He was a man of devotion – pious, sincere
  2. He was “God-fearing” (In NT times, it is a technical term for Gentiles who were weary of small Roman gods and had attached themselves to the Jewish religion. They studied the Word of God and attended synagogues.)
  3. He was an alms (tithe) giver – so respected even among the Jews
  4. He was a man of prayer (Jews had 3x prayers per day, morning, noon, afternoon (3pm))
  5. He was noble, a man of character, generous giver, a man of prayer
  6. He WAS NOT YET saved

This is the point – he needed to be saved. Later he and his family would be saved through the ministry of Peter.

Why not saved? Because he was a Gentile? No. Because he did not yet believe and receive Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He did not yet recognize in his heart and with his mouth that “Jesus is Lord.”

We must remember that this is very important.

It is very possible to be:

  1. Nice
  2. Holy
  3. Devout
  4. Pious
  5. A generous giver
  6. A man or prayer
  7. NOT be saved

He was a good example of a very religious person – but the difference between himself and others was that he KNEW his religion enough was not enough to save him. But some “religious” people still think that their good character and behavior will warrant them into heaven.

Please remember, “Salvation is a transformational event that happens immediately to a believer.” That’s why it’s called “rebirth” – “born again.”

Salvation is NOT a step-by-step thing (that is sanctification AFTER salvation).

We know today there are many sects, cults, religions, etc who say, “Yes, we believe in God.” But salvation is found in NO ONE else – except Jesus Christ.

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

v. 3

“3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!””

He was diligently seeking the truth. So God sent an angel to him. The main job of an angel is to deliver the message of God – angel = “herald.” Angels may deliver God’s message, but they are not able to preach the gospel. This is the responsibility God has given to Man.

v. 4-6

“4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. 5 The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.””

Joppa is 50km from Caesarea. But Cornelius obeyed immediately (he’s a soldier). So, when they arrived at Joppa, they had almost arrived at Simon the tanner’s house, and at noon, Peter was praying on the (flat) roof of the house. (Houses were usually small and crowded with many members – so people went to the roof for privacy.)

Peter was hungry and in a trance, a vision. In this vision, he saw a sheet being lowered from heaven with ALL kinds of animals, birds, and fish.

v. 9-12

“9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.”

v. 13-16

“13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”

  • This happened exactly THREE times.
  • (Look at very 19, THREE men came for him.)

Question:

  • Can you say “No” to your boss? No, you may be fired.
  • So, how can you say “No” to God?

2 Cor 1 “All things can be ‘yes’ in God – to the glory of God.”

  • If God is really your Lord, you cannot say “No”.
  • If you can say “No”, then he is not (yet) really your Lord.

v. 17-20

“17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.””

Next time we will see the message of Peter and their salvation story.

v. 25-33

“25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” 30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.””

At the end of last Sunday’s sermon, I said Peter was staying in Joppa after he raised Tabitha to life. Then MANY people turned to the Lord after that – but they needed Christian education, so Peter stayed with Simon the tanner for a considerable time.

Actually, this was an “unclean” job according to Jewish standards. So, this was beginning to break down his prejudice against people who were not like him. Why is this important? In the gospel, all barriers are broken down.

In the Bible, “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.”

  • Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, Greek, slave nor free, we are all one in Christ.”
  • Romans “This righteousness from God comes from faith in Christ.”
  • Romans 10:12-13 “There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. There is one God who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Mosaic Law was a barrier between Jews and Gentiles. But this barrier was broken down by Christ’s death on the cross. At the moment of his death, the veil that separated the temple into the Holiest Place and the Holy Place was torn – this was a spiritual symbol.

“Jesus is our peace.”

He has destroyed all barriers between us. His purpose was to create ONE people from the two. He put to death their hostility. He preached peace to the Gentiles and to the Jews. Thus, through Christ we all have access to God through one Holy Spirit.

Do you have any prejudice? “That person is not my style, not my type, not like me.”

Concluding story

(True story in human history)

Mahatma Gandhi

He was a peaceable leader of the resistance against the British Empire’s occupation of India. In his autobiography, he wrote:

In England, he read the Bible very much in his time as a student there. He was very moved, very touched by reading the gospels – especially the Sermon on the Mount (“if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him your left as well”).

He seriously considered becoming a Christian – away from his Hinduism. He thought this might provide a solution to the caste system that divided India.

One Sunday, he went to church and afterward wanted to ask the pastor about salvation. When he arrived, he approached a beautiful sanctuary. But at the gate, an usher stopped him and did not allow Gandhi to enter the sanctuary. “Please go somewhere else – suitable for you.”

After that, he left the church and NEVER came back for his whole life.

Yes, Gandhi liked the teaching of Christ, so he wanted to meet Christ personally. But it was the Christians themselves, not atheists, Hindus, etc, who stopped him from coming to Christ.

Imagine if Gandhi had become a Christian – how much different history would be. We cannot imagine.

Lesson: An usher often has much more authority than a pastor – because if the usher does not let someone in, then they will never hear the message of the pastor.

We often hear the message: “All religions are equal.” No. This is false. Christ alone is the Lord of all humanity and all human beings. Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.

Remember, whenever we preach the gospel to ANYONE – Jesus confronts them with his strong command and demand to throw away their old values and replace them with himself.

This powerful encounter is indispensable and cannot be avoided – because only Christ Jesus can save.

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

“I’m an usher of Christ in this world.”

Many churches have made BIG mistakes like this. Even the Korean church – had once separated the church into “men’s side” and “women’s side.”

We must be careful.

“We are all ONE in Christ Jesus.

Let’s pray.

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

The Greatest Miracle (Acts 9:32-43)

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The Greatest Miracle~!

Acts 9:32-43 (Pastor Heo)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two stories:

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

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

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

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

So, how did the message come to them?

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

Peter came to visit them in Lydda.

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

#1 Miracle: Healing a paralytic

v. 33-34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Ministry Work

v. 35

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

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

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

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

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

#2 Miracle: Raising the Dead

v. 36-37

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

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


Jonah’s story

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


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

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

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

v. 38-41

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we know, the dead certainly cannot exercise faith.

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

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

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

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

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

The source of our life / faith is only Christ.

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

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

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

Are you believers? Saints?

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

Conclusion

v. 42-43

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

Remember the conclusion of the first miracle?

v. 35

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

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

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

v. 43

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

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

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

We can see “saints” two times here.

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

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

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

“I’m saved to serve others.”

“I’m saved for greater service.”

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • 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)

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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.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

Jesus Christ is the only way

Acts 4:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

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


Today we see Peter’s 3rd sermon.

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

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

Historic Context

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

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

v. 1-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a practical question.

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

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

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

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

v. 6-7

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

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

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

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

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

v. 7-11 (Peter’s answer and sermon)

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

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

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

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

How is this boldness, fearlessness possible?

The HS made this attitude possible.

v. 8

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

I said already,

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

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

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

“Know this!”

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

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

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

The death of Christ

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

The resurrection of Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climax/conclusion:

memorize this verse and keep it in your hearts.

v. 12

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

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

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

Is this verse a blessing or a burden to you?

“no one else”

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

What is your reaction, answer, response?

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

Good News!

  • There is salvation! Salvation can be found!

Heavy News…

  • No one else?…

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

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

What is your reaction to this?

Sinking ship

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

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

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

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

Burning building

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

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

What shall you do?

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

Reality

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

God has provided only ONE way to salvation: Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

Let us shout this sentence together.

Today, repeat this sentence 100 times.

Let’s pray.

  • 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)

Download notes in a .MD file

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)

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.

  • Jan 28 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Accept the Ones Whom Our Lord Accepted

Romans 14:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.


Bible says, “be completely humble, gentle, patient, very accepting of one another in love. Do you best to keep the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace, because there is ONE body, ONE spirit, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God, who is the Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.” (Eph?)

Disunity is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses to destroy the body of Christ. This is one of the most common devices in church history. Almost EVERY church mentioned in the Bible had disunity. For example:

The Corinthian church

  • “I follow Peter”,
  • others, “I follow Paul”,
  • others “I follow Apollos”,
  • others, “I follow Christ” –
  • some were even suing each other.

Galatians – some were biting each other.

Even today we have some areas in our church that are not clearly defined in the Bible.

Antioch Church

A few years ago we know that Antioch Church experienced BIG disunity over the location of the main sanctuary (here or Chonbuk Uni). Some members left – but thankfully now, all matters all solved and we are growing.

Other examples:

Some people in church fight each other over small, simple things:

  • curtain color,
  • size of the pulpit,
  • position of the piano

Yes, just as fighting among children makes their parents sad, so fighting among church members makes God unhappy and Satan happy.

Today’s topic: “Accept the Ones whom our Lord Accepted”

It handles small topics:

  • food,
  • diet,
  • daily activities

Food sacrificed to idols

At that time, some members had very strong convictions about meat sacrificed to idols:

  • “I must stay away from this ‘dirty’ food.”

But others had the opposite conviction,

  • “No, idols are meaningless to this food. I can eat all things through Christ…”

Day of worship

Also some people thought certain days were more holy than other days

  • “Sunday is the most holy because Christ rose from the dead” –

others

  • “No, Saturday is the most holy because it’s the Sabbath and God rested” –

others

  • “No, Friday, because Christ was crucified for our sins on that day.”

Do you eat only veggies? Snake? Lion? Horse? Cow? Lamb?

Whatever your conviction – you are free to follow your own conviction – because this is NOT a matter of:

  • salvation
  • spirituality
  • maturity

This is just a collective, personal, cultural custom – or has its roots in these things. This is not about justification, salvation, sanctification.

Therefore, we should NOT despise others who have different opinions and convictions (about these small things) than we do.

There are 4 reasons why we should not judge other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Also, 4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Negatively: 4 reasons NOT to judge
  • Positively: 4 reasons TO accept our brothers & sisters in Christ
  1. To self: “Do not judge others.”
  2. To neighbor: “I accept you.”

Why NOT to judge

#1 We have NO PERMISSION from God to judge

“Do not judge” is not a suggestion from God, but a command of God. To judge others is to go against the command of our Lord.

Matt 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. In the same way you will be judged, with the same measure you will be judged. Don’t look at the speck in his eye, but ignore the plank in your eye. How can you say, ‘Let me help you with that’ and ignore the plank in your own eye?”

What is a plank? The judgmental eye. If you have this kind of eye, you are carrying a plank in your eye.

Remember, we have no permission to judge others

#2 We have NO ABILITY / POWER to judge

What does this mean? To judge correctly, I must know perfectly and completely

  1. the MOTIVE someone is doing something –
  2. the REASON and
  3. also the PURPOSE –
  4. as well as the INFLUENCE
  5. and IMPACT his action has on others,
  6. including HOW his behavior will be JUDGED by GOD.

In order to judge fully and completely, we must be omniscient. Perfect in knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom. Only GOD is this.

We are limited in our understanding, time, space, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

Therefore, no one has the ability to judge.

#3 We have NO RIGHT to judge

To be qualified, we must be perfect, infallible, faultless, blameless, esp in our character – particularly in the area we judge others.

For example, if I want to judge others in the area of HONESTY, I must be perfectly honest – throughout the course of my life.

If I want to judge others in PRIDE, I must have been humble throughout the whole course of my life.

We must be perfect in our character and personality. But nobody is perfect.

Therefore, we have no RIGHT to judge others.

#4 We have NO AUTHORITY to judge

The authority to judge belongs to a judge (God is the ultimate judge).

To judge is a judge’s job – no one else carries this authority nor title. Raise you hand if there is a judge among us.

In the matter of spiritual things, nobody is a judge. We are all to be judged by God – the only, ultimate authority and judge over human life.

The title “judge” belongs to God alone.

Romans 2:1 “YOU therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else. For wherever you pass judgment, you condemn yourself because you do the same things.”

James 4:11 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him is speaking against the Law and judges him. When you judge the Law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment only. There is only one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbors?” (네가 뭔데?)

4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ

Say one more time to your neighbor: “I accept you.”

  • Really? Do you really accept me?
  • Yes, I really accept you.

#1 BECAUSE GOD accepted him

v. 1-3

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”

Conclusion in this passage:

  • Starting word: “Accept him”
  • Finishing word: “God has accepted him”

This is VERY, VERY clear.

We are Christians, true? What does this mean? Christian = “Children of God” – those who accepted his grace – and are accepted BY his grace and mercy.

If we are Christians, this means that:

  1. GOD accepted us AS WE WERE (as we still are).
  2. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE children of the devil.
  3. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE sinners.
  4. We were the object of wrath, but he accepted us as the object of blessing.
  5. We were his enemies, but he accepted us as his children.

We have and enjoy and experience this kind of wonderful acceptance by God – so HOW can we refuse those others whom God has also accepted?

  • Please, do not reject the one who God rejected.
    • If we reject this person, we reject GOD who accepted this person.
  • Please, do not despise the one God loves.
  • Please, do not reject the one God accepted.

Christian = “group of people accepted by God unconditionally by his mercy and grace simply because we have put our faith in him”

#2 BECAUSE GOD makes him/her stand/not fall

v. 4

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Once justified by faith – NEVER changes.

Once real salvation is granted/experienced – it never changes, this is eternal.

If it is possible for salvation to be lost, then it CANNOT be called “eternal life.” But in the Bible, salvation and eternal life are synonyms.

Jesus “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, and no one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John)

No matter how someone looks right now, if he has salvation, he will not fall, he will stand. God will make him/her stand, not fall. So, how can we reject the one God makes stand in the final situation in his/her life? So, we must accept this person as well – because FINAL victory, life, salvation is guaranteed by the grace of God.

#3 BECAUSE his Lord is my Lord, my Lord is his Lord

We worship the SAME God. So how can we reject him whose Lord is my Lord? curios “Lord” is repeated 8 times in this passage.

Key verse is verse 8:

v. 5-9

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

Conclusion: Jesus Christ is the Lord of ALL – both Christians and non-Christians. The only difference?

  • Christians KNOW he’s our Lord.
  • Non-Christians DO NOT KNOW he’s their Lord.

He is the Lord of

  • Christians,
  • non-Christians,
  • the living,
  • the dead,
  • all creation,
  • even non-living things.
  • “God is sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”

The moon, stars, sun, planets, etc. ALL things in the universe and on earth are THERE and sustained / supported by Christ. (Heb 1)

This means – if you reject somebody (yes, you are free to do so) – it means you are rejecting the one for whom Jesus died and returned to life to be his Lord.

v. 9 “9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

How can we reject somebody for the very person that Jesus died and returned to life for to become his Lord.

Key verse:

v. 8 “8 If [I] live, [I] live to the Lord; and if [I] die, [I] die to the Lord. So, whether [I] live or die, [I] belong to the Lord.”

Jesus is forever a living presence – and all life is lived in his eyes. We do not need to speak of living as if he doesn’t see us. We can no more escape from the risen Christ than we can escape from his shadow.

In this world, we are living in his unseen presence.

In the next world, we will be living in his physical, visible presence. Even physical death cannot break this presence.

Physical death is the gateway / entrance that leads to Christ. Therefore, whether we live in this world or the next, we live in the presence of Christ.

#4 BECAUSE we are brothers and sisters in Christ – and our judge is only Christ

We are to be judged TOGETHER – by the same Judge. Your judge is my judge, my judge is your judge. All human beings are judged by this ONE judge.

v. 10-12

“10 You, then, why do you judge your brother [and sister]? Or why do you look down on your brother [and sister]? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

In Christ, through the same faith, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you believe this? Amen.

By faith in Christ, if we are brothers and sisters – by the same faith in Christ – the question is: FOR HOW LONG will we be brothers and sisters in Christ? (Forever.)

We have no choice / no option to accept each other together because we are to live as brothers and sisters together forever. Are you bored? Tired of this? You actually have no choice in the matter.

v. 10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Are you happy or worried about this final judgment seat?

“The Bema Seat”

This is the final judgment seat – but we do not need to be afraid of this seat.

  • To the Lost / unsaved = the Final Judgment = final entrance into Hell
  • To the Christians = the Bema Seat = final place to receive the reward “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to each according to what he has done.”

The Bema Seat has nothing to do with our sin – because Jesus has already paid our WHOLE sin on the cross. “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:4 “Blessed is the man whose sins are not counted against him.”

BUT – even though we have this Bema Seat – it should not give us license to sin again.

So, how can we prepare for this? We must recognize and acknowledge Christ as Lord and God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

v. 11 “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)

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Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:8-14 (Pastor Heo)

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


Let me tell my experience.

About 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a helping ministry on a small island (Mango-do?) – my church planted a small church on that island (population < 150 – only about 40 families). There was no clinic, hospital, post office, etc. There was only one elementary school – with only 5 students. In 2000, that school closed. One of the students was the pastor’s daughter.

I helped with cleaning and evangelism.

The people were surrounded by water. In ALL directions, they could only see a horizontal line. There was nothing to see except water.

Can you imagine? The most difficult thing was that there was NO water to drink, cook with, shower with, etc. There was NO way to GET water. There was only ONE way to get water: from heaven. It was called “heavenly water” by the people. So, every time it rained, the whole population came out to receive as much water as they could – even 2am. Water seemed to be a savior to them.

I stayed there for 6 days but did not take a shower even though I sweat so much. Through this experience, I think this generation is like this spiritually.

Our generation is FULL of love, but LACK *real* love.

Music, books, movies use the word love so easily.

2 Tim 3 “Mark this, there will be terrible times at the last days. They will be lovers of self, money, physical pleasure.” (sinful, sensual love – but little love of God and neighbors and enemies)

That’s why Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commands.”

“A new commandment I give you: love one another. By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Whoever does not love, does not know God.”

This means – “whoever does not love proves he is not saved – or does not know he is saved” – because God’s saving power is motivated by his unconditional love.

If we are saved, we have already experienced his unconditional love. To experience this love and then NOT show it to others is to not have experienced this love at all.

“I should love.”

But I have no power to show this agape love.

Today gives us the KEY to this love.

Yes, there are many many reasons for us to love if we are really born again Christians. But there are three reasons here in this passage why we should love: God, our neighbors, our enemies.

3 Reasons WHY we should love

#1 Because we are debtors

v. 8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Our duty to love one another is called “continual debt.”

v. 7 says “give everyone what you owe him. If taxes, then tax, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This means that ALL kinds of debt must be repaid.

If you have debt, you must pay – without paying, you will go to prison.

In this life, there is only one debt that cannot be paid fully: God’s love.

Apostle Paul confessed: “I’m a debtor – both to the Greeks and Jews – Christ demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us.”

John 3:16

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and gave his son as the propitiation for our sins.”

“Try to grasp how wide, how long, how deep, how far is the love of Christ.” (wider, higher, farther, longer than eternity).

This love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. No matter how much we try to repay this love, we can never repay it because God continually pours his love into us.

This is agape (godly, unconditional, sacrificial) love.

If we are Christians, we are debtors to God’s love.

#2 Because love is the fulfillment of the Law

v. 9-10

“The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Love is the fulfillment (basis) of the Law.

Yes, as children of God, we are not under Law, but under Grace. We are living under the grace of God, by the grace of God. But this does not mean we are free to live a lawless life.

When we are living by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enables us to meet the requirements of the Law.

If you practice true agape love, there is no reason for another Law. Our motivation is the love of God in our hearts.

If your WHOLE life is motivated and operated by love for God and your neighbors, we do not need any other Law.

Last time, we studied about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit:

  • the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

These are NOT the same.

  • Gifts (9 in 1 Cor 12): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Power, Tongues, Distinguishing spirits, Interpretation, Healing, Teaching, Serving, Prophecy
  • Fruit (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
  • Gift: related to skill, for a purpose
  • Fruit: related to character, personality, spirituality

LOVE is BOTH gift and fruit.

  • Love is means and end.
  • Love is method and purpose.
  • Love is the gift of gifts.
  • Love is the firstfruit of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 13 “If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I’m a resounding gong. If I’m a super genius, with massive mountain moving faith, but have not love, I’m nothing. If I give all I have and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

“Do everything in love.”

#3 Because our salvation is near(er) than when we first believed

v. 11-13

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

We can see terms related to time here:

  • Present time,
  • the hour has come,
  • nearer,
  • now,
  • night,
  • nearly over,
  • day,
  • almost here,

Yes, as long as time is flying on, one day, our Lord Jesus Christ will come in his body.

Everyday we are nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation (one day). Tomorrow we will be nearer by one day than today.

And ONE DAY will be our LAST DAY on this earth. Everybody has his own LAST DAY. But nobody knows when this day will be.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for nobody knows what it may bring forth. You are but a mist and disappear after a little while.”

But THIS one day is not a normal day – it is the FINAL DAY – to receive our reward, blessing, or judgment from Christ. “Christ will bring ALL things into judgment – including the hidden things. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

  • Spiritually “slumber” means disregard or ignorance and indifference in activity of good work.
  • “Night” = unbelief
  • “Day”= faith
  • “Put on the armor of light” – the first thing God created was light.

Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” – and then challenges us, “you are the Light of the world”. So what is darkness? The first thing God asked Adam after he sinned was, “Where are you?” even though he knew. This means “Do you not know where you are?” Trying to hide yourself from the sight of God = you are in darkness.

  • Test yourself. If you have something you are trying to hide from the sight of God, you are in darkness.

1 John “Whoever claims to be in the light but hates his brother is in darkness.”

There is nothing to hide because all will be exposed in the light (Jesus).

Up to now, we have seen 3 reasons WHY we must love: God, our neighbors, our enemies:

  1. We are debtors to love
  2. It is the fulfillment of the Law
  3. We are nearer our salvation now than when we first believed

Do you agree?

  1. I must love God with all my heart, mind, soul, strength.
  2. I must love my neighbor as myself.

BUT, I have no power to do so myself.

That’s why we need the Last verse.

  1. “I need Jesus Christ absolutely.”
  2. “Jesus is my clothes, my dress.”
  3. 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

#Conclusion

v. 14

“14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

“Jesus is my dress.” 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

No one is naked here.

What are the functions of our dress?

Here are 4 functions of our dress (spiritually):

#1 Protection

  • from cold, hurt, danger, shame
  • from the attack of Satan
  • the temptation and shame of sin

Even as a pastor, if I’m totally naked before you, I’m so shameful. But Jesus is my protection from all the evil things in this world.

#2 Clothes reveal our status / identity

Especially at that time, clothes showed social rank (king, noble, middle-class, poor)

Even today, we can see this: police, doctors, nurses, uniforms, etc.

Our identity as a Christian is revealed in this world – as a light of the world, aroma of Christ. Can you *smell* Jesus on your neighbor?? ^^

#3 It influences your attitude, tongue, character

  • For example, if I put on loose fitting clothes, my actions become loose – and my tongue as well – then my thinking and my language will be loose. Then my head, character, personality will become loose. If everything is loose, my whole life is loose.
  • If I wear noble dress, my tongue, thinking, habits, character, etc, will be noble.
  • If I put on Jesus Christ, he will continually affect and impact my attitude and character and personality.

#4 They are my company wherever I go

Clothes go together with me all the time. When you see me, you see my clothes first.

If I put on Jesus, people will see Jesus FIRST – wherever you go.

Conclusion: The best way to do and show this kind of agape love (to win souls to Christ) is to clothe yourselves with Christ.

  1. Love = greatest commandment
  2. Evangelism = greatest commission

These two pillars go together hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. They can never be separated.

Let’s pray.

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