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  • Mar 31 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Take Courage!
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Take Courage!

Download Notes in a .MD file

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

[Review last week]

The crowd was angry at Paul and mobbed him.

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

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

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

He commanded Paul be taken and flogged.

“Is it legal to flog a Roman citizen?”

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

Paul, “I was born one.”

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

[/Review]

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

Paul the Roman Citizen

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

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

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

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

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

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

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

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

Before the Sanhedrin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Now we see the picture:

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

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

v. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others, “He’s the High Priest.”

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

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


To the crowd, he shared with his personal experience.

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

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

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

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

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

v. 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these are only said by Jesus.

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

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

We can hear his Word through the Bible.

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

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

HOW can we meditate on the Word of God?

We already know (in our hearts).

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

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

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

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

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

TAKE COURAGE!

There are three messages here:

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

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

“Take courage” has so many messages

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 08 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Nothing can stop a true Christian (Acts 5:17-42)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Nothing can stop a true Christian (Acts 5:17-42)

Download notes in a .MD file

Nothing can stop a true Christian

Acts 5:17-42 (Pastor Heo)

5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


This is round 2 of persecution. Round 1 was in chp 3 & 4 – after Peter and John healed the crippled man in the name of Christ. The Sanhedrin put them in jail and threatened them, but ultimately released them.

They never stopped preaching in the name of Christ, so the second round of persecution was inevitable.

An angel initially freed them from jail and sent them back to the temple to preach more. They brought the apostles before the Sanhedrin again and had them questioned before the High Priest (chairman).

He said, “We already told you not to preach in the name of Christ. Then why did you do so?”

Answer: “We must obey God rather than men. You killed Christ, but God raised him from the dead – we are witnesses of this.”

All the members of the Council were furious at this point and wanted to kill them, but Gamaliel reminded them of previous uprisings that were put down.

He said, “If this is from men, it will end, but if it is from God, you will only be fighting against God.” So, they beat them and ordered them not to preach in the name of Christ again.

The apostles left sadly…? no – happily – because they were considered worthy to be persecuted in the Name of Christ. They never stopped preaching (soon we will see the third persecution).

Here’s one question: Are you holding onto the living truth of God, or a dead tradition?

This is the serious question given to us by this story. And there are 4 reactions to the living truth of God.

  1. Attacking the truth
  2. Affirming the truth
  3. Avoiding the truth
  4. Announcing the truth

Please check yourself and your reaction to the living truth of God.

#1 Sanhedrin attacks the truth

v. 17-28

“5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people *the full message of this new life*.”

21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin–the full assembly of the elders of Israel–and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.””

The Sanhedrin is attacking the living truth of God here – there are three reasons why they arrested the apostles and put them in jail.

  1. They didn’t obey the first order to stop preaching
  2. They hated Jesus and killed Jesus – their message was, “Jesus is now alive”. Also key members of the Sanhedrin were Saduccees – and they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead – but this is the KEY message of the apostles
  3. They were jealous of the success of these untrained, simple men (v. 17). The angel of the Lord freed them and sent them to the temple courts to preach

That’s why they couldn’t stand their preaching.

What a contrast between the Sanhedrin and the apostles.

  • They were trained, ordained, high class, but had no ministry of power
    • The apostles were unskilled laborers, laymen, but the power of God was in their message
  • The Sanhedrin were trying to protect their old traditions
    • The apostles were risking their lives to preach the new message of God

The dynamic Christian is enjoying the NEW, but the dead religion is holding onto the old.

We can see many emotions here:

  1. jealousy (v. 17)
  2. puzzled / perplexed (v. 24)
  3. fear (v. 26)
  4. fury / furious (v. 33)
  5. murderous intent (v. 33)

Jealousy is murdering my own character.

v. 20 “”Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.””

This is holistic life – and can be found ONLY in Jesus Christ.

  • “I am the Bread of Life” he says. (there’s a large church in Manila with this name), “he who comes to me, will never go hungry.”
  • “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
  • “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
  • “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son, has life; he who does not have the Son of God, does not have life.”

Only this kind of life can be found in Christ.

#2 Apostles affirm the truth

v. 29-32

“5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead–whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.””

Usually, we can obey God by obeying man, because (Romans) all authorities have been established by God. (Also, “do your best to live at peace with everybody”). But in the matter of worship, our position must be exclusive, uncompromising, inflexible. There is a good example in the OT.

Daniel’s three friends, in Daniel chp 3. Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold and said all people must bow before it, or be thrown into the fire. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow. The king gave them one more chance to worship this idol. What was their answer? Very clearly they said, “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown to the burning furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from that fire. He will deliver us from your hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will NEVER worship your gods, nor the image of gold you have set up.”

This is the true Christian’s position.

In this story, the apostles also could not change their position because they could not serve 2 masters.

We also are ambassadors of Christ, not diplomats (as witnesses) – so there is no compromise. Also, the apostles did not change their message. Their message from 2,000 years ago should be our message as well:

  • Jesus Christ died for your sins (my sins), and was raised again for our eternal life.

“Only Jesus” is the eternal Savior from death, hell, the penalty of sin, etc.

#3 Gamaliel Avoided the truth

v. 33-39

“5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.””

To the reaction of the apostles, the Sanhedrin were furious and wanted to kill them. They were probably almost about to kill them, but a Pharisee named Gamaliel persuaded them not to – he was highly respected by all the people. Paul also was trained by this man before his conversion. So, he was a very famous man.

Using two examples, he offered advice: “Don’t kill them yourselves now, if this is from man, they will die someday. But if this is from God, they will succeed and we will be fighting God.”

Because Gamaliel was so famous, they received his advice and let the apostles go with a beating. Yes, God used Gamaliel’s advice to save the apostles from death.

Outwardly, this looks “nice” – but spiritually, this response is unwise, unbiblical, wrong, and dangerous. Why?

  • Gamaliel classified Christ with ordinary men – “just another zealot” trying to free Israel from Rome. But, we must understand that in human history, there is no one who is comparable to Christ. His birth, life, death, and resurrection is a one time event – so none of it can be compared to any other. His coming into the world is God coming into human history and saving this world.
  • Gamaliel was only avoiding the truth – this is another method for rejecting the truth. Avoiding = another form of rejecting. His motive is important. He encouraged neutrality when the Sanhedrin was needing a definite decision. He was voting “No” to their death by advising “someday.”

Is Christ your Savior and Lord?

This is a simple and short question. To this simple question, our individual answer must be very clear. “Yes” or “No” – our answer cannot be neutral – it cannot by “maybe” or “almost” or “hopefully” – only “Yes” or “No.” Our answer must be very clear.

ALL answers that are not “Yes” are simply “No” – do not be deceived.

Gamaliel’s suggestion is “be neutral” – not “yes” nor “no.”

But, Christ made it very clear that it is impossible to be neutral. Matt 12:30 “He who is not with me, is against me. He who does not gather with me, scatters.”

You cannot be neutral about Christ. If our answer is “Yes”, then we are to ANNOUNCE the living truth of God.

#4 Finally, the apostles Announce the truth

v. 40-42

“5:40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

Can you imagine this picture? Can you follow this example in your practical life?

  • In the first persecution, the Sanhedrin released Peter and John with : THREATS
  • In the second persecution, they released them with : THREATS + BEATING

Maybe each apostle received 39 lashes (40 was considered to kill a person) and released. And they left the Sanhedrin not unhappily, but rejoicing. Why? There are two reasons:

  1. Persecution was the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Christ
  2. It was also an opportunity to share in the experience of Christ “Those who share the cross bearing, will share the crown wearing.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are the persecuted – when people insult you and say all kinds of false evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. They also persecuted the prophets in this way.”

Last verse is an excellent model to follow. If we are witnesses of Christ, remember this last verse is an excellent pattern to follow.

v. 42

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

They received 39 lashes, but NEVER stopped. In this one verse, this is an excellent pattern we should follow. Here are five points to practice.

  1. “Day after day” – witness is a daily job, not a special event / performance – just like our eating, drinking, sleeping. This should be our lifestyle
  2. “In the temple courts” – witness should be PUBLIC, official, before a crowd – in your class, school, government, office, etc
  3. “From house to house” – witness can be private job – individual, door to door, man to man, to our family members and relatives, co-workers, strangers on the street, in the market, etc
  4. “Teaching and proclaiming” (teaching and preaching) – witnessing = teaching and preaching (not only preaching) Teaching = instruction, growth, Preaching = evangelism, conversion – so the two of them together gives us the full process of salvation. Do you have somebody as your student whom you are teaching for his spiritual growth?
  5. “Good news that Jesus is the Christ” – our teaching / preaching must be focused and centered on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith

2 Cor 4:5 “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord and ourselves as your servant for Jesus’ sake.” Whether we teach or preach, our witness should be focused on Jesus Christ alone.

Let us pray together.

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

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

The power of the resurrection

Acts 4:23-37 (Pastor Heo)

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

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


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

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

At the report of Peter and John,

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

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

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

Let us see their prayer – and how they prayed.

How the disciples prayed

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

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

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

5 Points we can apply in our lives

#1 They addressed God as “Sovereign Lord”

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

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

You are omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.

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

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

God is “Sovereign Lord”

Strong conviction of the power and authority of God

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

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

This is quoted from Psalm 2:1-2

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

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

In these two verses, we see:

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

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

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

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

What does this mean?

  • kings
  • rulers
  • Gentiles
  • Israelites

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

The prayer is based solidly on the Word of God

Psalm 2:1-2

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

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

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

#3 The set the remembrance of Christ before them

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

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

“Jesus is my Lord!~”

#4 For what did they pray?

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

They prayed for courage.

v. 29

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

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

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

How about in our application? Do you pray?

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

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

v. 31

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

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

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

“Again!”

Christian community

v. 32-37

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

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

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

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

Joseph (nicknamed “Barnabas”)

He is introduced here for several reasons:

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

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

v. 33 (KEY VERSE)

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

Great power + great grace = Great Christian / church

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

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

Situation:

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

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

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

But… they “continued”

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

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

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

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

So, let me share 2 points quickly.

What the resurrection of Christ says to us

#1 Jesus is God

Do you believe this?

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

If you are not called, there is no relationship.

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

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

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

#2 The guarantee of our resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 17 / 2018
  • Comments Off on I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak (Acts 4:13-22)

Download Notes in a .MD file

I cannot stop speaking of what I should speak

Acts 4:13-22 (Pastor Heo)

4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.


Persecution starts. The Sanhedrin had put Peter and John in jail, and the next day questioned them. The Sanhedrin was like the Supreme Court of that day.

  • And they questioned them, “By what name do you do what you did?”
  • Peter and John said, “by the name of Jesus whom you crucified.”
  • Then the Sanhedrin conferred together to decide what to do with them. They came to them again and said, “Anyway, do not preach or perform miracles in this name again.”
  • Peter, “If you are judges, judge for yourselves. Which is right? To obey you or to obey God?”

In everything, we are judges – we must choose one of two ways.

  • Peter said, “We cannot stop preaching what we have heard, what we have seen.”

Actually, the Sanhedrin wanted to kill Peter and John, but they couldn’t do anything to them – because outside (over 5,000) people were praising God because of their work and preaching.

  • They threatened them again, “If you do this again, you will be killed.”

Last verse says the man’s age was over 40. Let’s read once more.


v. 13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were *astonished* and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John had great courage. Do you? Even today, we need courage. Yes, we know how cowardly Peter was only a few months before, but now he’s become such a courageous and fearless man. They were shocked.

This courage is possible because they were filled with the HS. Today to be powerful and effective witnesses for Christ, we need courage. Even in the secular world, to be successful, we need courage.

There are 3 kinds of courage.

1. Reckless courage –

we don’t know what will happen, we are unaware of the consequences.

2. Fearless courage (convinced) –

Yes, we are aware of the possible difficulties and dangers, but we also know there is something else beyond those dangers.

3. Decisive courage (resolute) –

Sometimes, courage does not mean “fearlessness” – actually, it may include GREAT fear, but a decision to DO what must be done and do it.

The courage of Peter and John now was “fearless courage”. How can we have courage? Do you want to be powerful effective witnesses for Christ? Then we need courage.

The best courage is fearless courage because we know there is something greater, beyond earth, heavenly reward. So, to have this courage, we need 4 things.

4 Necessities for courage

1. Pray – and your courage will increase

Phil 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.”

2. Proclaim God’s promises to yourself

“Whoever acknowledges me, I will acknowledge, whoever disowns me, I will disown.” Jesus

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear. I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I will strengthen you, I will uplift you with my righteous right hand.”

Yes, we need to proclaim the Word of God to others, but we also need to apply it and proclaim it to ourselves.

3. Fear God

Fear God to fear nothing.

If you fear God fully, you will never fear anything in this world.

“The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.” – Proverbs

“Do not fear those who can kill the body, but not the soul. Rather, fear the one who can throw both soul and body into hell.”

The secret to be free from fears is to fear God – because he is maker and creator of all things.

4. Believe what Jesus has been doing and that there will be a reward from him

If we believe what he has been doing, past, present, future, then we will be free from all kinds of fears.

Yes, he died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

“God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“… Christ died for the ungodly”

Romans “Therefore, there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (in Christ theology)

If we are Christians, children of God, then we are heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ. If we share in his sufferings, we may share in his glory. The present sufferings are nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed.

Rev “Behold I am coming soon.” – Jesus said 3 times. “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

If it is true that Jesus is God become man and died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our salvation and justification, then, no matter how much we do for him, we cannot do too much for him.

In this story, we can see Enemies attack, Christians defend. We also experience this in spiritual war. In this case, we should have our defense. What kind of defense?

Enemies’ attack: 2 characteristics

1. Contempt

v. 13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and **realized that they were unschooled [ignorant], ordinary men [laymen without special professional qualifications], they were astonished** and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

They had no learning in the regulation of the Law.

i.e. The Sanhedrin regarded Peter and John with contempt: as ignorant and non-professional – no certifications or fancy letters at the end of their names.

But “in Christ” provides a certain (real and holy) dignity that no special qualifications or titles can give.

2. Threats

v. 21 “After **further threats** they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.”

We must remember that what men do to us are only temporal – but the things of God are eternal.

The things of Man are temporal, but the things of God are eternal.

In the face of these attacks from the enemies, Peter and John had 3 defenses.

3 Defenses against enemy attacks

1. The defense of unanswerable fact

The man who was lame was healed. They couldn’t deny it.

The most unanswerable fact of Christianity is a Christian man or woman – the changed life of a Christian.

2. Total loyalty to Christ

If they had to choose between obeying man or God, Peter and John would have no question which path to take.

“The trouble with so many people today is that the voice of their neighbor sounds so much louder than the voice of God.”

Yes, we have 2-3 voices in our lives:

  1. The voice of God
  2. The voice of Satan

[also, the voice of neighbors – and our own voice]

  • The voice of God in Genesis: “If you eat this fruit, you will surely die.”
  • The voice of Satan in Genesis: “God is a liar. If you eat this, you will be like God. God wants you to be unhappy.”

Yes, even today, the voice of God (or Satan) can come through the voice of our neighbors. That’s why we need to be wise, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • Satan: “Do what seems safe, easy, comfortable, gives glory to yourself.”
  • God: “Do what is right, true, good, glorious to Christ.”

3. (Greatest defense): Personal experience of Jesus Christ

Peter and John’s story of Christ: they knew first hand that it was true and sure – and they were willing to stake their lives on it.

5 Points as real lessons for application in our lives

1. God is LONG-suffering with lost sinners

The religious leaders had rejected:

  1. John the Baptist
  2. Jesus

So, God gave them another opportunity to repent and be saved. So, we must also give thanks to God for his patience and long-suffering with us. We need patience when we witness to this world.

2. True witness involves bad news of sin and guilt as well as the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ

Remember, there can be no true faith in Christ if there is not first repentance of sin. We are preaching the good news of salvation, but when we preach this wonderful good news, we must also preach the bad news of sin and guilt so that they may truly receive the good news.

Without the bad news, they cannot truly experience the good news.

3. Whenever God blesses, Satan appears.

Are you blessed? Satan appears to oppose the work, to silence the witness. Even today, sometimes Satan uses religious people to do his job.

In this story, the same crowd who opposed the ministry of Christ is also opposing the ministry of the apostles, and Satan today is trying to oppose our own ministry. Expect the attack of Satan, but do not let it stop your ministry.

The important thing is not that we’re comfortable, but that the name of Christ is glorified through our message.

4. God has also promised to bless and use his Word,

so let us be faithful continuously. Even today, Christ is praying earnestly for us so that our witness may be successful. So, we have every reason to be encouraged because there is power in the name of Christ. We need not fear witnessing and calling others to repent.

5. The name of Christ has power and authority.

Even today, we can give somebody a cup of cold / hot water, or receive a child / baby in the name of Christ. Still these ministries are important. We can ask in the name of Christ – and when we do it is as though Christ himself is asking it.

Do you know what “In Jesus’ name” means? “In the name of Jesus Christ”

This means: It is like Jesus himself is asking what we are asking. If we remember this, it will help us ask only something worthy of the name of Christ.

Let us go forth in the name of Christ as conquerors – he gave his life for our salvation and justification.

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.

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