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  • Jun 21 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Christ is the Center of our Unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
1 Corinthians: The Application of Christian Principles, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is the Center of our Unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is the Center of our Unity

1 Cor 1:10-17 (Pastor Heo)

Divisions in the Church

10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


1 Cor was written by Paul. He planted a local church at Corinth during his 2nd missionary journey. At this time, he is at Ephesus during his 3rd missionary journey. He heard a bad report about Corinth. From whom did he hear the report? From the servant of Chloe.

v. 11

“My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. “

Maybe Chloe was a rich business woman living in Ephesus or Corinth with her servants handling business between Ephesus and Corinth. Anyway, what is clear is that these first-hand observers told Paul what was happening at Corinth.

Paul wrote this letter to help them with their problems.

Problem #1: Disunity, division

In church history, division has always been a problem among the people of God. In this case, it was quarreling over who they “follow”. Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ? (v. 12)

v. 12

“What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.””

This caused a big division and disunity among them. Why? Actually, Paul, Apollos, and Peter (Cephas) had nothing to do with these divisions. They didn’t try to make their own fan clubs, but they focused on Christ in their messages. So, why was there division? It was a human, personal thing.

  • Paul founded the church there, and was the missionary to the Gentiles. Perhaps he attracted the Gentile believers.
  • Apollos was an eloquent and famous speaker who had once had a famous ministry at Corinth. At that time, oratory eloquence was highly valued. He likely attracted highly educated and philosophical believers.
  • Peter (Cephas) was a Jew of Jews, the main minister for the Jewish people. He was the leader of the first 12 apostles. He likely attracted the Jewish people, especially those who doubted Paul’s apostleship.
  • Christ – maybe we also decide to follow “Christ only” and not human leaders.

This disunity makes the church powerless and weak. Disunity, fighting with each other, these things make our enemy Satan happy. Satan is a spirit of disunity. In Genesis, Satan brought disunity between God and man, man and man, man and Creation. Even today he is bringing disunity into our churches, homes, workplaces, countries. So we must be in prayer all the time for these things.

The Holy Spirit, however, is a spirit of unity.

Eph “Make every effort to keep the unity in the bond of peace. There is one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.”

Eph 2:14 “Jesus has made the two one and broken the barrier of disunity.”

Gal 3:28 “There is no Greek nor Jew, no slave nor free, no male nor female, but all are equal in Christ.”

Even today Jesus is praying for our unity. “Make them one as we are one.”

v. 10

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Paul does not command them by his authority, but approaches them in a kind, appealing manner. This means Jesus is the answer, the solution. Only Jesus brings unity.

Gal 3:28 “There is no slave nor free… We are all one in Jesus Christ.”

What does this mean? Unity does not mean uniformity. We are not all the same in our culture, background, interests, color, favorite foods, etc. We can enjoy variety – like the colors of a rainbow. It is beautiful because it has many different colors, but the colors are all united. If these colors are separated, there is no longer a rainbow.

We should be united. How? In what way should we be made one? At least there are Three areas in which we must be united.

God bless us with holy, spiritual unity.

#1 Identity

Our sense of belonging to one family.

Yes, this is our second time in 1 Cor. In the first time, we recognized that we are a church, we are saints, we are one in Christ. This is our identity – we are ONE family, united in Christ. We belong to one family.

In v. 10, 11, Paul addresses us as “brothers [and sisters].” It means, we all Christians are part of God’s family. We share unity that runs even deeper than blood brothers and sisters. The Kingdom of God is organized as a family system.

God, the Son, the Spirit are three separate entities, but organized as ONE family system.

  • God = Father
  • Jesus = Son
  • Holy Spirit = Helper

Romans “Those God foreknew he also predestined to become conformed to the likeness of Christ so that he might become the first brother…”

We are one in one family. This is our real, eternal identity.

#2 Faith doctrine

What do you believe in your heart?

If you are Christian, you have a faith doctrine. This is called “christology”. The doctrine of salvation is called “soltariology.”

v. 13

“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?”

Everyone knows the answers to these questions. Paul uses rhetorical questions to make what is known crystal clear. It is very simple. Even baby Christians know this. Who died for you? Paul? No. Apollos? No. Peter? No. Only Christ. Who can save us, who can give us real freedom, who can give us deliverance from hell, who can give us real peace and joy, who can give us eternal life? Absolutely, finally, Jesus.

We are one in this faith doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Yes, even I agree that Paul, Apollos, and Peter are greater men than me. I honor them, but they are the same in that they were humans, sinners, and need forgiveness, and salvation. For them, Jesus Christ died.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else. There is no other name given to men under heaven by which we must be saved.”

We are one in the doctrine of Christ.

#3 Priority Mission

This is practically important.

If we are Christians, we all have a mission. Check what you mission is.

A “mission” is a task given to you by God. It is not something you choose for yourself, but something given to you by God because we are servants of God. Check all the time what is your priority #1 mission.

Sometimes you feel tired, bored? Ask and check, what is your mission?

We are different in many areas – our tastes, favorite colors, height, weight, etc. We are individual people, but we must be ONE in our priority #1 mission. We can be different in our talents and gifts, but we are ONE in our priority #1 mission. What is it?

v. 10

“…perfectly united in mind and thought.” (in purpose – #1 mission)

What is it?

v. 14-17

“14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

Do not misunderstand this story, but we should understand the background of this story.

Paul is not minimizing the importance of baptism. Yes, we are baptized in the name of Christ.

But what IS important in baptism is that we are baptized INTO one family.

But the Corinthian church misunderstood. Some said, “Paul baptized me.” Others, “No, Peter did me – he’s better.” Others, “Apollos did me – he’s the best.”

It does not matter by which pastor you were baptized. Billy Graham? Pastor Park? It does not matter. We were baptized by one faith into one family.

This also involves the Great Commission of Christ. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward reality – trusting in Christ as your personal Savior. So, by baptism, we publicly declare our faith in Christ to this world. So, baptism is a unifying factor in the church.

v. 17 (final answer – priority #1 mission)

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

“Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”

Paul is not minimizing the importance of baptism. Yes, it is important, but our primary mission is to preach the gospel.

No matter how important baptism is, preaching the gospel must be first. Baptism cannot substitute for preaching the gospel.

In our daily lives, remember, no matter how important a thing you do, not preaching the gospel cannot be justified by doing that very important thing.

In 1 Cor later, Paul says, “When preaching the gospel I cannot boast because I am compelled to do so. Woe to me if I do not preach…” He doesn’t say, “Woe to me if I don’t baptize.” Rather, “Woe to me if I don’t preach.”

We are one in:

  1. Identity
  2. Doctrine
  3. Mission

God bless us to be united in Christ.

God bless you.

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)

Download Notes in a .MD file

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.

  • Oct 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on For What were you Set Apart? (Acts 12:25-13:5)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

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

Download Notes in a .MD file

For what were you set apart?

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

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

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

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

On Cyprus

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


This chp 13 takes off where chp 12 ended.

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

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

Returned from where? From Antioch.

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

Chp 11

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

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

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

This is the story of chp 11.

Chp 12

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

This is chp 12.

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

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

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

This Antioch holds many FIRST records:

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

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

v. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Variety in unity;
unity in variety.

This is the heart of our Father God.

This is the heart of God.

v. 2-3

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

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

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

The HS came on them in worship.

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

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

“Worship and service go together.”

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

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

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

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

Romans “Set apart for the gospel of Christ.”

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

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

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

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

v. 4-5

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

Let us bless the beginning of their ministry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this a blessing or a burden? Both!

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

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 16 / 2018
  • Comments Off on We need the gospel every day (Acts 10:34-43)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

We need the gospel every day (Acts 10:34-43)

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We need the gospel every day

Acts 10:34-43 (Pastor Heo)

10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”


Chapter 10 is the story of the conversion of the Gentiles.

Through the ministry of the HS, Peter was used for these things. This is a turning point for the church. This is when God reveals his salvation plan for the WHOLE WORLD. There is no longer Jew nor Gentile, black nor white, slave nor free. We are all ONE in Christ.

In this story, there are two main human characters:

  1. Gentile: Cornelius (Roman soldier)
  2. Jew: Peter

Humanly speaking, Cornelius was a man of devotion, high quality, generosity, regular prayer, but not yet saved – simply because he didn’t yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He did not yet accept Christ as his Savior and Lord.

As a truth-seeker, one day he was praying earnestly – and one day an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Send for Peter in Joppa.” Immediately, he sent his three servants to Joppa.

The next day, Peter was praying at noon. During his prayer, suddenly, something huge like a sheet from heaven came down to earth in front of Peter. It contained all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles. It was unclean to Peter’s eyes.

  • But a voice from heaven said, “Peter, get up, kill and eat.”
  • Peter: “No! I’ve never eaten anything unclean.”
  • God: “Do not call anything unclean that I’ve made clean.”

According to Jewish law, clean becomes unclean by contact with the unclean. If a clean thing touches an unclean thing, ALL become unclean.

This happened three times (the sheet dropping and voice from heaven).

Are you Christian? You/we have contact with non-Christians in our daily lives.

Question:

  • Are you influencing or being influenced by them?
  • Are you affecting them or being affected by them?

This is a serious question today.

Peter was still trying to understand what this vision meant.

At that moment, three men from Cornelius arrived for Peter, and the voice said, “I have sent men, do not hesitate to go with them.”

Maybe they talked much that night, and the next morning they started out for Caesarea to meet Cornelius.

Cornelius was waiting for Peter with his household and friends. We don’t know how many gathered – maybe AICF size? But we can say that this was the FIRST non-Jewish church, the first Gentile church, in church history. Thus, this is the turning point in church history.

Cornelius received him by bowing down before him. Peter said, “No, I’m a man as well!” Then Peter said, “You Gentiles know that we Jews do not associate with Gentiles, but my Lord said, ‘Do not call any unclean that I have made clean.’ Why did you send for me?” Cornelius explained his vision and said, “We are all here to listen to God’s voice through you.”

Are you also ready to listen to the Word of God through my poor English? Look to God.

Whenever the sermon is spoken, focus on Jesus Christ, not my English.

The text we read today is Peter’s 4th sermon in the book of Acts. Actually, Peter speaks 6 sermons:

  1. chp 2: Crowd at Pentecost
  2. chp 3: Crowd at temple
  3. chp 4: Sanhedrin
  4. chp 10: Cornelius and family

v. 34-35

“10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”

God is no respecter of persons as far as nationality and race are. All men have the SAME Creator. All men are sinners. All men need the same ONE Savior. In these facts, we are all ONE. Thus, we believe in the universality of salvation. But, we must not believe in the Universalism of salvation.

  • Universalism: Everybody will be saved at last whether or not they trust Christ – because God is TOO good to allow anyone to perish. (This is a tool of Satan to blind people’s eyes to the message of the gospel.) Evangelical Christians reject this doctrine.
  • Universality: God does not show any favoritism nor partiality to anyone who believes in Christ. The only determinant factor is ONLY faith in Christ.

If you believe in Christ, you are saved.

The universal application of Christ’s work on the cross and universal offer of the gospel and salvation are inclusive.

Also we need to be optimistic about what the gospel will do. But we also must (occasionally) be aggressive in preaching the gospel of Christ.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel, for the gospel is the power of God for EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES in Jesus Christ.”

v. 36

“10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”

The gospel is the message of peace. It is “good news” of “great joy” – “peace” for all the people – eternally, at the same time. This news is news of peace.

Only in Christ can this kind of peace be found. That’s why Jesus is called the Prince of Peace – this means “Future King” of Peace. Already 700 years before his coming, he was prophesied to be born.

When he was born in this world, the first sign and expression of his birth was this telling of the angels, “Glory to God and Peace on Earth to men~”

Jesus says, “Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as this world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

True peace cannot be found in this world. We cannot find true peace through riches, popularity, possessions, etc.

The Bible says, ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. ‘

Christ has made the TWO, ONE. Jesus’ coming in this world was to create a NEW people out of the two – through his crucifixion. By his crucifixion, Christ killed all hostility between human beings. He preached peace to those who were far away (Gentiles) and those who are near (Jews). There is now no longer any division between Jews and Gentiles in Christ.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by Christ, we have peace with God. Through him we gain access to his grace in which we now stand.”

“I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

The main message we must be familiar with is the contents of the gospel. The message of the gospel is JESUS CHRIST.

Jesus’ life, His Word, His work, His death, His resurrection, His coming again as judge of living and dead.

From v. 37-42 is the message of the gospel that Peter preached to Cornelius. “We are witnesses of this gospel message.”

v. 37-42

“10:37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.”

This is the core message – the heart of the gospel.

  1. v. 37-38, Jesus’ life
  2. v. 39 Crucifixion
  3. v. 40 Resurrection
  4. v. 41-42 Coming again – and we are witnesses of this message.

We are commanded / ordered to preach this message – because salvation can be found in no one else.

This is very clear. It is very evident that Jesus did not die for his own sins. From Genesis to Revelation, it is said that Christ died for the sins of others – not the sins of a friend, but as a substitutionary offering (propitiation) for the sins of the whole world.

Let me know show SOME of the verses for this.

  • Romans 5:8 “God showed his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • 1 Cor “Jesus died, and rose again according to the Scriptures.”
  • 2 Cor “God made him who had no sin, become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.”
  • 1 Peter “He bore our sins on the tree so that by his wounds we have been healed.”
  • 1 Peter 3:18 “Jesus Christ died for sins, once for ALL.”
  • Jesus himself says, “I did not come to BE served, but to serve.” – not to be ministered to but to minister and “to give my life as a ransom.”
  • Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

Only Christ can say this. “and the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

Only in Christ can salvation be found.

v. 43 (Memorize)

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

Amazing! Wow!

This is an amazing declaration. ALL the prophets (including the OT, Moses, Adam, Elijah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Malachi, ) testify about Christ.

Yes, not only the preachers of the NT, but also all the prophets of the OT focus on Jesus Christ. Their message is “everyone who believes in Christ receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Forgiveness of sin can only be obtained in Jesus’ name.

You know “SIN” is the root of all human problems – “for the wages of sin is death.”

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is not one righteous, not even one.”

To repent and believe in Christ are the same thing – with a different expression. You cannot repent without believing in Christ and you cannot believe in Christ without repenting.

Of course, nobody is happy if I say “You’re a sinner” – but we must be very clear in solving the matter of SIN.

Fundamentally, there are FOUR dimensions regarding sin. I hope all of us are very clear in the matter of sin. To be healed, we must know our own secrets. Here are the FOUR dimensions: (worldly judges can only see the first dimension)

Four Dimensions of Sin

1. Behavioral sin

(humans can see and judge this sin) – outward sin – in action – this is related to human morality and ethics: murder, rape, breaking a law, doing something illegal (VISIBLE SIN IN ACTION)

2. Attitudinal sin (invisible)

This is in our hearts, minds, motives. This world cannot judge this kind of sin. We don’t go to prison for our selfishness and pride, greed, envy, jealousy. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” God judges according to our

  1. actions and
  2. motivations / attitudes.

This motivation is very important: Before God, hate is like killing, lust is like adultery (in your heart).

3. Relational sin

This is more crucial – more important than the other two kinds. For example, there are many relationships –

  • Creator / Created,
  • Parent / Child,
  • Boss / Employee,
  • Teacher / Student,
  • Landlord / Tenant,
  • Father / Son –

For me, as father, the BIGGEST sin my son can commit is to DENY me as his father. Likewise, the biggest sin toward God is to deny Christ – God’s one and only Son for us in whom to believe. John 16:9 (in regard to sin) “They do not believe in me.” Do you agree, not to believe in Christ is the BIGGEST sin in this world? If you do not agree, you are wondering if you are saved. If you are really saved, we have no choice but to totally agree. This is indeed the BIGGEST sin before the eyes of God in relational sins.

4. Ontological sin

Existential sin – (Original Sin) – we were BORN as sinners – we’ve inherited it. Since WHEN was I a sinner? From BIRTH. We were born sinners.

I’m Korean. I did nothing to be Korean. I did not choose this. I was born this way simply because my father and mother are Korean. We were born sinners simply because our first physical parents were sinners. This is ontological (original) sin.

How can we solve this matter of original sin? There is only ONE way to resolve it. We must be BORN AGAIN. We should die to our first birth and be regenerated. Jesus, “Do not be surprised by my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” Birth from below is original birth, birth from above is from God. Romans: “Just as death came into the world through one man…”

How can we be born again? Regenerated? ONLY ONE WAY – believing in Christ.

1 Cor “As in Adam, all die, so in one man, Christ, all live.”

All these sins:

  1. Behavioral
  2. Attitudinal
  3. Relational
  4. Ontological

Can ALL be forgiven through Christ.

If you believe, shall we proclaim together:

“The blood of Jesus Christ purifies me from ALL kinds of sins: Past, Present, even Future.”

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.

  • 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.

  • Oct 14 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Great Intercessory Prayer of Christ for All His Own! (John 17:1-26)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Great Intercessory Prayer of Christ for All His Own! (John 17:1-26)

10.17-jesus-praying-4

Sermon Notes

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John 17 is an open conversation with God the Father for his own followers. In this prayer, Jesus expresses his deepest desire for his return to the Father and the destiny of his followers.

No matter what happens after this, Jesus is a “winner” not a “loser.” This prayer is the greatest prayer ever prayed, the greatest prayer in the Bible, the “Holy of Holies” in the Bible. So, we must enter it with thankfulness, praise, humility.
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