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The Acts (75) - Those who kill vs. those who save

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설교일 : 2016.10.09.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Acts 23:12~30

October 9, 2016

 

The Acts (75) – “Those who kill vs. those who save”

Acts 23:12-30

 

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

Last Sunday we shared the topic of “Seeing through the tactics of Satan beforehand”. Paul was in Jerusalem because of God’s plan for him to go to Rome after his third missionary journey. Many people were against his plan to go to Jerusalem and some even predicted Paul’s arrest there, but trusting the providence of God, Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem. But he never dreamed that his trip to Jerusalem would lead him to go to Rome. Realistically, it would have been much easier for him to go directly from Asia Minor to Rome.

 

But unknown to all, God had a special plan for Paul in Jerusalem. By way of Jerusalem, Paul was sent away to Rome as an international criminal agitator and stayed in a rented house. While confined in that house, he was able to spread the gospel to the Roman soldiers guarding him and conducted a Bible class and helped to plant a church in Rome.

 

Satan must have known this plan beforehand, and he didn’t spare any effort to thwart this plan of God. He had incited the Jews to kill Paul, but by informing his Roman citizenship to the commander, Paul was saved from immediate death by the angry mob. The next day Paul was spared from death by wisely dividing the assembled religious leaders into Pharisees and Sadducees and causing a great uproar among them. That night the Lord came to visit Paul and said to him;

 

Acts 23:11  “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

 

But Satan’s tactics of interfering in God’s plan didn’t end here. He couldn’t do anything to God, so he schemed to influence God’s children so as to lose their trust in Him and be separated from Him, by threatening them and making them apprehensive.

 

Acts 23:12-13  The next morning the Jews formed a  conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. More than forty men were involved in this plot.

 

What can we say about this plot? “Oh, my God!” How preposterous it was that over forty men pledged not to eat or drink until they killed Paul! It is utterly incomprehensible. But one way to explain this situation is that the Jews must have felt betrayed by Paul who used to be an active henchman working for them on their side.

 

As we all know, it is almost impossible for any member to leave the gang or organized crime, after joining them. Likewise, it is easy to get in, but nobody can get out of the grasp of Satan without deadly struggle in the ‘spiritual warfare’.

 

Our Lord Jesus talked about a shepherd going after one lost sheep and his happiness at finding the lost sheep;

 

Luke 15:6-7  “He goes home, and then calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice  with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

 

 

2.

Now, let us find out what the next strategy of Satan is.

 

Acts 23:14-15  They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat or drink anything until we have killed Paul. Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he get here.”

 

This is a typical strategy of Satan, always ‘staying in the background’ and never showing himself. Satan is putting the chief priests and elders in the front by asking them to petition the commander to bring Paul out of the barracks for his appearance before the Sanhedrin, so that they could kill him on his way there.

 

I often think that we Christians are too innocent. We should be as shrewd as snakes or Satan, to figure out Satan’s tactics of attacking the churches, the pastors, the church leaders, and their homes.

 

Take the case of the game of ‘Go’. Any high-ranking ‘Go’ player can predict how the opponent will react to his or her current move. It is the same with any sports. You have to discern and predict your opponents’ move in Taekwon Do, Judo, and golf. We should not be defenseless when Satan makes his move on us.

 

In today’s passage, during this crisis involving the life of Paul, a person intervened.

 

Acts 23:16  But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

 

We don’t know much about this nephew of Paul. Perhaps he was close to Paul and he must have been closely connected to the Jews in this plot. He was mentioned only once here, so we don’t even know he was one of the believers, but he heard the plot, so he went to his uncle to let him know.

 

Now Paul asked one of the centurions to take his nephew to the commander to tell him that information.

 

Acts 23:19-21  The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” He said: “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

 

We are really amazed that God moved the heart of this commander so quickly that he took action immediately. This commander is the same one that talked about his having to pay a big price for his Roman citizenship when he heard about Paul being a Roman citizen, and brought Paul into the barracks for his safety. Now he ordered a secret mission to save the life of Paul at the late hour of 9 o’clock in the evening.

 

Acts 23:22-26  The commander dismissed the young man and cautioned him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.” Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. Provide mounts for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.” He wrote a letter as follows. Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings.

 

To save the life of Paul, 470 Roman soldiers were dispatched, and it is so hard to believe that this happened. And this commander, Claudius Lysias, even wrote a letter to the Governor Felix in Paul’s behalf.

 

 

3.

This situation presents the two paths for us to take in our lives; one is ‘the path for killing people’ and the other is ‘the path for saving people’. Paul’s nephew and the Roman commander were instrumental in saving Paul’s life, even though they had not been very close to him and especially, the commander didn’t have any connection to Paul.

 

Here we notice a very interesting fact of life. When we look back upon our past, we cannot help but admit that there were many instances of God’s intervention in our life. We often complain, “Where were you, God, when I needed you?” because we have forgotten that God had sent to us many angels like this nephew or the commander in the past.

 

While meditating on today’s sermon, I was reminded of the time when God intervened for me and sent help to me during my first ministry at a pioneering church in Kyung-Sang Buk Do.

 

At that time I was a newly licensed driver and was driving our church van on the Kyung-Buk Expressway to Goo-mi with my wife and baby son in it when it had a flat tire. It was quite dark and I was so confused that I barely managed to pull over to the side. We came out of the van and waved to the passing cars, but who would stop for me at that hour on the busy highway? But to our great surprise, a car stopped for us. The driver didn’t say a word, but after checking the situation, he went back to his car and got his tools, and then took out the flat tire from our van and replaced it with the spare tire from the back of the van. It was getting darker and very scary with other cars passing by so fast right next to us. When he finished putting the spare tire on, he just said the job was done and then went back to his own car. I hurriedly gathered some money and offered it to him to show my appreciation, but he brushed them aside and took off. I was dumbfounded by this whole thing, but then realized that God had sent an angel to me.

 

I am reminded of many people who were sent by God to intervene in my life, particularly Rev. Dae-Hee Park who worked very hard for me during my application process to Wesley Theological Seminary. My TOEFL score was not extraordinary, and I knew the importance of a good recommendation letter in my application to Wesley. I had met Rev. Park only once, but he took great pains in writing his recommendation letter to Wesley and the fact that he was an alumnus, class of 1955, of the Wesley Seminary, helped a lot in my favor. Later on, I found out that his recommendation really played a prominent role in the school’s decision for my admission. He is now retired and lives in Hawaii.

 

Another time I felt the intervention of God was when I was defending my thesis for Doctorate. When a candidate before me, a white male and former lawyer, failed, but I passed, I had to acknowledge God’s intervention in my behalf. From that time on, I have vowed to be a person that helps and saves others, even if they don’t know me personally.

 

 

4.

Compared to the nephew and the commander, the more than forty men involved in this plot of killing Paul make a striking contrast. Among these men, many didn’t even know Paul, but joined in the plot to kill him. Actually many Pharisees and Sadducees at that time spent their days to judge others and to kill their opponents.

 

A few years ago, a movie came out with the title of ‘Revenge is my game’. Starring Kang-Ho Song, this movie showcases the inter-twining lives in the small and closed community of Korea, and emphasizes that there will be no winner in the cycle of revenges. The repeated monologues of “I will take revenge” of the characters bring on more miseries to their lives, but they cannot give up the urge to revenge. I couldn’t help but feeling deeply depressed at the power of darkness in our society.

 

The Bible makes it clear that the killings and revenges are not random acts, but the works of Satan, the Devil.

 

John 8:44a  “You belong to the father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”

 

Satan’s first victim was Cain. He was driven from the land and a restless wanderer all his life, never welcomed by anyone. And we are his descendants, so there are rampant revenges and retaliations all over the world, ever since.

 

We think that Apostle Paul probably saw himself as one of ‘those who kill’ before he met Lord Jesus. But after meeting Jesus, everything in his life changed including his languages, his thoughts and attitudes; now he became ‘the one who save’ at every place that he went.

 

I want to share with you a recently published memoir, ‘Lessons from sufferings in life’, by Rev. Young-Mok Cho, who was ordained after he was 60 years old and is serving at a homeless ministry. His life was certainly full of sufferings. Here are some excerpts from the memoir. “I was coming home after teaching a night class. I was 27 years old, and I got my job after graduating from college, to which I had gotten admitted after passing the qualification examination, as my family was very poor. In a small alley near my boarding house, I was hit by a car, tossed into the air and thrown on the pavement, but the car ran away. After intensive bleeding, I barely survived, but my right leg didn’t. The company I was worked for terminated my employment with some severance pay. I tried to escape the reality by drinking 7-8 bottles of Soju a day and was soon kicked out of the boarding house and lived as a beggar at the Young-Deung-Po Station for 2 years.

 

I got tired of beggar’s life and went home in the village. My mother had believed that I had a good job in Seoul, and when she saw me walking on crutches, she fainted right there. I spent my days drinking. Then I went to a blacksmith’s shop and got some darts made. To take my revenge on that driver someday, I practiced throwing those darts, but soon lost interest. One day I took 82 sleeping pills to kill myself, but my family found me and took me to the hospital. I woke up after three days, and then vowed that I would live the best life possible and that would be my revenge.

 

It was not easy to find a job for me, a handicapped man on crutches. After 110thtry, I got a job at a damage compensation insurance company. I got a bicycle to travel, but I had to fall down countless times before learning to bike with only one leg. After 3 and a half years of hard work, passing out 50 name cards a day and carrying 2 lunch bags on a bicycle, I became a top insurance salesman. Then I became a lecturer, made some money and became famous, but suffered from depression. At 60 years old, I decided to go to a Seminary.

 

While studying the Bible intensively at the Seminary, the shadow of death came to visit me again. I was diagnosed with a 4th degree cancer of tonsils. While going through the surgery and painful radiation treatments, I was able to reflect upon my life and myself.

 

“During the middle & high school and college days, I had been always striving to keep being the top student of my class. And then, I was extremely stressed about my disability. But now I realize that other students suffered because of my being the top student, and my past successes were possible because of my sharpened dagger of revenge toward the society. Now my Lord transformed the dagger of revenge into a healing knife. I want to live the rest of my life to do good and help others.”

 

All of us had lived the ‘life of killing others and self’, but Lord Jesus came into our lives and changed them into the ‘life of saving others and self’. Jesus Christ is the original enabler who ‘saves people’ and He died for our redemption, thus ending the cycle of revenge.

 

1 John 3:8  He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “Because He lives”

   

총 게시물 608건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
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337 2016.12.11.  The Acts (82) - Living meaningfully on our own island of life Acts 28:1~14 Rev. Jang
336 2016.12.11.  사도행전(82) - 인생의 섬에서 의미있게 사는 사람 사도행전 28:1~14 장찬영 목사
335 2016.12.04.  The Acts (81) – Finally, everyone reached land and was saved Acts 27:27~44 Rev. Jang
334 2016.12.04.  사도행전(81) - 마침내 사람들이 다 구원을 얻으니라 사도행전 27:27~44 장찬영 목사
333 2016.11.27.  The Acts (80) - Do not be afraid, Paul (1) Acts 27:14~25 Rev. Jang
332 2016.11.27.  사도행전(80) - 바울아 두려워하지 말아라 (1) 사도행전 27:14~25 장찬영 목사
331 2016.11.20  "Give thanks in all circumstances" Psalm 107:1-9 Thessalonica 5:16-18 Rev. Lee
330 2016.11.20.  범사에 감사하라 시편 107:1~9, 데살로니까 전서 5:16~18 이훈경 목사
329 2016.11.13  The Acts (79) - "Those who truly love God" 1 Samuel 12:19-25/ Acts 27:23-25 Rev. Jang
328 2016.11.06.  The Acts (78) – I pray that you may become what I am Acts 26:24~29 Rev. Jang
327 2016.11.06.  사도행전(78) - 나와 같이 되기를 원하나이다 사도행전 26:24~29 장찬영 목사
326 2016.10.30.  The Acts (77) - The blessings of God for those who wait patiently Acts 25:1~12 Rev. Jang
325 2016.10.23.  The Acts (76) - The one who proclaims vs. the one who is afraid Acts 24:22~27 Rev. Jang
324 2016.10.23.  사도행전(76) - 전하는 사람, 두려워하는 사람 사도행전 24:22~27 장찬영 목사
처음  이전  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  다음  맨끝

제목 : The Two Boats
설교일 : 2019.11.10
본문말씀 : Luke 5:1-8
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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