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The Acts (76) - The one who proclaims vs. the one who is afraid

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설교일 : 2016.10.23.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Acts 24:22~27

October 23, 2016

 

The Acts (76) - “The one who proclaims vs. the one who is afraid”

Acts 24:22-27

 

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

 

 

1.

The last time we shared the Acts, we saw that Apostle Paul was taken to Caesarea at the order of the commander. God was taking care of Paul through his nephew and the commander. Without realizing it, they were instrumental in God’s work of extending the life of Paul, and also helped to encourage Paul.

 

While he was in Caesarea, Paul had to go through three trials. The first one was before the governor Felix, the second one was before the governor Festus, Felix’s successor (chapter 25), and the third was before King Agrippa (chapter 26). Today’s passage is Paul’s trial before governor Felix.

 

Because of these trials, Paul had to stay in jail at Caesarea for two years. This must have been totally inscrutable to Paul who two years earlier had heard the Lord telling him to proclaim in Rome. Paul’s situation takes a new turn in today’s passage as follows.

 

Acts 24:1  Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor.

 

After the conspiracy of more than 40 men vowing not to eat or drink until the killing of Paul got thwarted, the high priest and the elders brought their charges to the court with the help of lawyer Tertullus.

 

Acts 24:2-4  When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.”

 

This scene shows us how the case was presented to the governor with utmost courtesy, which was quite likely some exaggerated form of flattery, to curry his favor. We can learn something from this courteous presentation by the colonized Jews to their enemy and ruler, the governor.

 

In their book, “101 things you should do before you retire”, the authors David Bordon & Tom Winters emphasize that you should learn to be kind to yourself and to others, as kindness is more important in your life than money, fame or power. Those who are unkind have to go around three times more distance than those who are kind to reach the same goal. There is absolutely no need for you to be unkind. Let’s say you are at a market to buy something. Would you buy from a kind employee or from an unkind one? Unless you are the family, you wouldn’t choose to go to the unkind employee. And even if you are the family, you would not be happy to buy from that unkind employee. Among car salespeople, a kind salesperson is known to sell five times more cars than an unkind one. And everyone in the world is more attracted to a kind person. Therefore, you had better learn to be a kind person before it is too late. First, change your facial expression. And do not be miserly in your kindness toward yourself. A lot of people are generous and kind toward others, but not toward themselves. Please deal leniently with yourself and allow a margin of error, and give a smile to yourself. Always remember to be kind to yourself, as the kindness toward yourself is going to make your life glorious after your retirement.”

 

In the chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, well known as the ‘love chapter’, there are many definitions of love, and some qualities of love is ‘not being rude’ and ‘not self-seeking’. Among the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, there is the ‘gentleness’, which is being kind to everyone, and is indispensable for all the Christians. People in the world may be kind to others perhaps for their own benefit, but we, the Christians, should be naturally kind all the time.

 

When you observe carefully, any member of the church who has received the grace of the Lord is always kind and gentle, and speaks cordially to others, so that others will be drawn closer to that person. For some people, it takes 30 or 40 years to realize this simple principle.

 

When I was in charge of the young adults’ ministry in Korea, I was ministering to many single men and women of marriageable age. One day a young man came to me and informed me that he would like to bring a young lady for me to meet and that he was in love with her and thinking of marrying her. So during the Sunday service, I began to search for this young lady in the congregation, and found a new face smiling brightly. On closer observation, she was no beauty, not as good-looking as the young man, but very attractive in a certain way. Every time I saw her, she had a big smile on her face. When I asked the young man why he fell in love with her, he answered that her smile was so contagious that he began to smile more and worry less, even though he had been a very serious and anxious person. Since that time, I have known that a beautiful face doesn’t have to look like an entertainer’s, but should look happy and smiling, with gentleness, and manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

 

Dear congregation, I want to share with you some pictures of smiling Jesus. He says to you, “Smile big, and be kind and generous to others. Smile brightly!” (Smiling Jesus, 1,2,3)

 

 

2.

Tertullus, the lawyer, presented three accusations against Paul.

 

Acts 24:5-9  “We have found this man to be a trouble-maker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

 

We are amazed at the influence of Paul who was called a trouble-maker and ringleader. We, the Christians, should be influential, like ‘yeast’ or like ‘salt’, as Lord Jesus said. Our role in the world is to proclaim and spread the gospel widely with our influence provided by God.

 

Now, how did the first trial proceed?

 

Acts 24:22-23  Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.” He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

 

These orders by Felix became actual blessings for Paul.

 

1) The first blessing: By keeping Paul under guard, his life was spared. If he had been released and let go free, he would have been killed by the mob. But now, he had the protection of highly trained Roman soldiers.

 

2) The second blessing: Even though he was in jail, Paul was given some freedom to see his friends, so that he was able to evangelize within the compound of the governor’s residence in Caesarea.

 

We are never able to predict what will happen to us, so it is wrong to get too upset at your present situation. Sometimes, even being in jail can be beneficial to you, as in the case of Paul here. Therefore, we, the Christians, can be kind to others under any circumstances. Even if you may be going through difficult times right now and cannot understand why, you can still endure with patience and wait for the better future with your faith intact. We can pray to the Holy Spirit to give us more patience, so as not to shrink because of our present situation, and more capacity to be able to tolerate more.

 

The most surprising event happened to Paul in jail. The governor Felix and his wife came to see Paul and heard him to proclaim the gospel. Paul would never have had this kind of opportunity, if he were not imprisoned there.

 

Acts 24:24-25  Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As he discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

 

 

3.

Now we are wondering what Paul had said about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come made Felix to be so afraid that he asked Paul to leave.

 

1) Righteousness: The Greek for this is ‘tsedaka’ and it means the plumb line of God, and this word is found in the book of Amos. It is quite possible that Paul discoursed about this passage.

 

Amos 7:8  And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

 

This plumb line of God is one way of measuring our righteousness, and this realization of God’s assessment could have made Felix very afraid.

 

2) Temperance or Self-control: This means quitting or cutting-off what you have been doing. We think drinking can be self-controlled, but drugs should be cut-off and quit. We should quit sinning, and we think Paul could have said, “You should quit your sinful ways that God is displeased with and turn around now.”   

 

Paul’s words of “Governor, you have to quit your sinful ways and self-control your behavior to be saved” must have touched a nerve in him.

 

3) The Judgment to come: The biggest reason for us to quit sinning and choose doing good is because of the judgment to come. If there were no eternal kingdom for us nor the judgment of God against us, we might have less incentive to quit sinning and to live faithfully for God.

 

Faith is not the perfection of your character or morality. Having our faith, we live our lives thinking ahead of the ‘judgment before God’ and having the ‘eschatological belief’. This must have been the big difference in defining the righteousness of their faith between Felix and his wife vs. Paul.

 

Inamori Kazuo who founded Kyoto Ceramics Co. in 1950’s is one of the most respected businessmen in Japan along with Matsushita Konosuke, the founder of Matsushita Electric Co., and Honda Soichiro, the founder of Honda Automobile, and he is called a ‘God of Business’ by some. He revived the JAL Airlines which was dying, after ‘1,151 days of struggle’, and is known to be an ‘ethical’ businessman and a role model for young people of today.

 

Recently, he wrote a book, “Why are you working?”which has been translated as “Karma Management”. Karma comes from Buddhism and means the cause and effect in our lives. He talked about the purpose of life in the preface of the book, as follows.

 

“What is the meaning or purpose of our life? My answer to this basic question is to cultivate more of the will to do good and to refine our souls. The things of this world should be finished in this world, with the exception of our ‘souls’. At the moment of our death, we have to give up all our positions, fame and wealth, and leave on a new journey, taking only our souls. To the question of ‘Why are we here?’ I want to answer that I aim to become a better person than when I was born, having a more beautiful and nobler soul at my death. Until the last moment, I try to live passionately while going through wave after wave of hardships and pleasures. I consider this life a phase for raising my personality and for improving my mind. There is nothing nobler than leaving this world with higher spirituality than at birth.”

 

What do you think about this concept? Even if he is called the ‘God of Business’ or the ‘Ethical Manager’ and is respected by a lot of people in Japan, his way of thinking is not different from the typical worldly thinking of governor Felix and the like. This way of thinking is so popular among the young people in Japan that there are many hard-working and honest young business people in Japan, but not many Christians who have intimate relationship with God in today’s Japan.

 

Paul does not think that doing the best to become a better, nobler and more beautiful person at the end of one’s life should be our life’s goal, but that we should all look forward to the judgment to come at the end of our life.

 

Hebrews 9:27  Just as a man is destine to die once, and after that to face judgment.

 

This is the gospel, which tells the righteousness of God for us, the quitting and self-control of our sinful ways and the judgment of God to come for us.

 

When Paul was proclaiming this gospel, quite probably the face of the governor Felix turned ashen and he wanted to leave Paul with any poor excuse, as it was so different from his own way of thinking. Even though Paul was jailed nearby for two more years, Felix never received Jesus Christ and consequently never met with Lord Jesus.

 

This reminds us of the frequently repeated words (4 times) from the book of Judges; “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”

 

My beloved congregation, please remember in your heart the ‘righteousness of God’, ‘quitting of your sinful ways’ and the ‘judgment to come’, so that you will not be afraid of the gospel, but become the ‘proclaimer’ of the gospel. You should never be a person who is afraid of the gospel, by relying only on yourself and on the ‘ethics’ or ‘religion’ of the world. I hope and pray that you will have the blessing of living your life as ‘a proclaimer of the gospel’ from now on.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “In this changing world, as the end is coming closer, I cannot live without my Lord.” 

   

총 게시물 610건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
340 2016.12.25.  The Acts (83) – I pray that you may become what I am Acts 28:16~31 Rev. Jang
339 2016.12.25.  사도행전(83) - 드디어 로마에 도착하다 사도행전 28:16~31 장찬영 목사
338 2016.12.18.  Christmas Cantata: “Adoration in search of a King” Matthew 2:1~12 Rev. Jang
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
처음  이전  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  다음  맨끝

제목 : This is the Christianity
설교일 : 2019.11.17
본문말씀 : 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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