Tuesday, 22 July 2014

ACTS 9:32 – 11:18 BOUNDLESS & LIMITLESS dated 13.7.14


The Gospel message that Jesus Christ is the universal Lord & Ruler, is on the brink of breaking in to new territory – breaking out & going global with Cornelius, a Gentile centurion, as the first Gentile convert. 

This whole section is designed to show us that God is committed to the global advance of his Gospel. And he wants us to have confidence that it is God’s goal that his Gospel should go global. 

Acts 10 records one of the single greatest turning point in the history of the world.

Jesus’ Work & Jesus' Man (Acts 9:32-43)

First, these 2 miracles (9:32-35), then (9:36-43), demonstrates the ongoing work of Jesus, which are done in the following manner:

  • They are done in the NAME of Jesus (Acts 9:34)
  • They are done after the MANNER of Jesus
  • They are done with the WORDS of Jesus (I say to you, take up mat & walk)
  • They are done to the GLORY of Jesus

 Jesus’ work points out that Peter is Jesus’ man.

These incidents are specifically designed to establish Peter’s credentials at this key moment in the history of the church, as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about to go global. These 2 miracles are mirrors, copies of the miracles of Jesus Christ – the dead raised, the paraplegic gets up off his mat.
Peter is the apostle to whom the Lord Jesus says: “I give you the keys of the kingdom”. 

God’s grace knows no boundaries (Acts 10:1-35)

The unmistakable point is that God shows no partiality, anyone from any nation who fears God & does what is right, turning to the Lord Jesus, is acceptable to him. There is no one, no one, outside the bounds of God’s grace and, as a person comes to the Lord Jesus, fearing God and doing what is right, they are equal: no second class, no caste, pride, racial prejudice, hatred.

In order to show this really is of God, the point is made by:

Divine intervention (angel, vision, voice, Spirit – Acts 10:3-19),
Deliberate repetition (3 times Acts 10:16) and
Apostolic authentication (Peter’s name mentioned over 10 times Acts 10:3-46).

God’s grace knows boundaries because Christ’s work knows no limits.

Peter records for us in Ac 10:36-43 the essential message of the Christian faith, the well-attested facts of the Christian faith, the God-given meaning of the Christian faith and the global application of the Christian faith.

This is the Gentile Pentecost. What the Jews received in Acts 2, is now received fully & absolutely by the Gentiles. They are complete insiders.

The essential message of the Christian faith is there in (Acts 10:36).

Expressing the Christian faith in just 4 words: “Jesus Christ is Lord”, 5 words in Acts 10:36: “he is Lord of all” and 9 words summary: “Peace through Jesus Christ, he is Lord of all”. Peace is available for you with the one who is Lord of all – the essential message.

The well-attested facts (v34 – 41).

Firstly, it concerns the man of history, Jesus of Nazareth – a specific person, not a mystical figure made up in somebody’s mind. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth Acts 10:38.
Secondly, it relates to his public work (v38-39) …
Thirdly, witnesses of everything he did ….
Fourthly, it focuses on his death (v39).
Fifthly, it concerns his resurrection (v40-41). 

The God-given meaning (Acts 10:42-43):

What the Christian faith means? JUDGMENT!

We’re going to face God in judgment. That’s what Jesus commanded the apostles to preach– he’s judge of the living & the dead.

God’s grace knows no bounds because Christ’s works knows no limits.

Therefore, anyone, anywhere, from every nation, who turns to Christ, receives peace, from Jesus Christ, with God. Jesus is Lord of all.

The Global application (Acts 10:44-48)

The Gentiles receive the Spirit just as the Jews received the Spirit back in Acts 2. This is the Gentile Pentecost; to receive the Spirit is to have God living in your heart.
People from every nation – Gentiles – are baptized, having received the Holy Spirit. God himself has come to live in their hearts: in the heart of a Gentile dog, who is considered to be unclean. God has broken into the heart because:
He’s Lord of all. He offers peace to all, forgiveness is available to all. He is judge of all.

The message of Acts 10 is: God’s grace knows no boundaries.

It will affect whom I mix with, to whom I open my home for the sake of the Gospel, who I consider to be an acceptable person to extend an invitation to … , or I’m ready to speak to, where I’m prepared to live, what I’m going to do with my life, if God’s grace knows no bounds, Christ’s work knows no limits.

As a group of people united by Jesus’ Gospel that has no walls, and has forgiven anybody anything, do we still communicate the presence of walls still to others?

There is a culture of spiritual self-confidence that gets inside the church. It leads to a pretence that “we are good”, a performance of “we are good” and a looking down on other people when the whole thing is about sinners who are forgiven. .

We need to remember that Jesus’ death has to do with sinners who are forgiven and was needed for me & for you. They are better than the animal sacrifices and there are no exceptions.

Hallmarks of a Genuine True Christian (Acts 11:1-18)

In Acts 11, as the Gospel is about to go global, and the hallmarks of a true Christian are given.
Acts 11:1-3 Peter reports the first Gentile convert with the circumcision party insisting that to be a true Christian, you have to be circumcised. Peter was criticized for having done what no pious Jew had ever done before – gone into a Gentile house and offered friendship with God (forgiveness & peace with God) through the Lord Jesus Christ to a whole new people group.

3 different ways of describing exactly the same event:

Acts 11:1 Received the word
Acts 10:47; 11:15-17 Received the Spirit
Acts 11:18 Granted repentance unto life


The author Dr Luke charts the Christian Gospel going from a small Jewish group in Israel, and now the first major Gentile convert, Cornelius, shown us in Acts 10 that the offer of God’s grace knows no boundaries – anybody is offered the grace of God – also shown the extent of Christ’s work knows no limit – Christ’s work is to offer salvation to anybody from any background.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Saul’s Conversion by Dr. Tiong Tung Hui dated 6.7.14

The sermon is based on Acts 9:1-31
Saul before the encounter Acts 9:1-2
In Act chapter 1, it was reported that Saul was involved in the murder of Stephen. Saul was known to be an accomplished man, social elite, a Pharisee, and a religious man.  He was known to speak Greek and Aramaic.  He was passionate in taking people out of Christ.  Saul went after the people of “the Way” as far as Damascus which was about 175 miles from Jerusalem.  Why Damascus?  Because he wanted to capture these people and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished.  Essentially he wanted to stop the spread of the Gospel. He thought that he was doing God a favour.  He even obtained letters of authorising him to arrest the people.  But God had other plans.  God’s purpose cannot be hindered by man.
Encounter with God Acts 9:3-9
On his way to Damascus, a supernatural thing happened to him.  A bright light shown on him and he fail and heard a voice. Saul said, “Who are you Lord?” The light blinded Saul for 3 days, it was a dramatic and frightening experience for him. This was life changing for him too.  God asked him why he had been persecuting Him ? The lesson is when we hurt others we also hurt ourselves like Saul. In this incident, Saul had a relationship with God.  God spoke to Saul and Saul responded.  We can say Saul had a “born again” experience. The old Saul died, the new Saul came to live.  Later Paul said no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  Everyone has different encounters with God, but the problem is we have short memories. E.g in Matthew there was a story of ten lepers being healed by Jesus, yet only one returned to say thank you. 
Dr. Tiong recalled a patient who had been hurt on both eyes, realising Dr. Tiong was a Christian, he begged Dr. Tiong to pray for his recovery and promised to be a Christian when he was healed.  Indeed, one eye recovered, but some years later Dr. Tiong found that he had been in his old job, taking people to the casinos. 
Ananias Acts 9:10-19
God instructed Ananias to go to Saul, but he was afraid as he has heard bad news about Saul and what he had done to the believers.  But God wanted him to lay hand on Saul to heal him. When Ananias and Saul met it was a divine appointment because it was extraordinary.  Saul must be very touched when Ananias lay hand on him and called him “brother”. Saul (Paul) ministry was to bring the Gospel to the gentiles, and that was God’s calling to him. In Isaiah 42:6 people of God was supposed to be light to the gentiles.  In Act chapter 13 onwards, Saul was known as Paul.  Paul suffered but he had positive attitude. The greatest blessing in our lives is to know Christ.
Two roles of Ananias 1) mouth piece of God 2) personal encourager to Saul. Ananias called him brother, and after laying hand on him, Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Similarly God can use us to serve in different capacities.
The evidence of Saul conversion was that he identified with the church, he was bold to share the Gospel, the Jews were furious with him, and wanted to kill him.
Saul in Damascus Acts 9:19-25
Paul begun to preached in Damascus, but people were astonished because a while ago he was trying to arrest people who believed in “the way”.  The Jews wanted to kill him, but the disciples lowered him in a basket to escape.
Saul in Jerusalem Acts 9:26-30
In Jerusalem Saul tried to meet the disciples but they were afraid of him, knowing his reputation.  Barnabas shared Saul’s testimony of conversion, and they accepted him and he was able to move freely with them.  However, the authorities wanted to kill him.  The disciples sent him to Tarsus.
Peace Acts 9:31
There was peace in Judea, Galilee and Samaria because there was no more persecution.
The church grew with the help of the Holy Spirit.
God is sovereign no man can stop God’s plans.  God used Paul to spread the Gospel. Persecution spread the Gospel. 
What about our encounter with God?  Our encounter with God may not be as dramatic. It is important to recognise that God is our Saviour.  Treasure what we have.  We are called to serve, love, give and suffer.
Dr. Tiong related a story of a man who said he could tithe without any problem when he earned just 10 percent of what he was earning now, but now he found it difficult to give.  He came to his pastor to seek prayers about his situation.  His pastor prayed that his salary should be reduced to the previous level so he will not have problem tithing! This may be a joke, but the reality is that many struggled with giving.
Dr. Tiong shared the story of Pastor Liaw and his family who have been missionaries to Papua New Guinea for many years. Pastor Liaw had severe hypertension, and his wife had damaged kidneys.  Yet they laboured for the Gospel.  They were blessed with very smart daughters who got scholarships to study in the US.  They sacrifice for the Gospel.  They even told their children, if they could not make it in PNG, they are to stay in the US. Their sacrifice for the Gospel is very inspiring and touching.
In light of these teaching, we should examine our lives.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Covenant of Regeneration & Holy Spirit by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 29.6.14

Covenant & Regeneration & Holy Spirit by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 29.6.14
Related Scriptures Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Ezekiel 36:26-27
In the previous sermons by Dr. Thomas Chung he had covered four covenants.
1.       Covenant of mercy – God made with Noah, the symbol is the rainbow
2.       Covenant of inheritance that God made with Abraham, and was fulfilled through Isaac. Not all promises are covenants.
3.       Covenant of obedience, this God made with Moses, its symbol are the tablets of stone where 10 commands were carved.
4.       Covenant of kingship that God made with King David that one of his descendants will be king.
Now Dr. Chung will address the fifth covenant, Covenant & regeneration & Holy Spirit.  Prophet Jeremiah and prophet Ezekiel were contemporary.  Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem with the remnants of Israel, where as Ezekiel went with the exiles to Babylon.  In Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah said the Israelites can have a relationship with God, that was “knowing” God intimately.  Prophet Ezekiel amplified what Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 31.  One can have a new heart, new Spirit, removing your heart of stone and giving you a new heart.  This was fulfilled by Paul in 2 Cor 5:16-21.  In the previous verses Paul talked about “reconciliation”.  Reconciliation in Greek means “exchange”, like a trade exchange one thing for another.  So in sharing the Gospel, the peace of God was exchanged for miseries of life.    Exchange our strength for God’s strength.
We Christians are traders, our commodity is eternal life.  However, people must repent and receive God into their lives.
The Holy Spirit is given to us, it is a living force.  The Holy Spirit has one “ministry” that is pointing us to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit also means the Spirit of Christ.
Jeremiah called for a new covenant as the Israelites had broken the covenant of obedience.  While Moses was in the mountain, the Israelites worship the golden calf.  It was like the Israelites committing adultery.
Why new covenant? Why bring the Holy Spirit?  Roman 8:3-4,  walking according to the Spirit and not fresh.  We received the Holy Spirit into us, the temple of Holy Spirit.
1.       Light – is truth
2.       Heat – is with the love of God. 
The Holy Spirit is both light and heat. 
Jeremiah 31:33 – covenants were written in their heart that cannot be erased.
New family Ephesians 2:19-20
New relationship – Romans 6:19, Romans 8:13
In Christ we are new creations 2 Cor 5:17