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  • Nov 10 / 2019
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Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Again, the Better Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Again, a Better Covenant

Hebrews 8:1-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34

The High Priest of a New Covenant

1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,

and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.


Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD ,

“when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they broke my covenant,

though I was a husband to them, “

declares the LORD .

33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time,” declares the LORD .

“I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD ,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the LORD .

“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”


“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

Amen – this is God’s promise given to us.

We do have such a High Priest – what kind?

v. 1-2

“1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.”

The point is: we do have such a high priest. The summary of the message is: Our Lord, High Priest, is superior to everything in the OT priesthood.

Last week = he is holy, blameless, sinless, stainless, 100% pure. Then, he never needs to offer sacrifice day after day, year after year for his own sins – and then for the sins of others. But Jesus sacrificed directly for our sins once for all with his own blood on the cross.

  • That’s why he’s the last and lasting High Priest;
  • the last and lasting sacrifice for our sins.

Question: He is sitting down at the right hand of God – then what is he doing there in heaven? 4 things.

1. He is being with us

(working with us, sharing what we are doing). He is happy, ready, available all the time to share in our sufferings, difficulties, hardships in this world. He is READY.

“Surely, I am with you always to the very end of the age.” He promised this. “I’m in you, with you, beside you.”

Because he’s in heaven it is possible.

2. He is interceding (praying) for us

Romans 8:34 “Christ Jesus, who died, more than that who was raised again from the dead sits at the right hand of God and is interceding for us.”

Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for you.”

3. He is an architect

He was once a carpenter, and son of a carpenter. In heaven, he is building our beautiful mansions for us in heaven.

John 14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house, there are many rooms. I go there to prepare a place for you. When I finish, I will return to take you with me to be where I am.”

He’s still “under construction” – and when he finishes, he will come back and take us with him.

His sitting in heaven is a guarantee of us also sitting together with him in heaven with the Father

Where is your body now? On earth? But your reality is that you are already in heaven with him.

Eph 2:6 “God raised you with Jesus Christ and seated you with Jesus in the heavenly kingdom.”

Verb tense: not future, but past – it is DONE – our spiritual reality is already in heaven with Jesus Christ.

v. 3-5

“3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.””

During his 33 years of life on earth, Jesus was never called a “priest.” He never did the function of a priest in an earthly tabernacle or synagogue – because there were already priests. And, he was not a Levite, but from the tribe of Judah. Also, the earthly temple is only a copy and shadow of the real one – in heaven. A priest needs a sanctuary in which he ministers – but Jesus’ sanctuary is in heaven.

Moses in the OT, made a sanctuary according to the commands of God. (v. 5 ‘Moses was warned to make everything according to the pattern shown on the mountain.’)

Did you see the OT tabernacle? Inside, there were no chairs – what does this mean? It means, the work of the priest was never finished, complete, perfect.

Yet, all the time it says, “Jesus sat down.” This is spiritually symbolic – it means that his ministry on earth is finished. He shouted “It is finished!” His work on earth as a public ministry is totally complete – sufficient, more than enough.

But in the OT covenant and tabernacle, there were no chairs, so the work of the human priests was never complete. Each completed sacrifice was only a reminder that animal sacrifice never completely washed away and cleansed human sins. This act had to be repeated day-by-day, year-by-year, until Jesus died on the cross THAT DAY.

J the Baptist declared, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!’

v. 6-7

“6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.”

This book Hebrews is a book of “Better”

  • Better Hope
  • Better Covenant
  • Better High Priest
  • Better Sacrifice
  • Better Promises
  • Better Possessions
  • Better Country
  • Better Resurrection

We read 13 verses and the word “covenant” appears 7 times. “Better covenant” = “new covenant.”

In the old covenant, God forgave sins when people brought animals to the priests. The agreement between God and man was sealed with the blood of the animals, but the sins could only be forgiven by God. This is why they were repeated day-by-day, year-by-year. But Jesus established a new covenant – and under this new covenant, he should die in the place of sinners.

One day, while they were eating, Jesus established this covenant with his disciples:

He took the bread, thanked God, gave it to them and said, “Eat this is my body.” He took the cup and said, “Drink from it, this is my blood, poured out on the cross for many for the forgiveness of sins. This is a new covenant.” He established a new covenant (better covenant).

We read Jeremiah 31 – and we can see that the prophets of the OT looked forward to this new covenant that would fulfill the OT covenant. And J the Baptist said, “This is the Lamb of God…” So we never need to struggle with the guilt of past sins because we have complete forgiveness in Christ.

God’s presence is much more real to us – the emotional quality of our lives is better, and the mission from God for our lives is much better (greater) than before. Whatever you job is, if you are IN Christ, your job is a calling from God – that God uses to advance his work in this world. Everything shows the need for redemption and salvation. Everywhere, God displays the possibility. We are a part of this great movement of the new covenant.

v. 8-12 are a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34 – this is the longest quotation of the OT in the NT. It contains the prophetic announcement and definition of the new covenant which was to be totally different from the Mosaic covenant.

v. 8-12

“8 But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,

and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.””

Last verse: v. 13

“13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”

v. 8-12 = quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34 – the longest in the whole Bible.

We know what a covenant is like. For example, old covenant and new covenant. Also between human beings there are covenants: marriage for example. The basic idea = agreement – dependence on conditions upon which they mutually agree.

David’s covenant with Jonathan for example.

If either party breaks the covenant, that covenant becomes null and void. But this new covenant is totally different. In the new covenant, the basic idea is not an agreement between God and man, but God’s absolute will motivated by his love for the forgiveness of sins and redemption of human beings.

The whole approach in this new covenant comes from God – man and God cannot meet on equal terms. Man cannot bargain, cannot compromise, cannot argue about this covenant with God – because it is absolute providence / offering from God. So, all we can do is just to receive or reject it. These are are two options:

  1. Receive
  2. Reject
  • If you receive, you receive forgiveness, redemption, eternal life, salvation.
  • If you reject it you reject forgiveness, salvation, eternal life.

From v. 8-12, there are 5 characteristics of this new covenant. Let’s see them briefly.

1. It is not revolutionary – it was set in Jeremiah.

It is TRUE that God planned a new covenant BEFORE the old covenant. In God’s plan, this new covenant is OLDER than the old covenant – this is a mystery. In God’s heart / mind, this new covenant is OLDER than the old covenant. God planned to send his one and only son to the cross from the Beginning – even from the foundation of the world.

Eph 1:7 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In his love, God predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters in Jesus Christ.”

2. The New Covenant is OLDER than the Old Covenant.

In Greek: “new” = two words: neos (“new” in the point of time (order)), kainos (“new” in time AND quality – and totally different) – it looks the same, but totally different.

This “new” is kainos, not neos.

When we are in this new covenant, we are TOTALLY different people – yes, you look the same, who were once an unbeliever – but you are totally NEW – new nature, new status.

1 Cor 5:17? “If you are in Christ, you are a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

In Christ, you are not a changed person, you are a DIFFERENT person. That’s why it’s called “born again.”

3. New in scope and universality

v. 8 “”The time is coming, declares the Lord,

when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.”

“11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.”

4. This new covenant involves ALL people in this world – not only Israel.

We know, in history, Israel was split into two kingdoms – 10 in the north (Israel), 2 in the south (Judah). Before this, the tribes had never come together, but with the new covenant, the two would be reunited.

Eph 2:14 “Jesus is peace of all human beings and has made the two one, and has destroyed all barriers between men.”

Symbolically, when Jesus was crucified, the curtain separating the holy place from the most holy place was torn in two and the two rooms became one room.

In the new covenant, we can be reconciled with anyone. Two enemies can be one.

Let’s continue next time.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 03 / 2019
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Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

A Better Covenant (Hebrews 7:20-28)

Download Notes in a .MD file

A Better Covenant

Hebrews 7:20-28 (Pastor Heo)

20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn

and will not change his mind:

‘You are a priest forever.’ ” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins _once for all_ when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect _forever_.


This is the continuation of the comparison between OT and NT priesthood.

Differences:

1. Oath: without / with oath

OT priests – from the children of Aaron (Levites), men with no physical defects could become priests before God with no oath – their appointment was based on the Law with no divine intervention.

In the case of Jesus, he became a High Priest WITH an oath.

Ps. 110:4 “4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.””

This was written 600 years? before Christ – about a person / priesthood 1000 years prior.

God never lies like we do. He is Almighty God, omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with God – then why did God take an oath? This shows DOUBLE guarantee, importance, significance. This is the revelation of God’s radical plan for our salvation – this is the ultimate sovereign will of God – his last will. So, the ultimate sovereign will of God for the salvation of man = “A better covenant.”

This is another keyword in Hebrews. To understand this word, we must understand the background.

There are two testaments, two covenants in the Bible. New Testament = Better Covenant.

This book Hebrews is a book of “Better Covenant.”

This book has the word “better” the most of any other books in the New Testament – at least 11 times.

  • Last week: Better Hope
  • This week: Better Covenant

Later, Better Promise, sacrifice, possessions, country, resurrection.

This word “Covenant” is also repeated at least 16 times (the most in the NT). If we are IN Christ, our lives will become better and better – our future will become better and better IN Jesus. This is a better covenant – because the best is not yet come, the best is coming. Believe your future will become better. We can be convinced in Jesus Christ.

The background is from the Last Supper with his disciples. In the upper room, while eating, Jesus took bread and gave thanks to the Father and gave it to them and said, “Take and eat, this is my body.” Also, Jesus took the cup and gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, this is my blood. This is the NEW covenant, poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins.”

Originally, “covenant” = agreement between two parties – if either side failed, that covenant is broken.

  • Old Covenant was based on the Law, Justice, obedience.
    • New Covenant is based on Love, and Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross.
  • O.C. based on man’s performance before God.
    • N.C. based on God’s (Jesus’) performance on the cross.

In this better covenant, Jesus did all that God had to do to save us, and all that we must do to be saved.

In this better covenant, we have nothing to do for our salvation, except believe in Christ for our salvation, look to him, follow Him – he is available to all of us, just trust him for the forgiveness of sin – for joyful, satisfactory life. That is all – just believe in Christ. That’s all we can do for our salvation and forgiveness of sins in the better covenant. That’s why this is called the better covenant, the New Testament.

God bless you all with the Better Covenant.

2. Another difference: Length of service

v. 23-24

“23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.”

Wow.

Difference of duration between OT and NT Priests.

I don’t know the number of High Priests in human history, but a historian Josephus estimated there were 83 HP from Aaron to the destruction of the second temple in 70AD. Each served in their office, job, and should be replaced by their successor. Why? They died.

But N.C. High Priest (Jesus) lives forever and has a permanent priesthood. This means Jesus is the last and lasting high priest.

Jesus is the last and lasting high priest.

What does this mean, practically in our daily lives?

The application: He is available in helping us in every area.

In our culture today, sometimes we need human lawyers, counselors, financial advisers, physicians, insurance agents, tour guides, for better life, hope, security. That is not bad, but Jesus is always available to us to become our helper, lawyer, counselor, guide, agent, in every area of life. HOW? How can we acknowledge his permanent priesthood in our daily lives? By acknowledging his Lordship, Leadership, Guidance in each and every situation. Let us do that. Because he is our permanent High Priest.

v. 25 (Memorize)

“25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

This means, the basis, foundation, ground (without which we cannot stand) for this complete salvation is heavenly intercession of our high priest Jesus.

Intercede: To approach, appeal, make a petition. Jesus now is making petition for us before the Father God continually.

We should not imagine that Father God is angry with us – and THAT’S why he must appeal to God to not judge us. NO. Father God, and Son Jesus are in complete agreement about our salvation.

“…no one can snatch you out of my hand. My father is greater than all, … no one can snatch you out of my father’s hand… The Father and I are ONE.” (One in giving you eternal life.)

The Trinity God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) are completely united in agreement for our salvation.

Romans 5:16 “The Spirit testifies with our spirits that you are children of God.”

In the same way, the Spirit intercedes with us – sometimes we don’t know what is right, what to pray, but the Spirit intercedes with groans that words cannot express.

Jesus is continually interceding for us. The Trinity God is one in essence, in agreement, in sovereignty. This is a mystery of mysteries.

Once more:

v. 25

“25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

How can we come to God?

Draw near to Jesus = draw near to God – because Jesus is the incarnation of the invisible God. No one can add to what Jesus already did to save us. Our past, present, and future sins are completely forgiven in Christ.

Jesus has paid the price for sins “once for all.”

3. More differences: Sacrifice

v. 26-28

“26 Such a high priest _meets our need_ [Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ.”]–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins _once for all_ when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”

In the OC, a priest was merely a sinful human being – so he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins first before offering sacrifices for the people. This had to be done continually, day by day because animal sacrifice could not remove the stain of sin permanently.

In the OT, when animals were offered as sacrifices, there were 5 steps (at least):

  1. Cut into pieces
  2. Each piece washed
  3. The fat was burned
  4. The meat was boiled
  5. The blood was sprinkled

The blood is the key point in the sacrifice offering. At that time, as a shadow of Christ, God accepted the blood of animals temporarily to teach of the reality that without the shedding of blood, forgiveness of sins is impossible.

Essentials:

  1. High Priest
  2. Offering (blood)

Jesus was holy, blameless, pure, sinless, – so he never needed to offer sacrifices for himself. But he offered the sacrifice for the sins of others first, directly.

Also, he did not offer animal’s blood, but his own blood – as a sacrifice on the cross. He gave his own blood for you. He allowed his own blood to be sprinkled on the cross for the forgiveness of all sins – yours and mine.

When Jesus offered himself as a perfect sacrifice, he obliterated the penalty, price of sin. There was no more sacrifice needed for sin.

  • Jesus is the last and lasting high priest.
  • Jesus is the last and lasting sacrifice.

That’s why he has a permanent priesthood. Such a priest meets our need. This is available in every step to us today.

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want… He leads me in quiet waters, he restores my soul… Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… Your rod, your staff, they comfort me…”

Even though we are walking with Jesus, sometimes we Walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It doesn’t say, “I will NEVER walk through the valley” – no – it says, “EVEN THOUGH I walk through the valley.”

“No fear!”

(But practically, much fear sometimes. Only IN Jesus Christ is it possible to have no fear, anxiety.)

So what should we do in this?

We say,

“I trust in Jesus alone.”

That is all we can do.

“Forgive my sins through Jesus Christ, give me eternal life through Jesus Christ.”

And we can shout “Hallelujah!”

God bless you with our permanent high priest, Jesus.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 27 / 2019
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Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Better Hope (Hebrews 7:11-19)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Better Hope

Hebrews 7:11-19 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Like Melchizedek

11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.


What is worship? Access to God’s throne, enjoying his presence.

The main function of a priest: to help people to have access to God as mediator.

This passage has 2 sections.

  1. This section shows the temporariness of the Levitical priesthood –
  2. The second section shows the eternality and perfection of the Messianic (Jesus) priesthood.

“There is one mediator between God and man (Jesus Christ).”

Briefly:

  1. The insufficiency of the old priesthood +
  2. the sufficiency of the new priesthood.

“Insufficiency” of Aaron’s priesthood

v. 11-14

“11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.”

The old priesthood was insufficient and replaced because it could not bring people to perfection (completeness) in access to God.

In the Old Testament, what were the qualifications to become priests?

  1. Tribe of Levi (100% pure descendant of Aaron)
  2. There are MANY qualifications – but they all have to do with physical, external, outward characteristics (142 types of physical blemishes that might disqualify him – Leviticus 21:17-21)

v. 17-21

“17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the LORD. He has a defect; he must not _come near to_ offer the food of his God.”

We draw near to God – this gate now is WIDELY open to anybody at anytime. But at that time, the gate to draw near to God was very narrow and limited.

Several times repeated here: “He must NOT…”

There were 142 physical blemishes that could cause someone to be disqualified from the Levitical priesthood. Even in the ordination ceremony, he must be bathed in special water, clothed in special priestly clothes, anointed in oil, pierced through his right ear and right big toe.

Once ordained, he had to keep so many oils, cut his hair in a special style. Maybe if I were in the OT, I could not become pastor because of my hair.

The qualifications were dependent on only physical characteristics at that time. Character, ability, spirituality were not even considered. This shows that the OT priesthood was NOT sufficient – until the priesthood of Christ came.

Jesus’ priesthood

v. 15-19

“15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an _indestructible life_. 17 For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a _better hope_ is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”

What is our “Better Hope” – by which we can draw near to God at any and every time.

This new high priest has one great qualification – which is not external, and not outward, not physical – but it is inward (the power of an indestructible life).

This does not mean that Jesus didn’t die – but that he died a death that could not hold him. Death had no power over him. His death was followed by resurrection – that’s why he is eternal.

“Jesus is a High Priest” on the basis of an indestructible life = on the basis of resurrection.

He is risen! He is the alpha and omega – the first and last – our high priest forever and ever.

Still today, do you recognize that he is praying for us earnestly?

He lived 33 years in human form, experiencing everything, even death through the exercise of his own life.

John 17 “I lay my life down of my own volition (will), nobody takes my life from me. I have authority to lay my life down and authority to take it up again.” This means he is eternal, perfect, experientially, morally, spiritually – his priesthood is perfect. So he is efficient to impart life to everybody – and make access to God possible.

Jesus himself bore his body on the cross so that we might be declared righteous. “By his wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah)

He also gives us eternal, abundant life through his resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the Life – he who believes in me will live even though he dies.”

Jesus is the bridge between God and man. There was a big valley between God and man – and Jesus became that bridge.

v. 19

“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”

How is it possible?

We are allowed to draw near to God at any time.

Here’s a story:

On one occasion, there was debate / discussion between local priests (not in the Bible) of the Catholic church and a pastor of a Protestant church (like me) – in the matter of access to God.

Catholic Priest vs. Protestant Minister

  • CP: “Why do you not pray to the saints?”
    • PM: “Why should we?”
  • CP: “Example: If you want to see the President of your country, we need many steps – the minister of the dept, cabinet, secretary, etc – and get permission, and that person may open the door of the President and you may see him.” (True.)
    • PM: “That may be true. There are many steps to see the President. But, imagine the child of that President. They are living together in the same house, eating at the same table, kiss each other goodbye, and eat together at dinner, sleep under the same roof. This is a child. Like this, I’m a child of God – a co-heir with Christ. I’m saved through the death of Christ and have been adopted into the family of Christ. Yes, he is God, much higher than a human President.”

How is this possible?

We must know:

In the OT, God was revealed as King and Creator – but NEVER revealed as Father to any individual person. No one called God “Father.” Not Abraham, not Moses, not David. David enjoyed a wonderful position before God (a man after God’s own heart) – but he never confessed “God is my Father.”

Only IN Christ, BY Christ, THROUGH Christ, God revealed himself and gave himself to us as our “Father.”

That’s why 700 years before Jesus’ coming, it was prophesied, “To us a child is given, the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Even 700 years before Jesus’ coming, “he will be called Everlasting Father” – this sounds strange if you consider the context and that time.

Usually, people do not call God “Father” but Jesus reveals God as “Father”. John says, “Nobody has ever seen God, but Jesus has made him known.” Only through Christ we are allowed to call him Father.

  • God loves us as a Father loves his children.
  • God knows what we need as his children.

v. 19

“(for the law made nothing perfect) and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”

The practical application: If we believe Jesus is eternal and perfect and sufficient priest in our lives, it means whatever problems you have, Jesus is the answer.

  • Whatever my problem: Jesus is the answer.
  • One million problems, one answer. Jesus is the answer.

“In this world, you will have problems, but take heart, for I have overcome the world (the problems).”

So problems are not problems. Problems prove you are still alive. To be overcome by a problem is a real problem. But all problems will be overcome by Christ (Romans 8: “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”)

Practically, we are allowed to draw near to God – HOW?

Spiritual tips:

  1. Church (the house of God) – although according to the Bible, we ourselves ARE the church
    • Church comes from ecclesia (Greek) “called out of the world” – an assembly of God’s people. “Where two or three are gathered, there I am.”
  2. Our bodies are the temple of God – the church of God – if we recognize this already, we are in the presence of God – drawing near to God is possible anywhere and anytime.
    • We are spiritual beings – and like our physical bodies crave physical food, our spiritual bodies also crave intimacy with God (access with God), sanctification, maturity, the grace of God – this is our spiritual food. “This hope does not disappoint us.”
    • Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access to this grace through the hope in which we now stand.”
    • We also can rejoice in our sufferings, trials, and problems. For this suffering produces patience, maturity, character, hope – and this hope does not disappoint us – because God is pouring out his love into our hearts.
  3. Prayer – dialogue with God – we need MORE prayer if you want to draw close to God. MORE prayer, less worry (less TV). MORE talking with God, less talking with people – because through this we draw near to God.
  4. Worship
  5. Bible meditation – verse memory, songs, personal reading. The Bible is the Word of God as our “daily bread.” This is the daily bread of our spiritual growth.

v. 19

“(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduce, by which we draw near to God.”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 20 / 2019
  • 0
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Greatness of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-10)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/the-greatness-of-melchizedek

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The Greatness of Melchizedek

Hebrews 7:1-10

Melchizedek the Priest

1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people–that is, their brothers–even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.


Genesis 14:18-20

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And blessed be God Most High,

who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.


Psalm 110:4

4 The LORD has sworn

and will not change his mind:

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”


Title: The Greatness of Melchizedek (but this is just a shadow) – I really want to show you “The Greatness of Jesus Christ”

But let me tell you the background of Melchizedek.

Genesis 12 is a big turning point in church mission and redemptive history. In this chapter, God called Abram. He said, “Leave your country / people / father’s house and go to the land I’ll show you. I’ll bless you and make your name great – I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. And all people on earth will be blessed through you.”

Abram left and his nephew Lot followed him. He was 75 years old when he left Haram (Mesopotamia) for Canaan.

In Canaan, Abram became rich materially, and Lot also became rich, so he they agreed together not to have any fighting together. “If you go left, I’ll go right – if you go right, I’ll go left.” Actually Lot should have said, “No, you are first, my uncle, you go first.”

But he chose first, Sodom. It looked rich – maybe like Las Vegas.

Later there was a war between 4 kings and they defeated Sodom and her neighbors. They carried off many hostages including Lot and his family and all his possessions. Abram heard that news and recruited 318 trained soldiers (from his household) and pursued the kings to return his nephew Lot.

He’s a hero, right?

All of a sudden, he met Melchizedek on the way. They were strangers to each other but Melchizedek prepared bread and wine for Abram and his company (looks like communion) – and he blessed Abram in the name of God Most High – and Abram gave him a tithe, a tenth of everything he plundered from the 4 kings.

This was very strange and mysterious.

After this, Melchizedek vanished from the stage of history. He appeared suddenly and disappeared suddenly. From this short story, there is no more mention of Melchizedek for at least 1000 years.

This story was about 2000 BC, but around 1000 BC, when David was king of Israel, the Holy Spirit inspired David to write these prophetic words in

Psalm 110:4

“4 The LORD has sworn

and will not change his mind:

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.””

After that, there is no more mention for another 1000 years.

Then, over 1000 years later, in the book of Hebrews, he is mentioned at least 10 times.

The key sentence is: “Jesus Christ is our High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (this is repeated 5 times, chp 5 x2, chp 6, chp 7:11, 17).

Melchizedek is just a shadow to show how GREAT Jesus is.

So, on what grounds is Melchizedek a shadow of Christ? Actually this sermon is not about Melchizedek at all, but the Greatness of Christ through the shadow / type of Melchizedek.

I want to share 5 things, but let’s start with 3 verses.

v. 1-3

“1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”

Let me share 5 things:

1. Melchizedek was King AND Priest – the only person in the OT like this

At that time, the order of King and of Priest were separated.

  • Aaron was the first Great High Priest, but not king.
  • David was a great king, but not a prophet.
  • Moses was a great prophet, but not king.

God punished some kings who tried to become or act like priests – examples: King Saul, King Uzziah

  • Spiritually, ONLY Christ is Priest and King in the order of Melchizedek.
  • Messiah / Christ literally means “the anointed one”.

He has THREE functions combined in ONE person: Prophet, Priest, King

When we confess Christ – we confess he is eternal Prophet, Priest, King. He is our Deliverer, Redeemer, Liberator, from all unrighteousness, dangers, Satan’s attacks, and finally hell.

As our High Priest, Jesus is the ONLY way through which we can have access to God. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”

Jesus is the visible representation of God. Col 2:9 “In Christ, the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form.”

2. His family history was different and unique

Melchizedek was a real man, not an angel, nor a ghost. He was a real man / king / priest, in a real time in human history. But there is no record of his genealogy.

As a man, he must have had a physical mother and father – but these are not recorded nor known.

v. 3

“3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”

Also Jesus IS before Melchizedek WAS. He is from eternity to eternity – always with us.

3. Melchizedek had authority to receive tithes from Abram

The background story of the Levites:

Abram originally was the founder / father of the of nation Israel. His grandson, Jacob, had 12 sons. When they entered the Promised Land, Joshua gave each tribe a land allotment, but one tribe, the Levites, were not given a land inheritance. Instead of this, two tribes were divided into two areas.

The Levites had to live scattered all over the land of Israel, because they were chosen to serve in worship services in the tabernacle. And each tribe should give a tithe to the Levites. Also, the rabbis should have a tithe of the tithe to the priests.

The logic of this book is: Jacob’s grandfather already gave tithes to Melchizedek. At that time, Israel, and Jacob, the 12 tribes, were not yet born. At that time, Melchizedek was a symbol of Christ.

The application is very clear: we must give to Christ what we are, what we have, because he is our Savior. This is the only way to make our lives meaningful in the eyes of God.

4. His name has significance

“Righteousness and Peace” to you in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the OT times, names were very meaningful and important. Sometimes, God had them change their names:

  • Abram -> Abraham,
  • Sarai -> Sarah,
  • Jacob -> Israel

This shows their spiritual truth about them.

Melchizedek was king of Salem (from this comes “Shalom”) – and his name means “righteousness and peace” – these go together all the time.

Psalm 85:10 “Righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

Righteousness means “having a right relationship with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ”.

  • Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
  • Romans “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace…”
  • 1 Cor 1:30 “Jesus Christ is our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
  • 1 Peter “Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might receive his righteousness”
  • 1 Cor “… we might receive the righteousness of God…”
  1. Jehovah Rapha
  2. Jehovah Jireh
  3. Jehovah *tsidkenu (sidcam)(Tsikem?) – “The Lord is my Righteousness”

Jesus is Righteousness incarnate – the essence, source, son, bestower, giver, priestly mediator of righteousness.

We can be declared righteous only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Nobody has peace without Christ. Even non-believers want peace. We ask, “why are you fighting?” They say, “for peace.” Yet, without being declared righteous (through Christ) there is no peace.

We know 700 years before, his birth was prophesied as the “king of peace.”

John 14:27 “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; do not be afraid.”

“Peace be with you.”

Jesus still is praying and interceding for us – for our holiness and wellbeing.

Do you like well being? Jesus also is praying for this right now.

Finally,

5. Melchizedek blessed Abram

This is an amazing story, if we understand the background. What a stupendous act on Abram’s part.

Melchizedek prepared bread and wine (like communion today). Jesus also offers the same thing for his children, his church – his life. His flesh and blood have secured our righteousness and peace – and we need our daily bread.

We needed bread yesterday, but we also need bread today.

Jesus says, “I’m the bread of Life.”

The lesser is blessed by the better – the superior blesses the inferior. The fact that Melchizedek blessed Abram means that he was superior to Abram.

We saw already that Genesis 12 is the calling of Abram – this is very important. What is the blessing of God to Abram?

“I’ll bless you; I’ll make you into a great nation; I’ll make your name great. And ALL people on earth will BE blessed through you.”

God promised that ALL people would BE blessed through him. This means he was a “supreme blesser.” ALL everyone else would be blessed through him – yet in this story, Melchizedek blessed him.

This is symbolic of Jesus Christ.

Yes, we can be a blessing, we are called to be a blessing in this world – how? By BEING blessed through Christ, we can become a channel of heavenly blessing to others.

This means that practically, ALL blessings we enjoy (physical, financial, etc – uncountable blessings) are made possible in / through Christ.

  • Phil 4:19 “God will meet all your needs (not desires) according to his glory through Jesus Christ.”
  • Matt “First seek his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things (you need) will be given to you as well.”
  • Phil 4:19 “My God will meet all my needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ.”
  • Matt “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to me and you as well.”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 06 / 2019
  • Comments Off on From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)

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From Abraham to Christ Jesus! (Hebrews 6:13-20)

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews is a book of warning AND encouragement. There is a warning not to discourage nor threaten us, but to give us hope in patient faith, continually. Remember the end of last Sunday’s sermon? This book encourages us not to be lazy, but diligent with hope and patience in faith. After giving this encouragement, this passage gives us a sample to imitate: Abraham.

One of the key words here is “promise.” God gave this word continually to Abraham.

Actually God does not need to swear to speak an oath – because he never lies. There is no one greater than God. So what does this mean, God taking an oath by himself? This means this is DOUBLE emphasis of importance.

Also today, Jesus says, “Truly, truly I tell you…” – Jesus doesn’t need to say this actually, because all things he speaks are truth. “I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” So what does this mean? this is Jesus vow / oath to give us double certainty.

This passage is from Abraham to Jesus. Also in Matthew 1 – the genealogy of Jesus, it begins with Abraham and ends with Jesus. So this passage gives us an example to imitate Abraham.

Several times, the Bible mentions:

  • “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”
  • Galatians 3:7 “Those who believe in Jesus are children of Abraham.”
  • Romans “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”

What does this mean?

Abraham is not perfect in his character – he told several lies about his wife “she’s my sister” to keep his life. Also, he was NOT the first person to be saved by faith – who believed in God. MANY people believed and were saved before Abraham. So then, why does the Bible introduce us to Abraham as the “father of faith” so often?

What does this mean to you / me personally? “Abraham is my father.” – this means there should be a very close relationship, right?

This passage wants to make it clear, all who believe are children of Abraham, and children of God.

Abraham is the Father of all who believe (2 points):

#1 God gives

(promise is a keyword)

  • First, Abraham is the first public example of how we can be saved and declared righteous / justified. In this fact, he is our father, we are his children.

Second, we are heirs of Abraham’s promise. Still today, if we believe in Christ, we are sharing Abraham’s ultimate mission / inheritance.

v. 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

Not only this sentence, but also another promise that Abraham did not receive. (Make a note beside this sentence.)

The OTHER promise (he did NOT receive) – even until today, we are receiving and sharing that promise. That promise is BEING fulfilled through those who believe in Christ.

#2 God saves

  • Abraham is our public, official sample of how to be saved (there is a gap of 4000 years between him and us – but we are saved by the same faith by which he was saved).

Let me share HOW he was saved and declared righteous. Listening to this, we must continually remember we are saved in the same way.

His salvation story is the SAME as ours (3 points)

1. By faith

(Genesis 14 – today’s message is “solid food”) – Abraham was saved by faith, not works

In Genesis 14, he defeated allied kings to save his nephew Lot – and he was wondering if they would return to fight him again.

At that time, his name was Abram – and called him, “Do not be afraid. I’m your shield and your very great reward.” At that time, the thing Abram wanted most of all was a son. God gave him a promise – took him outside to see the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be.” He was 85.

Abram believed this promise. “Amen.” (“It is true.”)

So, saying Amen is SO important – God receives glory simply when we say, “Amen.” “I believe” means “Amen.”

“Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness.” (credited = imputed / like a credit card – banking term – to put to his account). For example, a man works, earns money, and the money is credited to his account.

But, Abraham did NOT work for his promise. God spoke, Abraham believed, and THAT FAITH was counted as righteousness and justification to his account.

It was Jesus Christ who did work for him on his account. And it was the work of Jesus on the cross that was credited to his account.

Like this, we also do nothing for our salvation. When we believe / accept Jesus as Savior, his righteousness is transferred to my account. His righteousness becomes my righteousness. Like whenever someone transfers money to my account, that money becomes my money.

  • “…in him we might become the righteousness of God…”
  • “…Jesus Christ is our righteousness…” (Corinthians)

#2 By Grace

Not by circumcision, not by keeping the Law.

When he believed and God credited it to him as righteousness, he was 85 years old – in Genesis 15.

In Genesis 17, when he was 99 years old, he became circumcised.

This circumcision happened 14 years AFTER he believed in the promise of God – so it is clear that his circumcision did NOT affect his salvation. And also, the Law was given through Moses – who lived 500 years later.

So circumcision, observing the Law, had nothing to do with Abraham’s salvation. God only gave him a promise, and he responded with “Amen.”

  • Why did God give him a promise?
  • Was Abraham worthy of it?
  • Did he deserve it? Did he earn it?
    • NO

God gave him a promise for a son BY GRACE – for nothing – this was a gift.

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, not by works, so that no one can boast. This is not of yourselves…”

3. By the power of Jesus’ Resurrection

Not by his own power.

We know God appeared to Abraham and said, “I’ll give you a son” when he was already 85 years old in Genesis 15. So…. maybe he would expect a son, pretty soon…. Seems a bit old….

He knew God was so faithful and capable of keeping his promise. “Your children will be like the stars.” So, he should expect to receive this promise immediately. Yet, God delayed and delayed and delayed until Abraham became 100, and his wife was 90 years old. Humanly speaking, this is unimaginable – impossible.

In chp 17, when he was still Abram, and 99 years old, he came to him again and said, “I am God Almighty. Walk blamelessly before me. I *have made* you the father of many nations.”

*have made* = present perfect (already)

Yet… no son.

God said, “No longer will your name be Abram – change it to Abraham.” (This name means “exalted father.”)

Abraham did not walk by sight but walked by faith. One reason God delayed and delayed (we know he is good, so faithful, and NOTHING is impossible)… So WHY delay? To wait. To commit ALL their physical strength and natural energy to decrease and disappear completely. Then, at age 100, he had a son. Then he had a rejuvenation of his body – this is a symbol of the resurrection power of Christ.

Abraham believed God’s promise, and it was credited to him as righteousness. The application is very clear.

As long as a sinner believes he has SOME power to save himself, he cannot be saved by grace. ONLY when we admit and confess: I’m totally helpless on my own – Only then, can God’s holy, helping, saving power help us.

We can see the situation of Abraham in Genesis, 4000 years ago.

There was no Bible; no church history books; no devotional books; no witnesses; no fellowship with other believers – he was almost completely ALONE – surrounded by unbelieving pagans. And yet, in this hard, terrible situation, he believed God’s promise. So, God honored and rewarded his faith.

Abraham’s faith in God’s promise did not diminish as time passed.

If we have true saving faith – it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger as time passes, regardless of our surrounding circumstances.

If you have faith, what is the basis of your faith?

If your faith is based on WHAT Jesus has done on the cross, it will become stronger and stronger over time. But if your faith is based on your own performance – your own work for God, it becomes weaker and weaker over time.

  • If your faith is based on GOD’S promise, it grows stronger and stronger.
  • If your faith is based on your feelings or circumstances, it becomes weaker and weaker as time passes.

Hallelujah~ One example.

If your lover is now far away in Africa or America, and he gave you a promise: I will return to you within 10 years. Our initial faith can be very strong: YES – I believe this. You will be full of expectation to see him.

One year, two years, three years, four years, five years, he does not come.

In this situation, your initial faith will become stronger? Or weaker? Depends on your heart / attitude.

If our initial faith becomes weaker and weaker – it means that our faith is based on our feelings – not on believing his promise. If we believe the PROMISE, then as the time passes, we believe stronger and stronger.

So, after one year passes, the probability of his return is 1/10. In the second year, 2/10 probability or returning. In the 3rd year: 3/10. In the 9th year: 9/10. In the 10th year: the probability of returning is 100% (10/10). So, as time passes, our faith becomes stronger and stronger with patience and hope.

Hope is a symbol of an anchor – an absolute standard.

Jesus also promised: “I am coming soon.” at the end of Revelation (3x). He gave this promise already 2000 years ago – and although we do not know the limitation of the period of time in which he will return, there IS a limit. So if we believe in his PROMISE, our initial faith will become stronger or weaker? Stronger. Because the period of time left is smaller and smaller and the probability of his return becomes bigger and bigger.

Still today, Jesus gives us a promise with an oath. “Truly, truly, I tell you…”

“Whoever hears my voice and believes in him who sent me will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.”

“To all who received him, … he gave the right to become children of God.”

“If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.”

The meaning of “Abraham as father”

v 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

This is why one of the 9 spiritual gifts is patience.

There is yet another promise which he did not yet receive. WE are receiving that promise given to Abraham.

This is very important – this is very close to the end.

God’s promise was for a son – but this was not the only promise.

Abraham received his one son, Isaac, but this was not God’s only promise: “You will be the father of many nations.”

Genesis 12 – the Calling of Abram

God called Abram and said, “Leave you house and your hometown and go to the land I will show you.”

v 2-3

“I will make you into a great nation; I will bless you. I’ll make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and ALL people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This promise is the gospel.

The ultimate promise of God given to Abram is “ALL nations will be blessed through you.” (saved through you)

Gal 3:9 “God preached the gospel in advance to Abraham.” There was no gospel preacher at that time – God preached to Abram in advance: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.”

We know God is so faithful and almighty. God gave his promise to Abram 4000 years ago. This promise has been fulfilled through Abram in his lifetime? NO.

Since that promise was given, 4000 years have passed – and this promise is BEING fulfilled.

Conclusion:

This promise: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.” – only by Jesus Christ.

Title: From Abraham to Jesus Christ.

We are now between Abraham and Jesus Christ. This ultimate promise / mission given 4000 years ago is now being fulfilled through those who believe in Christ. That’s why we are called his children – because we are sharing in this promise and his inheritance as his heirs.

Hebrews 11: Faith chapter (more than 20x “by faith”)

v. 39-40

“39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Remember, today, through us, that ultimate purpose given 4000 years ago is being fulfilled.

You are given the same mission: “World blessing / mission / evangelisation.”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 29 / 2019
  • Comments Off on True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles (Hebrews 6:7-12)

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True Salvation Changes our Lifestyles

Hebrews 6:7-12 (Pastor Heo)

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.


Last Sunday, I shared hermeneutics – right teaching, right interpretation, makes right Christians.

  • 1 John “If you claim to be without sin, you deceive yourselves and the truth is not in you.”
  • Later in the same book “He who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is of God, sins.”

These two verses do not contradict each other. They support each other.

This means: we are sinless while we remain in God’s Word – but it is also possible for Christians to sin continually and deliberately. It is also possible for non-Christians to seem like true Christians for a time, but not to the End.

Point #1: Fruitfulness

We must produce fruit if we are born-again Christians.

v. 7-8

“7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

The real seed given care by the farmer and planted on fertile soil will produce bountiful crops. In this verse, the “seed” is the Word of God…

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus says, there’s only one kind of seed = “gospel”, but there are 4 kinds of soil = “hearts”.

The first three soils did not produce a crop.

  1. Hard (doesn’t understand the Word – immediately, the Word is snatched away)
  2. Rocky (the Word is received with joy, but half understood, no root, no faith – so when trouble comes, he falls away quickly)
  3. Thorny (infested – receives the Word, but mixed with the worries of this world, so they choke his faith out and makes it unfruitful)
  4. Good soil (receives the Word with faith, understands it, applies it to his life, obeys it, and produces fruit – authentic and living faith produces visible fruit)

Yes, our faith is invisible, but produces visible fruit.

Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, “Like this, by their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes? Like this, bad trees bear bad fruit, good trees bear good fruit. So then, every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Also like this, we will be recognized in the eyes of God by our fruit. How? Why? Because we have salvation – “found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

v. 9

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”

Keywords:

confident, assurance, salvation, better things

All things that accompany salvation are MUCH better than things we can get in this (material) world. In our inner and outer lives – visible and invisible lives.

Inwardly

The things that belong to salvation are evidenced by the HS as he testifies. Are you feeling the witness of the HS in you? He continually testifies with our spirits that we are the children of God. Also, we have subjective voices inside that authenticates our standing with our God. One evidence = the sublimely conversive desire to converse with God as Father.

“You did not receive a spirit of fear, but a spirit of sonship and by him we cry, ‘Abba, father!'” This displays very close intimacy with God.

At the very root of this is the inner assurance that we are totally forgiven. We are reconciled to God and have the inner peace of God through Christ (supernatural and eternal).

John: “Peace, I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Romans “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Outwardly

The things that belong to salvation are witnessed to by the characteristics of our character:

  1. True light
  2. Forgiving spirit
  3. generous heart
  4. truthful tongue

Authentic Christian heart produces authentic Christian character.

Like this, when the HS whispers “you are the child of God”, when we have a sense of inner peace, when our character has grown spiritually by the help and guidance of Christ, we can be confident of our spiritual standing.

If we are really born-again Christians, we need to know HOW our lifestyle should be. So the next verse teaches us this.

v. 10

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

We can see how our lifestyles should be as real born-again Christians.

God is just / right / righteous judge (Romans 14 “We all will stand before God’s Judgment Seat”) – individually, personally, we will all give an account of ourselves before God. Remember, he will never forget how hard we have worked for him, and his glory.

Sometimes we want to be remembered by others. But we must know that man’s remembrance of us is temporary – but God’s remembrance of us is eternal. Reward / inheritance of man is temporary, from God is eternal.

True salvation must change our lifestyles.

God never overlooks nor forgets our hard work for him. So we must continue to work wholeheartedly for him. So our service and caring for others are shown to him.

This doing good for others for his glory and his kingdom is not a performance, but a lifestyle. There’s a good example to show this lesson:

At the last Judgment Day, the King says to the saved on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, and receive your inheritance.” The Lord says to them, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25:35) They say, “When?” He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”

This is a very interesting, but meaningful story. It means that God remembers something about us that we do not remember.

Why do they not remember what they did? Because this was their lifestyle.

However, if this helping, serving, caring was an event, they would remember. But, as a part of their natural lifestyles, they do not remember.

  • So, what you have done without remembrance IS YOU – your lifestyle.
  • If you remember your deeds, this is not YOU – it is a performance, an event.

“When you give to the needy, do not let your right hand know what the left is doing…”

This means, caring, loving, serving should be our lifestyle – just like breathing. Can you count how many times you breathe in a day? No.

So, our caring lifestyle for others is loving God – because he created all human beings.

We must recognize that, generally speaking, God is father even to unbelievers – and potential “Father”.

  1. Be diligent! (v. 11)
  2. Do not be lazy! (v. 12)

v. 11-12

“We want each of you to show this same *diligence* to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Matt 24:13 “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

This does not mean that you must stand firm to the end in order to be saved, but rather it means that he who is REALLY saved is SURE to stand firm to the end.

These verses encourage us:

Avoid laziness, sloth, sluggishness.

Some people think: laziness is a matter of character / style / disposition. But this is a misunderstanding of laziness. Laziness is a terrible sin. It is wickedness.

Matt 25: The parable of the Talents.

One man got 1 talent, one 5, one 10. The man with 1 did nothing, he hid it. Jesus said, “You wicked and lazy servant! You will be thrown out into the darkness.”

What made him lazy? We must know the root of this attitude.

This servant who was lazy said, “Lord, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I hid the talent underground. See, here is the talent belonging to you.”

From this story, we can understand that laziness is misunderstanding about God – doubt about God. The root of laziness is faithlessness, no hope, no expectation, no grace, no love.

Laziness results from unbelief and results in condemnation. It is evidence of a graceless life.

Is there the grace of God in you? Are you under the grace of God? Are you assured of God’s grace at work in you?

1 Cor 15:58 (last verse of this resurrection chapter): “Therefore, my dear friends, let nothing move you, but always give your whole life fully / wholly to the work of God because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Paul “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” If we are real Christians, we should also be able to confess this. “By the grace of God, I am who I am.” (memorize this). Do you agree? Up to now in your life?

It means: “I confess, it is only God who did all things in my life up to now.”

  • And the next sentence “…I am what I am…”
  • Paul did NOT say “… so I did not work hard.”
  • Rather, Paul confessed, “… so I worked HARDER than all the other people.”

It means diligence is a sign that the grace of God is at work, actively, powerfully in you.

  • Laziness is a sign that there is no grace in my life.
  • Perseverance in loving service is clear evidence of hope.

Shall we say together: “…in order to make your hope sure.”

“Hope makes all the difference.”

The gospel is FULL of hope because it is the good news of great joy for ALL the people (young, old, intro/extroverted, etc). All people are invited into the hope of Christ. If you set your life in the hope of Christ, tomorrow offers huge opportunities – and Jesus has offered the hope – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Next time, let’s continue in detail with God’s Promise.

  • “God bless you with hope.”
  • “Put your hope in Jesus Christ.” (Really?)

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 22 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Move on toward Maturity! (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Move on toward Maturity! (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Recording started late – almost the end

Move on toward Maturity

Hermeneutics = theologically academic term – a very important subject in Bible school.

It means “the study of HOW to interpret the Bible.” To interpret the Bible biblically is so important. We know that many other religions also use the Bible and teach it and love it – but the difference is “interpretation”. They are different from us in crucial doctrinal points – especially salvation.

Different doctrinal beliefs makes faith different – this makes assurance of salvation different – our worldviews, lifestyles, and actions different. And finally, our final destination is different.

In a word: Different interpretation makes ALL different.

That’s why interpretation is so important. If we do not interpret the Bible biblically, we can be so uncertain – especially depending on which page in which we read.

  • One page: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
    • Another page: “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ enters the kingdom of heaven.”
  • One page: “We are saved by faith, not by works.”
    • Another page: “A person can be justified by what he does.” (James)
  • One page: “No condemnation in Jesus Christ.” (I’ll never lose my salvation).
    • Another page: “Through this, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Oh, no, I could lose it!)

That’s why interpretation is SO important. No verses actually contradict each other. Every verse edifies, builds up every other verse.

Another thing: TEXT must be interpreted IN CONTEXT.

We must interpret the Obscure by the Obvious.

As for salvation:

ONCE salvation = ALWAYS salvation (this means “eternal life”). A TRUE believer can never lose their salvation if they are a true believer in the sight of God.

If a sinner repents and believes in Christ, they can never be lost. But today’s passage is a serious warning:

It is possible to enjoy the blessings of God without being regenerated.

Q: Is it possible for non-Christians to enjoy the blessings of God – even spiritual blessings – without knowing God? YES.

What time is it now…

3 Examples:

My Story:

When I was in Tanzania and Kenya, my son John was in a boarding school – for missionary children. There were several one week breaks per year (Christmas, Easter, etc) – to see their parents. During the break, most students had to come out from the school because it was closed. Most of them went to stay with their parents, but some had difficulty to go to their parents for several reasons. Once, John brought his friend to my house to stay with me, at my house. Outwardly, I offered him the same benefits I offered my own son – food, bed, shopping, water, picnics outside. He enjoyed these blessings from me, and I blessed him in the name of Christ. But when he left my house, no more.

It was not that he was my son at the beginning, and when he left he lost his sonship. He was never actually my son at the beginning. He was just a visitor, staying in my house, receiving the same benefits my son received.

2nd Story:

Several times we saw the Exodus event.

Israel as a nation was a covenant community. In the Exodus, all of them placed the blood of the animals on their doorposts and all of them ate the lamb for Passover. All of them came out, and all of them passed miraculously through the Red Sea. All of them drank water from the rock, all of them ate manna from heaven. All of them heard the voice of God from the mountain, and all of them died in the wilderness.

The difference: Some were regenerated, some were not, but they were all members of the same heavenly covenant – so they all enjoyed the same blessings.

3rd Story:

Judas

He was a disciple, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

v. 4-6

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”

Judas, like this, tasted the Word of God, the powers of the coming age, the message and blessings of Jesus. But the truth was NOT that he WAS saved, and LOST it. The truth: he was an unbeliever from the beginning. Some time later, he fell from this life and returned to his old lifestyle. Jesus said, “It would be better if he had not been born. He was a devil from the beginning.”

Do you remember the 6 basic doctrines of Christianity from last week?

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith

These two go together all the time, and we must practice them every day. That’s why we must believe in Christ.

You know, as long as you stay in church, in the Christian community, you can enjoy blessings, no problem. But, that is not salvation. Salvation is found in Christ alone by faith alone, through grace alone.

Where there is life, there is growth. (I’m repeating this 3 weeks in a row.) Where there is salvation, there is change.

So, we must move on toward maturity. We must show we are saved through our growth.

Difference between immature vs. mature choices:

It is very clear, so check yourself – immature side, or mature side. Test yourself.

  • Mature choice: helping / serving others
    • Im: being helped / served
  • M: Developing a depth of understanding
    • I: struggling with the basic truths
  • M: Evaluating yourself
    • I: Criticizing yourself
  • M: Evaluating your feelings in the light of the Word of God
    • I: Evaluating your feelings according to your emotions
  • M: Seeking unity
    • I: Promoting disunity
  • M: Seeking to please God
    • I: Seeking to satisfy yourself
  • M: Studying, observing carefully
    • I: Accepting opinions and half-hearted efforts
  • M: Active and strong faith
    • I: Cautious and doubtful
  • M: Desiring spiritual challenges and sacrifices
    • I: Desiring entertainment and an easy life
  • M: Living with confidence, thanksgiving, love
    • I: Living with uncertainty and complaining
  • M: Ministry in church; mission in the world
    • I: No ministry in church; no mission in the world

Do you have these? So, we must pray at every moment. We must grow more and more, and love him more and more, and renew our dedication and devotion. We know TONIGHT is THAT day: Dedication Service (헌신예배). This is not a “show” or “performance” but another opportunity given from God to renew our dedication – not only together, but also individually and personally.

God bless all of us.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 15 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Grow up in Christ!

Hebrews 6:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.


Why do we like babies? We like to see them grow. I also love to see these children in our service grow up.

John 1:12 “To all those who accepted him; to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

We are God’s children, so he loves to see us grow. If we do not grow, he is unhappy. This is sad because he is our Father.

Where there is life, there is growth.

To go to HS, we must leave elementary school. To go to college, we must leave HS. But, we do not leave what we learned in elementary school even though we move on. In elementary school, we learn the fundamentals, foundational knowledge of reading, writing, speaking, math. In HS, we can learn more difficult subjects, and read heavier books. In university, we use fundamental mathematics in our classes.

“Elementary” means “fundamental” or “foundational”.

In these 3 verses of Hebrews, there are 6 elementary teachings of Christian doctrine. This is the foundation on which we must stand, so we must be sure, unshakeable in this elementary foundation. But we must not stop here, we should continue on, continue learning. So we should practice these 6 foundational doctrines in our lives, but we must also continue on and on to build our higher progress.

We must practice these daily and on and on:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

v. 1-3

“1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”

Christian life begins with salvation – conversion, justification, regeneration, union with Christ, adoption, all take place at the same time, but logically, there is an order.

Logically, the first we experience is conversion. There are two elements: repentance and faith. So, the first elementary teachings about Christ are these two.

1 Repentance

The first is repentance.

Without repentance, there is no start to the Christian life. That’s why the first preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus was the same, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Luke 15:7 “There will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent.”

This is the fundamental of fundamentals.

Essentially, repentance = a change of heart, but it has 3 elements:

  1. Intellectual
  2. Emotional
  3. Volitional
  • Repentance = change of viewpoint with regard to sin, Christ, and yourself.
  • Sin = anything against the will of God. The biggest sin = not to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord.
  • Jesus = the Savior and Lord of the world and God who became man to die on the cross for our sin and save the world through his blood shed on the cross.
  • Self = now I recognize that I’m a sinner – powerless, helpless, I need forgiveness, I need a Savior.

But we must know that true repentance cannot exist apart from faith – for we cannot turn AWAY from sin without at the same time turning TOWARD God in faith.

Also, true faith never exists without repentance. These two are inseparably bound together.

  • Emotional: sorrow for sin, desire for forgiveness = evidence of repentance.
  • Volitional: change of will, purpose, disposition. This is the inward turning from sin. Surrender for forgiveness – to seek cleansing. This is repentance in volition (will).

2 Faith

Practically, repentance and faith go together. We must practice them everyday.

We know we are saved by faith.

Everyone’s life is governed by what we believe – in what we have faith. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are driven by what you believe.

We are saved by faith.

  • “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
  • Eph “It is by faith you have been saved. It is not of yourselves so that no one may boast.”
  • Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

How can we get a saving faith? Can you get it through your own effort?

There are two sides to this coin.

  • God’s side: It is his gift – we have nothing to do to receive it.
  • Human side: we must practice our faith to grow in faith.

Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word.”

Please remember, saving faith is much more than intellectual agreement or acceptance. It is total surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior.

3 Baptism

Did you receive water baptism? This is just a symbol of cleansing and identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. This is an outward symbol of an inward experience.

Did you receive baptism by the Holy Spirit? The HS testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

“I’m a child of God.” This is the spiritual meaning of baptism.

4 Laying on of hands (안수)

This also means the sharing of some blessing from God.

If we have received a blessing, it is our responsibility to share it with others. Also, this laying on of hands shows a setting apart for good works.

We are saved by faith + nothing. (Good works cannot DO anything for our salvation – but we are saved TO DO good works.)

Eph “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works which he has prepared for us to do in advance.”

Matt 5:16 “In this same way, let your light shine before men so that everyone who sees your good deeds will praise your father in heaven.”

If we are really saved by faith, we have a responsibility to do good works – ministry IN church, mission OUTSIDE church.

5 Resurrection

If there is no resurrection, there is no hope in Christianity.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will never die.” Jesus “Do you believe this?”

We all experienced remaining in our mother’s womb. Do you remember this? 40 weeks.
West: end of 9 months
Korea: beginning of 10 months
same – same

Just as staying in our mother’s womb was preparation to live in THIS world, so also our lives in this world are only preparation to live in the NEXT world. We can live up to 100 or so years, but no matter how long we live in this world, the next life has no end. Our lives in this world are as short as a blink of an eye – but the consequences are eternal.

One day, our hearts will stop beating. This will be the end of our bodies (physical) – but it will not be the end of YOU. Our physical bodies are a “tent” – and our next bodies are a “house”.

1 Cor “If our physical tent is destroyed, we have a house from God built in heaven – not built by human hands.”

So, as long as we live a short time in this world, we must live in light of eternity. We will use our time, treasure, talents more wisely. Our priorities will be reordered.

Remember: physical death is not annihilation but transition into eternity. We are looking forward to our eternal home.

Secular people say: “When he died, he left home.”
Christians say: “When we die, we go home.”

6 Judgment

Are you expecting this? Anticipating it? Or dreading it?

Hebrews 9:7 “Just as a man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

Someday, we will stand before God face-to-face. Nobody can escape this fate.

Many people spend their physical lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, but we must remember that what matters most is not what other people say about my life, but what God says about my life. We are not put here for others only, but to prepare for the next life. God will do an audit and in this final judgment seat, he will ask only two questions:

What is the most important question in your life?

God asks only two:

  1. “What did you do with Jesus?” (Did you receive him? Learn to love and trust in him?)
  2. “What did you do with all things I gave you?” (Your time, treasure, talents. What did you do with it all? Did you spend it on yourself alone? Or use it for the purposes I made it for?)

Are you ready to give a correct answer to these two questions? That’s why we must practice these 6 elements daily:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of Hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

“For his kingdom! For his glory!”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 08 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Be a Priestly Christian (Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 2:9)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be a Priestly Christian (Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 2:9)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be a Priestly Christian

Hebrews 5:11-14 (Pastor Heo)

5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teah you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


Do you have a desire to grow? Do you practice faith in your daily lives? God wants us to grow continually.

Hebrews offers warning and challenge.

God wants us to grow in mission, character, personality. Even babies want to learn something more. They try to do something new to grow. If we have no desire to grow, and no practice in our faith to grow, then, I’m sorry, but you (we) are less than baby Christians.

Still today, some Christians almost never grow for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. This is a serious question: Are you growing?

Among us, there are some young parents. They are so excited to see the growth of their children – walking, speaking, learning. Imagine what a terrible thing it is if the child ALWAYS remains as a child: milk, no speaking, etc – until he becomes 20 years old.

Like this, God is our father, and we are his children. He loves to see us grow. And he is very unhappy if we do not grow.

Genesis: God appeared to Abraham at age 99. He did not say, “Wow, you are too old to grow.” No, at 99, he said, “Continue to grow! (Do you best to be blameless before me).”

Yes, in the secular world, there is an age of retirement. But in spiritual ministry and mission, there is no time for retirement – until our departure from this world.

This passage is very challenging.

v. 11

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”

One of the first, earliest signs of backsliding is disinterest in the Word of God.

v. 12-14

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

You should serve others. How long have you been a Christian? As we know, milk is pre-digestive food – especially for babies. Only those with teeth can eat kalbi (meat).

There are two kinds of food here:

  1. Milk (yes, good, essential, but…)
  2. Meat (solid food)

What do these mean?

  1. Milk = What Jesus did ON EARTH – birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection
  2. Meat – What he is doing NOW in HEAVEN and in US – as our Savior and Lord

We begin life as a Christian based on his FINISHED work on the cross: “It is finished.” But we GROW in Christ on the basis of his UNfinished work in heaven, on earth, in us – in our daily lives.

This is a parable about milk and solid food. To grow, we need time, Bible reading, Scripture memory, Bible study, prayer, devotional time, quiet time – this is MILK – we need every day.

But to grow, this is not enough.

At this moment, let’s have a clear spiritual medical check.

Without sharing the gospel for the lost outside the church, and without ministry to serve those INSIDE the church, there is no growth.

Timothy “Be diligent so that everyone may see your growth.”

Question:

  1. What are you doing for the lost OUTSIDE the church? (Mission)
  2. What are you doing for the members INSIDE the church? (Ministry)

Mission + Ministry must go together. This is the SECRET to growth.

Yes, Jesus is our eternal, Great High Priest. He came to earth to save us by his grace, mercy, blood. If we accept this, he is calling us to be priests in this world as well.

1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

But you are

  1. a chosen people,
  2. a royal priesthood,
  3. a holy nation,
  4. God’s special possession,
  5. that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Remember: If you are a born-again Christian, you are a priest. You are ordained. You are anointed. Say to yourself, “I’m a priestly Christian.” (x3)

In your whole life, not only today, until you stand before God face-to-face, please remember this: “I’m a priestly Christian.” (Really? Congratulations.)

Are you a priestly Christian?

Greet your neighbor, “I honor you, you’re a priestly Christian.”

My dear, honorable, priestly, Christian friends,… what does this title mean?

This title includes many meanings and abundant blessings, but let me share just 4 things:

“I’m a priestly Christian”:

1. Human priests carry honor before men (blessed and honorable).

No one can become a priest by his own choice. A priest is called, selected, appointed:

  • (a) by God,
  • (b) from Mankind,
  • (c) for Mankind

1 Peter 2:9

You are a chosen people…

John “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you to go and bear much fruit.”

Eph 1:4 “God chose us before the Creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…”

So, we must be sure of the calling of Jesus Christ (소명).

  • “Jesus is calling me.”
  • “Jesus is sending me into this world.”

2. Ordinary people could not approach God directly – they needed the help of the High Priest to approach God.

We are priestly Christians = we CAN approach the throne of Grace directly, at anytime and anywhere. We do not need any human priest, nor Pope. You don’t need a pastor, nor bishop in approaching the presence of God directly anytime, anywhere, everywhere, in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus says, “I’m the Way the Truth and the Life.”

Romans 5 “Therefore, since you have been justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you have access to the throne of Grace…”

From Sunday – Saturday, our lives should be worship.

Romans 11:1 “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual (acceptable) act of worship.”

“My lifestyle is worship.”

For worship to be considered worship, 4 elements are needed:

  1. Object of worship (OT = God Almighty; Now = Jesus)
  2. Worshiper (OT = the people through the High Priest; Now = us directly)
  3. Sacrifice (OT = lamb; Now = our bodies, ourselves)
  4. Temple (OT = Tabernacle/temple building; Now = our bodies, ourselves)

Object = always the same: Father God + Jesus Christ

Worshiper + Sacrifice + Temple = US

3. The High Priest is a a) representative of Man before God b) representative of God before Man

He is the LINK between Mankind and God.

Jesus came when we were enemies with God – and he reconciled us with God through his blood. Then, he gave us the ministry of reconciliation as well. So, we are mediators for the lost, between Jesus and the lost.

If you are a priestly Christian, the lost cannot meet Jesus except through your service and mission. Our first job is to bring the lost to Christ as a living offering.

Romans 15:16 “To the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles with a priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God so the Gentiles might become an offering to God that is acceptable to God.”

When we win the lost to Christ, this is a living, eternal offering – because he/she will live eternally.

4. We should be holy

The High Priest Aaron in the OT put on a special, honorable garment – like a uniform, and a turbin with a pure gold plate and 4 words: “Holy to the Lord” (여호와께 성결).

A baby will put anything into his mouth – he cannot distinguish the edible from unedible. But as priestly Christians, we need discernment.

v. 14

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Discernment is not judgment. We have no right to judge others, but we need to have the ability to distinguish what God wants from what God hates. This is discernment. This is holiness. Clear?

To do what God wants us to do and reject what God hates us to do = holiness.

1 Peter 2:9 “… a holy nation…”

1 Peter 2:9

” But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

God bless you, my dear, priestly, Christian friends, so that we may grow and grow and grow until we stand before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 01 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:1-10)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:1-10)

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Jesus Christ is the Source of our Eternal Salvation

Hebrews 5:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

5:1 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

4 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.” 6 And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.


Jesus is our Great High Priest, superior to any human High Priest. Last week, we saw the differences between them.

Human: Earth, is continually changed (replaced), offered sacrifices for their own sins + others, entered Most Holy Place once / year, did not die for others, could not intercede for others in heaven, no right / power to forgive – they could do nothing to remove sins

Jesus: Heaven, eternal High Priest, no need to offer sacrifice for his own sins, went to heaven once for all, died for all human beings, intercedes for us now in heaven, has power / privilege / right to save and remove sins (1 John 2:2 “Jesus Christ is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”)

5:1-10 – These 10 verses show the commonalities and differences of the qualifications and functions between a human High Priest and Great High Priest

  • v 1-4 = Human High Priest
  • v 5-10 = Story of Jesus

v. 1-4

“1 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

4 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. “

There are 3 S’s – the qualifications for a human High Priest:

1. Solidarity

v. 1 “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

Solidarity = oneness with humanity – fundamental for the priestly ministry – no deceased soul, no angel could satisfy this – it must be a living human being. The High Priest was a representative of the people to God (making atoning sacrifice for sins)- and God to the people (teaching His word).

In that day, only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place with the blood of the slain animal to atone for the sins of the community.

High Priest = must be human

Only a man can represent other men. (Solidarity)

2. Sympathy

(Compassion)

v. 2 “He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray [KJV: He can have compassion / sympathy on those who are going astray…], since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. “

The High Priest is only a man, only a human being, subject to the same weaknesses and faults, and mortality and human limitations. He also needed mercy, compassion, sympathy from God. He was not better than other people, so he must have been able to see how he also was weak.

3. Selection

v. 4 “No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”

The position of High Priest carried special honor – but no one could become a High Priest simply by desiring it. God himself appointed the High Priest – he must be called and appointed by God.

Do you know the story of Aaron?

In the wilderness after the Exodus, he made a golden calf as an idol. Nevertheless, God called him as a priest during the wandering in the wilderness. Leviticus 8-9 describes the ceremony to become a priest. Aaron and his sons were washed, placed their hands on bulls and rams as they were killed, and given special clothes. This shows that holiness and selection comes from God himself, not from man.

In the OT, some people tried to do the function of priest by their own choice and were judged by God.

  • King Saul invaded the priesthood and lost his kingdom.
  • Cora and his followers tried to make himself priest, God judged them immediately.
  • King Uziah tried to enter the temple and burn incense, but God struck him with leprosy until he died.

Qualifications for a Human High Priest

  1. Solidarity
  2. Sympathy
  3. Selection

Qualifications of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest (we need to focus more on it) – there are 5.

1. Solidarity

Jesus became man to become our representative and understand us fully and experience all things we also experience

v. 5 “So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;

today I have become your Father.”

2. Sympathy

This makes it very clear – Jesus became man. John 3:16 also: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son…”

Phil “Jesus, by very nature God, became man…”

“…he became obedient to the point of death on a cross…”

3. Selection

Jesus is not a temporal High Priest, but eternal – that’s why he even now can intercede for us.

v. 6 “And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

This is difficult to understand, but if you can, it is very helpful.

Melchizedek – from Psalm 110:4

Yes we know, all human High Priests belong to the order of Levites (Aaron). Aaron was the first “official” ordained High Priest in the OT.

But Jesus belongs to the order of Melchizedek – not Aaron.

Who is Melchizedek?

This name is mentioned in only 2 places in the OT.

Genesis 14, Psalm 110

In the NT, his name is mentioned only in THIS book – Hebrews (10 times). Here it is mentioned 2x (v. 6, 10). We will see his name also again later.

  • Aaron was from the tribe of Levi.
  • Jesus was not. He was from the tribe of Judah – through the seed of David.

Aaron was the first official High Priest – he started to appear in Exodus.

Melchizedek appears in Genesis – about 500 years before Aaron. He blessed Abraham and received a tithe from Abraham. This means he was higher (and before) Aaron.

He was a real man. His name means, “King of righteousness, king of peace.” He is the only person in history who was a king AND a priest. He was a kingly priest, and a priestly king.

There is no story about his origin – but God used him as a symbol and picture of Jesus as our King AND Priest – our righteousness forever and ever.

4. Submission & Prayer

Jesus lived a life of prayer. God bless us all to be a person of prayer as well.

v. 7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from [out of] death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

He did not pray to escape physical death on the cross – but he believed and prayed for his resurrection.

He prayed during his life and ministry regularly and habitually. He spent long seasons in prayer – sometimes overnight prayer. At other times, he got up very early and prayed, at other times – before great tasks. Luke 22:44 “In great anguish, he prayed so earnestly that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

He prayed submissively and obediently.

Imagine – if the Son of God needed to pray – how much more do we (weak) human beings need to pray?

Phil 2:5 “Your attitude must be like that of Christ Jesus.”

5. Man of Humility

v. 8 “8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered “

He emptied himself, took on the form of a servant, was found in the likeness of human beings and obeyed to the point of death. He was also meek and humble on earth. He was so rich – as God – but he became poor to make us rich.

We know the story of Christmas. He was born in a stable (an animal food box) because there was no room for him in the inn. He confessed, “I have no place to put my head.”

He said, “I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.”

He washed the feet of his students.

Conclusion:

What is the title of today’s sermon?

Jesus is the Source of our Eternal Salvation

v. 9-10 “and, once made perfect, he became *the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him* 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

Question: Am I obeying him?

What is salvation?

It is forgiveness of sin. Delivery from the bondage of Satan – becoming a child of God – freedom from condemnation and the penalty of hell – eternal life.

“He became the source of Eternal Salvation” (v. 9)

Please make this sure in your hearts. Salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7:25 “Jesus Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for us.”

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

There are many good / great / wonderful men – but salvation can be found ONLY in Christ.

Yes, we know there are many religions around us. Religion is good because no religion says, “Do evil” – all religions teach us to do good. But in the matter of salvation, it is only found in Jesus Christ.

How can we receive this salvation? v. 9 “and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”

“Obey him” is essential. What does this mean? To do what he says.

God bless you.

Obey him:

  1. Believe in him
  2. Accept him as personal savior / Lord
  3. Commit my whole life for his glory / kingdom

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Application:

Part one: The qualifications of human High Priests

If we are saved, this is important, but I’ll tell the meaning next time. Here’s the title: “If we are saved, God is calling us as Priests.”

Are you saved? Then you have a right / authority / privilege / responsibility to say:

“I’m a priest.”

Please remember this until next Sunday. Next Sunday, I’ll share: What does this mean?

This is not my word, but the word of God.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (Meditate on and memorize this verse)

Next week, I’ll share continually what the meaning of “I’m a Priest” is.

Bless your neighbor, “Priest, God bless you.”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 25 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)

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Jesus is Our Great High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16 (Pastor Heo)

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


There is a clear division between God and man. Only one person claims to be both: Jesus.

  • v. 14 – Focuses on Jesus’ Divinity (fully God)
  • v. 15 – Focuses on Jesus’ Humanity (fully Man)
  • v. 16 – Therefore, we can approach him with confidence – because he is fully Man, but also fully God.

He is our “best friend” – as a human being. But also all powerful as God.

v. 14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In this book, the word “priest” is found between 35-40 times (depending on the translation).

In history, the priesthood began with Aaron. Only the priests could enter the holy place in the temple.

Jesus is our Great High Priest. No other High Priest could assume this title: “Great.”

The Son of God (v. 14) affirms his diety and the fact that he is God. So, Jesus can bring ALL humans to God; and at the same time, he can bring what God has to ALL humans. In this point, he is “Great.”

This book Hebrews makes the clearest statement between a High Priest and the Great High Priest. High Priest is only a shadow that points to the Great High Priest who is Christ.

Differences:

  • Human High Priest = from earth, and changes (they all die)
    • Great High Priest is from heaven, and never changes
  • Human High Priests offered sacrifices for themselves first and then others (they also need forgiveness) – animals were the sacrifice.
    • Jesus offered sacrifice for others first (he is sinless) – he himself was the sacrifice.
  • Human High Priests enter the Most Holy Place only once per year (and continually)
    • Jesus entered heaven Once for All
  • High Priests showed the way to the presence of God with a curtain – to the presence of God – humans could not intercede for us in heaven, and no power to take away sins.
    • Jesus himself is The Way, The Gate – Jesus intercedes for us in heaven and has the power to forgive and remove sins – the sin of the world.

The entrance to the Most Holy Place was guarded by three gates. High Priests entered the first (main) place with the blood of an animal – then, they entered the Holy Place, and finally, they entered the MOST Holy Place – where they sprinkled the blood of the animal on the Mercy Seat – the cover of the Ark.

The High Priest had to sprinkle blood for their own sins first, and then stay in the Most Holy Place for only a short time.

1 John “Jesus is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”

v. 14 “… through the heavens…”

(This is not singular – but plural). Just as there were three stages to the temple, there were also 3 stages to heaven.

  1. Atmosphere
  2. Outer space
  3. God’s presence (the Most Holy Place)

“Therefore, …let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” (v. 14)

“Profess” = public confession

Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he rose again from the dead, you will be saved.”

Matt 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him in heaven.”

This profession of faith = public confession of faith.
Can you open your beautiful mouth? Open it widely to profess this.

  • v. 14 = Focuses on Jesus’ Diety
  • v. 15 = Focuses on Jesus’ Humanity

This is amazing, a mystery, but true.

Jesus is fully God, but at the same time, fully Man (not almost man, not 99.99999%, but 100% God and 100% man).

v. 15

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.”

Can you imagine this?

Jesus has been tempted in EVERY WAY just as we are – he was born with a body, mind, soul, like we do. He had human weaknesses, emotions. He felt tired, hungry, thirsty, he crawled like a baby, talked like a baby, lived a complete human life like you and me. Why?

  1. To experience our weaknesses – to share our weaknesses – with a body, mind, and soul. He was misunderstood and persecuted – even to the point of death on the cross.
  • The fact that he was tempted = He’s man
  • The fact that he was sinless = He’s perfect (God)

Who can say, “I’m without sin”? No one. Only Jesus.

Temptation:

Jesus was TEMPTED, but did not sin. If we really understand the meaning of this sentence, it will be very helpful and encouraging to us.

Think of this:

Who knows better what the temptation is and how powerful it is? He who sins? Or he who does not sin?

We may think that he who sins knows it well, and he who does not sin doesn’t know it’s power.

No. The OPPOSITE is true.

Only those who RESIST temptation know the TRUE power of temptation.

  1. For example, we can know the power of Mike Tyson (boxer) only by fighting against him, not by surrendering to him.
  2. We understand the strength of the wind by running against it, not by lying down in the room.
  3. If we give in to temptation after only 5 minutes, we do not know what it would be like 1 hour later.

Example.

Tempter: Satan

The Tempter tempts you to sin. If he says, “Do this. If you do this, I’ll give you one candy.” If you do that with the offer of that one candy, it means you yielded to temptation with the prize of one candy. If you kneel down to this one candy, the Tempter does not need to offer you 2, 3, 5, 10 candies.

But, if you reject ONE candy, he will offer 10, 20, 50, 100 candies.

But we never experienced the temptation with 1,000,000,000 candies. Because we give in to temptation after only a few candies.

Please understand this very clearly.

The fact that Jesus never sinned means that he never gave into temptation. That he never gave into temptation means that he experienced the EXTREME FINAL POWER of temptation (1,000,000,000 candies…)

We’ve never experienced the most powerful temptation because we surrender to it much sooner than the last stage comes.

Jesus was tempted FAR BEYOND what we are.

Think of this in terms of pain.

There is a degree of pain which the human frame can stand. But when that degree is passed, a person loses consciousness so that there are agonies of pain that he cannot feel.

It is so with temptation.

We fall down and collapse in the face of temptation. But Jesus faced temptation and went to Humanity’s limit and FAR BEYOND it – but did not collapse.

He was tempted in ALL things we are tempted, and so he can say to us, “I was tempted as you are today.” But we cannot say to Jesus, “I’m being tempted as you were.”

Jesus experienced all temptations humanity has, but we have never experienced all the temptations he has.

This means, he can understand US completely, but we do not understand him completely.

v. 15 “… he is able to sympathize with our weaknesses…”

In Greek, to sympathize means “to share as mine through practical experience.”

If you have weaknesses, hardships, problems, I’m a pastor and I can pray for, encourage, help you. But, I’m NOT able to sympathize with your suffering unless I have the SAME suffering you’ve had. This is the literal meaning of sympathy.

Even your husband and wife cannot sympathize with you unless they have the SAME experience you have.

Only Jesus is able.

We need sympathy because we are imperfect. When you need sympathy, to whom do you go? Family? Husband, wife, close friend, coworkers? But remember, we must go to Jesus first, because Jesus is our BEST friend and BEST understander and BEST sympathizer.

When this life has drenched us with tears, we can go to Jesus because He. Has. Been. There.

Jesus can give us power, wisdom, knowledge, and love to help us overcome all temptations, weaknesses, and sufferings.

Hallelujah!

Hebrews 8:2 “Because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

  • 2 Cor “No sin…”
  • 1 Peter 2 “No sin is found in his mouth, he committed no sin.”
  • 1 John? “No sin…”

v. 16

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

If you receive God’s Word and apply it to your life, it will change your life.

Yes, we need mercy and grace. It is essential. We are needing the mercy and grace of God all the time. These two go together practically all the time. There is a logical difference, but practically, they are ONE.

  • Mercy = “God does not give us what we deserve”
  • Grace = “God gives us what we do not deserve”

We need mercy for our past failures, mistakes, errors, sins.
We need grace for our present and future needs, and victory.

No trial is too great – no temptation is too strong – because Jesus is Greater than them.

Even heaven cannot contain Christ – even heaven is too small a place for Christ.

“Approach” = with prayer – communication with God through Christ. This is our best privilege and right through Christ. Remember, if we do not pray, we rob ourselves of the great and timely resources God holds for us.

God bless us with more mercy and grace.

Read once more.

v. 16

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 18 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Characteristics of the Word of God (Hebrews 4:11-13)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Characteristics of the Word of God (Hebrews 4:11-13)

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The Characteristics of the Word Of God

Hebrews 4:11-13 (Pastor Heo)

11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.


As I mentioned already, last Sunday, we saw an invitation of REAL rest by Jesus, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest…”

This is “freedom, salvation, inheritance, peace, joy” rest.

Hebrews 4:11 “Therefore, make every effort… “ (work hard) – wait, this is a paradox. Last Sunday, “Rest” – but now, “work hard”?

Actually, rest does not mean “not working” – rather through hard work we can find rest. We must work hard to find and enjoy real rest – this is a paradox.

Also, we know, Jesus saves us, but we must work hard for our salvation.

Phil 2:12 “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

Do you have faith? This is the gift of God, from hearing the Word of God. This is a gift, but we must work out our faith hard – day-by-day and drawing close to God in our daily practice.

Hebrews 4:12 “The Word of God is living and active…”

How can we “work out” our faith? Through and by the Word of God. This is a living power – a timeless truth.

Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth.. with his Word” – he made something out of nothing – only his Word.

  1. “God said, ‘Let there be light'” and there was light (Day 1)
  2. “Let there be an expanse between the waters and the water” (Day 2)
  3. “Let the water be gathered in one place and the land as well – and the land produce vegetation” (Day 3)
  4. “Let there be lights in the sky – sun, moon, stars” (Day 4)
  5. “Let the water have creatures and the sky as well, the land be filled with all kinds of living creatures” (Day 5)
  6. “Let us make Man in our own image” (Day 6)

This is the story of Creation – “God said, it happened” – still today, God’s Word is living and active and powerful and effective. Do you believe this?

Isaiah 55:11 “My Word which goes out from my mouth will never return empty but will accomplish what I desire and the purpose for which I sent it…”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

This is a classic text of God’s Word in its power. This text has broad positive application, but even though this is true, this text (in context) is negative – as a warning to those who disregard and disbelieve the Word.

That’s why 11b says, “….so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

It means, we must be careful not to also be disobedient – like the Israelites in Exodus.

Repeat: We know the story of the Exodus. After the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites journeyed to Canaan and arrived at the border. At the border, Moses sent 12 spies into the land to explore and bring back a report. Their task was only to SEE, not to decide about going in or not – but after 40 days of exploration, 10 of them said, “Oh no! we can’t go in there!” That night, all Israel raised their voices and shouted, “Oh geez! If only we had died in this desert or in Egypt!” God, “Say again? Then I will do to you exactly as you said.”

Today also, God is listening to what we are speaking.

God said, “You asked for it, you got it.”

So… please, don’t say negative things like this to God.

The 10 who gave a bad report were struck down by a plague and God told the people, “OK, go back into the desert tomorrow morning – just to wander until you die.” (It was 40 years – one year for each day of exploration).

Interestingly, the next morning, some said, “We have sinned. We will go up to Canaan and enter it.” Moses said, “No, you will never succeed because God will never go with you.” But nevertheless, in their presumption, they went and tried to enter (disregarding and disobeying God twice). They tried to enter without God, his blessing, God’s promise, Moses, the Ark of the Covenant (a symbol of God’s presence) – and what happened? They were completely destroyed.

With this background (historical example), verse 11b says, “so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. ” Why? Because v12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Remember, whatever we are doing, God’s Word is still alive. Regardless of what we do, the Word of God is piercing us and judging us negatively (if we act negatively) – and doing it positively to us (if we act positively).

Timothy “The Word of God is God-breathed and useful for training in righteousness so that the Man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

So, let me share the characteristics and functions of the Word of God. (3 points) – and verse 13 is the conclusion.

Characteristics of the Word of God

#1 Living

“For the Word of God is living and active.”

It is active and effectual. The point: the Word of God has come to Man so that it cannot be disregarded. The Word of God has something that every person (you and me) must face. We must accept or reject it. That is our decision. But we cannot escape a confrontation with the Word of God. We can choose to accept it or reject it.

This is one of the facts of human history. Whenever, wherever a person has taken God’s Word SERIOUSLY, things begin to happen.

Once we take it seriously, we realize that the Word of God is not merely something to read about, but something to be done and fulfilled.

The Word of God gives us life.

Also it can change your life / my life. It is so powerful and active, it can change your life regardless of your age or your past.

Please remember, parents: You cannot change your own children. Only the Word of God can change them. 10, 12, 15 years old? Only the Word of God can change their lives. So, we must allow the Word of God to change their lives and our lives. If we trust the Word of God, God allows it to change our lives and claim his promise.

This is very effective.

#2 Penetrating

“…Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…”

If someone puts something sharp in your side? It hurts.

Also, the Word of God can do this in positive and negative ways (cleaving, cutting, piercing, performing surgery).

Please do not focus on “what are these nouns?” – the focus of the verse = the holistic physical being (Greek: pushke)

Also in Greek: pneuma = spirit – a characteristic of Mankind (it is by the spirit that we think and reason and look beyond the visible world to that which is invisible – God)

  • The Word of God can cut through anything and bring conviction.
  • It cleaves through our hard souls like a hot knife through warm butter.
  • There are sections of the Word of God that cut through all hypocrisy and religious intention and leaves us convicted.
  • The Word of God convicts us (if we receive it seriously, sincerely).

The Word of God is called “The Sword of the Holy Spirit” (Eph 6:17 “The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit…”) – so it convicts us.

What kind of conviction?

  1. I’m a sinner – I need salvation
  2. Jesus is God (John 1:1 “In the beginning there was the Word (logos) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And all things were made through that word. Nothing that has been made was made without him…”)

The Word of God gives us conviction that Jesus is the true and eternal God. We are saved only by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he rose from the dead for your salvation, you will be saved. It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth you confess and are saved.”

Continually, the Word of God says, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved “ (and not put to shame).

John 1:12 “To all who accepted his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Are you children of God? By grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ.

This is the conviction the Word of God is working through us.

  1. Living & Active
  2. Penetrating & Dividing (conviction)
  3. Judging & Discerning

#3 Judging

“…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

This can be both positive and negative – just as the other 2.

  • If I’m “in Christ” and trust him – I’ll welcome his judgment
  • But if I’m “in sin” and reject him – I’ll fear it

The Word of God tests our physical lives and spiritual existence. It scrutinizes our thoughts and attitudes of the hearts (and desires and intentions).

  • Desire = our emotional part
  • Intentions = our intellectual part

So, our emotional AND intellectual parts are exposed to the scrutiny of God’s Word.

What is the heart?

  • It’s the center of human personality.
  • It is hidden from ALL. This is the biblical meaning.

Only the Word of God will tell us what is in our hearts. This is the message of the Word of God.

If we really want to know and understand ourselves, we must fill our hearts with the Word of God.

All human hearts are hidden from all creation, and only the Word of God reveals what is in our hearts, so if we REALLY want to know what is truly in our hearts, you must fill it with the Word of God.

Colossians “Let the Word of God dwell in your richly.”

Read, study, meditate, prayerfully apply it – gives us discernment and deep self-knowledge.

Only the Word of God reveals this.

“The Word of God is like a mirror that reveals who we are really in front of God.”

We cannot escape our passions, dreams, intentions in front of God (we cannot keep secrets from God).

Conclusion

v. 13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

“…we must give account.”

Are you happy with this sentence? Someday, maybe soon, we must stand before God face-to-face to give account. Are you OK with that?

We have been speaking of God’s Word in its Living, Penetrating, Judging powers – but in v.13 the focus switches from the Word of God to God himself. God and his Word are inseperable.

God knows and sees all. Yes, I “know” this, but practically, this fact that God SEES and KNOWS all, this is either a:

  1. Great comfort – when we have nothing to hide from him OR
  2. Great discomfort – when we have something to hide

Remember Adam? After the first sin, his next sin was attempting to hide himself from God. He thought God would not see him because God was not “there.” But actually, when he ate the fruit, God saw it and was there. When he hid, God saw it and was there. He knew where he was and how he was, so God said, “Where are you?”

In our practical lives, even if we are unaware of God’s presence, we must remember: “God is there.”

No creation is hidden from God’s sight. All are totally naked and exposed before the eyes of him before whom we must give account.

God knows instantly, effortlessly, all minds, all beings, all spirits, all thoughts, all motivations, all purposes, all pluralities, all hidden motivations, all dreams – visible, invisible, time, life, death, space, heaven, hell.

ALL THINGS God knows.

We cannot deceive him and cannot fool him. We cannot give excuses. We cannot rationalize. We are totally naked and exposed before God. We are powerless and defenseless before God. He is the final judge. Someday, we will stand before him to give an account and be judged.

Remember this.

Conclusion: John 1:1 “In the beginning, the Word (Jesus Christ)…”

So, we will give an account according to how we treat Jesus Christ in this world.

This is:

  1. A promise
  2. A warning

Especially the book of Hebrews always does this: promise/warning, encouraging/discouraging, challenge/trial.

Someday, we will stand before God to give account according to how we treat Jesus in this world.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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