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Monthly Archives / October 2019

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

Better Hope (Hebrews 7:11-19)

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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
  • Comments Off on The Greatness of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-10)
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)

Download Notes in a .MD file

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.

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