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  • Mar 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)

03.16

03.16.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.


Do you have ears? God bless us with our hands, ears, eyes, feet, mouth. 

As we know, in Chp 10, we studied 3 times – Jesus called his 12 disciples (apostles) and gave them authority and power to go on mission. After that, he didn’t take a rest – he went on to do his mission continually: Preaching, Teaching, & Healing.

At that time, JB was in prison by Herod – because he’d publicly rejected Herod’s adulterous relationship and marriage. JB was very active, he was sent as the forerunner of God to testify to Jesus so that through him all men might believe in Christ. Now, in prison, he cannot speak outside publicly anymore. He thought more and more about Jesus, and the more and more he thought, the more and more he was convinced that YES Jesus was the Messiah. So he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him – and he put all his hope in this one question. “Are you the One who was to come?”

This question may look like a doubtful question – but it can also be seen as a question through which the light of hope is shining. 

Jesus’ answer = v.4-6

This answer of Jesus is a quotation from Isaiah 29, and 35:4-6. In two places in Isaiah, these same words can be found. So, Jesus reminded him of the OT prophecies about the works of the Messiah. He pointed him toward his acts of healing, his preaching, and his teaching. YES! With so much evidence, Jesus’ identity should have been obvious. In this answer, we hear the accent of confidence. He didn’t say, “Tell John what I’m talking about.” He said, “Tell John what you SEE.”

Jesus’ answer is the same today. SEE what I can do for you. SEE what I have done for others. 

The very things Jesus did 2000 years ago in Galilee, he is doing still today.

  • The truth about God and his works can only be seen (eyes opened) when you have faith in Christ.
  • Feet that are not strong, can be strengthened in Jesus.
  • Those contaminated by the disease of sin can only be purified by Jesus Christ.
  • Those who are deaf to the voice of God can only hear in Christ.
  • Those who are dead in sin can be raised to the newness and liveliness of life in Jesus.
  • Those who are poor in spirit can receive the richness of the love of God only in Christ. 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His invitation is, was, and will be the same. Give your life to me and see and experience what I can do with your life. 

The supreme argument for Christ is not intellectual debate, but the experience of his life-changing power.

v. 7-10

After this, Jesus talks about JB.

This is a quotation from Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger ahead of you…”

Jesus asks and answers 3 questions about JB:

What did you go out to see in the desert?

  1. A reed swayed in the wind? NO. – A reed was a kind of grass on the banks of the Jordan River – symbolizing the most COMMON of things to see. Another meaning = a weak vacillator – he never takes a stand on anything – always tossed about by various opinions (flip-flopper). We know they did NOT go to see this – JB’s fiery preaching was not like a reed.
  2. A man with fine clothes? NO – John’s clothes = camel’s hair. If they wanted to see a rich man, they should have gone to a palace. Such a man would be a courtier. He was not a courtier. He was an ambassador of God – not a courtier of King Herod.
  3. A prophet? YES – The prophet is a foreteller of the truth of God. He had confidence in God and the wisdom of God in his mind, the truth of God in his mouth, the courage of God in his heart. The job of the prophet was to show the true Messiah to man. JB was the LAST of the OT prophets – and he saw the Son of Man with his own two eyes. This made him more than a prophet.

Today, what do you come to church to see in Jesus Christ? Yes, we worship God, but what do you come to SEE in Jesus? Entertainment? No. Luxurious clothes? No. 

Why do you come to church? What do you come to see? “I come to see my personal Lord, Savior, God, in Jesus Christ and to worship him together with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Jesus continues to talk about JB in v. 11 (much meaning).

“I tell you the truth” = “listen well, this is SUPER important…”

First Jesus exalts JB to the highest place among all human beings “He is THE greatest among all born of women.” Yes, he is the greatest, biggest man in the history of the world. 

But then, Jesus lowers JB to the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven. How can these two opposites both be true? 

Yes, JB is THE greatest in human history. Before sharing this, let’s have one question: Who is greater, JB or you? Before God? (Silently)

Your personal answer to this question is the correct answer…to you.

Yes, he was the GREATEST in history – the only one who baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the only prophet to see and point people DIRECTLY to Jesus. In this sense, JB is the greatest in all of history. Yes, in this world.

BUT, in the kingdom of heaven, the least is greater than JB. It means, if we are truly in the kingdom of heaven by believing in Jesus, we are greater than JB. What did John lack? It’s simple and fundamental. He’d never seen the cross. Therefore, he never understood the FULL revelation of the love of God manifested through the cross.

The love of God, the holiness, the judgment, the warning, the penalty of God he preached, but he never FULLY understood the love of God because he died before Jesus died (and rose again to inaugurate his kingdom). 

No one ever fulfilled his God-given purpose better than JB, but he never saw the cross with his eyes.

It is an amazing thing for us to know more about God than the greatest of the great OT prophets. 

Yes, in his coming kingdom, we have a greater spiritual heritage than JB, because we have known and seen the FINISHED work of Christ on the cross. We can have greater privilege than JB.

Yes, JB is great, greater, the greatest – in that his FIRST message was the same as that of Jesus Christ “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” And Jesus came as the king of his kingdom. It means, Jesus is the REALITY of the kingdom of heaven – this is Jesus’ dominion as king. Wherever Jesus is in control as King, that is the kingdom of heaven. How can we receive this? 

ONE WAY: by believing in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin and rose again for my salvation – and accept him as my personal Lord, King, Savior, and God. We receive by believing in the truth of Jesus’ substitutionary attonement. This is the gospel message. 

JB did preach a powerful and wonderful message, BUT it wasn’t the gospel – because there was no story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

We can be greater than JB in this sense. He had no opportunity to preach the message of the cross – the message of the gospel. But we have this wonderful blessing to preach and share this very message of the cross. 

IF you and I preach and share the message of the gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus – then we are greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

That’s why this passage says “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

v. 12-15

Jesus continues to talk about JB. 

Let’s see two verses:

  1. Malachi 4:5 (last book, last chapter, almost last verse of OT) “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day when the Lord comes.”
  2. Matthew 24:14 (prophecy of the last day of the last days) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and THEN the end will come.” (This is the prophecy of the last day of the last days.)

v. 12 “Forcefully advancing – forceful men” 

Yes, the kingdom of heaven was started with the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is YET to come. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world now stand AGAINST each other – because Satan is the king/prince of this world/age. So, until the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is finished, there is fighting between these two kingdoms. 

From when JB was imprisoned wrongly, the kingdom of heaven has experienced violence and persecution. So, if we accept the kingdom of heaven, we need violent devotion – forceful attitude, assertive action – to keep the kingdom of heaven safely and peacefully. 

“John is like Elijah”

JB came in spirit and power of Elijah – he also dressed like Elijah and ministered like him – and had a message of judgment for the apostate nation of Israel. 

The last book, chp, almost verse – it prophesied the coming of Elijah again before the last day. Jesus regarded the coming of JB as the fulfillment of that prophecy. 

How about us? Yes, we can be greater than JB IF we are used in fulfilling the prophecy of the last days in Matthew 24:14. “This gospel will be preached to all nations and then the end will come.” (And then I will come.)

If we are used in fulfilling this prophecy, we will be counted, regarded by God as greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

“He who has ears, let him hear. She who has ears, let her hear.”

God bless us with our hands, feet, ears, and mouth. 

Let’s pray. 

  • Mar 09 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Salvation in Samaria (Acts 8:1-25)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Salvation in Samaria (Acts 8:1-25)

03.09

03.09.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download notes in a .RTF file>

The Church Persecuted and Scattered

1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

Simon the Sorcerer

9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them,and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” 24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” 25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.


In Acts 7, Stephen was martyred (the proto-martyr) – the first killed for his faith in the NT. He was brought before the Jewish Council, accused and had false witnesses brought against him – they said he blasphemed the Law of Moses and the temple. So he was questioned.

He then recounted the history of Israel. In his reply, he showed that the people of Israel themselves had been unfaithful in not keeping the Law and not respecting the temple. Contrary to the devotion given of the land of Judea, many leaders of Jerusalem had been called from OUTSIDE of Judea. And yes, even though God said, “Well, alright, go ahead and build the temple” he doesn’t live in there.

Actually, David didn’t build the temple because – though he was a “man after God’s own heart” – he was also a man of blood. So it was David’s son Solomon who built the temple.

He main point was: God looks at the heart, not the external. We are the temple of the living God – we must worship in spirit and truth.

That didn’t sit well with the Council – they were PROUD of the land, the temple, and their own “holiness.” Jesus had previously said, “A day is coming when not one stone will be left on top of the other.” – that happened in 70 A.D.

The Council couldn’t handle it – so they yelled “lalalala!” covered their ears, dragged him outside, and stoned him to death. Stephen had seen Jesus in heaven waiting for him and said so. And all the men had laid their cloaks at Saul’s feet.

Saul was perhaps between 20-40 – a “young” man. He was called Saul of Tarsus. He later becomes converted, a vessel of God to take the gospel to the Gentiles.

Saul:

  • born in Tarsus – E. Asia minor
  • son of a Jew – a “Hebrew of Hebrews”
  • circumcised on the 8th day
  • of the tribe of Benjamin
  • a Pharisee
  • probably grew up in Judea speaking Aramaic like a native
  • trained in Jerusalem under Gamaliel (he advised the Council to let the apostles go because “if this is from God, you won’t be able to stop it”)
  • he was a brilliant, dedicated servant of Judaism (Gal 1:14 – “I was advancing beyond my age – extremely zealous for tradition”)
  • Technically, he’s a Helenistic/Grecian Jew
  • born outside Jerusalem
  • knows Greek culture, and speaks Greek like a native
  • like many Grecian Jews, was more fanatical than the Jerusalem Jews
  • may have been a member, or apprentice of the Sanhedrin – probably saw Stephen in the Council – you can imagine his anger rising – particularly when Stephen says, “You’re just like your ancestors you stiff-necked people!”
  • He heartily approved the murder of Stephen
  • He then becomes a driving force to persecute the church in Jerusalem and other places
  • He went house to house, dragging out men and women

The same word used to describe his work = used to describe wild beast assaults and army attacks

  • Later he describes that he was guilty of the deaths of some believers.
  • Later he regrets this greatly (Acts 22). “When the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who did it.”
  • 1 Timothy “Even though I was once a violent man, I was shown mercy because I did it in unbelief.”

Glad for God’s mercy? So was Paul/Saul.

Here is the first use of the word “persecution” by Luke. The rank and file of ordinary believers now starts to be affected. Originally, it was just the leaders – now it’s EVERYBODY. (Probably the Grecian speakers mostly – those who believed after Stephen). So, they had to spread.

The persecution was quite rapid and heated. Luke says, “ALL…” but means “many/most…” had to disperse.

Later, the church in Jerusalem flourishes under the leadership of James (but he is then martyred by the high priest in A.D. 62).

“With the martyring of Stephen, the church learned to abandon Israel to Jerusalem…”

Up to now, the preaching was all in Jerusalem. They had preached and taught in the temple mostly – and it was only later (Peter) that they realized “Hey, this good news is for the Gentiles too!”

They don’t have the same reluctance to go to Samaria (actually surprisingly – because of the long history of division and strife between the two areas). Samaria (in 8th century) had been conquered by the Assyrians and many immigrants had come and many other had been forcibly relocated. So it was a “mixed” nation.

In Ezra and Nehemiah, they had opposed the rebuilding of the temple. They built their own temple instead. The Jews in the 2nd century destroyed that temple. In 63 BC, the Romans conquered them both and the Samaritans were liberated from the Jews. In 25 BC, king Herod offered to rebuild the temple – but they said, “Noooo~” because they found out he was ALSO rebuilding the Jewish temple.

So, here, Philip and the others entering here to bring the gospel to them was pretty BOLD.

Philip went to a city in Samaria and preached. The Samaritans were actually considered heretics. They believed in MOST of the same stuff:

Moses, the Law, circumcision, a coming Messiah/Prophet (remember John 4 when Jesus met the woman at the well – “I would give you Living Water” – “We know that when [Taheb] comes, he will reveal all things” – amazing that she is here speaking with the ONE whom they’ve all – we’ve all – been waiting for. She is forgiven, realizes who he is, tells everyone about him. The people say, “Now we believe because of what’s happened in our own heart.”).

The Samaritans probably also realized that there was a persecution against the Jews in Jerusalem – so there is probably a common bond now between the two groups (Philip and the Christians are also outcasts just like the Samaritans). The people hear, and see, and are amazed. The Holy Spirit is present, ministering with signs. Demons are crying out and coming out. Paralytics are being healed. There was great joy in that city.

Imagine those miracles. And that joy.

When the Samaritans saw the miracles, they paid close attention (8:6). Just as at Pentecost, it is the Power of God that grabs people’s attention. Like Jesus, Philip performed miracles, he is doing the same ministry that Jesus did.

At this point, the story (by Luke) is intertwined with the story of Simon the Magician. He is noted in the writing of 2nd century Christians as “the first heretic.” He is the originator of a number of heresies. He was revered as “the First God.” At one point, he went to Rome before Claudius where his magic brought him great fame and fortune.

Simon is amazed to see the signs and wonders performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. v. 9-16

This is similar to the signs of Moses in Egypt. The sorcerers could do many magical things – same with the priests of Baal before Elijah – but they couldn’t do them all. This was a sign that this was the ONE true God, the power of the ONE true God.

Acts 1:8 “You will receive power…”

The apostles had to wait and pray and receive the Holy Spirit and his power to go out and preach and show greater things than those of the occult.

These things reached the ears of the apostles in Jerusalem. So, Peter and John were chosen to go down. This was a mission of good will – they also want to see the real conversions and confirm the validity of the ministry of the Grecian Jews.

When the Samaritans are baptized in Jesus’ name, there is no visible evidence of the receipt of the Holy Spirit. It’s only after the apostles come down that they can see evidence of the receipt of the Holy Spirit. Luke implies this is because the Samaritans should be brought into the church as a whole, not just as this one small group.

In other places, there is no laying on of hands. Later, when Ananias lays hands on Saul, he is transformed.

Here there is a delay in the receipt of the Holy Spirit – perhaps this is to SHOW the Jewish Christians that the Lord loves them as well.

How do we know they receive the Holy Spirit? Simon the sorcerer says he sees it – and wants it. Something obviously happened that shows that something miraculous has happened. He wants to buy that power with money (obviously to add it to his belt of “magic tricks”).

Philip says, “I can see you’re bitter. No. Pray to God that he gives you the spirit of repentance.”

Simon, “Oh, please pray for me.”

Later on with Paul and Elimas there is another sorcerer in Cyprus – defeated by the power of God.

There is great joy in the city – the gospel is shown to be the great power of God for salvation for those who would believe. And Peter and John start walking back toward Jerusalem, preaching in all the towns.

Earlier in Acts, Jesus had said, “The gospel will be preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria [now], and to the ends of the earth.”

Eventually, (especially in Antioch), the gospel became a big mission of the Gentiles.

Warning

There are warnings here against dabbling in the occult. God DETESTS these things:

  • Occult
  • hidden/secret spiritual things
  • New Age

Actually it’s not “New Age” – it was happening here. The best thing to do is to RENOUNCE them. “I did it for fun – no big deal” is not good enough. People were killed/stoned for that in the New Testament.

We’ve been changed out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his Son. God is pleased when we renounce those things and turn to him for truth and knowledge.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 02 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Three Idiots (Luke 9:57-62) Guest Sermon
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Three Idiots (Luke 9:57-62) Guest Sermon

03.02

03.02.2014 Missionary Bright Lee

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”


I was thinking about “what is a disciple?” for many years in India. What is a disciple in today’s time?

Three Idiots (famous Indian movie)

The three characters in the best engineering college in India were portrayed as idiots, but actually geniuses.

Today’s message also shows 3 idiots. How were they idiots?

Today’s discipleship is distorted.

In India, we don’t use the word Christian – because it has many negative images.

  1. Loves alcohol
  2. Immoral person

We use the word “Believer” or “Disciple”

Last year, I went to a prayer mtn in Gyeongi-do. He was preaching “How to be rich” say what? should we do that? Be rich?

That MIGHT be a sign of God’s blessing, but not the life’s goal, nor the character of a disciple.

Think about the meaning of “discipleship” in today’s time. 

IDIOT #1 (v. 57-58)

Jesus and his disciples wandered around everywhere and this guy said, “Hey, I’ll follow you ANYwhere!” He seems to be full of conviction, and a good would-be disciple. He seems to have good courage. But Jesus said, “I’ve got no place to lay my head.”

Jesus saw that he had a romanticized notion of being a disciple “Wow, we can TRAVEL! So many places! With many friends!” He thought that Jesus was really popular and interesting and he could be popular and interesting too!

Many years ago, someone said, “Missionary Lee, I want to fly to many countries like you.” I wanted to say, “I actually hate flying, for MANY reasons…” He was a member of my supporting church, so I could only laugh at him.

Flying = money, (with children = double), no money = suffering for many days.

The life of a missionary has many practical difficulties.

The Son of Man doesn’t have a place to lay his head. After 20 years in India, we are still looking for a place to say.

People say, “Wow! Your son has a cool university overseas! Cool!” Yes, this is a true blessing, but my son went to a boarding school when he was 12 – he’s still in a foreign country in a foreign place. Even though his education is blessed, he is lonely, has pain in his heart. When a middle-schooler, he ran all the time. He said, “If I didn’t run all the time, I would be crazy with loneliness.”

Without considering ALL the real difficulties of a missionary’s life, you can’t be one. 

This world doesn’t welcome disciples because the world is wicked and adulterous. Jesus often said, “This world is a wicked and adulterous generation.” Even though you want to be honest, the world doesn’t encourage it. Even though you want to be generous, the world encourages competition and greed.

Many Indians think that “anybody can be a Christian for his own reasons, by his own choice.” One day, in New Delhi, I encouraged a family to be baptized, but they weren’t willing to do so. But this was strange because they had served the Lord for a long time. One man who baptized someone else got lots of money and became rich.

To become a Christian doesn’t mean being a member of a premium club. It means taking up your own cross and following Jesus through difficulty. 

Disciple = 

  1. Follower – Jesus = life goal
  2. Learner – Learn what to think, how to act from Jesus
  3. Doer – supposed to do Jesus’ work – what he did, what he does, what he wants done.

Jesus commanded us to follow him and gave us an example to follow. “The Son of Man didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” He was even crucified willingly on the cross for our sins. 

If we truly want to follow Jesus, don’t romanticize the notion of it – this is REAL, this is HARD, this is a PROCESS – take up your cross and follow him. But the love of Jesus helps us overcome the pain of the cross. Because of his love, we were able to serve him for 20 years in India. Many times, I thought I would give up, but he helped me endure.

IDIOT #2 (v. 59-60)

He had the privilege to be invited as a disciple – what a blessing! But he said, “Wait a second Jesus.”

The problem was the matter of priorities. 

His priority was his family. He wanted first to do his duty as a son. He wanted to serve his family. It is good to serve your family – but he wanted to serve his family FIRST. He wanted to bury his father and receive his inheritance.

The matter of priority is very important. Don’t neglect your family for the “noble cause” of God’s kingdom. JUST, have a high priority for the kingdom of God. For this reason, let us follow Jesus’ comment that being his disciple includes a price.

One friend of mine went to Mongolia as a missionary. He saw an Austrian couple who’d served there for many years in the country with no fruit. Why? The main reason = the family enjoyed family time 7-9pm everyday. BUT this is a very important time for ministry. Of course, family time is very important, but in Mongolia, 7-9pm is the only time that you can visit Mongolian families. He tried to visit at other times, but they were never available at that time. 

For a few years, my friend made many good visits during this time, and he started a local church. He sacrificed THAT family time, and made a good impact for the church.

BUT, remember that many Koreans actually serve TOO much. Their families are neglected and they have mental weakness and pain. Is it OK to neglect your family like this for the “noble cause” of the kingdom of God? This is not an easy question. But remember, Jesus said, “Proclaim the kingdom of God” not “proclaim your kingdom.”

In fact, many church people are “busy” with “work” for their OWN kingdoms. (They actually aren’t interested in the kingdom of God – just friendships, networking, entertaining, getting respect, etc).

Many missionaries serve in India with a business VISA, so they must do some kind of business. One of my friend’s has a Korean restaurant in New Delhi. He is being successful in his business, but doesn’t have time for ministry. He wonders, “Am I really a missionary?”

Another friend sold carpets for his VISA. He became successful as a businessman and he decided to quit the missionary work and go to the US as a businessman.

A true disciple of Jesus must pay the price for the kingdom of GOD. It can be financial, physical, mental. But, remember, our hope is not in this world, but in the heavenly kingdom, which is eternal.

IDIOT #3 (v. 61-62)

This request seems simple. “Let me say ‘buh-bye!’ to my family.” But actually, Jesus realized he was looking BACK. His inner heart was BACK, not AHEAD. His heart was “worldly man” not “disciple.”

If you look back after putting your hand to the plow, all your work will be disturbed. All your life will be disturbed and destroyed.  

  • The most important thing for a disciple = OBEY! NOW! 
  • Immediate obedience = RADICAL discipleship.

They obeyed God, not the person. Yes, a person can be a delegate from God, so we may also need to obey a person. I also teach this to my disciples in India. Many of them obey my word, but I must remember to obey God. 

One man in India, Sanjay, was not obedient at first, so I was annoyed. One day, we went to a village course to train the villagers. He was so excited just to be in a new place that he didn’t listen to me and I was very annoyed. So I just kept quiet and prayed. At 5am, I woke up and prayed and pastor Sanjay came in and held my feet suddenly. “Forgive me!” Last night, he saw a dream and on his feet was a stone. “Why don’t you obey missionary Bright?” He was trembling all night and asked my forgiveness in the morning.

God was teaching him about obedience. Without obedience, you CANNOT be a good disciple nor a good pastor. Now, he is very responsible, so I give him the greatest responsibility when I travel.

Several years ago, God asked me to do cooperative work with Indian and Korean pastors. R727 was launched. It is a joint ministry for church planting in North India. Initially, many people didn’t understand this ministry. Very few people joined the ministry, but God blessed it for the last 3-4 years, and it has begun to have a good result and lots of fruit in many places. 

At first, many people didn’t notice this ministry. But these days, many people phone in and say, “Hey, can I join with you guys now?” I say, “Hmm, let me think about it.”

To OBEY IMMEDIATELY is a sign of true disipleship. If you OBEY, God works wonders in your life. 

There are three things that God shows in the Bible about disipleship:

  1. Reality of the cross
  2. Priority
  3. True Obedience

I hope and pray that we all can become good disciples of Jesus and change the world with the power of God. 

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 23 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60)

02.22

02.23.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Acts 7:1-60

At this point in Acts, Stephen has been brought before the Sanhedrin. The apostles (Stephen included) had been put in charge of overseeing the distribution of food to the widows (particularly Greek widows). The apostles had appointed 7 disciples to do this – including Stephen and Philip.

God had more in store for Stephen and Philip. They were geared toward speaking to the Greek Jews. They were doing wonders, performing miracles before the Greek Jews (like the apostles).

Stephen was preaching before the Freedmen, and they began arguing with him. The Freedmen then accused him of blaspheming against Moses and the Law. So they brought him to the Sanhedrin where they asked him, “Is this so?”

He doesn’t answer directly, but retraces the steps of Israel (who’d not been completely faithful to Moses or the Law anyway). He was basically saying, “If you REALLY knew God in a real way, you’d know Jesus as your Savior.”

Recounting the history = 5 segments

  1. Abraham’s calling (v. 2-8)
  2. Patriarchs in Egypt (v. 9-16)
  3. The life of Moses (v. 17-36)
  4. Moses and Israel in the wilderness (v. 37-43)
  5. Tabernacle and the temple (v. 44-50)

#1: Abraham (v. 2-8)

Called by God in Mesopotamia. Stephen is emphasizing that even Abraham wasn’t a Jew at first. God called from OUTSIDE the Jews.

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin

1 Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?” 2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

The Jews thought that God’s glory was in the temple. Stephen emphasizes that God called Abraham OUT of the Jews, OUT of the temple.

Stephen emphasizes God’s actions, not Abraham’s heroics:

  • He appears,
  • He speaks,
  • He moves,
  • He gives promises,
  • He judges,
  • He gives a covenant

God is the central character.

Stephen is very respectful and calls these men the Fathers (Abraham = “our father”). However, by the end of the speech he says, “your father” after he rebukes them.

He emphasizes that God can speak and act anywhere in the world – not just Jerusalem. This is very transformational. Before this, all the religion was geared toward Jews: mainly Jews preached to mainly Jews in mainly Jewish places. After this speech, Stephen is kind of the connecting link between hard-core Judaism and the Christianity Paul (in this chapter Saul) preached.

The main focus of Judaism was:

  1. The Land (Promised Land)
  2. The Law
  3. The Temple

#2 The Patriarchs in Egypt (v. 9-16)

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph,they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. 11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

Here, Stephen focuses on Joseph – the favored son of Jacob. The coat (colorful, yes) was a symbol of who was to receive the inheritance. This caused his other brothers to hate him. Also, the dreams he had (and proudly told them about), made them upset because they indicated that the whole family (even the parents) would bow down to him.

He was put in a pit, sold into slavery, sent to prison (falsely accused), interpreted dreams, got out of prison, became SECOND in command of one of the most powerful nations on earth at that time.

Joseph noted that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Then the sons of Jacob came to Egypt to meet with him – they didn’t recognize him at first. But the second time they came back, he revealed himself. They were afraid because they thought he would take his revenge, but he comforted them, blessed them, protected them, and provided new homes for them.

Jesus and Joseph

  • Jesus and Joseph, rejected by their brothers
  • Jesus, rejected by Jews, received by Gentiles (John 1 “he came to his own and his own did not receive him – but to those who did receive him, he gave the right to become children of God”).
  • Joseph, rejected by brothers, received by Egyptians.
  • Jesus, died (lowly place) and rose to the highest place.
  • Joseph, in prison (lowly place) rose to the highest place (under Pharaoh).

So Joseph is a shadow, foreshadowing of Jesus. Stephen is trying to make this crystal clear.

#3 The Life of Moses (v. 17-36)

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ 27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’ 35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

Through their own history, they proved that they also did not follow Moses.

Jesus and Moses:

  • Moses narrowly escaped death as an infant from Pharaoh.
  • Jesus narrowly escaped death as an infant from Herod.
  • Moses was mighty in word and deed.
  • Jesus was mighty in word and deed (Luke 9:50?)

Moses tried to reconcile the fighting Israelites and he was rejected – he had to flee to Midian. Moses was commissioned OUT of Judea – “the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

The Jews had started to “cage God” in the temple. He was trying to show them that God doesn’t LIVE in the temple, and he CAN work outside the temple.

Yes, he appeared there, but there was a time when the glory disappeared from there – when hearts strayed from true worship. Stephen’s emphasis is that God’s dwelling is not the temple building. (Paul in Eph. 2 “you are the temple of the Holy Spirit – your bodies – honor God with your bodies”)

Moses had declared that God would one day raise up a prophet like him (the Messiah = Jesus) – had all the marks/requirements that Moses had declared that God would raise up. But the Israelites had refused to pay attention to them.

Even when Peter said these similar things, he’d softened it “Yes, you did wrong in the past because you didn’t know, but NOW God has commanded otherwise.”

Here, Stephen is being much more forceful. Will he go too far?

#4 Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness (v. 37-43)

37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies.This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.

#5 The Tabernacle and the Temple (v. 44-53)

44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’ 51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

The tabernacle was a moveable building where God appeared at first.

David said, “Let’s give God a house.” Nathan the prophet agreed, but said, “You are a man of blood, you can’t.” So his son Solomon did it.

The problem is that God moves, and God dwells, BUT sometimes, we put too much emphasis on the BUILDING where God HAS been, and where he DID move.

Now, Stephen is emphasizing that the TEMPLE building is “the big deal.” Even Jesus had said this “Woe to you, for you built tombs for the prophets, BUT your ancestors killed them. So, you approved of what your ancestors did, but you build their tombs.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (And Saul was there giving approval to his death.)

At this, (so much hard speech toward them), they absolutely lost control and grabbed him, dragged him out of town, and stoned him violently.

At this part of Scripture, Jesus is standing (not sitting) at the right hand of God. It’s as if he’s standing, waiting to receive and welcome Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

It’s interesting too that when Jesus was before that same assembly, he’d said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in glory.” That caused them to murder him.

And now, Stephen is seeing the Son of Man in glory, and they murder him.

Jesus and Stephen:

  • Jesus: “The Son of Man will be glorified.”
  • Stephen: “The Son of Man is glorified.”
  • Jesus on the cross: “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
  • Stephen: To Jesus’ hands, commits his spirit.
  • Jesus: “Forgive them (my murderers) their sins.”
  • Stephen: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (v. 60)

Then he fell asleep (yes, death is only temporary). When we wake again (the Great Awakening) at Jesus’ Second Coming (just like Joseph showed himself to his brothers the second time), how will we wake up?

There was a first chance to receive Christ – when he came first and until the Second Coming. Have you received Jesus as your Savior?

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Discipleship is a Blessing to Others (Matthew 10:32-42)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Discipleship is a Blessing to Others (Matthew 10:32-42)

02.16

02.16.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF File>

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”


Today’s verses are heavy.

Last time, Jesus encouraged us to “Fear not!” Do you remember?

  1. Because he suffered for us.
  2. Because our God will bring everything to light.
  3. Because we fear God alone. (The fear of God removes all other fears.)
  4. Because God cares for his children (even a sparrow doesn’t die without his knowing – and all our hairs are numbered).

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

One more “Fear not” today.

  • Because Christ honors those who honor and acknowledge him. (v. 32-33)

To acknowledge, confess Jesus = MORE than just saying “Jesus is king.” We must show it with our lives also. Walk and talk must go together.

In heaven, Jesus has 2 ministries:

  1. High Priest: gives grace, continual grace to keep us from sinning.
  2. Advocate: forgives and restores us when we sin.

He is faithful even if we aren’t faithful. The benefit of his heavenly ministry = benefits of his sacrificial work on the cross.

Double loyalty of the Christian life:

  1. If we are loyal now, he is loyal then (eternal life)
  2. If we are proud to confess him as Lord now, he will be proud to confess us as his servants then.

Historical Fact: if there were not BOLD, PROUD servants who acknowledged Jesus before men in the past, there would be no church today.

Warning:

  • Disown Jesus, ashamed of Jesus now, he will be ashamed of us before the Father God in heaven.

Paul “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for everyone who believes.”

How can we deny/disown him before men?

3 Ways we deny/disown Christ:

1. Our Words

Someone asks you “Do you believe in Jesus?” We say, “Yeah… I go there, but I don’t really care about it. You guys are better. Don’t worry about it.”

2. Silence

There is a threat of things unsaid in the Christian life. Many times, this life gives us an opportunity to say something against evil, to defend doctrine, to take a stand, to show what side we are on. But, if we keep silent again and again, such a silence is a DENIAL of Christ before men.

3. Actions/Attitudes

Do something before men that Jesus doesn’t like.

So, Jesus offers a SWORD. (v. 34-36)

Strange. This looks very strange.

Yes, in the Bible, it is very clear that Jesus has come to give us peace.

  • Isaiah (700 years earlier) “A son is given to us, the government will be upon his shoulders, and he will be called: Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.”
  • Luke “Peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.”
  • Paul “We have peace with God through Christ based on the grace on which we now stand.”
  • We have peace with God through the cross.
  • Before his crucifixion: “Peace I give you, my peace I leave with you.”

So…. what’s up with the SWORD?

To give us TRUE peace, Jesus must destroy FALSE peace.

True peace can only be found in Jesus.

The Christian life is a spiritual war. Once we have confessed him and identified with him, we are part of the war. If we deny him, or remain silent, that is sin.

The sword is to FIGHT.

Ephesians 6:12 “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of the spiritual realm.”

We are IN spiritual warfare.

Sword also means DIVISION/SEPARATION.

Among humans, there are already many divisions in this world (Olympics). One day, ALL divisions will be destroyed – race, nation, language, sex, age, etc. One day, there will be only ONE division: Christ acceptors, Christ deniers. This will be an eternal, everlasting division.

(v. 36) Did you experience this among your own family members?

In Jesus’ time, in the early church time, if a Jew became a Christian, he wasn’t cast out by the Roman government, but he was excommunicated from his own synagogue, from his own people.

Even today, if a man converts to Christ truly, the greatest persecution happens to him from his own immediate family members: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Secularists, etc.

There is a basic principle we must keep in our marriage:

  1. Marry the OTHER sex (this is biblical)
  2. Marry the SAME faith

2 Cor 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. What do righteousness and unrighteousness have in common? What fellowship have light and darkness? What connection is there between the temple of God and idols?”

This means, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Jesus offers a CHOICE: v. 37

Can you accept this verse by faith truly?

The discipleship road is a continual choice, a resolution, determination. This road is not only the FIRST day of the new year, or new life, but EVERYDAY throughout the year, we must make our resolution. We must make our singular loyalty to Jesus Christ.

When Jesus met Peter after his resurrection, he only asked one question: “Do you truly love me?” (3 times) “Feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep.”

  • If we believe in Jesus, he will save us.
  • If we love him first, he will give us a great commission to save others.

We know he doesn’t want our family love to be broken – he wants us to love and help each other. But the secret is: if you love Jesus first, then when you love your wife.

  • If you force your wife to obey, she will obey less.
  • If you encourage your wife to love Jesus more, she will love you more.

Jesus offers the cross (v. 38)

Christianity = the religion of the cross

There is ALWAYS some cross.

During Jesus’ time they knew what the cross was. A Roman general (Barrus) crucified 2,000 Jews and strung their crosses out along the entire road to Galilee. And those people had to carry their own crosses to the place of their own execution.

Taking the cross is a symbol of utter humility. It doesn’t mean just wearing some jewelry. It means to do Christ’s will, to preach the gospel, to follow Jesus.

To “follow Jesus” doesn’t mean “walk behind.” It means “take the SAME road of sacrifice and service Jesus took.”

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, that you would follow in Jesus’ steps.”

Jesus offers Adventure (v. 39)

Christian life = a paradox. A positive and negative statement of the same truth. If we cling to this life, we will lose the best life in this world and the world to come.

There are only 2 choices:

  1. Spare our life
  2. Sacrifice our life

True work = selfishness vs. sacrifice

  • Matthew 16:25 “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life will find it.”
  • Mark 8:38? Same
  • Luke 9:24 Same
  • Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to KEEP it, loses it…”
  • John 12:25 “The one who LOVES his life will lose is. Whoever HATES his life will keep it for eternal life.”

The more we love this earthly life’s rewards:

Honor, Glory, Recognition, Worldly success, Money, Popularity, Fame,…

The more we will find how empty they are really.

The best way to find true life is to LOOSEN our greedy grasp on this life, and be FREE to be a blessing to as many others as possible.

We receive blessing from God, we are to give that blessing to others.

This chapter is the Missionary Chapter. (Not the Baby Christian Chapter.) v. 40-42

Not everyone will accept our message, nor will everyone reject our message. Those who receive it will receive a reward. We are the ambassadors of Christ, his representatives. We know why God called Abraham (Genesis 12)

  1. To bless him
  2. To save him
  3. To send him
  4. To bless others
  5. To save others through him
  • “I will bless those you bless, I will curse those you curse.”
  • All people, all nations on earth will be blessed through you.

Jesus calls us, saves us, to send us, to bless others, to save others through us.

If this is true, that Jesus is God, become Man, to die on the cross for our sins, and was raised again, and is coming again soon…how is it possible to be ashamed? If we truly believe this. He’s still alive with us. What a Savior! What a Lord! He is coming soon!

God bless us.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 09 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Culture Clashes (Acts 6:1-15)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Culture Clashes (Acts 6:1-15)

02.09

02.09.2014 Pastor Brian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Choosing of the Seven

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Seized

8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)–Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


v. 1 “In those days…”

When the disciples numbers were increasing, the Grecian Jews complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked.

Previously, the apostles had been brought before the Sanhedrin who wanted to kill them. Gamaliel had persuaded them to just let them go – if the movement was of men, it would fade off, if from God, it wouldn’t fail.

So, the men were flogged and let go. They were full of joy to be able to suffer for Jesus, and they ignored the command of the Council – they must obey God rather than men. They continued to preach, and the disciples’ number increased. Increased numbers also lead to increased problems, which they experienced here.

The Grecian widows didn’t receive the same bread rations that the Hebraic widows received.

Now Luke turns his story to this tale.

Grecian and Hebraic Jews are separated linguistically and geographically.

The diaspora = the dispersion of the Jews (from Jerusalem to Babylon and at other times). This was part of the warning of God in Deuteronomy. “If you don’t obey my commands, you’ll be scattered throughout the whole earth.” The people weren’t faithful to God (read anything in the OT) and they worshiped idols, and were scattered.

When they worshiped idols and sinned, things went poorly. When they repented, things started looking up (improving).

When they did repent, they wanted to come back to Jerusalem (especially for the major feasts). Many also wanted to return home for retirement.

Many commentators say the Grecian Jews were probably more faithful?

They were Greeks, didn’t know the language, didn’t know the culture, etc, etc. They had suffered many things outside of the land so that they could come back.

Today, Sabbra Jews = immigrants who have come to live and work in Jerusalem.

The Grecian Jews went to a Greek speaking synagogue. The Hebraic Jews went to an Aramaic speaking synagogue. They were (quite) different in culture, and language. This was especially disadvantageous for the widows who couldn’t really speak up and express themselves.

Even today, when countries receive immigrants, the natives are suspicious of the newcomers thinking, “They’ll take our jobs! Our wives!” etc.

Even in this Christian context, there were probably prejudices against the immigrants.

Some say the Grecian Jews were all Greek speaking. But take Paul, he was not born in the land, he was part of the diaspora of Jews, spoke Aramaic and Greek fluently, but he declared himself a Hebrew, and in his letters (Corinthians) he defended his apostleship. “Are they Hebrews? Me too. Are they disciples? Me too. Are they children of Abraham? Me too.”

Even according to the Talmud (commentary on the Law) – the Pharisees looked down on the Grecian Jews and treated them poorly.

Now, here there’s a mixture of these two cultures and some problems with the relationships. The Greeks feel neglected (they were – possibly unintentionally – but felt very clearly).

So, looking at the attitude of God toward the widows and the orphans, the Law spoke much of God’s attitude toward these marginalized. Deut 10:18 “He defends the cause of the widow and the orphan and the foreigner among you and gives them food and clothing.”

Even in the Law, God makes his character known, and he specifies a curse against those who don’t. Deut 27:19 “Cursed be anyone who withholds justice from the fatherless, the widow, or the foreigner and withholds care.”

Derick Prince (in a small booklet on the subject) – didn’t really feel that he fully understood how to minister to these kinds of people. David Wilkerson “The secret of continual revival is: looking after the widows, the orphans, the oppressed.” Looking at the history of Wilkerson’s ministry, he was obviously right.

  • Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right, seek to do justice, take up the case of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
  • James 1:21? “This is true religion: Looking after the widow and the orphan in their distress.”

The apostles received money at their feet from the sale and distribution of land. So, they also distributed the food and donations to the needy. They were going to continue doing so, but they needed to choose SEVEN men who would oversee it faithfully. (This was a kind of soup kitchen.) So the apostles turned the authority of the choice over to the church.

  1. Stephen
  2. Philip
  3. Procorus
  4. Nicanor
  5. Timon
  6. Parmenas
  7. Nicolas

These were all proselytes (converts that did everything required in the Law including circumcision). Other converts were not circumcised so they are not fully “proselytes.”

  • Nicolas is from Antioch (important later).
  • Stephen is also important – his acts in the next chapter connect the Jerusalem church to the rest of the world’s church.

Acts 7:19? “Those who were scattered in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Cyprus and Antioch.”

At Antioch, the gospel was first preached to Gentiles as well as Jews. This became an important center for the spread of the gospel to Gentile nations.

Also, Paul later confesses about Stephen’s death – his witness, and approval of it.

  • Philip preaches to an Ethopian, who also goes back to Ethopia to continue preaching. Paul later visited him.
  • Nicolas was a convert to Judaism from paganism.

After they chose these SEVEN men, the apostles brought them forward, laid hands on them, and prayed for them.

The laying on of hands and praying is done for several reasons in the Bible including:

  1. Baptism
  2. Healings
  3. Commission to Ministry

Numbers 8:10 “Bring the Levites before the Lord and the Israelites should lay their hands on them and pray for them.”

Deaconaos = the title for deacon.

These men became deacons, technically, though weren’t called it specifically. Philip was called “Philip the evangelist” in other places.

These men were preaches and teachers also, doing signs and wonders. The Greek Jews were probably more geared to preaching to the Greek Jews than the apostles – with the same power as the apostles.

Summary: Acts 6:7 “So, the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

There were 8,000 priests in the temple, and 10,000 Levites at that time. Many believed and turned to the Lord. This shows the power and authority with which the apostles preached.

—————–

Stephen

There is a subtle change of audience here. They brought the gospel to a Greek speaking synagogue. The apostles were more used to speaking in the Aramaic speaking synagogues, but here Stephen is speaking to the Freedmen – former slaves or kids of slaves – Greeks – and Stephen is preaching to them. They hearts are hard and they argue with Stephen here. They could not stand the wisdom and Spirit by which you speak.

Matthew (last week)

“The time will come when you’ll be brought before leaders – don’t worry about what to say – God will give you the words to say.” Here is an example of that – speaking in the Spirit – and they can’t counter what he says.

Filled with the Spirit, Stephen does great wonders and signs – he’s filled with God’s grace and power – but the people resist his teaching. Some of them persuade others to say, “This guy is blaspheming Moses and the Law!” (Stephen is probably challenging their obsession with the Law. JESUS is the center of faith, NOT Law.) So they brought him before the elders and said, “He’s saying this Jesus will destroy this place and our customs!” (They are twisting his words – though there is some truth to them. Jesus didn’t destroy the temple, but he did prophesy it – the Romans eventually destroyed it.)

The temple was ordained with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God. Jesus had said, “Just wait. There will come a day when not a single stone remains on another.” From a distance, this was a beautiful sight.

The reason why the stones were not left is because when the temple was burned by the Romans, the gold melted between the cracks. So in order to get to the gold, they eventually tore apart the whole temple, stone by stone.

Jesus’ prophecy came to pass – the people missed the true temple – himself.

Jesus also had said, “Believe me, a time is coming when you will not worship God in the temple.” (John 4 – to the woman at the well). “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth – for they are the kind of worshipers God is seeking.”

God is not to be found in:

  • A place
  • A type of worship

But, he is in all believers in the Holy Spirit.

v. 15

“His face was like the face of an angel.”

Must be like when Moses was in the presence of God and came down from the mountain and veiled his face so the people wouldn’t see the glory.

Angel = messenger of God. Stephen was a messenger and was about to go see God.

The important thing for believers is that we:

  1. must be born of the Spirit,
  2. filled with the Spirit,
  3. have the Spirit witness to our spirits,
  4. acknowledge that we are sinners by birth,
  5. when convicted of sin, receive the Spirit of God,
  6. repent.
  • Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation (1 Cor?)

It’s a self-authenticating thing that we can know we can know we can know. As we know, we learn. As we become new creations, we grow in knowledge and faith.

Have we begun?

We can begin by faith, be filled with the Spirit, live in the Spirit, rejoice in the Spirit. As we are filled, we will be more filled, and more filled. As we grow, we grow more. “From faith to faith we grow.”

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 02 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Fear Not! Because… (Matthew 10:17-33)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Fear Not! Because… (Matthew 10:17-33)

02.02

02.02.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 

24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! 

26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.


In this section, there are many terrible words, but in conclusion (in advance) “Don’t worry.”

The atmosphere of this section is different from that of the previous section.

  1. He speaks of persecution, suffering, arrest.
  2. In the opening (the first section), he said, “Do not go to the Gentiles.” But here he talks about the ministry to the Gentiles (v. 18).
  3. Also, the HS had not been given at that time, but here he mentions it (v. 20).
  4. And he also talks about his Second Coming (v. 23). 

So this is not instructions only to those at that time, but to ALL missionaries at ALL times. 

#1: Persecution (v. 17-18)

We can be deeply impressed with Jesus’ honesty. He never hesitated to tell us what we may expect if we follow him. As for human Presidents (election campaigns), they all promise GOOD things for us if we follow them. They never say bad things, the weak points if we accept them as President.  

  • Imperfect Presidents speak as though they are Perfect in their campaigns.
  • But our perfectly Perfect President (Jesus) speaks as though he is Imperfect.

So, he is humble, and totally worthy of our trust.

In the next verse, Jesus says persecution presents MORE opportunities to present the gospel. History has shown that the church has grown larger and stronger through persecution. Even Jesus was given the opportunity to preach before Pilate. And Paul was given great opportunities to stand before the Sanhedrin, governors Felix and Festus, King Agrippa, and even King Herod. 

In the face of so much persecution, we don’t need to worry. (v. 19-20)

WHEN they arrest you (not “if”), “do not worry.”

Do you worry about persecution for your faith in Christ? Don’t worry. Because Jesus said, “don’t worry” that’s enough reason to not worry. Also, persecution for Christ makes:

  • Faith stronger
  • Ministry bigger
  • Influence deeper

In Matthew, there are only 2 mentions of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Jesus’ water baptism in chapter 3 – when the HS came down and rested on him.
  2. HERE – “it will be the Spirit speaking through you.”

BUT do not use this as an excuse to NOT study the Scriptures, to not prepare. We must prepare, but in the case of persecution, the HS will do his job through us supernaturally. Why? Because witnessing about Jesus Christ is THE main ministry of the HS. 

v. 21-23

How many men will hate you? ALL.

  • Brother kills brother. 
  • Parents kill children.
  • Children kill parents. 

This is most true spiritually. TRUE death, eternal death, results from the rejection of Jesus Christ. Think about it. If you’ve ever been forced/compelled not to believe in Jesus, WHO usually does it? Not strangers. It’s usually people who know us.

All men will hate us because of Jesus. All men who hate Jesus, also hate us – the announcers and evangelists for Jesus. Want to know if it’s true? Proclaim Jesus on Facebook… I’ve done so… It’s true…

He who stands firm to the end will be saved. We know we are saved by grace, not by perseverance, not by patience, not by works. If we are really saved by grace, THEN, we should work out our own salvation by perseverance, patience, and works.

You will never finish your mission in this world before Jesus comes back (v. 23). We will finish the mission given to us from God when Jesus returns, or when we go to God.  

But, Jesus encouragement is “fear not. Do not be afraid.”

3 times he repeats it. 

  1. v. 26 “So do not be afraid of them.”
  2. v. 28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body…”
  3. v. 31 “So don’t be afraid.”

But be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (v. 28)

But whoever acknowledges me, I will acknowledge. But whoever disowns me, I will disown.

Do you fear confessing Jesus Christ before men?

Outside (not inside this church building).

Do you fear? Before big strong men?

Here are several reasons why we should not fear: 

#1: FEAR NOT! Because suffering is to be expected.

It is natural, not unnatural. (v. 24-25)

In his earthly ministry, outsiders called Jesus “Beezlebub (The Lord of Ddong)! Demon! Devil!” We are his servants, he is our Master. Then, he was persecuted first for us, now is our turn. The disciple doesn’t outrank the Master. 

They called our King, “The King of Ddong!”

Will we escape such accusations? No. But we should count it as a privilege to suffer for him. 1 Peter says, “He was an example and you should follow in his steps…”

#2: FEAR NOT! Because God will bring all things to light someday. (v. 26-27)

Our secrets, our motivations – everything one day will be made known. If we believe this, then we should have no fear before Christ.

The enemies of Christ use secret and deceptive means to oppose the gospel. But the true children of God are very open and courageous in their ministries, lifestyles, etc. We have nothing to hide. At that time, there were many lies and accusations against the believers and against Christ, but God knows the truth. Someday, all things will be revealed and God will judge them.

If we are true Christians, PRESENT judgment from Men should not make us afraid, because we are already standing in the FUTURE judgment of God.

#3: FEAR NOT! Because we fear God alone! (v. 28)

Who is the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell? God. 

We know that all humans can do is kill the body. No problem. True believers go to their eternal homes to be with God.

But God can destroy soul, spirit, and body in hell. But God never condemns one of his own children. Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.” 

  • Ecclesiastes begins “everything is useless, vanity – totally useless in the life without God.”
  • Ecclesiastes ends “fear God and keep his commands – for this is the full duty of man.”

The person who fears God and keeps his commands has no fear. The fear of God overcomes, and destroys ALL other fears. If we fear God truly, there is nothing in this world that we fear. 

#4: FEAR NOT! Because God cares for his own (v. 29-31)

Can you count the number of hairs on your head?

Luke 12:6 “5 sparrows are sold for 2 pennies.”

We can get 2 for 1 penny, or 5 for 2. Sparrows are so cheap, we can buy 4+1.

Imagine, if God cares for sparrows in such a marvelous, wonderful way that he knows when a single one dies – how much more he cares for us! He is concerned about ALL the details of our lives! – Even all your hairs are counted! Numbered individually – not just in total. 

If God cares about sparrows in such a way that he knows when one dies, then he also knows and watches when one single hair from my head falls off. 

God cares about the big stuff in our lives, but also the smallest – even your haircuts.

Why don’t you acknowledge God in all your ways? Then he will make all your paths straight (Proverbs).

There is one more reason why we should not fear, but we will see that next time. 

May God bless us all with his living Word.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 26 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Retaliation and Rejoicing (Acts 5:34-42)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Retaliation and Rejoicing (Acts 5:34-42)

01.26

01.26.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.

35 Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.


Peter had spoken to these guys earlier and been quite clear that THEY had condemned Jesus to death on the cross.

But he was equally clear that God was granting repentance through this – to the Jews first, then the Gentiles.

But it was clear that these guys weren’t ready to hear this at that time. They were furious – they wanted to kill them all. But then Gamaliel stood up and spoke and changed their minds.

He was a very respected man – grandson of Hillel (who had founded a school for Pharisees). Later, in Acts, Luke tells that Gamaliel had been Paul’s teacher. He was so respected that he was given the title “Rabban” – this is higher than “Rab” (teacher) or “Rabbi” (my teacher) – “Rabban” = (our teacher).

In other texts, it’s said that when he died, the glory of the Torah came to an end. These in the Sanhedrin can’t really take action without the help of Gamaliel. Even though Gamaliel is in the minority, he is more popular and respected among the people – so they would need his agreement to harm the apostles.

Gamaliel speaks and says, “If this is a human thing, it’ll fail. If it’s from God, it’ll never fail.”

He reminded them of the attempted Nazarene revolution and how the Romans would kill the leader and the revolution would fail.

Why would Gamaliel advocate leniency toward the apostles?

Previously, in the gospels, when the man was lowered through the roof for healing, Jesus forgave his sins first, then healed him physically to prove his authority to forgive sins.

Another instance (Luke 7:29-30) “All the people, when they heard Jesus’ words acknowledged that God’s way was right because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees…didn’t accept it because they hadn’t been baptized by John.” John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. Renouncing sins, turning away and being prepared for the further ministry of Jesus.

So, on that occasion, the Pharisees didn’t agree with this.

Luke 11:37-41 – Jesus was invited to eat with a Pharisee. So he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash before the meal. (The Pharisees did a ritual cleansing – not because they were dirty – before meals) – Jesus said, “You guys clean the outside, but inside you are dirty and full of wickedness. Did not he who made the outside also make the inside? So be kind to the poor and all will go well with you.”

Gamaliel must have also been on the counsel when they condemned Jesus and handed him over for crucifixion. So, he hadn’t helped Jesus out at that time, but now he’s trying to help these guys? What’s up with that?

Well maybe not all the Pharisees hated Jesus. Remember Nicodemus? John 3? “How can I be born again?” Jesus said, “Unless you’re born of the Spirit, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God, or even see it.”

New biography of C.S.Lewis – how he first came to believe in Christ. He believed in God – he was a theist – but he didn’t know where Jesus fit in. Lewis, “I was on my way to the zoo – BAM – on the way home, I knew it.” (Revelation of God after God had been working on his heart for a while). For some people, this is gentler, for some it’s very dramatic, but ALL people must believe and accept this truth to become NEW – old has gone, new has come. We are new creations.

Later on, after the outpouring of the HS, many Pharisees became Christians (Acts 15:5) – they still had trouble breaking away from their legalism, but many were added to their number.

Gamaliel, as a Pharisee, would be more sympathetic to those who preached about the Resurrection (remember Sadduccees didn’t believe in angels or demons or the resurrection).

After the martyrdom of Steven, Gamaliel probably gave approval to persecute the church. So, was Gamaliel’s help here tinged with personal interests?

He probably didn’t want to get involved in a situation that would end up having bad political influences on the Jews. (Plus, those other two guys’ revolutions came to nothing).

Anyway, he persuaded them, and they flogged the apostles (39 lashes – 40 should kill a man, so they were nice and let them live by a thread).

Paul later says in a letter, “5 times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus 1.”

The apostles rejoiced in being counted worthy to be persecuted for Jesus’ name. Jesus also said this, Matthew 11 “Blessed are you when men despise you and curse you…”

We should realize that we can forgive, we can overcome addition, through Jesus help.

Recap the chapter:

  1. An angel of the Lord releases the apostles from prison and they go back to the temple and begin to teach the people the full message of salvation and the New Life in Christ.
  2. Some men were supposed to go to the prison to get them and bring them before the Sanhedrin for trial. But they guys weren’t there. So, they had to go back to arrest them again.
  3. The apostles don’t resist arrest.
  4. The High Priest says, “We ordered you: Don’t do that!”
  5. Peter says, “We must obey God, not you dudes.”
  6. The priest want to kill them.
  7. Gamaliel says, “Yo! Let it be~”

Ananias and Sapphaira (supplement)

There is a danger in neglecting (not continuing) our salvation.

Some believers can quote the Scripture, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free” but they aren’t free, why not?

They should really remember the previous verse, “IF you CONTINUE in my Word…”

It’s in the continuing and progressive truth that we will be set more and more free.

There is a danger of demonic control of the saints – losing control. It’s important to know that your openness to attack or wounding is present. Luke – there was a woman who’d been sick for 18 years be a spirit. She was bent over double – it was caused by a demon. She was a “daughter of Abraham” – a believer – but she had a problem. As soon as Jesus dismissed the spirit from her, she was able to be physically healed.

Peter is an example of a believer who lost control to Satan for a short time. Jesus says, “Peter, Satan will sift you.” (Separate the wheat chaff (rejects) from the grain (to make flour)). Jesus is warning Peter that Satan has demanded permission to sift him. Apparently he’d given Satan a foothold when they were arguing amongst themselves about who is the greatest (pride). This may have opened a door to allow Satan to come in to influence him.

Even though Peter says, “I’ll stand with you to death.” Jesus says, “You’ll deny me three times.” But Jesus had already prayed for Peter’s successful restoration – which he achieved after meeting the resurrected Jesus.

Eph 6:10-17 (The Full Armor of God)

To stand against the schemes, the whiles, the strategies of Satan. Why? To protect the body from the arrows of the enemy.

1. The Belt of Truth (believing the doctrine of the gospel – also inner truth – to bring our lives into conformity with the truth – don’t allow deception to grab you). A&S were part of the church, taking part in the church – but they believed and told a lie and brought God’s judgment upon them and fear upon the church.

  • “In your anger, do not sin.” We can do something about our anger – someone cuts you off on the road, what should you do?
  • “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”
  • “Don’t give the devil a foothold.”

We allow the devil an opportunity to tempt and influence us if we don’t repent, confess, and shut that door.

It’s like someone who comes to your door selling something, and they stick their foot in your door and eventually, this “foothold” becomes a stronghold when they get IN your house.

Don’t allow him in – not EVEN a foothold. Shut that door!

1 Peter 5:6-9

“Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Cor 15:54) “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (same word).

Devoured = something is controlled by something else. For example, a python that eats a gazelle. The animal is being swallowed up.

Peter “Resist. Steadfast in the faith.”

This is about believers.

Unbelievers are already in the grasp of Satan.

Perhaps Peter is remembering his own failures. So he says, “Humble yourselves and he will lift you up in due time.”

A&S conceived their lie in their hearts and Satan fueled and filled their hearts to make a massive deception. Actually, the church is filled with deception. The global church in fact…

The days are evil.

We don’t have to get bogged down in fear, but rejoice in Christ’s truth – because that truth will set us free.

Like the disciples, we can rejoice in our sufferings because it is Christ alone who breaks our bonds and sets us free.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 19 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Missionary Chapter: Be as Shrewd as Snakes and as Innocent as Doves (Matthew 10:9-16)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Missionary Chapter: Be as Shrewd as Snakes and as Innocent as Doves (Matthew 10:9-16)

01.19

01.19.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. 11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 


May God bless all of us with this word of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Matt 10 = Missionary Chapter (Christian worker’s Manual) 

Before he sent the apostles out to evangelize, he preached, encouraged, prepared them. In this sermon, he has something to say to ALL missionaries: Past, Present, and Future. To make light of the King’s voice is to be in danger at the end time.

Last time we saw:

  1. Who are the missionaries
  2. Who is the Lord of the Harvest
  3. What is their message
  4. Who is their audience

Today, we see HOW they are to go and evangelize.

No gold, no silver, no copper, no bag, no extra clothes, no sandals, no staff.

This seems contrary to normal travel plans. Most people would probably take money and extra clothes when they travel – as well as extra sandals and a staff for long walking. All of these seem very essential in travel. But Jesus forbade them from taking any of these essentials. 

He sent them in pairs, 2-by-2 expecting them to return SOON with a full report. We don’t know how long this campaign lasted, but this was a TRAINING mission. They had to move quickly, taking minimal supplies.  

What can we learn from this today, spiritually? 

3 Things for Today:

#1: We must understand the urgency of the mission task.

The imminence of the mission task. Paul, “When I preach, I must not boast. This is my mission, my goal, my life – if I do NOT preach, cursed am I.”

Many Christians today say, “Of course, I WANT to preach the gospel…later…when I’m (smarter/ready/wiser/older/finished with this problem/etc).”

NO. If you are not a NOW-Christian worker, then you are not a TRUE-Christian worker.

#2: We must understand the simplicity of a Christian-worker’s lifestyle.

If we are the ambassador’s of Christ, we can show his lifestyle by our lifestyles. We must show the simplicity of his lifestyle when we carry out our ministries without excessive worldliness. His first concern is God and Mission.

  • In Proverbs: “Give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I might have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ or I might have too light and steal and dishonor your name.”
  • Hebrews: “Therefore, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run the race with perseverance that is marked out before us.” 

If we want to be Christian-workers, we must make our lives simple and light. Like athletes without too much equipment that weighs them down. And we must focus on what is really important.

#3: We must learn to trust and depend on God absolutely – in action, not just in mind.

  1. Phil. “God will meet all your needs through Christ.”
  2. Luke “Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink…Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

Is God in your life? Then he must be FIRST. If not first, he’s not in your life.

v.11 

Who is the worthy person? A person who received their message and invited them to stay in their house. 

If they find a worthy person, they should stay there until they leave that town. It was a matter of courtesy. If they begin staying in one house in one village and then move to another house the next day…(maybe they had better food/luxury/entertainment…) They shouldn’t move to THAT other house, but stay in the first house that welcomed them. Why? 

The messenger of Christ must never give the impression that he is a seeker of material convenience.

They should depend on God’s provision, not their own ability. Homestay was an excellent approach for an apostle’s short mission – it was not to be a permanent way of life for them. 

v. 12-13

Another way to approach: with Blessing.

If the house is worthy, give it your peace, if not, keep it. Greeting = blessing the house, the owner, the family, the community, the town. 

Evangelist = true peace-maker, true peace-blesser.

“Peace to you” = Shalom

Blessed are the Peace-makers for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5)

Long ago, he was called the Prince of Peace, the King of Peace, so Jesus Christ himself is our Peace. “Therefore since we have been justified by Christ through faith, we have peace with God…” Romans? 

Therefore, we HAVE peace with God, so we must bless as much as possible! Your peace will not return to you empty.

Isaiah “As the rain and snow comes from heaven and never returns to heaven. As the earth produces wheat and the wheat, bread for the eater. Likewise, my Word never returns empty – it will accomplish the purpose I have for it.”

Like this, God’s peace, when we give it, will never return to us empty.

Abraham was called out to a new nation when he was just a young husband. But God made him a great nation “I will bless those who bless you; I will curse those who curse you.”

This also means “I will bless those whom you bless; I will curse those whom you curse.”

The blessing you give to men will never return empty – even though they are not worthy – the blessing we bless will work on somebody and not return to us empty. Hallelujah! Please bless with peace as many as possible. That blessing never fails – it will work on somebody – maybe even yourself. 

v. 14

If they don’t welcome you, shake the dust off your feet. 

Shaking dust off their feet was very familiar to the Jews. The dust of the Gentile land was defiled. So, when the Jews crossed Palestine and entered his own country after a journey, he shook his feet of the dust so that the last particle of pollution might be shaken away.

This instruction has 2 truths: Temporary, Permanent

  • Temporary: Jesus was not saying certain people had to be permanently abandoned from salvation. This needs to be understood by the opening sentence of Jesus “Do not go to the Gentiles, go to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Refusal of the message was like Gentiles – they had to move quickly and efficiently – they had no time to talk with stubborn refusals of their message – that would come later.)
  • Permanent: This is one of the great basic facts of life. We know, again and again, time and opportunity come to a man, but time does not come back.

Proverbs: 3 things do not come back.

  1. Spoken word
  2. Flown arrow
  3. Lost opportunity

Please remember, now is the opportunity.

Past has passed. Future is uncertain. The present is a gift – a present opportunity. 

As long as we preach the gospel, we are not responsible when the listeners refuse our message. But we DO have a responsibility to DO it – to preach it. We have a VIP position in this world as Christian workers, ambassadors of Christ. How important? More than Obama, Park Geun-Hye, President. 

v. 15 HOW important?

With emphasis: I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on JUDGMENT day than for that town. 

Sodom and Gomorrah = in the Old Testament (Genesis – same time as Abraham/Lot) – they were destroyed by fire from heaven. They rejected the messengers (angels) from heaven. But they never had the opportunity to reject the gospel of Christ. 

The greater the opportunity, the greater the responsibility. 

That’s why it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a lesson to us: God’s destruction and the permanence of that destruction. 

Those who reject the message of the gospel will receive THIS same spiritual, eternal, destruction.

v. 16 The model of the message

Sheep among wolves. We must go to the wolves – hallelujah – God will be with you.

Double attitudes we must have (two sides to one coin):

  1. Shrewd as snakes
  2. Innocent as doves

Our mission field is not in the church, but in the world. Missionaries are Christian workers among the lost, not among the saved.

Shrewd = wise, clever, prudent

Why snakes? Do you like snakes? 

When I was younger, I always approached snakes first at the zoo.

At that time in history, there was no place that snakes could not approach quietly yet powerfully.

  • God is a God of peace, and yet wrath.
  • Jesus is a full Man, and yet fully God.

This is a model for all evangelism. If we are ambassadors of Christ in this world, we must identify with those we serve. We must go among them, inside their groups, identify with them. Are you like them? Can you approach quietly yet powerfully like snakes? 

  • Yet we must also be totally different from them.
  • We must identify with them, yet not lose our own identity as we are in Christ.

Paul “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live…Yet even though I’m free, I belong to nobody, yet I make myself like a slave to everybody. I became weak to save the weak, I became strong to win the strong. I became like the Gentile to win the Gentile. I became like the Jew to save the Jew. I have become all things so that I might win as many as possible.”

One final sentence:

We must be faithful to the Word to save ourselves. We must be flexible to the World to save others. 

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Missionary Chapter: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give! (Matthew 10:1-8)

01.12

01.12.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 


Have you received something freely? Undeserved?

Last time, Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion on them. He looked outside and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Few = almost none

“Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus is the same then and now, so he also has compassion today on man, sinners, the lost. It is the dream/hope of Jesus Christ that every single Christian = a missionary/reaper. Why? Because there is somebody that every one of us must bring to God.

He asks us to see what he saw, do what he’s done, feel what he’s felt.

  • Matthew 10: The Missionary Chapter
  • The King’s Ambassador’s Chapter
  • 1 Cor 13 = Love
  • 1 Cor 15 = Resurrection
  • Hebrews 11 = Faith
  • Matthew 10 = Missionary
  1. Who is the Lord/King of the missionaries?
  2. Who are the missionaries?
  3. Where is their mission field?
  4. What is the main target?
  5. What is the main message?
  6. What are the main tasks?

1: Who is the Lord of the missionary?

This is the Missionary chapter. The key subject = HE (Jesus Christ). The Lord = Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the Lord of Salvation.

v. 1 = “HE…”

The work of salvation can only be accomplished by Jesus Christ, but the witness of salvation can only be accomplished by his workers. That’s why Jesus needs (needs) these messengers.

In Isaiah, the prophet was before the throne of God in his vision, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” God said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Trinity)” Isaiah, “Here am I, send me!”

Like this, if we really experience salvation, we must respond to the calling of Jesus Christ. Who shall go for us (Trinity)?

Chp 9 did say, “Pray for workers.” But that is not enough. We must also make ourselves available to serve him.

2. Who can be missionaries? Called and sent?

There are two steps in the calling:

1. Jesus calls a sinner to be saved (to be his disciple/learner/follower).

Yes, Jesus had MANY disciples – some only hangers-on, but some were truly converted. In his first calling, Jesus calls a sinner to be saved = salvation.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest.

Here I am. I stand at the door and knock…

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to salvation.

2. Calling for OTHER’S salvation.

From this large group of disciples, Jesus selected a smaller group of disciples (called apostles). In church today, we have no name “apostles” – but the most suitable name = “missionaries.”

v. 2-4 Can you memorize the 12 apostles?

  1. Simon (Peter)
  2. Andrew
  3. James (Zebedee)
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Thomas
  8. Matthew (this guy)
  9. James (Alphaeus)
  10. Thaddeus
  11. Simon (Zealot)
  12. Judas Iscariot

These guys are TOTALLY AVERAGE. Not rich, not academically gifted or learned, not high status, etc, etc.

They were very mixed – fishers, tax collectors (the most hated of the Jews), Simon the Zealot (very religious).

Zealots = the most nationalist of all nationalists – prepared to die for their country’s independence.

They had a strong resolution to undergo ANY suffering for their country – they were also ready to kill anyone who was against their country – with assassination or murder.

Imagine, if Simon the Zealot had met Matthew in another place (not with Jesus), he might have killed him.

The wonderful truth – 2-3 men who HATE each other can LOVE each other in Christ.

Who is God? He is the God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He can do something EXTRAORDINARY with ordinary people. Jesus sees not only who we ARE, but also what he CAN MAKE us.

  • Yes, we are ordinary – not great.
  • But Jesus can make us extraordinary – to do something great through us.

Why? Because Jesus is a great king.

Are you called for salvation? (#1). Are you assured of your salvation? Then you should give thanks in ALL circumstances.

“It is by grace you have been saved, not by works so that no one may boast.”

Are you called as a missionary (#2)? Then also give thanks in all circumstances – because we have nothing to boast.

1 Cor ?:27-29 “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. God chose the things that are not to nullify the things that are so that no one can boast.”

If you have a strong calling, and realize that you are also called as a missionary, and you have a heart to truly win people to Christ, then you are TRUE apostles – you are TRULY his ambassadors.

3. Where is the mission field?

If we are missionaries, where is our mission field? Who are the main target people?

v.5-6 Lost sheep of Israel. 

Jesus gave them very specific instructions regarding their ministry.

  • Not Gentiles
  • Not Samaria
  • Only lost sheep of Israel

Does this mean he opposed the others? Didn’t love them? Was a nationalist?

No, he’d already encountered the Gentiles in Matthew 8 and healed them, and in John 4, the Samaritan woman.

What does this mean? 

Jesus came not to the Jews ONLY, but to the Jews FIRST.

Why are the Jews called the “Chosen People?” Because they were chosen FIRST – to give the message of salvation to other nations.

In that time, the Gentile territory lay to the North and Samaritan territory to the South. This is the very FIRST evangelism activity for the apostles – it was not long-term, but short-term. They must come back soon and report to Jesus. Now is also before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

So, this time is for maximizing efficiency and effect – not for exclusivity, not for partiality, but for FRUIT, concentration of limited energy for a specific target.

After his crucifixion and resurrection, THEN Jesus commands, “Go into ALL nations, ALL Creation and proclaim the Good News!”

So, how can we apply this principle in our own mission fields? If we are truly missionaries, we need to have 2 attitudes:

  1. Personal evangelist – be ready at all times to preach the Word of God, in season and out of season
  2. Specific target – we are limited in time and place, and wisdom, so we need a specific target for maximizing the fruit of our ministries.

3. What Was Their Message?

v. 7 “As you go…”

The message: short, simple, clear

“The kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus himself is the kingdom of heaven – kingdom = the king’s domain, country.

John the Baptist’s message was also the same.

It means, “The King is hear, the King is near, receive him!”

Now, we are after his crucifixion and before his Second Coming – so now what is our key message?

  1. Jesus DIED for your sins
  2. He was RAISED for your salvation
  3. He is COMING again soon

4. What were their tasks?

  1. Heal the sick
  2. Raise the dead
  3. Cleanse those with leprosy
  4. Drive out demons

Can you do these things?

We cannot. But Jesus can do them through us.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever in his power and authority. Yes, these things can happen literally if Jesus wills. But, more importantly is the SPIRITUAL ministry.

Basically, fundamentally, the ministry of the missionaries is these things:

  1. The lost are sick – unable, invalid, hopeless, powerless. If he accepts Jesus, he is healed perfectly, immediately.
  2. The lost are dead (Eph 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”). If he accepts Jesus, he is ALIVE immediately. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live, though he dies.” Accepting Jesus Christ means rising from the dead immediately, physically, spiritually, eternally.
  3. The lost are lepers – without sense of spiritual things – unclean and ugly. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately cleansed, purified, forgiven, restored in fellowship. Accepting Christ = purification.
  4. The lost are under the control of devils spiritually. Do you believe? “You belong to your father, the devil” – Jesus says to those who reject him. Whether we understand or agree or not, this is the spiritual truth. If he accepts Jesus, he is immediately freed to serve Jesus.

Accepting Jesus =

  1. Healing
  2. Resurrection
  3. Purification
  4. Freedom

Freely we have received. Freely we are to give.

John 10:10 “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”

If we are in Christ, we have eternal life. But God wants us to enjoy this life abundantly, fully. How? The secret = by giving freely. Give THIS life freely to others and you will experience THIS life more abundantly.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 05 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Yes, Lord! (Matthew 9:27-38)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Yes, Lord! (Matthew 9:27-38)

01.05

01.05.2014 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. 32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

The Workers Are Few

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”


Amen.

This is the Word of God. Happy New Year. 

Let us give thanks to God for the New Year.

Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Yet also, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has come, the new has come.”

We remember Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine. After that miracle, the master of the banquet testified “Everyone else brings the cheaper wine out second – but you have saved the BEST wine until now!” What is the message we can get from this?

First, for wine: The older the better. 50-year-old wine is better than 20-year-old wine. How many years do you need to make the BEST wine in your lifetime? A: We cannot make the best wine in our lifetimes no matter how long or hard we try. We cannot make the best things no matter how hard we try.

Best joy, best peace, best freedom, best salvation – we cannot make these in our lifetimes. 

But, Jesus can make these things in the twinkling of an eye! 

He gives us the best salvation, the best joy, the best freedom.

John “Whoever hears my Word and believes in the One who sent me will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life.”

  • From meaningless to meaningful.
  • From purposeless to purposeful.
  • From hell to heaven.
  • From death to life.
  • Without Jesus, life is flat, dull, uninteresting. 
  • When Jesus comes, life is FULL – exhilarating, joyful, wonderful.
  • The joy Jesus gives is ever-new, ever-satisfying – from eternity to eternity.

God bless us all in 2014 – this year to be MUCH BETTER than last year – every TODAY to be much better than yesterday – because IN CHRIST “the old has gone, the new has come.” 

Now, here, Jesus is healing – and he is looking for workers who will do what he has done. 

v. 27-31

“Yes, Lord!”
Let’s say it together. “Yes Lord you can!” “Yes Lord I believe!” “Amen” = very many meanings, including this “Yes, Lord!”

Last time, Jesus was at Jarius’ house to raise his daughter. Today, Jesus went on from THERE – from Jarius’ house and he was walking on the street when these two blind men followed him and called out to him “Take pity on us!”

Strangely, Jesus didn’t give them an immediate response on the street, until he got to the house at which he was staying. So, the two men had to follow him until he got to that house.

  1. Jesus wanted to be sure that these two men sincerely, honestly wanted the healing he could give them.
  2. They needed to be alone. All humans must go home and be alone at some point. And we must confront Jesus Christ alone at home.

It’s easy to make a decision for Christ in a spiritually-charged, emotional, passionate environment. The real test, what really matters is when we are alone. Not what we do in the crowd, in the multitude, but what we do when we are alone with Jesus Christ. 

Jesus faced these men alone and asked them only ONE question. 

The only one essential for a miracle = faith.

“Yes, Lord!”

Jesus touched their eyes and said, “According to YOUR faith, it will be done to you.” Immediately, their sight was restored. Blindness = a symbol of spiritual blindness. Even though they could not physically see, they COULD see who Jesus was. Sadly, there are many people around us today who can physically SEE, but cannot really see WHO JESUS IS.

1. Is Christ Savior? YES. 

Whether we agree or not, whether we accept it or not, He is.

2. Is Christ Lord? YES.

Whether we agree or not, whether we accept it or not, He is.

3. Is Christ YOUR personal Lord? Yes?

Is He? Is He Lord of EVERY area of your life?

  • Time?
  • Thoughts?
  • Actions?
  • Behavior?
  • Feelings?
  • Passion?
  • Dreams?
  • Purpose?
  • Materials?
  • Money?
  • Talent?
  • Treasure?
  • Wallet?
  • Credit Card?
  • Eternity?

You don’t need to answer aloud for all to hear, but we must be very careful, sincere, honest, with Jesus Christ alone, in private, not in the crowd.

Is Jesus the Lord of every area of my life?

  • Romans 9:10 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” 

LORD = personal Lord

This is not Savior here – but Lord.

Many people want to receive Christ as Savior, but NOT many people want to receive Christ as LORD. 

  • We cannot receive what Jesus GIVES and refuse who He IS.
  • We cannot receive His salvation and refuse His Lordship.
  • We must confess his Lordship – it simplifies service.
  • We cannot accept his Lordship and serve other masters. “No one can serve two masters.”

Did you choose/decide on Jesus Christ as Lord?

This is your LAST independent decision you ever made. If you say, “Yes, Lord! You are my Master!” you have no more personal choice. If you say, “Yes, you are my master!” then you also say, “Your will is my will! Your pleasure is my pleasure!”

v. 32-34

“It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” What a curse on them…

To this ONE event, there were two reactions:

  1. The crowd: Amazed and shouted “Woah! Amazing!”
  2. Pharisees: “He is a devil! A servant of devils!”

Can you say like that to Jesus? Never.

At least 3 times the Pharisees criticized Jesus in just this chapter Matthew 9.

  1. When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven.” “Blasphemy!”
  2. When he ate with sinners, “You are a sinner!”
  3. When he cast out demons, “You are a devil!”

What a curse they were storing up against themselves. What more, we should not follow them, their example.

1. The Pharisees were too set in their own ways to change.

To them, all the great things belonged in the Past. To change anything was a great SIN. Anything NEW was wrong to their eyes. 

Jesus came with a new interpretation of what real religion was, they hated him as they hated the prophets long ago.

2. They were too proud and self-satisfied to submit.

If Jesus was right, they were wrong. They were so proud that they could not see. They saw no need to change, no need to repent.  

  • Do you like change?
  • Do you like repentance?

Jesus’ first message was “REPENT! For the kingdom of God is near!” 

  • Repentance = change of mind, attitude, behavior, actions, belief.
  • This is the first gate by which we enter heaven.
  • This is the first step to salvation.
  • We accept that we are wrong and we accept change. 

They hated anyone who wanted change. Jesus wants to change us. Will you hate him or love him?

3. They were too prejudiced to sin.

They were so blind that they could not see the truth in Jesus Christ. They could not see the power of God. 

If we accept change, we can see the wonders of God in our lives. 

Do you want to change? Do you accept change? This means spiritual growth. 

I cannot change you. You cannot change me. Husband cannot change wife. Wife cannot change husband. ONLY Jesus Christ can change. Why? Only Jesus is unchangeable, immutable in his power. 

  • I cannot change you because you are changeable. 
  • You cannot change me because I am changeable.

v. 35

Jesus did many things in his earthly ministry, but all can be summarized by:

  1. Teaching
  2. Preaching – commitment
  3. Healing – wholeness

These prove that he is from God, he IS God.

v. 36

Even today, Jesus is filled with compassion (pity) for us – inner, deep mercy. He was moved to compassion by the world’s pain, sorrow. He was filled with a great desire to wipe every tear from our eyes. He was moved to compassion by our hunger – he fed 5000+ with his compassion.

No Christian can be satisfied to have TOO much while others have TOO little.

Jesus was moved to compassion by our bewilderment, confusion. 

So, even today, he is looking for workers to continue his job even today.

v. 37-38

Therefore = conclusion – because his heart is filled with compassion for the sinners outside.

Jesus = the Lord of the Harvest

John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

If we open our spiritual eyes and look outside, this world is FILLED and RIPE with lost sinners who are wandering without rest, without peace, without joy – only with confusion, doubt, pain, suffering. That’s why Jesus is looking for workers.

At this moment, I’ll give you the SAME question. 

Is Jesus your PERSONAL Lord? 

Be very careful, very honest with Him.

IF he is not YET, you MUST accept him – NOW! Quickly! We have no time to lose!

But if He IS your personal Lord, there is no doubt, no question, the WORLD is your mission field. You are a missionary in the world and you are a minister in this church – in AICF!  

If he is my Master, I am his Servant.

Can you imagine a servant who is doing NOTHING for his Master? No, it is IMPOSSIBLE. 

  • So, we must be able to see what Jesus has seen.
  • We must feel what he has felt.
  • We must do what he has done for world salvation.

If you are DOING something in AICF (the body of Jesus Christ) – outside, inside – do not think you are doing it for me as pastor – No, you are doing it for your Lord, for your Master. We are merely co-workers for HIM.

God bless us all to be faithful, diligent, honest workers.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 29 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead (Matthew 9:14-26)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is the Raiser of the Dead (Matthew 9:14-26)

12.29

12.29.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

18 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his clock, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment. 23 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24 he said, “Go away…


Remember, fasting must be done at the right time, for the right reason, with the right motivation.

  • Pharisees fasted very often, but with the wrong reason at the wrong time.
  • John’s disciples fasted to prepare themselves to receive the coming Messiah, but he’d already come, so they should have been feasting with him, not fasting. John’s disciples fasted with ignorance.
  • Pharisees fasted for “show.” They wanted to show others that they were Super Holy Dudes. The fasted with pride and self-righteousness.

A wedding is a time of celebration and feasting. Likewise, Jesus’ coming is a time of celebration and feasting.

There is a time coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them (John 16) – the crucifixion and death and burial of Jesus. You will weep and mourn while this world rejoices. – Jesus told them.

But their sorrow turned into joy when they saw their risen resurrected Lord.

To be with Jesus Christ is a sign of celebration.

Someday, we must die, all relationships must end someday. Only Jesus remains forever the same. Only the joy of heaven lasts forever and ever. Nobody can take the joy of heaven from our hearts.

New wine and wineskins (v.16-17)

At that time, they stored wine in wineskins.

The illustration of the cross shows that Jesus came to give wholeness, not just patch us up. Also, the wineskins show that Jesus is giving completeness. The old Judaism is the old wineskins – the Law. He didn’t come to repair or mix with the old religion. He came with a new covenant, the covenant of Grace, a new way to express personal faith – the newness of the gospel could not be combined with the legalism of the Pharisees.

Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. He is the END, the FULFILLMENT of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

He didn’t come to repair and fix up the old Judaism. His purpose is to bring something totally new. The message that the Son of God offers to all people the forgiveness of sins – the reconciliation of God and Man and life everlasting. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor) “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts)

There are 2 miracles that follow here – restoration of broken hope, broken families, broken homes. (Also in Luke and John)

v.18-19

This ruler’s name is Jarius. Mark 5, Luke 8, also show this story in more detail. He is a synagogue ruler. When he came to Jesus first, his daughter was CLOSE to death, not dead. “My daughter is DYING” he said. But the delay caused by the healing of the next woman gave death the opportunity to do its work. Jarius’ friends came after the healing and said, “Your daughter has died.” But Jesus quickly reassured him.

——–

Just then, a woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years touched his cloak.

Her bleeding made her ceremonially unclean. So even everybody and everything she touched became unclean. She was cut of from the synagogue and other men and women. She did EVERYTHING possible to be saved from this terrible life of isolation. She actually should not have even been in this crowd surrounding Jesus. Because if they had known it, she was infecting many people with her uncleanness. So, she came quietly, secretly and touched Jesus’ garment with her hand. Jesus said, “who did that?”

Jesus actually knew and his disciples knew he knew, but he kept looking around for her anyway. She eventually came out and trembling with fear, kneeled down before him. “Take heart, daughter. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jesus not only gave her physical healing, but also PEACE – heavenly healing. He gave her more than she wanted. Eph “God is able to do immeasureably MORE than we ask.”

Yesterday, today, and forever, he is living with us in his Spirit. He can do more and more than we ask, than we wish. 

While he was talking with this woman, Jarius’ friends came and said, “Your daughter is dead.”

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. Just believe.” Jesus went to his house with only 3 disciples – Peter, James, and John?

There was a funeral procession there – loud weeping and crying and a large crowd. He said, “Go out” but they laughed at him. Mark: Jesus said, “Talitha, get up.”

A lack of crying was disrespectful, a disgrace. Jarius was a synagogue ruler/leader at that time, so lots of people came and expressed their sorrow with loud cries and weeping. Maybe Jarius was angry with the first healed woman because they delayed to arrive before they arrived. The problem wasn’t the woman, but his faith, his attitude.

God is NEVER late in answering us.

If you see a dead person, what do you see? A dead person? An unbeliever’s death = death to God’s eyes AND people’s eyes. A believer’s death = death to people’s eyes BUT sleep to God’s eyes.

We may also be laughed at because of our faith in Christ. 2 Cor “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to those who believe it is life.”

Have you ever been laughed at for your faith in Christianity? Do not lose heart. Take heart. The most dramatic of all, Jesus, rose again from the dead. ONLY Jesus has the authority and power to say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies. Whoever believes in me will never die because I will raise him up at the last day.” (John’s gospel).

Soon, this is the last day.

The last day of 2013, the last day of school, last day of work, last day of friendship, the last day of life, the last day of the material world.

But in heaven, there is NO MORE last day. This is our hope, our faith in Jesus’ Christ.

Let’s pray.

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