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  • Sep 01 / 2013
  • Comments Off on We Must Choose Only One: Reward From Men or Reward From God (Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

We Must Choose Only One: Reward From Men or Reward From God (Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18)

09.01

09.01.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Giving to the Needy

1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Fasting

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Last time, chp 5 pt 2 – Jesus repeated 6 times “you have heard that…but I tell you…” He explained the true meaning of murder, adultery, oaths, retaliation, love for enemies.

Today, he repeats 3 times “I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full…”

  • See “reward”? It’s found 7 times. This is a kind of payment. Who can go to the office or school to work without payment.
  • See “hypocrite”? It’s found 3 times. 

In the study of chp. 6, the most serious question is: “What is the place of the reward in the Christian life?” 

Whenever Jesus speaks of the Last Day, he speaks of Reward and Punishment. 

A goodness that achieves no end is a meaningless goodness. The end of the bad man and the end of the good man cannot be one and the same. To remove all rewards and punishments = “In God there is no love nor justice.”

Rewards and punishments are NECESSARY in life and to show God.

  • Here are some to show Rewards.
  • Chp 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult, persecute, curse you because of me… Great is your reward in heaven… If you love only those who love you, what reward will you get?”
  • Chp 10:10 “Anyone who receives a prophet because he’s a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward… If anyone gives a cup of water… he will never lose his reward…”
  • 1 Cor “He who plants and he who waters work on the same… but each will be rewarded for his work.”
  • Phil 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to gain the reward for which God has called me heavenward.”
  • Col 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men because you will receive your reward from the Lord.”
  • Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith, it is impossible to please God… he will reward those that honestly seek him. 
  • Rev 21:22 “Behold, I’m coming soon. My reward is in my hand and I will give to everybody according to what he has done.”
  • Hebrews 9:27? “Just as man is appointed once to die and after that to meet Judgment.”

We cannot escape Judgment – in that sentence it means Reward or Punishment. 

We will all receive a reward. What is important is “From Whom?” From men or God?

We must do our deeds secretly and check our motivation, not expecting a reward:

  1. Giving to the Needy
  2. Prayer
  3. Fasting

These should not be self-centered, but God-centered. Don’t make US look good, make GOD look God.

Matthew “Let you light shine before men that they might praise your Father in heaven.”

If we do good to make us look good, it’s no longer good. We must do good to make God look good so that good remains good.

We must apply this to every area of life. Jesus warns of hypocrisy – using religion to cover his sin. Hypocrisy = double-sin. 

In Greek, hypocrisy = actor (he wears a mask to pretend to be somebody he isn’t – to do something good only for the appearance). 

One thing Jesus dislike the MOST = hypocrisy.

True righteousness must come out from within. 

We know human weaknesses = we have the tendency to be influenced by what man sees and says MORE than by what the righteous God sees and thinks.

Alms giving, Prayer, Fasting = essential things in the Christian life. Jesus doesn’t say, “IF you give… IF you pray… IF you fast…”

He says, “WHENEVER…”

These are therefore very essential in the Christian life. The right kinds of giving, prayer, and fasting will have their own rewards from God. 

#1: Helping the Poor (v. 1-4)

Deut 15:11 “There will be poor people in the land, therefore I command you to be open handed toward them…”

Prov 19:17 “The one who is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord, so the Lord will reward him for what he has done.”

But, if we use alms giving to gain favor from God and/or attention from men, that’s hypocrisy. No amount of giving can purchase salvation. Salvation = FREE. 

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by the grace of God you have been saved, this not of yourselves, but of God…”

To live for the praise/applause of men = foolish. The glory, praise, attention of men = temporary.

1 Pet 4:29? “All men are like grass, flowers…all men fall and fade, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”

If our motives = pure and pleasing, in love and praise to God, yes, we will give our gifts without calling attention to ourselves, and we will grow in faith, and God will be glorified and others will be helped.

But, if we give with the wrong motivations, we rob God of his blessing.

Is it wrong all the time for giving openly? Not always. The point = MOTIVATION. We cannot check our motivation too much before God. If we do something for the praise, attention, honor of men, we have received our reward already in full. 

  • For one thing, how many payments? ONE.
  • For one thing, how many rewards? ONE. Can’t get reward from men AND reward from God. Choose only ONE. 

2. Prayer (v. 5-8)

Do you pray? If NO, you’re not a Christian. 

“Prayer for the Christian is like breathing. There’s no life without it.”

Do you have your own prayer room? “Go in there, close the door…”

And when you pray… = 3 times repeated.

“Your Father KNOWS what you need before you ask him.” 

Christian’s life = praying life. 

Jesus gives us “right prayer” guidelines:

1. Pray in private BEFORE praying in public

(i.e. don’t reserve your prayers for public places only – get in the habit of praying privately). ALL men of God in the Bible prayed in private – SO, their public prayers became powerful and faithful before God. 

Do you pray privately, secretly, when nobody sees you? Public prayer without it = acting, a show.

2. Pray sincerely.

Repetition of the same word, same sentence = no problem, it can be an expression of strong, honest, eager petition. Even Jesus repeated his prayer before God in Gethsemane. 

The problem = babbling. The sound of a drunkard, a baby, a babbling stream. Empty words = nothing. (Martin Luther quote…?)

3. Pray continuously?

If we have a right relationship with God, his presence = safety, strength, encouragement. But, if we sin against him, his presence may be an irritation or burden. 

If we have a regular prayer life, and we know he knows what we need, then it encourages us to pray more. 

Prayer is not like sending an order paper to a supplier. It develops our intimate, personal relationship with God, who is a loving Father. He knows us all deeply, individually, privately. 

Prayer is not just talking before men, but before God, who knows the deepest secrets of our hearts. Prayer = living communication with God. 

God the Father knows the best for me. So, we can bring our prayer requests confidently to God. 

3. Fasting

Do you fast? Sometimes? (v. 16-18)

“WHEN you fast… do not look somber… they show men… BUT when you fast… it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting…” 

God is not mentioned as God, but as Father. The word Father is repeated 7 times here.

There will be a reward from God when we fast in the right way, with the right motivation, with the right purpose. Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights before starting his mission.

True fasting helps us to control/discipline our physical bodies and keep our spiritual priorities straight. 

Also, the Pharisees fasted twice a week. But they did it so other people would see them – to be praised “Woah~ you so holy~”

So, they gained their nicknames “hypocrites.”

We cannot check/test our motivation too much before God. Motivation is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, sooooooooo important. 

Hypocrisy robs the Christian life. It robs us of character and gives us praise. 

We must not pray anything we do not mean from our deep hearts. Our motivations must be to please God alone – we must cultivate (cultivate = raise like plants, carefully, lovingly, diligently) our hearts in a secret place.

May God bless us all.

Colossians 3:23-24

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Keep this in your heart. Memorize and practice it.

Let us take 30 seconds individually to pray “Father, purify my motivation. Cleanse my intentions, cleanse my hidden parts that only you see.”

  • Aug 25 / 2013
  • Comments Off on What Shall We Do? (Acts 2:21-38)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

What Shall We Do? (Acts 2:21-38)

08.25

08.25.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Peter’s preaching in Acts was shaped by Luke.

Acts 2 = summary of what Peter actually said.

Luke says Peter “warmed the crowd” with many other words (not recorded here).

Things of note:

1. Luke used the Septuigen version of the Scriptures (septuigenta = Latin = 70) – these Scriptures were made by 70 Jews. At that time, many Jews were spread throughout the world and didn’t know their mother tongue of Hebrew – so this was the Greek translation of the Scriptures. Most of the early church took most of their Scripture quotes from this version (LXX Version).

This was the main source of the Scriptures for the early church. Also, Joel is different (2:28 – “It shall come to pass afterward that I’ll pour out my flesh on all people…”) Afterward there = meta… = could be indefinitely. Peter here changes that word to “the last days” (it has a more specific time element).

For the New Testament writers, the “Last Days” began with Christ’s first appearance, and would end with his Second Coming. “You have been dreaming of the day of God – when he’d break forth into history – now the day is here in Jesus.” (William Barclay).

Peter obviously didn’t know how long it would be until Jesus returns. Even in 2 Peter, he defends the decades-long-no-Jesus-returning-period “In the last days, scoffers will come, following their own evil desires, and saying, ‘Where is this second coming?’ But they deliberately forget that in the Beginning, God formed the world and flooded the world with water and destroyed it. Now also the heavens are reserved for fire. But don’t forget that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. God is patient with everyone, not wishing any to perish, but ALL to come to repentance.”

Not everyone WILL obviously repent, but the opportunity WILL be presented.

Near the end of Peter’s life, 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near” he thought that the End was near – especially since there was so much time between Jesus’ resurrection and the Second Coming.

The Holy Spirit here has now been poured out and the Age of the Spirit had become. The times in Joel’s prophecy had come – it was now time to put faith in Jesus – because as Joel’s prophecy says, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The note here = every ONE – personally. Not just since you go to church, or since your family goes to church, or since your friend goes to church.

Peter is sure that these are the Last Days of which Joel has prophesied. So, now he turns his argument over to “Jesus IS Messiah” and he goes to show (in the Scriptures) how many things prove he is. This is also the emphasis of the early church’s preaching.

Jesus was a man of God, approved by God, and through his signs and compassion, that proves (outwardly) that he was of God.

Peter argues that what was God’s apparent “weakness” (the crucifixion) was actually the power and plan of God (Romans 1:16 = Paul also says this). Peter argues that by the Jews putting Jesus to death, the Jews actually have fulfilled the prophecies (especially in Isaiah). Then, he quotes a proof text (a Psalm of David) that Jesus’ resurrection was appointed and prophesied previously – AND that God would establish an eternal throne in David’s line.

Psalm 16:8-11 – this is an exact quote from the Septuigen Scriptures. He quotes it Messianically (proving that Jesus is the Messiah). It says that “your servant shall not see decay” yet everyone KNOWS that he died and did decay – so the verse MUST apply to a future descendant of David. The people (and Peter) acknowledge that David is a prophet so it is true that he should be able to see the future.

Jesus also says, “Everything in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms is about me.”

Peter argues that these prophetic words were about Jesus – and the apostles are witnesses to these facts. The proof that the Spirit was present = fire, tongues, etc.

Psalm 101:1 = another proof text.

“Sit at my right hand…”

This verse was difficult to understand – the explanation depended on the way you understood the “lords” – “the Lord said to my lord…” or “the lord said to my Lord…” or … etc.

The Saduccees debated over this, but Jesus debated with them – “how then is the Christ the son of David? He calls him ‘my Lord.’”

The proper understanding of the Lords = the key to understanding the text. Jesus interpreted it messianically as referring to himself.

In fact, this text is not earthly but heavenly, not about David, but Jesus – the disciples were witnesses to Jesus’ Ascension.

In Jesus’ trial, the Pharisees asked “Are you the Son of God?” Jesus, “You have said rightly.”

Peter uses 4 points to argue for Jesus as Messiah.

  1. Peter’s personal testimony
  2. Miraculous events of Pentecost
  3. Information about Jesus that the audience had themselves (he was famous throughout the land at that time)
  4. The Scriptural proof texts

Then Peter concludes with the point he made throughout – Jesus = Lord, Messiah, Anointed One. (Romans 10:9 – “if you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth” 1 Cor 12:3 “no one who is speaking by the Spirit says ‘Jesus be cursed’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Spirit.” Phil “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.”) – this (from Peter) became an early creed.

Peter’s speech produced a strong emotional reaction in the crowd – OBVIOUSLY, Jesus was the Messiah and they were convicted, humbled, and teachable and asked “What shall we do?”

Peter = the GOAL he’d wanted “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.”

Luke 24:47 Jesus foretells “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be told to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Metanoia = a change of mind/behavior/heart/etc.

This word is used repeatedly in the NT and especially Acts to talk about repentance.

  • Acts 3:19 – Peter preaches in Solomon’s colonnade “repent then and turn to God that your sins may be white and times of refreshing come.” These are God-fearers in the temple he’s talking to (church-goers)
  • Acts 5:31 – Peter speaks to the Sanhedrin (counsel of Jews) who tried to stop them preaching about Jesus “God exalted him to his own right hand as Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness to the people of Israel.” Here, people in religious leadership.
  • Acts 8:22 – Peter speaks to Simon the magician (the occultic magician). Simon wanted to offer money for the gift of the Spirit “Repent of this wickedness, perhaps he’ll forgive you for this thought.” Here, people in the occult also need to repent (today, many people are involved in the occult – wittingly or unwittingly – but whether we know it or not, God condemns the occult).
  • Acts 11:18 – explaining the conversion of Cornelius (Roman Gentile seeking God – God led Peter to his house, he preached, the HS fell on them, and it was evident that God had accepted them) “When they heard this they had no further questions, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance.’” (This was pretty amazing – unclean GENTILES too?)
  • Acts 13:24 – Paul in the synagogue gives a word of preaching/teaching – “Before Jesus, John preached repentance to Israel…”
  • Acts 17:30 – to pagan philosophers in Athens (Aeropogas) – “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent – for he has set a day to judge the world – and proves it with Jesus’ resurrection” – some believed here though most mocked him.
  • Acts 19:4 – Paul speaks to some disciples in Ephesus “Did you receive the HS when you believed?” “The what?” “How were you baptized?” “Into John.” “John preached repentance, but said, ‘Look to the one who comes after.’ So, let’s baptize you into the one who comes after.” Now, they were baptized into the HS. (This is similar to Apollos who knew the Scriptures well but needed more info to help him be better.)
  • Acts 20:21 – the elders at Ephesus “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in Jesus.”
  • Acts 26:20 – before King Agrippa “first to those in Damascus, then Jerusalem, then Judea, then the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”

Consider again the crowd that Peter was addressing, they were God-fearing Jews who worshiped and obeyed God already. They are presented as blameless in keeping the Law, so they didn’t really need to repent – they weren’t murderers, etc – but the one thing they needed to do was change their minds with regard to Jesus and enter a new relationship with him as Savior.

Do you have that relationship with Christ?

Have you repented from your sins? (There’s no real forgiveness without repentance – it’s not “cheap grace”).

We may have asked ONCE, got our “fire insurance” – but there must also be commitment to the Lord.

Paul “examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” We don’t need to be burdened with guilt, but this is an ongoing process of examination and repentance.

Let’s pray this prayer – if you’re not quite sure, you can join this prayer. It can help your heart.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 18 / 2013
  • Comments Off on But I Tell You… (Matthew 5:21-48)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

But I Tell You… (Matthew 5:21-48)

08.18

08.18.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Divorce

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ ‘No’: anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Hebrews says “everything will be laid bare” and everything will be known.

Jesus repeats 6 times:

  • “You have heard that it’s been said…”
  • “But I tell you…”

Jesus took 6 important commands of God in the OT and reinterprets them in light of our new life in the NT and in his grace.

Last time, “I have not come to abolish the OT, but to fulfill it.”

Jesus therefore here makes a fundamental change, without altering God’s word. He deals with our attitudes and the motivations of our hearts. He doesn’t get rid of the commands, but shows the deeper meaning and motivations in our hearts.

  1. Murder
  2. Adultery
  3. Divorce
  4. Oaths
  5. Retaliation (Revenge)
  6. Love for Enemies

#1: Murder (v. 21-26)

  • “Raca” = Aramaic = Babo, mungchung, idiot, empty-headed person
  • “Fool” = totally useless person

Do not murder = 6th of 10 commandments in Exodus. In the earthly kingdom, killing someone = murder. But in Jesus’ kingdom, anger = murder.

NOT “anger can lead to murder” but simply “anger IS murder.” Hating someone = murder. 1 John = “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” James = “Man’s anger doesn’t bring about the righteous life God desires.”

There IS of course “holy anger” against sin, etc. But this anger is nursed inwardly.

There is causeless anger – it explodes into words – Raca, fool. Anger = foolish. We must know that anger = makes us destroyers rather than builders. It robs us of freedom, fellowship, and makes us prisoners.

Sinful anger must be confessed as a serious sin.

Now, if we remember someone – relatives, coworkers, etc, who have something against us – we must stop worshiping God right now, stand up, run to him/her, and make it right. Leave your offering here, make it right, then return to give your offering.

We are worshiping God now, but our regular offering is not enough – we must also have right relationship with God and our brothers and sisters. If we hate someone, refuse to forgive, we are destroying the very ground on which we are walking. We must forgive quickly, because the longer we postpone, the worse the bondage becomes.

Ask yourself – which kingdom do you belong to?

Jesus declares as a rule “murder = anger without cause.”

But I tell you…

#2: Adultery (v. 27-30)

“Do not commit adultery” = 7th of 10 commandments.

In this world, adultery = adultery.

In Jesus’ kingdom, THINKING lustfully = adultery.

In this passage, Jesus reveals the sanctity of sex – he created it, regulates it, has the right to punish those who rebel against his intent. Sexual immorality begins with the desire of the heart. The two are not identical in this world, but spiritually speaking, the act and the desire are equivalent.

Jesus says, “Look” (not casual glance – but a long stare with the purpose of lusting).

It IS possible for a man to see a beautiful woman and think “Wow, she’s pretty” and not lust. But this “Look” Jesus says = not accidental, but a plan to look and lust and feed the inner lust.

For us, if we see sinful pictures on our computers, we must gouge out our eyes, cut off our hands, cut off our legs, remove our brains because brain signals to approach, open, see, enjoy. Also heart should be removed because heart tempted, seduced, etc. We should die to be free from sin completely, absolutely. Physical surgery cannot make us free from sin. How can we be free? Purify our hearts, discipline the actions of our bodies. Colossians 3:5 “Put to death the desires of the flesh…” Psalm 119! “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to his  Word. I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

#3 Divorce/Marriage (v.__)

Give a certificate?

King James says, “sexual immorality” rather than “unfaithfulness.”

Marriage was designed by God from the time of Creation. In Genesis 1-2, God created Adam and Eve and said, “Therefore, a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife as one flesh.”

They had no father/mother, so this declaration of marriage = for ALL generations, including us.

Jesus deals with marriage in chp 19 later.

We’ll see more of this later.

#4: Oaths/swearing (v.33-37)

Leviticus 19:1 “Do not profane/blaspheme the holy name of your God.”

This is not the sin of cursing, but using oaths to confirm that what is said is true.

At that time, mostly the Pharisees used many tricks to sidestep the truth. The oaths are among them. They avoided using the holy name of God, but they came close using heaven, earth, Jerusalem, and some parts of their bodies.

We should know that our character, lives should be so true that we don’t need any special oaths/words to make others believe me. Oaths cannot compensate for poor character. Proverbs 17:10? “When words are many, sin is not absent. But he is wise who holds his tongue before God.”

#5: Retaliation/Revenge (v. 38-42)

Shall we practice?

The final sentence of this sermon = “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is a wise man (built his house on the rock).”

Leviticus 24:19-20 “If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him…as he has injured, so he must be injured.

This law was very fair – it kept the people from forcing the offender to pay a greater price than the offense deserved.

But, there was a problem for the sinfulness of human beings.

If person A hits person B, person B must hit back. Person A would complain “you hit harder than me! you hit in the wrong place!” so they pay again and again and again. So, revenge cannot solve the fighting. Revenge never stops, it makes the fighting bigger and longer. Retaliation makes the retaliator and retaliatee feel worse and the conclusion is worse, not better.

Jesus therefore says, Please, yourself, be willing to suffer loss rather than make another suffer.

It you get hit once, turn the other. This requires strong faith and love – we must trust Jesus. With Jesus this is possible, because he lives in me.

If someone wants to sue for your tunic (at that time, it was VERY valuable – there was no factory to make cloaks – they were very expensive and used for multiple purposes – clothes, blankets, sacks, mats to sit on, deposit to pawn shop, etc).

If someone forces you to go one mile (Jews were ruled, conquered by Rome – they were able to force the Jews to go up to 1 mile carrying something. If the Jews went just the 1 mile and stopped – loser. If they kept going for one more mile – overcome evil with good (Romans) Leave room for God’s wrath. “I will take revenge for you,” says God, “Do not overcome evil with evil, but with good.”

#6: Love for Enemies (v. 43-48)

Remove “hate your enemy”

At that time, to the Jews, tax collectors were the lowest class to Jews. Pagans were also the lowest class religiously.

  • Leviticus 19:18 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Exodus 23:4? “If you meet you neighbor’s horse/donkey wandering off, please be sure to take it back to him.”

In the OT, NOWHERE is it said, “Hate your enemy.” At that time the scribes added this sentence to the original sentence of God “Love your neighbor.” Our enemies are those who hate, persecute, exploit us. God challenges us to love our enemies.

Before this mandate of our Lord, we must remember (1) who is Jesus to me (2) who am I to Jesus – in our decisions, reactions, lives. Who/what controls us? Who is my Lord, Savior, example? What kingdom’s citizen am I?

We do live on earth, BUT we are also eternal citizens of the kingdom of God.

Those are basic questions we should ask. If we are really children of God. If we are really saved, it means we are totally different from others in our position, status, etc. We must be different in our attitudes, character, etc.

If we are really saved by the grace of God, it means we are better than them and because of that, we must BE better than them in our attitudes and reactions to different circumstances.

  • THEY don’t know that Christ died for them.
  • WE know that and we are reconciled to God.
  • WE know how Jesus reacted toward his enemies when he suffered and died – he didn’t retaliate, he trusted himself to God fully.
  • We know that we cannot do this ourselves. But Jesus’ command says we must – with him, with his power.
  • “I can do nothing without Christ.”
  • “I can do everything with Christ.”

Galatians

Our God, Jesus, our King expects us to be perfect. Like Father, like Son. This is the final vision of God in his calling us. Romans 8 “Those he knew, he predestined to be like Christ so that Christ would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.”

May God bless us as children of God.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 11 / 2013
  • Comments Off on What Does This Mean? (Acts 2:1-21)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

What Does This Mean? (Acts 2:1-21)

08.11

08.11.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Pentecost = from Greek (Pentecostas = 50th)

This was the only OT festival determined by counting days. On the day after Passover, the Israelites selected a sheif of grain that became an offering to the Lord (Leviticus). They then counted 50 days after that day, and THAT day became the day of Pentecost. It was also called the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34) – because it took 7 weeks after Passover for this event. They then harvested the wheat at that time. This was also called Feast of the Harvest, Day of First Fruits. They all describe this particular feast.

In Judaism, Pentecost came to be regarded as the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. So, Pentecost came to have symbolic meaning for the church – God would manifest himself in a unique way. 50 days after the Exodus Passover, the Law/Covenant was given. For Luke, this is also significant in that Pentecost (the giving of the NEW Covenant/Holy Spirit) for Christians was 50 days after the Passover (Passion) when Jesus was crucified.

Remember the Transfiguration? Elijah and Moses and Jesus were there talking about Jesus’ “exodus” from this earth when he would die/be crucified. They were likely encouraging him. Moses represented the Law.

  • Elijah represented the Prophets.
  • Jesus represented the Fulfillment of the Law & Prophets.

For Luke, this Pentecost was fulfilled in the giving of the Holy Spirit – the giving of the Law of the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit replaces the Torah. The Law of the Spirit gives life – which comes through the new righteousness in Christ (Romans 8:1-2).

The new church continued to exist with some continuity with the Jewish church. They kept with some traditions, but there is a distinct difference between the Torah and Grace – the Torah had no power to bring anyone into communion with God because it couldn’t be followed by faith. Now, the Law of Grace of Christ can be followed by faith by sinners. “A righteousness apart from Law has been made known – to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”

Many lambs were sacrificed for sins.

Jesus = THE lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

In the OT, the best the sacrifices could do was temporarily cover up the sins of the people. It took a divine sacrifice to cover up all sins for all people for all time.

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus opened their eyes, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer and die?” He opened their eyes (and the other disciples) so that they could understand that ALL Scriptures point to Jesus. ALL Scriptures point to Jesus.

This righteousness from God comes from faith in Christ to all who believe. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

This new covenant makes it possible to experience oneness with God (Romans 5:5) “The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts…”

The OT was modeled after the Law (from Moses). This new covenant = a new law of the Spirit.

So, this festival, the Day of First Fruits, was an appropriate time for this gift/new covenant of the HS to be given. Isaiah 1:9? “The predators, wolves, who prey on others – they will neither harm nor destroy my holy mountain. For the waters will be full of my holy sea…”

In the house (household, building, temple), the Jews were gathered. In the last verse of Luke 24 describe the disciples continually at the temple praising/worshiping God. It might have also been the same upper room where the disciples met with Jesus for the last supper.

The began to experience supernatural phenomena.

The first: a hurricane sound of wind (neumar = wind/spirit) – it was a physical manifestation of the HS. Probably reminiscent of the appearances of God in the OT. Ezekiel 13:13 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says, ‘In my wrath, I will unleash a destructive wind…’” This is where he is prophesying against false prophets – a rebuke.

Also the audience in Pentecost probably related this with the trumpets and wind that accompanied the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 30?). “When the people heard the trumpet and thunder, they trembled with fear.”

This awesome aspect of God’s presence was to help them avoid sin (fear of God).

This loud sound of the wind on Pentecost also attracted MORE God-fearing, religious Jews. They were in Jerusalem to attend the festival and temple.

They ALSO saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that came to rest on each of them. Exodus 3:2-5 (Moses and the burning bush). Fire = a sign of the divine. Exodus 13:21 (The Pillar of Fire and Cloud). There are also other symbols of fire in the OT – Elijah and the prophets of Baal. John the Baptist had also spoken of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. “The people were waiting expectantly and wondering in their hearts if John might not be the Messiah. ‘I am not – another is coming more worthy than I.’”

These signs were also instructive to the disciples (Luke 24) “Jesus said, ‘Stay in Jerusalem until you are clothed from on high with power.’”

Acts 1 “Jesus said, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father is sending.’”

This, Pentecost day, was the day.

So, the church was born through the Holy Spirit. On that first Pentecost, a third manifestation of the HS occurred. The HS enabled them to utter/say/speak in other languages. These uneducated disciples suddenly seemed to have skill in these other languages. The people were amazed by these “local languages” that were being spoken.

Why speak local languages? Many Jews spoke Aramaic or Greek (this is from Alexander the Great). Hearing languages in their home town dialects really grabbed their attention. It really brought home just how special all of this was.

  1. Wind
  2. Fire
  3. Tongues

were hard to ignore. Now, here’s the question “What does this all mean?”

But first, what of the international crowd?

There were Jews from every nation, there were converts (proselytes). They were there to celebrate Pentecost – many from Passover may have stayed (around 100,000 for Passover – estimated). Jews from the eastern kingdoms also came, the Roman Empire, Egypt, etc.

Some people wonder why Luke listed certain countries and why that order. He starts with 3 to the east of Jerusalem (Iran area), then some near Iraq, then some near Turkey, then some near North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Sireni?). He wanted to show how far from Rome they came.

As we read in Acts, the gospel had reached Rome long before Paul did. It was probably Christian teaching and opposition to that that caused riots there. Claudius (the governor there) had banned all the Jews from Rome at that time.

After the Roman Jews, Luke continues with the Mediterranean, Arabs, etc. Jews from all over were there. If these people were pilgrims and told people in their native lands, then word would spread quickly.

Obviously not everyone was impressed with these events saying, “they’re drunk!” But they obviously weren’t since it was 9am, much too early for that kind of behavior.

Peter begins to explain what this all means. He made a powerful and courageous witness to Christ. What a contrast from a few weeks earlier when he’d denied Jesus with oaths and curses (three times). Since then, Jesus had restored him, but he still needed the fullness of the HS to witness to others. Not only did he know Jesus, but he also wanted to witness.

Not only Peter had denied him, others had as well, but through this experience and the HS, Peter’s character changed dramatically.

Peter quotes from Joel and David (both well known to the Jews there) and he insists that this Pentecost is a fulfillment of the scriptures.

Peter also appeals to the experience of the Jews who’ve been in Jerusalem – they’d have known of Jesus and his deeds as well as the events/circumstances surrounding his death. Finally, Peter appeals to himself and the others as being eyewitnesses of these events. Then he appeals to the other Jews to repent.

There are 6 themes.

  1. The Age of Fulfillment has come to pass.
  2. The ministry (death and resurrection) = made this possible.
  3. As a result, Christ is at God’s right hand.
  4. The sign of Christ’s guidance and power is the HS.
  5. The consummation of the Messianic Age = the 2nd Coming.
  6. The proper response to all of this = repentance and baptism.

God forgives sins, makes clean. Pentecost = the final step/key in this whole story/process.

God gives eternal (full) life. The disciples waited and renewed their strength. You can as well.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 04 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Christ is Our Righteousness (Matthew 5:17-20)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is Our Righteousness (Matthew 5:17-20)

08.04

08.04.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

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17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


V.17 = Do not think…

OT = The Law and the Prophets, the Word of God

The Word of God starts with Genesis 1:1, not Matthew 1:1. Jesus didn’t come as a rabbi with new teachings, doctrines, but as the promised Messiah with a message heard from the Beginning. He didn’t come to abolish the Word of God. So, why did he say, “Do not think…?”

At that time, many thought that Jesus was breaking the Word of God, the Law of God, because Jesus didn’t keep the ceremonial handwashing before meals, and he healed deliberately on the Sabbath. So, he was eventually condemned and crucified as a Law breaker. 

But those who condemned him were ultimately those who were condemned. 

Please don’t misunderstand Jesus. Misunderstanding Jesus = total destruction, hell, etc. Jesus = THE way, THE truth, THE Life. 

1 John “This is eternal life, that they may know God and … have eternal life.”

Many people think (today as well) that Jesus is a “good man” or “prophet” or “religious leader.” Don’t misunderstand him. He makes it clear that he’s come to fulfill and accomplish and complete the Word of God.

God bless all of us to be persuaded and convinced that Jesus came to fulfill the Word of God. Are you convinced?

Then what does that mean? Much can be said under this topic. Limited time = 3 things for us to talk about.

#1: To KEEP, confirm the promises of God in the OT.

  • In Genesis 3:15 = the FIRST promise to send Jesus. “I will put enmity between you (snake) and the woman. You will strike his heel and he will bruise your head.”
  • Isaiah 7:14 “The Lord himself will give you a sign – the virgin will give birth to a son, they will call him Emmanuel.”
  • Isaiah 9 “To us a child is given, a son is born… He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
  • Micah 5 “You Bethlehem, even though you are very small, out of you one will come who will be ruler, whose origins are of old.”

There are two lines concerning the prophecies:

  1. Christ = Savior
  2. Christ = King

Sonship and Kingship go together.

Our Lord has come to keep all the promises, all the Prophets, everything in the OT.

#2: To SHOW, reveal God the Father.

Who can see God? Not us. God = spirit, we = material. Jesus came to show God. We can NOW see God by seeing Jesus. 

In Genesis, God = Creator, Governor, Ruler, Sovereign God, Mighty, Omnipotence, Omniscience,…

Jesus completes the revelation of God as FATHER.

John 1:18 “No one has seen God, but God the one and only who has seen him at the right hand has made him known.”

Philip said, “Show us God.” 

Jesus said, “Don’t you know me?”

We can see God by believing in Jesus Christ. There are many people around us who “believe in ‘God’” without believing in Jesus.
There is no God but Jesus. We cannot “believe in ‘God’” if we don’t believe in Jesus. 

#3: To SAVE sinners

His name Jesus = decided from the voice of heaven. “He will be called Jesus” Jesus = Savior, the Lord saves, Joshua = the Lord saves.

1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves to be accepted with full confidence: that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”

In the OT, from Genesis to Malachi, one of the biggest plans of God = to save sinners through Jesus. John 3:16 …

Please remember there is NO sin God cannot forgive in Jesus.

1 John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin in Jesus.”

There is also NO sin God CAN forgive outside Jesus Christ.

John 16:9 “They sin because they do not believe in me.”

There are many sins, we have a sinful nature. Killing, lying, rebellion. Biggest sin of biggest sin – unforgivable sin against Father God = NOT believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save sinners. 

Jesus says continually (v 18-19) “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen shall disappear…anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”

  • He says continually “I tell you the truth” 
  • Other translations “Verily, verily”

We know ALL his words are true. 

These words signal that the NEXT words are of VITAL importance. Jesus ascribes the highest authority to the Word of God. 

Until heaven and earth disappear, the Word of God will NEVER change.

There are 2 untils:

  • “Until heaven and earth disappear” = the eternal validity of the Word of God
  • “Until everything is accomplished” = the FULL plan of God

Not a single stroke will disappear. 

22 alphabet letters in Hebrew. (24 in Korean, 26 in English)

Some are very small. The smallest is called “yod” – looks like a comma or apostrophe in English.

Jesus held up the full truth of EVERY letter and every word of the Word of God. This shows the ABSOLUTE authority of the Word of God.

Every word in the Scriptures looked forward to Jesus and pointed (still points) to Jesus. EVERYTHING will be done that has not yet been done, everything that has been done is a fulfillment of prophecy.

Revelation = encouragement and also warning.

If anyone adds anything to the Word of God, God will add to him the curses and plagues recorded in here. If anyone takes away from the Word of God, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life.

1 Timothy 4:16? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for rebuking, teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

v. 20 “UNLESS…your righteousness…”

In conclusion, Jesus = our righteousness

Unless your righteousness beats everyone else’s on Earth for all time – (especially those professionally righteous Pharisees) – you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven.
“OH? Woah! OTL…”

Probably they were very surprised by this statement. 

At that time, the Pharisees tried with all their might to obey and keep the Word of God. They were “angels of holiness.” So the people thought that these were the standard they should follow.

In reality, in Jesus’ sight, it was the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were actually abolishing the Word of God. By their hypocrisy and adding traditions to the Word of God, they were robbing the power of the Word of God. They were embalming the Word of God in their lives, so that there was no life in it nor them. 

Jesus exposed the truth. 

Here is a good illustration of that:

One day, some who were super arrogant and confident, Jesus said, “One day, two men went to church to pray. One is an awesome brother of yours, he stood in the middle of the square and prayed loudly. ‘Thank GOD I’m not like THAT dude~ I’m so awesome with my fasting and tithing!’ The other man was a big old sinner – tax collector. He couldn’t see heaven, bowed his head, and wept, and said, ‘God have mercy on me.’ The second man went home justified.”

He who humbles himself will be justified. (He who declares his unrighteousness will be justified by God.)

He who justifies his own righteousness will be declared unrighteous.

We cannot be righteous on our own.

Romans 3:20 “No one will be declared righteous by observing the Law.” (also Galatians)

We need ONLY Jesus Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 10:4 “Jesus Christ is the end of the Law so there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

“Jesus is our righteousness, our holiness, and our sanctification.”

Attaining Jesus’ righteousness = justification

3 points:

#1: Only by the Grace of God

(Romans 3:24 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (3:23). We are declared righteous, we are justified freely, by God’s grace through the redemption that came through Jesus Christ.”

Redemption originates in the heart of God, not our own hearts. By admitting our powerlessness to attain righteousness, God provides it through Jesus.  

  • God had regard to our guilt.
  • God had regard to our misery.

The grace of God is the root for our justification, for our righteousness. Without a root, a tree cannot stand. But can you see it? No. The grace of God is the root of our justification.

#2: It is ONLY by the blood and power of Jesus.

  • Romans 4:24 “Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our righteousness.”
  • Romans 5:9 “We have been justified by Jesus’ righteousness, how much more will we be justified – God is able to restore us to his favor.”

In justification, our sins are not excused, but PUNISHED – in the person of Jesus Christ.

The blood and resurrection power = the ground, foundation of our justification.

#3: It is ONLY by faith

Romans 1:5 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have peace with God… 

Faith is not the ground – it is not FOR faith we are justified, but BY faith.

Ephesians 2:9 “It is through faith you are saved, not by works, so that nobody can boast.”

We must be better than the Pharisees in getting the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came to fulfill the promises of God, to reveal God as Father, and to save us from sin.

May God bless us. Let’s pray.

  • Jul 28 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Pre-Pentecost Praying (Acts 1:9-26)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Pre-Pentecost Praying (Acts 1:9-26)

07.28

07.28.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

Download Notes in .RTF

Luke is the writer of this book, he was a physician and historian, so he CAREFULLY documented everything.

He is writing again to Theophilus (who he wrote to in the previous book Luke).

At first, Jesus is resurrected and appears to all the disciples for 40 days, and he tells them not to do anything until the gift of the Holy Spirit comes. Then, he ascends into heaven.

We know not when Jesus will return, so the best thing is for us to get ready to meet him.

They went to the Mt. of Olives (.75 miles). Most of the pious Jews would walk that far, but not much farther (or that would be considered work on the Sabbath).

Acts 2:33 “Exalted to the right hand of God, he, Jesus has received the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

There is this kind of understanding that Jesus has been exalted and is now ruler over all humanity.

In Ephesians, Paul prays for the believers (everywhere) “May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so that you will know your glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength which he demonstrated in Christ when he raised him and exalted him above all the earth and heavens, in this present age and that to come. God placed everything under his feet and placed him as head of the church which is his body.”

Here Paul is tripping over himself describing the Supremacy of Christ.

In Philippians he says, “Christ humbled himself even to death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him, raised him to the highest place, and gave him the highest name that at his name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.”

The apostles/disciples didn’t rest on a dead man’s memory, but on the living presence of Christ. Luke asserts that the Christian mission MUST be built on hope in a living Savior.

Then they returned to Jerusalem (after Jesus’ ascension) to the “upper room.” Maybe this was the same “upper room” that is mentioned in previous locations in the New Testament. In any case, it is clear that Luke is familiar with the early lives of the disciples and their habits, etc.

He’s listed all their names (Jesus designated them all as apostles) in Luke. Here he lists them again, without Judas (suicide) and John is not first place, but second here (probably because Peter is so important in the Acts). He also lists some women here.

John _:26-27 “Dear woman, here is your son.” “Dear son, here is your mother.” and from that time on John took Mary into his home.

There’s been a big change in attitude toward Jesus by other apostles. Many had thought he was crazy/demon-possessed (Mark 3). Such a crowd was gathered that Jesus and his disciples couldn’t even eat – so his family came to take him away because he was clearly “out of his mind.”

So, why did his family change their minds? Perhaps because of Jesus’ appearance to his half-brother James (not listed by Luke, but mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians). Joseph, Jude, Simon were his other half-brothers (Matthew 13:55-58). Jesus was preaching in his hometown and the people thought, “Ha! I know that crazy boy! Where did he come up with all these crazy ideas?”

Jesus said, “Only in his own house, his own town is a prophet not honored.” (Familiarity breeds contempt). So, Jesus didn’t do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

In Acts 15, when Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to give an account of their ministry, James spoke up, “Brothers, listen to me – Peter has been chosen for the Gentiles – the Gentiles will now turn to God.” His advice was heeded, the Gentiles rejoiced for not needing to take on the Law of Moses. (James has become a VIP in the Jerusalem church – I’ve read he was “head pastor” there at one point?)

Jesus’ other brothers also have more influence on the church.

Jude wrote the epistle of Jude (identified himself as the brother of James).

According to Luke, there are 120 people who met together in Jerusalem before Pentecost. There was a requirement in Jewish law to have 120 males to have a legitimate/legal synagogue with voted in leaders. This may be Luke’s attempt to show that this was all “legal” and he also includes women here.

Acts 8:3 “Saul began to destroy the church – dragging off men and women…”

Acts 12:12 “When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary…”

From the beginning, the new church broke through cultural barriers. (Galatians 3:28 “In Christ there is no longer any male or female…”)

1 Cor 15:6 “Christ appeared to more than 500 believers at once.”

They were probably in Galilee. 120 were in Jerusalem. Luke doesn’t give details of those 500. But in Acts, after Paul is converted, the church throughout “Judea, Galilee, and Jerusalem” grew in numbers.

This group of 120 in Jerusalem was “joined together constantly in prayer.” Besides waiting for the HS, the only other activity was prayer. They likely worshiped, interceded, etc. Luke mentions prayer as one of his themes – trying to show how Christians don’t just rush out and do stuff, but try to wait on the leading of the HS.

Later, they will pray for guidance (to find Judas’ replacement). Prayer is always good for guidance.

Prayer for empowerment (Acts 4:31) “After they prayed, the place they were meeting was shaken, and they were filled with the HS and started preaching the Word boldly.” They were already born of the Spirit, were washed in the Spirit, but they needed a fresh filling of the Spirit. At this time, the church was being strongly persecuted, threatened to keep quiet, and God heard their prayers and filled them afresh with the HS to preach boldly.

Prayer for healing and restoration to life. Acts 9:40 (Dorcas – Tabitha) – she was a wonderful believer, full of good works and faith, and Peter was summoned there, and Peter sent all out of the room, and he prayed, turned to the dead woman and said, “Tabitha, GET UP!” And she turned to him and got up. (He’d seen Jesus do it, now he’s doing it too.) Peter is frail – he denied Christ 3 times, he was wishy-washy, flip-floppy, yet God honored his faith (he was QUICK to repent).

Now, here is Peter ministering to this dead woman.

Prayer for salvation. Acts 10:9 – two servants going to Joppa on the way to Cornelius’ house. Peter went up on the roof to pray – God gave him a vision to go with the Gentiles “What God has cleansed, don’t call unclean.” The cross is for all people, all nations.

Cornelius explained why he’d prayed (Acts 10:30) – “Cornelius, God has heard your prayer, send to Joppa for Peter.” Peter went and prayed, the HS fell on these Gentiles, and they preached boldly, spoke in tongues, etc, giving every evidence of the filling of the HS.

Peter went to Jerusalem to recount this event, how the HS had been given in the same way (eating with a Gentile at that time was “illegal”) – yet he told how an angel had sent for him through Cornelius – through Peter he and the whole household would be saved. When they heard that, they rejoiced that even the Gentiles had been given this door to salvation.

Acts 12 Peter was in prison. Herod wanted to bring him forth later, but the church was earnestly praying for him and God released him from prison. In Acts 12:12, he realized this wasn’t a dream. So he went to the house of Mary, mother of John (Mark).

Prayer is effective for release from bondage (not only physical, but also spiritual). Prayer is the key – not only our own, but also the prayers of others. It can release from bondage/slavery.

Acts 22:10 – Guidance once more.

Paul is giving witness to his conversion. He said, “What shall I do Lord?” short, simple, sweet, but he was given guidance “Go into the city – there you will be told what to do.”

Prayer for encouragement.

During the shipwreck (Acts 27:23) “Last night, an angel of the Lord stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid Paul, you must stand trial before Rome, and God has given you the lives of these men.’” All the people were saved.

The death of Judas.

The Scripture had to be fulfilled.

Acts 1:16-19, 20-22

Luke obviously thought this event was important because it’s the only described event between the ascension and Pentecost.

The first speech here is given by a man not unlike Judas. Judas betrayed Jesus for money, Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times for his personal safety. Judas committed suicide. Peter repented. He didn’t know the weakness of his own character.

The end of Judas is described by one who also denied and cursed Jesus. The church meets nothing in the world that isn’t first found in itself – even among the leaders of churches.

Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (Thess?)

How did Judas die?

  • Matthew = he hung himself
  • Luke = his intestines spilled on the ground

It is possible both are correct.

Judas may have hung himself on a branch that broke and fell on the rocks and his intestines spilled out. Or, he hung himself, rotted, fell, spilled, etc.

Anyway, both are possible and probable.

Peter wants to replace Judas with another. Though the Scriptures are inspired, the disciples can use them creatively. In Psalms that Peter quotes, David is referring to his enemieS, “Let THEIR places…”

Such adaptation may strike us as taking undue liberties with Scripture, but it is believed that ALL Scripture points to Christ and the events around him. They were justified in explaining, interpreting in this way because Jesus had already described this about himself, “ALL the Scriptures refer to ME.” He spoke from Moses and the Law all the way through the Scriptures everything that was referring to him. The Law, the Prophets, the Psalms. He opened their minds so that they could understand it.

Why the need for replacement? Jesus had said that the 12 would sit on thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. So, they needed a new one. 2 guys qualified (had been with Jesus from the beginning, John the Baptist’s ministry). Notably, after Pentecost, there is no use of casting lots – from here on, the disciples are fully guided by the HS.

Now, here, we see the importance of prayer, humility, repentance. Maybe sometimes, Peter felt like he wasn’t too far removed from the fate of Judas. Peter went and wept bitterly, repented, so the Lord restored him. But Judas, though sorrowful, didn’t repent. Repentance is a CONTINOUS process. Joel: “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents to send calamity.”

Let us abide in him, seek his fullness, and rejoice in his salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 14 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Word of God Can Change Your Life! (Nehemiah 8:1-18)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Word of God Can Change Your Life! (Nehemiah 8:1-18)

07.14

07.14.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Just listen – the pastor will read it all.

[ Preceding last verse of chp 7 = “ALL the rest of the Israelites settled in their own towns around Jerusalem. When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns.” ]

1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. 2So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 The Levites–Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah–instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 

[dozens of Levites throughout the crowd helped to explain things: NKJV = “the men [leaders] AND the Levites” – there were more people who could explain the Scriptures.]

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.” 

[Apparently, people had been grieving deeply that they hadn’t read the Bible in so long.]

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. 

[#1: READ #2: UNDERSTAND (explain) YOU need to open the Bible and READ it – you don’t need to be an expert, or a pastor, or a teacher. If you read and don’t understand, ASK someone. The DEACONS must be able to teach! Come on! Get ready! Here, the Levites did that for the people.]

13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law. 

[Husbands and fathers = the HEADS of the families. You ALSO need to gather around the Word of God and give attention to the Word of God. YOU, men, are the pastors of your own families. YOU feed your families physically and spiritually. This is a big responsibility AND privilege.]

14 They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths [shelter – OhDuMa in Korean] during the feast of the seventh month [the Feast of Tabernacles] 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths”–as it is written. 

[So, they DID it.]

16 So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. 

  1. [ READ
  2. UNDERSTAND
  3. APPLY]

17 The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them [more than 40,000 people = 8,000 families]. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. 18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.


Why don’t people read the Bible?

1. It’s complicated.

2. I’m TOO busy.

Wake up in the morning and read FIRST thing.

3. It’s boring.

(This is a problem with you reading the Word – let’s answer that today – HOW to study the Bible.)

Is prayer more important? Don’t you want to let God speak TO you? Proverbs: “When you come into the presence of the king, be quiet, let your words be few.”

4. Some have tried and lost motivation.

Bible reading plans in the back (5 pages each – ask me if you want more copied).

If you WERE a good Bible reader, I want to encourage you to get back to it.

Nehemiah 8:1-18

Nehemiah = HISTORY

The past = important, the history of God’s people = MORE important.

If you understand the Jewish people, God made them into a nation from one man – Abraham. (Genesis 12 – “You will be a blessing to all the families of the Earth.” – through Jesus)

The Jews sometimes followed God, sometimes disobeyed – and God punished them.

As a result of their disobedience, they were driven out of the land that God gave them – into other lands – the Assyrians attacked the Northern kingdom – 100 years later Babylonians attacked the rest. 586 years before Jesus, the temple was totally destroyed and the Jews were taken captive.

They were taken prisoner by the Medes and the Persians – the Persians were merciful and allowed them to go back and rebuild the temple.

In the OT – Ezra and Nehemiah were ONE book (now two). Therein, there is the story of 3 groups of people who returned to the Holy Land to rebuild the temple.

If you like History, read Ezra and Nehemiah together.

#1: Zerebubal

They returned and began to rebuild the temple – nothing beautiful like Solomon’s temple – some enemies tried to stop them, but God blessed them.

#2: Ezra

A prophet, priest, scribe came and began to teach and worship with the people (40,000 people) as they rebuilt the temple.

They had worship and were rebuilding the temple. But enemies were constantly attacking because there were no walls.

#3: Nehemiah

He was sad and cried out because of this and asked God to return to Jerusalem to help.

Chp 7:66 (42,366 people besides their servants and singers)

———–

Please continue reading Nehemiah 9.

In fact, Ezra AND Nehemiah only take 90 minutes to read.

Let’s restate.

#1: The people requested God’s Word (v.1)

#1: They made a scheduled TIME for the Word

They hungered for the Word. They didn’t say to the pastor, “Oh, man, another boring and long sermon? Can’t you make it shorter pastor?”

They were there from 5am-12pm (lunch). They didn’t even sit.

Do you have time scheduled for the Word?

#2: They concentrated their hearing (v. 3)

They weren’t sleeping, they were on the edge of their seats asking their neighbors “what was that?” ACTIVE listening. PAY ATTENTION.

What if Jesus was standing right there? Would you sleep? Would you talk to your friend about lunch plans? Would you gossip in church?

CHALLENGE: Uninstall those apps – MP3s, whatever keeps you away from Jesus. 

The Internet = an alcohol addiction for some people

Live YOUR life, not some celebrity’s life. Pray for them, but don’t idolize them.

#3: They opened the Book (v. 5)

You have a Bible – OPEN IT. How do you get close to God? OPEN IT. Where do you start? THE BEGINNING. Genesis – then Matthew, Exodus – then Acts…read ROMANS – it makes you hungry.

#4: The teachers read from the book, making it clear. (UNDERSTAND it). (v. 8)

  • Some people = “MY pastor is THE pastor to beat ALL pastors.”
  • “Oh really? Why?”
  • “I TOTALLY don’t understand him. He’s SO smart.”
  • “WHAT?”

Pastors NEED to make it CLEAR.

Don’t use Seminary language on the common people. Use layman’s terms. We aren’t your professors…we are simple people…

#5: The teachers caused the people to understand

A teacher’s responsibility is to CAUSE the students to understand. If you’re a teacher and your students get bad grades, whose fault is that? YOURS.

#6: The people heard and wept (v. 9-10)

The Levites said, “Don’t mourn, don’t weep. Today is a day to celebrate!”

At first, the people got the wrong idea, so the teachers gently corrected them. We need teachers who are willing to gently correct us.

God’s Word can change your life if you:

  1. OPEN it.
  2. READ it.
  3. UNDERSTAND it.
  4. DO it. (Put it into practice)

When the people understood the Word, it changed their behavior. God wanted them to get OUT of their security “comfort zones” – their houses. It reminded them that “this world is NOT your home.” We have so much security here, but THIS is NOT our home.

#7: COME BACK (v. 13-18)

They came back for a second day.

  1. Day 1: The Levites taught
  2. Day 2: The men taught (husbands, fathers)

FUTURE husbands ALSO must know the Word of God. Prepare for your family and God will give you a family.

Closing: God really does want to speak to you.

He has been speaking for thousands of years. His revelation is complete – we have everything we need for life and holiness.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Making One’s Calling and Election Sure

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Doesn’t that sound good to you? To escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires? We all have evil desires inside us – we must say “NO.” We must say, “YES” to Jesus.

When we know God (through the Word) that’s when we have victory over sin.

  1. Open it
  2. Read it
  3. Understand it
  4. Do it

Life will be troublesome.

Electrocution, hit by a car (many times), hit by a snowmobile, abused as a child (a trusted friend), but God has given me VICTORY over all those troubles. There’s a life ahead of me with no sorrow, sickness, death, pain. That’s what is revealed when you open the book.

Pick up a Bible reading schedule and get started!

Some people even have these plans in their Christian planners, on a smart phone app, online.

Choose one and JUST DO IT.

God bless you.

  • Jul 07 / 2013
  • Comments Off on The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10)

07.07

07.07.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Beatitudes

5:3-12pp — Lk 6:20-23

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon on the Mount

These 8 blessing, the Beatitudes are the most provocative portion.

Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon of Sermons

This first part is about blessings, this means Jesus is very concerned with our blessings, happiness, joy, etc.

Genesis 1-2, after Creation, the first thing God did was bless man (Genesis 1:28 “I bless them – be fruitful, increase in number, and rule over the area.”)

We cannot live without blessing.

Man, as a creation is a dependent being.

God created, and blessed, and we are to be a blessing to others.

  • Some people think,
  • OT = material blessings.
  • NT = spiritual blessings.

But, these are the same, they both have both blessings. Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in court of sinners nor sit in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on his Word he meditates day and night.”

Jesus came to the people and presented his teaching on the hillside. At that time, there was no public speech system, and he didn’t use a natural amphitheater. But here is a sloping hill, with a large crowd below him, and he at the top (perhaps disciples in the front line).

Yes, of course the crowd was there and listening, but the main target = DISCIPLES, not necessarily the whole crowd.

Just like today, in the congregation, God knows the heart, what is your inner reaction to the sermon.

Revelation 1:3 “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and take it to heart.”

You are blessed to be a disciple, not the crowd.

The 8 Blessings:

#1: The poor in spirit

Opposite = “Wretched, cursed, are the spiritually self-sufficient for theirs is the kingdom of Hell.”

We can’t choose which blessing we want and leave the rest.

Poor in spirit is a blessing because you have the kingdom of God, you have salvation.

We are poor, bankrupt, and dependent on God’s mercy to give or do anything right. We are ultimately powerless, hopeless, helpless. As long as you think that you can DO something to save yourself, you can never be saved.

We have nothing to boast about our salvation.

#2: Mourners

Opposite = “Wretched are those who deny the tragedy of their sinfulness, for they will be troubled.”

Mourning for our own sins, with the realization of our total depravity (unworthiness). Only God can take our sorrow and sin, only God can forgive.

“God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.” (Rev.)

In this world, sometimes we don’t enjoy fame and fortune, but sorrow and suffering, but always we enjoy real comfort from our God, Jesus.

#3: Meek

Opposite = “Wretched are the proud for they will not lose the earth…”

Meek = gentle and humble in heart (this is Jesus)

Meekness IS NOT weakness.

Meekness (biblically) = power, to control your own power.

Moses was the meekest man on earth – he received a HUGE inheritance on earth, but Pharaoh, the proud man, lost his earth.

This can also be true for the animal world. Imagine lions and tigers, they seem to be kings of the jungle, but the land is becoming smaller and smaller for them. Most of them are in prison (zoos). But cows, goats, sheep, lambs are so meek, and their land is getting bigger and bigger.

We must be meek before man and God.

  • Meek before man = kind, generous, open-minded.
  • Meek before God = prepared, well-equipped, to be used by God anytime, everytime. If so, you are meek before God.

When God wants to use you, if you aren’t ready, it means you arent’ meek. If you’re uncomfortable, etc, you aren’t meek. Church workers must be meek to be used by God.

#4: Hungry and thirsty

Opposite – “Wretched are those who senselessly justify themselves for their efforts will be in vain.”

Hunger and thirst = intense longings that we must satisfy – we cannot live without them.

Psalm 132? “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after God.”

What kind of righteousness? Most likely it refers to personal righteousness. – so filled with God that we can completely do God’s will without sinning, without making mistakes.

Also, righteousness for the world, to see the end of the evil in the world.

We will be filled, God will completely satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness.

We have 3 desires:

  1. Righteousness – saved, forgiven, etc.
  2. To do what is right – imitating God
  3. To see right done in this world – to help bring about God’s will in this world.

#5: Merciful

Opposite = “Cursed are the merciless for no mercy will be shown to them.”

Just sitting here = we are receiving mercy from God, since we continually receive mercy from God, we must also show mercy to others.

Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.”

“If you forgive man, your Father will forgive you. If not, your Father will not forgive you.”

Matthew 18 – the unmerciful servant.

One day, the king wanted to settle accounts, one servant owed 1,000,000,000,000 (enormous amount), and he couldn’t pay, so the king set him free. That man, on the way home, met another man who owed him $10. He grabbed him and choked him, and the servant said, “Please be patient!” but he threw him in prison. Later, the king heard, and called him in and reprimanded him. In conclusion, this is how God the Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your friend from your heart.

Not forgiving others = putting myself in a prison of hatred. God bless us to forgive others.

#6: Pure in heart

Opposite = “Cursed are the impure in heart for they are spiritually blind.”

Pure in heart = morally, spiritually pure, honest, sincere. People of sincerity, integrity. One single minded commitment to God. This kind of commitment only comes from Jesus Christ. How can we see God who is a spirit? Only by seeing Jesus Christ can we see God. Through our WHOLE devotion and commitment to God, we see him through the eyes of faith (not physical eyes).

#7: Peacemakers

Opposite – “Cursed are the peace-rejecters for they will be called sons of the Devil.”

Jesus = the King of Peace. Isaiah (He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Prince of Peace).

  • Ephesians, “Jesus has removed all barriers…”
  • “Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid.”
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified in Christ…”

Who are the peace-rejecters? Christ-rejecters.

Peacemakers = more than just living peacefully. They will be recognized as sons and daughters of God. Reconciling the lost to God in Jesus name.

2 Corinthians 5:9 “God is reconciling the world to him through Jesus Christ and he entrusted us with the message of reconciliation.”

God bless us to be peacemakers.

#8: Persecuted (this is part of the package, you don’t get to say, “No, thank you” to this one).

Opposite = “Cursed are the uncommitted for convenience sake, for their destination is Hell.”

Whether we agree or not, this age is under the control of Satan (”the prince of this age”) Spiritually, this age is wicked, sinful, unrighteous. When we pursue righteousness, doing the will of God, we should not expect to receive applause and praise and honors from this world, but rather persecution from this world.

Jesus, our Lord, was persecuted and insulted MUCH in this world for us. You WILL be too. Don’t be surprised. Expect it – if you are living as God wants you to live.

What’s the reward? The kingdom of heaven.

What’s beautiful about this? Jesus’ first message = “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near!” from that time on, he continually preached that.

Then today, in this beatitudes, the LAST reward matches the first reward – the Kingdom of Heaven. Rounding out this list = Kingdom of Heaven.

In both places, first and last, the reward is described as the present tense “theirs IS…” not “their WILL be…”

All the other rewards = future tense, but the kingdom of heaven = Here and Now. From first to last by faith.

God bless us all to live the life of the Kingdom of Heaven, though our lives are in this world.

  • Jun 30 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, Starts His Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus, Our King, Starts His Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)

06.30

06.30.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various disease, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.


The book of Matthew can be summarized into 3 parts:

  1. Chp 1-4:11 (Birth and Preparation of Jesus)
  2. Chp 4:12-25 (Message and Ministry of Jesus)
  3. Chp 26-28:20 (Death and Resurrection of Jesus)

Today = starting point of Jesus’ public ministry

Jesus came from Galilee (north) to the Jordan (south) to be baptized, then went into the desert to fast 40 days/night and be tempted. Then he went back to Galilee to start his ministry (not Nazareth but Capernum – 20 miles farther north (north-west sea of Galilee) – this was his home base in ministry). 

  • Capernum = farther away from intense opposition from Pharisees in Nazareth
  • Capernum = very busy city, spread the message more quickly and widely
  • Capernum = more disciples, more tools

Every action, every word, is obedient to the Word of Father God and the Scriptures.

He didn’t start in Jerusalem, but Capernum, land of Zebulun and Naphtali – the northern border of Galilee.

v.12-16

John the Baptist had been put in prison because he’d publicly rebuked Herod for taking his brother’s wife. 

Zebulun and Naphtali = the names of people = 2 of the 12 sons of Jacob.

Fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1-2 = Matt 4:15-16

To understand this story, we need to know the background, history.

Z&N were two of the original tribes of Israel – they received their portion of the land during the conquest of Canaan by Joshua. Asyria then conquered them – usually they deported their people and repopulated it with their own Assyrians. So, there were lots of foreigners there. That’s why Isaiah calls it “Galilee of the Gentiles.” 

The spiritual darkness of this land continued for centuries until Jesus came to live among them. 

Jesus came to preach salvation by grace for those even in the deepest darkness. 

v.17

From that time on… “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” 

Jesus started his ministry with this one, short message. We already heard a similar message from JB (John the Baptist). 

His first message = his continual message in his ministry. 

Becoming Christians, followers of Jesus begins with repentance – turn away from sin, self-control, self-ruling – turn (right away) to Jesus. Believe in him as Savior and Lord. 

  • In Matthew “Kingdom of Heaven” = 32 times
  • “Kingdom of God” = 5 times

Out of reverence for the holy name of the Lord, the Jews didn’t use “God” but substituted “Heaven” instead. In the New T, “Kingdom” = “rule of” not “location”- the rule of God = in your hearts.

If we accept Jesus and believe in him as King = we recognize his kingship in every area of our lives. This means our hearts are ruled by him. So if we believe in him = we are ruled by him = our hearts are his kingdom, even though our bodies reside in the kingdom of Earth. 

Wow! How near is the kingdom of Heaven.

“My heart is the kingdom of Heaven!”

If you believe in Jesus as your King, this is true. 

If our hearts = the kingdom of Heaven, Jesus needs workers for his kingdom. 

v. 18-22

Jesus called his workers.

He said, “Repent!” and immediately began to call his disciples.

The first 4, he had already met previously.

According to John’s gospel, at least some of them were John the Baptist’s disciples.

But, here, Jesus challenges them to throw in their whole lot with him. 

A good fisherman must possess some good policies which turn them into good fishers OF men.

Fisherman -> fisher OF man

#1: A man of patience

He must learn to wait until the fish take the bait.

If he is impatient and restless to move, he can never make a good fisherman.

Also, good fishers of men must learn to wait, to be patient. We don’t often see quick (microwavable) results.

#2: A man of perseverance, resolution, determination, long-suffering

Never be discouraged, disappointed, dismayed.

A good fisher of men must also persevere. Sometimes, nothing seems to happen, but we must never be discouraged. We must be ready all the time to try again. 

#3: A man of courage, bravery

There was no weather forecast, radio, television, newspaper. They must be ready to face dangerous situations, storms, typhoons, etc. They couldn’t anticipate those things. If he wants comfort and safety, he couldn’t go to sea.

A good fisher of men must also know that there may be danger, persecution, etc.

“I have no time, I have no gift, I have no talent.” Do you say that?

If we do not preach, do not say, it means we have no courage, no assurance, no faith.

#4: A cooperative mind and faith

  • They work all the time together.
  • They must learn when, where, how to find fish. 
  • They worked together, we also must work together. 

#5: Faith

They can’t see fish under the water, but they had expectations, and faith, and alertness.

Also good fishers of men must be like this.

#6: Power, energy, stamina

  • Fishermen are tough, have big muscles.
  • A good fisher of men needs power, but there is a big difference between the two.
  • Fisherman = catch something living, move it to the land, kill it to sell it.
  • Fisher of men = catch something dead, move it to heaven, help it to live.
  • Fishermen = physical + killing power.
  • Fisher of men = spiritual + life-giving power.

Do you have power? Yes, you walked here and sat down. Without Jesus, your power is killing power. But in Jesus, your power is life-giving power.

“The thief comes to kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

From this story we can learn 4 lessons:

#1: Jesus didn’t call powerful, wealthy, talented men. He called insignificant, ordinary people.

He calls the ordinary for extraordinary jobs. 

#2: Jesus called the faithful, those who were diligent in their earthly jobs. They were working WHILE he called them.

He didn’t call them because they had lots of free-time. He called them when they were faithful and busy with their own jobs.
“I’m waiting on God~ I’m waiting for a vision~”

doing nothing. NO – be faithful and diligent TODAY with your secular jobs, with a holy mission.

#3: “Come, follow me, I WILL make you fishers of men.”

He didn’t say, “Become fishers of men first, then when you’re qualified you can join me.”

All we need to do is FOLLOW and OBEY. That’s all. He will do his job through us. “I WILL make” = “I will enable, empower, anoint” you to do the job I have for you.

We cannot forgive men, cannot regenerate hearts, only Jesus can. But he can do it through us when we follow and obey.

#4: What was their response?

IMMEDIATELY they followed – they dropped everything, they left their nets on the boat, they walked away from their father (still holding the net with jaw dropped…)

This is full commitment, full devotion.

Following Jesus = the biggest turning point in their lives.

Immediately following = immediately everything changes (goals, plans, vision, jobs, etc).

They left the boat and the net – the MOST important things a fisherman owns. 

Remember: we cannot follow Jesus with our OLD selves, with our OLD plans, doing something God doesn’t like. 

Jesus isn’t satisfied with HALF-hearted devotion. Jesus is not deceived, he is not cheated.

v. 23-25

This part gives us a brief summary of Jesus’ ministry/life: 

  1. Teaching
  2. Preaching
  3. Healing

#1: Preach

He came to preach the message of the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. Preaching = proclamation of the certainties of God.

He came to defeat our ignorance, announce the truth (which we cannot know except by him – he himself IS the truth – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…If you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free.”

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Freedom = not free, Jesus paid the price.

#2: Teach

Explain the details, help us with our misunderstanding, help us not to draw wrong conclusions from the Truth. 

He came to explain the true meaning of the Truth.

#3: Heal

His ministry is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He still heals. He came to defeat our pains. He wants us to be healthy and whole – spiritually, mentally, physically, in every area. 

This healing power is still available if we acknowledge him in our lives.

Actually, Jesus = the original pain-killer.

If we follow Jesus truly, really, like him, we must:

  1. Preach (our certainties, our peace, our assurance)
  2. Teach (explain our faith)
  3. Heal (help others experience and enjoy the healing power of Christ)

Let’s pray. Specifically, let’s pray for the healing power of Christ to be fully realized in our lives and the lives of those around us.

  • Jun 23 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Acts – Introduction (Acts 1:1-8)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Acts – Introduction (Acts 1:1-8)

06.23

06.23.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Acts = for the Jewish Christians

Luke = a physician, historian. Many who’ve studied Luke’s writing have been amazed by his attention to detail. At one time, some people had questioned him, but over time, he was vindicated – everything he wrote has been found archaelogically true. (He once wrote of a harbor that some people thought didn’t exist – but they later found that that harbor DID in fact exist and that waters had covered it.)

  • Acts =
  • The Acts of the Apostles OR
  • The Acts of the Holy Spirit

This is Part 2. Luke (gospel) was Part 1.

  • Part 1 = the story of Jesus’ ministry, ends with Jesus’ death.
  • Part 2 = the story of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the early church (through Paul as main character), ends with Paul in Rome where he dies.

Luke 1 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of what has happened – they are eyewitnesses…I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. So, it seemed right that I write an orderly account for you Theophilus, so that you may have assurance in the faith in which you’ve believed.”

Actually, Theophilus = “friend of God” (his name’s meaning)

Luke was quite meticulous and accurate as a historian. We can see that history has born out his accuracy and truth.

Who was Theophilus? We don’t know for sure. He’s addressed as “Your Excellency,” or “Most Excellent.” Luke uses the same phrase to address the Roman governors – it’s very courteous.

Some people think this was a symbolic name, meant to represent a class of people, like the church. But most likely, he was a real dude. Who, what, where is he from?

F.F. Bruce writes, “He was likely a representative member of the educated middle-class, who Luke wanted to win over to a favorable Christianity (unlike that of what was current in Rome). Luke’s aim is likely to give him more accurate info than what he had previously.”

Luke gives a limited vision of the growth of the gospel, he focused on the growth of the church.

Josephus wrote “Defending Judaism” and dedicated it to a single person, but meant it to be read by many others. Luke wrote with the same thing in mind – write to one man, with the intention of many reading it.

In Luke (gospel), his purpose was to write about everything Jesus came to do.

In Acts, his purpose is to write about the CONTINUING work of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and the church.

Luke wants to show that Jesus’ work continues with greater power and scale.

In the gospel, Jesus is only one man.

In Acts, the power of the Holy Spirit (the same that Jesus’ had) was in many others. So, Jesus was technically multiplied and able to move and work through the actions of many apostles.

At Pentecost, Peter preached of Jesus’ resurrection and 3,000 people (men at least) were added to the church in a single day.

Luke’s thesis: “Jesus remains active, though the manner of his work has changed. He continues to do and teach through his body, the church.” This is the story of Acts.

Luke was writing to confirm what Theophilus already knew, and was trying to organize things well to help fill him in on what he didn’t know.

Theo could have been a new believer, or a seeker. In any case, the history and background and growth of the church would’ve greatly interested him.

Luke paints broad strokes. He shows the spread of the gospel in certain areas of Rome. He shows how the ministry of Peter and Paul are related. He also shows how the Christian church’s work is related to Jesus’ work. He also shows how the church is connected to Jerusalem and Rome.

By the time he wrote this, Peter and Paul would have been martyred, accused of anti-governmental behavior (esp. by the Jews). So when Luke wrote this, Christians were spoken against, “perverts of Judaism.” Was this a dangerous sect (cult), or a legitimate religion? Luke was the first apologist (defender of the faith) who showed it was authentic.

The resurrection was the hope of Israel. Peter and Paul both emphasized this. And his exaltation at the right hand of the Father takes center stage in Acts.

Acts 1: “Jesus gave many convincing proofs he was alive – for 40 days – for 7 weeks between his crucifixion (Passover) and his ascension (another Jewish holiday actually).” This is similar to when Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and gave the people the covenant of the Law. This time, Jesus is on the Mt. of Olives and gives the covenant of Grace.

This is all accomplished through the Holy Spirit.

During Jesus’ appearances, they all saw this Jesus who was alive, but HAD BEEN dead. So, their faith was UNshakable. Many of them died for this surety.

Luke doesn’t stress Jesus’ divinity as Paul does in his epistles. He stresses the divine commission of Jesus and the divine power of the church through Jesus.

The kingdom of God = the main message of Jesus.

With his disciples, he clarified the messages.

The kingdom’s message now had a different thrust, different emphasis. Now, it all points to Jesus as the Messiah.

Acts 2:24 “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to hold him…”

The revitalized message of the kingdom of God =

In Samaria there was Simon the sorcerer – but when Philip came down with the power of the Holy Spirit, people paid attention. When people saw and heard these things, they were baptized and believed.

Paul and Barnabas go back to Antioch and Lystra (where Paul had been previously stoned). Paul says, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.

The KOG (Kingdom of God) has a (1) present reality and a (2) future reality.

Acts 19:8 at Ephesus, Paul went into the synagogue to reason with the Jews from the Scriptures, and he spoke for 3 months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. He used their own Scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

But, the Jews couldn’t believe that a crucified “criminal” was their hero. Their eyes were clouded.

Paul’s last meeting with the church = “Now I know that none of you will ever see me again.”

Rome Acts 28:31, meets with the Jewish elders and reasons with them about the KOG. Most of them rejected it. Paul boldly and without hindrance preached the KOG and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a great emphasis on the KOG.

Using the Scriptures, particularly for the Jews, was a great way to show that ALL the promises had already been fulfilled in the person of Jesus. The promises weren’t to save their physical bodies from the Romans, but to save their souls from sin.

God welcomes repentant and returning people.

The Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Son (Luke 15) = parables that show how God welcomes and rejoices over even one small, insignificant repentant sinner.

The father in the lost son story RUNS to his son and kisses him – this was totally undignified. His son says, “Father, I’ve sinned.” The father says, “Never mind that, you’re back!”

This is what Jesus taught in the gospel Luke wrote. The book of Acts is simply an extension of this story. Acts = conversion experiences, repentant sinners, empowered Christians who share the story with others.

The first task of the disciples = to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

They are not to do anything until receiving the HS, so that they can do the work well.

What is the effect of the HS? William Barclay “The HS = the source of all guidance. Philip meets the Ethiopian. Prepares Peter for the messengers from Cornelius. Orders the setting apart of Paul and Barnabas to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Guides the decisions of the Counsel of Jerusalem. Guides Paul beyond Asia and into Europe. Tells Paul what awaits him in Jerusalem.”

The message = the HS who came upon Jesus at his baptism has also come upon the church to continue to carry out his work on earth.

Luke 24:9 – shows the importance of the HS in their lives and mission.

Acts 1:4 – “wait for the gift you’ve heard me speak about, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the HS.”

Many were convicted of their sins (during John the Baptist’s mission), repented and went to the Jordan to be baptized. But John said, “Another is coming who will baptize with fire.” Jesus says, “wait for the fire.”

Verse 6, they still don’t get it…

“Will you restore our nation as a super awesome country?”

Deut 7:6 = “the Jews were chosen out of all the people on earth to be God’s people, his treasured possession.”

So, they expected GLORY first, and THEN the Holy Spirit.

“I will put my laws into their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.” God = promises restoration.

So, the Jews think, “Hey, we’ll be restored, and THEN get the HS, right?”

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus met Jesus, he asked, “Why you guys sad?” They said, “We certainly hoped he would restore our glory.” But then Jesus helped them to understand that the Scriptures meant JESUS and not NATION.

  • Jesus = the Resurrection and the Life
  • Jesus = the assurance of salvation
  • Jesus = eternal life in the KOG

The disciples had been disappointed. Now, they figure that Israel’s glory would be restored and THEN the HS would come. Actually, they’ve got it backwards. “It’s not for you to know the times or seasons the Father has set by his own authority.”

Earlier, Matt 24:34 “No one knows… not even the angels in heaven… nor the Son… but only the Father in heaven.” (referring to the Second Coming of Jesus).

You think you’re so smart to know when Jesus is coming back? Have you worked it all out?

No, but Jesus did work it all out.

Want to know the answer? Jesus figured out that he couldn’t figure it out. He didn’t know. You can’t know either.

When will he come? Instead, be ready. Know first WHERE you are going, not when he’s coming.

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and all the ends of the earth.” Here is Jesus’ prophecy for the remainder of Acts (and us).

Q: Do we have the Holy Spirit?

We need to be continually filled with the HS. We need to be refilled when our eyes are off him. We need to be born of the Spirit.

Recognize that we are sinners, fall short, need forgiveness, repent.

Recognize that Jesus = THE way to heaven, repent, accept him as Savior.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 16 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, was Tempted! (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus, Our King, was Tempted! (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)

06.16

06.16.2013 Bulletin

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-11pp — Mk 1:12,13; Lk 4:1-13

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,”he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him,”Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.


The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-13pp — Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12,13

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ ” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 12 Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.


Matthew v.1 = “Then…led into the wilderness…”

Then = important connection between chp 3 and chp 4. Last time, Jesus was baptized by John.

The same HS that descended on Jesus at his baptism, led him into the desert to be tempted.

Luke = “Jesus was full of the HS (Holy Spirit).”

This HS sent Jesus into the desert to be tempted.

We want to be filled with the HS. But even if we are filled with the HS, we can still be finished. Many people think, Jesus was only tempted this one time of fasting – the truth is, through the entire 40 days, he was tempted.

Luke says “40 days” and v. 13 “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” This means Satan tempted him continually. 

  • Also, Satan tempted Jesus through Peter (”Never, Lord, you shall not die.” – Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.”)
  • Also Satan tempted Jesus on the cross through the voice of the crowd “If you are the Christ, come down!”

The HS compelled JC to the desert to be tempted. Temptation was a divine necessity to prove his Messianic purpose – he HAD to be tempted so that all Creation would know that he was the victor over temptation – and so that all would know who Satan was. So, because of his victory, we also will get victory over the tempter. 

Satan = fallen, created, real being (not symbolic)

He is constantly fighting against all who follow God.

  • Devil in Greek = “accuser”
  • Satan in Hebrew = “accuser/tempter”

The HS put JC in the desert to be tested – not to see if he was ready, but to show the world that he was ready. 

Satan hoped to destroy his mission by tempting him to do evil. He tried to make Jesus declare his Kingship early – to take his power into his own hands and forsake his Father’s will. Satan’s final purpose was to destroy Jesus’ mission (to die on the cross for our sins and give us opportunity to have eternal life).

  • The first Adam met Satan – in the beautiful garden – with plenty to eat – and lost the battle.
  • The last Adam (Jesus) met Satan – in a hot desert – while hungry – and won the battle (culminating on the cross).

Also, his temptation makes him our sympathetic High Priest 

Hebrews 2:18 “He himself suffered while tempted, so he can help those who are tempted. He is our High Priest, tempted in every way, as we are, so let us approach the Throne of Grace with confidence to help us in our time of need.”

Matthew 4:2 – After 40 days/nights, he was hungry (famished).

  • 40 days = Noah in the ark
  • 40 days = Moses on Mt. Sinai
  • 40 days = Goliath’s taunting
  • 40 days = Elijah in the wilderness
  • 40 days = Jesus’ time on earth after his resurrection
  • 40 years = Israel’s time in the wilderness.

God uses 40 for many purposes and people, preparing them for something.

If we compare Matthew and Luke, they are different in order.

  • Luke = temptation 1, 3, 2 
  • Matthew = temptation 1, 2, 3

Which is correct? Is it important?

Both are right – they compliment each other.

In the Greek Bible, it is more clear.

  • Matthew #2: v.5 “Then…” in Greek = tote = after that
  • Matthew #3: v.8 “Again…” in Greek = palin = once more again

In Luke, there is no sequence conjunction.

In Matthew, last temptation = “Go away Satan!”

In Luke, there is not this sentence.

  • Matthew = historical, chronological order
  • Luke = just introduced the types

Matthew #1: v. 3-4

  • “Make bread from these stones.”
  • “No. (Deut. 8:3)”

Looks outwardly, like a good suggestion, rather than a temptation. It looks reasonable outwardly. “Woah, man, you look hungry! Eat something.”

Eating is not a sin, food is no sin. But, I know you know you have power to make these stones into bread – just, c’mon do it!

The time was wrong, though eating is right.

Jesus’ purpose was fasting.

Sometimes we are tempted to satisfy normal, healthy desires in a wrong way.

Stealing for food? Sex outside of marriage?

Jesus never used his divine power for himself – only for others. He fed 5,000 men miraculously – but never fed himself in a miraculous way.

We also are given gifts and talents – sometimes we are tempted to use them only for ourselves.

  1. What can I do for ME with this gift?
  2. What can I do for OTHERS with this gift?

Jesus quotes Deut 8:3

Physical needs are normal, but to put those before spiritual needs is not good. Physical needs = temporary life. Spiritual life = eternal life. Which is more important?

Matthew #2: v. 5-7

  • “Skydive with an angel parachute.” (Ps. 91:11-12)
  • “No (Deut. 6:16) – interesting how he always quotes the Old Testament

Even more subtle temptation. 

Satan KNOWS Bible verses and can use them inappropriately. “Hey, man, you want to live by Bible verses? Here’s a GOOD one for you! Hehehe…If you REALLY believe this, do it!”

You can’t choose verse by verse to believe.

Believe it ALL or none.

If we separate text from context, it may become pretext.

One common thing of all heresies and cults = they use memory verses as “proof verses” to justify their own wrong ideas.

  • Don’t use memory verses to judge others.
  • Don’t use memory verses to support your personal lifestyle.

Last Sunday, Acts, last chapter, the snake bites Paul’s hand – but nothing terrible happens to him immediately – God kept his promise with Paul. God cares for us, and is keeping his promise with us to protect us – but don’t drink poison – it’s not faith in God, it’s testing God. That’s a no-no.

  • Satan knew the verses, but failed to obey them.
  • Jesus knew the verses, and obeyed them.

Knowing the Word is important to get victory over Satan, but we must ALSO obey. 

Matthew #3: v. 8-11 

  • “Call me Master and I’ll make you Regent.”
  • “No (Deut 6:13) – all from Deuteronomy

Satan knew that one day, all authority and power on Earth would be given to Jesus. He knew that one day “all knees would bow down and confess Jesus is Lord. 

His temptation = “Why wait? I can give you what you want NOW!” (hmm, reminds me of credit cards…)

Painless short-term. There are no difficulties here. This temptation = easy, painless shortcut, convenience.

Even today, Satan offers us this world with convenience. He entices us through our sinful nature – money, lust, fame, popularity. 

Jesus says, “Don’t worship this world – only worship God.”

As long as we stay in this world, we cannot escape from temptation.

1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in it. If anyone loves this world, the lust of his eyes, the cravings of the flesh, is not from Father God, but from this world.”

Do you feel tempted? 

If you feel like you have received this temptation, it means: you DO NOT belong to Satan. (He doesn’t need to tempt his own.)

To get victory means to fight against something or somebody – without fighting there is no victory. So, against what or whom must we fight? 

If we belong to God, we must fight against Satan – not against man. Worship God, serve men, fight Satan.

Let us focus on God’s plan, person, purpose.

Jesus our King defeated Satan and got victory, so we can follow him. Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…endured the cross, scorning it’s shame.”

God bless us for this wonderful victory against Satan.

Let’s pray.

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