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  • Aug 23 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Immanuel (Matthew 28:18-20)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Immanuel (Matthew 28:18-20)

08.23

08.23.2015-PHeo

Download Sermon Notes

Immanuel (also see Christmas 2014 sermon)

Matthew 28:18-20 (Pastor Heo)

The Great Commission (Final will and command of our King, God, Lord, Savior – the command of a king is not optional, but absolute. We MUST obey this mandate.)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.


Our Lord Jesus is a King, the King of Kings. So, he has authority to use POWER.

Matthew stresses Jesus’ authority – shown through

  1. his teaching and healing –
  2. authority over Satan,
  3. spiritual beings,
  4. nature,
  5. ALL authority (in heaven and on earth)

So we can obey him without fear – in whatever circumstances and situations we find ourselves. By his death and resurrection, he defeated ALL enemies and won ALL authority.

He is a missionary king. Christianity is a missionary faith – God’s character demands it = “God is love and desires that no men perish, but all come to a saving knowledge of his Son…”

If we knew that, we would also want to go out and tell all the world this good news.

In this Great Commission, Jesus says, “Go out and make disciples.”

What is a disciple? Biblically:

A disciple is a Christian who is making disciples who can make more disciples… (Twitter)

  1. First step = commit my life to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
  2. This disciple who makes other disciples will be able to fully experience the 4 dimensions of Immanuel ( “God is with us” ).

The book of Matthew = the book of Immanuel.

  1. Chapter 1 “All this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they shall call him “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”’”
  2. The final sentence “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age” is another view of Immanuel.

So, the book of Matthew = begins with Immanuel and ends with Immanuel.

The whole Bible is a book of Immanuel – a book of World Missions.

In the Bible, there are 5 kinds of Immanuel (Christmas sermon 2014 also explains these):

These are the same in human language, but different in meaning and effect:

In the WHOLE BIBLE, 5 types (many hours of study compressed into 25 minutes):

Immanuel = God is With Us / God is With Me

#1: One-dimensional = Immanuel applied to all Creation of God (living and unliving things – humans and non-humans) –

  • Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is creator, sustainer, and keeper of ALLLLLLL Creation.
  • Eph 4:6 “There is one God” 

The Bible makes this clear “There is only ONE God who is over all, through all, and IN all.” He is omnipresent – he feeds the birds, he grows the plants. Not even one things falls to the ground without the permission of God.

Heb 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being – he is sustaining all things with his powerful Word.” Why is the SUN up in the air? Because Jesus is ACTIVELY sustaining it. (Sidenote: some of us may have too SMALL an understanding of God)

#2: 2D = Immanuel applied to ALL human beings (good and bad) – God is with ALL people Christian and non-Christian.

  • Psalm 139:7-9 “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the mountain, if I go to the depths, you are already there.”

God sends his rain to the Christians AND the non-Christians. Yes, even though the non-Christians do not recognize that God is with them, YET he is with them. This is the “General Grace” of God – to ALL human beings.

#3: 3D = Immanuel applied to Christians (children of God – believers – penitent humans who’ve confessed Christ as Savior and Lord).

Jesus himself says his nickname is Immanuel (John 10:20?) “I give you eternal life – you will never perish – no one can snatch you out of my Father’s hand.”

  • Heb 13:5 “Keep yourself free from the love of money – keep yourself content with what you have for God has (promised) “NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.””
  • “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing in all Creation. In all these things we are MORE than conquerors.” (Romans 8:38~)

This is Immanuel given to only born again Christians – the children of God. This is:

  1. salvation,
  2. eternal life,
  3. justification,
  4. sanctification,
  5. peace,
  6. joy,
  7. intimate fellowship/relationship with God,
  8. perseverance of the saints.

We are safe and secure in Christ based on not what I did, but based on what Christ did on the cross.

#5 (skip 4 for now) = Cannot be experienced in this world – this is YET TO COME.

This is the Immanuel (God with us) which true Christians will experience in the literal heaven with God for eternity.

  • 1 Thes “The Lord Jesus Christ will come down from heaven with the cry of the archangel and a loud trumpet sound and the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who are alive in Christ will be caught up with him in the air and we will be with him forever more.”

This is the FIFTH dimensional Immanuel which we will enjoy in heaven eternally.

What is the meaning of this Immanuel?

We will SEE God face to face, we will reign with Christ as co-heirs with him, we will share his victory. Absolutely we cannot experience this kind of Immanuel with these physical bodies – so we will be changed into heavenly bodies with him.

There is no more crying, no more troubles, pain, cancer, suffering, death.

#4: 4D (*What time is it now?) = this is the promise and guarantee that Jesus is mentioning in this final verse “And surely I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS to the very END OF THE AGE.” (this is not the eternal 5D Immanuel)

This type of Immanuel is only available in THIS world. He will no longer be available to us in the next age (heaven).

So, you can see how this one word “Immanuel” is the same in language, but TOTALLY different in meaning.

  1. God is with Creation
  2. God is with humans
  3. God is with believers
  4. God is with disciple-makers (functional, conditional)
  5. God is with believer IN HEAVEN
  • #1,2,3,5 are immutable, unconditional
  • #4 = conditional – make disciples and THEN I am with you

Remember Moses and Joshua?

Already, Moses had been enjoying Immanuel with him – then God called Moses to free the Israelites in the Exodus “I will be with you”

Before this, he was afraid (and 80 years old) “No, no, who am I that I should do this? I can’t.” God promised “I will be with you.”

Not only in the OT, but also the NT, the BEST BLESSING AND GUARANTEE is “I will be with you.” (Immanuel)

Joshua = Moses’ successor

God was with Joshua at least 40 years. Joshua was enjoying Immanuel God with him but when God called him to conquer Canaan, God gave him the promise of Immanuel again “I will be with you. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you through ALL the days of your life.”

So, what is the difference?

THIS promise of Immanuel is for:

  • Mission, ministry, service

This is the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28, the Great Commission.

To Moses = the promise that “you will be like a god” before Pharaoh, before the people, before your brother = you will be MY agent (as long as you carry out your mission, my power will be manifest through you and shown outwardly) THIS is the 4D Immanuel.

“All authority has been given to me. THEREFORE, go and make disciples of all nations.” (And MY authority will be manifested through you).

Moses performed at least 10 miracles before coming out of Egypt – then he made the sea part, then water came out of rocks (twice).

Who performed these miracles?

  • God performed the miracles through Moses.
  • Moses performed the miracles BY God.

“Go and make disciples of all nations and surely I AM WITH YOU to the very end of the age.”

Thank you for coming today. Now, GO – make disciples.

This is the Great Commission (the Great Command) of our King.

May God bless all of us with this 4D Immanuel. Let us all recognize further, more and more, how GOD IS WITH US.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 09 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so Important? (Matthew 28:1-10)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so Important? (Matthew 28:1-10)

08.09.2015

08.09.2015-PHeo

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Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so Important?

Matthew 28:1-10 (Pastor Heo)

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; HE HAS RISEN, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


The first four books of the NT are “gospels” = “good news”.

All four end with the story of the crucifixion and resurrection. Therefore, this is the CORE message of the gospels – no doubt.

Before today’s topic, review last week’s “What does the cross say?”

Four things from last time:

  1. If a man was on the cross, he was TERRIBLY SINFUL and GUILTY. Jesus’ cross said, Jesus was innocent and blameless.
  2. A man was POWERLESS, Jesus was totally POWERFUL.
  3. A man was HARMFUL and SELFISH, Jesus was SACRIFICIALLY GIVING.
  4. A man was a MAN, Jesus was FULLY GOD.
  5. A man going HIS WAY – ALONE – separated from his loved ones, his family, his friends, relatives, neighbors. No one could be his company. Jesus EMBRACED ALL SINNERS in his heart, bringing ALL MEN to him.

Please see these spiritual truths now.

  • Heb 1:11 “Faith is being sure of what we do not see.” Faith is power to see the invisible reality of the past, present, future. Ex: The sun rises every morning and sets every evening. Yes, it looks like this is true. But in the invisible reality, the sun is there ALL the time, in its place, fixed, and unmoving. Like this, in the spiritual world, in the sin phenomenon, we started to BE from our physical birth – yes, this is true – but spiritually speaking, we started to BE in the heart of God from the Creation of the world. 
  • Eph 4:1 “God chose us from the Creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

Like this, invisible phenomenon, when Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago, we were not there, but in the unseen, spiritual world, WE WERE THERE WITH HIM – in his heart, when he died on the cross. 

Yes, we know he was sinless, guiltless, blameless. Then, WHY did God forsake him? Jesus himself cried out in this manner. WHY? Because all sinners were gathered IN Jesus, and were punished. In the physical world, the Romans crucified Christ, but in the spiritual world, GOD crucified Christ.

  • Gal 2:21
  • Romans 8:6-8 “If we died with Christ, we believe we will live with him as well in his resurrection.”

The RESURRECTION

What’s so important about it? (It’s the crux of our faith…)

This is THE central fact of Christian history. On the resurrection of Christ, the church is BUILT. Without this resurrection, there would be NO church today – none whatsoever.

Yes, there are other religions, they have their own ethics, doctrines, ideas, concepts about paradise. But only Christianity has a God who became human who became man, died for his people, and rose in glory to rule his people in power today.

The theme of Matthew = Kingship.

If ANYTHING proves the Kingship of Christ, it is his resurrection. The final chapter of Matthew is the Record of His Victory.

Two Mary’s came. Actually, they were not permitted to travel on the Sabbath, so they had to wait until after the Sabbath. These two had been there at the crucifixion AND when he’d been put into the tomb. And as dawn approached, they came to the tomb to anoint Christ’s body with perfumes (this was a sign of love, devotion, and respect). This would be like us bringing flowers to the tomb today. They were the FIRST to see the joy of the resurrection.

You remember, three days ago, there was an earthquake.

Wow, again on this morning, there was another VIOLENT earthquake. The angel came from heaven and removed the HUGE stone from the entrance of the tomb. (Why? – Not for Jesus to come out – he didn’t need that – but for the people to go IN – to SEE – he was risen).

“Good news of great joy!” once more:

4 messages:

1. “Don’t be afraid.”

(Jesus also said this to them at their FIRST meeting)

Are you afraid of something? We must remember the empty tomb. The reality of the empty tomb brings JOY, not fear.

33 years ago, there was the announcement of “good news of great joy” and this first message was “do not be afraid” – “TODAY a Savior has been born to you.”

2. “He is not here; he has risen – just as he said.”

Jesus was not to be looked from among the dead because he is alive with his people.

3. “Come and see.”

The tomb still is empty. This is a historical fact – if it were not empty, it would be a huge tourist spot – just like all the other prophet’s tombs.

4. “Go and tell.”

If we see that Jesus is resurrected, we must tell others. This is the normal course of a Christian’s life.

“Come and see; go and tell.” 

Come to church, come to God, come to Christ, and SEE (many meanings – 30 meanings in the English language – understand, grasp, enjoy, believe, witness with your eyes, experience with your life).

Then, go to the world and TELL.

WHY is this resurrection SO important? There is MUCH to say, let me give you 4 points:

1. It is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity.

Without this, there is no church. Even today, many admit the necessity of the DEATH of Christ even if they don’t agree with his resurrection. Yet, this is VITALLY important – there is abundant evidence for it.

1 Cor 15 “The resurrection chapter” – shows that EVERYTHING in this world stands or falls on the resurrection. “If Jesus has NOT risen again from the dead, then ALL my preaching is a LIE – and we are ALL still in our SINS – and our faith is in VAIN – and all who have fallen asleep in Christ have PERISHED. So of ALL men on earth, we should be the MOST pitied IF Christ has not risen.” Also, if Jesus has not been raised, then the entire New Testament is worthless. The entire thrust of the book of Acts is emphasizing his resurrection.

2. It is important in the application of salvation.

Are you saved? “There is no other name under heaven be which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “God exhalted him to the highest place that Jesus might be the head of his church.” It was absolutely necessary that Jesus rise before he could baptize his believers in the Holy Spirit. All these are preparatory for his bestowing gifts on mankind.

Romans 5:10 “If when we were God’s enemies, we have been reconciled to God through the death of Christ, then HOW MUCH MORE shall we be saved through his LIFE.” His death saves us; His resurrection PERFECTS our salvation.

3. This is an exhibition of the divine power. (miracle) –

This is the performance of God’s power. In the OT, the standard of the divine power was often expressed in the way that God brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt.

In the NT, the standard of the divine power is expressed in the way that God brought us out of slavery to sin through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Phil 3:10 “I want to know Jesus Christ and the POWER of his resurrection, and the fellowship with sharing in his suffering…”

Remember, still today, this kind of power revealed in the resurrection is AVAILABLE for us to experience through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

4. The resurrection GUARANTEES our resurrection.

(He is the first fruits of many). Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live even though he dies.” (John)

Romans 8:11 “If the spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, he will also raise you and give life to your mortal bodies.”

Jesus is the FIRST fruit. So we expect second fruit, third fruit, continual fruit. This is very logical and natural.

Last time, in #5, when Christ was crucified, we were WITH Christ. Our OLD self DIED with him on the cross. So when Christ ROSE, we also ROSE with him.

  • Eph 2:5 “God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins and transgressions. He has seated us (already) with Christ in the heavenly realms – so that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed to us in Christ.”

Jesus resurrection body = a model of our own resurrection body we will receive someday soon.

  1. It will be REAL, tangible, touchable, recognizable as the SAME person.
  2. It will be a heavenly, imperishable, immutable, powerful, glorious, eternal body.

This is the power of the resurrection we can enjoy and experience even now and here in the name of Jesus Christ.

God bless us all with the power of the resurrection of Christ, now and in our daily lives.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 02 / 2015
  • Comments Off on What Did the Cross Say? (Matthew 27:1-66)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

What Did the Cross Say? (Matthew 27:1-66)

08.02

08.02.2015-PHeo

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What Did the CROSS Say?

Matthew 27:1-66 (Pastor Heo)

Judas Hangs Himself

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. 

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4“I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Jesus Before Pilate
27:11-26pp — Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2,3,18-25; Jn 18:29-19:16

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor. 

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27:27-31pp — Mk 15:16-20

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion
27:33-44pp — Mk 15:22-32; Lk 23:33-43; Jn 19:17-24

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 

38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus
27:45-56pp — Mk 15:33-41; Lk 23:44-49; Jn 19:29-30

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “”Eloi, Eloi,” “lama” “sabachthani?””–which means,”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus
27:57-61pp — Mk 15:42-47; Lk 23:50-56; Jn 19:38-42

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.


Shall we read one more time? 10:00~

Topic:

What did the cross say to human history?
What does the cross say to us each individually?

Honestly consider/ponder this question.

This is a very significant question.

I cannot repeat too many times this question: “What does the cross say to us each individually?”

A certain word/thing can be changed in its impression by a single event. Ex:

  1. Judas: original = “praise God” (at that time, MANY boys were named Judas)
    Because of THAT Judas, the name became = “betrayer” (nobody likes that name now – perhaps Judah is better?)
  2. Cross: original = “extreme shame, humiliation, pain, death”. Because of THAT cross = “victory, hope, life, future, forgiveness”

Now, we are proud of the cross.

Paul (Gal 6:14) “I have nothing to boast of except the cross…”

Last time, Jesus prayed so earnestly in anguish, his sweat was like blood falling to the ground. He arose, and voluntarily gave himself up for arrest. He was bound, judged (18 hours) (Wed night – Friday?)

He endured 6 trials:

  1. He was taken to Annas – the High Priest that year,
  2. then to Caiphas for a second hearing,
  3. then the Sanhedrin for a third hearing,
  4. then to Pilate for another hearing,
  5. then to Herod,
  6. then back to Pilate

He was hanged on the cross for 6 hours: (9am-3pm)

According to the title: What did the cross say to history? What does it say to us here and now?

There are 5 truths:

#1: Jesus = innocent

At that time, if a man was crucified, it said clearly, definitely – “he is EVIL”

The truth of the cross revealed that Jesus was absolutely innocent (irony #1)

According to the Bible, there are 5 (or more) witnesses (not Christians – they had no benefit to gain to support him – rather it seemed natural and good to stand against him) who testified that Jesus was sinless:

1: Pilate – the governor – the highest judge at that time

he was the champion to find the fault in a man – his main job was to find fault in Christ – but he repeatedly said (throughout the gospels) “I find no basis for a charge against this man – there are no grounds for the death penalty”

Imagine – Pilate = judge (above), Jesus = accused (below) – who should be afraid of whom? But Pilate was afraid of Christ – so much so that he washed his hands of the matter and confessed his innocence of this blood before the crowd. Pilate testified that Christ was sinless.

2: Pilate’s wife (v. 19)

While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message saying that she suffered a great deal because of him. Actually, she did not even see Christ face-to-face, but she sent this message to her husband.

3: The crucifying Centurion before the cross (v. 54)

The main job of this centurion was to crucify people – they were generally quite cruel.

When he saw the earthquake and the other Roman soldiers were terrified of Christ when the earthquake struck and cried out “Surely, he was a righteous man. Surely, he was the Son of God.” Even a “bad” man testified for Jesus in this way.

4: Jesus’ neighbor on the cross

He was notoriously wicked – that’s why he was crucified with Christ at the same time. He confessed “this man, has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Christ, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

5: Judas’ own testimony – the betrayer (v. 3-5)

He betrayed him for (small) money (30 silver coins). He was so remorseful, he confessed his sin and returned the money. Then he committed suicide. This was not good, but it clearly shows that Jesus was perfect, innocent, blameless, infallible.

#2: Jesus = strong/powerful

If a man was crucified at that time, it said, “He was desperately hopeless, powerless, and weak”

The cross said Jesus = omnipotent/and ultimately powerful (”Surely, I say to you, you’ll be with me today in paradise.” Also from 12pm-3pm, the day became DARK – and earthquake split the temple veil in two (this destroyed ALL barriers between God and man, man and woman, slave and free), dead bodies were resurrected and walked into the town, rocks cracked in half) – (irony #2)

  • Col 1:3? “The cross made it possible for all to be reconciled to God.”
  • 1 Cor “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to we who are being saved, it is the POWER of God.”

What kind of power? Life-giving, creating, changing, transformational power.

#3: Jesus = absolutely unselfish and sacrificial

At that time, the cross meant the man was selfish, greedy, stole from/murdered others, etc

Yet even on the cross (while hanging) he GAVE unconditional forgiveness “Father, forgive them…” and blessings/mercy “You will be with me in paradise” and LOVE to those who hated him.

Eph 2:8 “Jesus Christ humbled himself even to the point of death…”

He was hanged for 6 hours totally nakedly. At the same time, under the cross, the soldiers divided his clothes by casting lots.

Jesus gave ALL – not only spiritually, but even physically – his love, eternal life, salvation, submission, obedience, even clothes. He fulfilled the requirements of all laws on the cross.

#4: Jesus = God

If a man was crucified, he was “just a man”. (Paradox). Yes, Christ was fully Man, but at the same time, fully God. For what charge was he crucified? Saying, “I’m God.”

So, there were two ways for Jesus to NOT be crucified.

  1. Confess “Sorry, I’m actually not God, fellas. Joking.~~” He would not have been crucified. But he never said “I’m NOT God.” He didn’t open his mouth, nor try to defend himself. You know, even if he’d have just said that SINGLE SENTENCE, he could have escaped death.
  2. There must be one reliable witness that had authority to testify that Jesus was NOT God. If there was even ONE witness who had public official authority to testify that Jesus was NOT God, he would have been proved wrong and NOT been crucified. Who would be this kind of witness.

As we read, could you imagine this situation? Jesus own MOTHER watched under the cross. She witnessed the ENTIRE thing and didn’t open her mouth to say “He’s not.”

Since the beginning of the world, Mary was the only one person who knew perfectly the secret of conception of the birth of Christ, and how he grew up and spent his childhood. She KNEW all about him, his entire life story – through her own experience. This was her son – she did not want him to die like this. If she had only opened her mouth and shouted, “Oh no! Jesus is only my silly son! He’s not God! I conceived him 33 years ago by my husband Joseph! Please, check his DNA!”

He would not have been crucified like this. But, Mary just stood under the cross and cried to see her own son dying. She did not open her mouth – she was speechless from first to last. What did her silence say? Sometimes our silence is more powerful than any powerful words. Her silence standing under the cross, witnessing the crucifixion of her own son loudly declares that Jesus is God. She could not deny it.

#5: To be concluded…

  1. Cross = sinful man vs. Jesus (innocent)
  2. Cross = powerless vs. Jesus (ultimately powerful)
  3. Cross = selfish vs. Jesus (selfless)
  4. Cross = man vs. Jesus (God)
  5. (Next time)

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 26 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Character of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-56)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Character of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-56)

07.26.2015

07.26.2015-PHeo

Download Sermon Notes

The Character of Jesus

Matthew 26:47-56 (Pastor Heo)

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


Last time, we saw how Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. This time, he rose to go out to the battle of life. He knew that the officers and Judas was near, so he awakened his disciples to prepare them for what was coming.

The fact that the Roman soldiers and temple guards carried weapons in a large crowd showed that Judas didn’t really understand the character of Christ. Actually, Judas didn’t really have to betray him with a kiss – Jesus came to them. It’s sad to note that Judas cheapened everything he touched.

At that time, students kissed their teachers out of respect. But, this time it was betrayal.

Even today, no one likes to name their children Judas – (actually, the name means “praise God”) – but understand that you are responsible for the meaning of your personal name.

Last time, I showed the passion of Jesus as FULL man – agony, trust, patience, prayer. Now, he’s almost at the end of his earthly life – so it’s a good time to MEMORIZE the character of Jesus Christ to understand the IDEAL Christian life.

One reason for the incarnation (Matt 11:29) was for Jesus to show an EXAMPLE to us (also 1 Pet 2:21, 1 John 2:6). If Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King, then NO QUESTION, he must be our Example as well. What kind of man/woman must we be in this life?

Summarize: What is the character of a “true” human as characterized by Christ?

#1: Absolute holiness as a man

He was absolutely holy in his nature and in his conduct/character. He was without sin. Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but he was tempted in every way just as we are, but was without sin.”

When so many people hurled insults at him, he didn’t retaliate. When he suffered, he endured. He did nothing. He bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might live for righteousness and die to sin. By his wounds, we have been cured.

We are to be holy, because he is holy.

However far we may fall away from being like Christ, we have no excuse for choosing a LOWER example than Christ – who the Scriptures hold up for us as a perfect example.

Since the Creation of the world, among human beings, ONLY Jesus was the one who was/is infallible completely and totally in his teaching and character. It is necessary to have this illustration of what God wants us to be.

  • Bible says to the unsaved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and live.”
  • Bible says to the saved, “Believe in Jesus Christ and follow in his steps.”

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, his face shown (brightly) – just as we should be transformed into the same image as Christ by beholding him and following him.

We must try, do our best to be holy, because he is our example.

#2: Humility

Even though he was the Original God, the True God, God in flesh, yet he emptied himself willingly and was made/found in the likeness of sinful men. He took on the form of a servant. He went to the place of shameful death on the cross.

  1. He was very rich – became poor – to make us rich.
  2. He was born in a manger in a stable (the animal’s food box) – who ELSE was born there? Nobody. There was no room in the inn.
  3. He had no place to put his head when he was teaching and preaching. He lived as a homeless person. Anyone ELSE is homeless?
  4. He washed the feet of his disciples as a servant – even the feet of Judas, his betrayer.
  • Yes, his is our Lord, he wants to be our servant.
  • He is our King, wants to be our friend.
  • He is our Savior, wants to be our co-heir.
  • He is our God, wants to be a man, to experience what we experience.

God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.

God wants us to be humble as Christ was humble.

#3: Meek and Gentle

He himself said, “I’m gentle and humble in heart. Come to me and find rest/peace for your souls.”

Paul – to the Corinthians “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” He did not smother the weak, and did not bruise the strong.

When Judas came to betray him, Jesus called him, “Friend” even though he knew what was happening. His gentleness is seen more clearly in his dealing with Judas who would betray him. He was also so gentle to those who crucified him because he prayed for them, “Father, forgive them (intercede for them) because they do not know what they are doing.”

“The workers of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”

Jesus never quarreled, he never cried out. No one ever heard his voice on the street.

Should we cry out on the street? Did Jesus?

This is a good example we should follow. 

  1. 1. In prayer, Jesus cried out to GOD.
  2. 2. On the street, he never cried out to MAN.

We should follow this good example.

#4: Balanced

  • He was very serious without being gloomy.
  • He was not depressed/melancholy – but he was serious and grave.

Was his life joyful or sorrowful?

Isaiah “He was despised and forsaken by men, a man of sorrows, very acquainted with grief. He bore our sorrows, carried our sorrows.”

But, in another sense, he was a man of JOY. Before the crucifixion he said, “I have told this to you so that MY joy may be in you, and YOUR joy may be complete.” In his FINAL prayer, he prayed for ALL believers for ALL time, “may they have the FULL measure of my joy in them.”

Jesus had

  1. the FULL sorrow of life and
  2. the FULL joy of life.
  • He sorrowed totally over those who rejected his free gift of eternal life. He bore ALL griefs and sorrows.
  • His joy was the joy of anticipation, the huge multitude of souls saved with him forever in his glory.

So, how should we live? (Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, REJOICE!”)

(i.e. don’t rejoice outside the Lord)

1 Thes 5:16 “Be joyful always, this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

God wants us to be joyful all the time.

But the same Bible ALSO says, “blessed are you who weep, who mourn and you shall laugh… woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”

  1. Yes, when we look at the Lord, we rejoice.
  2. When we look at the lost, we must be able to be sorrowful spiritually.

#5: Diligent worker

“Because my Father God is working, so I am working up to now.” We must work the works he’s sent us while it is day – but night is coming when no one can work.

As long as it is daytime in your life, we must work the work of him who sent us.

No matter how young you are, when night comes (soon), you cannot work any longer.

He forgot his own pain of hunger, sleep, and even on the cross in order to heal and save the souls of others. This is the kind of work we should do in this world.

#6: Love

“Here is Love” – no love is higher, no love is wider, no love is longer, no love is deeper, no love is truer – the love of God is unconditional, unfailing, unending, unselfish, incomparable love. 

While we were still sinners (yes, before we were “good”), he DIED on the cross for us. This is the love of Christ.

Therefore, (Romans 8:38~) “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? … None, no in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” We can be sure, confident, convinced that neither angels/demons, height/depth, NOTHING in all Creation can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, in conclusion, we are totally FREE.

But the important question is “from what?”

From condemnation, from judgment, from defeat (he is living in us now, we are sharing his life now), from discouragement (he is coming soon, we will share his glory), from fear (he is praying/interceding for us and we cannot be separated from his love).

  1. No condemnation in Jesus Christ.
  2. No separation from the love of Jesus Christ.

From his earthly ministry up to his crucifixion, this is our conclusion, our testimony, our song, our victory, our proclamation.

May God bless all of us in this assurance.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 19 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

07.19.2015

07.19.2015-PHeo

Download Sermon Notes

The Passion of Jesus at Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-46 (Pastor Heo)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”


 

Conclusion: Rise! Let us go!

Our conclusion is the same: Rise! Let us go!

Even, “here comes my betrayer” – to confront/face everything that comes before us.

Last time, we saw the Passover meal and communion. In the middle of the meal, Judas ran away to betray him. After the communion Jesus took with his 11 disciples, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane (the Mount of Olives) – a private garden – he’d often used as a retreat.

Gethsemane = “oil press” – this is a significant name in the light of Jesus’ passion here. This is something we must approach on our own knees. We must observe this passage in reverence – to see his passion in this passage.

The word “passion” can be negative or positive. Here, Jesus has a “holy passion” – enthusiasm:

FIVE points:

1. The agony of Christ (v. 37-38)

“my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” – he left 8 disciples at the entrance and took only 3 inside the garden with him. He could feel the death that lay before him – death as a TRUE, real, 100% man – no man wants to die at the age of 33 – at the pain of the cross.

Here is a supreme struggle to submit his earthly will to the will of God. This was not play-acting, this was a HARD struggle – in which the salvation of the world swayed back and forth – it was at risk in the garden. Jesus had a choice to turn back and God’s will would be frustrated. All Jesus knew at this point was that he must go on continually.

Jesus started his ministry with temptation from Satan (Matthew 4) “if you are the Son of God…prove it”

  • Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” 
  • Heb 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, rather he was tempted in EVERY way just as we are, yet was without sin.”

Why was he tempted like us? So he could fully understand us, be like us, help us. This is the true reality of the incarnation.

Yet, even though he was tempted in every way, his LAST determination all the time was, “not my will; YOUR will be done.” (Even in the Lord’s Prayer we see this).

Yes, we will struggle with trials, temptations, difficulties – but if we are TRULY Christians, we must be able to say, “not my will; but YOUR will” – “not I; but Christ.”

2. The loneliness of Christ

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Yes, there had been such a great multitude that had followed him at one time, but ALL of them abandoned him – one disciple betrayed/sold him, 8 waited for him, only THREE (Peter, James, John) went with him – this was the third time he’d taken only the inner circle with him:

  1. 1. Mt. of Transfiguration
  2. 2. Room of Jarius (resurrected his daughter)
  3. 3. Garden of Gethsemane

He wanted them to watch and pray. Jesus was entering into a very difficult time, so their prayer support would be a GREAT encouragement to Jesus – but they fell asleep THREE times in this final crucial moment. They were not “with” Jesus in spirit. Jesus had to fight his battle ALL alone.

As long as we live in this world, this is the truth for all people – there are certain things we all face, certain decisions we must make, certain times ALL other comfort and help is gone (visibly) – but remember God is always with you (was with Christ at this time too). Even when you feel ALL alone – there is the presence of Christ who also experienced this GREAT aloneness like you.

Even when you feel all alone, Jesus is there.

3. The trust of Christ

The situation is very terrible. This trust is even more visible in Mark’s account (14:36) “Jesus started his prayer with ‘Abba, Father,…’” 

There is a world of loveliness in this word – it’s not Hebrew, nor Greek – it’s Arabic meaning “Daddy” from a little child to their father. “아빠”

Until this time, no one had thought to call God by this word. But Jesus did. In his childlike, trustful, intimate way – as a little child to his Daddy.

Yes, we know what our little children call us when we are fathers. Yes, even his spiritual conviction was that God was pushing him to a cross – he called him as a little child.

Isaiah 40:55 “God’s thought/plans/ways are HIGHER than ours.” – because He is Creator – “just as far as the heavens are from the earth, so are God’s thoughts from our thoughts.” We may not be able to understand what’s happening TO us or AROUND us, but we know we can TRUST Christ – because his FINAL plan is good and best for us.

Also, we are allowed to call God “Abba” as Jesus did.

  • Romans 2:8 “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, you received a spirit of sonship by which we call him “Abba, Father.””

Yes, even when all is against us, we can trust God as our Abba, Father.

4. The prayer of Christ

Here are three times that Jesus prayed, prayed, and prayed. Jesus wanted them to pray and watch not to fall into temptation. Jesus closed his ministry here with prayer, and his life on earth with prayer “Father, God, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Sometimes Jesus spent all night in prayer. Sometimes he rose very early (3, 4,am) to pray.

  1. He prayed before great tasks.
  2. He prayed before missionary tours.
  3. He prayed before choosing the disciples.
  4. He’s praying before the cross.

Luke “In anguish, Jesus prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

  • Heb 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent position.”

Is the SON of God needed to pray and wait, how much MORE do we need to pray and wait?

5. The courage of Christ

Even though he prayed earnestly three times about this visible situation, the situation itself did not change. Yet, in the last verse, he says, “Rise, let’s go.”

It means the time for prayer, for this garden is past, now is the time for action – to take action – to face everything set before him. He rose from his knees to go out into the battle of life.

This is the PURPOSE OF PRAYER.

Do you pray? In prayer, we kneel down before God. Then we can stand erect before men. The more you kneel before God in prayer, the more you can stand up before men.

  1. In prayer, we submit to the will of God, so that we can resist and defeat the will of Satan.
  2. In prayer, we meet heaven, so after prayer we can confront this earth.

This passage shows the:

  1. Agony of Christ
  2. Loneliness of Christ
  3. Trust of Christ
  4. Prayer of Christ
  5. Courage of Christ

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 05 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Holy Communion (Matthew 26:14-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Holy Communion (Matthew 26:14-30)

07.05.2015

07.05.2015-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Sermon Notes

4 Things to remember about God

  1. God is alive
  2. God is good
  3. God is great all the time
  4. There is nothing impossible without God

The Holy Communion

Matthew 26:17-30 (Pastor Heo)

17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out from many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


 

Today we will take communion. I’m just following the series of Matthew.

In this chapter, we are moving toward a crisis – Jesus is preparing and getting ready to suffer and die – willingly and of his own accord to save all believers.

  • Last week: worship vs. waste (anointing by Mary)
  • Today: faithfulness vs. betrayal (upper room)

This story is told in all the other 3 gospels.

3 section today:

1. v17-19 (preparation for Passover)

It was necessary to purchase materials for the feast, and necessary to find a good place to hold the feast.

(According to Luke 22 – Jesus sent Peter and John to take care of this – “a man carrying a jar? will be there and follow him to the place – he will show you a large upper room fully furnished” – they went and found exactly these things. At that time, it was very unusual for a man to carry a jug of water – usually women did that.)

Also the men would need to get bread, bitter herbs, lamb, wine and prepare everything for the feast to be ready.

2. v20-25 (announcement of betrayal)

“Surely not I, Lord?”

They lived at least 3 years together with Jesus Christ – but even up to the end the disciples didn’t know that one of them was a betrayer. They didn’t feel any difference in the method that Jesus treated Judas. This is an outstanding testimony to Jesus patience and love.

They were eating and suddenly shocked – looking amongst themselves – wondering who the betrayer might be. They asked Jesus, “not me, right?”

Jesus gave the bread to Judas – Judas received it, knowing full well that he would betray him.

Psalm 41:9 “My close, intimate friend, whom I trusted, with whom I shared my bread, has lifted up his heal against him.”

Jesus holding the bread was a gracious act of kindness, for Judas to receive it was a wicked act of betrayal.

“Woe to that man – it would be better for him if he had not been born…” the worst of curses.

This shows human and divine points of view.

  1. God’s point of view: this treachery was predicted and prophesied in the OT and part of God’s plan
  2. Human’s point of view: Judas was fully responsible for his actions the whole time.

God’s design + human action = not in conflict.

God is 100% in control at the same time that we are fully 100% responsible for our own choices. Paradox.

Then Judas went out, and the others thought he went to buy something, help the poor, etc. For Judas, all the time, night – no day for Judas.

3. v. 26-30 (institution of Communion)

“Do this in remembrance of me”

Because of that word, we are doing this continually (Korean: “나를 기념하라”)

It was after Judas ate the food with Christ – but AFTER he left the room, Jesus established something NEW – the Lord’s Supper.

This is one of the TWO sacraments established by Christ himself.

  • Lord’s Supper, Lord’s Table = commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples at the end
  • Last Supper, Breaking of the Bread = symbol of Jesus broken body and blood (as a symbol)
  • Communion = through this we have fellowship with Jesus and with others
  • Eucharist = we give thanks to God for what Jesus has done on the cross (comes from eucharisteo = thanksgiving in Greek)

What is the meaning/purpose of the Lord’s Supper? We do it at least once per month. Today even the Korean church already did it five times in the morning services.

There are 7 points (why):

  1. It is in obedience to the commands of the Lord – whatever blessing are derived from the keeping of his ordinances are kept out of obedience by the church ( “Do this in remembrance of me” – to obey him)
  2. It is in memorial of his atoning death and shed blood on the cross for us – why did he die on the cross for us? Substitutionary death for us – only by his death do we receive redemption, salvation, and reconciliation with God. – All were made possible by Christ’s death on the cross.
  3. It is a proclamation, declaration of Jesus’ atoning work – 1 Cor 11:26 “Whenever you eat this and drink this, you proclaim the Lord’s death until his Second Coming”
  4. It is a statement of the anticipation of the return of Christ to FINISH his redeeming work (1 Cor 11:26 – this must be done until his Second Coming – we are anticipating, looking for his coming again. Are you yearning for it? Are you looking forward to it?)
  5. Communion = fellowship, relationship, sharing with our Lord Jesus Christ – we receive faith, blessing, strength in fellowship with our Lord (1 Cor 10:16 “Is not the cup, the bread, participation in the body of Christ?”) We receive his blessing, strength, encouragement by faith
  6. This communion = also a communion of the body of Christ – it shows the unity of the body of Christ – we are all saved by the same faith, serving the same Lord, sharing the same vision (Gal 3:23 “There is neither male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one, so make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”)
  7. We must also have two different minds when participating in communion:
    1. Humility = admit you are unworthy of this. No one sits in pride at this table – it is only of God’s grace that we have been born into the family of God
    2. Boldness = if we are true children of God, we can come to him BOLDLY – not because of what WE have done, but because of what HE has done for us
      1. Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since you have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus – we have gained access to God through Christ.”
      2. Heb 4:15 “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may find help in our time of need.”

Who can participate in the communion?

Only those who have been “born again” into the family of God have the right to sit at this table in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. The time is short, but we have MUCH to do:

We must do TWO things:

1. Pray, meditate, examine yourselves

1 Cor 11:28-29 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of this bread and drinks of this cup. Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

What should we examine of ourselves?

4 things:

  1. Do I really, truly, believe in Christ as my Savior and Lord? This is simple, but serious (fundamental) question
  2. Am I truly, really born again into the family of God as a son/daughter of God?
  3. Do I really, heartily REPENT (not only confess) of my sins (confession without repentance = a mockery)
  4. See around you – is there anyone around me whom I hate? Whom I did not forgive? “If you give your offering at the altar and remember your brother has something against you, leave you offering at the altar and first go and be reconciled to your brother. Then come back and continue your worship.” – “If you forgive your brothers and sisters when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you (and vice versa).”

2. “Do this in remembrance of me”

During Communion, meditate and ponder over

  1. Who Jesus is
  2. What Jesus has done
  3. What he is continually doing for me – His miracles, teachings, sufferings, trials, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Second Coming, glorification.

Time is short, but please:

  1. Examine yourselves
  2. Meditate on Jesus (all he is, does, has done, will do, will be)

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 28 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Love Never Calculates! (Matthew 26:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Love Never Calculates! (Matthew 26:1-13)

06.28.2015

06.28.2015-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Sermon Notes

Love Never Calculates!

Matthew 26:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

The Plot Against Jesus
26:2-5pp — Mk 14:1,2; Lk 22:1,2

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away–and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
26:6-13pp — Mk 14:3-9 26:6-13Ref — Lk 7:37,38; Jn 12:1-8

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”


 

As we know, things are now moving to a climax.

Stages in chp 26:

  1. Bethany – worship vs. waste
  2. Upper room (next time) – faithfulness vs. betrayal
  3. Gethsemane (final prayer of Jesus) – submission vs. resistance

This is the beginning of the Last Act in this Divine Tragedy. Jesus makes it clear that his purpose = the cross.

v. 2 “all these things” = his teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven (chp 23, 24, 25)

The Passover – two days away – the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.

Jesus was never surprised by the coming inevitability of his death.

“The Son of Man” (referencing himself)

  • “came not to be served but to serve”
  • “no one can take my life from me – I lay it down of my own accord – I do it freely and I have authority to take it up again”

The story of Passover (Exodus 12) has GREAT significance.

This time commemorated THE night when the angel of death “passed over” the houses of Israelites with the blood of a lamb spread over their doors. The angel killed all the first born of the Egyptians with no blood of the lamb.

After this time, they were released into freedom.

This Passover commemorates (in a 7 day feast “of unleavened bread” – the 7 days following the first day Passover) the sparing of the lives of their first-born sons.

This day is celebrated on the first day of the month of Nissan (the religious calendar). This is the FIRST month in the year. According to our political calendars, this is at the end of March/beginning of April.

This event foreshadows Christ – to save his people from the penalty of sin and death.

  • 1 Corinthians 5:7 “Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb.”

Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch without yeast. Why? Because Jesus, our Passover lamb has been crucified.

v. 6-13 (The story of Bethany)

Very expensive perfume. Do you like perfume? Especially Middle East (very hot) countries like perfume a lot.

Last verse : “Wherever this gospel is preached, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” What does this mean? Jesus says, “Yes, I will keep what she has done for me in my heart until my Second Coming.”

This same story is also written in the other 3 gospels. Mark is almost identical to this, John identifies her name as “Mary.” – the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

This same Mary is found three times in the gospels – in each of the three cases, Mary is “at the feet” of Christ.

  1. Luke 10 – she sat at his feet and listened to his Word
  2. John 11 – she came to his feet in sorrow – burdened by the death of her brother
  3. Matthew 26 – she worshiped at his feet when she anointed his feet with perfume
  • She found blessing at his feet
  • She released her burdens at his feet
  • She brought her greatest things to his feet

From this story, let’s see 4 lessons:

1. Love’s extravagance

Mary took her MOST precious possession and poured it over his feet. Many women at that time LOVED perfume – it was so valuable and expensive and many women carried it in an alabaster jar around their necks.

  • In Mark – “this perfume could be sold for more than ONE YEAR’S wages”
  • In John – Judas said, “this perfume was worth one year’s wages” = 300 denarii
  • In the feeding of 5000 adult men (plus women and children) with 2 bread and 5 fish? Philip said, “We need 200 denarii to feed these people”

Mary gave her MOST precious possession simply because she loved and worshiped Christ. If she had had something EVEN GREATER than this, she would have sacrificed it with the same love.

“True love never calculates – it never counts the cost” – have you ever loved someone with this kind of agape love?

Love never counts how little it can give – it gives ALL it can give and then thinks that it is still giving too LITTLE. It still wants to give a little more.

Yes, God our Father is like this.

He already gave his BEST – Jesus, his one and only Son and STILL he is giving us, and he wants to give MORE.

  • Romans 8:32 “God, who did not spare his own Son and gave him up for us all, how will he not also graciously give us all things?”
  • “Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.”
  • Jesus asks us personally, individually, privately, “do you love me?”

2. There are times when the “common sense” view of things fails

Do you have “common sense”? Yes. We must all have “common sense” in these things. In this occasion, “common sense” says, “What a waste.” Yes, according to “common sense” this is a BIG waste, a stupid and foolish action.

But we must know that there is a WORLD of difference between the economies of “common sense” and “love”.

A gift is never a gift truly when we can easily afford it. A gift is only ever a gift when there is sacrifice behind it.

Do you remember the story of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15?

A man had 100 sheep and lost one. What does common sense tell you to do? Worldly economics seems to tell us to FOCUS on the other 99 to not lose any more. Leaving them in order to search out ONE lost sheep – this is not common sense. This seems foolish, stupid, and MORE dangerous.

At that time, we individually were LOST – we were that ONE.

If God treated us in that “common sense” manner… God would not have come to save us by his absolute grace by allowing his one and only Son to die on the cross.

3. Certain things must be done when the opportunity arises or they cannot be done at all

v. 9 This is not said for the sake of the POOR truly, but rather for the sake of the MONEY – their own jealousy and selfishness.

Jesus says, “OK, the poor will always be here, but I will not.” (Remember last week – Jesus strongly commanded us to help the poor – last week he emphasized that helping the poor IS actually helping him).

His point is: there are some things in this world that we can do ANYTIME (if) we want. But, there are some things that we can only do ONCE – only at the particular time, and if we do not, we will miss the opportunity. The time will NEVER return. So, we must be wise to discern this matter.

What are those things?

As you know, in this story, Judas was the first man to shout “What a waste!” (he was the money keeper, the treasurer – he loved money). Later, Jesus called him “The son of perdition” – “the son of waste” – “the son of damnation.”

Judas wasted his opportunities, his life, his soul.

If we do not waste our lives for Christ, we will waste our lives, our time, our opportunities, and maybe our souls. To waste our lives for Christ is the only best way to GAIN our lives in eternity.

4. The fragrance of lovely deeds lasts forever

(v. 13) This is the will of Christ “I WILL remember – memorize – keep in my heart – until my Second Coming.”

There are so FEW lovely things that even ONE thing shines like a bright light in a dark world.

We can picture what will happen to Christ in the near future. There was so much bitterness at the end of Christ’s life in this world – so much injustice, etc – that THIS story shines like an oasis of light in a darkening world.

  • Daniel 12:3 “Those who lead many people to righteousness (Jesus Christ, our Lord) will shine like the stars in the sky forever and ever”
  • 1 Cor 10:13 “Jesus Christ is our sanctification, righteousness…etc”

In our application: your actions, my actions, our actions, – our effort to lead people to righteousness (Christ) will shine in God’s heart as the MOST precious, shining light.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 21 / 2015
  • Comments Off on True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)

06.21.2015

06.21.2015-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Sermon Notes

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds

Matthew 25:31-46 (Pastor Heo)

What is the difference between sermon and testimony?

  • Same: subject = Christ
  • Different: material
  • Testimony = personal experience + Word of God
  • Sermon = Word of God

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


 

There are 6 items (v. 35-36)

Conclusion is:
Eternal life in heaven for those who believe in Christ

OR Eternal death and torment in hell for those who do not believe

Last Sunday: faithful/unfaithful

  1. What has God given you?
  2. What are you doing with what God gave you?
  3. What do you believe about your Lord?
  4. What do you think God will say about you at the Judgment?

Today, the sheep and goats.

Yes, originally, Jesus came as the most powerless – a baby.

In his Second Coming, he will come as the most powerful – the reigning King over all the earth and all time.

  • ALL the angels with him –
  • ALL the nations before him –
  • He will separate the people one from another
  • Believer/non, Saved/lost, Christian/non, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Jesus used sheep vs. goats to picture the difference between Christians and not.

  • During the day, sheep and goats graze together. But at night, they are separated.
  • During the growing season, weeds and wheat are grown together. But at the harvest they are separated.

Likewise, in life, the “sheep” and “goats” work together and play together in the same place, even the same church, but at the Judgment, we will be separated.

At the Judgment, he will say to the righteous, “Come and partake of the inheritance that has been prepared for you…”

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Likewise, the opposite is also true for the unrighteous.

From this story, one thing we must NOT be confused by: it seems to teach salvation by good works – not so! There is NO salvation by good works – nobody at any time was ever saved by good works. The OT saints were saved by faith, the NT saints were saved by faith in Christ. We are being saved by faith in Christ. There is no gospel of “DO GOOD.” Yes, we must do good, but this is not the gospel.

Romans? “It is only by grace you have been saved by faith so that no one can boast – this not of yourselves, but it is a gift of God.”

  1. Habakkuk 2
  2. Romans 11
  3. Corinthians? Colossians?
  4. Hebrews 10:38 

All say the same thing, “The righteous will live by FAITH!”

This story is not teaching “salvation by works” but “EVIDENCE of salvation by works.”

You know a tree by its fruit. Likewise, you know genuine salvation by its works.

When we compare two judicial sentences (34, 41)

  1. One for believers (righteous)
  2. One for left siders (unrighteous)
  • v. 34: “’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for tyou since the creation of the world.”
  • v. 41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

What’s the difference?

The righteous = blessed by Father God

  1. v. 41 is NOT cursed “by my Father” – just “cursed” – God does not want to curse anyone
  2. v. 34 = inheritance (by birth) – this kingdom prepared for YOU since the creation of the world
  3. v. 41 = this kingdom prepared for the DEVIL
  4. The fire was NOT prepared for YOU

There is no evidence from Scripture that says that God predestines sinners to go to hell. (send to Twitter)

But, if sinners do not repent and believe in Christ, that’s where they’ll end up.

There are 4 lessons here.

1. God will judge us according to our ACTION in response to human needs (our HELP). He does not judge us according to our KNOWLEDGE, reputation, fortune, degrees, etc.

Remember Revelation 22: “Behold I am coming soon! I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

2. There are certain things we must know about the HELP we must give.

It must be help in SMALL things.

You know the things here that Jesus picks out are things that ANYBODY can do.

6 items:

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Imagine these 6 items is NOT a big “give a million dollars” kind of thing – this list describes acts of mercy that we can do EVERY day in our EVERY day lives.

This does not depend on being wealthy, ability, nor intelligence. No special talent is needed. This is a VERY simple action – just to help others (the Golden Rule). Jesus demands our PERSONAL involvement in helping others.

Jesus actually repeated this list of 6 items FOUR times – this shows how important it is as a guideline (not exhaustive) to lead our lives.

3. These deeds were uncounted.

Both the righteous and unrighteous were surprised by what the did or did not do.

The righteous did not think they were helping Christ and piling up eternal reward. They simply, naturally helped because they had a loving heart. Their motive was NOT reward, but sacrificial reward – this was just an ordinary, daily, instinctive lifestyle. This was not a “special” event.

The unrighteous reaction was the same “Really? When? How?” This was in self-defense. “Oh Lord, of COURSE I would have helped if I KNEW it was you. But at that time, I thought that person was just a regular old guy.” Remember, if we help for popularity or publicity, this is NOT true help – not generosity.

The help which wins the real approval of God is “help for nothing but the sake of helping itself.”

4. Jesus confronts us with the wonderful truth that ALL such help given in this way is given to himself. At the same time, ALL such help NOT given is help that is withdrawn from him.

If you are parents, it is not difficult to understand this.

  • If somebody helps my son, his help for my son is helping me – if I’m a good father to my son.

Our God is the BEST Father, the greatest Father. To delight the heart of God is to help his children. So, today, around us, who are God’s children?

Narrow meaning and wide meaning.

  1. Narrowly = only believers in Christ – this is the only way we become adoptees into his household and inheritance in his Kingdom (John 1:12-13 “To all those who believed, he gave the right to become children of God.”)
  2. Widely = all people on earth – God is Creator, the Father of ALL – all people are made in his likeness. (Ephesians 4 “Our God is one God who is above all, in all, through all.”)

God gives his sunshine to ALL without finding fault – to sinners and believers alike. He is gracious, compassionate, merciful, generous to ALL. So, we also must develop this kind of heart so that these actions flow naturally and normally from our regular lives.

Yes, we know, just giving a drink is a VERY small gesture of care and concern – but build that up over time (i.e. compound interest style) – and it makes a HUGE difference. God is CHANGING you from selfishness into the likeness of his Son.

Remember: Whatever we do for others demonstrates what we TRULY believe about Christ.

How are we different from pretenders? Where is your final destination?

“Be reconciled to God” by believing and trusting in Christ and helping others.

**Colossians 3:23 “In whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 14 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Four Questions (Matthew 25:14-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Four Questions (Matthew 25:14-30)

06.14.2015

06.14.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Four Questions

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Matthew 25:14-30 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Talents

25:14-30Ref — Lk 19:12-27

14 “Again, it will be [Secondly, the Kingdom of God will be] like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 

16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 

22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 

24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 

28 ” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


 

Today’s story is known well by most people as the parable of the Talents (today that means special ability or skill – but the English word came from Greek “talento” that means BIG money.) Talents at that time were the BIGGEST unit of money. One talent = 6,000 denarii / 1 denarius = daily wage of an ordinary man, SO… 1 talent = 20 years wages of an ordinary man. (So 5 talents = 100 years wages…)

Previously, we saw in the other parable we must keep watch because we don’t know the day nor hour that Jesus will come back.

  • Last week: foolish or wise.
  • This week: diligent or lazy / faithful or unfaithful

Are you diligent for the KOH? Or lazy?

The KOH is like a master going on a long journey, who gave talents to his servants before he left – each according to their ability.

  1. The one with 5 worked hard and gained 5 more.
  2. The one with 2 worked hard and gained 2 more.
  3. The one with 1 buried it – no gain, no loss.

After a LONG time, the master returns and calls his servants to see what they did with the money he gave them.

  1. 5 + 5 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
  2. 2 + 2 = “Good, well done – you’ve been faithful with a little, prepare for more jobs”
  3. 1 ~~ “I did nothing. Here is your talent.”
    “WHAT!? So wicked, evil, and lazy! Give this to the one with 10, throw this one into the darkness!”

From this story, here are 4 lessons/questions.

(Today’s sermon title is “4 Questions”)

1. Talents = Do you have talents? Gifts?

Ex: The salvation God gives by his grace on the death and resurrection of Christ is the SAME. The salvation that Abraham received is the same as the one the mature Christian receives, the same a baby Christian receives, the same a pastor receives. But, in the matter of gifts, there is a difference.

  • 1 Cor 12 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the one same Spirit, different services, different working, but the same God works in all of them.”
  • Romans 12 “We all have different gifts according to the grace given to us. Whatever the gift, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Whether giving, leadership, showing mercy, etc.”

Imagine,

  1. If ONE talent were given to a man who had much ability, he would be disgraced.
  2. If FIVE talents were given to one with minimal ability, he would be destroyed by the heavy burden.

So,

  1. FIVE were given to the one with the most ability –
  2. TWO to the one with average ability –
  3. ONE to the one with minimal ability.

God knows us all and knows which gifts are best for his glory and our benefit.

The fact that God gives different gifts does not mean he shows favoritism. Rather, he recognizes all human beings as unique individuals and gives talents in proportion to their ability.

Q 1: What has God given to you as a gift?

Think over this for a while. Do you have salvation? Yes, generally speaking, salvation is the gift of gifts – given by his grace freely. Do you have the love of God? This is a gift given to you. Do you have assurance of salvation, assurance of forgiveness? Family? Children? Time? Material? What a treasure – these are all talents! Money? Money is a gift from God as well.

Q 1: What has God given you and me?

Can you count the number of items God has given you?

2. Lesson from the two faithful servants

  1. One = 5 talents + 5 talents = 10 total
  2. Second = 2 talents + 2 talents = 4 total

In the final account with their master, they received exactly the same commendation and reward “Well done, good and faithful servant~”

“I will put you in charge of (make you ruler over) many things.”

God never demands from us what we do not have. BUT, he does require us to use to the FULL what we do have.

  • We can be different in talents, but equal in effort.
  • We can be different in talents, but equal in the eyes of God.

What does not matter is the PORTION of our talents, but the PROPORTION of how we use what we have.

The reward they received was even greater responsibility – more jobs – more work.

Responsibility = reward = blessing.

Do you want rest? Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”

Rest is NOT joblessness – but rather doing something diligently with joy and happiness. Doing something for the glory of God for the benefit of others. Do you have a sense of responsibility for others?

If you feel responsibility, this is a REWARD for your faith.

Q 2: What are you DOING with what God has given to you?

Do you have salvation as the gift of gifts? If so… what are you doing with it? Do you experience the love of God in your heart? Then what are you doing with it? Do you have peace? Then what are you doing with it? What are you doing with your life? Time? Car? Good relationships? Money?

Q 2: What am I doing with what God has given me as a gift?

3: From the third (bad, wicked – do you think so?) servant

In a sense, it seems he was half OK – no gain, but no loss. He did keep that ONE talent VERY safely – he didn’t waste it for a bad purpose, for his sinful pleasure – for gambling or drinking. He saved it – just buried it.

At that time, in Jesus’ time, the best way to keep something valuable safely for a long time was to bury it under the ground. (For us today, put it in the bank?)

OK – no gain, no loss. But Jesus was SO angry, so sad – the master said, “You are wicked and lazy!”

What was it that made the Lord so angry, so sad? What do you think was the problem with this servant?

Was his problem just receiving the ONE talent? No, if he’d worked hard and gained just ONE more, he’d have received the SAME reward.

The problem was the third servant’s misunderstanding about his master.

He thought his master was a hard man (yes, Jesus, our Lord is our master – do you think he is harsh? unmerciful? stern?) and exploited the labor of others – reaping where he has not sown seed. He misunderstood about his master. This misunderstanding made him fearful and afraid of his master – because he was so afraid that he might FAIL, he never even tried to SUCCEED. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his “bad” master.

Maybe he wanted a vacation, a holiday because his master went far away. Because his master entrusted him with one talent to do work, he thought his master was harsh.

Yes, even us today, some Christians think, “Oh no, IF I commit my life to Christ more and more, maybe he’ll want me to go to some harsh tribe in another country and die a martyr….” We think “the more dedication to Christ, the more suffering in this life.” This is thinking that Christ is a harsh master. (Actually, the opposite is true – Christ is SO good that he died on the cross for our lives to give us wonderful abundant life.)

We sing songs, “God is good all the time” yes, he is the ultimate standard of goodness – so ALL he does is GOOD whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not.

  1. If we think and believe that Christ is GOOD – then his goodness will be GOOD to us – through our experience.
  2. But, if we think that he is HARSH, then his goodness will be HARSH in our eyes.

Q 3: What do you think/believe of your Lord Jesus Christ?

What do you believe in your heart? How does your experience look?

4: How we should be in our attitude in our Christian life.

It LOOKS like a Christian inside is thrown outside when the Judgment comes. Yes, we need assurance of salvation – but ultimately speaking, salvation depends on God alone. Once salvation, it can never be lost if it is TRUE salvation – but we are not “safe.” There is no security apart from Christ (”Apart from me, you can do nothing.”)

Only Christ saves us. So we must depend on him alone, rest on him alone. But remember, this security we enjoy in God’s promises should not make us presumptuous / proud – please don’t become “cocky” with God – don’t ASSUME that God MUST let us in. We have no right to demand that he let us in.

We must live each day in our lives believing in his promises and dedicating our time and talents and wisdom and money to his work – and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, witnessing to the lost, being generous to the poor and needy.

We must make choices that please God.

  • Remember, everything we have, not only visible but also invisible – is not really ours.
  • “You are not your own, you were bought at a price – therefore honor God with your body.”
  • We are not OWNERS, we are just CARETAKERS (stewards).

Q 4: What will Jesus say to you and me when we stand before him face to face in the Final Judgment?

What will he say to us personally, individually?

There are two categories:

  1. Well done, good and faithful servant! You’ve been good with small things, now I’ll give you more. Come and share your master’s happiness.”
  2. Well then, you wicked and lazy servant! Go into the darkness!”

“Well done, good and faithful!”

May God bless all of us with this final reward and commendation that it may fall on each of us in the Last Day.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 07 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Foolish or Wise? (Matthew 25:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Foolish or Wise? (Matthew 25:1-13)

06.07.2015

06.07.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Foolish or Wise?

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Matthew 25:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 

9 ” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.


 

We must be watchful, vigilant.

As we know, our Lord is the greatest story teller, this is one of the last stories he told before his crucifixion. In this chapter, he tells 3 stories:

  1. The 10 Virgins
  2. The Talents
  3. The Sheep and the Gold?

Jesus is COMING – this is certain. Surely, suddenly, unexpectedly, he will come. How is he coming?

  1. Bridegroom
  2. Lord and Master
  3. King and Judge

These three stories clarify further what it means to be vigilant and ready for his return.

The emphasis:

  1. Everyone is responsible for his OWN spiritual condition. How is your personal spiritual condition?
  2. The need to use WELL what God has entrusted us with – use your gifts and talents well for his kingdom.
  3. The importance of serving others in need.

No one parable by itself completely describes our preparation – each one presents one part of our preparation.

This is the first Parable – verse-by-verse.

This parable of the wedding shows the need for readiness. In that time, the wedding customs differed between different cities, but EVERY wedding included a ceremony of the bridegroom before the house of the bride.

Every wedding had a celebration and party after dark. The bride would be accompanied with lamps to the bridegroom’s house for this feast. In this parable, the virgins are unmarried bridesmaids. They were going out to receive the bridegroom who was coming to the bride’s house to join this procession back to his house for the wedding feast. All this happened after dark. At that time, there were no street lights, so lamps were important to light the way (torches). So, everybody was required to carry his/her own torch at that time. People without lamps were considered party crashers – uninvited guests.

5 were foolish, 5 were wise – are you foolish or wise?

  • Foolish = lamps but no oil = unprepared – if their lamps were going low, they could not feed the fire further
  • Wise = lamps + jars of oil = prepared – they could keep their lights on ALL night
  • Foolish = unprepared
  • Wise = prepared

In this case, it does not mean 1/2 of the world will be saved and half will not, it merely clarifies that there are TWO categories – believers in Christ (saved), or non-believers (lost)

v. 5-7

During the long wait, all the virgins became drowsy and fell asleep. But, this was not criticized because both the wise and foolish slept together. “Sleep” merely means they waited a LOOOOONG time – (yes, the Second Coming of Christ will be a LONGER wait than anyone expected). The difference is that one group has prepared, made preparations and the other group has not.

Suddenly, midnight, the cry! “He’s here!”

The torches were usually made with rags soaked in oil.

  • Foolish = realized that their torches were going to burn out and realized that they needed more oil to raise their lamps higher – they asked the wise
  • Wise = “No” they didn’t have enough to share – this is not selfishness, rather a simple realization that if they were to share, ALL torches would become weak and they wouldn’t have enough light for the wedding procession.

This suggestion to go to the dealer to buy oil was unusual. If there was a small village or town, the oil would be sold until midnight.

Jesus continued the story…

While the foolish were off preparing for his arrival, the bridegroom already came and the door was shut.

The central focus of this parable is: “and then the door was shut…”

Jesus point is: “to be late, not ready at the right time = to lose ALL, to miss ALL completely…”

Yes, they came later with much oil and said, “Lord, Lord!” but he said, “Truly, I say to you, ‘I don’t know you.’” Those who are outside will have no more opportunity to be let in. And you will not know the day nor the hour. So, his true followers must be ready and keep watch – because he will come when we least expect. Yes, he will delay longer than we wish or expect.

So, what lesson can we get? There are TWO meanings: Local, immediate – wide, universal.

  1. 1. Local, immediate meaning = directed against Israel. They were the chosen people of God, so their whole lives should have been preparing for Jesus’ first arrival – but they were totally unprepared and therefore shut out until today. The unpreparedness of Israel is the tragedy of the Jews until today.
  2. 2. Wide, universal meaning = TWO meanings

Universal meaning #1

1. We must remember there are certain things we cannot obtain/prepare at the last minute. Yes, it is TOO late for a student to prepare for an exam on the day of the exam. It is too late to obtain a skill or character trait if we already don’t possess it, when a certain task demands that from us. It is too late to be saved if we are not already saved when Jesus comes again or when we leave this world.

TOO LATE is the greatest tragedy. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.” Up to the day Noah entered the ark, they never knew what would happen to them until the flood came to destroy them all – this is how it will be in the Second Coming of Jesus. Yes, he will come SO suddenly, quickly, in the blink of an eye that there will be NO CHANCE for last minute repenting/bargaining. So, we must ask TODAY to follow Christ – to serve him more diligently and sincerely.

Universal meaning #2

2. We must remember there are certain things that we cannot borrow/prepare at the last minute. Yes, we can borrow money from others, but not character. We can borrow information but not health. We can borrow ideas and knowledge but not a relationship with God. Our personal relationship with God must be OUR personal relationship with God – not someone else’s. No one can rely on anyone else.

Yes, we are one family in Christ so we can/must edify, build up, love and serve each other, but we can never lend or borrow our personal relationship with God for someone’s salvation.

Another point:

There are foolish and wise – but this does not say “the wise are sitting in church” or “the foolish are sitting outside the church” – actually, they are fully MIXED together.

They were virgins, bridesmaids, wearing a uniform, wanting to meet the bridegroom earnestly, sincerely – both wanted to go – both took their lamps. In these days, we may not be able to distinguish the foolish from the wise in the same church, the same place, doing the same thing.

There is only ONE (not two) difference between the foolish and the wise. This ONE difference makes ALL the difference:

OIL

Crucial point: do you have your oil in your lamps? Do you have oil in your lamps? Oil is invisible, lamp is visible. Oil is contents, lamp is container.

Oil may be many things, but according to Jesus’ teaching – OIL = the Holy Spirit + the Word of God. Without these it is impossible to have REAL salvation, REAL regeneration, REAL rebirth. (John 3? Nicodemus – “unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”)

Bible says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is my Lord’ except by the ministry and empowering of the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, only ONE material – OIL – makes ALL the difference. Outwardly, oil looks very simple – not complicated. Then, in oil there is every element needed to make fire burning continually. Yes, our faith, our belief and confession, “Jesus is my Savior and Lord and King” – this is short and simple – very easy to say right? But if we truly believe and confess from our hearts, in this one sentence (let’s say it together)

“Jesus is my Savior, Lord, King, and God”

In this one simple sentence there is ALL that is needed for our salvation, regeneration, and blessing in this life and the life to come.

Jesus “If anyone hears my Word and obeys it, he is a wise man who built his house upon the ROCK – the winds came and the rains beat down and the house stood. But anyone who hears my Word and does NOT obey it, is like a man who built his house on the sand – the winds came, the rains beat down and the house FELL with a terrible CRASH.”

Are you wise or foolish? Be watchful, waitful, careful. Jesus is coming all of a sudden in the blink of an eye. Are you ready to receive Jesus Christ? If we are not ready today, it may be too late.

Let’s pray.

  • May 31 / 2015
  • Comments Off on And Then THE END Will Come (Matthew 24:14)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

And Then THE END Will Come (Matthew 24:14)

05.31.2015

05.31.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

And then THE END will come!

Download Notes in an .RTF file

Matthew 24:14 (Pastor Heo)

And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then THE END will come.


 

This verse is the KEY verse of this whole chapter. I challenge you to memorize this verse in your mind, heart, and actions.

“And then THE END will come” = “And then I will come” – someday Jesus will come back bodily so that every eye can see him.

Last time, we studied about the “Last Days” – from the Fall of Adam (Genesis 3) was the Beginning of the Last Days and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the End of the Last Days. There were many horrors in the Last Days: love of money, self, pleasure, false Christs and prophets, wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, droughts, famines, etc.

This verse is the sign of all signs of the Last Days. The End is not yet – all the other signs.

This sign = the End is coming.

Jesus says, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” The only way is to FOCUS our eyes and thoughts on Jesus Christ. There is no Savior outside the Bible. Whenever we look for signs outside the Bible, we become very susceptible to deception.

Another only sure way to prepare the Last Days is to preach the gospel to all nations.

Here is one question for us all to ponder: What is the most rewarding, best thing, we can do in this world but cannot do in the next world any longer? What is the most important thing we cannot do in heaven? Do you want to live a truly meaningful life?

The answer is: I cannot be an evangelist in heaven.

You may have not thought of this answer before, but to share our faith, our testimony with non-believers is the #1 thing we can do on earth that we will not be able to do in heaven. How are you doing? When was the last time you told someone about Christ?

The truth is, God has chosen us to preach the gospel in this world. Is it any wonder why more people are NOT becoming Christians? If we do not do our best, if we neglect to make the most of every opportunity to share our faith with others, they have no chance to hear the gospel, nor make a decision for Christ, they will die in their sins, and be separated from God in eternity in a very real place of torment: Hell.

Maybe you think: I have no gift of evangelism, so isn’t it OK for me to defer this task of evangelism to those who do?

Yes, some are gifted in evangelism, but this doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. The Great Commission is to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

The first step in this is to make a decision that Jesus is our Savior, the Creator, and God.

In this short verse: 14 – the keywords are plentiful.

EACH word is a keyword.

“This gospel of the kingdom…”

The term gospel = “good news” – we are familiar with this – but the full meaning of this is “good news of great joy for all people for all time.” This gospel word is used in various ways. The first four books of the New Testament are called “Gospels according to…” – and of course the whole Bible is God’s gospel to humanity – all the revelation of God to his Creation is “gospel” – human history, revelation, human consciousness, etc. This is a very broad definition.

More narrowly, the death and resurrection of Christ is the more focused gospel “good news” message.

Yes, there are many ways to the United Kingdom, but only ONE way to the Heavenly Kingdom. Only through Christ.

Yes, there are many remedies for physical sicknesses, but the only remedy for sin is Jesus Christ.

  • 1 John 1:7 “The blood of Christ covers us.”
  • 1 John 2:2 “Jesus is our atoning sacrifice – for the whole world.”
  • John 3:16 “God so loved the world…”
  • John “God demonstrated his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…”
  • “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved.”

This is the gospel message of Heaven.

What is your decision for Christ? This is the most serious and vital question we must solve. Our decision for Christ decides our eternity.

Hebrews 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

No matter how beautiful a bridge may look, we do not build our house on that bridge. Bridges are for us to pass by. Don’t build your house on that bridge – this is life in this world.

James 4:14 “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Your life in this world is an opportunity to make a decision for Christ – your decision in this life determines how you will be in the next world. This is the heart of the gospel message of heaven.

“…all nations…”

  • Mark 16:14 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all Creation because God wants ALL to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”
  • “God is not slow in delivering on his promises, but he wants ALL to come to repentance in Jesus Christ.”

In this sentence, “nation” does not count “countries” divided politically by lines. I did not count, but I heard there are 206 countries divided on this earth. Within these countries, there are the same people groups sharing ethnic culture and languages.

… Winter – from US – mysiologically? Indonesia has more than 780 nations. China has over 500 nations. Bangaladesh, Pakistan 400, Nepal 350?

Why is it so difficult to be an evangelist?

Yes, there are many obstacles that get in the way – but here are TWO and how to overcome these obstacles:

#1: Lack of knowledge barrier

This is when we THINK we do not know enough about the Bible or theology to effectively answer people’s questions.

Answer: FOCUS our witnessing opportunities on JESUS and his divinity.

How many times did you hear someone say: “OK I believe Jesus lived 2000 years ago. I know he was a good man, a good moral teacher, a good prophet. But I NEVER believe he was God, NOR that he said he was God.”?

But the truth is that Jesus DID claim to be God – there are many examples in the Book of John – one day he asked the Jews why they were about to stone him – “for which of these miracles from heaven do you stone me?” – “Not for these miracles, but because you, a mere man, claim to be God – blasphemy!” We can see how the Bible uses Jesus’ personal testimony as a tool for evangelism.

When a person is faced with evidence of Jesus divine stature and sees it with their own eyes, they MUST make a decision.

This is the quickest, shortest means for getting to the heart of the gospel message.

  • 2 Cor 4:5 “We do not preach, but Christ in us preaches.”
  • 1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

#2: Fear barrier

Are you afraid of rejection? And persecution? Please remember, if you receive persecution because of your evangelism activity, BE JOYFUL! because Jesus says (Matthew 5) “Blessed are you when people persecute you because of me, for great is your reward in heaven.”

Actually, how can we NOT receive ANY persecution in this world because of Christ?

Remember, our job is NOT conversion.

Our job is just to SCATTER seed – the seed of truth that reveals the character and deity of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us on the cross.

Bible says,

  1. “God is pleased through the foolishness of what was preaching for the harvest?”
  2. “One sows, another reaps.”

Even Paul (the greatest evangelist in history) did NOT say, “Yup, that was me. I did that. I converted that guy.” Rather he said, “I just planted the seed. Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything. It is only God who makes something grow.” (Eph?)

The foolishness of God is more powerful than the strength of human beings.

Remember, an evangelist’s life can NEVER be fruitless. It can NEVER be a failure. But, a fruitless evangelist’s life is MORE fruitful than a fruitful businessman’s life in the eternal perspective.

If you fail as an evangelist, you are more fruitful (eternally) than a successful businessman.

This is not to say “don’t go into business” but the point is, if we are truly born again Christians, no matter what secular job we have in this world, we REMAIN in this world as an evangelist.

Are you a businessman? You are businessman evangelist. Are you a teacher? You are a teacher evangelist….

  1. Evangelists are the world’s history leading heroes.
  2. Evangelists are the world’s leading heroes throughout history.

The Bible closes with a last verse: Rev. 22:25 “He who testifies to these things, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ ‘AMEN.’”

Jesus Christ, the author of history is tuning, arranging his Second Coming’s schedule based on the activity of his evangelists.

Let us shout and proclaim this verse together:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then THE END will come.

Do you believe this?

Let’s pray.

  • May 17 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Jesus Tells About the Future (Matthew 24:1-13)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Tells About the Future (Matthew 24:1-13)

05.17.2015

05.17.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Jesus Tells About the Future

Matthew 24:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

Signs of the End of the Age

24:1-51pp — Mk 13:1-37; Lk 21:5-36

1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.


 

The last verse says, “he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Truly, the saved will stand firm to the end.)

Jesus tells about the future –

  1. the very near future,
  2. a little farther,
  3. and the far future.

This was spoken on the Tues, or Wed of the week before his crucifixion.

This was Jesus’ last visit to the temple area. After this, Jesus would do no more preaching or public teaching. At this moment, one disciple pointed out the temple buildings remarking on their incredible beauty (Mark 13:1 “One of the disciples said to Jesus, ‘Look teacher! What massive stones and what magnificent buildings!’”) Actually, we don’t know what this temple looked like at that time, but it was considered one of the architectural wonders of its time (this was not Solomon’s temple – which was destroyed in the 7th century BC by the Babylonians). This temple was Ezra’s – rebuilt after the return from Babylon. It was defiled by … and the cleansed by the Macabbees. Then beautified by Herod the Great. So, this temple was incredibly beautiful – but Herod had no care for the Jewish God – he just wanted to build a lasting monument for his dynasty.

Actually, the Jews hated Herod, but were proud of this building – this temple was actually under construction at this time. It wasn’t just one building – but many (possibly similar to one of the palaces in Seoul?). Not only because of the stability of this construction, but also because this was their “show” of God being with them, the Jews were proud of this. However, Jesus saw this as the emptiness of religion.

John – Jesus cleansed the temple – “Destroy this building and I will rebuild it in 3 days” (he spoke of his body – the Lord of the temple is Christ). However, the people said, “It took 46 years to build this – how can you rebuild it in 3 days?”

Jesus said, “not one stone will be left upon another” – this was a SHOCKING and startling statement. This means the temple would be totally and completely destroyed – just like in the days of Jeremiah, this was to be God’s judgment against their turning away from God. Jeremiah had also spoken a prophecy in this same manner “I will destroy Jerusalem.”

Of course long ago Babylon had attacked and LEVELED Babylon – and now Jesus is prophesying the same kind of thing about the temple.

Actually, this happened just a few years later in 70 AD when the Romans attacked it. The Romans fulfilled his prophecy to the letter. Emperor Titus ordered the leveling of the temple as the fire burned around it. So, no part of it remained. Actually, Titus considered this punishment for the Jewish rebellion from 64 AD – 66 AD.

This word of Jesus was both theological and systematic. The sovereign judgment of God was to fall upon the people of Jerusalem – just as had happened once before. They were very shocked by his prophecy.

v. 3

The disciples asked him about this privately – their questions had 2 parts:

  1. When will this happen (destruction of the temple/Jerusalem)? (This part is finished)
  2. When will the Messiah come and reign?

At that time, the disciples expected the Messiah to inaugurate his kingdom. So they wanted a sign. (Please, don’t ask for, look for, want signs – if we are only looking for signs, this is very dangerous according to Christ’s teaching.)

So, Jesus spoke of some near and far events happening before his coming, – without putting them in chronological order. Some are near events, some are far events. One event (the destruction of the temple) has already been fulfilled, and some are yet to come.

To us, this looks like a very LONG time, but to God “one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day” (2? Peter).

“Watch out” – we are living at the edge of the Last Days.

If we are conscious of this, we must WATCH OUT. – so that no one deceives us (false prophets).

There are 4 “many”s here:

  1. Many will come in my name claiming “I am the Christ”
  2. They will deceive many

You know – there is that Scripture in the Bible that says (Acts 1:11: “This same Jesus Christ that has been taken from you will come back in the same way he was taken from you.” Revelation “Jesus will come in the clouds so that every eye will see him.”) – So, actually, we don’t need to wonder “who is the Christ?” because it will be VERY clear at that time.

WATCH OUT that no one deceives you. Remember, whenever we look out for signs, we become susceptible to deception because there are many counterfeit signs around us. When we look, look, look, we eventually find – whether it is truth or not.

Please focus on Christ IN the Bible – not outside the Bible. “Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.” (Hebrews)

Do you understand and agree that we are living in the Last Days? What is the sign of the beginning of the end?

Earthquakes, famines, wars, rumors of wars…

When was the beginning of the Last Days?

Remember, living in South Korea, we often hear of rumors of wars – it’s one of the most dangerous places in the world. “See to it that you are not alarmed – the end is still to come.”

Natural disasters in various places – these are the beginnings of the birth pains.

When was the beginning of the end?

Some may say Jesus crucifixion or resurrection was the beginning of the Last Days, but ACTUALLY, Genesis 3 – the Fall of Man – “original sin” was the BEGINNING of the Last Days.

In Genesis 3, “If you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die.” – Yet, he did not die. He lived up to 930 years old. BUT, the moment he ate of that fruit, he started to die… The moment he ate, he was on the way to death…

Immediately after that chapter, there was war, fighting, hatred between 2 brothers – and the first murder, the ground was cursed (Genesis 4~) – after the Fall of Man, the ground has produced thorns and thistles – there have been natural disasters, floods (Noah), earthquakes, famines (Joseph + Abraham).

You see, after the Fall of the first Man, these are the beginnings of the birth pains (also God told the woman her pain would be increased in giving birth). Yet, no matter how chaotic this world may seem, God is in control.

v. 9

Scary…

If you hate somebody, you are not a good man. But, if you are a good man, you may be persecuted. Since the Fall of Man, human history is like this. All the time, bad men persecute and kill good men. This is the beginning of human history.

Yes, we know that Jesus, the BEST man of good men, was persecuted severely and crucified on the cross for our sins. Thus, the Bible says, “Blessed are the persecuted for righteousness – blessed are you when people curse you and persecute you because of me – in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5)

Yes, please remember, in this world, there is no easy way for discipleship – it not easy to live holy life in this unholy world. There is no easy way to keep us clean in this unclean, defiled world.

Are you persecuted?

Maybe we are not facing INTENSE, life-threatening persecution, but please remember that on this earth, there are MANY Christians around the world BEING intensely persecuted for the faith in Christ. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ – we must pray for them and ask God what we can do to help them. Why? “when one part suffers, every part suffers with it – but when one part benefits, every part benefits with it” (Corinthians?)

v. 10

The Bible encourages us to love God, love our brothers and sisters, love our neighbors, love our enemies. But this world tempts us all the time to “love yourself”, love money, love pleasure.

Tribulation – there WILL be. This chapter is all about Great Tribulation at the Last Days. BUT, please remember, in the spiritual world, TRUTH remains TRUTH, Falsehood remains False.

We must remember all the time, TRUE faith cannot be turned into FALSE faith no matter the circumstances.

The faith turning away because of persecution was FALSE faith at the beginning. False faith at the end was false faith at the beginning. Be encouraged! ANY tribulation and suffering cannot change true faith to false – it merely REVEALS what was originally true or false.

From this last part, we can know that salvation and justification is no escape from the trials and sufferings of this world. Instead, trials help us to come CLOSER to our Lord, and to become MORE like Christ in our character and personality.

“Tribulation” as a word = from Latin “tribulun” – this means a heavy piece of timber (wood) with spikes in it used for stretching the grain – it separated the wheat from the chaff (garbage). As we go through tribulation, trials only PURIFY us and get rid of our chaff. This is the literal meaning of “tribulation.” (So, perhaps we shouldn’t fear this – welcome it?)

We are living in the last days, but we need not fear because God is all the time in control, just, faithful, righteous. Romans 5 “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God and we rejoice in our suffering because it produces patience, character (maturity), and we are NOT disappointed – because God pours out his love through the Holy Spirit whom God has given to us.”

This is why we can be joyful in ANY circumstances we face in this world.

Let’s pray.

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