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  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/our-father-in-heaven

Download Notes in a .MD file

“Our Father in Heaven”

Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)

6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…


The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.

  • I lived in the Philippines,
  • then in the US,
  • then in Panama.

I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.

When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.

I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.

This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.

“Our Father in Heaven”

This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.

#1 “Our Father”

The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.

Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.

When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.

Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.

What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?

  • The son before the father is the most truthful.
  • Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
  • That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.

When is your most truthful time?

  • When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.

The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.

So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.

What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?

“Where are you?”

What had happened?

Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.

This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.

We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.

People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.

  • If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
  • If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
  • If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”

This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.

What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.


[Quick story]

When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.

When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.

Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.

Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”

Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”

My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”

Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.

These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”

My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.

Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.

What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?

This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”

So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.

  • “I am His child.”
  • “We are His children.”

This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.

#2 “Our father in heaven”

Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?

We are all the family of ONE father.

  • My question is: How are we related?
  • Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?

That’s true.

That’s the meaning of the truth.

That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”

So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.

Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)

  1. “Remember who you WERE”
  2. “Remember who you ARE”
  • You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
  • You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
  • You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
  • You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
  • You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.

Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.

We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.

However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.

  • He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
  • He has broken the walls and hostility.

There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.

You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.

Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.

Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.

Mosaic Command

In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:

  1. Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
  2. Widows
  3. Orphans

These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.

In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”

We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.

Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”

We must LOVE one another.


What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?

“Cain, where is your brother.”

He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”

We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”

That’s the third point I want to share with you.

Where’s God?

  • Here.
  • Everywhere.

So, how can this be consistent?

#3 “In Heaven”

How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?

This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.

  • A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
  • There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
  • But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.

So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.

Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”

If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.

I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.

Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.


Water

Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.

My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”

It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.

“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.

Ezekiel 47

“The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”

7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This was to be healing for all nations.

There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.

21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**

Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.

But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.

The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.

But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.

  • We are children of God.
  • We are the family of ONE father.
  • We live in heaven with him.
  • We see as he sees.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 08 / 2018
  • Comments Off on You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You will be my Witness (Acts 1:4-11)

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You Will be my Witness

Acts 1:4-11 (Pastor Heo)

1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


  • In the 4 gospels, we see Jesus’ ministry, death, burial, and resurrection.
  • In Acts, we see Jesus’ ministry from heaven – through his church.

This book shows the spread of the church from predominantly Jewish to predominantly Gentile. It shows the spread of the gospel – beginning in Jerusalem and spreading throughout the Roman Empire.

Key verse: 1:8

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

  • Jerusalem = city evangelization
  • Judea and Samaria = home missions
  • The ends of the earth = world missions

Every Christian has 2 jobs:

  1. Ministry
  2. Mission
  • What is your ministry?
  • What is your mission?
  • What is “ministry”?
  • What is “mission”?

As a born again Christian, ask yourselves:

  • What is MY ministry? 사역
  • What is MY mission? 사명

Let’s make it clear what is ministry and what is mission. Let’s compare and contrast: what’s the same / what’s different?

  • Ministry: We can be different in ministry just as our body parts are all different and each part of the body has its own function.
  • Mission: ONE (Eph “There is one hope, one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God – one MISSION”)

We can enjoy variety in our various ministries, but we must keep unity in our collective mission.

Not everyone is called to be a pastor, choir member, Sunday school teacher, etc.

  • Ministry = service for members INSIDE the church
  • Mission = service for the lost OUTSIDE the church so that they may come in to worship together and confess Jesus as Lord together.

1:8 – This is the final written statement of Christ before his ascension.

“You will be my witnesses.” – this is our mission.

Are you really Jesus’ witnesses in this world? This is our mission.

In this sentence, Jesus doesn’t say, “You will be evangelists, you will be gospel preachers.” Rather, to be a witness = evangelist + something more. This is gospel preaching + something more. This is more than just evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning. WHY?

What is “witnessing” like?

1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

5 Characteristics of Witnessing

#1 WHO can be a witness?

Only the one who personally saw, heard, or experienced. This is one who can say, “I KNOW this is true.” This is not one who says his own feelings or guessing or thinking. He doesn’t say, “maybe, probably, perhaps, hopefully”

No, he says, from his own personal experience, “This is true.”

A witness in court does not give a witness a carried word. The message of a witness is a marvel of simplicity. This is the key message of Christ in this world.

“Jesus is God come in the flesh. He died to pay for our sins. He was resurrected. He lives now in heaven. He calls us to call him Savior and Lord and so receive the forgiveness of sin.”

There is nothing to gain, no system to climb, just a person to accept to receive eternal life.

Do you have this message?

Yes, we witness through our mouths.

#2 Not only WORD, but also DEED

The witness of a witness’ life is irresistible. Our witness should be supported by our subjective testimony. But this witness should also be lived out in our lives: our characteristics, actions, deeds, interactions with others, etc.

Sometimes we can see “before / after” pictures in magazines. Do you have this?

Before Christ / After Christ?

Our testimony of our mouth must be characterized by our lives. It must be satisfied and edified by the Holy Spirit – not only through word but also our deeds. Even though this witness, message, is very simple, it requires a costly commitment from its carriers.

Yes, not only we must witness through our worth, but we must also attract a magnificent compliment. We must be praised by God AND men – in our character, especially as Christians.

#3 The tongue

Legal, court tongue.

Yes, witness = sharing the gospel of Christ – the communication of the gospel message to our neighbors and family members and co-workers. Yes, that is good – we should do it. But, remember, the key word of this book is “witness” – repeated in this book 29 times. The reference to “witness” and “witnessing” are almost ALL in a PUBLIC setting.

This shows a public display.

  • Stephen witnessed before the Sanhedrin.
  • Peter before the people in Jerusalem
  • Paul before the government officials and kings in court

Are you really ready to be a witness for Christ in an open and public place? Yes, they witnessed in a public square. Are you ready to witness in public to your co-workers? Even the President in the blue/white house?

The tongue – the word witness – is basically set in a PUBLIC setting (not private).

#4 Paradox of Shame and Honor

When you witness for Christ, do you feel shamed or honored? (It depends)

What we witness for Christ in this world is not a matter of material / earthly / worldly things. What we witness is a matter of heavenly / spiritual things. So, what we witness for Christ can be rejected, misunderstood, shamed, persecuted.

Yes, Christ willingly took the cross upon him. This was the symbol of the greatest shame. He took this dishonor to give us honor. He took shame and insults to give us grace. He took death to give us life.

So our witnessing can be a shame to us, but our receipt of shame may bring glory to God. Yes, in our own experience of witnessing to the lost of this world, we know it can be very shameful – but in heaven, this is very honorable. It can be stressful, but also exciting.

Witnessing for Christ is a great privilege but also a great responsibility.

The apostles, after witnessing before the Sanhedrin, left rejoicing. Why? Did they receive praise from men? No, they received shame from men for the glory of Christ.

Can you also receive shame in this world for the glory of Christ? If you are a true Christian, you can, but not of your power. You need the Holy Spirit.

#5 (Conclusion) Be ready to die

Witness (in English) = from Greek “martus

From this word, we also have the word “martyr” 순교자

In this sense, “witness” and “martyr” are the same in the root of the language.

Witnesses should be ready to DIE – to be killed for Christ. If we are not ready to be killed for Christ, then we are not witnesses.

In court, if I give a false witness, they may kill me (or jail). Even though I give a right witness in court, if they THINK it’s wrong, they still may kill me (or jail).

We know one day, we ALL must die. There is no exception.

“Once a man is destined to die, and after that to face the judgment.” (Bible)

We all must die one day. So, think of this matter wisely. _IF_ we are to die _once_ – is being a martyr a blessing or a curse? We will _all_ die one day.

  • Starting well is important.
  • Finishing well is _more_ important.
  1. Well-being is important.
  2. Well-dying is _more_ important.

What is a better way to die?

By a car accident, gun man, cancer, natural disaster, suicide, old age, or as a martyr?

Martyr (from the light of eternity) – finishing our lives as a martyr is the best blessing and privilege we can enjoy.

But don’t worry, if we cannot endure this, God does not allow us to become one. But if this will happen, God will provide a super power at that time to die as a martyr. (I also want at the age of 92 – because I need time to support my wife.)

God bless you. Witness is like that.

That’s why I said, “witness is more than evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning.” Because witnessing is like that, we need MORE than human power – the power of the Holy Spirit.

1:8 “You will receive *power* when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”

The key mission of the Holy Spirit:

  • Witnessing for Christ
  • Testifying about Christ

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”

1 Cor 12:3 “Nobody can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, we need power of the Holy Spirit – this includes wisdom, courage, fearlessness, patience, kindness, miracles if need be. It means, we must pray.

“Praying and witnessing go together.”

v. 4 says “Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift my Father promised.”

  • Witness without prayer has no power.
  • Prayer without witness has no purpose.

Why did Jesus not say, “Leave immediately for the world mission movement”? Rather, he said, “Do not leave. Wait.” WHY?

If we look at this carefully, this is a very big challenge to them.

In v. 11, the angel called them “Men of Galilee” – this means they were not from Jerusalem – they were from Galilee. They were countrymen. But Jerusalem was the capital city for Jews. They were low-class, uneducated. But the most elite Jews lived in Jerusalem.

Humanly speaking, they were not comfortable in Jerusalem. It was the most dangerous place for them in the early church.

v. 8 “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the ends of the earth” – this is NOT in order of events, but rather simultaneous movements.

Missionary movements should happen at the same time on earth, all over the earth.

One more thing we should make clear. Sometimes we thing: start at home (easy places) and going to far places (hard places) – no this is not true. Actually for them, Jerusalem (their own back yard) was the most dangerous and the most difficult place to evangelize for them.

  • Jerusalem: Jesus had been crucified in that city and buried. Most people would know this and that he’d been buried very recently. Also, Jerusalem was very strong in their own religion. They thought Christianity was the FIRST enemy against Judaism.
  • Samaria? It was soaked with half Judaism and half paganism.
  • The ends of the earth? They had no idea even where this was. They thought the earth was flat. They had never traveled anywhere even by car.

In their situation, EVERY place was very, very difficult. Also for us today, EVERY place is very, very difficult.

“The god of this age, Satan, has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.”

Remember, even today, there is NO easy place to witness for Christ. But, WE CAN, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • There is nothing impossible with God.
  • Much is impossible with man, but nothing is impossible with God.

v. 9-11

“9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Yes, Christ will come soon – someday – to fulfill his full redemption and to remain in a personal bodily, tangible form in a specific place in this world, for all people to see. But what is to fill the gap before he comes? World-wide mission and evangelism of the church.

What is the “body of Christ”? It is multi-national, international community for witnessing for Christ.

Remember, this is the last sentence. This is a comfort, but also a challenge.

Individual Christians and local churches who are NOT committed to world evangelization, are CONTRARY to their identity and purpose as Christians – as witnesses of Christ.

“I’m a witness of Christ.”

“I’m a witness for Christ.”

“I’m a witness by Christ.”

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 01 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Easter Changes Everything (Acts 1:3)
Easter, Sermons

Easter Changes Everything (Acts 1:3)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Easter Changes Everything!

Acts 1:3 (Pastor Heo)

1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

사도행전 1장 3절 “예수님은 고난을 받아 죽으신 후 40일 동안 때때로 제자들에게 나타나 자기가 살아 있다는 확실한 증거를 많이 보여 주시며 하나님의 나라에 관해서 말씀하셨다.”


Christianity is the only religion that boasts of the death of its founder as “Good news of great joy for all the people, eternally.”

Why? Because he is risen from the dead!

Christianity is the only religion that bases its foundation on the resurrection of its founder.

Jesus suffered so much for us. His incarnation in itself is great humiliation, degradation, etc. God became man, creator like creation, infinite being to finite being, perfect to imperfect, righteous to sinner’s status. Imagine, if a KING became a beggar – or if we became animals – how shameful would that be.

God’s becoming a man is much lower than man becoming a cockroach.

“For he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But he made himself in human likeness. Being found in appearance as a man, he became obedient and humble to death – even death on a cross.”

At that time, death on a cross was a VERY dishonorable death. He was despised and rejected by man, “a man of sorrows” – familiar with suffering. The punishment that was meant for us was brought on him and by his wounds we are healed. Each of us has gone astray – turned to our own ways – but God has laid on him the iniquities of us all. (Isaiah 53?)

Remember,

  • Jesus paid the whole price for our salvation. We should pay, but we cannot.
  • Jesus fulfilled all the requirements for our salvation. We should, but cannot.
  • Jesus met all the demands for our sin. We should, but cannot.
  • Jesus received all the penalties of our sin on the cross. We should, but cannot.
  • Jesus suffered all suffering on earth for our sins that we should suffer but cannot.
  • Jesus died the death we should die for our sins.
  • But then he rose again from the death for our salvation and justification, and righteousness.

Romans “He was delivered over to death for our sin, but was raised for our justification.”

He rose again from the dead

After the resurrection, he appeared to them for a period of 40 days. In the Bible, 40 days is a spiritually significant time period for when God wanted to prepare someone for a specific purpose:

  1. Noah – 40 days of flood,
  2. Moses – 40 days on Mt. Sinai,
  3. spies (Caleb, Joshua) – 40 days in Canaan,
  4. Elijah – 40 days of strength from a single meal,
  5. the whole city of Nineveh – 40 days to repent,
  6. Jesus – 40 days fasting in the wilderness before beginning his earthly ministry,
  7. Jesus – 40 days giving convincing proofs of his resurrection – appearing to his disciples many times)

Jesus’ appearances

  1. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene
  2. The other women at the tomb
  3. Peter in Jerusalem
  4. 2 travelers on the road to Emmaus
  5. 10 disciples behind locked doors (minus Thomas)
  6. 11 disciples (including Thomas who had doubted)
  7. 7 disciples while fishing on the Sea of Galilee
  8. 11 disciples on the Mt. of Galilee
  9. 500 people at the same time
  10. James, his brother
  11. To those who saw him ascending into heaven
    • they were the first eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection

Who is a witness?

One who saw with his eyes, heard with his ears, touched with his hand, experienced with his life.

Sometimes you can see signs on the street that say, “We are looking for witnesses of XYZ car accident, etc.”

  • In court, even 1 witness is enough to establish a car accident or murder.
  • 2 are enough for high treason.
  • 3 are enough for the execution of a will.
  • 7 are enough for the execution of an oral will.

Imagine, there were more than 500 eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection at that time. So, we should listen to their witness / testimony.

If someone says, “I’m a witness that there was NO car accident because I, personally, didn’t see it” then he is just foolish. He has no right to become a witness of an accident he didn’t see. He just must be silent in this matter and must listen to the true witnesses if he wants to know what truly happened.

Example:

  • 10 people say, “I say a tiger on the mountain – I saw him yesterday.”
  • 10,000 people say, “No, sorry, I didn’t see him. There must not be one.”

10 vs. 10,000 – whose witness / testimony is trustworthy? Whoever saw the tiger and didn’t get eaten – the 10 people.

These 10 people have the RIGHT to become witnesses of this event because they SAW this event. But 10,000 people have no right to become witnesses of the ABSCENCE of the tiger because they didn’t see it.

Jesus gave many convincing proofs of his appearance. History records that he appeared in bodily form many times after his death and resurrection, proving that he was alive.

His resurrection TOTALLY, COMPLETELY changed their lives.

  • At Jesus’ death – all of them scattered, abandoned, betrayed him – even with a curse. At his death, they were disillusioned, fearful, disappointed – total losers.
  • After seeing the resurrected Christ, they were fearless and risked everything to spread the good news of Christ all over the world. They faced even imprisonment, beatings, sufferings, martyrdom. Yet, they never compromised their mission to preach the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
    • Nobody and nothing could stop them after the resurrection. These men would not have risked (and given up) their lives for something they knew was a lie / fraud. They KNEW he had been raised from the dead because many of them had SEEN him.
    • Many of the early church members were filled with a holy fire and passion to tell others about this event. Even many of the eyewitnesses gave up their lives for their loyalty to the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
    • Would they have sacrificed their lives for what they believed to be untrue? No. They proclaimed the resurrection of Christ at the risk of their lives. The disbelieving disciples believed when they saw the effectiveness, drive, passion of those who had seen him.

We can have confidence in their witness / testimony. 20 centuries later (today) – we can know that we have a faith based on a historical fact.

One of the keywords of ACTS = witness.

In this book, this word appears 29 times – in either verb or noun form. Out of 66 books in the Bible, the word “witness” appears the MOST in this single book.

Please, if you believe in the resurrection of Christ, if you have experienced his resurrection power in your life – changing your attitude, values, interests, purpose, you are a witness of his resurrection. You are TO BE a witness of his resurrection.

Remember, believing and NOT witnessing (keeping silent) is impossible and self-contradictory. If you do not believe in his resurrection, then you have no right to say, “He didn’t rise because I didn’t see and I don’t believe.” Rather, you must keep learning and listening to the testimony of the witnesses of the Word of God.

Jesus ascended into heaven not to leave us, but to be with us always, anytime, anywhere. Jesus went to heaven – not to say, “Goodbye, see you later, live well” – but rather to BE WITH US everywhere, anywhere, all the time, every time – through his Holy Spirit.

Do you not feel that Jesus is still alive and still appearing to you, in the very place where you are? Jesus rose again from the dead and is still alive. Jesus is not the one who was in the past alone, but:

  • HE WAS
  • HE IS
  • HE WILL BE

Are you Christian?

  • Christians are those who carry on the life of Christ in this world though your own lives.
  • We are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

God bless you to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Introduction of Acts (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3)

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The Introduction to Acts

Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.


Acts 1:8 = key verse

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

From today, we will study Acts.

Acts = actions = activity = mission.

God bless all of us to become “people of acts” / “people of action” more than before through the study of this book.

Who can say, “I’m too old to be more active…”

Nobody can say that.

God said to Abram (at age 99), “Be perfect before me.” This means = you must grow, learn, increase continually. There is MUCH room and space for you to grow.

I bless you in the name of Christ that we may become people of “acts” through the study of this book.

Introduction

Let me share 6 things.

  1. Intro, the background
  2. The human author (Luke)
  3. The receiver (Theophilus)
  4. The title
  5. The characteristics and importance
  6. The purpose of this book

In this book, two main characters are Peter (chp 1-12) and Paul (13-28).

Background

The reason we read the first part of Luke and Acts is to show that the two are written by the same person.

Acts is the 2nd volume of the gospel of Luke.

  • Luke 1:3 “..most excellent Theophilus..”
  • Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus…”

These are written in the same fashion, style, with the same language.

Yes, we know the gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus: his birth, life, miracles, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension.

  • Luke: The story of Jesus’ ministry on earth in a physical body
  • Acts: The story of Jesus’ ministry from heaven

Acts begins where Luke leaves off. The two sometimes overlap.

  • Luke closes with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
    • Acts opens with the story of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
  • Luke 24:48 ends with a Great Commission: “you are witnesses of these things.”
    • Acts begins with a Great Commission: “You will receive power…”
  • Luke 24:49 ends with the promise of the Holy Spirit. “…stay in the city until you receive power from on high…”
    • Acts begins with the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is the background of Acts.

The author (Luke)

His name, Luke, appears only 3 times in the New Testament (in the letters of Paul).

  1. Colossians
  2. Phileman 24
  3. 2 Timothy 4:11

He was mentioned by Paul 3 times – introduced as his dear friend, a doctor.

What we know about Luke clearly is that he was a medical doctor, one of Paul’s most valued helpers and most loyal friends. (He was the only person who was with Paul in his last prison – Paul said, “Only Luke is with me…”) He is also the ONLY Gentile author of the New Testament.

The recipient (Theophilus)

These two books were written to “Theophilus”. We don’t know who this is exactly – and his name ONLY appears here at the beginning of Luke and Acts. We only know much about him from church tradition / history.

There are 3 possibilities:

  1. Perhaps not a real name, just a nickname – it might have been very dangerous (persecution) to become a Christian at that time. Actually, this name comes from 2 Greek words:
    • “Theo” = “God”,
    • “Philus” = “Love”
    • So, perhaps Luke wrote to “Love of God” instead of a real name.
  2. Perhaps this IS actually a real name. If so, he may have been a HIGH government official. Luke writes, “most excellent Theophilus” – and this is only reserved for high officials (governors, kings, etc). Perhaps Luke is trying to show him “Christians are nice people, please do not persecute them.”
  3. Third, is more “romantic”. This is based on the fact that Luke is a medical doctor. Doctors once were “low class” in Korea, and also at that time, they were also considered slaves. So, Luke may have been a personal “slave” doctor to Theophilus.
    1. Story goes: Theophilus was very sick, but thanks to Luke’s dedication, he regained health. Theophilus set him free in thanks, and Luke wanted to give him the MOST precious gift he knew: Eternal life in Christ.

Title of the Book

  • “Acts”
  • “Acts of the Apostles”

But this book does not claim to give an exhaustive account of the Acts of the apostles. Only 4 apostles appear in here.

  1. John – but he doesn’t speak.
  2. James – in one sentence was killed by Herod.
  3. Peter – one of the main characters (chp 1-12)
  4. Paul – the other main character (chp 13-28)

This book ACTUALLY should be called:

“The Acts of the Spirit of Christ working in and through his witnesses”

Peter and Paul were not used because they were apostles, but because they were witnesses. God today is not using apostles, but using his witnesses. That’s why Jesus did not say, “You will be my apostles…” rather he said, “You will be my witnesses…”

The importance and characteristics

This book is so important.

As we know, the New Testament has 27 books.

  • There are 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
  • And 1 historical book,
  • 21 epistles, and
  • 1 book of prophecy / revelation.

Jesus’ key concern in his ministry was:

To establish His church in this world.

Matt: “On this rock, I will build my church…” (the “rock” = the faith of his believers)

The church is called the “body of Christ.”

Acts is the ONLY book that gives us actual historical information about where and how the church began. If we did not have this book, we would not KNOW how the church began – we would only be able to guess through the reading of Paul’s letters. So, in a sense, this is the MOST IMPORTANT book in the New Testament.

There are two ways to write history:

  1. Day to day, week to week (journal)
  2. Giving glimpses into significant periods and events (this is the style of Acts)

This is the central book of transitions.

  • In history – from gospels to epistles.
  • From primarily Jews to predominantly Gentiles
  • From the program / kingdom of God to Church

So this book was written to show the development of the church – from primarily Jewish to predominantly Gentile membership.

The purpose

The key verse = Acts 1:8

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

We may study this book EVERY week until we finish the study of this book. We will FOCUS on 1:8 until the conclusion.

At least, we can say 3 things about the purpose of this book:

  1. To commend Christianity to the Roman government at that time
  2. To show that Christianity is for ALL people of every country (not only for Jews – but also for Jews and Gentiles) –
    • At that time, Jews had their own belief that ONLY THEY were God’s chosen people and that God had no use for other nations – but this was a BIG misunderstanding.
      • In chp 7, Stephen made Christianity universal and was killed.
      • Chp 8, preached in Samaria,
      • Chp 10, Cornelius accepted into the church,
      • Chp 11, preached in Antioch,
      • Chp 15, the church made the great decision to receive Gentiles into the church on the same terms as the Jews, Finally, Paul went far and wide to win all kinds of people to Christ.
  3. Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Actually, with this ONE verse, there is MUCH to say. But this time, let me just say ONE point about this key verse.

This conjunction “and” is repeated 3x, and in Greek it means “kai.”

In Greek, this is not in order of procedure. It means: “happening at the same time” (concurrently, simultaneously). This does not mean “Jerusalem first, THEN Judea, THEN…” No, it means “ALL places at the same time.”

Imagine, if this were the last word of Christ on earth. If they had to try to go beyond Jerusalem AFTER they finished FULL evangelization, then they NEVER would have had an opportunity to leave Jerusalem even up to today.

You know in Korea, Western missionaries came over 100 years ago. Imagine, if they had tried to come to Korea AFTER they had finished the full evangelization of their own country, they never would have come.

You know, in Jerusalem today, there are a few Christians, but they still need missionaries to be sent – and we send some.

In Seoul, years ago, I saw a big banner in a church:

“Today Seoul, tomorrow Korea, the next day Asia, after that ALL the world!”

Sounds good? ONLY sounds good. Sounds ambitious, but in actuality, “today” will take forever. If they are faithful to this banner, they will never have an opportunity to go beyond Seoul.

Each day is ONLY today. We cannot meet tomorrow. We can only face today. The coming Monday is “tomorrow” but when we meet it, it becomes “today.”

Please remember, one day, our Lord Jesus will come again in his body to fulfill full redemption and salvation and reign over the world. Question: What will fill the gap between his ascension and second coming? Answer: The worldwide mission of the church. The evangelism activity of individual Christians.

Luke is the story of Jesus’ ministry on earth – the beginning.

3 Kinds of Immortality

  • There is the immortality of “fame” – Jesus has this. His name will never be forgotten.
  • Immortality of “influence” – Jesus (and some others) leave an effect on the world for a long time – Jesus’ influence can never die
  • Immortality of “presence and power” – Jesus left his fame and influence on this earth – but still he is alive and powerful and active on this earth.

Only Christ has immortality of “presence and power.” He is not the one who WAS once in the past. He is the one who IS always, all the time.

  • Therefore, in Matt he says, “And surely I am with you forever, to the very end of the age.”
  • Heb 10:13 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Are you a Christian? Just as this hand cannot be a real hand without being a part of this body, so a real Christian cannot be a real Christian without being a part of church – because “church” is the body of Christ.

Are you a member of the Church?

If you are a member of the body of Christ, then you are called “witnesses of Jesus Christ in this world.”

God bless you to become MORE active: people of “acts” through the study of Acts.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 18 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Glory to God through the Gospel (Romans 16:25-27)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Glory to God through the Gospel (Romans 16:25-27)

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Glory to God through the Gospel

Romans 16:25-27 (Pastor Heo)

16:25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him– 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.


Continue Reading

  • Mar 11 / 2018
  • Comments Off on We are God’s Co-workers (Romans 16:1-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We are God’s Co-workers (Romans 16:1-23)

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We are God’s co-workers

Romans 16:1-23 (Pastor Heo)

16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. 17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.


There were three workers, doing the same thing at the same time, in the same place. But there was a big difference in their attitude / interpretation of what they were doing. Like this : What is YOUR approaching attitude / interpretation of what you’re doing today? What is your interpretation of your job?

Remember: Your own interpretation of your job can make it more meaningful and exciting, or more boring and meaningless to you.

We all have jobs, but what is important = what your own interpretation of your job.

Today is almost the last part of Romans.

Yes, we know Rome was the capital of the empire at that time, just like Jerusalem was the religious center, Rome was the political and economic center of the world. Therefore, it was filled with many internationals – and had potential for great things, or great conflict.

Here, Paul has greeted 26 people by name – and 2 unnamed people. He greeted churches and closed his greetings with the names of 9 people who were with him in Corinth.

These people were varied in their background – male / female, educated / uneducated, rich / poor. So, what is the similarity? They were all Paul’s friends – he was a soul-winner as well as a friend-maker. They were all important to his ministry. Let’s look at a few of them today.

#1 Phoebe (fee – bee)

v. 1-2

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.”

She was a member and deaconess in Cenchrea. According to Acts 18:18, Cenchrea was the place where Paul had his hair cut off as part of a vow he had taken. She delivered this letter to the saints in Rome.

Yes, we know at that time, the Bible was not published in one single volume as we have today. At that time, they were collected in scrolls. This book Romans was probably a very large scroll. So, we must thank Phoebe for her help and prayer and financial support. That’s why her name is first.

#2 Priscilla and Aquila

v. 3-4

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”

Maybe we are familiar with these names. They were a married couple (maybe the lady’s name is first here). Their names appear in the Bible 7 times:

  • Acts 4x
  • Romans 1x
  • 1 Corinthians 1x
  • 1 Timothy 1x

All the time, their names appear together. Even today, this couple are used sometimes (many times) as a good model of a good Christian couple. They were a business couple – tent-makers like Paul. We can guess they were rich.

At first, they were living in Rome (the center of the world at that time). But because of the order of Emperor Claudius, they were expelled from Rome, so they moved to Corinth. There, they met Paul while he was on his second missionary journey. They invited Paul to live with them for a long time, and they became very faithful co-workers with Paul for a long time.

They moved several times after that: Rome, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, etc

Wherever they went, their home became a center of Christian fellowship and service. They opened their home and hearts as a mission base.

Yes, we know in this world there are many institutes – but you know, there are only 2 institutes that GOD himself established.

  1. Home
  2. Church

God’s ideal plan for these is:

  1. Home = small church
  2. Church = big home

Do you believe your home is a church? (Big encouragement).

Home should be like church. Church should be like a home.

  • Church is the place where Jesus dwells as Savior, Lord, Master, King, and God.

Here is a list of 5 questions to determine the state of your home (is it a church?):

  1. Is your home a place where Jesus Christ is recognized, confessed, and proclaimed as Head, Savior, Lord, King, and God?
  2. Are all members of your home Christians? (At least the couple – husband and wife)
  3. Is there regular worship, prayer, Bible reading and study together in your home?
  4. Is your home full of partnership, fellowship, friendship and sharing in / by / for Christ?
  5. Is your home open to others – even the lost – for sharing, offering, providing, evangelizing?

If your answer is “YES” to these questions, then God bless your home as a church. And, if not, God bless your home to BECOME a church.

Let’s see 2 lessons from this greeting story of Paul.

Lesson #1 We must be IN Christ Jesus

“I must be in Christ Jesus.”

“I am in Christ Jesus.”

In this text, there are 11x repeated “in Christ” or “in the Lord.”

  1. v. 2 “…receive her in the Lord…”
  2. v. 3 “…in Christ Jesus.”
  3. v. 7 “…they were in Christ before I was.”
  4. v. 8 “… whom I love in the Lord”
  5. v. 9 “…our fellow worker in Christ”
  6. v. 10 “… approved in Christ”
  7. v. 11 ” who are in the Lord”
  8. v. 12 ” who work hard in the Lord” (x 2)
  9. v. 13 “…chosen in the Lord…”
  10. v. 22 “…greet you in the Lord.”

“In the Lord” is the HEART of Paul’s theology.

So:

  1. What is NOT in Christ?
  2. What IS in Christ?

IN Christ

  • there is no condemnation, no obligation, no fear, no judgment, no penalty, no punishment, no wrath of God
  • there is forgiveness of sins, redemption, deliverance, salvation, freedom, peace, joy, justification, righteousness, holiness, victory, glorification, glory

(2 Cor 5:7 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”)

“In Christ, everything is NEW.”

New position, standing, faith, life.

Practically, what does “in Christ” mean?

4 Points

  1. Meeting Jesus Christ personally, individually, accepting him as Savior and Lord, being united with him in his death and resurrection “Jesus death is mine, his resurrection is mine.” (Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ…”)
  2. Dwelling, staying, remaining IN him and having continual relationship and fellowship with him through prayer, commitment, and full obedience to him (is there this in your life?)
  3. Knowing Jesus more and making him known by testifying and witnessing to others (is there this in your life?)
  4. Becoming more and more continually like Christ in our character, attitudes, purpose, mindset, lifestyle (“Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are IN Christ Jesus…”)

Students are very familiar with examinations. EXAMINE yourself – test yourself. “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you, unless you fail the test?”

Lesson #2: If we are IN Christ, we should be God’s workers

We should do God’s work.

Yes, we work and do something all the time. The question is, are you doing your work or God’s work?

Several times we can see “work” or “workers” repeated:

  1. v. 3 “my fellow workers”
  2. v. 6 “worked”
  3. v. 9 “fellow worker”
  4. v. 12 “work hard, work very hard”
  5. v. 21 “Timothy, my fellow worker”
  6. v. 23 “public works”

If we are in Christ, we should do God’s work. We must be God’s workers (co-workers with each other). God is doing his work through his workers – through all ages. In OT, NT time, and until now, God is doing his work through his workers.

Matt 9 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the Harvest to send workers out into his harvest field.”

Since the beginning of the world, in redemptive history, God did his work through his workers.

  1. The ark – Noah
  2. Feeding the world – Joseph
  3. Delivering people from Egypt – Moses
  4. Felling down the enemy, Goliath – David
  5. Speaking his word – Prophets
  6. Saving the lost – you (and other evangelists)

Yes, Paul was a great man of faith – but he wasn’t a “super man” who did everything himself. He needed co-workers – to provide prayer, financial, emotional support.

He was a friend-maker in the Lord, and partner-maker in the Lord.

Also repeated is “greet” 18x (nearly every verse) and “greeting” 4x.

Church is the body of God, community of believers. It is not simply an organization of people – but it is an organism – with many cells in one body. We need partnership, friendship, loving, support for each other.

  • I need your prayer support, friendship.
  • We all need support from each other.

I’m sure there is SOMETHING you can do – you can make some kind of contribution to make the church the house of God – for maturity and growth and fellowship.

Christian greeting is much more than “hi” and shaking hands. It is welcoming, sharing, and blessing. Especially BLESSING – and feeling and sharing others’ problems and sadness and failure and success, as my own. (Empathy)

Greeting is BLESSING.

Bless as many as possible, as long as you live in this world – greet and bless as many as possible.

Let us take individual time to pray.

Examine yourselves whether you are in Christ or not.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 04 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Paul’s Eagerness to Go to Rome (Romans 15:23-33)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Paul’s Eagerness to Go to Rome (Romans 15:23-33)

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Paul’s Eagerness to go to Rome

Romans 15:23-33 (Pastor Heo)

But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.


v. 24-28

15:24 “I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.”

Paul and his associates received collection money from Gentile Christians in Greece to help the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.

As we know, Christianity began in Jerusalem (historically). Interestingly, (ironically) as a Christian living in Jerusalem was very difficult. Being a Christian and being poor went together in Jerusalem – and it was not accepted well by Jewish authorities – so they had many difficulties spiritually and financially.

This was not the first collection that was taken for the Jewish Christians. This is at least the second time they collected offerings from Gentile Christians to help the Jerusalem church (the mother church). Other churches in the Roman empire were daughter churches.

Paul’s logic: Gentile Christians received spiritual blessings from the mother church (in Jerusalem) – so they had an obligation to repay them (in part) through financial blessings. It was the Jews who gave them the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. So, this is an expression of love from the Gentiles to their Jewish brothers and sisters.
  2. It was also practical relief for them when they needed it the most.
  3. It was a bond to unite Jews and Gentiles in church – to bring them closer together.

Even today, all Christians are debtors. If you are a Christian, you are a debtor. Paul confesses this in chapter 1.

Please remember, a Christian’s life is a “giving life” – “it is more blessed to give than receive.”

1 Cor 9:6-7 “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; whoever sows generously will also reap generously. So each of you must decide in your hearts what to give, not under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

God gives more to the giver.

  • Whoever sows little, reaps little.
  • Whoever sows much, reaps much.

Yes, without sowing seed, there is no harvest, no fruit. Giving is essential for Christian life and debt paying life. It is essential for holy life, influential life, blessed and growing life, more receiving life, Christ-imitating life, becoming like Christ in our attitude.

Yes, we are called “Christians” – this means “Christ-like people.” Christ gave all he had to us – even his cross. On the cross, he became totally naked. During this time, Romans soldiers divided his clothes by lot. Christ gave ALL to this world – including you and me.

Giving to the church, offering to church is saving up your treasures in heaven. Giving to the poor is lending to God. Later, check if this is right or wrong.

  • Give to the church = store your treasures in heaven.
  • Give to the poor = lend to God.

Later, Paul hoped to journey to Rome. But actually, this was a very dangerous journey. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he was arrested in the temple, and falsely accused by the Jewish authorities. He was then sent to Rome as prisoner and preacher.

His ship was broken on the journey – shipwrecked at sea. He spent the next 4 years in prison. 2 in Caesarea. 2 in Rome.

Later, Rome was conquered, arrested by the gospel Paul preached.

Why was Paul so eager to go to Rome?

If you read this book from first to last, you can see at least 10 times his strong desire to go to Rome. Even in this text, he mentioned it 7 times.

  • v. 23: “I have been longing for many years to see you”
  • v. 24 “I plan to do so when I go to Spain.
  • “I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
  • v. 28 “I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.”
  • v. 29 “when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”

This is WHY he was so eager to go to Rome: to share the full measure of the blessing of Christ (the gospel).

  • v. 32 “by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.”

v. 29-33

“29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

In his personal writing, he asked the saints in Rome to pray for his safety. (v. 31)

Paul knew of the possible danger waiting for him in Jerusalem (Acts 23-24) “I know very well, in every city, that prison and hardships are waiting for me – but I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given to me.”

Even in the first chapter of Romans, he revealed his strong desire to go to Rome.

Chp 1 “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his son, remembers how constantly I remember all of you in my prayers. And I pray that by God’s will the way may be opened for me that I may come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you so that you may be strong. I planned many times to come to you. I’m obligated to both Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and non-Greeks, and so I am eager to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.”

WHY was Paul so eager to go to Rome?
To preach the gospel.

Because the “gospel is the power of God to save everyone who believes.”

Here are 3 characteristics of the gospel (the full measure of the blessing of Christ):

3 Characteristics of the gospel

The gospel is:

1. The POWER of God

Power was the one thing Rome was most proud of and boasted the most of. Greece had its own philosophy, but Rome had its own power – to conquer the whole known world. The fear of Rome hovered over the known world at that time. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But, this is wrong.

The city of Rome was called the “cesspool of iniquity.” 죄악의 소굴

Spiritually, this was Rome.

That is why Paul was so eager to carry the power of the gospel – which has the power to change men’s lives – to sinful, wicked Rome. Paul had seen this gospel work already in many other sinful cities (Corinth, Ephesus, even his own life).

Have you experienced this gospel-changed life? Your mission, purpose, life, changed completely?

Even today, what can change our sinful community and lives? Only the gospel has saving power. The heart message of the gospel is “Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our salvation.” That’s why Paul’s heart burned with a holy enthusiasm to go to Rome.

2. The FRUIT is salvation

The gospel is the POWER of God for the FRUIT (purpose) of salvation.

There is no redeemer, Savior, other than Jesus.
The literal meaning of his name is: “He saves people from their sins.”

“There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

1 Tim “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.”

There is no other way except by our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The gospel is for EVERYONE

The outreach of the gospel = the whole world

The gospel is the (1) POWER of God (2) FOR salvation for (3) EVERYONE who believes.

We are not to behave,
but to believe.

We have nothing to do for our salvation, because Jesus did ALL for us. As long as we try to do something for our salvation, as long as we try to ADD something to it, that salvation goes far from us – this is the mystery of salvation.

Saving faith is like pure gold.

If this is pure gold (Bible), then if I add something to the gold – even diamonds – then this gold is no longer pure gold.

Saving faith is like pure gold. If you try to add something to it – from your effort, power, merit, etc – then this faith is no longer saving faith.

So, the Bible says, “The gospel is the POWER of God for the SALVATION of EVERYONE who believes.”

Christ paid all, did all for us, for our salvation.

Also today, our hearts must burn with a holy enthusiasm to preach the gospel.

I said in the middle of this sermon that giving is essential to the Christian life because “God is blessing us to be a blessing to others.”

  • God is saving us to save others.
  • God is giving us good continually so that we may give good to others in his kingdom, for his glory.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 11 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Christ is our Model of what Christian Acceptance means (Romans 15:1-7)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is our model of what Christian Acceptance means

Romans 15:1-7 (Pastor Heo)

15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.


Chp 14:1 “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment.”

The Roman church at that time was a hybrid community:

  • Jews + Gentiles,
  • free + slave,
  • conservative + liberal,
  • rich + poor,
  • strong + weak

So, at that time, in the church, it was very difficult to accept one another. But we must remember, mutual acceptance in church is not optional but necessary because we are the body of Christ. Acceptance means taking people into our homes and hearts. We must avoid racism, discrimination, favoritism, differences. We must seek common ground for fellowship and relationship.

Are you strong or weak? Do you want to be stronger or remain weak?

In every area of this world, there are the strong and the weak: physically, financially, mentally, spiritually, socially, etc.

  • Strong believers = understand their freedom in Christ and are sensitive to the differences of others.
  • Strong believers can function in a variety of circumstances and be an influence for good.
  • Weak believers = not yet mature in faith so as to be free from some rituals or traditions.
  • Weak believers find that they need to stay far away from some situations in order to maintain a clear conscience.

But we must remember that the Word of God and the message of salvation is unchangeable. But human habits and traditions and cultures and thinking are very changeable. So, we must be clear in this matter:

  • Fixable to Christ
  • Flexible to culture
  • Faithful to the Word of God
  • Flexible to the world

For me, when I went to the Philippines and Tanzania, I had to learn all about their language, history, culture, lifestyle, etc. I must become one of them, be identified with them. But at the same time, I must keep my own identity as a child of God and Christian missionary.

Identification without loss of identity is called contextualization.

Paul confessed as a missionary: “I’m free. I belong to nobody, but I make myself a slave to all men. To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win the Jews. To those under the Law, I became like a man under the Law though I’m not under the Law, to win them to Christ. To those without the Law, I became like one without the Law, though I myself am not, in order to save some. I became all things to all men so that I might save some of them.”

This was Paul’s identification.

1 Cor 2:2 “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

This is Paul’s identity.

Identification and Identity go together.

In this life, Jesus was the most powerful person who ever lived, but he did not please himself (v. 3). He did the Father’s will. Finally, death on the cross was not the path he would have chosen to please himself, but he chose to please God in heaven.

Acceptance is not independence from God, but total dependence on God – esp. power / strength in church does not come from independence, but from mutual dependencies.

“Christ is our model for what Christian acceptance means.”

“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus because to this you were called. Jesus Christ left us an example.”

  1. Jesus (in heaven) came down to the lowest place – to raise us from the dead and put us into heaven.
  2. Jesus (very rich) became poor and naked to make us rich (heirs of the kingdom of heaven).
  3. Jesus (the strongest) became weak to make us strong.

Today, according to v. 7, “Accept one another”

v. 3-7

“3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Verse 7 means:

When (if) we realize truly that God accepted us as unlovely, wicked, sinful, immature when we came to him, THEN we can be able to accept our brothers and sisters (esp our weak brothers and sisters).

Let me share Jesus’ character as a human being.

We know Jesus is fully God and fully man (not half).

During his stay for 33 years on this earth, how was his character, esp. in accepting others from his deep heart. Let me share 5 characteristics of Jesus as fully man.

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”

5 Characteristics of Jesus as a Man

#1 Absolute Holiness

Jesus lived a holy life – he was absolutely separated from all sins. He was separated in his mind and conduct – he was sinless – totally and completely.

So the Bible challenges us to “be holy as Christ is holy” in all that you do. Can you do this?

We can – as long as we belong to Christ.

No matter how far we may fall from being like Christ, we have no lower standard that the perfection of Christ.

Christ is our model and example of sinless perfection. This is nothing short of absolute perfection. He has shown how to be holy.

This means, the holier we are, the further from sin we are.

Holiness is power. Holiness is strength. Fighting against sin is our power / strength.

#2 Genuine Love (agape)

Unlimited, divine, unending, agape love – Jesus loved all human beings – even his enemies. Jesus loved his own to the last – even his betrayer, even the ones who spit on his face. Can you follow his example? No. But, Jesus IN YOU can do that.

So, we must remember that Jesus is always IN US. I cannot do that, but Jesus IN ME can do that.

Jesus loved those his beat him, persecuted him, nailed him on the cross. That’s why the Bible challenges us to imagine “how wide, how far, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall famine or sword or hardship? No, nothing. I’m convinced neither death nor life, angels nor demons, nor any power, height nor depth will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”

And then Jesus challenges us: “A new command I give you. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this they will know you are my disciples: if you love one another.”

Love is power. Love is my strength.

#3 True Humility

He became willingly humiliated by his own accord.

Phil 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who being the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being found in human likeness. He humbled (emptied himself) and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.”

His life – 33 years on earth – can be summarized as a life of humility (being humble).

  1. He was born in a stable, an animal’s food box
  2. During his ministry, he had no house – no place to rest his head
  3. He associated with the lowly, called the “Friend of Sinners” and tax collectors and prostitutes
  4. Most of his followers were of lowly origin, but he revealed the secret mystery of the kingdom of heaven to them
  5. He was crucified on a cross
  6. He was buried in a borrowed tomb

Jesus says, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom.”

Service is power. Service is strength.

  • This world says “Power is the ability to rule over others under them.”
  • But in church, “Power is the ability to build others up under them.”
  • Service is power. If you are strong spiritually, you are here to serve. If you are not strong, you cannot serve.
  • Service is power.

#4 Meek and Gentle

Meekness sometimes looks like weakness outwardly.

Jesus says in Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from you and you will find rest for your souls. I am gentle and humble, my burden is light.”

He did not fight, quarrel, even cry out for his own benefit. “Nobody heard his voice on the streets.” Even a smoldering reed he did not put out.

  • He was very meek in dealing with Judas Iscariot – he knew, but was meek.
  • He was meek in dealing with Thomas who doubted his resurrection.
  • He was meek in restoring and reinstating Peter who denied him 3 times.
  • He was meek before his crucifiers.

“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”

We can get lessons from the animal world.

Strong animals.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” This is true in the spiritual world and the physical world and the animal world.

Consider the lion, tiger, and bear. They lost their land, their earth. Many of them are put in prison (zoos). But see the meekest animals, hens, sheep, goats, ducks. They are very meek, but they can be seen all over the earth.

This principle can be applied in our Christian life.

If you are too strong – so strong in your own position in non-essential areas, then the room for your welcome will become smaller and smaller, narrower and narrower.

Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” This is a true mystery.

  • Meekness is power.
  • Weakness is power.
  • Weakness can be strength.

#5 Perfect Balance

Especially in his emotions.

  • He was very grave (sad) without being gloomy.
  • He was very joyful, but not vigorously.
  • He took earthly life very seriously.

Isa 53 “Jesus Christ was despised, rejected by men, he was a Man of Sorrows. He wept over Jerusalem.” Do you weep over Jeonju, Korea, the world?

Jesus wept over Jerusalem, over the death of his friend Lazarus.

Jesus sorrowed over those who willingly rejected his free salvation. He bore our griefs and sorrows. But at the same time, he was a man of joy.

John “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and so that your joy may be complete. I have said these things while you are in this world so that you may have the full measure of my joy.”

He was a Man of Sorrow and a Man of Joy.

His Joy was largely anticipation (seeing the large multitude of the church worshiping him in glory)

Paul also was a strong man. Even in prison he was filled with joy, “Rejoice! I will say it again, rejoice!”

Are you joyful? Yes!

Paul suffered so so much because of Christ, but he was full of joy. Yet, at the same time, he was filled with sorrow, “I have unceasing grief in my heart for the sake of my brothers.”

What does this mean?

  • When we see Christ, we are filled with joy.
  • When we see Christ in us, we are filled with joy.
  • When we see the lost, we are filled with grief.

May God bless us to be strong Christians.

Let us take some time to follow and imitate the characteristics of Christ:

  1. Holiness
  2. Love
  3. Humility
  4. Meekness / Gentleness
  5. Balance

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 04 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Do Everything in Love by Faith

Romans 14:13-23 (Pastor Heo)

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and *everything that does not come from faith is sin.*


Actually, this second part of this chapter is a continuation / repetition of the first part of the chapter for more emphasis and development of our character in Christ – especially in terms of our relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Remember last week?

4 Reasons we should not judge our brothers & sisters in Christ:

  1. No position
  2. No ability
  3. No right
  4. No authority

4 Reasons we must accept each other:

  1. God accepted him
  2. God makes him stand finally
  3. We are together fellow servants of the same Lord
  4. We will altogether be judged by the one same judge

Imagine –

  • If we try to drive a car without knowing how, we know what will happen to us.
    • This is the same if we judge without knowing how.
  • Also, if we drive with no license, we know what will happen.
    • And if we judge with no license, what do you expect to happen?

When Jesus first met Peter, the first words he spoke to Peter were, “Follow me.” And after Jesus’ resurrection and first meeting of Peter to restore his position and relationship, he said, “Follow me.” Peter started to, but turned and saw John and asked, “What of this man?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

What does this mean? “Let me worry about John, not you. Let me be the Lord of John. You do your business, I’ll do my business.”

Negatively we should NOT judge each other. BUT we should not STOP with just non-judgment.

We are members of ONE body. That’s why today, we need this passage.

In the second part of this chapter, I want to share 3 points to see our position and standing.

#1 We affect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ

  • sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, consciously or unconsciously

v. 13-

“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, *make up your mind* not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”

Yes, we affect each other negatively or positively.

  • Negatively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to fall down, be distressed, be hurt, angry, unhappy, even destroyed.
  • Also positively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to be built up – edifying each other, serving each other.

So… do you have more interest in your impression, or your impact?

Impression vs. Impact

Worldly people have much more concern about their impression that they give to each other (look at social media). They think about what to wear, what to buy, surgery for their faces or bodies, what attitude to show, etc. This is for their “impression” that they want to convey to others.

Yes, this is not bad, but what is MORE important for Christians is what IMPACT you are giving to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost.

A Christian’s life is being evaluated by our IMPACT on this world, NOT by our IMPRESSION we give others.

v. 13 “make up your mind” (we make up our faces)

  • Making up your face = for good impression
  • Making up your mind = for good IMPACT

Yes, we want to grow in our knowledge. Strong Christians are strong in good knowledge of God. If you have this knowledge: “All food is neutral, no food is unclean, so I can eat all food. Idols are nothing.” If you have this knowledge, you have right, good knowledge and you are a strong Christian.

BUT, if somebody is hurt by your “right” knowledge, it means your “right” knowledge is destroying your brothers and sisters who are weak.

“Knowledge puffs up; love builds up” (1 Cor 8)

Yes, we need to grow in knowledge. But knowledge without love can destroy somebody. So knowledge and love must be balanced. These two must go together.

The moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own.

What is true biblical Christianity?

  1. Putting Christ first,
  2. others second,
  3. self last

#2 We must have PRIORITY

What is your #1 priority?

Yes, in daily life, we have many obligations, but what is your mission, your #1 priority? This is very important as a child of God. Please check yourself very honestly right now.

v. 16-20

“16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [matter of priority] 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

This is the matter of priority.

Yes, we must be very clear in the matter of what our priorities are.

Saying: “The second best is the greatest enemy of the best.” (not always, but often true)

We need food, material, clothes, shelter, but these things do not bring us closer to God. These things cannot be priority #1 in our lives.

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus) Jesus knows what we need (physically), but this is not #1 priority in your life.

If you are not clear on the #1 priority in your life, you may regard less important things as more important. Therefore, we will major in the minor subjects.

Do not fight over minor subjects – the place, date of picnics, etc – because we must stick to our priority #1. These are heavenly things, not earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Also, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you.”

One day, Jesus condemned the teachers of the Law and Pharisees saying, “You hypocrites! You give 1/10th tithe, BUT you have neglected the more important matters of the Law – grace, mercy, faithfulness. You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.” Jesus criticized them because they majored in minor things.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Righteousness is having right relationship with God and man.

Peace is more than the absence of trouble. It is not a non-negative thing, but is EVERYTHING positive – it is for our highest good. Jesus says, “I do not give as this world gives. My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

There is joy in our hearts.

“Be joyful always (in Christ) – for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”

  • Joy is not a selfish thing. It is not in making ourselves happy, but in making OTHERS happy.

Consider:

  • If you make yourself satisfied, you may feel happy.
  • But if you make God and others satisfied, you WILL fell JOY.

Romans 5 shows these three elements of the kingdom of heaven: “Therefore since we have been justified through Christ, we have peace with God.”

  • Justification through Christ.
  • Peace with God.
  • Joy in the glory of God.

These three items are essentials in the kingdom of God.

God bless us to be filled with real righteousness, real peace, and real joy.

Conclusion: We must do everything IN love, BY faith.

1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love [by faith].”

God bless you all – make up your mind, not your face.

v. 21-23

“21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and **everything that does not come from faith is sin.**”

Memorize this last part. Keep it in your heart and brain and mind.

Conclusion: Do everything in love by faith.

Yes we know, everything we are doing is nothing without love. And everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Sin came into this world – we are fighting against sin as long as we are in this world. We are saved completely, once for all, from sin – but still we are struggling. So, we must be clear in this matter.

In the last part, I want to make two things clear:

  1. What is the meaning of salvation from sin
  2. “Everything that does not come from faith is sin”

#1 Salvation from sin

  • Past: We *were* saved once for all from the **penalty and punishment** of sin the moment we accepted Christ as Lord
    • (salvation)
  • Present: We *are being* saved from the **power and temptation** of sin through the power of Christ and ministry of the HS
    • (sanctification)
  • Future: We *will be* saved from the **presence** of sin when Jesus returns or when we see him, face to face
    • (glorification)

#2 Everything that does not come from faith is sin

What does this mean? What time is it now? Are you still with me?

I want to make it CLEAR what is sin.

In a Christian life, we are not sinless. Nobody can be sinless as long as we are in this world. But we must be clear about what is sin.

What is sin?

Biblically (not from the perspective of Man, but from God’s perspective – which is really important):

There are 4 things:

  • The first two are related essentials and a matter of text (from the Bible).
  • The second two are non-essentials and gray areas of things not directly mentioned in the Bible (depends on circumstances – depends on context, not text).

1. Not believing in Jesus Christ

(the greatest sin – which leads to death (eternally)) Jesus himself says, (John 16:9) “They do not believe in me.”

This is the greatest sin which cannot be forgiven. If you do not agree with this sentence, you are not a Christian.

2. Disobedience to the Word of God (God’s clear commands) –

  • Sin of Commission: To do what God forbids,
  • Sin of Omission: or NOT to do what God commands us to do
  1. Negatively: “Do not lie; do not cheat; do not steal; do not murder; do not commit adultery.” We should NOT do it.
  2. Positively: “Love your neighbor as yourself, forgive your brother; Love the Lord your God with all of you” – We SHOULD do it.

3. (Matter of context – gray area) Personal convictions

for example smoking, going to the movies on Sunday, etc. It depends on circumstances and context.

This depends on personal, individual faith conscience and conviction.

If I smoke with a Christian conscience, no sin.

But if I do something against my conscience or against my convictions, this is sin to me.

Keyword: Christian conscience and conviction (this is the message of this chapter)

4. (Gray area) – How personal convictions affect others

If I do something in my conscience and with big conviction, it is not sin to me.

However, if I’m doing something that is not sinful to me (my conscience and conviction are clear), but if MY action causes another person to stumble, it is sin.

1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23 (4x repeated – for big emphasis) “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial / constructive.”

1 Cor 8:23 “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat that food again so that I will not cause my brother to fall into sin.” (This is called “making up your mind”).

  1. In essentials: we must keep unity
  2. In non-essentials: we must be open-minded for variety and diversity
  3. In everything: we must do in love (by faith)

These are basic principles of the Christian life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 28 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Accept the Ones Whom Our Lord Accepted

Romans 14:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.


Bible says, “be completely humble, gentle, patient, very accepting of one another in love. Do you best to keep the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace, because there is ONE body, ONE spirit, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God, who is the Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.” (Eph?)

Disunity is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses to destroy the body of Christ. This is one of the most common devices in church history. Almost EVERY church mentioned in the Bible had disunity. For example:

The Corinthian church

  • “I follow Peter”,
  • others, “I follow Paul”,
  • others “I follow Apollos”,
  • others, “I follow Christ” –
  • some were even suing each other.

Galatians – some were biting each other.

Even today we have some areas in our church that are not clearly defined in the Bible.

Antioch Church

A few years ago we know that Antioch Church experienced BIG disunity over the location of the main sanctuary (here or Chonbuk Uni). Some members left – but thankfully now, all matters all solved and we are growing.

Other examples:

Some people in church fight each other over small, simple things:

  • curtain color,
  • size of the pulpit,
  • position of the piano

Yes, just as fighting among children makes their parents sad, so fighting among church members makes God unhappy and Satan happy.

Today’s topic: “Accept the Ones whom our Lord Accepted”

It handles small topics:

  • food,
  • diet,
  • daily activities

Food sacrificed to idols

At that time, some members had very strong convictions about meat sacrificed to idols:

  • “I must stay away from this ‘dirty’ food.”

But others had the opposite conviction,

  • “No, idols are meaningless to this food. I can eat all things through Christ…”

Day of worship

Also some people thought certain days were more holy than other days

  • “Sunday is the most holy because Christ rose from the dead” –

others

  • “No, Saturday is the most holy because it’s the Sabbath and God rested” –

others

  • “No, Friday, because Christ was crucified for our sins on that day.”

Do you eat only veggies? Snake? Lion? Horse? Cow? Lamb?

Whatever your conviction – you are free to follow your own conviction – because this is NOT a matter of:

  • salvation
  • spirituality
  • maturity

This is just a collective, personal, cultural custom – or has its roots in these things. This is not about justification, salvation, sanctification.

Therefore, we should NOT despise others who have different opinions and convictions (about these small things) than we do.

There are 4 reasons why we should not judge other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Also, 4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Negatively: 4 reasons NOT to judge
  • Positively: 4 reasons TO accept our brothers & sisters in Christ
  1. To self: “Do not judge others.”
  2. To neighbor: “I accept you.”

Why NOT to judge

#1 We have NO PERMISSION from God to judge

“Do not judge” is not a suggestion from God, but a command of God. To judge others is to go against the command of our Lord.

Matt 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. In the same way you will be judged, with the same measure you will be judged. Don’t look at the speck in his eye, but ignore the plank in your eye. How can you say, ‘Let me help you with that’ and ignore the plank in your own eye?”

What is a plank? The judgmental eye. If you have this kind of eye, you are carrying a plank in your eye.

Remember, we have no permission to judge others

#2 We have NO ABILITY / POWER to judge

What does this mean? To judge correctly, I must know perfectly and completely

  1. the MOTIVE someone is doing something –
  2. the REASON and
  3. also the PURPOSE –
  4. as well as the INFLUENCE
  5. and IMPACT his action has on others,
  6. including HOW his behavior will be JUDGED by GOD.

In order to judge fully and completely, we must be omniscient. Perfect in knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom. Only GOD is this.

We are limited in our understanding, time, space, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

Therefore, no one has the ability to judge.

#3 We have NO RIGHT to judge

To be qualified, we must be perfect, infallible, faultless, blameless, esp in our character – particularly in the area we judge others.

For example, if I want to judge others in the area of HONESTY, I must be perfectly honest – throughout the course of my life.

If I want to judge others in PRIDE, I must have been humble throughout the whole course of my life.

We must be perfect in our character and personality. But nobody is perfect.

Therefore, we have no RIGHT to judge others.

#4 We have NO AUTHORITY to judge

The authority to judge belongs to a judge (God is the ultimate judge).

To judge is a judge’s job – no one else carries this authority nor title. Raise you hand if there is a judge among us.

In the matter of spiritual things, nobody is a judge. We are all to be judged by God – the only, ultimate authority and judge over human life.

The title “judge” belongs to God alone.

Romans 2:1 “YOU therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else. For wherever you pass judgment, you condemn yourself because you do the same things.”

James 4:11 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him is speaking against the Law and judges him. When you judge the Law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment only. There is only one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbors?” (네가 뭔데?)

4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ

Say one more time to your neighbor: “I accept you.”

  • Really? Do you really accept me?
  • Yes, I really accept you.

#1 BECAUSE GOD accepted him

v. 1-3

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”

Conclusion in this passage:

  • Starting word: “Accept him”
  • Finishing word: “God has accepted him”

This is VERY, VERY clear.

We are Christians, true? What does this mean? Christian = “Children of God” – those who accepted his grace – and are accepted BY his grace and mercy.

If we are Christians, this means that:

  1. GOD accepted us AS WE WERE (as we still are).
  2. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE children of the devil.
  3. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE sinners.
  4. We were the object of wrath, but he accepted us as the object of blessing.
  5. We were his enemies, but he accepted us as his children.

We have and enjoy and experience this kind of wonderful acceptance by God – so HOW can we refuse those others whom God has also accepted?

  • Please, do not reject the one who God rejected.
    • If we reject this person, we reject GOD who accepted this person.
  • Please, do not despise the one God loves.
  • Please, do not reject the one God accepted.

Christian = “group of people accepted by God unconditionally by his mercy and grace simply because we have put our faith in him”

#2 BECAUSE GOD makes him/her stand/not fall

v. 4

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Once justified by faith – NEVER changes.

Once real salvation is granted/experienced – it never changes, this is eternal.

If it is possible for salvation to be lost, then it CANNOT be called “eternal life.” But in the Bible, salvation and eternal life are synonyms.

Jesus “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, and no one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John)

No matter how someone looks right now, if he has salvation, he will not fall, he will stand. God will make him/her stand, not fall. So, how can we reject the one God makes stand in the final situation in his/her life? So, we must accept this person as well – because FINAL victory, life, salvation is guaranteed by the grace of God.

#3 BECAUSE his Lord is my Lord, my Lord is his Lord

We worship the SAME God. So how can we reject him whose Lord is my Lord? curios “Lord” is repeated 8 times in this passage.

Key verse is verse 8:

v. 5-9

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

Conclusion: Jesus Christ is the Lord of ALL – both Christians and non-Christians. The only difference?

  • Christians KNOW he’s our Lord.
  • Non-Christians DO NOT KNOW he’s their Lord.

He is the Lord of

  • Christians,
  • non-Christians,
  • the living,
  • the dead,
  • all creation,
  • even non-living things.
  • “God is sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”

The moon, stars, sun, planets, etc. ALL things in the universe and on earth are THERE and sustained / supported by Christ. (Heb 1)

This means – if you reject somebody (yes, you are free to do so) – it means you are rejecting the one for whom Jesus died and returned to life to be his Lord.

v. 9 “9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

How can we reject somebody for the very person that Jesus died and returned to life for to become his Lord.

Key verse:

v. 8 “8 If [I] live, [I] live to the Lord; and if [I] die, [I] die to the Lord. So, whether [I] live or die, [I] belong to the Lord.”

Jesus is forever a living presence – and all life is lived in his eyes. We do not need to speak of living as if he doesn’t see us. We can no more escape from the risen Christ than we can escape from his shadow.

In this world, we are living in his unseen presence.

In the next world, we will be living in his physical, visible presence. Even physical death cannot break this presence.

Physical death is the gateway / entrance that leads to Christ. Therefore, whether we live in this world or the next, we live in the presence of Christ.

#4 BECAUSE we are brothers and sisters in Christ – and our judge is only Christ

We are to be judged TOGETHER – by the same Judge. Your judge is my judge, my judge is your judge. All human beings are judged by this ONE judge.

v. 10-12

“10 You, then, why do you judge your brother [and sister]? Or why do you look down on your brother [and sister]? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

In Christ, through the same faith, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you believe this? Amen.

By faith in Christ, if we are brothers and sisters – by the same faith in Christ – the question is: FOR HOW LONG will we be brothers and sisters in Christ? (Forever.)

We have no choice / no option to accept each other together because we are to live as brothers and sisters together forever. Are you bored? Tired of this? You actually have no choice in the matter.

v. 10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Are you happy or worried about this final judgment seat?

“The Bema Seat”

This is the final judgment seat – but we do not need to be afraid of this seat.

  • To the Lost / unsaved = the Final Judgment = final entrance into Hell
  • To the Christians = the Bema Seat = final place to receive the reward “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to each according to what he has done.”

The Bema Seat has nothing to do with our sin – because Jesus has already paid our WHOLE sin on the cross. “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:4 “Blessed is the man whose sins are not counted against him.”

BUT – even though we have this Bema Seat – it should not give us license to sin again.

So, how can we prepare for this? We must recognize and acknowledge Christ as Lord and God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

v. 11 “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 21 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:8-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:8-14 (Pastor Heo)

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


Let me tell my experience.

About 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a helping ministry on a small island (Mango-do?) – my church planted a small church on that island (population < 150 – only about 40 families). There was no clinic, hospital, post office, etc. There was only one elementary school – with only 5 students. In 2000, that school closed. One of the students was the pastor’s daughter.

I helped with cleaning and evangelism.

The people were surrounded by water. In ALL directions, they could only see a horizontal line. There was nothing to see except water.

Can you imagine? The most difficult thing was that there was NO water to drink, cook with, shower with, etc. There was NO way to GET water. There was only ONE way to get water: from heaven. It was called “heavenly water” by the people. So, every time it rained, the whole population came out to receive as much water as they could – even 2am. Water seemed to be a savior to them.

I stayed there for 6 days but did not take a shower even though I sweat so much. Through this experience, I think this generation is like this spiritually.

Our generation is FULL of love, but LACK *real* love.

Music, books, movies use the word love so easily.

2 Tim 3 “Mark this, there will be terrible times at the last days. They will be lovers of self, money, physical pleasure.” (sinful, sensual love – but little love of God and neighbors and enemies)

That’s why Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commands.”

“A new commandment I give you: love one another. By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Whoever does not love, does not know God.”

This means – “whoever does not love proves he is not saved – or does not know he is saved” – because God’s saving power is motivated by his unconditional love.

If we are saved, we have already experienced his unconditional love. To experience this love and then NOT show it to others is to not have experienced this love at all.

“I should love.”

But I have no power to show this agape love.

Today gives us the KEY to this love.

Yes, there are many many reasons for us to love if we are really born again Christians. But there are three reasons here in this passage why we should love: God, our neighbors, our enemies.

3 Reasons WHY we should love

#1 Because we are debtors

v. 8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Our duty to love one another is called “continual debt.”

v. 7 says “give everyone what you owe him. If taxes, then tax, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This means that ALL kinds of debt must be repaid.

If you have debt, you must pay – without paying, you will go to prison.

In this life, there is only one debt that cannot be paid fully: God’s love.

Apostle Paul confessed: “I’m a debtor – both to the Greeks and Jews – Christ demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us.”

John 3:16

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and gave his son as the propitiation for our sins.”

“Try to grasp how wide, how long, how deep, how far is the love of Christ.” (wider, higher, farther, longer than eternity).

This love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. No matter how much we try to repay this love, we can never repay it because God continually pours his love into us.

This is agape (godly, unconditional, sacrificial) love.

If we are Christians, we are debtors to God’s love.

#2 Because love is the fulfillment of the Law

v. 9-10

“The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Love is the fulfillment (basis) of the Law.

Yes, as children of God, we are not under Law, but under Grace. We are living under the grace of God, by the grace of God. But this does not mean we are free to live a lawless life.

When we are living by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enables us to meet the requirements of the Law.

If you practice true agape love, there is no reason for another Law. Our motivation is the love of God in our hearts.

If your WHOLE life is motivated and operated by love for God and your neighbors, we do not need any other Law.

Last time, we studied about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit:

  • the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

These are NOT the same.

  • Gifts (9 in 1 Cor 12): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Power, Tongues, Distinguishing spirits, Interpretation, Healing, Teaching, Serving, Prophecy
  • Fruit (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
  • Gift: related to skill, for a purpose
  • Fruit: related to character, personality, spirituality

LOVE is BOTH gift and fruit.

  • Love is means and end.
  • Love is method and purpose.
  • Love is the gift of gifts.
  • Love is the firstfruit of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 13 “If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I’m a resounding gong. If I’m a super genius, with massive mountain moving faith, but have not love, I’m nothing. If I give all I have and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

“Do everything in love.”

#3 Because our salvation is near(er) than when we first believed

v. 11-13

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

We can see terms related to time here:

  • Present time,
  • the hour has come,
  • nearer,
  • now,
  • night,
  • nearly over,
  • day,
  • almost here,

Yes, as long as time is flying on, one day, our Lord Jesus Christ will come in his body.

Everyday we are nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation (one day). Tomorrow we will be nearer by one day than today.

And ONE DAY will be our LAST DAY on this earth. Everybody has his own LAST DAY. But nobody knows when this day will be.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for nobody knows what it may bring forth. You are but a mist and disappear after a little while.”

But THIS one day is not a normal day – it is the FINAL DAY – to receive our reward, blessing, or judgment from Christ. “Christ will bring ALL things into judgment – including the hidden things. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

  • Spiritually “slumber” means disregard or ignorance and indifference in activity of good work.
  • “Night” = unbelief
  • “Day”= faith
  • “Put on the armor of light” – the first thing God created was light.

Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” – and then challenges us, “you are the Light of the world”. So what is darkness? The first thing God asked Adam after he sinned was, “Where are you?” even though he knew. This means “Do you not know where you are?” Trying to hide yourself from the sight of God = you are in darkness.

  • Test yourself. If you have something you are trying to hide from the sight of God, you are in darkness.

1 John “Whoever claims to be in the light but hates his brother is in darkness.”

There is nothing to hide because all will be exposed in the light (Jesus).

Up to now, we have seen 3 reasons WHY we must love: God, our neighbors, our enemies:

  1. We are debtors to love
  2. It is the fulfillment of the Law
  3. We are nearer our salvation now than when we first believed

Do you agree?

  1. I must love God with all my heart, mind, soul, strength.
  2. I must love my neighbor as myself.

BUT, I have no power to do so myself.

That’s why we need the Last verse.

  1. “I need Jesus Christ absolutely.”
  2. “Jesus is my clothes, my dress.”
  3. 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

#Conclusion

v. 14

“14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

“Jesus is my dress.” 예수님은 나의 옷이다.

No one is naked here.

What are the functions of our dress?

Here are 4 functions of our dress (spiritually):

#1 Protection

  • from cold, hurt, danger, shame
  • from the attack of Satan
  • the temptation and shame of sin

Even as a pastor, if I’m totally naked before you, I’m so shameful. But Jesus is my protection from all the evil things in this world.

#2 Clothes reveal our status / identity

Especially at that time, clothes showed social rank (king, noble, middle-class, poor)

Even today, we can see this: police, doctors, nurses, uniforms, etc.

Our identity as a Christian is revealed in this world – as a light of the world, aroma of Christ. Can you *smell* Jesus on your neighbor?? ^^

#3 It influences your attitude, tongue, character

  • For example, if I put on loose fitting clothes, my actions become loose – and my tongue as well – then my thinking and my language will be loose. Then my head, character, personality will become loose. If everything is loose, my whole life is loose.
  • If I wear noble dress, my tongue, thinking, habits, character, etc, will be noble.
  • If I put on Jesus Christ, he will continually affect and impact my attitude and character and personality.

#4 They are my company wherever I go

Clothes go together with me all the time. When you see me, you see my clothes first.

If I put on Jesus, people will see Jesus FIRST – wherever you go.

Conclusion: The best way to do and show this kind of agape love (to win souls to Christ) is to clothe yourselves with Christ.

  1. Love = greatest commandment
  2. Evangelism = greatest commission

These two pillars go together hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. They can never be separated.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 14 / 2018
  • Comments Off on All Submission to Any Authority is because of God, for God (Romans 13:1-7)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

All Submission to Any Authority is because of God, for God (Romans 13:1-7)

Download Notes in a .MD file

All Submission to Any Authority…

Romans 13:1-7 (Pastor Heo)

13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


Do you have faith? Christian faith? Amen~

Christian faith is not abstract nor an ideology. It is a lifestyle / a reality.

Ex: How can we show our love to God? By loving his creations – men and women – created in his image.

The kind of relationship you have with God can be seen by the kind of relationship you have with others.

Theme of Romans: The Righteousness of God

(Having a right relationship with God by trusting in Christ)

Chp 12 – we studied our right relationship to God, ourselves, our brothers and sisters, neighbors, and enemies.

Today, we see how we can show our right relationship with God to the authorities (government). In these 7 verses we read today, “Authority” is repeated 7 times. So, we need to be clear about the kind of attitude we need to have to earthly authorities. The Bible is very clear that we need to “submit” (be willing to cooperate and obey) our authorities.

There are 5 reasons (biblically) why we should submit to the authorities.

#1 God authorizes all authorities

v. 1-2

“13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

God’s authority is exclusive, original, final. He has the ultimate right to govern, sustain, order ALL his creation according to his absolute sovereign will – because he is creator. All human authorities are derived from God.

Yes, in human society, there are so many authorities – official and non-official. We can learn to submit to God by submitting to those God has put in authority over us. By rejecting or rebelling against human authority is to reject or rebel against God – because he has created and established all these authorities.

#2 There is a Wage (for submission / rejection)

Wage = result = effect = consequence =

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans)

  • Sin’s wage = death
  • Faith’s wage = life
  • Obedience’s wage = blessing
  • Disobedience’s wage = loss of blessing

In our lives also there is pay (wage) for laziness, hard work, bad diet, exercise, too much TV. Like this, there is a wage for submission to authorities, and also rejection of authorities.

v. 3-5

“3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”

In these three verses, we see the word “Terror” and “fear”, “command”, “sword”, wrath”, “punishment”, “conscience”. We can see there is a wage for submission or rejection.

In humanity, there is a continuous circle of authority:

  • Nobody who is at the TOP of authority for his whole life.
  • Also, nobody is at the BOTTOM of authority for his whole life.

All human authorities are from God – big or small.

  • Are you parents now? Once you were children (you still are to your parents). Your children will also be parents one day.
  • Are you a teacher? You were once a student.
  • Are you a boss? You were once an employee.

We are related in authorities – this is a vertical circulation of authorities.

At some times – in some areas, we are the authority, at other times – in other areas, we are under the authority.

Even presidents must be subject to pastors in the church. But pastors are subject to police, police are subject to judges, judges are subject to medical doctors, etc. This is the horizontal circulation of authority.

“A man will reap what he sows.” – therefore, if we submit to authority over us, then the one(s) under us will submit to us – and more authority will be given to us. But if we reject the authority over us, then those under us will also reject us and our authority will be gradually taken away from us.

  • So, submission to authority = peace, balance, harmony.
  • But rejection = disorder, chaos, lawlessness, license.

Submission does NOT mean humility, weakness, etc – but it means courage, freedom.

Willingness to submit to authority is one of the basic Christian tenants.

#3 We are citizens of a country

(We have 2 citizenships – heaven and Korea / US / Laos, etc)

v. 6-7

“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

A “state” is basically a group of people who have agreed to mutually keep a set of laws. Without this law of order, maybe a strong, bad man will reign supreme – and the Law of the Jungle will rule (every ordinary man owes his security to the state – and is therefore under responsibility to it).

Ordinary people owe a wide range of services to the state.

It’s impossible for EVERY man to have his own water system, electricity, toilet, public highway. These things can only be attained when people agree to live together. So, it would be wrong to enjoy everything the state provides but also reject all responsibility to it.

Yes, Korea is so blessed compared to Laos – but we know that hundreds of years ago, we also were so strong in Buddhism. Blessing can only come through Christ. But we must also live at peace with the state at least as long as it allows us to worship God freely.

Did you have any difficulty in worshiping God today? Because of your government? If “no” then we must support / help our government with prayer. That’s why we should submit to authority.

#4 It’s God’s will

Ephesians “Husbands, love your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands. Children, obey your parents. Slaves, submit to your earthly masters.”

1 Peter 2:13-21 “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2 “2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests,prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

#5 It’s a symbol of ultimate submission to the authority of Christ

If Jesus is our Savior and Lord, then he is also our example in what kind of person we should be.

Phil 2:5 “Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.”

“Jesus is original God who being in the very nature God, made himself nothing, and became a servant – taking the nature of a servant – obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above all names, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Hebrews?)

In his earthly life, Jesus Christ submitted to the authority of John the Baptist. John was surprised, but Jesus said, “Let it be so now – it is right for us to do this and fulfill all righteousness.”

Jesus also submitted to the authority of the government of Rome at that time (who ruled Israel illegally at that time). Yet, he also paid taxes – for himself and Peter “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – give to God what is God’s.”

This is amazing – he even submitted to the bad authority of Pontius Pilate. “You would have no authority over me if it were not given you from above.”

And after defeating the last enemy, death, he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go, making disciples of all nations.”

  • Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings – angels, demons, Satan (he has NO authority) – because “All authority” has been given to Christ.
  • Jesus has authority over all created beings – even mountains and animals and plants.

This means our submission to authority is a symbol of our submission to Christ.

Let’s pray.

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