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  • Jul 22 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of Life (Acts 7:1-60)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of Life (Acts 7:1-60)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Be faithful to the point of death…

Acts 7:1-60 (Pastor Heo)

7:1 Then the high priest asked him, “Arethese charges true?”

2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’

4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’

35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.

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

44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.

48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says:

49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’

51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


This is my first time to deliver a sermon with 60 verses at one time. I’m challenged to finish this story – but if not this time, I will finish next time.

Humanly speaking, let us honor and respect Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Last Sunday, we saw a story about him (in chp 6) – he was full of 5 holy qualities.

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

He is the first non-apostle:

  1. to whom miracles were ascribed,
  2. who was questioned before the Sanhedrin,
  3. whose sermon was recorded in the Bible,
  4. the first Christian martyr.

In this sermon, he

  • began with the God of glory and
  • finished with the glory of God –

giving a full panoramic view of the history of Israel. He summarized the whole story of the OT – beginning with Abraham (they were very proud of Abraham and thought he was their first father). They despised Gentiles, but we must remember that Abram was called from Mesopotamia – the land of idol-worship – so he himself was a Gentile when called and saved by the grace of God alone.

He continued to Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and the prophets – and showed how EACH of them pointed to Jesus.

Let’s look at each individually (briefly).

Abraham

v. 2-8

“2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ [Genesis 12:1-3 – this is the turning point for world evangelism] 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.”

This first calling of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), “through your Seed, all nations on earth will be blessed” – this “Seed” is SINGULAR, not plural – and refers to Jesus.

Gal 3:16 “This Seed is Jesus Christ.” – this is very clear.

Abram is a picture of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Your father, Abram, rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day.” (He was the father 2,000 years earlier.) “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus IS before Creation – from eternity to eternity.

Joseph

v. 9-17

“9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

[Read to here]

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money. 17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased.”

  • Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers because of jealousy.
    • Also Jesus was hated and sold for thirty pieces of silver because of jealousy.
  • Joseph became the savior of Egypt and those who came to him in the famine.
    • Jesus, likewise, is the Savior of the world to those who come to him.
  • In the brothers’ second visit, Joseph revealed himself “I’m Joseph! Your brother! You sold me!” They must have been trembling and thought they would be killed. But he said, “Do not be afraid, it was God who sent me ahead of you to save many lives. God made me Lord over all Egypt.” And Joseph forgave his brothers.
    • Like this, Jesus forgave those who crucified him.
  • Joseph could save all who came to him from famine.
    • Likewise, Jesus can save all who come to him by faith.

Jesus is the eternal Savior and forgiver of all sins.

Moses

v. 18-44

“18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ 27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’ 35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 “But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt–we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ” ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon. 44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.”

These two (Moses and Jesus) experienced the same thing at their birth.

  • Pharaoh ordered all babies to be killed, so Moses was put outside.
    • Herod also ordered all babies to be killed, so Jesus was put outside of Israel (his parents fled with him to Egypt).
  • Moses was sent by God to them as leader and ruler, but they did not recognize him as such.
    • Jesus also was sent by God as Messiah and they did not recognize him, nor receive him.

John 1 “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And we have seen his glory. He was with God in the beginning. Through him, all things have been made, and nothing has been made without him. He gives light and life to all. Even though this world was made by Christ, it did not recognize him, it did not receive him…”

John 1:12 “Yet, to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Moses prophesied Jesus’ coming:

Deuteronomy 18:15 quoted in this passage:

“15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. “

Hebrews 11:26 “26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Yet, Moses lived 1500 years BC (before Christ).

John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.” (Jesus said) because Moses testified about Jesus.

“46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”

Joshua

v. 45

“Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,”

  • Joshua showed the people the Way into the Promised Land. This was his main mission.
    • Jesus himself is the Way into the Promised Land (heaven). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Joshua was conqueror of all nations.
    • Jesus also is conqueror of all.
  1. 1 John 3:8
  2. Romans 8:33
  • Joshua shared and distributed all land to the 12 tribes of Israel.
    • Jesus also shares and distributes his glory to his children – “If we are children, we are heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we share in his sufferings, we also will share in his glory.”

David & Solomon

v. 46-50

“46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 ” ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?'”

David is referred to as the father of Christ (lineage), but David confessed that Christ was his Lord.

“The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

2 Samuel 6:17 “Your house (David) will last forever.” But where is David’s house today? The king of Israel? “Your kingdom will know no end. Your throne will last forever.”

We cannot see the house, kingdom, throne of David today. Therefore, this is only a picture of Jesus’ house, Jesus’ throne – because he is sitting (now) at the right hand of God.

What was David’s FIRST desire? Not fighting his enemies – he was filled with a burning passion to build the house of God.

  • So he gathered all the materials to do so. But God said, “No, because your hands have shed too much blood.” Then, his son Solomon built the Temple with the materials that David gathered.
  • Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.” (pointing at himself) – the real ministry of the Temple is the ministry of Christ.

Climax (all OT prophets and Jesus Messiah)

v. 51-52

“51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! [because of this verse, the audience was so angry, they covered their ears and gnashed their teeth, and dragged him outside to stone him to death] 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? [OT – 20? or so prophets – ALL the real prophets in the OT were persecuted] They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–” [Jesus]

Remember and know that all prophets predicted and prophesied Jesus’ coming. This was their main ministry. (Acts 10:43 “43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”)

Just as Jesus was accused falsely, and false witnesses were hired to condemn him, also Stephen had false witnesses brought against him.

His sermon vindicated himself and convicted his hearers.

Their choices were clear: repent, or kill their accuser. Their response was a maddening and murderous stoning.

Someone once said, they stoned him because his sermon was too long…. well….

Conclusion

v. 59-60

“59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

The lesson given to us:

  • What does the death of Stephen mean to us?
  • What was the result of this?
  • What lesson or message can we get?

Here are 2 points.

#1 For Stephen himself = coronation (crown)

the meaning of his name actually is “crown”

Rev 2:10 “Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.”

For himself, this was his crown. He saw the glory of God and the Son of God standing at the right hand of God to receive him into heaven. Usually, Jesus is said to be sitting at the right hand of God, but only HERE, he is standing. Of course, he could not stay sitting at this sight. He had to stand up to welcome the first Christian martyr. This is the Final time the “Son of Man” title is used in the Bible. (v. 56)

This title “Son of Man” is not used any longer in the remainder of the Bible. This is definitely a Messianic title – and Stephen’s use of it is one more witness that Christ is the Messiah.

Stephen was tried, killed, and prayed his final words in a similar manner as Christ.

  • Christ’s prayer, “Father, receive my spirit and do not hold this sin against them.”
  • Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and do not hold this sin against them.”

Stephen had 5 holy qualities:

  1. Holy Spirit
  2. wisdom
  3. faith
  4. grace
  5. power

And at the end, he was super-empowered with extra grace to forgive his murderers.

#2 For Israel = condemnation (judgment)

This was Israel’s 3rd murder.

  1. John the Baptist – permitted –
    • sin against God the Father who’d sent him
  2. Jesus – requested –
    • sin against God the Son who came to save them
  3. Stephen – enacted themselves –
    • sin against God the Holy Spirit who was working in and through the witnesses of Christ – including Stephen

Christ once said, “Sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven.” This judgment came in AD 70 when Titus and the Roman generals destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Bible promised in Rev 2:10:

“Be faithful even to the point of death,
and I will give you the crown of life.”

Can you?

The Bible says, “If we die, we die to/for the Lord, if we live, we to/for the Lord. Whether we live or die, we do so to the Lord.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 03 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Power of the Name of Jesus Christ (2) (Acts 3:12-26)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Power of the name of Jesus Christ (2)

Acts 3:12-26 (Pastor Heo)

12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’

24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”


In this book Acts, there are 14 sermons by 4 preachers.

  • 6 from Peter,
  • 6 from Paul,
  • 1 from Stephen,
  • 1 from James.

Last Sunday, we saw Pentecost. So many people gathered in Jerusalem at that time, and the HS came down. And about 3,000 people were added to the church that day.

At this time, during the time of prayer, at the temple, Peter and John healed a lame man. So many people saw it and rushed to them to see how this was possible. This setting gave Peter another opportunity to preach the gospel.

Just like the first sermon, this one is:

  1. Full of the HS
  2. Full of the Word of God
  3. Focused on Jesus

v. 12-16

“12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 *By faith in the name of Jesus*, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

First, the final purpose of this miracle = to bring glory to Christ. v.13 makes this clear. The final purpose was not to heal this man and make him strong, but to bring glory to Christ.

Also, the crucifixion is not only for the sins of the whole world, but also the greatest crime in human history. This is the meeting of God’s absolute justice and unconditional love. This is also the meeting place of God’s mercy and man’s rebellion.

The resurrection is proof that Jesus is indestructible and Lord of life and death. This is ironic – he gave life, they killed the author of life. But this – the resurrection – is final proof that Jesus is God.

We have no power – but we may be a channel of the power of the risen Christ. As long as we think only of what we can do and be, there is only failure and fear. But when we think of “not I but Christ in me” (Gal 2:20) there is the power of Christ in me.

So, how can we be channels of this power of Christ? By believing and using the name of Christ.

Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ” in his first sermon. In this sermon also, “silver and gold I have not, but I will give what I have – in the name of Christ, stand up and walk.”

What does a name mean / carry with it? It carries with it the full authority of the one to whom it belongs.

Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”

Let me introduce some of the names of Christ. (The Bible is full of names of Christ.)

  • Matt 1:21 “He will save his people from his sins.”
  • “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I with them.”
  • Luke “Forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations in the name of Christ.”
  • John “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Jesus “I will do whatever you ask in my name.” (in the book of John 4 times)
  • “The Father will send the Counselor (Holy Spirit) in my name.”
  • John: The Bible is written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we may have life in his name.
  • Acts: “Repent and be baptized every one of you and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Peter “Repentance and forgiveness will be given to you in his name… There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
  • Joel, Acts, Romans: “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Phil 2:9-10 “Therefore, God super-exalted Jesus Christ and gave him the name that is above every name – that at his name every knee should bow, in / on / under the earth.”
  • Col 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether word or deed, eat or drink, do it all in the name of Christ – giving thanks to God through him.”
  • 1 John 3:15 “I write this book so that you may know that you have eternal life in the name of Christ.”

Last Sunday, I encouraged / challenged you: we cannot give what we do not have. We can give only what we have. If you have the name of Christ really in you, you can give to this world – healing to those who need it, salvation to those who need it, peace to those who need it, life solutions to those who need them. This is the power of the name of Christ.

God bless us so that we may believe and enjoy and use this name.

v. 17

“”Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

They crucified the Author of Life in ignorance (they didn’t realize what they were doing).

In the history of Israel, the Jews had NEVER expected a “suffering Messiah” – but had anticipated a “super hero Messiah” – politically, physically, etc strong. So, when Christ came as a carpenter and died on the cross, they missed it.

In the OT, there is a difference between deliberate and unintentional sins.

  • If someone sinned deliberately, he was cut off from the tribe / God, etc.
  • But if it was unintentional, he was given an opportunity to repent.

Intentionality does not mitigate guilt, but changes the circumstances.

In this case, the people committed sin unintentionally – so there was not immediate condemnation, but rather the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness, judgment, etc and call all men to repentance.

Remember, nowadays in our times, because the HS came and is convicting us of sin, we have no more opportunity to say, “I rejected Christ in ignorance.” – The HS is witnessing, convicting, testifying about Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 “We have no more excuse…”

Like Peter’s 1st sermon, this second one is full of the Word of God (OT).

Peter’s 1st sermon: quoted Joel and Psalms

v. 18-24

“18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

The point: even the OT is full of Jesus’ story. From Genesis to Malachi – 39 books – are full of Jesus’ story.

Ex: introduces Moses, Samuel, and all the prophets. Next verse we will read v. 25: Abraham as well

Moses

v. 22 ” ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'”

This is foreshadowing Christ and quoted from Deuteronomy 18:15, 18:18 (word-for-word quotations).

Moses prophesied the Messiah.

Jesus says in John, “If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me, because Moses wrote about me.”

Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible).

When Philip found Nathaniel he said, “We have found the one Moses wrote about.”

Also, Hebrews 11:26 (the faith chapter) – in the human calendar, Moses lived 1500 years before Christ. But in Hebrews it says, “Moses considered all this pain, suffering, etc for Christ more than all the treasures in Egypt.”

Samuel

v. 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.”

Samuel was the first in the succession of the prophets – he anointed David as king and spoke clearly of the establishment of David’s kingdom. “God will establish the throne of David FOREVER.” (2 Samuel)

Is there actually the physical, human throne of David today? No. But the king is Christ. This was a prophecy of the Messiah to come. “All the prophets” testified about this. “That everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

v. 19 “Repent, then, and turn to God,”

Peter also mentioned repentance in his first sermon. This is a change of mind about sin and reorientation of the self toward God.

John the Baptist also prepared the way for Christ by preaching the message of repentance. This is acknowledging person sin and turning from it TO God.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we repent, God promises to wipe out our sins and also to bring spiritual refreshment.

Yes, at first, repentance seems painful – because it is hard to give up some sins – but God will give us a better way. Do you feel a need to be refreshed? Forgiveness is available for everybody today at the foot of the cross.

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

v. 22

“‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; [we] must listen to everything he tells you.”

This is a very serious question. Are you listening to everything Jesus is telling you? Even at the Transfiguration (mountain), God pointed at Christ and said, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased, LISTEN to him.”

Question: What is your posture when the Word of God is preached?

  • Do you HEAR it only? Coming in one ear and out the other?
  • Or do you listen with INTENTION of being a DOER of the Word of God.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – and change the way you live.

Please listen (and obey) every word in the Word of God.

v. 25

“And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring [seed] all peoples on earth will be blessed.'”

“offspring” = “seed”

There is another amazing story:

Yes, Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ – he lived FOR Christ and testified about Christ through his life and story.

  • One day (Genesis 12:2-3), God called Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation – and I will bless you. You will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you – and ALL peoples on earth will be blessed (saved) through you.”
  • Genesis 22:18, 26:4 “Through your seed, all nations on earth will be blessed.”

The point is: seed (singular – not plural). There is only ONE seed.

Gal 3:14-16 makes it clear: This seed is Jesus Christ.

This is very important.

Gal 3:14-16

“14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. … 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”

  • “Who is Christ!”
  • “The conclusion is Christ!”

v. 26

“When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.””

God sent Christ to bless us, not curse us. God is good all the time, but Satan tempts us all the time about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Please do not allow Satan to tempt us of this.

  • John 3:16.
  • John 3:17 “God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is the same yesterday, today, forever. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 26 / 2017
  • Comments Off on There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)

Download Notes in a .MD file

There is a Future for Israel

Romans 11:11-24 (Pastor Heo)

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


Romans 9, 10, 11 as one unit = the Vindication of God’s Righteousness through Israel’s full history

  1. Past election
  2. present rejection
  3. future restoration

This is full of the story of Israel.

Each chapter starts with a great concern about Israel.

  • chp 9: I speak the truth, my conscience confirms it, I have unceasing sorrow and anguish in my heart for the salvation of Israel.
  • chp 10: My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
  • chp 11: Did God reject them? By no means, I’m an Israelite myself.

Jesus: “Blessed is the one who cries, for he will laugh.”

If you have joy/peace/laughing in your heart because of your salvation, you must have great sorrow/pain/weeping for the salvation of others.

For whom do you cry?

Last Sunday, we saw 2 of 5 proofs for the restoration of Israel.

In chp 11, there are 5 proofs that God is not yet finished with Israel.

Proofs

  1. Paul himself – his own conversion is an illustration of the future restoration of Israel
  2. Elijah – he lived in the worst era of Israel’s history – God said, “I have reserved 7000 for myself who don’t bow down to Baal”

What does this mean?

  1. There has never been, nor never will be a time in history when the WHOLE nation has been faithful to God
  2. NOR is there a time when the WHOLE nation has been unfaithful.
  3. There is a remnant in every country.

This morning. Let us see proofs #3, 4

#3. Gentiles

v. 11-15

“11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

In chp 2:1-3, Paul used the Gentiles to prove the Jews guilty of sin. “You, Jews, have no excuse – you who pass judgment on others – because you are doing the same things.”

Here, again, Paul uses the Gentiles to assure the Jews’ future restoration.

When the Jews rejected this gospel, God sent it to the Gentiles, and they accepted and believed and were saved. At least three tragedies happened to the Jews.

  • v. 11 – the nation fell
  • v. 12 – the nation diminished
  • v. 15 – the nation was rejected

But none of these three things suggest a “final judgment” on Israel. The amazing thing is that through the fall of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.

Hosea 2:23 “God says, ‘I will show my love to the one I call not my loved one, and I will call them my people who are not my people, and they will call me their God.'”

These OT promises to the Gentiles were connected to Israel’s rise. Isaiah 60 make it clear that the Gentiles will share in the kingdom and life of the Gentiles. But… Israel did not rise, they fell. So, what did God do to the Gentiles? He introduced a new factor: the church. This church is called a “mystery.” (Eph 3) This was not revealed in the OT. But this does not mean that God has abandoned his kingdom project for Israel. They are only set aside until the appropriate time.

Now, the Gentiles have a vital ministry to Israel. They provoke Israel to jealousy because of their spiritual blessings in Christ.

Today, Israel is spiritually bankrupt, and have fallen away. When Jesus comes again, they will be accepted again. This is called “full inclusion” (v 12) and “acceptance” (v 15).

Yes, God wanted to rule over Israel in their history – but they didn’t allow God to rule over them. So, God will OVERrule them. This is God’s plan for them.

#4 Patriarchs – founders of Israel

Today’s lesson is Hard Food, not soft.

Review the 4 proofs up to now:

  1. Paul
  2. Elijah
  3. Gentiles
  4. Patriarchs

Paul looks to the past to show this. He used two illustrations to prove that God is not finished with Israel.

  1. Lump of dough (for baking bread)
  2. Olive tree

v. 16a “16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy;” (reference: Numbers 15, Leviticus 23)

1. Lump of Dough

The first part of the dough had to be offered to God as a symbol that the whole lump belonged to God (tithes & firstfruits). This also happens in the Feast of the Firstfruits. The priest offered the first sheaf of the harvest as a symbol that the whole harvest belonged to God – by God’s mercy and grace.

The principle: If God receives part, he sanctifies the whole.

God received the founder of the nation of Israel (Abraham) and so set apart the whole nation as holy. He also received the other patriarchs – Isaac, Jacob, etc – despite their flaws and sins. This is another proof that God has set the whole nation apart as holy and has a plan for them.

In our personal lifestyles, we also offer tithes.

We recognize that “all I have and earn” belong to God. “I’m a steward” and all I have belongs to God. This is the starting point, the beginning of the true Christian life – practically and spiritually. Offering tithes is the beginning point of the Christian lifestyle.

If the first part is holy, the whole batch is holy.

2. Olive tree

This is a symbol of the nation Israel. (Jeremiah)

v. 16b-24 “if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

To understand this passage clearly: keywords

  1. Olive tree
  2. Root
  3. Grafted in (접목하다)

Paul is not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God. But he is discussing the place of Israel in the plan of God.

  1. Jeremiah / Hosea declare the olive tree as a symbol of the nation Israel.
  2. The Root is a symbol of patriarchs who founded the nation. God made his covenant with the patriarchs. He never denied them nor changed them. Thus, his promise to Abraham sustains the nation of Israel even today.
  3. Many Jews do not believe in Christ even today. They are pictured as the branches that are broken off the tree.
  4. Other branches are grafted onto the tree and share the life of that tree. These other branches are the Gentiles (collectively).

But there is one strange thing (v. 24) – Paul says that this grafting in is “contrary to nature” – going against the natural principles of this world.

  • Usually, cultivated branches must be grafted into wild trees to share the tree’s life.
  • But in this case, wild branches were grafted into a cultivated tree.

This is because “Salvation is from the Jews.”

No matter how far the nation of Israel (branches) stray, the root (patriarchs & God’s covenant to them) is still good. God will never neglect his covenant with them. That means that some day, the nation of Israel will flourish again in God’s kingdom.

Some of us may ask today:

“So what does this matter to me?”

Even through three chapters – in one of the most important books in the NT – the #1 epistle of Paul’s – we cover the story of Israel. Why is this so important?

Application to our lives (4 things):

#1 Physically, Christ came as a Jew

Salvation is from the Jews. The Bible is the story of the Jews (past, present, future)

  • PAST: Elected by God’s grace/mercy – not because of their faithfulness or merit
  • PRESENT: Rejected because of their faithlessness

If this rejection lasts forever, then our own salvation is completely unstable. It would mean that our salvation also depends on our faithfulness.

BUT – we can say that our salvation is due to God’s grace, not our own merit.

So, we must be humble and thankful to God through our study of Israel. Our own salvation is due to God’s covenant and promise to the patriarchs of the Jewish nation (through whom the Messiah, Jesus, came).

#2 We are debtors of the gospel

The message of the gospel came to us through the rejection of Israel.

So, we enjoy the gospel today, but it must go back to Israel through our preaching.

  • Because of Israel’s rejection, we received the gospel.
  • This gospel must return to Israel through our preaching.

#3 God’s covenant with Abraham is still alive

We are “children of Abraham”

The first covenant is in Genesis 12:1-3 “I will make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. All people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This is through God’s “WILL”

This covenant is being fulfilled spiritually through us (Gentiles) – and in secular, physical history, it is already fulfilled through the Jews as well.

In history, no nations that remain against the Jews, remain prosperous.

  • BC 721, Assyria conquered Israel. There is no more Assyria.
  • BC 586, Babylon conquered Israel. There is no more Babylon.
  • Amalites, Moabites, Edomites, Hittites, etc, no longer exist anywhere on earth.
  • But there exists the nation of Israel.

This is the physical fulfillment of God’s covenant.

And spiritually, all nations will be blessed through you (through us) – is happening now.

#4 God’s final plan: to unite in Christ

No more Jew and Gentile, no more male and female, no more slave and free, etc.

Eph 2:11-18

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Getniles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human nhands )- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foriengers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

In Christ, we are ONE. Brothers and sisters. We are members of one eternal family.

Conclusion: Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We are all ONE in Christ.”

In the eyes of God, there are only 2 kinds of people:

  1. IN Christ (saved)
  2. OUTSIDE Christ (lost)
  • If you are outside Christ, you must come to Christ to be saved.
  • If you are in Christ, you must go to the lost and say to them, “Come!”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you life, rest, salvation, peace for your souls.”

Let’s pray individually now.

In the beginning of my sermon I said, “If we have joy for our salvation, we must have sorrow for others. If we laugh for our salvation, we must cry for the salvation of others.” Your brothers, sisters, family, loved ones, parents, children, neighbors, etc.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 12 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith (Romans 10:13-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Saving Faith leads to “God sent” Faith

Romans 10:13-21 (Pastor Heo)

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”


Salvation is easy, simple, free, open, available – but there is a cost. It is not cheap.

Why is salvation FREE, yet so expensive? It’s actually too expensive to pay – it’s priceless. The price for our salvation that God paid = the life of his One and Only Son, Jesus.

Imagine, if you have only one child – son or daughter. For what in this world could you put your only child in the place of death? Nothing. Yet, our Father God put his only child – Jesus – in our place to die on the cross for our sins. And Jesus says, “salvation is like a treasure found in a field, and when a man found it – he sold ALL he had and bought that field.” Or also, “like a merchant looking for a good purse, and when he found one of great value, he sold everything he had and bought that purse.”

This Bible is the same book –

  • yet in one place, it says, “salvation is FREE – you pay nothing for it.”
  • yet, in another place it says, “You must pay ALL you have for salvation.”

So, how can we combine these two seemingly contradictory verses?

  • Free vs. Expensive.
  • Nothing vs. Everything.

I hope we are very clear in this matter – don’t be confused. Yes, salvation is FREE – God paid the price for us already through Jesus on the cross. We have nothing to pay, buy, to receive salvation.

But the Christian life in this world is a holy journey, a pilgrimage – to know, more and more, the true value of salvation.

Which is more valuable? Salvation or ALL your possessions? The Christian life is “the more we understand the value of salvation, the more we want to give and dedicate ourselves to Christ who died on the cross for our sins.”

Yes, I’m convinced I’m saved by the blood of Christ, yet everyday – though I read the Bible and pray everyday, I can’t say I fully know the true value of salvation. But, the more we know, the more we want to dedicate ourselves to it.

v. 13-15

“13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” “

This “good news” is good news of peace and salvation (Isaiah 52:7).

Yes, we are saved and justified only by believing in Christ and confessing with our mouths before men. We retain righteousness through no work, no power, not our own honor, etc.

Many people want to be recognized as “righteous” because they give, serve, read, study MORE. No, no, this is only self-righteousness. Rather, we receive faith, Christ-righteousness only by believing in Christ.

In these verses we see the word “how” repeated 5x.

v. 13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  1. How can they call if they don’t believe?
  2. How can they believe if they don’t hear?
  3. How can they hear without someone preaching?
  4. How can someone preach without being sent?
  5. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Topic today: Saving Faith leads to “God Sent” Faith

If you have saving faith, you are to have “God sent” faith. God sent his Son to this world. And in his intercessory prayer, Jesus repeats two times, “Father, as you sent me, I’m sending them.” At his resurrection, “Peace be with you as the Father sent me.”

Story of Joseph

You are familiar with his story. He was hated by his 10 older brothers because of his dream.

Also Christ was hated by his people, the Jews, for nothing.

One day, his brothers sold Joseph to slave traders from Egypt. Joseph had so many hardships and injustices – even in prison. Yet, through God’s provision and providence, Joseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt (second most powerful man in the most powerful country on earth at that time) – at the age of 30. Can you do this on your own power? No, impossible.

There were 7 years of abundance – so Joseph had the people save enough food for the following 7 years of famine (even neighboring countries suffered). Even Joseph’s father Jacob suffered, so he sent the 10 brothers to Egypt to buy food. And who did they stand before? Their brother Joseph. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him.

The first deal was done, but later they came a second time – and then he revealed himself to them. Can you imagine this? “I’m Joseph! Your brother! The one you sold into slavery!” Imagine, they must have been so fearful. But Joseph said, “Do not fear, do not be distressed. You sold me, but God sent me – to save many lives.” This is the Christian life.

  • Yes, they SOLD Joseph. This is his earthly life story.
  • Yet, his interpretation of this fact was opposite.
  • “God SENT me.” This is his heavenly life story.

Are you Christian? Then you are writing two stories at the same time. You are writing your heavenly life story THROUGH you earthly life story.

  • If we ask, “Why are you here, in Korea, in Jeonju, in AICF?”
  • We can answer, “I got married here / I’m studying here / I’m working here / etc.”

Yes, this is true, but this is our earthly life story. Our heavenly life story is, “Through this earthly life story, I’m here because God SENT me.”

We are living invisible life through visible life, spiritual life through physical life. Only our earthly life is meaningful when it is connected to our heavenly life. Our earthly life is meaningless, vanity, unless it’s connected to the heavenly story.

  • “You sold me, but God SENT me.”
  • “I’m here because God SENT me.”
  • This is the Christian’s heavenly life story.

v. 16-17

“16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Even in the OT, they had heard the good news, but few received it. (quoted from Isaiah 53:1). This is the gospel of the OT. Chp 53 is the “Suffering Messiah” chapter.

Isaiah 53:1-8
“1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. “

  • “by his wounds we are healed”
  • “he did not open his mouth”
  • “he was led by God”
  • John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”

These are all fulfilled in the NT

Summary of the fulfillment of these things:

1 Peter 2:21-24
“21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” “

Let us come back to Romans 10:17 (key verse)

“17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. “

  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
  • “Let us fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Within 10 min I will summarize the WHOLE story of the Bible. Please, pray for me. Genesis to Revelation – focusing on THIS verse (Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing”)

There are 12 main characters in the Bible:
But the key mission / ministry is the same:
“To bear witness to Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

Ready? Ok, go!

12 main characters have the same mission: “to testify about Christ.”

Yes, there are many jobs in this world, but we must be clear about our #1 job. (This is the conclusion – in advance.)

#1 Bible (first character) –

It says many things about life, society, politics, music, family, etc, but the key mission is to testify about Christ

  • John 20:31 “The Bible is written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that you may have life in his name.”
  • Jesus says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them, you have life, but these are the Scriptures that testify about me.”

#2 Father God

His main ministry is to testify about his son

  • When Jesus was baptized, heaven opened and he said, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was with Moses and Abraham and after they left, heaven opened and God spoke, “This is my Son, in whom I’m well pleased. Listen to him.”
  • Jesus also says, “My Father who sent me into this world testifies about me. To see me is to see him.”

#3 Holy Spirit

The key mission is to witness about Christ.

  • “Nobody can call Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Can you do this? Then you are doing so with the HS power.
  • John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I’ll send to you from the Father, the HS will testify about me.”

#4 Abraham

He had many jobs, but Jesus says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John)

  • Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

#5 Moses

The first 5 books of the OT are the books of the Law – written by Moses. Even Moses’ key mission is to testify about Christ.

John – Jesus says, “If you believe Moses, you would believe in me because Moses wrote / testified about me.” Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy are written about Jesus – to show, bear witness, testify about Christ.

#6 David

He is the greatest king in Israel’s history. He is a symbol of Christ. That’s why Jesus came through the family line of David.

  • Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Abraham, David, and Jesus.”
  • Psalm 110:1 “1 The LORD says to my lord:“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.””
    • Lord is repeated twice – but the letters are different.
    • The first LORD is all capital, the second, all lowercase. What is the difference?
      1. Father God is the first – but at that time, they were afraid to call the personal name of God “Jehovah Jireh”
      2. Messiah is the second

That’s why this is repeated in Matt 22:33-34.

  • Jesus quotes this verse and asks, “What do you think about Christ?”
  • They answered, “Son of David” Jesus said, “If so, how does David call Christ ‘Lord’?”

This means that even the key mission of David was to testify about Christ.

#7 All prophets

From Isaiah to Malachi – ALL prophets’ key mission was to testify about Christ.

Acts 10:43 “All prophets in the OT testify about Jesus Christ that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name.”

This is the end of the summary of the OT.

#8 (NT) John the Baptist

His key mission was very important because he was a forerunner for Christ. He pointed at Christ and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! He must become greater and I lesser.”

John 1:4 “In him was life and this life was the light of man. It has shone in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. A man came, sent from God, his name was John. He came as a witness to testify about Christ – that all men might believe in him.”

#9 All apostles (representative: Peter)

Acts 3:15 “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are the witnesses of this.”

After his resurrection, before ascension, Christ said, “You are my witnesses.”

#10 Paul

There is no doubt about Paul as a witness of Christ. 1 Cor 2:4 “I resolved to know NOTHING except Christ and him crucified. I have nothing to boast of except the cross of Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. If I live, I live for Christ, if I die, I die for Christ – so to die is GAIN.”

#11 The Church

No question – the church is the body of Christ.

The church is not a building, it is the PEOPLE of God who confess Christ, “You are Christ, the Son of God.” We are a holy gathering of God’s people who proclaim the same.

  • Jesus says, “On this confession, I will build my church. The gates of hell will never overcome this church. I give the keys of heaven to the church. Whatever is bound by the church will be bound in hell, whatever is loosed by the church will be loosed in heaven.”

This church is in the world, but the world must not be in the church.

#12 YOU (Holy-spirit filled believers)

Your key mission (“be filled with the HS” Eph 5:18 “be wise, do not follow the pattern of this world – be filled with the HS” – check yourselves)

You can check yourself to see if you are pregnant or not. Like this, you can check if you are filled with the HS or not.

  • If you #1 job is to testify about Christ – then you are definitely filled with the HS.
  • But, if it’s not priority #1, you need to be filled with the HS.

Acts 1:8 “When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This is evidence of being filled with the HS.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 24 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has Absolute Sovereignty

Romans 9:1-18 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.


Romans consists of 3 parts. Last week, we finished the first part. Today, we start the second part. The theme of this book: the Righteousness of God.

  1. Part 1: chp 1-8 (Revelation / Manifestation of God’s Righteousness)
  2. Part 2: chp 9-11 (Vindication of God’s Righteousness)
  3. Part 3: chp 12-16 (Application / Practice of God’s Righteousness)

In the 3 chapters, 9, 10, 11, Paul is revealing the vindication of God’s righteousness using the story of Israel. In these three chapters, the main material used to reveal the attributes of God = Israel. This is the story of Israel (literal, historic, Israel – located in the Middle East).

So, why is this necessary for us to study the story of Israel at this moment? A careful study of these chapters is necessary to reveal and vindicate God’s righteousness.

Yes, from chp 1-8, we have been strongly persuaded that Once Justification, Once Salvation = Always (it never fails).

Last time, chp 8 closes with great joy and shouting about “no condemnation in Christ and no separation from the love of Christ.”

8:37-39

“37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Someone might challenge this. “Hmm, IF this is true, then, what about the Jews? Israel?” The OT is the story of Israel – the Chosen people in God’s redemptive history. They are set apart from the love of God and God is building his church with a new people – the Gentiles. It seems that the Jews were abandoned and rejected by the love of God. So, did God’s plan fail with regard to Israel?

(This is a very serious question – because the character of God is at stake. If God were unfaithful to the Jews, how can we be sure he will be faithful to us?)

So, through these next 3 chapters, God’s righteousness is vindicated.

  • Chp 9: Israel’s past election
  • Chp 10: Israel’s present rejection (human responsibility)
  • Chp 11: Israel’s future redemption (God’s faithfulness despite human unfaithfulness)

Israel is very small geologically. But spiritually speaking, Israel is the ONLY country that has a history with God – past, present, future.

“All Israel will be saved” – just before the Second Coming of Christ. (not individually, but generally, and nationally returning to Christ)

First, we see Paul’s concern for the spiritual well being of his brothers (Israel):

Paul’s concern for Israel

v. 1-3

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,” (Jews)

At that time, Paul was considered a traitor to the Jewish nation – because he was a minister for the Gentiles, not Jews – and he preached of Freedom from the Law of Moses. He preached in many synagogues and “caused trouble” for the Jewish religion.

So at this point, Paul wants to show his love for his brothers and sisters, and his desire for their spiritual well being.

Remember chp 8?

“I’m convinced NOTHING can separate me from the love of Christ.”

Now, chp 9

“I wish that I COULD be cut off from Christ – for the sake of my brothers.”

There is a similar prayer in Exodus 32 –

While Moses was on the top of the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments. At the bottom of the same mountain – the people made idols and ran wild. When Moses came down and saw that sin, God was very ANGRY.

  • God said, “I will destroy / kill all Israel – and I will start again to build a great nation with you – Moses.”
  • But Moses did not say, “Amen.” He said, “No, God, please, forgive them. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – forgive them. If you do not, remove me from the Book of Life.” (Send me to hell if you don’t forgive them.)

Of course, God forgave all of them, and did not remove Moses’ name from the Book of Life.

Yes, parents here, maybe you have this experience. When your child is sick, sometimes you say, “I wish it was ME who was sick, not this child. I would take your place.”

This is a true heart of love.

If you are really a born-again Christian, we have two opposing attitudes.

  1. 1. When we see Christ, we abound in love and joy at his salvation
  2. 2. When we see the lost, we abound in unceasing anguish for their spiritual loss

May God bless us to be true Christians in the eyes of God.

Next, we see the election of Israel. We have no right to ask God, “Why did you choose Israel?” This is God’s will.

The Election of Israel

v. 4-5

“4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

God gave the people of Israel a divine promise and also the Tabernacle. God gave the Law to Moses. He gave the Promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, David, etc (these are the Patriarchs). What is the purpose of all these blessings?

Key Point:

  • v. 5b “from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, was to come through Israel. This is why all the blessings are given to Israel. They were to receive Christ, and then introduce him to all other nations – so that all nations might be saved together.

But unfortunately, when the Messiah they had waited for eagerly, finally appeared on Earth, they did not recognize him, and crucified him.

chp 3 “What is the advantage to being a Jew? Much! They have been entrusted the very Word of God.”

But even the failure of humans is inconsequential to God – who is always faithful.

Question today:

  • What is the advantage to being a Christian today – in this unbelieving world?

Ans:

  • Much in every way. We are entrusted with the very word of God – the gospel message.

This is a very simple message, but has life-giving power. “Believe in Christ and you will be saved – live forever in the presence of Christ.” But who can preach this message except the children of God? (You and me.)

God’s absolute sovereignty / redemptive will in choosing man

v. 6-10

“6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.”

What does this mean?

In chp 2, remember that a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly. No, he must be one inwardly.

There is a difference between:

  • natural, physical seed of Abraham, and
  • the spiritual children of God.

As we know, in the OT, Abraham had 2 sons. Ishmael and Isaac. According to principle, Ishmael was the first-born, so he should have been chosen. But it was Isaac who God chose.

Also, Isaac had 2 sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau should have been chosen, because he was first. But God chose Jacob. These two shared the same father AND mother (unlike Ishmael and Isaac).

This shows that God did not choose based on physical condition (blood first-born), but by God’s absolute sovereignty.

If we are saved, it is not because of our physical condition, but because of God’s will and purpose.

Also, we can see that God’s election was not based on the character of the person. Is your character good? Good enough to be saved?

God’s purpose in Election

v. 11-13

“11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” “

Please do not misunderstand the meaning of this sentence, esp v. 13 “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”. Actually, God chose Jacob before he was born. They had done NOTHING before that. God’s choice is sovereign – and based on nothing from the people themselves.

Malachi wrote this “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What does this mean?

This does not mean Individual Choice, but National Election for World Mission.

  • “Jacob I loved” = I chose Israel as the mission country for world mission and evangelism
  • “Esau I hated” = Not personally, but he did not choose to use Edom for world mission

This means, even though our character and actions are sometimes evil, God remains faithful. He chooses not based on human merit, but on his own will and for his own purposes.

“God has absolute sovereignty” He is God.

v. 14-18

“14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

Why? Because he is God.

Nobody has the right to say to God, “Why me?”

God is God.

Is God unjust or unrighteous? No, not at all.

The fact that God chose one and not the other seems to indicate that God is UNrighteous. Do not misunderstand.

If we think, “God chose this person, but not that person” we might this “God is not holy.” But, actually, if God acted only on the basis of his own righteousness, NOBODY would be saved at all. All people should go to hell immediately – if God treated each person “fairly, equally, and according to what he has done.”

God’s election is not about personal righteousness, but about God’s mercy.

Paul quoted Exodus 33.

Actually, all the people of Israel committed a terrible sin – idol worship. If God had judged them according to his righteousness, ALL of them should be killed. Rather he just killed 3000 of them – not because some were “better” than others, but simply because he was merciful to the others.

In this passage, Paul is using two examples:

  • Pharaoh and Moses.
    • Actually, before God, they were equal – both murderers.
  1. God raised Pharaoh up to show his power through him.
  2. God used Moses to show his mercy and redemption through him.

Pharaoh was a king, Moses was a slave – but Moses is the one who received God’s mercy. Why? Because God chose this way. God acted according to his absolute sovereignty.

The hardening of Pharaoh:

v. 18 “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

This “hardening” is reference 14? times in Exodus. Sometimes “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and sometimes “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. Actually God gave Pharaoh a chance (many) to repent, but he did not.

That’s why the Bible says, “When you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts.”

Please, whenever you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts. Make your heart soft when you receive the Word of God.

God’s faithfulness is still unchangeable.

Let’s pray.

 

  • May 21 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2) – Romans 4:1-25
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2) – Romans 4:1-25

Download notes in a .MD file

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2)

Romans 4:1-25 (Pastor Heo)

Abraham Justified by Faith

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” 9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


We are not justified by works, but by the grace of God based on the power of God – through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This chapter is the same justification illustrated through the experience of Abraham. In the matter of salvation and justification, Abraham and we are the same. (Same experience, same testimony).

Last time, we saw (negatively) by what Abraham was NOT saved.

  1. His character
  2. Circumcision (religious rituals – baptism, communion, local church membership)
  3. Observing the Law
  4. His own power

Today, let’s look at (positively) by what Abraham WAS justified.

#1: He was justified by Faith

v. 1-3

“1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – (this is quoted from Genesis 15:6)

  • In Genesis 14, Abraham was involved in fighting to rescue his nephew Lot and possessions and many other people.
  • In Genesis 15, maybe Abraham might be in fear wondering if they might return to fight against him. It was then that God appeared to him and said,
    • “Abraham, do not be afraid. I am your great shield and very great reward.”
    • Abraham said, “Oh, Lord, what have you given me? I have no heir.”
    • God said, “No, not your servant, but your own son from your own body will be your heir. Look up at the heavens and count the stars – your children will be more numerous than all these or all the sand on the seashore.”
    • This promise is the one that Abraham believed and God honored his faith and said, “Your faith will be credited to you as righteousness.”

Thus, BY FAITH, he was declared righteous.

#2: He was justified by the Grace of God

v. 16

“16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (are you included or excluded? if saved, you are included in the salvation / justification of God)

Literal meaning of “Abraham” = “Father of many nations”

This promise was given by Grace.

This means God was not under any duty or obligation to do this for Abraham. Abraham did NOTHING to earn this, nor to merit this promise. It was freely given. It was given totally by God’s will and grace. This is a gift without cause.

In Greek, there are two words for “promise”:

  1. huposchesis? = conditional, relative promise (like a contract or agreement by mutual consent – there are conditions that must be met)
    1. If you… then I’ll… – most promises between human beings are these.
    2. The word “Promise” in these verses is NOT this one.
  2. epangelia? = unconditional, absolute promise (this is to be fulfilled regardless of any factors) – Abraham’s age, character, etc did not matter.
    1. Thus, our salvation (likewise) is never to be lost nor changed.
    2. Once justified, it never changes.

If we are saved, justified, by our own works, then this salvation may be lose-able (think if you failed to live up to your previous works). But this promise is absolute and unconditional.

  1. by faith
  2. by grace

#3: He was justified by the power of Jesus Christ

v. 22-25

“22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Yes, Abraham was not justified by HIS own power. Now, imagine, when God gave this promise, “You will be the father of many nations…” Abraham was childless. He was 85 years old at that time. (That’s not young.) We can expect that God would give Abraham a child IMMEDIATELY after that promise, but…………………. 15 years later….

There are many reasons for this, but ONE reason why God delayed in giving them a son was to wait until their “natural” reproductive power reduced and disappeared completely.

When they were totally powerless, as good as dead from a reproductive point of view, THEN God (through the power of the resurrection of Jesus) began to work in their bodies.

This was an outward symbol of how they were justified.

Also, we have done nothing for our own salvation and justification, because we were spiritually dead when we were saved. Also, we need to do nothing for our salvation because our Lord Jesus Christ has done ALL for our salvation and justification.

In this chapter, Abraham is listed as the “father of faith” (not the father of character). This means, even today, we are saved by the same faith by which Abraham was saved and justified 4,000 years ago. By that same faith, we can learn and see what this saving faith is like.

Here are 3 things that saving faith is like.

Do you have saving faith?

  1. Basis = Word of God (covenant of God, promise of God – not our own thinking)
    1. Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the Word of God…”
  2. Object = Jesus Christ
    1. Even Abraham (from God’s perspective) was saved and justified by believing in Jesus Christ. “Before Abraham was born, I AM.”
    2. Jesus came in body 2,000 years ago, Abraham lived 4,000 years ago. “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” (not “had been”) “Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day.”
    3. Hebrews 12:2 “Fix your eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.”

2 key words / key points

If you get these points in your daily lives, you will be so blessed.

Before this, let us think about Abraham’s faith. We are also justified by this same faith.

On Abraham’s part, he had NOTHING to boast about his faith. But God honored Abraham’s faith and declared “you are righteous”. Also today, we need to honor his faith.

Under what circumstances did Abraham believe God’s promise (4,000 years ago)?

  1. He had no Bible, no written Word of God, no local churches, no fellowship with other believers. He was surrounded by unbelieving pagans (he was the only one at that time)
  2. He also was childless at age 85 – yet he believed God’s promise for “many children” and even up to 15 years later…. NO.

If you were Abraham in THAT situation, would you continue to believe God’s promise absolutely without doubting, shaking, wavering?

  • The visible circumstances are becoming worse and worse,
  • but Abraham’s faith is getting stronger and stronger.
  • THIS is saving faith.

v. 18-20

“18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, “

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

You must check your faith all the time. If (this is a serious sentence)…

  • If your faith is affected by circumstances….
  • – stronger when circumstances are favorable,
  • – weaker when circumstances are out of control
  • This is NOT saving faith.

That’s why, even Saving Faith is the Gift of God.

This is not given by our own payment, but by God’s grace.

2 keywords

  1. Credit (x10 repeated in this chapter)
    1. v. 3
    2. v. 4
    3. v. 5
    4. v. 6
    5. v. 9
    6. v. 10
    7. v. 11
    8. v. 22
    9. v. 23
    10. v. 24
    11. This short word = 10x
  2. Righteousness (x12)
    1. – sometimes “justified”
    2. – last word in this chapter = “justification” – this means “declared righteousness”

2 keywords:

  1. Credit (x10)
  2. Righteousness (x12)

At that time, “credit” = banking term.

Do you have a credit card? Probably most of you have more than one. Do you have your own bank book?

“Credit” = to deposit into one’s account (increase) – count, reckon

If someone puts $1 billion into my account, whose money will that be? Mine. It’s available for me – regardless of my character, weight, appearance, education, career, background, etc.

Credit = emphasized in Romans 4 to show us “this is TRUE!” – the moment I put my real trust (faith) in Jesus Christ – at that exact moment, all of my sins from first to last, are ALL transferred to the “bank account” of Jesus Christ. That’s why he is called the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins for the whole world.

That’s why, at the cross, he was totally filled from head to toe with ALL the sins of the world – even Abraham’s sins, even my sins, even a man who lives to the end of the world’s sins.

Because of this, God abandoned him and Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Isaiah 56 “We all like sheep have gone astray, each has turned to his own way, and God has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”

Then God transferred ALL those sins to Jesus and declares us righteous, because he also transfers Jesus’ righteousness to us.

“God made Christ who had no sin to become sin so that we might be justified and made righteous for everyone who believes.”

Cor 1:30 “Jesus Christ is our righteousness, sanctification.”

This is the imputation of unrighteousness and righteousness.

God bless you. This chapter starts with the story of Abraham, and ends with the story of Jesus Christ.

v. 25 “25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

  • Jesus was delivered over to be a full Man from full God
  • delivered to this dirty earth from beautiful heaven for our sins
  • delivered over to all kinds of sins and temptations to experience what we experience
  • delivered over to the priests and Pharisees
  • delivered over to Pilate to be judged wrongly for our sins
  • delivered over to Roman soldiers to be powerless for our sins
  • delivered over to the cross, the place of the greatest humiliation and shame for our sins
  • delivered over to death and burial and hell for our sins and rose again from death from hell from all sins.

It is only Jesus Christ who defeats the last enemy. And now he is alive and interceding for us. He did this all for us, and all by his own choice (not by force) – he did this all because he loves us.

John 10:18 “No one takes my life from me, I lay my life down of my own accord. I have authority to lay my life down and to take it up again.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 07 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (Part 1) – Romans 4:1-25
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (Part 1) – Romans 4:1-25

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Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (Part 1)

Romans 4:1-25 (Pastor Heo)

Abraham Justified by Faith

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” 9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


Last Sunday, we made “justification” clear (i.e. how to have a right relationship with God). In the second half of chp 3: It is only by:

  1. The grace of God (the root)
  2. The blood of Christ (the power of the death and resurrection – the foundation, ground)
  3. Faith (condition – not method – for justification)

In chp 4, this is Abraham’s story. Why? What relationship do we have with Abraham in this matter of justification? At least there are more than 6x repeated “Abraham is our father.”

  • v. 1 “…Abraham, our forefather…”
  • v. 11 “…he, Abraham, is the father of all…”
  • v. 12 “…he, Abraham, is also the father of the circumcised…”
  • v. 16 “…he, Abraham, is the father of us all…”
  • v. 17 “…he, Abraham, is our father in the sight of God…”
  • v. 18 “…against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and became the father of many nations…”

Abraham is the “father of the faith.”

What does this mean when we call Abraham “our father”?

If you are Christian, you have 4 fathers:

  1. Physical (biological) father
  2. Father God (our Creator)
  3. Adam (the first man)
  4. Abraham (father of the faith)

The fact that Abraham is our father means at least 2 things (let’s focus on one):

#1: Abram (Abraham) was an example, chosen by God, and shown in history HOW to have a right relationship with God.

Abraham’s story of how he was justified is the SAME as our own experience to be justified. Every single, individual person can be justified by the same God, the same grace, power, and faith.

Abraham = “the father of faith” = he was justified in the same way we are justified today.

#2: Abraham is the promise, the covenant, of how this is being fulfilled today.

In chp 4, HOW was Abraham justified? His story is the same as ours.

  1. Negatively: by what he was NOT justified (today)
  2. Positively: by what he WAS justified (next week – very important to attend)

Four things that DID NOT justify Abraham

#1: Not by his good works / character

v. 1-2 “1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.”

Yes, Abraham was not perfect before God. He told many lies about his wife (“she’s my sister”). What would you think? He said that many times before kings (in fear of losing his physical life by pagan labors). “Wherever we go, tell them ‘this is my brother'”.

  • Abraham’s character is NOT perfect (don’t idolize him).
  • Abraham’s justification has NOTHING to do with his justification.

#2: Not by circumcision

v. 9-10 “9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!”

Abraham was circumcised at the age of 99. The Jews (at that time) gloried in circumcision because they thought it was the method of justification (they thought it was one way to have a right relationship with God). In fact, they looked down on Gentiles as “dogs” who were not circumcised.

Actually, Abraham was justified 14 years earlier in Genesis 15. So, actually, from a Jewish point of view, Abraham was a Gentile by the time he was justified.

Actually,

  • In Genesis 12 (24 years before circumcision), God called him to bless all nations.
  • In Genesis 15 (14 years before circumcision), he was declared righteous because he believed God.
  • In Genesis 17, he was circumcised.

#3: Not by observing the Law

v. 13-15 “13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”

It is clear that Abraham was not justified by observing the Law. Abraham was the man of Genesis – but the Law was given through Moses (Exodus). This was much later.

At the time of Abraham’s justification, there WAS no Law.

#4: Not by his own power

v. 19-20 “19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,”

Abraham has an only son (Isaac). Spiritually, this was the son of the Promise, the covenant, through whom all nations will be blessed. The spiritual truth of this is – HOW Abraham received this promise is a symbol of how he was justified by God.

The method by which Abraham received his Promised Son is symbolic of how he was justified by God.

He received this son at the age of 100. Wow! His wife was 90. Double wow!

This is IMPOSSIBLE!~

What does this mean? This is a symbol of spiritual truth. He was NEVER justified by his own power. He was totally powerless, helpless, when God started to operate his power in their bodies.

How was he NOT justified?

  1. Not by character
  2. Not by circumcision
  3. Not by keeping the Law
  4. Not by his own Power

Also, we are the same. Can you say “my character justifies me”? Not by communion, baptism, circumcision. Not by keeping the Law. Not by our own strength.

So then, HOW WAS Abraham justified? Next week….

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 03 / 2016
  • Comments Off on What does it mean that it is By Grace that I am Saved? (Ephesians 2:8-10)
New Year, Sermons

What does it mean that it is By Grace that I am Saved? (Ephesians 2:8-10)

01.03.2016

Bulletin 1.03.2016-PHeo

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  • Aug 30 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Bible is All About Jesus (John 5:39, 20:31)
It's All About Jesus, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Bible is All About Jesus (John 5:39, 20:31)

08.30.2015

08.30.2015-PHeo

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  • Dec 07 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)

12.07

12.07.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Faith and Deeds

James 2:14-26 (Pastor Brian)

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


 

James is giving practical advice to his readers. In the beginning of the chapter, he warns against favoritism – showing undo favor to the “rich” of this world. “Oh, sit here in this nice place!”

  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans) and when you look at some of these lives (any lives actually), you’ll notice that they aren’t amazing.
  • Favoritism = giving undo favor where it is not due, and not giving favor where it is due.
  • James is bringing our identity back to Christ – we ought to keep the royal law = “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • If we keep only ONE part of the commandments and break ONLY ONE part, we have broken ALL the law. To break 1/10 = to break 10/10.
  • We must love others and show mercy (because we’ve received both from God himself).  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

“What good is it my brothers if a man has faith but no deeds? Can such faith save him?”

Paul writes “By grace you have been saved through faith…not as a result of works so that no one can boast…FOR we are his workmanship that he has created FOR good works.”

We aren’t saved BY works, but we are saved TO DO works.

Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees and did everything in his zeal to keep the law – and he even persecuted the church at first. But after meeting Christ, he realized that ALL his works and deeds were FILTHY rags before God.

1 Cor 15 Paul rehearses how God’s mercy has been shown to him “But by God’s grace, I am what I am – and I labored MORE than all the other apostles (yet not I, but the grace of God working in me).”

God’s power gave him the power and the anointing to do what God called him to do.

James also asserts that we SHOW our faith BY our good works. We must demonstrate our faith by our actions.

When we come to believe in Jesus, we become a different person ( “A New Creation” ).

Testimony:

A pastor talked of how he became a Christian – he was a teenager in a band who HATED people. He looked for fights, insulted anyone, make fun of the homeless, and yell curses. God saved both of us in the same year and our hearts were absolutely changed.

When Matt saw a homeless man, instead of yelling at him, he pulled over and gave him a blanket and a lunch he’d made for himself.

What would James say if we’d become Christians and CONTINUED to yell at the homeless. If there was no heart change, no ACTION change, there is no EVIDENCE that your heart has changed.

It’s easy for a “pure” person to said, “Yes, I believe in God – and I’m a good person.” Well, the demons ALSO believe in God – shall they also go to heaven?

In the gospels, there was a man in the synagogue who cried out (with a demon), “Ya! What have we to do with you? Jesus, Son of God?” – Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, bless you, you know who I am.” Jesus cast him OUT of the man.

James goes on to show that faith without works is dead – using the Scriptures.

  • Abraham – sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22): God tested Abraham (remember “count it all joy as you meet various testings in the world”?). He was instructed to take his ONLY son Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. He did it. It took 3 days to get to Moriah. On the 3rd day, Abraham raised his eyes and left the servants to “worship” God. (This is an obvious act of faith on Abraham’s part). Abraham laid the wood on Isaac and carried the fire and the knife.
  • Isaac: “Father?”
  • Abe: “Yes, son?”
  • Isaac: “We have all the stuff except the offering itself.”
    Abe: “The Lord will provide, my son.”
  • Abraham built the altar and bound Isaac and laid him on the altar and stretched out his hand to KILL his son – but an angel of the Lord stopped him. Test PASSED.
  • Then Abraham raised his eyes and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its thorns. So Abraham used the ram in place of Isaac. He called that place, “The Lord will provide.”

Up to this point in his life, Abraham had at times shown a bit of a shaky faith. He lied about his wife ( “she’s my sister, actually” ) and brought trouble on himself and the people around him (TWICE).

Now, even after he’s been given promises from God:

  1. You’ll have a son
  2. I’ll bless you through Isaac
  3. I’ll make your descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore

But still, he takes his son Isaac to sacrifice him. He had such faith that God would do as he said to fulfill the promise, that even if he were to kill Isaac, God could raise him back up!

He’s taken it soooo far that he’s laid the wood on Isaac (remember Jesus also carried the wood of the cross). Isaac was NOT a young child – he was at least in his 20s. If Isaac had wanted to, he could have overpowered Abraham and said, “No way, daddy!” But he submitted himself to Abraham, laid down his own life – (remember, Jesus did this same thing for us as well – in complete agreement with God the Father).

“God will provide himself a (THE) lamb” – this is also a picture of Jesus – the ram caught in a thornbush – Jesus wore a crown of thorns for us to the cross.

Then, Abraham was told to NOT kill Isaac. In a sense, he received Isaac back from the dead – he was already sacrificed in his mind/heart. This is similar to Jesus’ resurrection as well.

James’ second example:

Rahab the prostitute protected Joshua and the spies when they investigated Jericho.

The prostitutes at that time also kept a boarding house – the spies went there for the night. The king heard about it and sent the guards to capture them. Rahab said, “No, they’ve gone.” But she’d hidden them. She’d also made a deal with them that when the men invade the city, they’d be protected from the destruction of the God of Israel.  So the men agreed – “put a scarlet rope from the window” – and they wouldn’t go in to kill the people.

After the walls of Jericho collapsed and the Israelites invaded, she was saved and assimilated into the nation of Israel.

This scarlet rope is symbolic of Jesus’ blood. In His blood, there is LIFE.

As we come around the table of the Lord for communion – as yourself, “Am I a part of this family? Is Jesus my Savior? Am I WALKING and ACTING in his will and his way?”

From the Daily bread – (hasn’t gone stale):

Feb 5, 2014: The Telltale Heart

We want to keep short accounts, not keep unforgiveness or sin in our hearts.

Recently, I read about a PI in the US who would knock on a door, show his badge and say “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we’re here.” And many times the person would look stunned and say “How did you find out?” And then go on to explain an unknown criminal act long ago.

This was an unconscious act of a telltale heart. We all know secret things about ourselves and our sins. The secret things we keep in our hearts may come back to us again and again.

  • John “By this we will know that we are before him. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than us.”
  • James “Don’t just say, ‘We’ll pray for you.’ If you can actually help them.”

Have you done the things despite your failures? Then find rest. Even if your heart condemns you, know that God is greater. God abides in us by the Spirit whom he’s given us. God is greater than our self-condemnation.

Remember James’ words to be practical in our faith. Remember John’s words to DO the works before men that God would have us do – so that they will glorify God through what they see us doing through his power.

Where we can, ACT. (Maybe even a random act of kindness – don’t procrastinate – it won’t happen) If you have occasion to help someone, HELP.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 15 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Hagar or Sarah? (Galatians 4)
Galatians: Justified by Faith, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Hagar or Sarah? (Galatians 4)

06.15

06.15.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Hagar or Sarah?
Galatians 4 (Pastor Brian)

Sons not Slaves (theme)

Today is Father’s Day in many parts of the world.

The question in Galatians has to do with this theme.

1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “”Abba”, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God–or rather are known by God–how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.


Lost my train of thought due to Bob Dylan (when he was a Christian) – Slow Train coming or Saved “Sister let me tell you about a vision that I saw, you were drawing water for your husband, enslaved under the law. You were telling him about Muhammad and Buddha? in one breath, but you didn’t tell him about the One who came and died a criminal’s death.”

At this time in history, some of the Judaizers were coming into the synagogues and telling the Jews “OK guys, whatever, believe in Jesus, but you won’t REALLY be saved without keeping the Law as well.”

Paul is writing to both Jews and Gentiles here – he attests that FAITH is more important than keeping the Law (i.e. circumcision).

The question is: “How can Gentiles inherit the promises given to Abraham?” Some said they needed to be circumcised and keep the other commandments. Paul says, “NO – don’t go back under the Law from which you were saved.” Galatians 3:29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise.” This promise is by faith and all those that believe like Abraham are also heirs of God through faith in Christ.

Paul uses two analogies (”a similarity between like features of two things on which a comparison may be based” – comparing two things for similar things): Paul: “What I’m saying = as long as a child is under the Law, whether an heir or not, is like a slave. He can’t run the estate for himself – he must defer to a steward, manager, etc.”

Jews have the promise of salvation – but not salvation. They are like underage children in this respect. They were also under authority. Children even in wealthy families, were under the authority of slaves. Children had to obey the slaves in the same way that slaves had to obey their masters. A slave in a wealthy household would be a “child leader” – he’d teach culture and manners, be sure they went to school, etc. They were strict, severe, disciplined – to keep this child under authority until the child came of age to inherit the promise of the estate.

Paul says, the Law was like this – but now Christians are no longer children, no longer under this Law. To go back under the Law, would be to go back into slavery. “When we were under the Law, we were in slavery to the elemental principles of the world” (like the ABCs). Before Christ, the Jews were under the detailed Law of Moses (God was treating them like children – which was appropriate at that time). But now, the time has come for a change – they should be coming of age. “But when the set time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, under the Law.”

For this transformation, God didn’t send a Prophet or Law-Giver, but sent his Son. He didn’t come down from heaven, but was born of a woman. Why say this though? It’s to show his humanity – that the Son of God, though Divine, became Human. So why did the Lord of Creation become a child under the Law? To redeem (pay the price for freedom) those under the Law and adopt them as sons.

Jesus paid the price for our failure to keep the Law and gave us forgiveness. He had to become one of us to rescue us. Salvation depends on the fact that he was born of a human – FULLY human and FULLY God. His birth is now one of the most celebrated events the world over.

What are the benefits?

  1. Freedom from the Law and its consequences. (The Law did provide blessings for those who kept the Law, but also cursings for those who didn’t – Deuteronomy).
  2. By faith we’ve begun to experience the inheritance that God offers. Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee, but he still needed faith in Christ in order to get that.

“Because you are sons, he sends his spirit into our hearts, by which you call ‘Dad, Daddy.’” We are adult children who can call God our Dad. Since the Spirit who lives in Jesus now also lives in us, we can call God as Jesus called him. Since we are sons, we are also heirs.

  1. God is treating us as adults
  2. God is trusting us to be led by his Spirit

“Formerly, when you didn’t know God, you were slaves of this world. But now that you know God (or are known by God), how is it that you are turning back? Do you want to become slaves again?”

Basically, now that God is treating you like adult children, why would you want to go back to kindergarten?

If they went back under the Law of Moses, they’d be enslaved to keep certain months, days, sacrifices, etc, that even Peter admitted “even we nor or fathers could keep these.”

So, they came out of slavery in the world, but trying to go back into slavery of religion. Why become enslaved again?

There may have been many different seasons and celebrations, but the focus on times, and DOING it right was wrong. God is in our spirits, he is Spirit, and focusing on him in the calendar is wrong.

Paul felt that the amount of time and energy he’d put into winning them to Christ was in danger of being wasted if they turned back to what they walked out of.

“I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I have become like you.” How did he live? Probably like a Gentile. Even Peter lived like that eventually. He would go into a Gentile’s house and fellowship with them and preached to them. Paul also would enjoy meals with the Gentiles. “Salvation is found in faith, not in meals or exercises.”

“You did me no wrong.” Paul rehearses how their friendship began (because of an illness). Although Luke in Acts doesn’t go into detail, it was obvious that Paul was sick. During that time, he preached the gospel to them and they accepted it. “If you could have, you would have given your eyes…” This is likely an expression to show how deeply affectionate they were for him.

Now he says, “Am I your enemy now because I’ve told you the truth? Yes, these are zealous preachers, but they are zealous for the wrong reasons and the wrong things. They are sheep thieves, trying to turn you away from true faith in Christ.”

Paul had even spoken to them and said, “Was it by the law, or by faith that you received the Spirit?” He’s trying everything he can to bring them back to full, true faith in Christ.

Analogy #2:

Genesis 16-21 (Sarah and Hagar)

Here is an ironic analogy?

  1. One woman is a slave (Hagar): son born by the flesh.
  2. One woman is free (Sarah): son born by a divine promise.

(God had said, “You’ll have a boy.” Abraham, “Don’t tease me.” But this was the promise. Time went on (about 25 years) and Sarah said, “Yo, this isn’t gonna happen. Why don’t you just take matters into your own hands and make a baby with my slave?” So Abraham did so – though it wasn’t God’s intent. Eventually, God kept his promise – Isaac. Ishmael was the first boy.)

  1. Ishmael = a product of the flesh
  2. Isaac = the fulfillment of a Promise

“These things are being taken figuratively. The women are two covenants. Hagar’s is from Mt. Sinai, a covenant of slavery (Moses Law).” (Actually, the Jews never thought of themselves as Hagar’s kids, those were Gentiles – but here Paul is showing them figuratively that Judaism and its followers are in slavery (her covenant). But Sarah’s children are children of Promise – those who believe in faith (the Christians) belong here.

We, like Isaac, are children of Promise. So we are not concerned with the rules and regulations of the Jewish Law. Paul seems one more thing to deal with here.

“At that time, the son of flesh persecuted the son of the Spirit, and it’s the same now.”

At a birthday party, Ishmael mocked Isaac, and Isaac’s mommy was offended and told Abraham “Get him and his mommy out of here! He’ll never inherit our estate!” Abraham was dismayed – because this was also his son, but God said, “Listen to her, Isaac is your promise.” So, he reluctantly got rid of them, but God mercifully took care of them in the desert. The prophecy was that he would be the Lord of 12 nations as well, but be a wild man and everyone would be against him, and he against everyone else.

Like the Promise then, so it is now. Paul preached Jesus, and those who didn’t believe, persecuted him greatly. But he knew that the end result was worth all the suffering.

Genesis 21:10 “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

He is speaking of the Mosaic Law AS A MEANS of Salvation. Paul is showing the Law as a “child leader” – to tutor them until Christ. Why didn’t the Jews logically follow on from the Law to Christ? Many of them were too rule-bound to make sense of it.

No one will be saved by keeping the Law, nor by looking to the calendar, but we look to the child of Promise, we look to Jesus.

“He gives and takes away.” He gives Jesus, Promise, forgiveness, salvation. He takes away sin, condemnation of the Law, insufficiency of the Law. He gives us Life under Jesus, in Jesus. We’re not under Law, but sons of the Promise by faith through Christ.

Let’s pray.

 

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