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

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

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Christ is our model of what Christian Acceptance means

Romans 15:1-7 (Pastor Heo)

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


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

The Roman church at that time was a hybrid community:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identification without loss of identity is called contextualization.

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

This was Paul’s identification.

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

This is Paul’s identity.

Identification and Identity go together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 3-7

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

Verse 7 means:

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

Let me share Jesus’ character as a human being.

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

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

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

5 Characteristics of Jesus as a Man

#1 Absolute Holiness

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

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

We can – as long as we belong to Christ.

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

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

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

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

#2 Genuine Love (agape)

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

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

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

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

Love is power. Love is my strength.

#3 True Humility

He became willingly humiliated by his own accord.

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

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

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

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

Service is power. Service is strength.

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

#4 Meek and Gentle

Meekness sometimes looks like weakness outwardly.

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

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

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

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

We can get lessons from the animal world.

Strong animals.

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

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

This principle can be applied in our Christian life.

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

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

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

#5 Perfect Balance

Especially in his emotions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you joyful? Yes!

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

What does this mean?

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

May God bless us to be strong Christians.

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

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

06.28.2015

06.28.2015-PHeo

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Sermon Notes

Love Never Calculates!

Matthew 26:1-13 (Pastor Heo)

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

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

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

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


 

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

Stages in chp 26:

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

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

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

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

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

“The Son of Man” (referencing himself)

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

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

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

After this time, they were released into freedom.

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

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

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

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

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

v. 6-13 (The story of Bethany)

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

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

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

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

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

From this story, let’s see 4 lessons:

1. Love’s extravagance

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, God our Father is like this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are those things?

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

Judas wasted his opportunities, his life, his soul.

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

4. The fragrance of lovely deeds lasts forever

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s pray.

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