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  • Jun 21 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Christ is the Center of our Unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
1 Corinthians: The Application of Christian Principles, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ is the Center of our Unity (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Christ is the Center of our Unity

1 Cor 1:10-17 (Pastor Heo)

Divisions in the Church

10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


1 Cor was written by Paul. He planted a local church at Corinth during his 2nd missionary journey. At this time, he is at Ephesus during his 3rd missionary journey. He heard a bad report about Corinth. From whom did he hear the report? From the servant of Chloe.

v. 11

“My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. “

Maybe Chloe was a rich business woman living in Ephesus or Corinth with her servants handling business between Ephesus and Corinth. Anyway, what is clear is that these first-hand observers told Paul what was happening at Corinth.

Paul wrote this letter to help them with their problems.

Problem #1: Disunity, division

In church history, division has always been a problem among the people of God. In this case, it was quarreling over who they “follow”. Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ? (v. 12)

v. 12

“What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.””

This caused a big division and disunity among them. Why? Actually, Paul, Apollos, and Peter (Cephas) had nothing to do with these divisions. They didn’t try to make their own fan clubs, but they focused on Christ in their messages. So, why was there division? It was a human, personal thing.

  • Paul founded the church there, and was the missionary to the Gentiles. Perhaps he attracted the Gentile believers.
  • Apollos was an eloquent and famous speaker who had once had a famous ministry at Corinth. At that time, oratory eloquence was highly valued. He likely attracted highly educated and philosophical believers.
  • Peter (Cephas) was a Jew of Jews, the main minister for the Jewish people. He was the leader of the first 12 apostles. He likely attracted the Jewish people, especially those who doubted Paul’s apostleship.
  • Christ – maybe we also decide to follow “Christ only” and not human leaders.

This disunity makes the church powerless and weak. Disunity, fighting with each other, these things make our enemy Satan happy. Satan is a spirit of disunity. In Genesis, Satan brought disunity between God and man, man and man, man and Creation. Even today he is bringing disunity into our churches, homes, workplaces, countries. So we must be in prayer all the time for these things.

The Holy Spirit, however, is a spirit of unity.

Eph “Make every effort to keep the unity in the bond of peace. There is one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.”

Eph 2:14 “Jesus has made the two one and broken the barrier of disunity.”

Gal 3:28 “There is no Greek nor Jew, no slave nor free, no male nor female, but all are equal in Christ.”

Even today Jesus is praying for our unity. “Make them one as we are one.”

v. 10

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Paul does not command them by his authority, but approaches them in a kind, appealing manner. This means Jesus is the answer, the solution. Only Jesus brings unity.

Gal 3:28 “There is no slave nor free… We are all one in Jesus Christ.”

What does this mean? Unity does not mean uniformity. We are not all the same in our culture, background, interests, color, favorite foods, etc. We can enjoy variety – like the colors of a rainbow. It is beautiful because it has many different colors, but the colors are all united. If these colors are separated, there is no longer a rainbow.

We should be united. How? In what way should we be made one? At least there are Three areas in which we must be united.

God bless us with holy, spiritual unity.

#1 Identity

Our sense of belonging to one family.

Yes, this is our second time in 1 Cor. In the first time, we recognized that we are a church, we are saints, we are one in Christ. This is our identity – we are ONE family, united in Christ. We belong to one family.

In v. 10, 11, Paul addresses us as “brothers [and sisters].” It means, we all Christians are part of God’s family. We share unity that runs even deeper than blood brothers and sisters. The Kingdom of God is organized as a family system.

God, the Son, the Spirit are three separate entities, but organized as ONE family system.

  • God = Father
  • Jesus = Son
  • Holy Spirit = Helper

Romans “Those God foreknew he also predestined to become conformed to the likeness of Christ so that he might become the first brother…”

We are one in one family. This is our real, eternal identity.

#2 Faith doctrine

What do you believe in your heart?

If you are Christian, you have a faith doctrine. This is called “christology”. The doctrine of salvation is called “soltariology.”

v. 13

“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?”

Everyone knows the answers to these questions. Paul uses rhetorical questions to make what is known crystal clear. It is very simple. Even baby Christians know this. Who died for you? Paul? No. Apollos? No. Peter? No. Only Christ. Who can save us, who can give us real freedom, who can give us deliverance from hell, who can give us real peace and joy, who can give us eternal life? Absolutely, finally, Jesus.

We are one in this faith doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Yes, even I agree that Paul, Apollos, and Peter are greater men than me. I honor them, but they are the same in that they were humans, sinners, and need forgiveness, and salvation. For them, Jesus Christ died.

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else. There is no other name given to men under heaven by which we must be saved.”

We are one in the doctrine of Christ.

#3 Priority Mission

This is practically important.

If we are Christians, we all have a mission. Check what you mission is.

A “mission” is a task given to you by God. It is not something you choose for yourself, but something given to you by God because we are servants of God. Check all the time what is your priority #1 mission.

Sometimes you feel tired, bored? Ask and check, what is your mission?

We are different in many areas – our tastes, favorite colors, height, weight, etc. We are individual people, but we must be ONE in our priority #1 mission. We can be different in our talents and gifts, but we are ONE in our priority #1 mission. What is it?

v. 10

“…perfectly united in mind and thought.” (in purpose – #1 mission)

What is it?

v. 14-17

“14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

Do not misunderstand this story, but we should understand the background of this story.

Paul is not minimizing the importance of baptism. Yes, we are baptized in the name of Christ.

But what IS important in baptism is that we are baptized INTO one family.

But the Corinthian church misunderstood. Some said, “Paul baptized me.” Others, “No, Peter did me – he’s better.” Others, “Apollos did me – he’s the best.”

It does not matter by which pastor you were baptized. Billy Graham? Pastor Park? It does not matter. We were baptized by one faith into one family.

This also involves the Great Commission of Christ. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward reality – trusting in Christ as your personal Savior. So, by baptism, we publicly declare our faith in Christ to this world. So, baptism is a unifying factor in the church.

v. 17 (final answer – priority #1 mission)

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

“Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”

Paul is not minimizing the importance of baptism. Yes, it is important, but our primary mission is to preach the gospel.

No matter how important baptism is, preaching the gospel must be first. Baptism cannot substitute for preaching the gospel.

In our daily lives, remember, no matter how important a thing you do, not preaching the gospel cannot be justified by doing that very important thing.

In 1 Cor later, Paul says, “When preaching the gospel I cannot boast because I am compelled to do so. Woe to me if I do not preach…” He doesn’t say, “Woe to me if I don’t baptize.” Rather, “Woe to me if I don’t preach.”

We are one in:

  1. Identity
  2. Doctrine
  3. Mission

God bless us to be united in Christ.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 15 / 2017
  • Comments Off on By Works or by Faith? (Romans 9:30-10:4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

By Works or by Faith? (Romans 9:30-10:4)

Download Notes in a .MD file

By Works or by Faith?

Romans 9:30-10:4 (Pastor Heo)

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.


Spiritual things can only be discerned spiritually.

Spiritual truths can only be understood through the ministry of the Holy Spirit – as Jesus said, “The Counselor will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The Spirit also helps us in our weakness. Many times we don’t know what to pray for, but the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8?).

Today in the study of this text we need the guidance of the HS to understand this word.

These verses seem strange outwardly:

“9:30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not *by faith but as if it were by works*. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.””

These are quoted from Isaiah 8:14, 28:16.

These can be said easily like this:

  • Those who try to save themselves by works – efforts – are not saved.
    • But those who did not try to save themselves by works – but only came to Jesus by faith – are saved.
  • Those who try to have a right relationship with God by their own power, did not find it.
    • But those who came to Christ only by faith, found it.
  • Those who thought they could please God with works, could not.
    • But those who came by faith, pleased God.

This is the meaning of these sentences. The point is: We must understand, clearly, biblically, what salvation is like.

For example:

  • Genesis 1:1 – God created all things. In the work of Creation, all the Creation did nothing to be created. Only God took initiative to create all things. Salvation is like this.
  • As we know, Jesus turned water into wine.The water did nothing to become wine. Only Christ took initiative to turn it into wine. Salvation is like this.
  • Jesus raised the dead Lazarus – buried underground with a bad smell. Lazarus did nothing to raise himself. Only Jesus did. Salvation is like this.
  • Also, the HS caused Mary to become pregnant with the baby Jesus. She did nothing of her own power to become pregnant. Only the HS did. (In this case, Mary was like the clay in the hands of the potter – last week) Salvation is like this.
    • “Salvation is like birth.”
    • Salvation is a kind of birth.
    • “You must be born again.” – born of the HS.
    • Salvation is birth AGAIN – rebirth – birth from the HS.
  • Yes, we know of the story of babies. The babies do nothing to be conceived, nothing in choosing genes, DNA, gender, parents, birthplace, blood type, etc. Only parents (and God) did anything for the baby to be born. Salvation is like this.
  • We did not ask Christ to come into this world to save it – nor to die on the cross – nor to rise again from the dead – nor to rise to heaven – nor to come again. Absolutely, on his own choice, according to God’s sovereign will, Christ did all these things for us. Salvation is like this.

Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.

Do you believe this? Then the biggest error and mistake of the Israelites was that in history they waited a LONG time for the Messiah (this is Christ). “In him was life, that life was the light of man … when he came into this world, the people (esp of Israel) did not recognize nor receive him.” This is the biggest error.

Jesus says in John 9 directly to the people of Israel, “You diligently study the Scriptures thinking that by them you have life. But these are the Scriptures that testify about me. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

“I and the Father are ONE.” (I am God.) Yes, Jesus claimed that.

At this, the Jews picked up stones to stone him, and he said, “Why do you stone me?” They said, “Blasphemer!” (You, a mere man claim to be God.) That’s why they crucified him. They did not believe he was God.

Yes, even today, people believe he was a good man, good prophet, good Savior. But we must believe he is true GOD.

Next, let us see the study of chapter 10.

In chp 9, 10, 11 – this is the story of the Vindication of God through the nation of Israel.

  • Chp 9 = Israel’s PAST election
  • Chp 10 = Israel’s PRESENT rejection
  • Chp 11 = Israel’s FUTURE redemption

Today, we study Chp 10. You know, even today, Israel is one of the most difficult nations on earth to be evangelized.

Chp 9 = emphasized God’s SOVEREIGNTY (will/election) – God has mercy/compassion on whom he wants

“Does not the potter have the right to make some clay common and some noble?” Israel did nothing to be elected/chosen by God. Only God chose them (for a special mission – the salvation of the world).

Chp 10 = emphasizes Human RESPONSIBILITY

Through the study of Israel, we can see that even Divine Sovereignty does not negate Human Responsibility

Nowhere in the Bible does it say we must choose only one. These are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they cooperate with each other – even though we may not fully grasp these truths.

This is a paradox:

  • God has 100% sovereignty
  • We have 100% responsibility

Do you have will power? Choice? This means we are responsible beings.

“I am a responsible being before God.” Really?

Actually, the more we recognize God’s sovereignty, the more we are to recognize our responsibility.

The Israelites were VERY aware of their privilege (as God’s chosen people) but tended to neglect their responsibility (for world evangelization).

What was Israel’s problem?

(This is not to criticize, but to teach us today.)

#1 They did not understand what salvation was like.

10:1 “1 Brothers and sisters (Israelites), my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.”

Maybe the Jews would be shocked by this prayer of Paul for them.

  • They THOUGHT they WERE saved, but actually, they were NOT.
  • They thought the Gentiles had to come up to the level of the Jews to be saved. But actually, the Jews had to go down to the level of the Gentiles to be saved.

The biblical understanding of salvation is the pre-requisite to enter into true Christian life.

  • They thought that being physical children of Abraham would guarantee their salvation. But salvation is only found in Christ.
  • They thought they could fulfill their salvation by works. But it is only obtained by faith in Christ. They thought they had much to boast of. But they had to be humble.
  • They thought God was exclusively God only for them. But God is God of ALL human beings.
  • They thought they were righteous, in no need of salvation. But they were unrighteous.
  • They were proud. But deserved to be condemned.
  • They rejected the visible God, Jesus Christ. But they should have recognized him.

Israel is still one of the most difficult nations on earth to evangelize – but God remains faithful to them.

#2 They had zeal without knowledge

Zeal = passion, enthusiasm – this is necessary to do something big or small successfully. Without zeal, we cannot do anything successfully. The problem is zeal without KNOWLEDGE.

How dangerous would this be?

  • Big ZEAL for driving without knowledge of the road rules or car controls…
  • Big ZEAL for guns without knowledge of the safety of guns.
  • But in religion, big ZEAL is much more dangerous.

“2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Personally, Paul personally know the danger of zeal without knowledge. There was a time before his conversion when he had wonderful ZEAL for God, but without knowledge. When he had this, he persecuted the church. He killed and jailed so many children of God and THOUGHT he was doing it FOR God.

So, zeal without God is fanaticism (fanatics). It’s like heat without light.

This was zeal for their own traditions, laws, cultures, and made them proud and arrogant.

“I must study. I must learn. I must learn and learn. Until heaven.”

#3 They did not know Christ is the END of the Law

“4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

  • “For everyone” – does this include YOU?
  • If you believe, are you involved in this sentence? Yes.

I said several times, the Theme of the book of Romans is the Righteousness of God.

Even today, we can see the word “righteousness” is repeated several times.

What does this mean: “Christ is the end (culmination) of the Law”? Four points:

#1 Christ is the fulfillment of the demands of the divine Law

Only Christ fully met the requirements of the holiness of God.

“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law. I have come to fulfill it.”

Only Christ is the full satisfaction of the Law of God. The Law of God is grounded in his very nature, so the breaking of that Law brings with it a penalty, condemnation, punishment, separation from God. ALL sinners cannot meet the demands of this Law. Only Christ as our representative and substitute can – through his obedience and sufferings. He fully met the demands of the Law.

Romans: “What the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful Nature, God DID by sending his Son that the requirements of the Law might be met in us who do not live by the sinful Nature but by the HS.”

#2 Christ is finishing “legalism”

There is no more “legalism” – “we are not under Law but under Grace.”

The relationship between God and his children is no longer a creditor/debtor relationship, or a judge/accused relationship. But the basic relationship has become Father/children.

This means Christ is the end of legalism.

#3 Christ is THE reality of all realities / shadows / types / patterns / signs

Gal 3:24 “The Law was given as a charge to lead us to Christ so that we might be justified by faith.”

All the signposts throughout the Bible. All the prophesies, signs, patterns, foreshadowing, etc, point to Christ who is THE way to life, salvation, heaven, God, a righteous relationship with God, reconciliation with God, peace, joy, real success, real well being, victory, glory, glorification. THE way is only Jesus Christ.

Since the Creation of the world, it is only Jesus Christ who has the right and power to say, “I am THE Way, the Truth and the Life.” (I am the ONLY ONE WAY). “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

#4 Christ is MY righteousness

“4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

“Therefore, since we have been justified though faith in Christ, we have peace with God, and gain access to this hope in which we now stand.”

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

God bless you in this sentence.

Let us pray.

  • Jul 23 / 2017
  • Comments Off on We also died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We also died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We also died to the Law

Romans 7:1-6 (Pastor Heo)

Released From the Law, Bound to Christ

1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.


  • Chp 6 = Our new relationship to sin due to our union with Christ (“We died to sin”)
  • Chp 7 = Our new relationship to the Law due to our union with Christ (“We died to the Law”)

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law…”

Topic: We also died to the Law

Just as we died to sin, so we died to the Law. If we died to sin, it is natural that we died to the Law, because Law and sin go together. The power of sin = the Law.

  • Without Law, sin is not sin.
  • Without sin, the Law is not needed.

Chp 6 = “You died to sin, alive to God”

  1. KNOW this is a historical fact,
  2. COUNT it to be true,
  3. OFFER your life to God

So, serve Christ in the New way according to the Holy Spirit.

We also died to the Law.

I want to share 3 things:

  1. What is the Law?
  2. How is it possible to die to the Law?
  3. What does it mean when we say, “We died to the Law”?

#1 What is the Law?

This word is repeated 23 times here (many times throughout the whole Bible). So, according to the given context, there are many meanings.

  • Romans 8:2 “Because through Jesus, the Law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the Law of sin and death.”
    • In this sentence, LAW means “governing power/principle” (like the Law of Gravity)
  • Ps 1:2 “Blessed is the man who delights in the Law of the Lord, blessed is the one who meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night.”
    • LAW = “Word of God” (synonyms) Do you believe they are the same?

So, be careful when you say “We died to the LAW” – this does not mean “We died to the Word of God”

This word “LAW” means written code/regulations that have authority over those outside Jesus Christ.

#2 How is is possible to die to the Law?

Interesting illustration to explain this:

Romans 7:2 “2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.”

  • Chp 6 uses the illustration of Master and Slave to explain HOW we should Offer ourselves to God.
  • Chp 7 uses the illustration of Husband and Wife to show our NEW relationship to the Law due to our union with Christ.

This illustration is simple (not “sinful”) but has profound application.

When a man and woman are married, they are united for their whole lives – this is a physical union (Gen 2 “they will be one body”). So, as long as they live, they are under the authority of marriage. So, if someone marries another while still under that Law (authority), they sin. But, if the other dies, and the first marries again, there is no Law (authority) under which they are bound.

But we must understand the POINT.

  • Wife = us
  • Husband who died = the Law
  • New husband = Christ

POINT: If the wife died, the only one way she could marry again is if she rose again from the dead to life. THIS is the POINT.

  • Wife (us) DIED in Christ – so the Husband (Law) lost authority to rule over us
  • Christ died and we died in Christ
  • He rose and we were born again in Him
  • We remarried Christ (thus, he is called our “Bridegroom”)

#3 What does it mean when we say that?

6 points here:

1. It does NOT mean – the Law died

(Sin did not die) it is still very near to us and it has authority, dominion, power to condemn and punish those who are outside Christ. (We also were once under its authority and condemnation and penalty – but now, IN CHRIST, we are not under the Law but under Grace) – The Law LIVES.

(“I died to the Law”) – this is true – do you believe it?

2. This does NOT mean – I’m FREE to do whatever I want, nor to live a Lawless life.

Even amongst Christians, some say, “Dude, I’m saved – once for all” – but you do not have a license to live lawlessly. (Extreme of License)

3. We died to the Law, so we also died to “legalism”.

There’s another opposite extreme we must be cautious of (Extreme of Legalism)

We are no longer legalists.

  • This is the belief that we can become holy and pleasing to God by keeping the Law.
  • This problem = sees SINS (plural) but not SIN (singular) –
  • It judges outwardly, but does not consider the heart.
  • Legalism can make us unloving, unforgiving, judgmental toward other people.

So, we died to the Law = we are no longer legalists.

4. Our motivation is not from the Law – it comes from God’s grace through our union with Christ

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We serve Christ, not by trying hard to keep the Law, but out of hearts and minds that overflow with love for Him. Total commitment to Christ cannot co-exist with total commitment to the Law – this would be spiritual idolatry. (We fully belong to Christ).

Still we must serve, we have a holy responsibility to live a holy life, but the motivation is not prompted by the LAW, but by our LOVE for him. (God looks at the heart)

5. It MEANS – we are to bear fruit

Fruit to God, for God, by God. Are you producing fruit? What is your fruit?

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

Here the word “fruit” is repeated twice.

NOW we bear fruit for God – THEN we bore fruit for death.

Yes, in physical marriage, we also have fruit (kids) – when we were in sin, we also produced fruit that made us ashamed – when we were under the Law, we produced fruit by our own effort and power that turned out to be fruitless – (the only fruit under the Law is sin and death – because sinful passions work against the Law).

Remember #1: The Law is still alive.

  • It had authority, but it did not effectively control human passions.
  • It restrains us and teaches us, but also stimulates our sinful nature.
  • It identifies sin, but also generates sin.

That’s why there’s fighting between the Old nature and the New nature.

Those who do not follow Christ, have only their own self-determination to follow. But, in Christ, “A new life begins.” That’s why we are born again. God is at the center of the Christian life. God provides, God supplies the power for Christian daily living. Our way of looking at this world changes totally through Christ.

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit – fruit that will last forever.”

In Christ, we are to produce fruit that glorifies God.

  • Yes, in physical marriage, our fruit is physical children.
  • So, in our spiritual marriage with Christ, our spiritual fruit is Children of God.

6. It MEANS – we are released from the Law.

We are released (free). So what does this mean?

v. 6 “6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

This means, we are released from

  • the authority of the Law –
  • the penalty of the Law –
  • the external regulations of the Law in order to be “righteous” –
  • the ceremonial regulations that point at Christ (because Christ himself has fulfilled them).
  • We are released to serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit – who teaches us how to please God.
  • We are set free through the blood of Christ and counted righteous before God.

Let me close with this point.

(DEEP THINKING coming up)

“We died to the Law” means we are:

  • “not to break the Law, but to fulfill it” –
  • “not to cancel the Law, but to uphold it.”

What does this mean? How is it possible?

Matt 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, rather I have come to fulfill them. Until heaven and earth disappear, not a single stroke of the pen will disappear from the Law until it is all fulfilled.”

Christ fulfilled these requirements perfectly through his life, work, death, resurrection.

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

We are not to nullify the Law, but to fulfill it.

How is this possible?

Conclusion (secret / mystery (신비))

Only by remaining in Christ – belonging to Christ – are we accepted and counted as fulfilling ALL the demands of the Law.

Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are IN Christ – because in Christ, the Law of the Spirit set you free from the Law of sin and death.”

God condemned sin in sinful man by sending his Son in order that all the requirements of the Law be fulfilled through life in the Holy Spirit.

v. 6 “6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

God bless us, God bless you. YOU died to the Law.

Please apply this to your life.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 25 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Adam vs. Christ (2) – Romans 5:9-21
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Adam vs. Christ (2) – Romans 5:9-21

Download Notes in a .MD file

Adam vs. Christ (2)

Romans 5:9-21 (Pastor Heo)

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Conclusion: eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Last Sunday: x4 = “how much more” (v. 9, 10, 15, 17) – last Sunday, we saw only 2 of them

  1. Human logic = no one dies for a bad man, but IF God loved us so much that he gave his only Son to die on the cross for us while we were enemies, How much MORE is he loving us now that we are his loving children?
  2. Human logic = we can do nothing for others through our death (end of everything) – this is the state of powerlessness – IF Jesus did something greater (greatest) through his death than ALL things humans can do together through their lives, How much MORE is he NOW doing for us that he is ALIVE?
  • v. 9 “God demo’ed his love for us in this – while still sinners, he died for us'”
  • v. 10 “If, while God’s enemies, we were reconciled to God, how much more shall we be saved through his life?'”

The next 2 – we need to focus on ONE keyword.

“ONE”

One = enough

  • The more the better (materials), right?
  • But, in terms of what is REALLY important, ONE is more than enough.

Hana-nim = ONE nim

  • One God, one Savior, one husband, one wife,

v. 12-19 “ONE” = x12

There are TWO “ONE man” (Adam vs. Christ)

  • Adam = man (literal meaning = “from the dust”)
  • Christ = God incarnated (God became man) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”
  • Adam = no physical father, the first man made by God directly
  • Christ = no physical father
  • Adam – the first physical father, affects ALL human beings by what he has done (sin)
  • Christ – also affects ALL human beings by what he has been doing (salvation)
  • Adam = ONE in negative sense
  • Christ = ONE in positive sense
  • Adam = given dominion over all Creation, through disobedience (sin), he lost his kingdom
  • Christ = came as king over NEW Creation “the old has gone, the new has come” – through his obedience, he brought in righteousness and justification

Christ has done SO MUCH MORE than Adam

Some unbelievers challenge with this question: “Was it fair for God to judge the WHOLE world by ONE man’s disobedience?”

Answer: “Of course, not only fair, also wise, and gracious.” If God has tested EACH individually, the result would have been the same anyway (guilty) – by condemning ALL human beings through ONE man, God was also then able to SAVE all human beings through ONE man (Jesus Christ)

We are ALL racially connected (genetically, physically) through Adam. Fallen angels cannot be saved – they sinned individually, and were judged, condemned individually. There is no substitute to take their condemnation. But because we were lost in Adam, we can also be saved through Jesus Christ. For human redemption and salvation – God’s plan is wise, gracious, merciful, fair.

  • Adam (first man) is the representative of ALL humans.
  • Jesus is not only our representative, but also our substitute.

v. 12-14 (Fundamental theology)

Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned (in Adam)— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, *who is a pattern of the one to come*.

  • The one to come = Jesus Christ

Human logic = every general effect has its own general cause (Cause – Effect).

  • The wages of sin = death.
    • Sin = cause (root, work), = breaking the Law
    • death = effect (fruit, salary)

Without Law, sin is not sin. Of course, there is sin around us, but without Law, sin is not taken into account as sin (loophole).

Those who lived between Adam and Moses, people did not receive the Law to keep or break – so legally, logically, these few generations (Adam to Moses) did not “sin” because they had no Law. So, they should not have “died” right? But they did die – because of Adam’s sin – not their own sin.

Still today, men die – but not for their own sin (otherwise, babies would not die – they have not yet sinned). So, like this ALL men will/must die because of Adam’s “Original Sin”

Nobody can escape the Original Sin because we all have a birthday, place, nationality, and inheritance of Sin (death). We did not choose these ourselves (nor our skin color, physical parents, etc) – all are given to us regardless of our choice. Like this, all human beings are under the influence of the first physical father, Adam. That’s why all human beings need Jesus Christ – because only he defeated the power of death and one day he will raise the bodies of those who died in him.

If Adam is enough to bring death to all humans,…
#3 How much more is Jesus able to bring LIFE to all humans?

(heavenly, spiritual, meaningful, purposeful, ALL life – even unbelievers enjoy physical life through Jesus Christ (general grace – as opportunity to receive Christ as personal Savior and Lord and live eternally)) – only Christ is the Author of Life

  • “I am the Resurrection and the Life – he who believes in me will live even though he dies…”
  • “I have come in this world to give you life – that you would have it to the full – no one can snatch you out of my hand”
  • 1 John 5:11-12 “He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

This is another “how much more”.

  • Adam = death
  • HOW MUCH MORE Christ = life

1 Cor 15:22 “In Adam, all died. So, in Christ, all will be made alive.”


v. 15-19

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the ONE man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the ONE man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of ONE man’s sin: The judgment followed ONE sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the ONE man, death reigned through that ONE man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the ONE man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as ONE  trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also ONE righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the ONE man *the many* were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the ONE man the many will be made righteous.

“the many” = all human beings (using a definite article)

  • ONE act of disobedience (Adam) brought death to ALL
  • ONE act of obedience (Christ) brought life to ALL

In human history – since the Creation, who committed sin first? Eve

Practically, really, in human history, Adam was not the first person who committed sin, Eve was FIRST (congratulations). And she made her husband eat the fruit with her. Also, Adam’s son Cain committed the first murder (his own blood brother Able). In the Bible, nowhere is it said that Eve’s sin brought death to all men. Nor, Cain’s sin brought death to all. Why is Adam the guy?

Because he was responsible – the first responsibility before God. Adam was enough – only one person – to bring sin, condemnation, penalty, and hell to ALL men, how many times did he need to commit sin to bring this? ONE time. ONE bite. – that was enough.

The point: If this is true, just ONE action of ONE man was enough to bring death to ALL men,
#4 How much more does ONE action of ONE man (Jesus on the cross) bring righteousness, victory, justification, eternal life, kingdom of heaven to ALL?

  • “I am The Way, The Truth, The Life – no one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • 1 Cor 15:22 “As in Adam all died, so in Christ, all will be made alive.”
  1. The first Adam = death
  2. The LAST Adam (Christ) = life
  3. The first Adam was tested in a beautiful garden surrounded by love and beauty.
  4. The last Adam was tempted in the wilderness, desert, died on the cruel cross.
  5. First Adam lost his paradise – driven out.
  6. Last Adam turned to the neighbor on the cross and gave his paradise to the thief.
  • OT = the book of the genealogy of Adam (Genesis 5) – it ends with a CURSE
  • NT = the book of the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1) – ends with “NO MORE CURSE” (New Heaven and New Earth)

Remember, we cannot help being in Adam – this came with our first birth over which we had no control, but we CAN experience a SECOND BIRTH in Christ – which will put us in him and remove the curse from us and give us life.

Scripture gives us no option.

Jesus says, “Do not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”

You must be REALLY born again – not just a nominal Christian. Is Christ really IN YOU?

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 12 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Remembering God’s Forgetfulness (Jeremiah 31:34)
No More, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Remembering God’s Forgetfulness (Jeremiah 31:34)

04.12.2015

04.12.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Remembering God’s Forgetfulness

Jeremiah 31:34 (Pastor Brian)

“No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins NO MORE!”


 

Remember last week Isaiah 43:53? God was giving his people encouragement that he would blot out their sins and CHOOSE not to remember them. God is a God of mercy, grace, and compassion. If only they turn from their sins, they would receive an outpouring of grace and forgiveness.

Here, in Jeremiah, God declares what he will do for his people when they call out to him.

Here is another blanket proposal from the Lord to blot out their sins and not even keep them in his remembrance.

Charles Spurgeon + Harbor = two preachers who were meditating on God’s truth from these Scriptures.

  • Spurgeon = “The Non-Remembrance of God” – says God blots out the ledger of our debts so that he will no longer remember them.
  • Harbor = Jesus “faced our sins” to take them and bear away the iniquity and shame in his own body on the cross and blot out the ledger of indebtedness (sin) that we owe.

God faced up to the reality of our sins, he wants us to face up to them as well and look to the source of our forgiveness – his Son Christ on the cross.

God not only forgives sins, but forgets. The forgiveness is KEY. “How truly do we believe this?” – the unrepentant man isn’t bothered by it – until the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him and converts him – and he realizes that there is an eternity to be enjoyed with God in heaven (either that, or torment for eternity away from God).

These are the truths that Jesus came to reveal. Jesus spoke of Hell more than any of the other apostles and teachers. He came to save souls from Hell and bring them to heaven.

Here are some thoughts from the two preachers that have been blessed with a deeper understanding of these things to pass on to us.

  • Jeremiah – “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Just last week in Communion in Jungbu’s joint service, I mentioned how sometimes we try to find relief in different ways (like the Law) and they always fall short (it doesn’t forgive sins, just brings knowledge and condemnation of sin). To look to the Law doesn’t bring any hope.

  1. Our conscience agrees with the Law that we all deserve God’s justice and death. By our own experience, we all know we’ve sinned, and God would not be the God of justice if he didn’t mete out justice for our sins – we all know this.
  2. We have experience in our lives and can see it in the lives of others. We witness sin and scandal, murder, adultery, unforgiveness, grudge-bearing, and all of these have their own “fruit” that we reap. Sin has consequences.
  3. Satan also condemns us and accuses us. He “craftily cooperates with the Law, conscience, and observation” and where these 3 would drive a person to despair, Satan takes this further and says, “OH yeah! You’re totally worthless – no hope for you.” and can lead us to utter despair.

However, Jesus is our advocate, our “lawyer” who stands up for us against the accusation of Satan.

All of these things lead us to dependence on someone else – Jesus – who was able to fulfill ALL the demands of the Law. “Which of you convicts me of sin?” – No one could – even the centurion at the cross said, “Surely this man was the Son of God” – he knew how Jesus forgave sins and went “as a sheep before the shearers” to his crucifixion – mildly and humbly.

The apostle Paul depicts Jesus as a very righteous husband, always right and perfect – and we, the church, are imperfect and married to him. The only thing we can do – the bride – is DIE. We recognize Christ’s death, die in identification with the Lord, are buried with him, and rise again to a newness of life (symbolized in baptism).

The Law is not going to die. So the only option is for the people UNDER the Law to die and rise again under a NEW covenant – under Christ, in Christ, we have forgiveness and hope.

Yesterday, we saw the marriage of Joshua and Jade and the Scriptures we read were from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps NO RECORD OF WRONGS (like God says he won’t)…”

Here, Paul says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” – it rubs out the record so that in God’s sight, it is no longer there. This is a HARD truth to realize and appropriate. Men disbelieve it for themselves and doubt it where others are concerned. We keep records of wrongs, we aren’t speedily ready to forgive. Sometimes we require time to release offenses. But (Psalms?) we are encouraged to “not let the sun go down on your anger.” ACT like true children of God – FORGIVE as you’ve BEEN forgiven.

  • Hebrews 8:10? “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
  • (Also Hebrews 10:17)
  • Colossians “God has taken those things away and nailed them to the cross.”
  • Micah “The Lord delights in mercy and will not keep our sins forever but will bury them in the sea (of forgetfulness).”

We need to meditate on these truths: YES – I am forgiven.

Remember that God has LET THEM GO – and wants us to have that same attitude in our own lives.

  • Hebrews 10:1 “The Law has a shadow of things to come, but not the very substance/reality…”
  • Leviticus 14 – the “Law of the Leper” is another picture of the atonement of Jesus in taking away our sins.

The cleansing of the Leper:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘These are the regulations for the unclean person at the time of his cleansing when he is brought to the priest: The priest is to go outside and examine him, if he’s been healed, the priest will order 2 live clean birds and scarlet wood and hissop to be brought to the water. One bird shall be killed over the water, and dipped with the other things into the blood of the bird over water. 7 times he should sprinkle the diseased one and declare him clean. Then, release the live bird into the open field.”

This is a type/shadowing of Jesus. Two birds, one killed over running water (Jesus’ crucifixion), the Live bird is dipped into the blood of the dead bird and released into the open heaven (Jesus’ resurrection).

Again, speaking of the atonement of Jesus, it also speaks of OUR lives and deaths (spiritual) and rebirths – we’ve died to sin and been reborn into newness of life in Christ.

“…The man must stay outside for 7 days, then shave EVERYTHING, wash his clothes and himself and he’ll be clean.”

This man was “unclean” and outside the camp previously (this is a picture of sin) – it was a terrible existence. And yet, sometimes, God healed a leper – he had to go and prove that it was gone. When the examination took place and it was found to be gone, he had to go through this ceremonial cleansing. This is all a type/shadowing of Christ.

“…The priest takes one of the male lambs and offers it as a guilt offering – slaughter it in the Holy Place – like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. Take some blood and put it on the right ear and the thumb of the right hand and the big toe of the right foot. (This symbolizes cleansing).”

  • Ear = what we listen to
  • Thumb = what we work on
  • Toe = where we walk

“…The priest will take some oil, dip it on his hand and sprinkle it on the man 7 times, put the oil on the ear, the thumb, the toe, ON TOP of the blood offering.”

The blood is CLEANSING – before we receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The oil then, is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit we receive after we are cleansed.

All of this speaks elegantly and symbolically about what Jesus ACTUALLY, LITERALLY accomplished on the cross and through his resurrection.

All these types were given to show God’s mercy. The Law itself was given to show mercy to those who’d broken the Law in different ways. This is the first point.

#2: God shows his mercy by giving Life.

Genesis “On the day you eat of the fruit, you shall surely die.” Satan tempted them, they ate, their eyes were opened, and the damage was done. But God in his mercy didn’t immediately kill them. He COULD have, for he is just and requires justice. But in mercy, he set them out on the earth (not without consequences – thorn and thistles for the man’s work, terrible pain for women in child birth). He also set out a prophecy that the seed of the woman (Jesus) would crush the head of the serpent (Satan). This was a reference to the coming of the Messiah.

Right from the beginning, God showed his mercy, gave them life, gave them promise.

What he did with Adam and Eve, he does with us. Are you alive? Then you have HOPE. “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Proverb) But life needs to be practiced by receiving Christ for eternal life.

Right at the beginning, God promised that one would come and grant eternal life – and throughout the Old Testament, he gave further proofs that he was willing to show mercy. Not only did they have the Mosaic Law (condemning), but also the Ceremonial Law (allowing cleansing). This allowed the people to have fellowship with him – he showed his mercy and grace through this.

And Paul writes, “In the fullness of time, God sent his Son to redeem them…”

God did indeed send his Savior in the right time and the right place in order to fulfill his will.

All of these clues, hints, shadows, pointed to the substance that is Christ.

Remember the healing of the 10 lepers, and that of the 1 leper who said to Jesus, “Lord, if your are willing, you can cleanse me.”

Thinking about this, there weren’t many healing recorded for leprosy in the Old Testament (Miriam got it for about a week for rebellion at one point). Interestingly, this “Law for cleansing the leper” may not have been used much in the Old Testament – it isn’t recorded, and Jesus told this guy to go and get cleansed (he didn’t, he ran out and told everyone).

Of the 10, Jesus sent them to do this ceremonial cleansing and only 1 came back.

If these lepers had gone to the priests, they probably wouldn’t actually know what to do – because it was so uncommon. This is why Jesus wanted the leper to go back and show himself to the priest – it might have opened their eyes to the truth about Jesus as well.

Jesus made a point of telling that the Samaritan leper came back and said “Thanks” – yet he was the recipient of God’s mercy and showed his gratitude.

We see here that this was an act of God’s mercy. This is a tremendous picture of sin – it rots the body from the inside and limbs may even fall off. But God was willing to heal of his physical disease (and spiritually healed him/forgave him as well).

Now, as we close, let’s meditate upon Christ, who took our sins upon himself and faced up to our sins. He’s forgiven them and forgotten them – to be remembered “NO MORE!”

This is what we need to remember when we are tempted to accuse ourselves or listen to the accusations of others.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 20 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)
Pastor Brian, Philippians: A Study in Contentment, Sermons

Joy in Jesus (Philippians 1)

07.20

07.20.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

JOY IN JESUS

Philippians 1:1-30 (Pastor Brian)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. 15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

  • Aug 19 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Union and Communion with Christ (John 15:1-17)
John: The Book of Life, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Union and Communion with Christ (John 15:1-17)

8.19

Bulletin_08.19.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Book of John is simple in sentences, vocabulary, and grammar. But, very profound in meaning, truth, practice.

Today’s story is like that.

2 Times Jesus repeats, “I Am the Vine.”

These are the 10th and last statements of Jesus’ “I AM” statements in the book of John.

(bread of life, resurrection, life, way, truth, etc).
Now, “I AM the vine.”
We are his branches and friends (v 1-11)
We are his branches (1-11)
We are his friends (12-17)

Branches and friends reveal our union and communion with Christ.
We have the privilege of sharing his life, but the responsibility of remaining in him.
We have the privilege of knowing his will, but the responsibility of obeying.

“I am a branch.”
“Jesus is my vine.”

We can see 4 elements (helpful) for us to get many blessings from his teaching.
1. The vine
2. The branches
3. The gardener
4. The fruit

#1 The Vine
“I AM the vine.” (v 1,5)
In the Bible, there are 3 vines. Past, future, present vines.
Past = the nation of Israel (OT – Psalm, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea – Israel is pictured as a vine – Hosea 10:1 – Israel was a spreading vine – God transplanted them into Canaan, and gave them all kinds of blessings – but, they produced bad fruit, wild grapes, not righteousness but wickedness – so God had to deal with the past vine, and chasten/discipline them – they did not produce a lasting result. Finally, when Jesus came into the vineyard, they cast him out and killed him).

Future vine (Revelation 14:14-20)
Vine of the Earth – the unsaved people – the pagan, Gentile world system, ripening for God’s final wrath and judgment. The believers are the branches in the vine of heaven, but the unsaved people are the branches in the vine of the Earth. So, the unsaved will be cut down, and destroyed finally when Jesus returns. They depend on this world for their sustainance and satisfaction, but we depend on Jesus.)

Present vine – Jesus Christ, v.1 = “I AM the TRUE vine” (all other vines are just copies).

The symbolism of the vine and branches is similar to that of the head and the body. This is our union and communion. – Living relationship with Christ who is our vine, and we belong to him, we can share his life. It is also loving union, so we can enjoy him. It is lasting union so we do not need to fear.

Secondly,
#2 The branches
v.5 What ideas can you get from the statement that you are the branches?
Branches by themselves are powerless, useless, worthless.

Branches are only useful for bearing (fruit) or burning (in the fire). Branches cannot produce their own life, they must draw it from the source, the vine.

The many images of Christ and us in the Bible emphasize this important concept of union and communion with Christ.
Head and body, husband and wife, shepherd and sheep, body and members, bride and bridegroom.

Marriage creates union, but it takes daily love and devotion to maintain communion (true that).

Even though the sheep bring the sheep into the flock (union), the sheep must follow the shepherd to maintain protection (communion).

A member in the body must remain connected to the body, or die – if you cut off your arm, it dies immediately.

Key word: REMAIN (in Christ)
The sooner we discover we are only branches, the better we will relate to our Savior.

As a vine, the key word is REMAIN, ABIDE, cling to, stick to. If separated from the vine, immediately death.

Remain is repeated 11 times (so it’s pretty important) in this passage.

What does it mean to remain? To keep fellowship with Jesus, continually, in our whole lives – believing in Christ as God, accepting him as personal Savior and Lord, doing what he says, continually believing the power of the gospel, remaining in love in the community of believers.

Each of these activities begins at some point in our lives, but long-term practice = “remaining”

Union and communion, relating and remaining, natural and essential to the branches and the vine. But this remaining relationship must be CULTIVATED – not automatic, we must PAY something to keep this relationship. We need worship, prayer, dedication, the Word of God, sacrifice, service, continual witnessing of Christ to the lost. What a joyful experience it is.

Once we’ve begun to cultivate this kind of life, we have no desire to return to the careless life of careless Christians.

#3 The Gardener
Vine dresser, (v 1-2) – “My Father”
Do you bear fruit? He PRUNES those who do, so that they will be even more fruitful. 
He CUTS OFF those who don’t…

Around us today, there are many Christians who pray for more growth, more fruit, but don’t enjoy pruning (pruning also means cutting, cleaning – it can be painful).

The gardener cuts off branches in 3 ways.
1. Cut off the dead parts – may be diseased or contain bugs.
2. Cut off some living parts for better growth.
3. Cut off the WHOLE fruit, to produce a better crop.

If the branches could speak, branches would admit, “pruning is painful!”

The greatest wrath that God could ever bring to a believer would be to just let him alone. If God just let a believer go his own way and didn’t prune or correct him, that is the greatest wrath that God could express.

Sometimes even God comes off the good part – even the better part – so that we may enjoy the BEST.

Gardeners must be specially trained or they could destroy the entire crop. Gardeners know where, when, how much, what angle to cut for the BEST fruit. God is the same. Sometimes he uses the Word to change us, but sometimes he uses painful ways.

If your own son and a stranger do something bad, who do you first correct?
If your own son and a stranger do something wonderful, who do you first encourage?

Hebrews 12:5b – “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and He punishes everyone he accepts as a son…God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father?…Everyone undergoes discipline, if not you, you are illegitimate children…Our fathers disciplined us for evil as they thought best, but God disciplines us for good…No discipline feels good at the time, but produces a harvest of righteousness and peace…”

Pruning may be painful, but it helps.
We may not enjoy it, but we need it for growth.

Do you want to grow? Produce fruit? Pruning is essential. God bless all of us with his holy pruning, because God loves us.

#4 The Fruit
Key word: REMAIN (11 times)
Key word 2: FRUIT (9 times)

Yes, we know a machine can produce a product, or outcome, but only living organisms can produce more life. Fruit is essential to show that we have life. Good branches bear good fruit, bad bear bad fruit, weak branches bear no fruit, apple branches bear apples, cats bear cats, dogs bear dogs. So, what fruit should we produce?

Producing fruit needs time, cultivation, it does not come overnight. Also, quality and quantity are important.

Also, the branches that bear fruit do not eat their own fruit. Other people eat those fruits. We are producing fruit not to please ourselves, but to please and serve others.

The more we remain in Christ, the more we bear fruit, the more fruit, the more we are pruned, so that the more quality and quantity we produce, so that God is glorified by what we produce.

Finally, Jesus accepts us not only as branches but also as friends. (v 12-17)

Command: Love each other as I have loved you.
Command: Love each other.

We may have many acquaintances in our lives, but how many friends do we have? True friends? Friends should be friendly. Unfriendly friends are a contradiction in terms, but many of us have unfriendly friends around us. 

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Jesus gives his life when we are in need of life. He gives his peace when we are in need of peace. He gives his joy when we are in need of joy. That’s why Jesus is individually, personally, the best friend to each of us.

Ephesians 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

If Jesus is the best friend to each of us, then we each should be best friends among us. There are no secrets, no hidden things among true friends.

“Love each other”
How can we show best love to this world? The best love we can show to the lost is to introduce Jesus, because only in Him, eternal life is found. Love is called the greatest command. Evangelism is the greatest commission.

Finally, we are totally pessimistic in that we can do nothing apart from Christ, the vine.
Finally, we are totally optimistic in that we can do anything through Jesus our Lord, the vine.

May God bless all of us in our union and communion with our vine and our best friend.

  • Mar 25 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Standing in Freedom! (Galatians 5:1)
Freedom Sermons, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Standing in Freedom! (Galatians 5:1)

Sermon Notes

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Galatians = great chart of Christian’s liberty (freedom)

Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll

Isn’t Grace Risky?
The Killing Fields movie – quite a movie
True story of NY Times report in Cambodia – closest asst. was Cambodian captured by regime (torturous cruelty).
Endured unbelievable suffering while escaping.

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