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  • Jun 28 / 2020
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1 Corinthians: The Application of Christian Principles, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is our Wisdom and Power (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

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Jesus is our Wisdom and Power

1 Cor 1:18-31 (Pastor Heo)

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

One of the big problems of Corinthians was disunity, division. One reason they had difficulty in keeping unity was because they were so different in background, culture, lifestyle, history, esp before becoming Christians.

The Corinthian church was mixed: Jews, Greeks.

  • At that time, Greeks treasured philosophy (philo “love” sophia “wisdom”) = “love of wisdom.” Greeks were so famous for philosophy. Even today, we study this: Greek Philosophy. This is considered the root of western philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Socrates).
  • Jews valued miracles, miraculous events. From Exodus to Jerusalem and Jesus, they desired miracles, and looked for them. They asked Jesus for miracles, but he refused.

We read “wisdom” here, and it is repeated 13 times. Both to the Greek and the traditional Jew, the message of the cross sounds foolish and stupid.

v. 18 is one of my personal favorite verses

v. 18

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

The message of the cross is very simple: Jesus DIED to save sinners.

This message has two results. All of humanity will end up in one of two classes.

  1. Foolish = reject belief and perish in hell
  2. Wisdom = accept and gain eternal life, they are being saved.

“I’m not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for all who believe…” (Paul)

v. 21-25

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”

  • To the Greeks: At that time, Christianity was associated with a poor Jewish carpenter who died the most shameful (naked) death – hanging on a tree in the air, exposed to the eyes of anybody. It was illegal to crucify Roman citizens, so this death was never even mentioned in polite Roman society. Even the image of crucifixion was not acceptable. It was a form of the worst capital punishment. So, how is it possible that the Savior of the world would be crucified? To the Greeks, valuing logic, this was totally foolish.
  • To the Jews: They had only the Old Testament at that time, and among the OT books, one of the most important was Deuteronomy. (21:23 “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under a curse from God.”) According to this verse, it would be totally unacceptable and unthinkable for the Messiah to be crucified. So it is a stumbling block to them.

v. 24-25

“but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

God’s wisdom cannot be mixed with man’s wisdom. His wisdom is revealed primarily in the cross of Jesus. It is not about form / matter, but about content / reality.

Sometimes we need to doubt our doubts, question our questions.

Real wisdom: Giving up our wisdom to gain God’s wisdom.

What is real power and what is real wisdom?

Think about your own personal situation – about who / where you were when you were saved.

v. 26

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”

This is my story. When I became Christian, I was very foolish.

v. 27-29

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.”

That is why finally, for him to get glory, we can know that God is never impressed with our character, position, politics, money, etc.

Among the earliest 12 of Jesus’ disciples, do you know what their jobs were?

  • 5 were fishermen
  • 1 tax collector
  • 6 unknown careers

God’s view of power is upside-down. He is more interested in the weak than the strong – he is more interested in the low than the high.

The cross of Jesus will turn our concept of wisdom and power upside-down. If you are really saved, remember that we were called to salvation not because of what / who we are, but in spite of it – so that no one can boast in themselves.

Ex: Jesus’ ministry

Several times this may have happened.

On the way to Jerusalem one day, he encountered a blind beggar, and Jesus purposefully healed him.

The Bible recognizes him by recording his name: Batholemus

In history, historical books, such an individual would be passed over and remain nameless.

In Luke 16, there was the story of the RICH man and the beggar. But in this story also, the rich man is nameless, but the beggar has the name Lazarus.

So the story’s name is the Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

This is God’s foolish wisdom, God’s weak power.

v. 30-31

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.””

  • Righteousness = justification
  • holiness = sanctification
  • redemption = glorification

At first I said that the key sentence is “Jesus is our Wisdom and Power.”

The emphasis here is that the Father God reveals his wisdom through Jesus Christ by means of righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

4 keywords:

1. wisdom

only in following Jesus can we walk rightly. Only in listening to Jesus can we hear the truth.

Col 2:3 “In Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

2. righteousness

having a right relationship with God. This has to do with our standing / position before God. He declares us righteous simply because we put our trust in Jesus

5:21 “God made him who had no sin to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.”

3. holiness

John 17:19 “For them (my followers) I sanctify myself so that you too may be sanctified (set apart).”

At the same time that we are sanctified already, we are also BEING sanctified.

4. redemption

Jesus can deliver us (liberate us) from past sin and future fear.

There are three tenses of perfect salvation:

  1. Past = we have been saved from the penalty / punishment of sin (righteousness)
  2. Present = we are being saved from the power of sin (holiness) – “Work out your salvation continually with fear and trembling”
  3. Future = we will be saved from the presence of sin (redemption)

We have been bathed in his blood and saved, and redeemed by his cross.

The cross of Jesus is true wisdom because it is a cure for human limitations from a God who chose to empty himself and experience human limitations.

The cross of Christ is TRUE power who chose to subject himself to death and share himself with others.

True power? = Self-giving, others-centered

Willing self-sacrifice for the weak. This is TRUE power.

One story (illustration):

Are you a father? There’s a father, and his 7-year-old son play together with games like running and arm-wrestling. In this competition, the son’s purpose is victory – to defeat his father. But the father’s purpose is not victory – it is to build up a friendship and relationship, intimacy with his son. To encourage him, make him feel more happy.

  • In this competition, the father controls and loses his own power to empower his son. Then they both can achieve their purposes.
  • The father shows his own power by becoming weak. The father shows his wisdom by becoming weak.
  1. The son’s happiness comes from victory.
  2. The father’s happiness comes from loss.

This is the picture of the cross.

That’s why the cross is our REAL power and REAL wisdom.

Jesus is our wisdom, power, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Without Christ, we are nothing.

Let’s pray.

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

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



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What Did the CROSS Say?

Matthew 27:1-66 (Pastor Heo)

Judas Hangs Himself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Guard at the Tomb

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

Shall we read one more time? 10:00~


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

Honestly consider/ponder this question.

This is a very significant question.

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

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

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

Now, we are proud of the cross.

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

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

He endured 6 trials:

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

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

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

There are 5 truths:

#1: Jesus = innocent

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

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

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

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

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

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

2: Pilate’s wife (v. 19)

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

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

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

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

4: Jesus’ neighbor on the cross

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

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

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

#2: Jesus = strong/powerful

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

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

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

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

#3: Jesus = absolutely unselfish and sacrificial

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

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

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

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

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

#4: Jesus = God

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5: To be concluded…

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

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 05 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)
Easter, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Credibility and Power of Christ’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-23, 58)


Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 

19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


Jesus is alive! again!

So, Jesus’ resurrection holds a unique place in Christianity. Christianity is the ONLY religion on earth that bases its foundation of faith on the resurrection of its founder.

Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to our faith and to our salvation – provided for by his death.

In 1 Cor 15, this is the Resurrection chapter.

Paul wrote 13 books, 87 chapters – but THIS chapter is the longest chapter. EVERY line, every verse, every sentence is concentrated on the resurrection of Christ.

Everything in our faith stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus.

Are you Christian? Who is a Christian? One who is united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. Believe his death is “my death” and his resurrection is “my resurrection.”

We can see one very short word repeated many times in almost every verse today: IF (repeated 7 times today). Through these IFs we can see 5-6 negative facts:

  1. (v. 14) IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. (Our gospel is robbed of its joy – the joy would become a funeral dirge?) – What’s the point without the resurrection? There’s nothing to preach.
  2. (v. 14) IF there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain and worthless. All we have we received as a free gift of God – divine childship, justification, sanctification, glorification, salvation, a home in heaven – it’s all worthless.
  3. (v. 15) IF no resurrection, then all witnesses are false – liars and deceivers (essential for apostleship = a witness of the resurrection) – the KEY message of all missionaries, evangelists, preachers, etc is Jesus substituationary death and resurrection
  4. (v. 17) IF no resurrection, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.
    Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Only Jesus is our Savior from sin and death – the wages of sin = death. Only Jesus paid completely and totally the punishment, power, presence, of sin. Only Jesus defeated the LAST enemy, death.
    But IF he didn’t rise from the dead, then he has no more saving power than any other man throughout history.
  5. (v.18-19) IF no resurrection, all who died in Christ are LOST = in hell, and WE are the most miserable – above ALL people in the world – we ought to be the most pitied. 
    Up to today, throughout the world, many Christians have been martyred with only ONE hope – the hope of the resurrection. So, how miserable they are if there is NO hope – if there is NO resurrection.

Isn’t that true?

It is better to be sorrowful for NO hope than sorrowful for FALSE hope.

So, today, I want to share the CREDIBILITY of the resurrection of Christ.

Yes, this is a miracle. The kind of evidence needed to prove this fact is the same evidence that we need to prove any other miracle. i.e. reference to the laws of nature cannot apply when the laws of nature are bent (miracles work outside natural laws). So, competent witnesses and other proofs are the most appropriate methods to show the credibility of this fact.

  1. Cause and Effect = the first
  2. Argument from witnesses = the second

Every effect around us has a cause. Without an effect, no cause.

So, if Jesus’ resurrection = a cause, then what are the effects? There are MANY throughout history, but I will share only 4.

1. The empty tomb

The fact that the tomb was empty was testified to by many competent witnesses – both friends and enemies, angels, Roman soldiers, women, disciples.

How can we explain this? The angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone and sat on it, said to the women, “Don’t fear, I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified, but he is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the very place where Jesus lay.”

2. The Lord’s Day

(Sabbath = Saturday, right?) then why do we worship on Sunday? For us, every day is “technically” the Lord’s day because he created them all, but the first day of the week is the “Lord’s Day” because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

At that time, to keep the Sabbath (Saturday) service had been VERY important. So, who would ever dare to change it? On what grounds could it be changed?

The origin of the Sunday worship service can only be explained by the resurrection.

3. This building

The temple of Jesus Christ – the Christian church – all over the world

There are so many churches all over the world, the Church is a grand institution all over the world. What would the world be without church? Helping ministry, mercy ministry, worship, songs, preaching, etc. Where did this church come from? This is an effect, what is the cause?

The reason Jesus appeared and visited the discouraged and revived the faith of the disciples to send them forth on mission to announce BOLDLY and LOUDLY (the character change of the disciples is also another effect of the cause of the resurrection) the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ – to continue his work and expand his kingdom on earth.

This is HOW the church began. This is why the church is called the “body of Christ” and Jesus is the “head of the Church.”

4. The New Testament

This is the Word of God written in human language for us to understand clearly. For our understanding, the Bible is written in human language. This is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had Christ remained dead, his story ALSO would have remained buried with him. What would be the point to tell such a story of a dead zealot/rebel?

As you know, in the New Testament, his resurrection is spoken of more than 100 times. There are fruits, interpretations, meanings, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the “Book of the Resurrection” – the WHOLE New Testament.


Next, there are the testimonies of the witnesses:

We need three things:

  1. Capable, eye-witnesses
  2. Enough in number (more than 2)
  3. Have a good reputation

All the disciples qualify in these respects. They all said, “We are EYE WITNESSES” – there were at least 12 appearances of Jesus to the disciples. There were MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses to his resurrection.

If only I said, “Wow, I saw a tiger running on the street yesterday.” (But do you trust my reputation?) What if Pastor Brian said that? The same thing. Would it still be difficult to believe? If FIVE people said the same thing, would you believe? What about 10, 50, 100, ALL members of AICF? Would you believe then? Jesus appeared to MORE THAN 500 eye witnesses who testified to his resurrection.

What about their character, human reputation? Yes, we know before the resurrection, many of the disciples were timid, cowardly – Peter denied Christ 3 times at the cross and all the others RAN AWAY returning to their old lifestyles. They lost their faith and hope totally.

Yet, after they met the risen Christ again, these believing disciples became STRONG and TIRELESS believers and they ANNOUNCED his resurrection LOUDLY putting their own lives at risk and DIED as martyrs.

Yes, today, this message remains the same.

The resurrection is our HOPE, our JOY, our HOPE of HOPES.

(v. 58) “STAND FIRM” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Let nothing move you” – why? Because Christ has risen. “Give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” – why? Because Christ has risen. “And we know that our service for the Lord is not in vain” – why? Because Christ’s resurrection is HOPE for us.

Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits (guarantee) for us who believe in him. Only Christ can say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in me will not die.” Do you believe this? If we believe, then we also believe that Jesus is still guiding us now. If we believe, it means that we are to give our lives to his service – we will also be resurrected into eternal life later.

  • Romans 8 “If the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in you and me, then he will also give you life.”
  • Phil “We want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and sharing in his suffering.”

Why? Without death, no resurrection.

May God bless us with his resurrection joy, power, and HOPE.

Let’s pray.

  • John 11:26 “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will never die…”

We must share in his death and cross. Without these, there is no resurrection nor crown.

  • Mar 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and I (Matthew 11:1-15)


03.16.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.

Do you have ears? God bless us with our hands, ears, eyes, feet, mouth. 

As we know, in Chp 10, we studied 3 times – Jesus called his 12 disciples (apostles) and gave them authority and power to go on mission. After that, he didn’t take a rest – he went on to do his mission continually: Preaching, Teaching, & Healing.

At that time, JB was in prison by Herod – because he’d publicly rejected Herod’s adulterous relationship and marriage. JB was very active, he was sent as the forerunner of God to testify to Jesus so that through him all men might believe in Christ. Now, in prison, he cannot speak outside publicly anymore. He thought more and more about Jesus, and the more and more he thought, the more and more he was convinced that YES Jesus was the Messiah. So he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him – and he put all his hope in this one question. “Are you the One who was to come?”

This question may look like a doubtful question – but it can also be seen as a question through which the light of hope is shining. 

Jesus’ answer = v.4-6

This answer of Jesus is a quotation from Isaiah 29, and 35:4-6. In two places in Isaiah, these same words can be found. So, Jesus reminded him of the OT prophecies about the works of the Messiah. He pointed him toward his acts of healing, his preaching, and his teaching. YES! With so much evidence, Jesus’ identity should have been obvious. In this answer, we hear the accent of confidence. He didn’t say, “Tell John what I’m talking about.” He said, “Tell John what you SEE.”

Jesus’ answer is the same today. SEE what I can do for you. SEE what I have done for others. 

The very things Jesus did 2000 years ago in Galilee, he is doing still today.

  • The truth about God and his works can only be seen (eyes opened) when you have faith in Christ.
  • Feet that are not strong, can be strengthened in Jesus.
  • Those contaminated by the disease of sin can only be purified by Jesus Christ.
  • Those who are deaf to the voice of God can only hear in Christ.
  • Those who are dead in sin can be raised to the newness and liveliness of life in Jesus.
  • Those who are poor in spirit can receive the richness of the love of God only in Christ. 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His invitation is, was, and will be the same. Give your life to me and see and experience what I can do with your life. 

The supreme argument for Christ is not intellectual debate, but the experience of his life-changing power.

v. 7-10

After this, Jesus talks about JB.

This is a quotation from Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger ahead of you…”

Jesus asks and answers 3 questions about JB:

What did you go out to see in the desert?

  1. A reed swayed in the wind? NO. – A reed was a kind of grass on the banks of the Jordan River – symbolizing the most COMMON of things to see. Another meaning = a weak vacillator – he never takes a stand on anything – always tossed about by various opinions (flip-flopper). We know they did NOT go to see this – JB’s fiery preaching was not like a reed.
  2. A man with fine clothes? NO – John’s clothes = camel’s hair. If they wanted to see a rich man, they should have gone to a palace. Such a man would be a courtier. He was not a courtier. He was an ambassador of God – not a courtier of King Herod.
  3. A prophet? YES – The prophet is a foreteller of the truth of God. He had confidence in God and the wisdom of God in his mind, the truth of God in his mouth, the courage of God in his heart. The job of the prophet was to show the true Messiah to man. JB was the LAST of the OT prophets – and he saw the Son of Man with his own two eyes. This made him more than a prophet.

Today, what do you come to church to see in Jesus Christ? Yes, we worship God, but what do you come to SEE in Jesus? Entertainment? No. Luxurious clothes? No. 

Why do you come to church? What do you come to see? “I come to see my personal Lord, Savior, God, in Jesus Christ and to worship him together with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Jesus continues to talk about JB in v. 11 (much meaning).

“I tell you the truth” = “listen well, this is SUPER important…”

First Jesus exalts JB to the highest place among all human beings “He is THE greatest among all born of women.” Yes, he is the greatest, biggest man in the history of the world. 

But then, Jesus lowers JB to the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven. How can these two opposites both be true? 

Yes, JB is THE greatest in human history. Before sharing this, let’s have one question: Who is greater, JB or you? Before God? (Silently)

Your personal answer to this question is the correct answer…to you.

Yes, he was the GREATEST in history – the only one who baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the only prophet to see and point people DIRECTLY to Jesus. In this sense, JB is the greatest in all of history. Yes, in this world.

BUT, in the kingdom of heaven, the least is greater than JB. It means, if we are truly in the kingdom of heaven by believing in Jesus, we are greater than JB. What did John lack? It’s simple and fundamental. He’d never seen the cross. Therefore, he never understood the FULL revelation of the love of God manifested through the cross.

The love of God, the holiness, the judgment, the warning, the penalty of God he preached, but he never FULLY understood the love of God because he died before Jesus died (and rose again to inaugurate his kingdom). 

No one ever fulfilled his God-given purpose better than JB, but he never saw the cross with his eyes.

It is an amazing thing for us to know more about God than the greatest of the great OT prophets. 

Yes, in his coming kingdom, we have a greater spiritual heritage than JB, because we have known and seen the FINISHED work of Christ on the cross. We can have greater privilege than JB.

Yes, JB is great, greater, the greatest – in that his FIRST message was the same as that of Jesus Christ “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!” And Jesus came as the king of his kingdom. It means, Jesus is the REALITY of the kingdom of heaven – this is Jesus’ dominion as king. Wherever Jesus is in control as King, that is the kingdom of heaven. How can we receive this? 

ONE WAY: by believing in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin and rose again for my salvation – and accept him as my personal Lord, King, Savior, and God. We receive by believing in the truth of Jesus’ substitutionary attonement. This is the gospel message. 

JB did preach a powerful and wonderful message, BUT it wasn’t the gospel – because there was no story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

We can be greater than JB in this sense. He had no opportunity to preach the message of the cross – the message of the gospel. But we have this wonderful blessing to preach and share this very message of the cross. 

IF you and I preach and share the message of the gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus – then we are greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

That’s why this passage says “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

v. 12-15

Jesus continues to talk about JB. 

Let’s see two verses:

  1. Malachi 4:5 (last book, last chapter, almost last verse of OT) “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day when the Lord comes.”
  2. Matthew 24:14 (prophecy of the last day of the last days) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and THEN the end will come.” (This is the prophecy of the last day of the last days.)

v. 12 “Forcefully advancing – forceful men” 

Yes, the kingdom of heaven was started with the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is YET to come. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world now stand AGAINST each other – because Satan is the king/prince of this world/age. So, until the consummation of the kingdom of heaven is finished, there is fighting between these two kingdoms. 

From when JB was imprisoned wrongly, the kingdom of heaven has experienced violence and persecution. So, if we accept the kingdom of heaven, we need violent devotion – forceful attitude, assertive action – to keep the kingdom of heaven safely and peacefully. 

“John is like Elijah”

JB came in spirit and power of Elijah – he also dressed like Elijah and ministered like him – and had a message of judgment for the apostate nation of Israel. 

The last book, chp, almost verse – it prophesied the coming of Elijah again before the last day. Jesus regarded the coming of JB as the fulfillment of that prophecy. 

How about us? Yes, we can be greater than JB IF we are used in fulfilling the prophecy of the last days in Matthew 24:14. “This gospel will be preached to all nations and then the end will come.” (And then I will come.)

If we are used in fulfilling this prophecy, we will be counted, regarded by God as greater than JB in God’s redemptive history. 

“He who has ears, let him hear. She who has ears, let her hear.”

God bless us with our hands, feet, ears, and mouth. 

Let’s pray. 

  • Mar 02 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Three Idiots (Luke 9:57-62) Guest Sermon
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Three Idiots (Luke 9:57-62) Guest Sermon


03.02.2014 Missionary Bright Lee

Sermon Notes

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The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I was thinking about “what is a disciple?” for many years in India. What is a disciple in today’s time?

Three Idiots (famous Indian movie)

The three characters in the best engineering college in India were portrayed as idiots, but actually geniuses.

Today’s message also shows 3 idiots. How were they idiots?

Today’s discipleship is distorted.

In India, we don’t use the word Christian – because it has many negative images.

  1. Loves alcohol
  2. Immoral person

We use the word “Believer” or “Disciple”

Last year, I went to a prayer mtn in Gyeongi-do. He was preaching “How to be rich” say what? should we do that? Be rich?

That MIGHT be a sign of God’s blessing, but not the life’s goal, nor the character of a disciple.

Think about the meaning of “discipleship” in today’s time. 

IDIOT #1 (v. 57-58)

Jesus and his disciples wandered around everywhere and this guy said, “Hey, I’ll follow you ANYwhere!” He seems to be full of conviction, and a good would-be disciple. He seems to have good courage. But Jesus said, “I’ve got no place to lay my head.”

Jesus saw that he had a romanticized notion of being a disciple “Wow, we can TRAVEL! So many places! With many friends!” He thought that Jesus was really popular and interesting and he could be popular and interesting too!

Many years ago, someone said, “Missionary Lee, I want to fly to many countries like you.” I wanted to say, “I actually hate flying, for MANY reasons…” He was a member of my supporting church, so I could only laugh at him.

Flying = money, (with children = double), no money = suffering for many days.

The life of a missionary has many practical difficulties.

The Son of Man doesn’t have a place to lay his head. After 20 years in India, we are still looking for a place to say.

People say, “Wow! Your son has a cool university overseas! Cool!” Yes, this is a true blessing, but my son went to a boarding school when he was 12 – he’s still in a foreign country in a foreign place. Even though his education is blessed, he is lonely, has pain in his heart. When a middle-schooler, he ran all the time. He said, “If I didn’t run all the time, I would be crazy with loneliness.”

Without considering ALL the real difficulties of a missionary’s life, you can’t be one. 

This world doesn’t welcome disciples because the world is wicked and adulterous. Jesus often said, “This world is a wicked and adulterous generation.” Even though you want to be honest, the world doesn’t encourage it. Even though you want to be generous, the world encourages competition and greed.

Many Indians think that “anybody can be a Christian for his own reasons, by his own choice.” One day, in New Delhi, I encouraged a family to be baptized, but they weren’t willing to do so. But this was strange because they had served the Lord for a long time. One man who baptized someone else got lots of money and became rich.

To become a Christian doesn’t mean being a member of a premium club. It means taking up your own cross and following Jesus through difficulty. 

Disciple = 

  1. Follower – Jesus = life goal
  2. Learner – Learn what to think, how to act from Jesus
  3. Doer – supposed to do Jesus’ work – what he did, what he does, what he wants done.

Jesus commanded us to follow him and gave us an example to follow. “The Son of Man didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” He was even crucified willingly on the cross for our sins. 

If we truly want to follow Jesus, don’t romanticize the notion of it – this is REAL, this is HARD, this is a PROCESS – take up your cross and follow him. But the love of Jesus helps us overcome the pain of the cross. Because of his love, we were able to serve him for 20 years in India. Many times, I thought I would give up, but he helped me endure.

IDIOT #2 (v. 59-60)

He had the privilege to be invited as a disciple – what a blessing! But he said, “Wait a second Jesus.”

The problem was the matter of priorities. 

His priority was his family. He wanted first to do his duty as a son. He wanted to serve his family. It is good to serve your family – but he wanted to serve his family FIRST. He wanted to bury his father and receive his inheritance.

The matter of priority is very important. Don’t neglect your family for the “noble cause” of God’s kingdom. JUST, have a high priority for the kingdom of God. For this reason, let us follow Jesus’ comment that being his disciple includes a price.

One friend of mine went to Mongolia as a missionary. He saw an Austrian couple who’d served there for many years in the country with no fruit. Why? The main reason = the family enjoyed family time 7-9pm everyday. BUT this is a very important time for ministry. Of course, family time is very important, but in Mongolia, 7-9pm is the only time that you can visit Mongolian families. He tried to visit at other times, but they were never available at that time. 

For a few years, my friend made many good visits during this time, and he started a local church. He sacrificed THAT family time, and made a good impact for the church.

BUT, remember that many Koreans actually serve TOO much. Their families are neglected and they have mental weakness and pain. Is it OK to neglect your family like this for the “noble cause” of the kingdom of God? This is not an easy question. But remember, Jesus said, “Proclaim the kingdom of God” not “proclaim your kingdom.”

In fact, many church people are “busy” with “work” for their OWN kingdoms. (They actually aren’t interested in the kingdom of God – just friendships, networking, entertaining, getting respect, etc).

Many missionaries serve in India with a business VISA, so they must do some kind of business. One of my friend’s has a Korean restaurant in New Delhi. He is being successful in his business, but doesn’t have time for ministry. He wonders, “Am I really a missionary?”

Another friend sold carpets for his VISA. He became successful as a businessman and he decided to quit the missionary work and go to the US as a businessman.

A true disciple of Jesus must pay the price for the kingdom of GOD. It can be financial, physical, mental. But, remember, our hope is not in this world, but in the heavenly kingdom, which is eternal.

IDIOT #3 (v. 61-62)

This request seems simple. “Let me say ‘buh-bye!’ to my family.” But actually, Jesus realized he was looking BACK. His inner heart was BACK, not AHEAD. His heart was “worldly man” not “disciple.”

If you look back after putting your hand to the plow, all your work will be disturbed. All your life will be disturbed and destroyed.  

  • The most important thing for a disciple = OBEY! NOW! 
  • Immediate obedience = RADICAL discipleship.

They obeyed God, not the person. Yes, a person can be a delegate from God, so we may also need to obey a person. I also teach this to my disciples in India. Many of them obey my word, but I must remember to obey God. 

One man in India, Sanjay, was not obedient at first, so I was annoyed. One day, we went to a village course to train the villagers. He was so excited just to be in a new place that he didn’t listen to me and I was very annoyed. So I just kept quiet and prayed. At 5am, I woke up and prayed and pastor Sanjay came in and held my feet suddenly. “Forgive me!” Last night, he saw a dream and on his feet was a stone. “Why don’t you obey missionary Bright?” He was trembling all night and asked my forgiveness in the morning.

God was teaching him about obedience. Without obedience, you CANNOT be a good disciple nor a good pastor. Now, he is very responsible, so I give him the greatest responsibility when I travel.

Several years ago, God asked me to do cooperative work with Indian and Korean pastors. R727 was launched. It is a joint ministry for church planting in North India. Initially, many people didn’t understand this ministry. Very few people joined the ministry, but God blessed it for the last 3-4 years, and it has begun to have a good result and lots of fruit in many places. 

At first, many people didn’t notice this ministry. But these days, many people phone in and say, “Hey, can I join with you guys now?” I say, “Hmm, let me think about it.”

To OBEY IMMEDIATELY is a sign of true disipleship. If you OBEY, God works wonders in your life. 

There are three things that God shows in the Bible about disipleship:

  1. Reality of the cross
  2. Priority
  3. True Obedience

I hope and pray that we all can become good disciples of Jesus and change the world with the power of God. 

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 16 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Discipleship is a Blessing to Others (Matthew 10:32-42)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Discipleship is a Blessing to Others (Matthew 10:32-42)


02.16.2014 Pastor Heo

Sermon Notes

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32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

Today’s verses are heavy.

Last time, Jesus encouraged us to “Fear not!” Do you remember?

  1. Because he suffered for us.
  2. Because our God will bring everything to light.
  3. Because we fear God alone. (The fear of God removes all other fears.)
  4. Because God cares for his children (even a sparrow doesn’t die without his knowing – and all our hairs are numbered).

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

One more “Fear not” today.

  • Because Christ honors those who honor and acknowledge him. (v. 32-33)

To acknowledge, confess Jesus = MORE than just saying “Jesus is king.” We must show it with our lives also. Walk and talk must go together.

In heaven, Jesus has 2 ministries:

  1. High Priest: gives grace, continual grace to keep us from sinning.
  2. Advocate: forgives and restores us when we sin.

He is faithful even if we aren’t faithful. The benefit of his heavenly ministry = benefits of his sacrificial work on the cross.

Double loyalty of the Christian life:

  1. If we are loyal now, he is loyal then (eternal life)
  2. If we are proud to confess him as Lord now, he will be proud to confess us as his servants then.

Historical Fact: if there were not BOLD, PROUD servants who acknowledged Jesus before men in the past, there would be no church today.


  • Disown Jesus, ashamed of Jesus now, he will be ashamed of us before the Father God in heaven.

Paul “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for everyone who believes.”

How can we deny/disown him before men?

3 Ways we deny/disown Christ:

1. Our Words

Someone asks you “Do you believe in Jesus?” We say, “Yeah… I go there, but I don’t really care about it. You guys are better. Don’t worry about it.”

2. Silence

There is a threat of things unsaid in the Christian life. Many times, this life gives us an opportunity to say something against evil, to defend doctrine, to take a stand, to show what side we are on. But, if we keep silent again and again, such a silence is a DENIAL of Christ before men.

3. Actions/Attitudes

Do something before men that Jesus doesn’t like.

So, Jesus offers a SWORD. (v. 34-36)

Strange. This looks very strange.

Yes, in the Bible, it is very clear that Jesus has come to give us peace.

  • Isaiah (700 years earlier) “A son is given to us, the government will be upon his shoulders, and he will be called: Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.”
  • Luke “Peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.”
  • Paul “We have peace with God through Christ based on the grace on which we now stand.”
  • We have peace with God through the cross.
  • Before his crucifixion: “Peace I give you, my peace I leave with you.”

So…. what’s up with the SWORD?

To give us TRUE peace, Jesus must destroy FALSE peace.

True peace can only be found in Jesus.

The Christian life is a spiritual war. Once we have confessed him and identified with him, we are part of the war. If we deny him, or remain silent, that is sin.

The sword is to FIGHT.

Ephesians 6:12 “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of the spiritual realm.”

We are IN spiritual warfare.


Among humans, there are already many divisions in this world (Olympics). One day, ALL divisions will be destroyed – race, nation, language, sex, age, etc. One day, there will be only ONE division: Christ acceptors, Christ deniers. This will be an eternal, everlasting division.

(v. 36) Did you experience this among your own family members?

In Jesus’ time, in the early church time, if a Jew became a Christian, he wasn’t cast out by the Roman government, but he was excommunicated from his own synagogue, from his own people.

Even today, if a man converts to Christ truly, the greatest persecution happens to him from his own immediate family members: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Secularists, etc.

There is a basic principle we must keep in our marriage:

  1. Marry the OTHER sex (this is biblical)
  2. Marry the SAME faith

2 Cor 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. What do righteousness and unrighteousness have in common? What fellowship have light and darkness? What connection is there between the temple of God and idols?”

This means, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Jesus offers a CHOICE: v. 37

Can you accept this verse by faith truly?

The discipleship road is a continual choice, a resolution, determination. This road is not only the FIRST day of the new year, or new life, but EVERYDAY throughout the year, we must make our resolution. We must make our singular loyalty to Jesus Christ.

When Jesus met Peter after his resurrection, he only asked one question: “Do you truly love me?” (3 times) “Feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep.”

  • If we believe in Jesus, he will save us.
  • If we love him first, he will give us a great commission to save others.

We know he doesn’t want our family love to be broken – he wants us to love and help each other. But the secret is: if you love Jesus first, then when you love your wife.

  • If you force your wife to obey, she will obey less.
  • If you encourage your wife to love Jesus more, she will love you more.

Jesus offers the cross (v. 38)

Christianity = the religion of the cross

There is ALWAYS some cross.

During Jesus’ time they knew what the cross was. A Roman general (Barrus) crucified 2,000 Jews and strung their crosses out along the entire road to Galilee. And those people had to carry their own crosses to the place of their own execution.

Taking the cross is a symbol of utter humility. It doesn’t mean just wearing some jewelry. It means to do Christ’s will, to preach the gospel, to follow Jesus.

To “follow Jesus” doesn’t mean “walk behind.” It means “take the SAME road of sacrifice and service Jesus took.”

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, that you would follow in Jesus’ steps.”

Jesus offers Adventure (v. 39)

Christian life = a paradox. A positive and negative statement of the same truth. If we cling to this life, we will lose the best life in this world and the world to come.

There are only 2 choices:

  1. Spare our life
  2. Sacrifice our life

True work = selfishness vs. sacrifice

  • Matthew 16:25 “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life will find it.”
  • Mark 8:38? Same
  • Luke 9:24 Same
  • Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to KEEP it, loses it…”
  • John 12:25 “The one who LOVES his life will lose is. Whoever HATES his life will keep it for eternal life.”

The more we love this earthly life’s rewards:

Honor, Glory, Recognition, Worldly success, Money, Popularity, Fame,…

The more we will find how empty they are really.

The best way to find true life is to LOOSEN our greedy grasp on this life, and be FREE to be a blessing to as many others as possible.

We receive blessing from God, we are to give that blessing to others.

This chapter is the Missionary Chapter. (Not the Baby Christian Chapter.) v. 40-42

Not everyone will accept our message, nor will everyone reject our message. Those who receive it will receive a reward. We are the ambassadors of Christ, his representatives. We know why God called Abraham (Genesis 12)

  1. To bless him
  2. To save him
  3. To send him
  4. To bless others
  5. To save others through him
  • “I will bless those you bless, I will curse those you curse.”
  • All people, all nations on earth will be blessed through you.

Jesus calls us, saves us, to send us, to bless others, to save others through us.

If this is true, that Jesus is God, become Man, to die on the cross for our sins, and was raised again, and is coming again soon…how is it possible to be ashamed? If we truly believe this. He’s still alive with us. What a Savior! What a Lord! He is coming soon!

God bless us.

Let’s pray.

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