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  • Mar 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom for Us! (Matthew 20:17-28)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom for Us! (Matthew 20:17-28)



Sermon Notes

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Christ Gave His Life as a Ransom

Matthew 20:17-28 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

20:17-19pp — Mk 10:32-34; Lk 18:31-33

17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

A Mother’s Request

20:20-28pp — Mk 10:35-45

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (<— memory verse #28)


God bless the reading of His Word.

In this same book, chapter 16, Jesus said for the first time that he would go to Jerusalem, be killed and raised to life. Then, in chp 17, he predicted his death again. This here, is the third time he’s announced his arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection.

In the previous announcement, he wasn’t specific about HOW he would die – but here he clearly mentions the cross and his resurrection.

Yet, even though he mentioned this, the disciples didn’t understand well. The message didn’t penetrate their hearts.

v. 17-19

“We are going up to Jerusalem…to die.”

In this story, we can see 5 kinds of sufferings:

  1. Betrayal to the chief priests (suffering of heart broken by friends/brothers)
  2. Condemnation to death (suffering of injustice)
  3. Handed over to Rome to be mocked (suffering of humiliation)
  4. Flogged, scourged (suffering of physical pain)
  5. Crucified (suffering of curse and death – the FINAL suffering)

It was as if he were going to collect in his body EVERY kind of suffering – mental, social, physical, psychological, spiritual. Yet, he mentioned “beyond the cross, the crown.” Beyond death, life. Beyond loss, victory.

v. 20-24

In contrast to this announcement, we see the worldly ambition of the disciples – particularly James and John and their mother.

Even though the other 10 didn’t ask the same request, they actually FELT the same (look, they were “angry” with their request – it’s like “why didn’t I ask that first?”).

“Can you drink the same cup with me?” (The cup of the cross, suffering, and death) – “We can” – “Indeed, you WILL drink of it.”

The result of this request was anger and indignation on the parts of the other disciples. Heavenly wisdom brings peace among men, but worldly wisdom brings fighting – envy, etc.

Here, Jesus speaks of cross, but the disciples think of “crown.”

This same story is also written in Mark 10. There is a little different explanation. James and John asked this request directly to Jesus, but here in Matthew, it’s their mother, Salome?

Anyway, there is no conflict in the Scripture because they were of the same mind and the brothers also agreed “Yes, we can drink of that cup!”

Salome was a good woman. She was at the cross when Jesus was crucified, and she was one at the tomb early in the morning when Jesus was resurrected – she was likely the sister of Mary (Jesus’ own mother). Likely the two brothers were FULL cousins with Jesus. Therefore, they likely felt that they had a “special place” with Jesus.

Of course, parents want their children honored and promoted to a high position – but sometimes this is DANGEROUS if it causes they to lose sight of GOD’S plan for their children. Sometimes God’s plan is different than parents’ plans – not only glamorous.

So, parent’s plans must be held in check so that God’s will may be done in their lives all the time.

Jesus “You don’t know what you are asking.”

Until after the resurrection, they didn’t understand fully that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, but in the hearts and lives of the true believers.

They also didn’t understand the meaning of this cup mentioned here. He’d also mention this same cup in Matthew 26 in Gethsemane “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, not my will but your will be done.” This is the cup of suffering and death that Jesus had to taste in order to accomplish salvation for all human beings.

So, their request was born in selfishness, flesh, worldliness.

How about you and me?

Yes, sometimes, we don’t know what we need, what we should pray for. Sometimes we know what we WANT but not what we NEED. So, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. So, we pray for the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit.

  • “You will indeed drink from my cup.” Do you want to drink of this also?
  • “But to sit at my right or left…” Even though they answered “we can” without knowing the true meaning, they did drink of that cup.
  • James later dies as a martyr – killed by the sword of King Herod (aged 30s) – in Acts 12.
  • John lived MANY years in persecution – and lived his last years in exile on the island of Patmos (after being boiled alive I think?)
  • John’s cup came with lots of waiting.
  • Jame’s cup was martyrdom. (Soongyo)
  • John’s cup was constant discipline and struggle for the Christian life throughout many years.
  • Each had its own difficulties. Each drank of his own cup in his own time.

Some people think that Christian’s cup is always a short, sharp, bitter taste of martyrdom. But not always. Sometimes, the cup is daily discipline, tears, heart break – for MANY years.

Are your REALLY Christian? Born again?

If there is a cup for you to drink, are you ready to drink that cup? Willingly? Are you afraid?

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

God is good all the time, all the time God is good.

God wants us to be happy and joyful and peaceful IN HIM. So, if there is a cup for me and you – it’s because we are able to drink, he enables and empowers us, and it is GOOD for us.

Today in our daily lives, to drink the cup simply means to “follow Christ wherever he goes and to be like him in every situation.”

  • The gift of salvation is priceless and yet free.
  • But the way of discipleship is not painless and easy.

If we commit to Christ truly, yes, this world will test our commitment. Suffering is the price of commitment – the price of discipleship.

Around us, we may see many brothers and sisters in Christ who face their own challenges in following Christ. Therefore, we need to ENCOURAGE and EDIFY (Eph 4:29) each other to follow Jesus fully and truly.

Do you want to be great? Who is great?

“I’m great!” – not in this world, but in the kingdom of God.

v. 25-27

“The last will be first and the first will be last.”

The “Gentiles” = the standard of this world.

In Jesus’ kingdom, we must not follow the standard of this world (Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”)

Our HOPE is in Jesus, not some government, not some program, not some President, celebrity, possession, etc.

Here, a completely NEW set of values has come into our lives.

  1. In this world, greatness is the power to command others to do something for us.
  2. In Jesus’ kingdom, greatness is the power to command ourselves to do something for others.
  3. In this world, greatness is the power to oppress.
  4. In Jesus’ world, greatness is the power to build up.
  5. In this world, greatness is our power, bank balance, possessions, the number of people under us.
  6. In Jesus’ kingdom, greatness is measured by how many people we help and serve, by our attitude and character.

A TRULY great man puts others’ needs before his own – true greatness = service, not dominance.

If we are like this, truly we are in Jesus’ kingdom.

v. 28 is one of the KEY verses in the WHOLE Bible (I told you it was a good memory verse) – along with John 3:16

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Just as this, Jesus is the representative of our actions and attitudes – we must act as he acts, think as he thinks, serve as he serves. We must give our lives in service as he has.

  • 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you are called — he has left you an example.”
  • John “Whoever claims to be a Christian, must walk as Jesus walked.”
  • Hebrews “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature, God, but did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but … he emptied himself, humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

In every action, thought, etc, ask yourself – “Is this pleasing to Christ? What would he do/think? How would he act?”

Yes, Jesus gave his life as a ransom – a payment – to pay for our complete freedom.

Sin is like a slave market where our souls are sold as slaves – but Jesus by his death buys us from this slave market – indicating complete freedom from sin. He looses bonds and sets us FREE by paying the price of his own precious blood on the cross. He frees us from the curse under the Law by BECOMING a curse for us.

He is our complete freedom and liberty.

Without Christ, his death, his service, we can never find the way back to God. Jesus is THE way, THE truth, THE life. He is not the one who SHOWS the way – he is THE way. It is only Christ who can say this, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We must walk in the steps of Christ who has loved us to the uttermost.

  • 1 Corinthians 5:20 “I am not my own, you are not your own, we were bought at a price – the price was Jesus’ blood – therefore, honor and glorify God with your bodies.” What was your price?

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on The Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-30)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-30)



Sermon Notes

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The Rich Young Ruler

Matthew 19:16-30 (Pastor Heo)

The Rich Young Man

19:16-29pp — Mk 10:17-30; Lk 18:18-30

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples,”I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


We cannot receive Jesus as Savior without following him as King. He went to the cross, to the point of death (and beyond) to save us. So, do we have the right to escape suffering?

Here Christ shows the rightful demands he makes on his disciples.

This event is written in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Usually this is the “Story of the Rich Young Ruler.”

  • Only Matthew calls him Young,
  • Only Luke calls him Ruler,
  • But all call him Wealthy.

One good thing about this young man in this matter is that he had a big concern about eternal life – yes, this is the biggest concern we all must consider. Now, let me ask all of us: what is your first concern/interest/consideration.

Another good thing = he came to the right person in this matter of eternal life. He came to Jesus – the only giver of eternal life. Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

But, there are two wrong things as well:

#1: He came with the wrong question: “What ‘good’ thing must I do…?” This is the wrong question in the matter of eternal life. He is thinking in terms of actions – in terms of keeping the rules and regulations – by keeping the works of the Law. He thought he could get eternal life by DOING something that looks good – therefore it shows he knows NOTHING of the religion of grace. Romans “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous through the works of the Law, but it is by the Law that we are made conscious of how sinful we are.”

As long as we think we can be saved by doing something good, we can never be saved by the grace of God.

Jesus tries to lead him on to the right answer according to his own words that he’s spoken.

He lists the commandments.

Jesus did not introduce these commandments to show HOW to be saved, but to that THAT he needed to be saved (because keeping all these are impossible). Actually, at this point, he should have confessed his inadequacy – but sadly he said, “All these I have kept.”

The Law is a mirror that reveals what we are.

Even he is standing before the perfect mirror of the Law, he still did not understand who/what he was. After this (in Mark), Jesus “loved” this young man and continued to help him.

“What do I still lack?” i.e. “I lack nothing – I think I’m perfect.”

Jesus says, “OK, then, GO sell your stuff and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven – then COME follow me.” Wow.

Can you do like this?

In the Bible, nowhere are we told that a sinner can be saved by selling his possessions and goods and giving his money away. Jesus knew he was covetous and greedy and that he loved material wealth. By asking him to sell his material goods and give to the poor, Jesus was forcing him to examine his own heart and determine his own priorities.

This challenge exposed the barrier that could keep this young man out of the kingdom: his LOVE of money. (”The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”) To this young man, money represented his pride, the root of his accomplishments – the very basis of his respect and security and identity.

Actually this young man did not love God truly, to him the material possessions were his god – that’s why he was unable to obey this commandment.

“When he heard this, he went away sad.”

Yes, he could have gone in great joy and pleasure. It is good to have the things money CAN buy IF we do not lose the things money CANNOT buy.

To him: money is god.

v. 23-26

Eye of the needle

“With man this is impossible – but with God all things are possible.”

How tragic to be possessed by possessions and miss the most important – eternal life in Christ. He lost what was eternal to keep what was temporary.

This is the real question we must consider: Who then can be saved?

Yes, some people that have EVERYTHING on this earth still lack the one thing that is eternal.

  • At that time, the Jews believed that material possessions were evidence of God’s blessing (Deut 26,27,28). Certainly, God gave the promise of blessing for man’s obedience and loss for man’s disobedience.
  • At that time (in man’s infancy), the only way that God could teach men was through visible rewards.

But the highest obedience is not dependent upon the promise of reward or the threat of punishment.

In Christ’s love, the material things of this world can give us no lasting joy or salvation.

v. 24

Eye of the needle

Jesus does not say “it is impossible” just “hard” – very hard, very very hard.

At that time, the camel was the largest animal in Palestine – so that means that salvation is absolutely impossible with man, but absolutely possible with God.

Salvation is the response of God toward man’s faith in Christ – it cannot be earned, it is a gift. There is nothing for us to do except receive it through faith in Christ.

Abraham was a very rich man materially, but also a man of great faith. This means it is good to possess wealth IF wealth does not possess us. We cannot follow our King Jesus and follow worldly wealth at the same time. We cannot serve God AND money, but we can serve God WITH money.

Money is not inherently bad, but 1 Timothy 6:10 “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil – some people have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

God bless us to possess much money – BUT DON’T let money use you, possess you, nor your heart.

v. 27-30

The last will be first, the first will be last.

At this moment, Peter was very quick to notice the contrast between the rich and themselves (the poor). “We have left EVERYTHING!” (well, not his wife) “What shall we have?”

This is Jesus wonderful promise of reward: Those who follow him to the end will share his glory, his victory, his throne together.

From this story, at least we can know 3 lessons:

  1. If we share his campaign on Earth, we will share his glory and throne.
  2. We will receive much more than we give up for Christ. What are you giving up now for Christ? (v. 29) These are not new material possessions, but new fellowship with men and God. A true Christian is never friendless, homeless. Are you really sacrificing yourself for Christ? You cannot say that because you WILL receive much much more than you are giving. You are not making a sacrifice, but rather an INVESTMENT. But still, we must always check our motivation in the service of God. (The first will be last, the last will be first) – In the world to come, the values of this world will be reversed. Those who seek status on earth will have nothing.
  3. Finally, there will be a big surprise in the final judgment. There is eternity to adjust the misjudgments of time.

This last verse will be amplified in the following chapter in the story of the workers in the vineyard.

From this verse we can know that it is possible for those on earth to be humbled in heaven and many who are humble now to be exalted in heaven.

The first will be last, the last will be first.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 09 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Do You Walk With the Lord Well? (Matthew 16:21-28)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Do You Walk With the Lord Well? (Matthew 16:21-28)



Sermon Notes

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Do You Walk With The Lord Well?

Matthew 16:21-28 (Pastor Heo)

Jesus Predicts His Death

16:21-28pp — Mk 8:31-9:1; Lk 9:22-27

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter,”Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”


From this time on Jesus started speaking very clearly that he would be crucified in the future.

He spoke of this 3 times during the book of Matthew.

In chp 4, in chp 17 – Jesus’ announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven, and here, his emphasis on his death and resurrection.

His 12 disciples didn’t grasp/understand Jesus’ true purpose because they had preconceived ideas about the Messiah: politics, warrior, king. They thought he would be a kind of “superman” and overthrow the forces over the nation of Israel. They didn’t understand that he would win through the sacrifice of his own body.

But here he is telling them so that they wouldn’t be surprised when it really happened.

He also said that he wouldn’t suffer from ordinary people, but elders, chief priests, and teachers of the Law. The Sanhedrin was composed of these three kinds of people. Actually, they should have been the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but they were the first to make a decision to kill him.

  • Peter rebuked Jesus (his teacher).
  • Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (rebuked him back)

Peter rebuked him because he loved him – but was wrong. Jesus rebuked because he loved him, but was right. Peter’s response certainly reflected the feelings of all the disciples. “Surely not!” Jesus didn’t say, “Thanks for your pity” rather “Get behind me Satan!” (But Peter isn’t really Satan. If Peter WERE, he would say, “go away from here” – this shows that Peter’s place is behind, not leading Jesus).

Earlier, Jesus praised and honored Peter very highly for his statement “You are the Son of God.” Peter wanted to protect him from the suffering and death he would come to because he loved him so. However, IF Jesus had NOT suffered and died, PETER would have to suffer and die forever in his sins.

Like this, sometimes, good intending friends and family (those who love us and try to protect us from suffering) provide the greatest temptations against doing the things that God would have us do.

Peter was speaking the temptation of Satan without knowing it.

  • At first, Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, not to suffer, not to be hungry, not to die. “If you are the Son of God, make bread! So your greatness! Don’t die!”
  • Also, Satan tempted Jesus ON the cross through the voice of the crowd “IF you are the Son of God, COME DOWN and show us!” (Then he wouldn’t die, we wouldn’t be saved…)

Yes, even today, we can become the mouth of God or the mouth of Satan.

It is so easy for us to limit the impact of God on our lives because we are so focused on the goals of this life. It is so easy to focus on comfort and safety that we forget our divine call to sacrifice and service.

Peter’s perspective was wrong – God’s plan included suffering and death for the Messiah. Jesus needed to fulfill his mission exactly as planned.


This verse is very familiar but not easy to practice.

“IF anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

IF anyone = not only to those disciples at that time, but ALL who would come after as well (like you and me). Recognizing and confessing faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah is only the BEGINNING of discipleship. Jesus invites ALL human beings to “follow” him – but to do so, we need three attitudes:

  1. Willingness to deny ourselves
  2. Willingness to take up our crosses
  3. Willingness to follow CONTINUALLY

Easy to do? Or difficult?

#1: To deny ourselves

This doesn’t mean to deny things. Usually we use “self-denial” in a restrictive sense. We think it means “give up something” – (give up chocolate, cola, bread…) This is a very small part of what Jesus means by self-denial. Jesus means “In EVERY part of life, say ‘NO’ to me and ‘YES’ to God.”

“Not I, but Christ.”

Once and forever dethrone yourself, and put Jesus on the throne. Give our whole beings to Christ and share in his shame and death. Surrender immediate material gratification and safety in order to gain the goals and rewards of God.

Self-centeredness becomes God-centeredness

This is immediate and practical, acknowledge Christ in EVERY area of life. Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live…”

#2: Take up your cross

This doesn’t mean “carry a burden.”

This DOES mean “identify with Christ in his shame, suffering, crucifixion and resurrection” This is humility before Christ. Today, the cross is a symbol of love and sacrifice – but at that time, it was the worst form of capital punishment.

The Christian life is a life of service and sacrifice.

This same verse is found in Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow me.”

This is not a MOMENT of great sacrifice, but a DAILY life of humility and service, and concerned with the needs of OTHERS more than the needs of self.

#3: To follow Christ

Not “walking behind” but “take the SAME road of sacrifice and service he took.” We must render to him perfect obedience.

The Christian life is a life of continual obedience to Christ – with our lives, money, time, tongues, bodies, etc.

To follow Christ = Moment-by-moment-by-moment

  • 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called because Christ died for you, leaving an example you must follow”
  • 1 John “Whoever claims to follow Christ must walk as HE did.”

Can you accept these verses truly?

  • “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me finds it.”

Jesus Christ humbled himself from heaven to earth to exalt us from earth to heaven.

God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names so that he could raise us from death to life.

Now is our turn. To attempt to save our lives = save you life only. If we do this, apart from God, we will lose our (eternal) lives. But if we lose our lives for the Kingdom of God, we save our (eternal) lives.

Jesus wants us to choose to follow him, rather than to live a life of SELF satisfaction. Jesus wants us to give up trying to control our own destiny and let him do it.

As CREATOR – Jesus KNOWS what real life is about.

Real discipleship implies real commitment – a whole life placed in Christ’s service.

“What can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Only when we give our lives to Christ will we discover the true purpose of our living. What good would it be to gain ALL the money in this WHOLE world and lose your soul? Can you imagine all the buildings, cars, gold, money, jewels, electronics, etc? If you were the KING/OWNER of the world but lost your soul… what good is that?

Whatever we have in this world = temporary.

This “stuff” can never be exchanged for our souls. No amount of “stuff” can buy back a lost soul. If we are true Christians, we must make the pursuit of God more important than the pursuit of selfish pleasure in this world.

When we TRULY follow Christ, we will know what it means to have true life in this world (and the next as well).

“For the Son of Man is coming soon…”

He will reward us according to what we have done.

“Some standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming…”

  1. These words are (1) Warning (for Judgment) and (2) Promise
  2. Judgment = (1) condemnation for sins OR (2) evaluation for reward

Your life is going somewhere. Whether we want it or not, your life is going somewhere – the Judgment. In every life, there inevitably comes Judgment.

The man who selfishly hugs his life, money, satisfaction, and stuff is a total FAILURE in heaven’s eyes. The man who spends his whole life serving, living for the Kingdom of God, showing and witnessing for Christ is a SUCCESS in heaven’s eyes.

Jesus has all the authority to judge both heaven and earth. When he returns, there will be a future, final judgment. Everyone’s lives will be scanned, and evaluated, and reviewed, and rewarded according to what he has done.

Even Christians will face the Judgment.

Jesus will judge how we spent our time and money, talents, responsibilities, and so on in order to determine heavenly rewards.

When Jesus returns, there will be some when Jesus returns who see Jesus in body when he comes. Nobody can hinder the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Everything we have done for the Kingdom of God will remain forever, but the things of this world will fade away. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.”

May God bless us as true children of God, disciples of God, so that we may walk with Jesus our Lord – not someday, but everyday.

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.

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