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  • Nov 25 / 2018
  • Comments Off on The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The First Church Council in History (Acts 15:1-35)

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The First Church Council

Acts 15:1-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” 12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ [Amos 9:11-12] 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain (1) from food sacrificed to idols, (2) from blood, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. 30 The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them [34 but Silas decided to remain there]. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.


This, chp 15 is the first church council / conference in history. This is “The Jerusalem Council”. Main locations are Jerusalem and Antioch (300 miles / 500 km between them). This council happens between Paul’s 1st and 2nd Missionary Journeys.

  • Chp 13, 14 = Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey
  • Chp 16, 17, 18 = Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey

There is only one agenda here: is circumcision essential for Gentile salvation? No. This may seem very clear to us today, but at that time, it was very divisive and debated.

The question was: Should Gentiles be circumcised first to be saved?

In many cities, during Paul’s Missionary Journey, many Gentiles turned to the Lord and became believers. Also many Gentile churches were planted there, and this news spread rapidly even to Jerusalem.

Some Jewish believers were happy, but others were not – they also doubted the salvation of the Gentiles and their sincerity.

To Jews, at that time, circumcision signified them as God’s covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back – he would be a Jew forever. Of all the traditions of the Jews, at that time, circumcision was the MOST IMPORTANT to distinguish them from their pagan neighbors.

When the Gentiles began to believe, Paul and Barnabas were preaching the simple message, “Just believe in Christ and be saved.” But the Judaizers were afraid that soon the Gentiles would outnumber the Jews and that the Gentile believers would lower the moral standard of the Jews – if they didn’t strictly follow the Jewish laws.

So, elders came down from Antioch and strongly argued that the Gentiles must become circumcised (must become Jewish) first before being saved.

Consider this situation:

  • A Korean says to a non-Korean, “You must become Korean before you can become a Christian.”
  • Or a black man to a white man, “You must become black before you can become a Christian.”

This is silly.

We should say to EVERYONE, “Believe in Christ Jesus and be saved!” Short and simple.

So, Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to make this clear.

v. 1-2

“1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

As delegates, Paul and Barnabas and others, went to Jerusalem to have this big meeting with the other elders there. At first, in this meeting, Paul and Barnabas gave their first missionary report (just as they did at Antioch church). If Antioch church is the mother church in that Paul and Barnabas are foreign ministers sent by the church, then the Jerusalem church is the “grandmother church.” Jerusalem was the mother church of Antioch church.

After their mission report, strong Judaizers stood up and argued strongly, “No! Gentiles must be circumcised first!”

v. 5

“5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” “

They had much discussion, and the head of the conference, Peter stood up and spoke. He made it very clear that Gentile salvation is only “by faith in Christ through grace” (“plus nothing”). The decision of this council is:

“Salvation is the grace of God through faith in Christ PLUS nothing

Peter also made it clear that God had purified Gentiles as a result of his ministry experience (Cornelius in chp 10) – this happened about 10 years earlier. Peter shared his own ministry experience with Cornelius to the assembly. Then, Paul and Barnabas also shared their experiences in their First Missionary journey – the signs, miracles, and wonders that are evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles.

v. 12

“12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. “

  • First speaker: Peter
  • Second speaker: Paul and Barnabas
    • They shared their ministry experiences and supported each other.
  • Final speaker: James

After listening to his argument, this conference reached its conclusion with their final decision.

v. 13-21

“13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: [Amos 9:11-12] 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages. 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain (1) from food polluted by idols, (2) from sexual immorality, (3) from the meat of strangled animals and (4) from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.””

This James is the brother of Jesus and the writer of the epistle James, as well as one of the head leaders of the Jerusalem church. He was well-respected and well-known for his holiness and devotion to the Law. He was called “Camel Knees” (because he prayed so much) 낙타 무릎

His point is: God’s promise given to David – to keep his kingdom – was not earthly/politically, but by the Messiah who would renew the spiritual kingdom and rule forever. This was evidenced by the resurrection of Christ and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. So, the salvation of Gentiles by the grace of God through faith alone, does not contradict the Old Testament scriptures.

  • Peter, Paul, and Barnabas used: missionary experience to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone
  • James used: the Word of God (Amos) to prove salvation is by grace alone through faith alone

The four of them had the same argument. The difference =

  • Paul, Peter, Barnabas used the experience;
  • James used the Word of God.

Thus, we can witness that the final test of truth is the Word of God.

Yes, ministry experience and our own beliefs are important. But the final test of truth must be the Word of God. This is the only absolute proof and absolute standard. Thus, what is important is what the Word of God says. The more we read, meditate, etc, the better able we will be able to determine what is correct in times of doctrinal debate.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

#4 Things of “Loving Compromise”

Abstain from:

  1. Idolatry (free FROM it, not TO it)
  2. Sexual immorality
  3. Meat of strangled animals
  4. Blood

Do you eat blood? No problem, this is not a matter of salvation.

In fellowship, eating together is a big part of fellowship. Without eating together, having fellowship is almost impossible.

Lev 17:11, 12 “The life of a creature is in the blood. Do not eat blood.”

Do you know strangling an animal would keep the blood in the circulatory system and not drained away. This would cause the blood to be eaten with the meat.

If we kill by strangling, it is difficult to remove blood from the meat. So at that time, Jews never ate blood. But doing this was very common to Gentiles. So, by eating blood, it would be almost impossible to have fellowship between Jews and Gentiles.

At that time, they often shared common meals like our potluck. This is not a matter of salvation, but a matter of nutrition, unity, fellowship, etc. We want unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Even today, we must learn the art of “loving compromise.”

Yes, no question, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But IF we are, there must be evidence of change – by rejecting the old lifestyle – because “salvation has power” and “salvation is NEW life.”

2 Cor 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation…”

They reached this final agreement and wrote a letter – the decision of this council – to send to Antioch church to encourage and strengthen them.


v. 23-29

“23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell. “


Antioch sent two delegates: Paul & Barnabas to Jerusalem with this debate. Jerusalem sent two delegates back: Judas (Jew) & Silas (Gentile) with this news

v. 34

“34 but Silas decided to remain there” (some manuscripts have this, some don’t) NIV: no KJV: yes

Later, this Silas will accompany Paul in his Second Missionary journey in the place of Barnabas who visited different cities with John Mark.

Next Sunday, we will begin the study of this Second Missionary journey.

Conclusion: “Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.”

Yes, we say this today, but practically, there are many challenges and temptations to add small things.

  • Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – this not of yourselves, it is the work of God – so that no one can boast.”
  • Romans “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation in Christ, for the law of Christ sets me free from the law of sin and death…”

Remember, the death of Christ is the price paid for our redemption and salvation and freedom.

In ancient markets, slaves were bought for a price. Redemption speaks of the purchase of our salvation – as the price for our sin. The emphasis is on our “freedom” which we receive by the price paid by Christ.

Conclusion:

We can put the matter like this.

  • Essentials: Unity
  • Non-essentials: Diversity
  • All things: Charity and freedom
  1. “In essentials: unity;” (Eph 4 – “One God, one faith, one baptism, one hope”)
  2. “In non-essentials: diversity and variety;”
  3. “In all things: Charity and liberty.”

“God bless you with unity, variety, charity, and liberty.”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 28 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Paul’s First Sermon (Acts 13:6-41)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Paul’s First Sermon (Acts 13:6-41)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Paul’s First Sermon

Acts 13:6-41 (Pastor Heo)

13:6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.”

12 Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Pisidian Antioch

13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

<PaulsFirstSermon>

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

21 “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

” ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’

34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

” ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 ” ‘Look, you scoffers,wonder and perish,

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “

</PaulsFirstSermon>

Usually there is a tendency to ID the missionary and the enterprise as going to rural, small, remote, isolated areas – like the jungle, etc – whose people are poor, uneducated, uncivilized – and helping them for his whole life with medicine, education, etc, and then finally, sharing the story of the gospel, very personally. Yes, this is a KIND of missionary job – BUT Paul’s missionary enterprise is very different. Here are 3 key differences:

1. Paul focused on BIG cities –

because he wanted to preach to as many people as possible in a limited time.

If Paul were in Korea, he would travel to

  • Seoul,
  • Incheon,
  • Daejeon,
  • Gwangju,
  • Daegu,
  • Busan,
  • Jeonju, etc.

Later, he wanted to go to Rome very much because it was the biggest city at that time. In the book of Romans, he wrote, “God, whom I serve with my whole heart is my witness how I constantly remember you in my prayers at all times. I long to see you that I may impart a spiritual gift to make you strong. I’m obligated to ALL people, that’s why I’m so eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome.” This was the eagerness of a soul-winner, not a sightseer.

City Mission 도시선교

2. He didn’t live his whole life in ONE place, but moved continuously.

2 Cor he confessed, “I have been constantly on the move – in danger from rivers, the Gentiles, the city, my own countrymen, the sea, false brothers, etc.” If he preached the gospel and the hearers accepted the message, he helped them to organize their own local church and very soon he moved again to another place – because he wanted to preach the gospel to those who did not hear the gospel. But, if the hearers rejected their message, he ALSO moved to another place – because he wanted to preach the message to those who WANTED to hear and were ready to receive the message.

[Later, “Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet” and moved on.]

3. He was VERY clear in the knowledge of what his FIRST priority was as a missionary.

He was “set apart” as a “servant” and “slave” of God. All the time, the did the MOST important job FIRST (never second). He had his priorities in order. He was very clear about this. Remember, sometimes the second important job is the greatest enemy to the MOST important job.

What is the FIRST important job to a missionary? PREACH the gospel.

1 Cor 1:17 “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power and wisdom of God.” Are you saved? Then you are, at present, BEING saved. And finally, you will BE saved.

This sentence does not mean that baptism is not important, rather, that he was very clear in his priorities. Are you clear in your priorities?

“I’m a Child of God!”

We are! Are you very clear in your priority as a child of God?

God bless us to be so.

v. 13

“13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”

Before this verse:

v. 9

“9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,”

This is the FIRST appearance of “Paul” – and from this point, his name is continually referred to as Paul. From this point, “Saul” appears no more.

v. 13

“13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.”

This is interesting. His companions include: Barnabas (the original leader) – “Barnabas and Saul” (but here, there is not even the name of Barnabas).

Who is this John? John Mark. He joined in the missionary team as a helper.

There were Barnabas (leader), Paul (second), John (helper).

Here, John left and returned to his home in Jerusalem. Why? According to the record, we do not know exactly why he left. We can only guess.

  • Homesick?
  • Miss his father?
  • Uncomfortable with saved Gentiles? (he was a very devoted Jew)
  • Fear of danger? (this team was moving into dangerous areas)
  • He wasn’t happy about the leadership? – from Barnabas to Paul (Barnabas was his uncle or cousin)

This sentence (v. 13) indicates that the leadership of the team came over to Paul.

Whatever the case, Paul didn’t like this departure of John. In chp 15, Paul and Barnabas were ready for the Second Missionary Journey (after a second sabbatical year). For this journey, Barnabas wanted to take John again, but Paul did not want to. They fought very sharply over this matter, and separated company. From that point (chp 15), there is no more mention of Barnabas in this book.

Barnabas took John, Paul took Silas.

Anyway, the point is: finally, John Mark redeemed himself in the eyes of Paul – he was respected and restored in Paul’s eyes.

In his last letter, 2 Timothy, chp 4:11, Paul said, “Bring (John) Mark to me. He is very helpful to me in my ministry.”

Key point:

We have no right to give up any person for his salvation nor restoration in being used by God in his kingdom and for his glory.

Who can we give up that God does not give up?

v. 16-41: Paul’s first sermon in his missionary work

“13:16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

21 “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

” ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’

34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’

35 So it is stated elsewhere:

” ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 ” ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish,

for I am going to do something in your days

that you would never believe,

even if someone told you.’ “”

Amen.

His first sermon has 3 parts:

  1. v. 16-25
  2.  v. 26-37
  3. v. 38-41

Each part begins with an addressing word.

Part One v. 16

“”Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!”

Part Two v. 26

“”Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.”

Part Three v. 38

“”Therefore, my brothers, “

We can see his audience was mixed Jews and Gentiles. In the third part, he doesn’t address them separately, but just says, “My brothers.” – to him there is NO more separation Jew / Gentile in Christ.

Part One

Paul summarized the history of Israel – climaxing with the coming of John the Baptist as forerunner of Christ – and with the coming of Christ as promised in the OT.

This was the Introduction (preparation)

Part Two (main body – declaration)

The main theme: The death and resurrection of Christ

Jesus came as Savior and Lord, but the world didn’t recognize him. They killed him. But he was raised from the dead. (at least 4x repeated)

  1. v. 30 “But God raised him from the dead, “
  2. v. 33 “by raising up Jesus.”
  3. v. 34 “The fact that God raised him from the dead, “
  4. v. 37 “But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.” (this is the final sentence in the second part of this sermon)

v. 37 Why? Because Jesus is original God.

John 1:1 “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. .. In him was light, and it shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. … This world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him…”

The death and resurrection of Christ is “good news” (i.e. gospel) – do you agree?

Paul’s message is the same as my message today.

What is the application? If we really believe in Jesus’ death, resurrection, our salvation, forgiveness of sin, sanctification, glorification, the conclusion / application is v. 38-39

v. 38-39

“38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

Two key ideas in these two sentences:

  1. Forgiveness of sin
  2. Justification by faith

Forgiveness of Sin

Can be found only in the death and resurrection of Christ. Do you believe this? We know the Law of Moses demands perfection – the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the teaching of Christ and his example – all are perfect – but they all reveal our sin. They reveal our need for a Savior – but they do not provide the remedy for sin. The remedy can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Christ.

v. 38 “I want you to know…”

God is a righteous God. He is good all the time.

The FACT that God is righteous means that God cannot pardon / forgive sin simply on the grounds of the sinner’s repentance. This would be impossible for a righteous God to do. Sin can ONLY be forgiven when the penalty of the sin is already paid.

So, in order to be able to forgive sin, and still remain a righteous God, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins already – in his body, on the cross.

This is a fact – the forgiveness of sin is proclaimed to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

v. 39 “Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

Justification by Faith

You can be involved in this (EVERYONE). Everyone who believes. What is the justification of God? This is when God declares the believing sinner as “righteous.” This is a declarative act of God.

Negatively: we cannot be justified by the Law of Moses, by our own power, effort, knowledge, good works, human made religion. We cannot be declared by God to be righteous by any religion made by man.

Only the grace of God is the root and source of our justification. This originates in the heart of God.

Knowing our inability to do this for ourselves, God decided to provide righteousness for you and me. It was God’s grace that provides righteousness for you and me.

In his mercy, he had regard for our miserable situation. That’s why we are justified only by the grace of God.

The blood of Christ is the foundation for our justification. Why? Because Heb 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”

To receive the forgiveness of sins, somebody must shed blood. But even if I do it myself – shed my own blood, it will not work – because my blood (and your blood) is dirty – not clean. Only Christ’s blood is pure and holy.

1 John “The blood of Christ purifies us from all wickedness and all unrighteousness.” God is able to remit our penalty and restore us to his favor and his grace.

In justification, your sins are NOT excused. Rather, your sins are PUNISHED in the person of Christ. That’s why he is called our substitute (propitiation).

We are justified only by faith. Our faith is the condition for justification – not on merit. It is not FOR faith but BY / THROUGH faith that we are justified.

This means, our faith is not a prize for our justification.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 07 / 2018
  • Comments Off on God is in Control of Everything (Acts 12:1-11)
Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God is in Control of Everything (Acts 12:1-11)

Download Notes in an .MD file

God is in Control of Everything

Acts 12:1-11 (Pastor Heo)

12:1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”


Chp 8:1 “On that day, a great persecution broke out…”

The rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem brought fierce persecution. The Jews launched a direct attack upon the Christian leaders beyond mere threats and warnings – this time Herod had James executed and Peter arrested. These were tense and traumatic times, but the church began to pray earnestly.

It is important to remember that God wasn’t finished with the Jewish church, nor Jewish Christianity – even though the emphasis soon shifted to Paul and Gentile outreach. But still, God was working.

In this chapter, we can see 3 events:

  1. Herod killed James (one of the 12, the brother of John)
  2. Herod tried to kill Peter – but he was rescued by an angel of the Lord
  3. This Herod was killed by the hand of the angel of the Lord (maybe the same that rescued Peter)

v. 1-6

“12:1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.”

Who is this Herod? This evil, wicked Herod. In the NT, we can see several Herods. This one is the grandson of Herod the Great who killed all babies under 2 years old in Bethlehem and its vicinity – to kill Jesus.

In the NT, at least 4 generations of Herods are mentioned:

  1. Herod the Great – when Jesus was born (killed all babies in Bethlehem) – he also killed his wife, son, and daughters
  2. Herod Antipus – took his brother Philip’s wife (Herodius) as his wife – had John the Baptist beheaded – and was involved in the trial of Christ (Jesus called him “fox”)
  3. Herod Agrippa I – killed James, tried to kill Peter
  4. Herod Agrippa II (chp 26) – one of Paul’s judges

Unfortunately, ALL Herods left behind an evil legacy.


Parents affect their Children

From this story, we can know that good or bad, parents have a powerful and lasting influence on their children. Traits of parents are passed on to their children and the next generation. Often the mistakes and sin of parents are repeated by their children.

So ask yourself, “What example am I setting for my children?”

What is important is not our words, but our actions – for children copy our actions, not our lectures.

“More is caught than taught.”


Herod arrested some Christians including James, whom he killed. So, James became the first of the 12 apostles to be martyred.

If we ponder the death of James in Matt 20, Jesus spoke to James and John (with their mother). They approached Jesus and asked for thrones of glory. He said, “Can you drink of the cup I must drink?” “Yes, we can.” they answered, though they didn’t understand what they were saying. But later on, ultimately, they discovered the high cost of winning the throne of glory.

Now, James is arrested and killed, and his brother John became an exile on the island of Patmos.

Indeed, they DID drink of the cup of Christ, and share in his baptism of suffering.

So, why did Herod try to kill Peter again? At that time, he was hated by the Jews – he was half-Jew, descended from Esau (brother of Jacob).

When he killed James, an important leader of the church, the Jewish leaders who were against the church (Pharisees, Sadducees) were happy. So, he thought that if he killed Peter, they would like him even more. But at that time, it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread – but killing during that time was not permitted. So, he arrested him to kill him AFTER the Feast.

This is Peter’s 3rd arrest.

  1. With John in chp 4?
  2. With other apostles later
  3. This experience

But this experience is totally different from other experiences.

In the other experiences,

  • he was arrested by the Sanhedrin –
  • with co-apostles –
  • and was not chained –
  • but he was given an opportunity to defend himself.

But in this prison now,

  • he was arrested by king Herod,
  • alone,
  • with at least 4X4 soldiers (16) guarding him (at least),
  • and bound with chains.
  • He had no chance to witness or defend himself.
  • This prison followed the death of James with the high possibility of his own death the next day.

In this situation, under these circumstances, what could you do? Even sleep? Peter was sleeping.

Peter’s Peace

Interesting, 16 soldiers who were watching him could not sleep, but he fell into a deep sleep. He was so sound asleep that an angel had to strike him on the side to get him up.

This is an important lesson for us. What is the secret? The mystery? What gave Peter such SOUND sleep in this moment before he should meet his own death?

1. Many believers were praying for him

(v. 12 also mentions this) – they prayed ALL night – night and day – this helped to bring Peter peace. Yes, true prayer under the guidance of the HS gives us true peace and rest of the soul.

Phil “Do not be anxious about anything, do not worry, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God in the name of Christ, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.”

Prayer also reminds us of the PROMISES of God’s Word. Do you know how many verses in the whole Bible? More than 30,000 – and ALL verses are a promise. And when we pray, we remember these.

Isaiah “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I will strengthen and uphold you with my mighty right hand.”

The written Word of God = logos – if you apply this in your practical situation, the Word will be ALIVE and act – rama

So, logos (written) should become rama (applied)

2. Peter’s knowledge that Herod could not kill him

Yes, the situation looks very bad, but he knew that Herod could not kill him – because he was holding the promise of Christ given him in the gospel of John:

“Feed my sheep; feed my lambs. When you were younger, you dressed yourself, and went wherever you wanted to go – but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and he will lead you to where you do not want to go.”

Jesus had already predicted that Peter would live to be an old man, and crucified on a Roman cross – this was the prophecy given to him by Christ.

In this situation, we might ask,

  • WHY was James killed, but Peter rescued? Did he favor Peter?
  • Why was Stephen killed immediately just for his great sermon, but his co-evangelist was used for a long time?
  • Were Stephen and James failures and Peter and Philip successes? NO.

The only answer is:

The Sovereign Will of God

Yes, we agree that the heavens cannot contain all of God. His thinking and design is far beyond our own.

Heb 11 is the faith chapter.

Some conquered kingdoms by faith, some escaped death by faith, some quenched the fury of flames by faith, some shut the mouths of lions by faith.

Yes, these stories are very great.

But at the same time, the same chapter says,

Some were tortured and refused to give in by faith, some were put to death by faith, some were stoned by faith, some were jeered and imprisoned by faith, some were sawed in two by faith, some went around in sheepskins, persecuted and mistreated by faith.

Also these stories are great stories.

Those who live by faith can receive ANY situation because we believe Romans 8:28 “For we know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”

We may not always understand his ways, but we know that his sovereign will is always best. Remember that God is in control of everything.

God’s sovereign will is always GOOD and BEST (whether we understand it or not)

“If I live, I live for the Lord; if I die, I die for the Lord; whether I live or die, I do it for the Lord.” Yes, we can glorify God through our lives, but we can also glorify God through our deaths.

When Jesus told Peter this story about his death personally, the next verse says, “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.”

Physical death is the end of our bodies on earth, BUT death is NOT the end of ME. Death is not the end of your existence. Death is not your termination. It is just your “terminal” – your transition into eternity.

v. 7-11

“7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.””

Once again, we witness the ministry of angels in which they brought light into their prison cells.

In chp 5 also, “when they were in prison, during the night, an angel opened the gate and brought them out.”

This is the second time angels have come to get them out.

  • Who are angels?
  • Who is higher in position: you or angels? YOU
    • Angels = God’s servants (always) – in this world and in the world to come
    • We = God’s children

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

Yes, angels have many ministries, but here is a summary of two:

  1. In Greek, angelos = “herald” = they deliver the message of God
  2. They also help the children of God (Heb 1:14 “Angels are the ministering spirits who will help those saved by God”)

In this situation, the angel did something extraordinary – he came and got Peter out. But, Peter also had his own job to do. He had to GET UP, GET DRESSED, and GET OUT.

  • The angel did something extraordinary,
  • Peter did something ordinary.

Even in miracles, Jesus is always practical.

  • God created all beasts, birds, and plants (extraordinary),
    • man had to name them (ordinary).
  • Jesus turned water into wine (extraordinary),
    • men had to put water into jars and take some to give to others (ordinary).
  • Jesus multiplied fish and bread to feed 5000 plus (extraordinary),
    • the disciples had to distribute and gather (ordinary).
  • Jesus raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead
    • man had to give her something to eat,
  • Jesus raised Lazarus (extraordinary),
    • man had to remove the stone from the tomb’s entrance and take off the grave clothes (ordinary).

This is a practical principle of Christ.

Jesus does EXTRAordinary, we do ordinary. Jesus does SUPERnatural, we do natural.

But when we do these things, Jesus calls us his co-workers, to share in his victory, in his glory.

Even today, what are you doing inside and outside the church? Yes, ministry in or out of the church looks small – it looks very ordinary. But even these small things, by our faith and expectations, Jesus does something EXTRAordinary, supernatural.

We are doing ordinary things, but through these ordinary things, God is doing extraordinary things.

Believe and expect something great from God.

God bless you.

Let us pray.

  • Feb 04 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Do Everything in Love by Faith (Romans 14:13-23)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Do Everything in Love by Faith

Romans 14:13-23 (Pastor Heo)

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and *everything that does not come from faith is sin.*


Actually, this second part of this chapter is a continuation / repetition of the first part of the chapter for more emphasis and development of our character in Christ – especially in terms of our relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Remember last week?

4 Reasons we should not judge our brothers & sisters in Christ:

  1. No position
  2. No ability
  3. No right
  4. No authority

4 Reasons we must accept each other:

  1. God accepted him
  2. God makes him stand finally
  3. We are together fellow servants of the same Lord
  4. We will altogether be judged by the one same judge

Imagine –

  • If we try to drive a car without knowing how, we know what will happen to us.
    • This is the same if we judge without knowing how.
  • Also, if we drive with no license, we know what will happen.
    • And if we judge with no license, what do you expect to happen?

When Jesus first met Peter, the first words he spoke to Peter were, “Follow me.” And after Jesus’ resurrection and first meeting of Peter to restore his position and relationship, he said, “Follow me.” Peter started to, but turned and saw John and asked, “What of this man?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

What does this mean? “Let me worry about John, not you. Let me be the Lord of John. You do your business, I’ll do my business.”

Negatively we should NOT judge each other. BUT we should not STOP with just non-judgment.

We are members of ONE body. That’s why today, we need this passage.

In the second part of this chapter, I want to share 3 points to see our position and standing.

#1 We affect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ

  • sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, consciously or unconsciously

v. 13-

“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, *make up your mind* not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”

Yes, we affect each other negatively or positively.

  • Negatively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to fall down, be distressed, be hurt, angry, unhappy, even destroyed.
  • Also positively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to be built up – edifying each other, serving each other.

So… do you have more interest in your impression, or your impact?

Impression vs. Impact

Worldly people have much more concern about their impression that they give to each other (look at social media). They think about what to wear, what to buy, surgery for their faces or bodies, what attitude to show, etc. This is for their “impression” that they want to convey to others.

Yes, this is not bad, but what is MORE important for Christians is what IMPACT you are giving to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost.

A Christian’s life is being evaluated by our IMPACT on this world, NOT by our IMPRESSION we give others.

v. 13 “make up your mind” (we make up our faces)

  • Making up your face = for good impression
  • Making up your mind = for good IMPACT

Yes, we want to grow in our knowledge. Strong Christians are strong in good knowledge of God. If you have this knowledge: “All food is neutral, no food is unclean, so I can eat all food. Idols are nothing.” If you have this knowledge, you have right, good knowledge and you are a strong Christian.

BUT, if somebody is hurt by your “right” knowledge, it means your “right” knowledge is destroying your brothers and sisters who are weak.

“Knowledge puffs up; love builds up” (1 Cor 8)

Yes, we need to grow in knowledge. But knowledge without love can destroy somebody. So knowledge and love must be balanced. These two must go together.

The moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own.

What is true biblical Christianity?

  1. Putting Christ first,
  2. others second,
  3. self last

#2 We must have PRIORITY

What is your #1 priority?

Yes, in daily life, we have many obligations, but what is your mission, your #1 priority? This is very important as a child of God. Please check yourself very honestly right now.

v. 16-20

“16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [matter of priority] 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

This is the matter of priority.

Yes, we must be very clear in the matter of what our priorities are.

Saying: “The second best is the greatest enemy of the best.” (not always, but often true)

We need food, material, clothes, shelter, but these things do not bring us closer to God. These things cannot be priority #1 in our lives.

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus) Jesus knows what we need (physically), but this is not #1 priority in your life.

If you are not clear on the #1 priority in your life, you may regard less important things as more important. Therefore, we will major in the minor subjects.

Do not fight over minor subjects – the place, date of picnics, etc – because we must stick to our priority #1. These are heavenly things, not earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Also, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you.”

One day, Jesus condemned the teachers of the Law and Pharisees saying, “You hypocrites! You give 1/10th tithe, BUT you have neglected the more important matters of the Law – grace, mercy, faithfulness. You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.” Jesus criticized them because they majored in minor things.

v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”

Righteousness is having right relationship with God and man.

Peace is more than the absence of trouble. It is not a non-negative thing, but is EVERYTHING positive – it is for our highest good. Jesus says, “I do not give as this world gives. My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

There is joy in our hearts.

“Be joyful always (in Christ) – for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”

  • Joy is not a selfish thing. It is not in making ourselves happy, but in making OTHERS happy.

Consider:

  • If you make yourself satisfied, you may feel happy.
  • But if you make God and others satisfied, you WILL fell JOY.

Romans 5 shows these three elements of the kingdom of heaven: “Therefore since we have been justified through Christ, we have peace with God.”

  • Justification through Christ.
  • Peace with God.
  • Joy in the glory of God.

These three items are essentials in the kingdom of God.

God bless us to be filled with real righteousness, real peace, and real joy.

Conclusion: We must do everything IN love, BY faith.

1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love [by faith].”

God bless you all – make up your mind, not your face.

v. 21-23

“21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and **everything that does not come from faith is sin.**”

Memorize this last part. Keep it in your heart and brain and mind.

Conclusion: Do everything in love by faith.

Yes we know, everything we are doing is nothing without love. And everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Sin came into this world – we are fighting against sin as long as we are in this world. We are saved completely, once for all, from sin – but still we are struggling. So, we must be clear in this matter.

In the last part, I want to make two things clear:

  1. What is the meaning of salvation from sin
  2. “Everything that does not come from faith is sin”

#1 Salvation from sin

  • Past: We *were* saved once for all from the **penalty and punishment** of sin the moment we accepted Christ as Lord
    • (salvation)
  • Present: We *are being* saved from the **power and temptation** of sin through the power of Christ and ministry of the HS
    • (sanctification)
  • Future: We *will be* saved from the **presence** of sin when Jesus returns or when we see him, face to face
    • (glorification)

#2 Everything that does not come from faith is sin

What does this mean? What time is it now? Are you still with me?

I want to make it CLEAR what is sin.

In a Christian life, we are not sinless. Nobody can be sinless as long as we are in this world. But we must be clear about what is sin.

What is sin?

Biblically (not from the perspective of Man, but from God’s perspective – which is really important):

There are 4 things:

  • The first two are related essentials and a matter of text (from the Bible).
  • The second two are non-essentials and gray areas of things not directly mentioned in the Bible (depends on circumstances – depends on context, not text).

1. Not believing in Jesus Christ

(the greatest sin – which leads to death (eternally)) Jesus himself says, (John 16:9) “They do not believe in me.”

This is the greatest sin which cannot be forgiven. If you do not agree with this sentence, you are not a Christian.

2. Disobedience to the Word of God (God’s clear commands) –

  • Sin of Commission: To do what God forbids,
  • Sin of Omission: or NOT to do what God commands us to do
  1. Negatively: “Do not lie; do not cheat; do not steal; do not murder; do not commit adultery.” We should NOT do it.
  2. Positively: “Love your neighbor as yourself, forgive your brother; Love the Lord your God with all of you” – We SHOULD do it.

3. (Matter of context – gray area) Personal convictions

for example smoking, going to the movies on Sunday, etc. It depends on circumstances and context.

This depends on personal, individual faith conscience and conviction.

If I smoke with a Christian conscience, no sin.

But if I do something against my conscience or against my convictions, this is sin to me.

Keyword: Christian conscience and conviction (this is the message of this chapter)

4. (Gray area) – How personal convictions affect others

If I do something in my conscience and with big conviction, it is not sin to me.

However, if I’m doing something that is not sinful to me (my conscience and conviction are clear), but if MY action causes another person to stumble, it is sin.

1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23 (4x repeated – for big emphasis) “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial / constructive.”

1 Cor 8:23 “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat that food again so that I will not cause my brother to fall into sin.” (This is called “making up your mind”).

  1. In essentials: we must keep unity
  2. In non-essentials: we must be open-minded for variety and diversity
  3. In everything: we must do in love (by faith)

These are basic principles of the Christian life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 28 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Accept the One Whom our Lord Accepted (Romans 14:1-12)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Accept the Ones Whom Our Lord Accepted

Romans 14:1-12 (Pastor Heo)

14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.


Bible says, “be completely humble, gentle, patient, very accepting of one another in love. Do you best to keep the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace, because there is ONE body, ONE spirit, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God, who is the Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.” (Eph?)

Disunity is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses to destroy the body of Christ. This is one of the most common devices in church history. Almost EVERY church mentioned in the Bible had disunity. For example:

The Corinthian church

  • “I follow Peter”,
  • others, “I follow Paul”,
  • others “I follow Apollos”,
  • others, “I follow Christ” –
  • some were even suing each other.

Galatians – some were biting each other.

Even today we have some areas in our church that are not clearly defined in the Bible.

Antioch Church

A few years ago we know that Antioch Church experienced BIG disunity over the location of the main sanctuary (here or Chonbuk Uni). Some members left – but thankfully now, all matters all solved and we are growing.

Other examples:

Some people in church fight each other over small, simple things:

  • curtain color,
  • size of the pulpit,
  • position of the piano

Yes, just as fighting among children makes their parents sad, so fighting among church members makes God unhappy and Satan happy.

Today’s topic: “Accept the Ones whom our Lord Accepted”

It handles small topics:

  • food,
  • diet,
  • daily activities

Food sacrificed to idols

At that time, some members had very strong convictions about meat sacrificed to idols:

  • “I must stay away from this ‘dirty’ food.”

But others had the opposite conviction,

  • “No, idols are meaningless to this food. I can eat all things through Christ…”

Day of worship

Also some people thought certain days were more holy than other days

  • “Sunday is the most holy because Christ rose from the dead” –

others

  • “No, Saturday is the most holy because it’s the Sabbath and God rested” –

others

  • “No, Friday, because Christ was crucified for our sins on that day.”

Do you eat only veggies? Snake? Lion? Horse? Cow? Lamb?

Whatever your conviction – you are free to follow your own conviction – because this is NOT a matter of:

  • salvation
  • spirituality
  • maturity

This is just a collective, personal, cultural custom – or has its roots in these things. This is not about justification, salvation, sanctification.

Therefore, we should NOT despise others who have different opinions and convictions (about these small things) than we do.

There are 4 reasons why we should not judge other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Also, 4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Negatively: 4 reasons NOT to judge
  • Positively: 4 reasons TO accept our brothers & sisters in Christ
  1. To self: “Do not judge others.”
  2. To neighbor: “I accept you.”

Why NOT to judge

#1 We have NO PERMISSION from God to judge

“Do not judge” is not a suggestion from God, but a command of God. To judge others is to go against the command of our Lord.

Matt 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. In the same way you will be judged, with the same measure you will be judged. Don’t look at the speck in his eye, but ignore the plank in your eye. How can you say, ‘Let me help you with that’ and ignore the plank in your own eye?”

What is a plank? The judgmental eye. If you have this kind of eye, you are carrying a plank in your eye.

Remember, we have no permission to judge others

#2 We have NO ABILITY / POWER to judge

What does this mean? To judge correctly, I must know perfectly and completely

  1. the MOTIVE someone is doing something –
  2. the REASON and
  3. also the PURPOSE –
  4. as well as the INFLUENCE
  5. and IMPACT his action has on others,
  6. including HOW his behavior will be JUDGED by GOD.

In order to judge fully and completely, we must be omniscient. Perfect in knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom. Only GOD is this.

We are limited in our understanding, time, space, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

Therefore, no one has the ability to judge.

#3 We have NO RIGHT to judge

To be qualified, we must be perfect, infallible, faultless, blameless, esp in our character – particularly in the area we judge others.

For example, if I want to judge others in the area of HONESTY, I must be perfectly honest – throughout the course of my life.

If I want to judge others in PRIDE, I must have been humble throughout the whole course of my life.

We must be perfect in our character and personality. But nobody is perfect.

Therefore, we have no RIGHT to judge others.

#4 We have NO AUTHORITY to judge

The authority to judge belongs to a judge (God is the ultimate judge).

To judge is a judge’s job – no one else carries this authority nor title. Raise you hand if there is a judge among us.

In the matter of spiritual things, nobody is a judge. We are all to be judged by God – the only, ultimate authority and judge over human life.

The title “judge” belongs to God alone.

Romans 2:1 “YOU therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else. For wherever you pass judgment, you condemn yourself because you do the same things.”

James 4:11 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him is speaking against the Law and judges him. When you judge the Law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment only. There is only one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbors?” (네가 뭔데?)

4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ

Say one more time to your neighbor: “I accept you.”

  • Really? Do you really accept me?
  • Yes, I really accept you.

#1 BECAUSE GOD accepted him

v. 1-3

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”

Conclusion in this passage:

  • Starting word: “Accept him”
  • Finishing word: “God has accepted him”

This is VERY, VERY clear.

We are Christians, true? What does this mean? Christian = “Children of God” – those who accepted his grace – and are accepted BY his grace and mercy.

If we are Christians, this means that:

  1. GOD accepted us AS WE WERE (as we still are).
  2. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE children of the devil.
  3. God accepted us WHEN WE WERE sinners.
  4. We were the object of wrath, but he accepted us as the object of blessing.
  5. We were his enemies, but he accepted us as his children.

We have and enjoy and experience this kind of wonderful acceptance by God – so HOW can we refuse those others whom God has also accepted?

  • Please, do not reject the one who God rejected.
    • If we reject this person, we reject GOD who accepted this person.
  • Please, do not despise the one God loves.
  • Please, do not reject the one God accepted.

Christian = “group of people accepted by God unconditionally by his mercy and grace simply because we have put our faith in him”

#2 BECAUSE GOD makes him/her stand/not fall

v. 4

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Once justified by faith – NEVER changes.

Once real salvation is granted/experienced – it never changes, this is eternal.

If it is possible for salvation to be lost, then it CANNOT be called “eternal life.” But in the Bible, salvation and eternal life are synonyms.

Jesus “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, and no one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John)

No matter how someone looks right now, if he has salvation, he will not fall, he will stand. God will make him/her stand, not fall. So, how can we reject the one God makes stand in the final situation in his/her life? So, we must accept this person as well – because FINAL victory, life, salvation is guaranteed by the grace of God.

#3 BECAUSE his Lord is my Lord, my Lord is his Lord

We worship the SAME God. So how can we reject him whose Lord is my Lord? curios “Lord” is repeated 8 times in this passage.

Key verse is verse 8:

v. 5-9

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

Conclusion: Jesus Christ is the Lord of ALL – both Christians and non-Christians. The only difference?

  • Christians KNOW he’s our Lord.
  • Non-Christians DO NOT KNOW he’s their Lord.

He is the Lord of

  • Christians,
  • non-Christians,
  • the living,
  • the dead,
  • all creation,
  • even non-living things.
  • “God is sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”

The moon, stars, sun, planets, etc. ALL things in the universe and on earth are THERE and sustained / supported by Christ. (Heb 1)

This means – if you reject somebody (yes, you are free to do so) – it means you are rejecting the one for whom Jesus died and returned to life to be his Lord.

v. 9 “9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

How can we reject somebody for the very person that Jesus died and returned to life for to become his Lord.

Key verse:

v. 8 “8 If [I] live, [I] live to the Lord; and if [I] die, [I] die to the Lord. So, whether [I] live or die, [I] belong to the Lord.”

Jesus is forever a living presence – and all life is lived in his eyes. We do not need to speak of living as if he doesn’t see us. We can no more escape from the risen Christ than we can escape from his shadow.

In this world, we are living in his unseen presence.

In the next world, we will be living in his physical, visible presence. Even physical death cannot break this presence.

Physical death is the gateway / entrance that leads to Christ. Therefore, whether we live in this world or the next, we live in the presence of Christ.

#4 BECAUSE we are brothers and sisters in Christ – and our judge is only Christ

We are to be judged TOGETHER – by the same Judge. Your judge is my judge, my judge is your judge. All human beings are judged by this ONE judge.

v. 10-12

“10 You, then, why do you judge your brother [and sister]? Or why do you look down on your brother [and sister]? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

In Christ, through the same faith, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you believe this? Amen.

By faith in Christ, if we are brothers and sisters – by the same faith in Christ – the question is: FOR HOW LONG will we be brothers and sisters in Christ? (Forever.)

We have no choice / no option to accept each other together because we are to live as brothers and sisters together forever. Are you bored? Tired of this? You actually have no choice in the matter.

v. 10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Are you happy or worried about this final judgment seat?

“The Bema Seat”

This is the final judgment seat – but we do not need to be afraid of this seat.

  • To the Lost / unsaved = the Final Judgment = final entrance into Hell
  • To the Christians = the Bema Seat = final place to receive the reward “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to each according to what he has done.”

The Bema Seat has nothing to do with our sin – because Jesus has already paid our WHOLE sin on the cross. “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:4 “Blessed is the man whose sins are not counted against him.”

BUT – even though we have this Bema Seat – it should not give us license to sin again.

So, how can we prepare for this? We must recognize and acknowledge Christ as Lord and God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

v. 11 “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 05 / 2017
  • Comments Off on We are Saved with Heart and Mouth (Romans 10:5-13)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We are Saved with Heart and Mouth (Romans 10:5-13)

We are Saved with Heart and Mouth (Romans 10:5-13)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We are saved by our Heart & Mouth

Romans 10:5-13 (Pastor Heo)

5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


This final sentence is quoted from Joel 2:32. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Last time’s conclusion: Jesus is the END of the Law – so there is righteousness for everyone who believes.

What does this mean?

Jesus is the END of the Law =

  1. The Full satisfaction of the requirements of the Law (only he lived a fully, perfectly holy, sinless life)
  2. The end of Legalism (through his death and resurrection, he has terminated the Law’s requirements for those who believe)
  3. The end of the Requirements of the Law (Romans 8 “For what the Law was powerless to do, God did through Christ…”) The Rule/Reign of the Law has ended in Christ
  4. The Law is only a Shadow/Type of Christ (Christ is the REALITY of all types, patterns, symbols in the Bible. EVERYTHING in the Bible points to Christ – all sufferings, festivals, offerings, prophecies, priesthoods, sacrifices, etc). Jesus is the Final and Living sacrifice

Today’s text = contrast between LAW righteousness and FAITH righteousness

v. 5 LAW righteousness

“5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.””

v. 6 FAITH righteousness

“6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”

Leviticus 18:5 is quoted here in Romans 10:5

“5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.””

Now let’s look at Deuteronomy 9:4-6

“4 After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

Stiff-necked = hard-hearted

Three times repeated: “Not because of your (LAW) righteousness.”

The contrast between FAITH and LAW righteousness:

  • LAW = only introduced to the Jews in the NT
    • FAITH = introduced to ALL people everywhere
  • LAW = based on works/actions
    • FAITH = comes only by faith
  • LAW = keep the Law outwardly
    • FAITH = call on the Lord and trust Christ alone
  • LAW = self righteousness
    • FAITH = God’s (Christ’s) righteousness (Jesus is our righteousness – 1 Cor 1:13)
  • LAW = cannot save
    • FAITH = brings eternal life and salvation
  • LAW = leads us to pride, hypocrisy, misery, wretchedness
    • FAITH = leads us to humility, joy, thankfulness, giving glory to God

This is the difference. Big difference.

This FAITH righteousness comes only from Christ.

v. 6-8 (Deut 30:12-14 quotation)

“6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “**The word** is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: “

Today’s message = very DEEP but very SIMPLE

v. 6 = “Who will ascend into heaven?”

In order to see/meet Christ, we do not need to go to heaven, because Christ came to this world for us. (John 3:16) God SENT his one and only son into the world to save the world through him (1 Tim 1:15)

To meet Christ, we don’t need to go to heaven because he CAME to us.

v. 7 “Who will descend into the deep?”

To meet Jesus, we don’t need to go to death, we don’t need to die – because he ROSE from death and is now alive.

v. 8 “The Word is near you”

To meet Christ, we do not need to do a difficult labor. We do not need any kind of image, picture, sign, wonder, miracle, vision… ALL that we need to meet Christ is a (the) “Word”

Hebrews “The Word of God is living and active and more powerful than a double-edged sword…”

The ONLY thing we need to meet Christ is the WORD of God.

John 1 “In the beginning was the WORD (Logos), and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Through him all things were created, and without him, nothing was created that has been created. In him was the light of Man…and he came and made his dwelling among us… and we have seen his glory.”

v. 6-7 “Who will ascend / who will descend”

These two verses are reminiscent of Psalm 139:7-8 “Where can I go from your Spirit, where can I flee from your presence? If I go to heaven, you are there. If I go to the depths, you are there.”

  • Even before we begin to look for God – God is THERE. He is present. No matter how far we go out of our way, God is never farther away than when we first started.
    • As long as we insist on finding God – we will discover that this search never ends.
    • But, if we begin by trusting Christ through the Word, we will discover that he is already there and will be found.

“For I am with you always to the very end of the Age.” (This is the final verse in Matthew 28:20?)

Jesus’ name is Emmanuel (God with us).

The next verse is very clear in teaching us how to be saved.

v. 9 -10 (memorize these – keep them in your hearts)

“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

  • Verse 9 is enough.
  • Verse 10 is added for detailed emphasis.

Shout with your mouth “Jesus is Lord!” (ask your neighbor, “really?”)

These two verses are very clear in teaching:

  1. What we NEED to be saved
  2. HOW we can be saved

#1 What do we need to possess to be saved?

We need a MOUTH and HEART.

Do you have these? Then you can be saved.

The Bible says:

  1. Confess with your MOUTH
  2. Believe in your HEART
  3. You will be SAVED

It does not say anything about your character, merits, deeds, actions, wisdom, knowledge, wealth, honor, education, family, career, degree, etc.

What do you need? MOUTH and HEART

Salvation = as close as your MOUTH and HEART

  • Salvation = available for ALL human beings and accessible by ALL human beings – because God wants ALL to be saved and come to a knowledge of his Son – God wants to see no one perish.
  • Salvation is an immediate and instant event.
    • This is the BIRTH of a new life.
  • Salvation is a gift of God. (Eph 2:9 “It is by GRACE you have been saved – not by works so that no one can boast”)

We can be saved by believing in our hearts that Jesus died for our sins and rose again for the dead for our lives, and then by confessing with our mouths that Jesus is “Lord”.

This is both VERY easy, and VERY difficult.

v. 10

  1. It is with you HEART you believe and are JUSTIFIED
  2. It is with your MOUTH that you profess your faith and are SAVED

Justification and Salvation are not mutually exclusive. They are not different. To be saved without justification, and to be justified without salvation – impossible. They go hand-in-hand. They are two parts, two sides of the same coin. To believe and to confess = a WHOLE person’s commitment. This is the key point of this verse.

To believe (HEART) and confess (MOUTH) = two parts to a single step.

  • To believe WITHOUT confession = false / fake faith / non-saving faith

For our salvation, we must truly believe that God rose again from the dead. Do you believe this?

1 Cor 15 = The Resurrection Chapter

“If Christ has NOT been raised, then our (whole) faith is USELESS and we are still in our sins. We (Christians) would be the MOST pitiful people on Earth.”

Only Jesus is the only Lord to have risen from the dead. His resurrection makes Christianity MORE than a philosophy of life, more than any other religious option. Jesus is different and distinct from all other religious leaders – because this is the ONLY way to be saved.

If you believe, then you can feel / recognize Jesus’ presence with you anywhere, everywhere, because Jesus is alive.

Confess with your MOUTH

“Jesus is Lord!”

What is the meaning?

At that time, “Lord” = curios (Greek)

  • That means, “I am acknowledging his rank, superiority, highest authority, Lordship, kingship, saviorship, Godship, divinity, ownership, mastership.”
  • Also, “I am placing my whole life under his protection for safe keeping.”
  • Also, “I am pledging my total obedience and worship to him.”
  • “I’m pledging myself and all resources to his direction, government, and service.”

We should notice “with my mouth.” Do you have this?

Imagine, if it is enough to confess this before God, then we can confess with our HEARTS alone before God – we don’t need Mouths before God.

However, this is to be audible for others to HEAR – we “confess” before MEN for them to hear.

Jesus says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my father in heaven.”

Please remember, these two ALWAYS go together.

HEART and MOUTH.

  • A silent Christian is not a “shy” Christian.
  • A silent Christian is not a Christian.

Jesus says, “My believer is my witness.”

How can you testify / witness something in a courtroom? With your mouth. “My believer is my witness.”

  • Remember, silent Christian is not a Christian.

How can they KNOW you are Christian? By your confession.

This is our acknowledgment, our witness.

“Even though I’m in this world, I’m not of this world. I’m of heaven.”

God bless you to be a TRUE Christian before God, before men, before Satan and angels and demons.

Conclusion:

First part is quoted from Isaiah 28:16

“1 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” “

Second part is from Joel 2:32 – 700 years before this

The same Lord is the Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.

As my conclusion, I want to make one thing very clear before you:

  • We know God has sovereignty.
  • We know God has many projects (creator, designer, maker)
  • God has ONE nonnegotiable project, permanent project:

A day, a BIG DAY, will come, when all human beings will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Colossians 3:23? “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.”

This is the final purpose of God’s creation.

His purpose is NOT for our salvation, but for his own glory.

His purpose can be fulfilled by all things in the universe (“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm))

Phil 2:9-11 “God exalted his one and only Son to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names, that at his name, every knee should bow, on the earth, above the earth, and under the earth, and all tongues confess that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ – to the glory of God the Father.”

Remember:

  • If we confess with our mouths on earth that “Jesus is Lord” then we will continue this work (worship) in heaven.
  • BUT if we reject this belief (HEART) and confession (MOUTH), then we will do this job (confessing “Jesus is Lord”) forever in hell.
  • Remember, our earthly lives are a blessing / chance / opportunity / one time gift to confess that Jesus is Lord.
  • If we reject this chance to confess in this world, then we will confess eternally in hell.

This is the meaning of Phil 2:9-11.

  • All knees will bow – in heaven, on earth, under the earth
  • All tongues will confess – “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of God the Father.

God bless you to be a true Christian and witness.

“A believer is a witness.”

“I’m a believer before God; a witness before men.”

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 22 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Hold on Mission!

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (Pastor Jack Tan)

A Final Charge to Timothy

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


Nice to meet you. We are family in Christ. It’s the first time to meet you, but I’m happy to go home after meeting others.

I will share a Scripture from Paul. This is the last letter of Paul. And also it’s very important – what Paul said to others. It is Paul’s response to God’s calling to finish his mission.

The purpose of this letter: to ask Timothy whatever the situation is, you have to hold onto the mission.

Do not be affected by the situation. He hopes that Timothy will also experience God like Paul has experienced him.

This time, I will share what Paul writes.

Today’s topic is “Hold on Mission” – this is the mission that EVERY Christian should have.

I think this letter is not only sent to Timothy, but also to all Christians. I’m privileged to come here to see your church – it’s a missionary church. It’s really doing the “Mission” – Thank God.

The Mission must continue. There are many pastors who do God’s mission. They have the mission and testimony. This should be continued.

So, how to “Hold on Mission”?

1: Keep the Faith

Paul says, 4:7

“7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

This is Paul’s experience. He doesn’t only do it, but at first he was chosen by God and he will continue to the end until death. Why can he continue on this, God’s mission? Because it is God’s mission.

He said this when he was about to die, he already finished the mission. If we hold onto what we believe (about God) we can finish the mission.

To fight for God, God’s Word is the best weapon. Through it, we can stand firm during the test. We will not waver in uncertain circumstances.

Why it is important to keep God’s Word? Because we easily go the wrong way in a spiritual path if not. At first, Paul obeyed God’s Word, but then he didn’t listen to God’s Word – so it is very important to listen to God’s Word and take it seriously. We must hold onto God’s Word as a Mission and hold onto that Mission. Then we can finish God’s will in our lives and communities.

Only if we keep God’s Word can we continue God’s Will and not go the wrong way. If we go the wrong way, everything is in vain. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches the city, the guardsmen guard it in vain.”

When you do everything, in the end, what is the price you will pay? Should you continue? Not on your own strength. So, we can see it is very important to hold onto God’s Word, and God’s Mission.

If we want to fight the good fight, we must obey God’s Word. So, let us learn from Paul.

2: Through the Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8 “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

This word comes from after Jesus appeared to the disciples 3 times. At that time, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples. They went back to fish – they had already given up their mission.

So Peter’s witness is a powerful witness. Before, he was a man who was frightened, scared of death, disowned Jesus 3 times. But after Peter was touched by the HS, he stood again, even to be killed for Christ. Where does that bravery, faith, strength come from? It’s from the HS.

So, today, we have no excuse.

With the HS, we can hold on to the Mission. Thank God.

We can see your church’s background is touched by the HS.

Depending on the HS, our lives can be changed.


I will give my testimony to you.

I became a Christian from 1978. At that time, I was caught and put in jail. At that time, I turned to God from 1979 to today. I thank God. The HS works in me. So I encourage those who have a similar background as me. My life was totally changed. This is because I have the will to repent. I had been addicted to drugs. But, from 1979 until now, I never used drugs again. God gave me the chance to experience the HS.

Because of the drugs I had been caught. So, thank God for this difference. Because I received Christ as my Savior and the power of the HS, today there are many testimonies like this.

There are many like this in Singapore and also Malaysia. It is very important to receive the HS.


Peter was afraid of being caught at first, but after he received the HS, he was afraid of nothing – even death for Christ.

This is because Jesus said, “You will receive power when the HS comes on you.” And then, they were to share the Mission with the Gentiles.

At that time, Peter responded to God’s mission again. And we can see how powerfully Peter was used by God. He overcame his weakness by the power of the HS.

We can see from his mission – 3,000 people believed in God, in Jerusalem, on a single day, from his testimony. They asked Peter what they should do to respond to God and Peter said, “You must repent and be baptized.” At that meeting, 3,000 people believed in Christ (in the same city that crucified him I believe.)

“You are no longer controlled by the sinful nature, but by the HS.”

We can see this in the early Antioch Church. Thank God your church’s name is ALSO Antioch Church. You are worthy to have this name. Give a hand to God. Your church is a missionary church.

The missionary church is what God wants.

At that time, Antioch Church sought God.

Acts 13:1-2 “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.””

At that time, they had to do mission work. The HS told them to send Paul and Barnabas to evangelize. So, after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

We can see the power of Antioch Church – touched by the HS. Today, the power of the church is touched by the HS.

After Jesus finished his work and ascended into heaven, he sits (now) at the right hand of God the Father. At that time, he sent the disciples. And we know that the HS still works in our church today. He helps us finish the mission, and helps us to love Jesus and love God, and he prepares for the Last Day when Jesus will come. So, this Age is the Work of the HS.

Now, we believe in the same God as today.

  • The heavenly Father is the same God as the one who did Creation.
  • Jesus is Salvation.
  • And through 3 years, he trained the disciples to do God’s work – to continue his own work.

We ask God to work in our hearts and lives. We want to do God’s work – if we want to see God’s reward, we must ask for the power of the HS.

Mission work (and the power to do it) is given by the HS. So, it is very important to respond to the calling of the HS.

Many churches were given the HS – and Paul visited many churches and many believers who loved God. This is very important. Respond to the HS.

Now, we are in the spiritual world. This spiritual world cannot fight with the physical world.

Let us see 2 Corinthians 10:4 “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

At that time, many people became Christians. Peter and John were called by God. Because of P&J, many people trusted God. So, they were caught – later set free on the condition that they don’t share the gospel. But they went back to church and reported all that the Chief Priest and elders had done. At this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:22-30 They preached with great boldness. At first, they could not share the gospel at that time, but with the power of the HS, they were able to. So, we can see that the best weapon of spiritual warfare is the Word of God.

Acts 4:31 “31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We can see that spiritual warfare is a serious business. Continuing in chapter 4, we can see the heart of the early church:

4:32-37 “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

So, we can see that we need the power of the HS to teach us the right way to behave, how to love one another.

In Malaysia, I opened one church, and one brother was a tutor there. Evil took control of him at one time, and he couldn’t teach any longer. He was originally a very handsome fellow, like Pastor Heo, but when evil took hold of him, when we had a service, we tried to cast out the evil, but could not. Afterward, we prayed “In Jesus Name” and when we did that, he fell prostate – laid down. This is spiritual war.

We can see, if we fight by the power of the HS, evil cannot resist – it will flee.

So, we must fight by the power of the HS.

Many things may threaten us, so let us ask for help from God. We need to hold on to the mission, and trust what we believe. And in the power of the HS, he will help us overcome our weakness, and fight.

If we do this, we can fight the good fight for God. At this, we can work hard for God. So, thank God.

I hope everyone can learn from this sermon.

At this time, we have many needs. I hope and pray that we will all hold to the mission and do missionary work from this generation to the next and next and next generation.

Thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to preach this sermon.


  • Say to yourself, “I’m a missionary.”
  • Beat your heart and say it, “I’m a missionary.”

Today’s sermon title is very suitable. “Hold on Mission.” (Catch, possess, continually, without stop).

Actually, if you “Hold on Mission”, you are a missionary before God in this world. Missionary = “Mission holder” – so we are all missionaries in this world.

Let’s give a hand and praise to God.

Let’s pray.

  • May 28 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Abundant Blessings of Justification – Romans 5:1-5

Download Notes in a .MD file

Abundant Blessings of Justification

Romans 5:1-5 (Pastor Heo)

Peace and Hope

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


In chp 4, we saw 2 things:

  1. By what Abraham was NOT justified
  2. By what Abraham WAS justified

Chp 5 is the explanation of the end of Chp 4.

Our justification is not just a promise of heaven, but also a tremendous source of blessings we can enjoy now and here. “Abundant blessings of justification.”

As we know, we have nothing to boast about in our faith – but we have much more to boast about in Christ – because faith means we depend on Christ for our salvation. Christ has more than enough for our salvation and justification.

By faith in Christ, we are saved. Do you agree and believe?

By faith we are:

  1. justified,
  2. sanctified,
  3. overcome this world,
  4. defeat the power of Satan and sin,
  5. receive the answers of our prayers,
  6. experience miracles,
  7. experience healing,
  8. experience the power of God (making the impossible possible),
  9. do good,
  10. please God,
  11. make God happy. Do you make God happy?

By faith we can do everything God wants us to do.

Today, we read Chp 5:1-5, which are full of abundant blessings which we can enjoy now and here.

Let me share 5 blessings we can enjoy now and here.

#1 Peace with God through Christ

v. 1 “1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

  • Condemnation = God declares us sinners (war)
  • Justification = God declares us righteous (peace)

Peace is more than the absence of war. It is the perfect restoration of relationship without the rending of any hearts.

Without peace with God, there is no peace. No peace of self, spirit, heart, mind, with others, with Creation, etc. Peace with God is the root / source for us to have / enjoy all peace in this world. This peace can only be found through Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus is called “Prince of Peace” (King of Peace) – even 700 years before he came to earth.
  • Eph: “Jesus Christ is our peace.” – He preached peace to us.
  • Jesus IS peace and a man of peace. His greeting is “Go in peace; My peace I leave with you.”

One time, Jesus said something strange. “Do not think I have come to bring peace, but a sword.” (huh?) What does this mean?

It means, in this world, there are many false peaces – sometimes we heard of fake news – also there are many fake peaces. These must be destroyed first in order to have real, true peace and allow it to be built up.

  1. Carnal peace must give way to spiritual peace.
  2. World peace to heavenly peace.
  3. Temporal peace to eternal peace.

Yes, everyone wants peace – all kinds of peace – then, the root of peace is “Peace with God”. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How is this possible?

Who is a peacemaker? I want to bless you all to be peacemakers in this world.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God.” How?

Peacemakers are not entertainers, recreational leaders. No, they are gospel preachers. They tell the story of Jesus – who is the King of Peace.

We can enjoy this peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

#2. Access to God in Christ

We are worshiping God – we are now in the presence of God.

v. 2 “2 through *whom* we have gained access by faith into _this grace_ (the presence of God) in which we now stand. And we boast (rejoice) in the hope of the glory of God. “

In ancient times, ordinary people were not allowed to enter the presence of the king – also the same was true of God. Only the High Priest, the rep of all the people was able to enter the Most Holy Place (the symbol of the presence of God) with the blood offering and bells and string tied around his waist (just in case – if he had something wrong against God in the Most High place, he was to die immediately – but nobody could enter to take his dead body, so they had to pull his dead body from outside by pulling on the rope).

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Holy and Most Holy place was torn completely in half – indicating that we would now have access to God directly through Christ.

Gentiles originally were kept out of the temple by a wall – a veil – but when Christ was crucified, it was broken in half. This means that Jesus is the new way for us to enter the presence of God.

Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is torn. And since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and assurance of faith – having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy to help us in our time of need.”

“…in which we now stand…”

Justification has to do with our position – our standing.

In the OT time, nobody called God “Father” in a personal relationship. Question: “Can you call God, ‘Father’ in a personal relationship with him?”

Even Moses, David, nobody was allowed to call God “Father” in a personal relationship. But we are. How blessed we are. This means we received a new position / standing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “You can pray like this, ‘Our Father in heaven…'”

Isaiah “…Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…”

Today, we do not call Jesus “Everlasting Father” – so this means, only IN Jesus, we are allowed to call God “Father.” We have access anytime, every time for the help we need. God is very happy to hear your voice. You know that?

#3. Hope of the glory of God

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

  1. Peace
  2. Access
  3. Hope of the glory of God

We can come to God anytime.

The hope of the glory of God takes care of our future.

Originally, mankind was created for God’s glory. – But because of sin, we “fall short of the glory of God.”

Therefore, God wants to recreate his glory in us. So, we look forward to the time in which we will share his glory. So, this helps us to overcome our frustrations when we are not all we want to be, nor all God wants us to be. So, when we have THIS hope, we can rejoice in any situation.

If you hold THIS hope, you can rejoice in any and all situations (even suffering).

#4. Rejoice in suffering

v. 3-4 “3 Not only so, but we also glory (rejoice) in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

If you really agree and believe this, you are a mature Christian. If not, you are a baby Christian. Check yourself through reading these two verses.

This begins with HOPE -> suffering -> perseverance (patience) -> character -> HOPE

We are not FREE from suffering, but we can rejoice in suffering.

Remember, justification does not free us from suffering, but it gives us the power to rejoice in suffering. We don’t rejoice in suffering because we like pain, but because we know that our Father God is using these life difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build up our character.

All our suffering, problems in this world:

  1. develop our perseverance (patience), and
  2. develops our character, which
  3. increases our hope and glory in the future.

It is likely that your patience will be tested in some way EVERY day.

Do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to serve our Lord Jesus Christ?

Remember, if you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, suffering is unavoidable. You cannot escape suffering if you serve the Lord in this world. Remember, he suffered for us first.

  • 1 Peter “To this you are called because Christ suffered for you first and leaving you an example to follow in his footsteps.”
  • Phil “I want to know the power of Christ and his suffering….”
  • 1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
  • Romans “Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Christianity is the story of a life a suffering.

“Blessed are the persecuted because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. They persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Tribulation is a kind of suffering.

John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble (tribulation) but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

“Tribulation” = from Latin “Tribulum” = flail

Flail (도리깨) = a threshing tool with a long handle to hit the wheat and separate the wheat from the chaff. How painful! How much suffering for the wheat! But through this suffering, the pure wheat is separated from the chaff (garbage).

Like this, through our own suffering, we are purified and our spiritual “wheat” is separated from our worldly “chaff”.

Like this, through our suffering, we can get to know “how I am” and how my heart is constituted. Sometimes, I don’t even know who I am before God, but through this suffering, I can know who I am before God.

Moses vs. Pharaoh

  • Moses = man of God
  • Pharaoh = man of this world

Both experienced the same miracles from God.

  1. Through this, Moses became closer and closer to God through patience, perseverance, character, hope.
  2. But, Pharaoh, through the same miracles, became harder, more stubborn, farther and farther from God, immature temper / disposition, disappointment, failure.

Remember, all the time, God is good.

  • “God is good – all the time.”
  • “All the time – God is good.”

But, in your daily life, in your suffering and trials, can you say THAT?

Imagine: I lost my job, got divorced, lost great money, someone I loved died, I’m suffering painfully in body, soul, spirit, emotions….BUT “God is good, all the time. God is in control of all things…”

Can you say THAT?

#5: We are not disappointed

v. 5 “5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

God has put his love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who he’s given to us. We will study more of the love of God, but for now:

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love

Imagine, before we were saved,

God showed his love by sending his Son – surely he will love us more and more NOW – he is pouring it out more and more.

Faith, Hope, Love combine to give us patience in the suffering of this world. This patience makes it possible for us to grow in character and become a child of God.

Romans “I’m strongly persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor anything else in all this world will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

What can separate us from the love of God?

  • “No condemnation in Jesus Christ”
  • “No separation in Jesus Christ”

Let’s pray.

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

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

Download notes in a .MD file

Justification Illustrated by Abraham’s Experience (2)

Romans 4:1-25 (Pastor Heo)

Abraham Justified by Faith

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


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

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

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

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

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

#1: He was justified by Faith

v. 1-3

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

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

Thus, BY FAITH, he was declared righteous.

#2: He was justified by the Grace of God

v. 16

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

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

This promise was given by Grace.

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

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

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

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

  1. by faith
  2. by grace

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

v. 22-25

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

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

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

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

This was an outward symbol of how they were justified.

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

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

Here are 3 things that saving faith is like.

Do you have saving faith?

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

2 key words / key points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v. 18-20

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

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

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

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

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

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

2 keywords

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

2 keywords:

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

At that time, “credit” = banking term.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the imputation of unrighteousness and righteousness.

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

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

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

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

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

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • May 01 / 2017
  • Comments Off on How Can I have a Righteous Relationship with God? (Romans 3:20-31)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

How Can I have a Righteous Relationship with God? (Romans 3:20-31)

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How can I have a Righteous Relationship with God?

Romans 3:21-30 (Pastor Heo)

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.


I recommend you read and reread today’s passage more than 100 times.

  • In Romans, chp 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against men who suppress the truth by their wickedness…”
  • Chp 3:19 “All mouths will shut before God for no one understands nor seeks God. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

After a LOOOOOONG journey about our sinfulness, wickedness, total depravity, now, today, finally, we see WONDERFUL news about how to be declared “not guilty” by trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior – to forgive our sins, empower us to live the lives God wants us to live. This solution is available to ALL of us regardless of our background or past behaviors.

v. 21 “But now!”

This is a signal of HOPE. A big turning point.

The theme of Romans is the Righteousness of God. (or from God)

In today’s passage, can you see how many times this keyword is repeated? (x10 in 12 verses)

  • v. 20 “righteous”
  • v. 21 “righteousness”
  • v. 22 “righteousness”
  • v. 24 “justified”
  • v. 25 “justice”
  • v. 26 “justice, just, justified”
  • v. 28 “justified”
  • v. 30 “justified”

As we know, in the sermon of sermons of Jesus (Beatitudes) – Jesus mentions this word also several times (Matthew 5-7)

  • “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” –
  • “Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” –
  • “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” –
  • “so seek **first** his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

There are 2 types of Righteousness of God

  1. Attributed righteousness of God
  2. Declarative righteousness of God

Attributed righteousness = his ABSOLUTE unconditional righteousness = He is the FINAL standard of what is “right” – so whatever he does is “right” – this is applied in his dealing with all Creation. (Ex: punishing the wicked, forgiving the penitent, fulfilling his Promise given to his children, his governing/ruling all Creation)

Declarative Righteousness = as righteous judge, supreme judge, his judgment on a person (“you are not guilty”, “you are innocent”) – this is his declarative righteousness to us

Whether Attributed or Declarative, this righteousness is revealed on the cross.

Today’s definition involves both meanings. Today’s topic gives an answer to this question: How can we be justified? (declared righteous, receive righteousness)

This is the Act of God where God declares a sinner “you are righteous” – this is not from the works IN us, but something declared OF us.

As I mentioned, regardless of who you are, your background, past behaviors, TODAY we can be justified, declared righteous, have a right relationship with God, receive righteousness from God. HOW?

#1 Negatively: We CANNOT be justified by our actions, the works of the Law

  • v. 20 “Therefore, no one (including me) will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the Law.”
  • v. 24 “But now a righteousness from God apart from the Law”
  • v. 27 “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. On that of observing the Law? No.”
  • v. 28 “For we maintain that a man is justified apart from observing the Law.”

This is repeated 4 times.

NO ONE can have a righteous relationship with God by your works, effort, power.

There are 3 Positive Points.

#1 Positive: We CAN be justified only by God’s grace

“Only by grace” do not forget.

If you are a real Christian, we must say all the time, “It is only by the grace of God that I am what I am today.”

  • v. 24 “and are justified freely by His grace”

Justification = ONLY by the grace of God

It originates in the heart of God – realizing not only our lack of righteousness and our powerlessness to attain it, God decided to provide a righteousness FOR us. It was by his own grace and thoughts that he provided this for us. He is under no obligation to give us grace.

Obligation is not grace.

That’s why “grace” is called “grace” – because it is “gracious” – not under obligation.

God has his attributes (who he is) and characteristics (how he relates to his Creation). “God is love” – and when he acts in His love and mercy, it becomes grace.

  • He does not give what we deserve to receive. (mercy)
  • He gives what we do not deserve to receive. (grace)
  1. Mercy = no wrath, no punishment for our sins, no hell
  2. Grace = life, eternal life, righteousness, forgiveness of sins

“It is only by the grace of God that I am who I am, I am what I am.”

#2 Positive: It is by the blood of Christ

Blood means not only “death” but also “resurrection”. Blood is symbolic of not only death, but also life.

  • v. 24 “redemption” – “and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption”
  • v. 25 “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement” (propitiation = atoning sacrifice)
  1. Redemption
  2. Sacrifice of atonement (propitiation)
  3. Blood
  • Q: “How much did you PAY to receive this salvation / justification?”
  • A: Nothing.

It is FREE, but not CHEAP.

Why FREE? It is TOO EXPENSIVE to receive. We can never pay the full price of justification. It is literally price-less.

These three words:

  1. Redemption
  2. Propitiation
  3. Blood

shows the price that God has paid.

  • Propitiation = appeasing someone who is angry by giving a gift. (We may appease a crying baby with candy – but this is not the same as the biblical term – propitiation satisfies God’s wrath.)
  • Blood = Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the righteous demand of God and rescue the sinner

Leviticus 16 : this is a symbol / type / shadow of this (The Day of Atonement)

This was one of the biggest national festival days in Israel. There were two goats presented at the altar.

  1. 1. Chosen by lot to be sacrificed as a sin offering. It was killed and its blood was taken into the Most Holy place and sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant and covered the two tablets – this meant that the blood (temporarily) satisfied the righteous demand of God.
  2. 2. The second goat – the priest placed his hands on the goat and confessed the sins of the WHOLE people. Then, the goat was sent out into the desert – symbolically carrying AWAY the sins of the people.

“As far as the east is from the west, so God has removed our sins from us.”

Actually, the blood of animals cannot TAKE AWAY the sins of the people, but it TEMPORARILY covered the sins of the people – until the Day when Jesus Christ came into the world and took away the sin of the world – perfectly, completely, eternally – once for all – and purchased FINISHED salvation. This is a miracle.

  • v. 25 “God presented Him as the propitiation for our sins because in his forbearance (long patience), he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished (the OT sins).”

God “passed over” or overlooked the sins of the Old Testament time until Jesus came in the flesh to finish the task. That’s why Jesus said on the cross: “It is finished.”

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is redemption (the purchase of the sinner and setting him free).

We have nothing to do for our justification because we have no power and Jesus has already done ALL things necessary for our salvation and justification. So, we can say, “The blood of Jesus and his death and resurrection is the foundation for our justification.” This means, the blood of Jesus is the foundation for ALL blessings we enjoy in this world and the world to come.

Are you enjoying some blessing? Any kind of blessing = the basis for this foundation of blessing is the blood of Jesus Christ.

#3: Positive: Justification is by faith

We can see this repeated x9

  • v. 22 “this righteousness comes through *faith* in Jesus Christ to all who *believe*”
  • v. 25 “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement through *faith*”
  • v. 26 “those who have *faith*”
  • v. 27 “No, but on that of *faith*”
  • v. 28 “a man is justified by *faith*”
  • v. 30 “since there is only one God who will justify the circumcised by *faith* and the uncircumcised through that same *faith*”
  • v. 31 “do we nullify the word by *faith*? No.”
  1. Romans 5:1 “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God”
  2. Romans 10:10 “it is with your heart you believe and are justified”
  3. Gal 2:16 “Know that a man is justified only by faith in Jesus Christ, not by observing the Law…”

Remember: Faith is only a condition of justification – it is not a meritorious (merit) ground for justification.

  • Faith is not the PRICE for justification.
  • Faith is the METHOD for justification.

“It is by grace you have been saved, not of yourselves, but a gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

  • Faith is only RECEIVING. This does not mean we understand everything Jesus has done, but it means we BELIEVE Jesus has done everything necessary.
  • Faith also removes the pride of human action.
  • Faith is not something we DO.
  • Faith extols what Jesus has done for us, not what we have done.
  • Faith admits we need God’s help.
  • Faith in Christ is based on our relationship with God, not on our performance nor achievements.

v. 29-30 “Is God the God of Jews only? … of Gentiles too! Since there is only one God” (Deut 6:4) “Hear O Israel, your God is only one God, so love him with all your heart, soul, strength.” (This is Trinity monotheism) – if you believe in two Gods, this means you don’t believe in God.

There is no difference in the matter of condemnation, salvation, justification – because there is only ONE God – a universal, global God, the Creator of all things.

“God is a missionary God.”

If this is true, it means we also have a mission.

Last verse: “we uphold the Law by faith”

I need some time to explain the meaning of this sentence, so I will explain more next time.

May God bless all of us with this wonderful justification. How can we be declared righteous and justified? How can we have a righteous, right relationship with God? How can we receive the righteousness by God?

  1. By God’s grace
  2. By the blood of Christ
  3. Through faith

“Not FOR faith, but by/through faith.”

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 09 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Five Rhetorical Questions (Romans 3:1-9)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Five Rhetorical Questions (Romans 3:1-9)

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Five Rhetorical Questions

Romans 3:1-9 (Pastor Heo)

God’s Faithfulness

3:1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” 5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that *Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.*


Last Sunday, we saw in the last part “A man is not a Jew if he is merely one outwardly; a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly.” This means “true Jewishness is not a matter of physical reality, but one’s relationship with God.” This is the same for Christianity.

True Christianity is not a matter of outward membership with any one church, but with inward, daily relationship with Jesus Christ.

God looks at our hearts and our actions (which come out of our hearts).

Chp 3:1-9, Paul continues to use a diatrophy – to illustrate his point. Now, he poses rhetorical questions to reflect on his point.

Here are the five questions and answers. (These are very practical – even today, many people question and challenge these.)

v. 1-2

#1 What advantage in being a Jew / circumcised?

A: Much in every way. They have the very Words of God.

No question, in history, in his goodness, God has blessed the Jews much spiritually and physically (The Promised Land, the Word of God – to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel, etc.)

Also, even the Promised Messiah, Jesus who takes the sin of the world came into this world in the appearance of a Jewish man (not Korean). Also, Jesus’ 12 disciples were all Jewish men.

The OT is the Word of God. Also, humanly speaking, the OT is the history of Israel. This advantage of having the very Word of God = duty / responsibility – to share this Word of God with other peoples and nations to return them to God and be reconciled with God (but they failed).

For us:

What advantage in being a Christian?

Much! We have been entrusted with the very Word of God (last Sunday, we studied the name and title “Christian” – the most beautiful and influential name/title in this world) – this shows what our identity, nature, standing is in this world. We are not followers, but leaders. We are not conformers, but transformers. So, we have so many advantages and privileges so there are 2 things we must remember and practice:

  1. This must not make us proud and arrogant but humble (God did not give his Word to the strong and powerful in the world, but to a small, weak tribal nation – to show his greatness and make all men humble)
    1. “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy people, a people belonging to God – so that you may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his glorious light.” (Peter)
    2. Also “God chose the lowly, despised, weak to nullify the things that are strong – so that no one may boast before God.”
  2. We are chosen, saved, to SHARE this salvation with others. (Paul) “When I preach, I cannot boast. I am compelled to preach the gospel.”

Do you have the Word of God? If you have this Word, how do you use this very Word of God in your practical life?

This is a big privilege and challenge and responsibility.

Next questions show a BIG contrast between men’s attributes and God’s attributes.

v. 3

#2 What if some are unfaithful? Will this nullify God’s faithfulness?

A: Not at all!

By nature, all human beings are faithless (unfaithful). Only God is faithful.

  • This unfaithfulness of man cannot nullify the faithfulness of God – rather it ENHANCES the faithfulness of God.
  • The faithlessness of man cannot be justified though it enhances God’s faithfulness.

What is God’s faithfulness? God will always do what he says / promises.

This verse referenced here is from Numbers “let every man be a liar.” also “God is not a man that he would lie. Does God promise and not fulfill?” Also “because of the Lord’s great love, compassions that never fail, we are not consumed.”

  • Great is his faithfulness.
  • Great is God’s faithfulness.

This is our only hope. We can worship, exalt, praise him simply because his faithfulness is great. This is the central theme of the spiritual growth of the church.

We must remember all the time that our first, basic faith was God’s loving faithfulness. “God shows his own love for us in this that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

First contrast:

Man’s unfaithfulness vs. God’s faithfulness

v. 5-6

#3 If our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, is God unjust to judge us?

A: Certainly not! If so, how could God judge the world?

Just like man’s faithlessness, by nature, man is unjust, unfair, unrighteous. Only God is righteous, just, and fair. Also, this of man cannot nullify that of God. Rather it (also) enhances that of God.

So, what is the righteousness of God? This means God always acts in accordance with what is right. At the same time, he himself is the final standard of what is right.

God himself is right, just, and he is the initial and final standard of what is right.

God is not right because he is doing something right, BUT whatever God is doing is right, because he is always right – and is the standard of what is right.

In the Bible, the righteousness of God is revealed in 5 areas:

  1. punishing the wicked
  2. rewarding the faithful
  3. rewarding / vindicating his people against evil
  4. forgiving the penitent for their sins

Our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly. How so?

5 ways:

  1. Our awareness of sin causes us to repent – resulting in salvation
  2. Our repeated failures – results in a new consciousness of sin
  3. Our deepened understanding of sin – results in confirmation of truth that victory and spiritual growth come only from God
  4. God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9) – this is a big blessing to us – it becomes a big part of our testimony to others (we can share this if we experience God’s forgiveness)
  5. In the light of God’s righteousness, our unrighteousness makes us humble and dependent on God’s forgiveness – there is no hope without this

Contrast:

Man’s unrighteousness vs. God’s righteousness

v. 7-8

#4 If my falseness increases God’s truthfulness, why am I still condemned?

Q: Do evil that good may result? Can you say this?

A: Their condemnation is deserved.

By nature, all humans are false, God only is true. This is the big and final contrast between God and man.

Man’s falsehood does not nullify God’s truthfulness. But also this falsehood cannot be justified just because it enhances the truthfulness of God.

What is the truthfulness of God? He is True, and the source of all truth, and the final standard of all truth (his Word, etc all conform to eternity).

We must not say:

God is true because he is doing something true, rather, whatever God is doing is true because God himself is True. He is the initial and final standard of truth.

Jesus also says, “I am the Truth” – so outside Christ, nothing True can be found. Outside Christ, anything truthful, righteous, faithful cannot exist. Only in Christ, truth, righteousness, and faithfulness can be found.

Contrast:

Man’s falsehood vs. God’s truthfulness

v. 9

#5 Conclusion: Are we any better?

A: Not at all. Jews and Gentiles are all under the power of sin.

Are you saved? When we were saved, we were sinners. We were not saved because we were better, but we were saved by his own grace through our faith in Christ.

Thus, even though we are Christians, with many advantages and privileges, we are not “better.” We are all still sinners. What is your attitude toward sin? If you are truly born again, you must be serious in your attitude against sin.

Yes, we are all under sin, but if we are all born again Christians, by his grace and mercy and love, what should our attitude be against sin?

  • Because Satan came into this world to tempt us and challenge us to sin.
  • But Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of Satan (remove sin).

Satan always whispers (“If you feel like this….yes”) –

Satan says, “Yes, we’re all sinners, this is totally normal, don’t worry about this, keep in touch with the culture around you – you will get more experience and lessons from sin – you will experience more grace from God.”

Jesus says, “I came into this world to destroy the works of the devil and remove sin.”

God loves sinners, but hates sin.

God is too holy to be friends with sin. This is the challenge to us in this final conclusion.

Next study in Romans: “There is no one righteous, not even one – for all have fallen short of the glory of God. The final remedy for sin can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

The remedy = to not believe in Jesus and remain faithful, righteous, or truthful = an absolute impossibility, a contradiction.

The works of God for us to do =

  1. to believe in Christ,
  2. to trust in him,
  3. and to obey him (follow him).
  • A Christian is a follower of Christ.
  • Christians are not followers of this world, but followers of Christ.

Let’s pray.

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