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  • Feb 09 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Demonstration of Faith through Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-19)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

The Demonstration of Faith through Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-19)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Demonstration of Faith through Abraham

Hebrews 11:8-19 (Pastor Heo)

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.


Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not seen (not yet seen).

By faith in Christ, we can “see” God and heaven and eternal life – we can live heavenly life on earth and overcome any problems on this earth. By faith we can please God, and make him happy by our faith.

  • Today’s story is the demonstration of faith through Abraham.
  • Last Sunday: Noah

Abram = 12th generation from Noah. He was born in BC 2000 in Mesopotamia (maybe somewhere in Iraq). God’s calling of Abram is a great turning point in Genesis, human, Jewish history.

Genesis has 50 chapters – and can be divided into 2 parts.

  • Chp 1-11 = Primeval history
  • Chp 12-50 = Patriarchal history

Primeval history =

Creation, flood, spread of language and culture (tower of Babel)

Patriarchal history =

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph

God promised Abram a son, but they waited 25 years for the fulfillment of that promise.

Abram -> Isaac -> Esau / Jacob

Jacob built the nation of Israel through the birth of his 12 sons, and Joseph saved them from a great famine at that time. Many years later, Moses delivered the people from Egypt in the Exodus.

Faith & obedience go together.

Service and action is outward evidence of inward trust and loving hearts.

Today, let us see some characteristics of REAL faith. But first, let me ask: are you living by faith?

#1 Abraham obeyed God even when he didn’t know WHERE he was going.

v. 8-10

“8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

In Genesis, the background (chp 12) God called Abram and said, “Leave your country – leave your father’s house and go to the land I’ll show you. I’ll make you into a great nation. I’ll make you a blessing, and all nations on earth will be blessed through you.” So… Abram left everything.

Imagine this situation: in this world, in the time of our great grandparents, most people lived in their home village and died there. It was much better to live in your home village than in a foreign land.

4000 years ago, the life of a stranger in a strange land was VERY dangerous. They were met with scorn, discrimination, and hatred.

But Abram left for a foreign land. “Where to?” “I don’t know.”

Can you move to an unknown country? But this faith of Abraham was faith that was ready for adventure.

Most of us live a cautious life on the principle of safety first. But as a Christian, we must have a certain type of wreckless willingness to accept and follow the voice of God who is calling us. Sometimes, we must accept and follow even when we don’t know where we are going.

If you can see EVERY step of the journey, that is not faith – it is sight.

Abram was living in tents, in a foreign land because he had to be ready to move again anytime God called him.

Also, 1 Pet 2:11 says “My dear friends, I urge you as aliens, strangers, and foreigners in this world to abstain from your sinful desires.” We also are strangers and aliens in this world. We must recognize that this world is a bridge to the next world. As Christians, therefore, we should not build our homes on the bridge.

“I’m a pilgrim for eternity.”

v. 10 “He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (heaven)

1. By faith, obedience without knowing where he was going.

#2 Abram obeyed even when he didn’t know HOW the promise would be fulfilled.

v. 11-12

“11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

In Genesis 17, Abram was almost 100 years old and Sarai was 90 years old. God appeared again and made the same promise of a son. When Abram heard this, he fell down and laughed. He said, “Will a son be born to a 100 year old man?” Sarai also laughed and said, “Will I now have this kind of pleasure?”

This means, they did NOT believe at first – because they were believing with human logic (it was too late; this promise was too great). But finally, they believed.

Romans 4:18-20 “Against all hope, Abram in hope believed. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that he was as good as dead, but he did not waver in his faith, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. He knew nothing is impossible with God.”

In our lives, we can see that there are MANY impossible things. But we must believe that there is NOTHING impossible with God.

This will happen by the power of God, not by the power of Abram nor Sarai. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a 100 year old man to get a son through the womb of his 90 year old wife. From a reproductive point of view, they were “as good as dead.”

But living by faith means believing there is NOTHING impossible with God.

Also with our own salvation, this is the same as how they got a son by the power of God.

Actually, many people do not believe the good news of the gospel. Why not? The message of the gospel is so simple, powerful and clear: Jesus died for your sin and mine, and rose again from the dead. If you believe in him and confess with your mouth he is Lord, you will be saved eternally, once for all.

This is all.

We have nothing to do – because God did everything for our salvation.

But many people don’t believe. Why not? It’s TOO good, too simple, too easy. But, please believe. If you open your hearts and your mouth and confess, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But many people do not believe this good news because the good news is far TOO good to believe.

2. Abram obeyed without knowing HOW the promise would be fulfilled.

#3 Abram obeyed even though he didn’t know WHEN the promise would be fulfilled.

v. 13-16

“13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

The “better country” is heaven. Yes, we know God promised Abram land (and children) as an inheritance (also for his children). What land is that? Canaan. It is called the Promised Land.

As we know, in the whole time / life of Abram, that promise was not fulfilled. So, all the time he lived in tents. He never settled in Canaan.

Also, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob, and great grandson Joseph – never settled in Canaan. They all lived as foreigners in this world. They did not see the fulfillment of that promise before they died. But Abram’s faith had PATIENCE.

To wait is harder than to adventure.

The hardest time is the time in between.

At the moment of decision, there is excitement. At the moment of success, there is satisfaction. But in the in between time… it is necessary to wait… to walk… to watch…

But the “man” (Person) of faith is one whose hope is flaming bright and effort is strenuous – even when there is nothing to do but to wait.

Abram’s faith was faith that was looking beyond this world.

Yes, to be patient is not easy, but the secret: to look BEYOND this world. Also, the conviction / assurance that God WILL keep his promise: either instantly or eternally. Our prayer WILL be answered – but will it be instantly? Or distantly?

Obviously, we all like instant (instant food) – but the answer for them, was distant – distant in heaven.

Despite everything, the Person of faith never loses their vision, nor their hope.

Faith is certain of what we do not see. Faith and hope go together.

And in spite of everything, they never wished to return to their old hometown. This is very important. That’s why God was not ashamed to be called their God.

“I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back~”

They left and never turned back to Mesopotamia. This is also like us in our Christian lives – we must never wish to “go back” to our lives when we were unbelievers.

From this event, 4-500 years later, God introduced himself to Moses as “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

God constantly introduced himself as that. Can you imagine today God introduces himself as “I AM the God of [your name]”? He was not ashamed of them.

“Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your minds on things above – not on earthly things.” Jesus challenges us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms. When I come again, I come to take you with me.”

3. Obeyed without knowing WHEN

#4 (Climax) Abram obeyed even when he didn’t know WHY God was working in unreasonable ways

(This was the supreme test on Abram’s life. Sacrificing Isaac as a burnt offering.)

v. 17-19

“17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”

The background of this story is Genesis 22. God called and said, “Abram! Sacrifice your son Isaac. Your only son, whom you love. Sacrifice him as a burnt offering on the Mount of Moriah.” Immediately, Abram got up and took Isaac and two servants and a donkey and traveled for 3 days.

On the third day, Abram saw the top of the mountain and said to the servants to wait at the bottom with the donkey. “Isaac and I will go up there to worship and WE will come back.”

Then, there were two.

Isaac asked, “Dad, we have wood and fire, but where is the lamb?”

Abram, “God himself will provide.”

Abram got up there, built the altar, and tied up his son (who obeyed like a lamb). Abram reached out his hand with a knife from his pocket and went to kill his son.

But God called from heaven: “Abram! No! Now I know that you love me and fear me. Do not do anything to that boy.” Abram looked around and found a ram and sacrificed the ram instead of Isaac. He called that place: Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will Provide).

And God swore on himself: “I’ll bless you and your descendants and all nations on earth will be blessed through you.” He confirmed his Genesis 12 promise here again.

This was the ultimate, final, supreme test upon Abram.

From this story, we can learn and apply 3 lessons:

Are you Christian?

1. We must be ready to sacrifice what is dearest to me for the sake of loyalty to God.

(What is dearest to you? Money? Kids? Job? Car? House?)

In early church history and also today, this happens.

In a home, one person becomes a Christian, and another does not – and a sword (persecution) came on that home. Unless those people put Christ before all else, there would be NO Christians at all today.

Hundreds of years ago, the light of Christ came to Korea by those who put Christ first. Still today, the message of Christ is being delivered and spread by those who put Christ first. So even today, Christ must come first, or else he comes nowhere in our lives.

Matt “Anyone who loves father, or sister, or brother, or sister, or son, or daughter, or houses, or lands more than me, is not worthy of me.”

In a Christian life, Jesus can ONLY be FIRST. Not second, third, or fourth best. He can be ONLY BEST – or nothing in our lives.

2. We must be ready to accept by faith what is very difficult to understand.

This commandment is very difficult to understand. It looks unreasonable and illogical. God promised to build a great nation THROUGH Isaac. So, to fulfill this promise, Isaac must be alive. Yet, God asked Abram to kill Isaac even when there were no grandchildren from Isaac. God seemed to contradict himself. The will of God fought the promise of God. In such situations, there is only ONE thing to do: OBEY.

We must obey and say, “God, you are good, you are faithful. Even though I don’t know why, but you know why.”

And we must build our faith on that truth.

3. God is faithful

When we are tested and tempted, God will provide a way out so that we can stand up under it. We know that God is working for the good of those who love him and trust him and are called according to his purpose. Phil 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Jesus Christ.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 02 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Faith is Lifetime Obedience (Hebrews 11:7, Genesis 6:5-13, 22)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Faith is Lifetime Obedience (Hebrews 11:7, Genesis 6:5-13, 22)

Download Notes in a .MD file.

Faith is Lifetime Obedience

Hebrews 11:7, Genesis 6:5-13, 22 (Pastor Heo)

Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Genesis 6:5-13, 22

5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD .

9 This is the account of Noah.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

22 [your name] Noah did everything just as God commanded him.


Put your name in the place of Noah and read again.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for…” – the power to see what is unseen. God, heaven, eternity, salvation – all are unseen. But by faith, we can see them and enjoy them. By faith, we can see the future as present. By faith, we can make the future as a matter of the present – so we can give thanks under any circumstances and rejoice under any circumstances (by faith).

Last Sunday, we saw Enoch’s faith – a demonstration. He walked with God over 300 years (how? we don’t know exactly). But he walked toward the same destination, in the same direction, at the same pace. Then, God took him to heaven and he was on earth no more.

Today: Noah walked with God.

Through this, we can know that the life of faith is not a life of flying up to heaven with wings – but rather a life of continuous walking, step-by-step, in love with, in step with the One who is leading us.

Today: Noah’s demonstration of faith.

Noah: Genesis 6-9 – Noah is well-known for the flood. He is the 10th generation from Adam and the great grandson of Enoch.

We know Adam had at least three sons: Cain, Abel, Seth. Noah is from the line of Seth.

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, Japheth. Later, David and Jesus from the line of Shem.

Noah lived 950 years. He was one of those who lived the longest years on this earth. His grandfather Methusela lived 969 years (the longest according to the record of the Bible).

According to this account, at that time, the earth was flooded with violence and corruption. God was sorry and grieving that he made anything. He was going to show his judgment and destroy everything with a great flood. Only Noah, his family, and the representatives of each animal species would be saved.

But it took Noah 120 years to finish this ark. Meaning? God gave the people 120 years LONG last chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways. But no one repented.

This is a great turning point in human history.

  • Adam was the first father of all human beings.
  • Noah was second first father of all human beings.
    • We are children of Adam, and we are children of Noah.

Before the flood, the living conditions were ideal for living creations. So they had longer lives. But afterward, the ecology, environment, etc were changed. Before the flood, we were in a “womb” of earth – the earth was covered with an expanse of water (kept safe from the UV rays of the sun)- but at the flood, all that water came to earth. And afterward, human lifespan reduced rapidly.

Abram was twelfth generation from Adam and lived less.

David lived only 70 years (500 years later).

Psalm 90:10 says, “The length of our days on earth is 70 years.” (If you are healthy – you may live 80 years).

Let’s look at Noah’s faith:

  • Heart (moved with fear and sorrow and reverence to God),
  • mind (focused on God),
  • willpower (acted on what God said to him).

We can see 4 characteristics of faith and learn a lesson for our own lives.

Heb 11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

#1 Noah took God at his word

He believed the message God sent – even though it might have seemed foolish at that time. Yet, he believed and staked everything (also his reputation) on it.

Noah, after receiving that command, he laid aside his normal activities and focused on what God said to him to do. His life was a continuous concentration of effort toward God’s will. And so he was saved from the flood.

Also today, God’s word comes to us through many ways: our conscience, directly from the Bible, the message at church, the advice or rebuke of godly people around us, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, we must be sensitive and awakened to the Word and Will and moving of God through the Holy Spirit. How? By believing his Word. How can we trust Jesus? By trusting his Word.

“Have faith in God, also in me.” – Jesus

Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.”

We can take God at his word. God is speaking to us through his word.

#2 Noah was not deterred / hindered from mockery / scorn / rebuke of others

Imagine the context at that time. At that time, there had NEVER been a flood like this. They had never seen an ark like that, especially not in the middle of the land.

It looked like a huge 3-story coffin / box. They were very FAR from the sea. The sun was shining every day. Noah’s neighbors might ask him: Hey, Noah, what are you doing? What are you making? Noah: A ship. B: What? Why? Noah: God said. There will be heavy rain. All will be covered and destroyed. If you want to live, you must come in with me! B: Are you crazy? You’re out of your mind! (Movie: Evan Almighty is good representation of this)

Obedience = not ONE time obedience but a lifetime of obedience – full-time commitment to the will of God even in the face of scorn and ridicule of others.

Also, think of the church at Jesus’ time: 2000 years ago.

  • A: I’ve decided to become Christian.
  • B: They are outlawed! In prison! Thrown to the lions, burned, persecuted, crucified!
  • A: Yes, I know.
  • B: Are you crazy?

Jesus was also misunderstood as a crazy man. Many people said of him, “He is raving mad! Demon possessed!”

Paul also was misunderstood as a crazy man. He preached the gospel at his trial and some shouted at him, “Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!”

Also, we are followers of Christ. He is misunderstood as a crazy man to save us. How about you? Have you ever been misunderstood as a crazy person in this life? As a Christian?

This is one of the hardest challenges of Christianity – that we must sometimes be prepared to look like a fool in the eyes of those who don’t believe.

Noah was called “strange” by his neighbors who didn’t know God.

Noah obeyed this command to build a boat in the middle of the land even though it seemed strange. This obedience makes him “different”.

Like this, if you obey God and other people call you “strange” do not be surprised. Our obedience makes their disobedience stand out.

When God asks us to do something, he gives us the necessary strength and power to do it.

“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; but to those of us who are being saved, it is the wisdom and power of God. For they didn’t know him.”

“The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.” (Is it possible that God is foolish?)

“The weakness of God is stronger than the strength of man.” (Is it possible that God is weak?)

Yet, so often, the wisdom of God appears to be foolishness to the people of this world.

#3 Noah’s faith was a judgment on others

Heb 11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. *By his faith he condemned the world* and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

Actually, Noah did not condemn the world. But his faith was a condemnation on others and a judgment on others. That is why in one sense it is DANGEROUS to be Christian.

In a sense, in this world, to be Christian is a dangerous thing. By being a Christian, your faith is pointing out others’ sin.

It is not that we are self-righteous, not that we say, “I told you so”, not that we go about finding fault with them.

Actually, Noah DID NOT judge others, he didn’t condemn them. But his faith, his trust in God became judgment and condemnation on their unbelief.

Ex: We Christians should be blessing in this world. But if they do not receive the gospel we preach, as Christians, our presence itself is a judgment on them.

If they receive the word we preach, they become blessed through us, and we a blessing to them.

But if they reject it, we become a condemnation to them.

1 John: “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already…”

Man hates the Light – because Man loves the Darkness.

Light comes – and simply by coming, the Darkness is condemned. The Darkness hates the Light because its evil deeds will be exposed.

Jesus says, “You are the Light of the World.” (I’m the Light of the World) “So let your light shine before men so that they may see and praise your Father in heaven.”

Christians’ presence is a big challenge: We are either a blessing or a condemnation to others.

#4 Noah was righteous through faith

Genesis 6:9 “This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”

He was NOT actually blameless (he made a big mistake after coming off the ark). He is the first person in the Bible who is called “righteous.” This doesn’t mean he was sinless, but that he wholeheartedly served God.

Gen 6:8 “But Noah found favor / grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Noah was declared righteous by the GRACE of God through faith in God.

Romans: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But justification by faith has power – it makes us take action to do the will of God. If we are really declared righteous by faith, this non-condemnation leads us to live a righteous life.

Noah: When all others broke the commandments, Noah kept them. When they were deaf to God’s word, Noah heard and obeyed. When they laughed at God, Noah respected, honored, worshiped God.

The first thing he did off the ark: worship God.

Our story: Jesus uses Noah’s experience as a warning to us.

Matt 24 “Heaven and earth will pass away but my Word will remain forever.” (This is just like the flood of Noah) “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the day of the Coming of the Son of Man. They were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They never knew what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”

In the warning of Christ, he mentions eating, drinking, and marrying – very negatively. Are these sins? Bad or good? They are good! We must eat! We must drink! Marriage is good! So, why did he mention these things so negatively? Because we must remember, they can never be our final purpose / mission / why we should exist in this world.

They ate, drank, married – as a final purpose in their lives – without trusting God.

Anything we do WITHOUT God in our lives – is a terrible thing. But anything we do WITH God is a holy, acceptable thing.

1 Cor 10:31 “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (this is the conclusion – this is our final purpose / mission / why we exist in this world).

God bless you with this final sentence (memorize it).

Whether you eat or drink, marry or not marry, do it all for the glory of God.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 26 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Walk by Faith (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Walk by Faith (Hebrews 11:5-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Walk by Faith

Hebrews 11:5-6 (Pastor Heo)

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Do you please God in your life? Do you want to? How can we do this? According to this verse, only by faith.


Genesis 5:21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Enoch’s lived years = the same number of days in the calendar.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

  1. v 1-4 = Description of faith
  2. v 5-end = Demonstration of faith
  • Last week: Abel
  • This week: Enoch

Enoch is one of the mysterious figures in the Bible. In the Bible, there were two Enochs. Cain’s first son’s name was also Enoch. But this Enoch is a different Enoch.

Last week, we saw that because of Abel’s faith, he was killed / murdered.

As for Enoch today, because of faith, he did not experience physical death. What does this mean?

But we cannot say that this means that God shows favoritism, but that he has a different plan for each one of us. God has a plan for each one of us, but because of faith in Christ, we must suffer difficulties, sometimes even persecution for Christ. But in ALL THINGS – we must believe Romans 8 – that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

This Enoch was a long-living man before the Great Flood. But about this story, he was most famous for the incredible thing that happened to him. He lived over 3.5 centuries on earth – can you imagine it? If his life had ended this year in 2020, he would have been born in 1655 – even before George Washington (1732). This is amazing. He is one who lived one of the longest lives – and yet did not experience physical death. He walked with God and God took him up, translated him to himself without physical death. We don’t know HOW that happened though. Whirlwind? Like Elijah? Spiral of a strong tornado.

In the Bible there are only 2 people who did not experience physical death: Enoch and Elijah (2 Kings 2?)

In the twinkling of an eye, his earthly body became a spiritual body. His weak body became a strong, eternal body. This is just a picture / type / shadow of how we will be in Christ one day.

1 Thess 4:16-17 “The Lord will come down with a trumpet sound and the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who still live will be caught up second in the air and we will be together with the Lord forever.”

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Do you believe this?”

His Rapture is his closer and nearer working with God.

By faith he walked with God, he was taken up, and he was not here.

v. 5 “…before he was taken, he was commended as one who walked with / pleased God.” (walking more clearly reveals HOW he pleased God)

What does this mean?

Have you ever walked with somebody from first to last? Husbands, are you walking with your wives? Wives, are you walking with your husbands? Are you all walking with God in your whole life?

Enoch walked with God for at least 300 years. What does this mean? “walking with God”

We know what this means physically with another person through our experience. Walking with another person suggests a mutual agreement of souls.

If I go right, and you go left, we are not walking together. To walk together, we must:

  1. walk in the same direction and
  2. have the same destination.
  3. We must also be the same in stride, speed, pace. If someone is too fast, and someone is too slow, they cannot walk together.
  4. This also means having continual fellowship and communication on the same path.

Enoch “walked with God” = he was on the same path, at the same speed, communicating, with the same destination. How is this possible? By faith.

So, v. 6 is the conclusion here: (memorize and try to put this verse into practice into your own life – meditate on it – can you?)

v. 6

“6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

  • This verse doesn’t say, “without faith it is VERY DIFFICULT to please God.”
  • Also it doesn’t say, “without faith, you need EXTRA work to please God.”
  • Actually, “it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith.”

Without faith, no matter how much we try, we are under the wrath of God, the curse of sin. Romans 14 “Everything that comes without faith is sin.”

Without faith, the more we try to do something, the more sinful we become. Why? Without faith, everything all human beings are doing is motivated by selfishness. Without God, without faith, without Christ in me, I’m selfish. I struggle with my own selfishness and my old nature. Without faith, all things humans are doing is driven by selfishness.

So, without faith it is impossible to please / walk with God.

To please God, we need two things:

  1. to believe that he exists (he IS)
    • “I believe that God IS”
  2. and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him
    • Jesus is not only our rewarder, but also our reward, himself

v. 6

“6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

#1 God IS

What does this mean? “I believe God IS.”

In my personal evangelism, I meet some people who are not Christian, but even they say, “Yes, an absolute being, an absolute, original cause must exist.”

Even James 2:19 “Even demons believe God IS…” (but the meaning is different).

Belief that “God IS” has 3 levels of belief. Let me ask once more: Do you believe “God IS”?

3 levels of belief in the existence of God:

Level 1: God IS (literally) – “there must be someone / something”

The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God. Rather, it opens with the first sentence as a FACT that assumes “God exists” already.

I’m speaking to you now, so I don’t need to prove my existence to you, right?

The Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1)

Believing in the existence of God = only the beginning (Level 1)

In this Hebrews, it doesn’t mean Level 1.

Level 2: (Belief as in the Old Testament) – God Exists and reveals himself through what he does.

God created: God is Creator (Genesis 1, God spoke all Creation into existence)

Job 38:7 “When the morning stars sang together, all the sons of God shouted for joy.”

God is the Creator of all Creation, yes? Psalms: “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

We believe in this Creator, but we must not stop there.

We must believe he is a Personal God

Do you believe you were made by the hands of God?

Psalm 139:13-14 “God created my inmost being; he knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise God, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

We must believe in a personal Creator of my whole being. We must believe that the personal God is in my life.

We must also believe in God’s miracle working power – that he saved his people by the miraculous works of his almighty hand. We know he saved Israel from Egypt – he sent plagues, he opened the Red Sea, the Jordan River, he sent manna and quail for 40 years, he destroyed the walls of Jericho.

We must believe this miraculous power is still available today?

But this is not all.

Level 3 (belief of God as New Testament belief) – The God of the New Testament is revealed in Jesus Christ – the Son of God.

Hebrews 1:1-3

“1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

John 1:1-3

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

This sentence, in Hebrews = we must believe in the New Testament revelation of God (Jesus Christ).

We believe in the Creator God

“…all things were created by him and for him…” (Colossians?)

Jesus made all things – every crevice in every celestial body. Every color, every plant, every animal, every mite that crawls on the ground. Jesus is creator God. We must believe that to please God.

Jesus is Sustainer God. Not only Creator, but also Sustainer.

Col 1:17 “Jesus Christ is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.”

He is supporting and sustaining ALL things. He is holding the moon, the stars, the sun, the sky in place. How is this possible?

Yes, we try to prove scientifically, but basically, they are there because Jesus created them and sustains them. Hebrews: “He sustains all things by his powerful word.” This is the word of the Bible.

We believe all things were created by God for a special purpose. Do you believe this? I believe that God has a special mission / purpose in my life / for my life.

This mic has a mission, the stars, the sun, the moon have their own mission. How much more, we who are created in his likeness?

Col 1:16 “All things were created by Him and for Him.” (for = toward – pointing at him as the final goal / destination). All things have been created and pointing toward him.

Everything is moving – nothing is eternal in this world. All Creation is moving toward its goal in Jesus Christ. This is the purpose why God created his creation. Everything in Creation, in history, in spiritual reality is moving for Jesus Christ, toward Jesus Christ.

Jesus is also the Lover of our Souls. How? Jesus is Creator, Sustainer and the Goal of all Creation. How? How does he love us? Why does he love us?

1 Cor 1 “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus Christ to reconcile all Creation to him by making peace through his shed blood on the cross.”

Jesus loves us as Father. The cross is the measure of this love. If you want to know how much he loves you, we need to meditate on the cross.

John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus is the Rewarder of those who seek him earnestly.

But wait, there’s a condition. Yes, he’s rewarded and reward, but the condition: “to those who seek him earnestly…” Are you seeking him earnestly? All the time?

Rev “Behold, I’m coming soon, and my reward is with me. So I’ll give to everyone according to what he has done… Be faithful even to the point of death and I’ll give you the crown of life.”

We know his invitation: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest. Take my yoke upon me and learn from me.”

1 Cor 15:58 “Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm and let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

This is the guarantee, the promise of reward. Please, do not receive the grace of God in vain. NOW is the time of God’s favor, the time of God’s grace because we are in the presence of God.

v. 6

“6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 12 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Faith! (Hebrews 11:1)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Faith! (Hebrews 11:1)

Download Notes in a .MD file

FAITH!

Hebrews 11:1 (Pastor Heo)

11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Two men met on a bridge, one said, “Let me take 5 min to say why life is worth living.” The other “Let me take 5 min to say why life is NOT worth living.”

10 min later…

They held hands and jumped off together.

This is humor, but a negative story. But it gives us a challenge as Christians in this world. As a child of God, are you encouraging this world? Or are you discouraged by this world?

  • Are you affecting the world positively?
  • Or being affected by it negatively?

The key to this question = faith.

1 John 5:4-5 “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world. Who is it who overcomes the world? Only he who has faith in Jesus Christ, who believes in his heart that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Faith Story #1

Matthew 8 – a centurion came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, help, my servant is suffering with a paralyzing sickness.” “Ok, I will go.” “No, Lord, I don’t deserve your coming under my roof.” (humility) Jesus said, “Wow! You have great faith! I have not found such a great faith like this in Israel.”

Faith Story #2

Matt – A Canaanite woman came to Jesus and said, “Lord, help me, my daughter is suffering harshly with a demon.” Jesus answered harshly, “I’m sent to the Israelites! You are a Gentile.” “Yes, but please help me.” “It is not right to take bread from the children at the table and give it to the dogs.” “Yes, Lord, but even dogs eat the crumbs from the table.” (patience, perseverance) Jesus said, “You have great faith.”

Faith Story #3

Mark 2 – 4 friends brought their sick, paralyzed friend on the mat. They couldn’t approach Jesus because of the crowd, so they climbed up to the roof and made a hole to lower their friend to Jesus. (friendship, effort) Jesus saw their faith, “Son, your sins are forgiven. Get up and walk.” Immediately he got up and walked home.

Faith Story #4

Mark 10 – Blind Batthemus? – on the side of the road, “Help me Lord, have mercy on me!” They rebuked him but he didn’t stop shouting. He shouted louder and louder, “Have mercy on me!” He jumped up and approached Jesus. “What do you want? What’s your desire? What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see.” (honesty, eagerness) Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”

What is the similarity in these 4 cases? FAITH

From these stories we can learn what real faith brings – all things are brought by faith. Faith also produces hope.

Today’s title = FAITH (one word)

Faith = we are so familiar with it. We are believers. Believers = “those with faith.” But what is saving faith? What is faith? It is not easy to formulate a simple definition.

But “faith” is turning our souls to God by confessing and believing in Jesus as Lord. Faith is also an action of the heart. It involves at least our intellectual, emotional, and volitional (voluntary) change.

Three elements of real faith:

  1. Intellect
  2. Emotions
  3. Volition

1. Intellectual

Belief in God, and the Scriptures – as well as man’s sinfulness, God’s redemptive work through Christ, and God’s promised blessings to those who believe.

This is intellectual – but this is not all, not enough.

Even demons have this kind of intellectual faith. James 1:2? “You believe in one God? Good! But even demons believe, and tremble.”

Intellectual agreement is not enough for saving faith.

2. Emotional

Awakening of our soul to his personal nature, and the personal application of what Jesus has done for us.

Of course, we need emotional reaction to the word of God, but even this emotional reaction is not enough to have saving faith.

“Some hear the word of God and receive it at once with joy” (emotional reaction) “but since they have no root, when trouble or hardship or persecution comes, he quickly falls away.”

Even emotional elements is not enough.

3. Volitional response and commitment

This is the logical outgrowth of the intellectual and emotional.

Imagine, if we accept the revelation of God as true and come to accept this truth as applicable to ourselves personally, we must go on to appropriate it to ourselves.

Saving faith = total surrender of our hearts to God, total commitment of our hearts to Jesus as Savior and Lord. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and take my yoke and learn from me.”

Jesus says, “If someone comes to me and does not HATE his father, brother, mother, sisters, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who comes to me and does not carry his own cross cannot be my disciple.”

Saving faith = TOTAL, whole commitment of our lives and hearts to Christ.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” (it’s so short)

If you believe in your heart… and confess with your mouth… you will be saved.

But, we cannot acknowledge him as Lord and Savior until we ABDICATE (give up) our own rights.

Do you call Jesus, “Lord?” Is this difficult?

11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (memorize)

As we know, we are studying the book Hebrews. The theme? “Superiority of Christ”

There are three parts:

  1. Chp 1-6 : Jesus is a Superior Person
  2. Chp 7-10 : Jesus exercised a Superior Priesthood
  3. Chp 11-13 : Superior Principle (FAITH)

That is why last Sunday we heard “the righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews)

Our lives are controlled by faith, affected by what we believe. Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.

Faith is to Christians what the ground is to this building. (Is there ground under this building?) Just like, without the ground, this building will collapse, so also we, without faith, will collapse in this world.

This verse is NOT a definition of faith, but a description of HOW it works. Faith makes us be “sure” and “certain” (convicted) of what we do not see.

Hope and faith cannot be separated. Hope = future. Faith = Past, present, future.

Real faith produces hope, hope produces joy, expectation, patience (not passive, negative patience, but active, positive patience based on the promise of God). We hope for Jesus’ return. We hope for our resurrection body someday soon, and we hope to reign with Jesus Christ someday in the future.

Our hope is not like the world’s hope. “I hope so…” (not like this). “I hope I will … in 2020.” No, our hope is not uncertain for the future. But it is CERTAIN – based on the promise he gave to us.

What is Christian hope?

v. 1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

2 Cor 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal.”

3 Characteristics of our Christian hope

1. Belief in God, in Christ, against this world

Ex: Sometimes, in this world, if we follow…

Challenging question: “Are you following the standard of this world (comfort?) or the standard of Christ?”

If we follow the standards of this world – we may have comfort, prosperity, success. But if we follow the standards of God, we may have pain, suffering, loss.

But our conviction is that, it is better to suffer with God than prosper with this world.

Daniel’s friends – Shadrach, Mishach, Abednego – they were confronted with a choice: Worship the idol and enjoy a comfortable, easy life. OR Refuse, and be thrown into the fire.

What will happen with each standard? They knew very clearly. But they chose God over the world – because they had faith, hope, assurance, conviction that GOD is in control of everything. They could see far beyond what was seen. They could see eternity beyond this world. This is the power of faith.

As long as we live in this world, we must choose one from these choices. This is the point.

2. Belief in our spirit against our senses

We have the 5 senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell

The senses (and the world) tell us all the time “Grip the things of the moment! Take! Touch! Do! See! Eat! Smell!” But our spirits tell us much more – we believe in our spirits.

3. Certain of the future against the present

We must know that what looks miserable at that moment can be praiseworthy and joyful in the long run. What looks wonderful and joyful now can be miserable in the long run. What looks meek and meager can turn out strong in the long run.

Real example:

We know we will study about Abel – the first person who lived by faith in Genesis 4. Cain killed Abel. Cain looked strong, like a winner. Abel looked weak and a loser. But in the long run, the opposite was true. In the long run, by faith…

Also Pilate judged Jesus – he was in the chair of authority and power. Jesus was hanging on the tree. But in the long run, Jesus is the judge of him.

In history, Nero condemned Paul and looked victorious and powerful, and Paul looked shameful. But in the long run, Nero became a symbol of shame and Paul became a good example that Christians should follow. Even today, many Christians call their sons “Paul” and some people call their dogs “Nero.”

We cannot over emphasize the importance of faith.

By faith prayer is answered, we can please God, we can see God, we can grow in faith, we can be constant blessings to others.

  • If faith is so important, what is the source of the faith?
  • If you have faith, can you boast of your faith?

Two sides: God vs. Man

God’s side:

Faith is a gift – that’s why chp 12 says, “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith – so let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

“Faith is a gift of God.”

If we have saving faith, we are so blessed, but have nothing to boast of.

Eph “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved, not of yourselves, … so that no one can boast.”

Man’s side:

The main source of faith is the written / spoken word of God. Do you hear / see it every day?

Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the message of Christ.”

The word of God is the main source of faith. Also prayer is a source of faith. That’s why we need to pray,

“Lord! Increase my faith!”

The apostles and disciples and some men in the gospels asked, “Lord, increase my faith” and “Lord, help my unbelief.” Ask honestly to Jesus because he is the author and perfecter of our faith. “Lord, help me with my unbelief.”

Also, by the practice of faith, our faith grows. (“… from faith to faith we grow… “)

  • Exercise: bodybuilding builds your body
  • Faith: exercise your faith to grow in faith.

God bless us with this verse and message today.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 05 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Let us keep on in the Faith (Hebrews 10:32-39)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Let us keep on in the Faith (Hebrews 10:32-39)

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Let us Keep on in the Faith!

Hebrews 10:32-39 (Pastor Heo)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.

38 But my righteous one will live by faith.

And if he shrinks back,

I will not be pleased with him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.


This is the first of a new year, a new decade. But to start something, means something else must end. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

v. 32 “Remember…”

If we remember what we should, and forget what we should forget, we will be blessed. We can do that by the power of the Holy Spirit.

v. 32-34

“32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

Let us remember what we must remember:

  1. God is our Creator, our Father, our Savior, King, Lord – remember God
  2. Remember who Jesus is in us, what he has done for us – what kind of people we should be, what mission he’s given us.

Do you have stress, pressure, sometimes? There are many hard words in this passage: hardships, tribulations, insults, persecution. When we face these, we need to remember the word of God. “Blessed are you when people persecute you… because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”

Romans 1:17-18 “If we are children of God, you are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” (IF) “If indeed you share sufferings in him, we also share glory. But I consider our present sufferings not to be comparable to the glory that will be revealed.”

Christian life is like a marathon. v. 32 “…in a great contest.” (Greek = athleses = athletics in English). We need strong endurance and patience. Sometimes we have suffering, insults, persecution, stress, pressure, because of our mission.

One example: Person A, Person B – they are different in nationality, language, culture. They both want communication, relationship, fellowship. How? One person must learn the other’s language. If A learns B’s, then A becomes low and humble – the student. B is like a teacher, high and strong.

For me, I went to Tanzania as a missionary. We were different in language and culture. I had to learn their language, culture, history. I should not force them to learn mine. So, I began my life there as a baby. Do you remember you first experience with the ABCs? We are like a baby. I must be low, humble, weak, vulnerable. They are my teacher, I’m the student. I must change myself to become like them. BUT, I had a mission – to change them like ME (a Christian). That was my hidden mission.

We know Jesus came into this world to have communication, fellowship, and friendship with man. He did not force man to learn his language and culture (from heaven), but rather, he became lowly, put on man’s clothes, ate man’s food. That’s why Jesus began life as a baby. He became weak, vulnerable, humble. Many times he was insulted, misunderstood, persecuted, and rejected.

v. 34

“You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property…”

Like this, Jesus became totally naked, experiencing the confiscation of ALL his property. Can you also live this kind of life in this world? Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.

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

But we have hope because we have better and lasting possessions.

The book of Hebrews: “The book of Better”

Better Hope, Covenant, Promise, Sacrifice, Resurrection, Word, Country, High Priest, Possessions – better = superior in quality and reality.

Because we have BETTER, we are LONG-term investors. As long as we are LONG-term investors, we can give up EVERYTHING in this world, except God’s promise. Even if we lose EVERYTHING by unfair treatment, we have a better hope. So our lives today must reflect the buoyancy of this promise. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where thieves do not break in a steal and moth and rust do not destroy.”

What do we need?

  1. Confidence (assurance of salvation)
  2. Perseverance

v. 35-36

“35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

How can we have confidence? Assurance of salvation? This is based solely on what JESUS has done for us – not based on our feelings, nor what we’ve done for him. If you base your assurance of salvation only on your feelings, in the same day, you can say, “I’m sure I’m saved; I’m sure I’m unsaved…”

If you put your assurance of salvation in his word, you can say, “I’m saved!” even when angry, fighting, etc. Our assurance must be based on THIS promise, and on Jesus’ sacrifice once for all. We need fortitude (perseverance).

I’m a pastor, but let me confess, I need to be patient and persevere. Sometimes I’m also impatient, so we need to persevere. Patience is one of the great, unromantic virtues. Patience is not easy in times of trials, hardships, difficulties.

Most people can start well! Happy New Year’s Resolutions! And in the time of great effort, everyone can mount up on wings of eagles, to run and not be weary. But it’s so hard to keep on and keep on and keep on even during suffering.

We must understand that suffering can build our patience and mature Christian character. Also, in times of great stress, we can find help from God’s people we never expected, and we can feel his presence more clearly. This all helps us grow in faith and deepen our relationship with Christ.

Romans 5 “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings.”

The Bible SHOUTS! “I CAN rejoice in my suffering!” because suffering produces perseverance, and patience, and maturity, and character, and HOPE – and this hope does not disappoint us.

James, “Consider it PURE joy my brothers, whenever you endure trials of many kinds because the testing of your faith produces perseverance and mature Christian character… and shown to be genuine faith.”

If you have REAL faith, as long as you stay in this world, your faith will be tested, – and through the testing of our faith, we can receive what God has promised.

Why can we persevere to the end? Do you believe Jesus died for YOU? (Not together as a group, but for “me”, individually). Because he died for ME, and will return for us, we can persevere to the end. Perseverance grows out of our real commitment to Christ.

v. 37

“37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.”

Do you believe this? Jesus has come, he is coming, he will come. ALL prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled except just ONE – his return.

Jesus said DIRECTLY (not through the apostle John), “Behold, I am coming soon and my reward is with me.” (last chapter of Revelation) – this is repeated 3 times. “YES! I am coming soon!” (Maranatha – “Come, Lord, come”)

“The peace of God be with God’s people.” – this is the last word of the Bible.

So, if we believe this prophecy, this word of God, how then should we live in this world?

v. 38-39

“38 But my righteous one will live by faith. (from Habakkuk 2:4)

And if he shrinks back,

I will not be pleased with him.””

“My righteous one will live by faith…”

Repeated here:

  • (Hebrews 10:38),
  • Romans 1:17,
  • Galatians 3:11

This is the same sentence repeated. Interestingly:

  • Romans: emphasizes “the righteous”
  • Galatians: “will live”
  • Hebrews: “by faith” (chp 11 = “The Faith chapter” – coming soon~~)

v. 38

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”

Our questions: HOW? WHY?

Many Christians often feel worried, fearful, dismayed when we see what is happening around us in this world. It seems to be going well with bad people in this world around us. “He’s not sick…” But sincere Christians are suffering. WHY? WHY ME? Some Christians complain against God, “why me?! There are many bad people around me! I did my best to serve you! I did my best to serve you!”

This is Habakkuk’s question and ours as well.

God says, “Trust me.”

To trust God fully = to trust God in ALL situations even when we don’t understand WHY such things happened. We must understand that God is directing ALL things toward his final purpose.

The meaning of “the righteous will live by faith” – this is my gift for the new year.

v. 39

“39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”

Practically, to walk by faith = to walk by God’s word and live for Jesus Christ. Remember, the Christian life is a PARADOX. We must lose our lives for Christ in order to save them.

  • Conclusion: We need to keep on, and keep on, and keep on – focused on Christ,
  • remembering what Jesus HAS done (past), IS DOING (present), WILL DO (future).

This is our Christian life in this world.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 15 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Five “Let Us”s (Hebrews 10:19-25)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Five “Let Us”s (Hebrews 10:19-25)

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Five “Let us”s

Hebrews 10:19-25 (Pastor Heo)

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


Here we come to the shift in the book:

  • Creed -> Conduct
  • Doctrine -> Duty
  • Precept -> Practice
  • Getting Blessing -> Giving Blessing

If we are Christians, we must be sincere in our agenda: HOW to live as Christians.

v. 19 “Therefore…”

Therefore, because of what we saw last Sunday (and in the previous reading in Hebrews), “once for all…”

This is a continuation: “once for all… therefore…”

Brief review “once of all”:

  • the sacrifice was made ONCE
  • effective for ALL people, for ALL time, for ALL places
  • Animal sacrifices had previously been repeatedly offered, with no REAL effect
  • Jesus’ ONCE sacrifice is “more than enough” forevermore for all time and places and people
  • Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross shows God’s perfect righteousness and justice, and Jesus’ perfect obedience and humility
  • When we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, all our sin is forgiven and forgotten and the matter is settled forever and ever

“Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ… what shall we say then: If God is for us [in this matter], who shall be against us?”

If God is for me, who can be against me? This is very simple and easy in English, but it has such GREAT power. “He who did not spare his own Son, … how will he not also graciously give us all things? … It is God who justifies.”

The Bible proclaims and shouts (Romans 8) “Who / what shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, hardship, nakedness, famine? Nothing / nobody can separate us from the love of Christ.”

v. 19-21

“19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, “

Here we can see at least 3 things about Christ:

1. He’s the New and Living Way to the presence of God

“I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This way is “new” because it had never existed before.

Also this way is a living way – not dead – because Jesus is alive all the time. Still he is alive.

In human history, since the Creation of the world, many philosophers and teachers and prophets have tried to find a way to heaven – but nobody has ever said, nor has the right to say, “I AM the way.”

The presence and the closeness to God is available to us simply because of Christ. All life shows God, but the love of God was truly revealed on the cross – when Jesus’ body was torn on the cross and his life sacrificed, God tore the curtain in the temple. This symbolized the new and living way – open and available for all who believe in Jesus Christ.

2. He is High Priest

This is the topic of this book – he is the same yesterday, today, and forever in being our High Priest.

We know the function of a priest is to build a bridge between God and man. This means, Jesus not only shows the way to heaven, but also introduces us to his very presence.

Christmas is coming – Jesus became man to become qualified to act as High Priest for us – to share our hardships, our experience, apart from sin, so that he might be qualified as our High Priest. Think about his earthly life, 2000 years ago. He felt hunger, want of sympathy from others, he had all temptations, many sleepless nights, was tired, exhausted, misunderstood, forsaken, persecuted, delivered to death on the cross. All this way preparation for his present priestly ministry in heaven, interceding for us.

Jesus is the only one person who can cleanse us.

In the OT, the human high priests washed their hands and feet and sprinkled the blood of animals to remove sins – but these things were not enough, only external. But Jesus, through his sacrifice, cleanses our innermost thoughts and desires until we are REALLY clean. God never gives up on us in this matter.

So, this is the great turning point of Hebrews. From GETTING blessing to GIVING blessing.

“Let us!” x5

Hebrews is a book of exhortation, encouragement, that encourages us to persevere.

  • If you are blessed…
  • you need to bless others!

We are the channel / the pipe of God’s heavenly blessing in this world.

If you are blessed, BLESS others!

v. 22

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

1. “Let us draw near to God”

(Let us never forget the duty of worship)

God is spirit, so we can draw near to God at any time, in any place – driving, in bed, at school, at work, while brushing your teeth, he’s always available through prayer, praise, crying, whispering, meditation on his word, thanksgiving, worship.

“through worship”

It is given to everybody to live in 2 worlds: whether you recognize it or not – this world of time & space + the world of eternity.

Our danger = to become SO involved in this material world, we forget the other world – the eternal world.

As the day begins, in the middle of our activities, at the end of the day, we must turn aside – if only for a moment – and draw near to the presence of God.

v. 22

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

What about our attitude? Here are 3:

  1. with a sincere heart – God looks at our heart because he is spirit (not hard heartedly, not with pretenses – sincere worship)
  2. in full assurance of faith (not half faith, but FULL assurance of faith – “assuraance” = doubtlessness – he WILL hear us because of the work of Christ)
  3. with clear conscience (cleansed from guilty consciences) – with BOLDNESS – why? how? Based on the work of Christ on the cross – not based on what we have done for God.

“Let us draw near to God.”

3. He is Faithful

v. 23

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Let us never lose our grip on what we believe and hope.

Our visible situation may try to take our faith and hope away – our situation may take our hope, our money, our reputation, – it may try to make us forget God. The happenings of life may conspire to shape our faith and hope – so we MUST keep a STRONG grip on our faith and hope that NEVER fails (Jesus).

“Faith, hope, love”

These go together as one – just like each side in an equilateral triangle.

  • Faith = “our trust in Jesus Christ based on what he has done for us”
  • Hope = “trust in Jesus based on what he IS doing and will do”
  • Love = “trust in Jesus based on who he is”

chp 11 = “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Romans “We rejoice in the glory of God – we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, patience, Christian mature character, and hope and this hope DOES NOT disappoint us – because he has poured out his hope in our spirits.”

1 Cor 13 – the Love chapter

“Love is patient, love is kind…”

1 Cor 13:7 “Love ALWAYS believes, love ALWAYS hopes, love ALWAYS perseveres, love ALWAYS protects…”

v. 23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

We must put our hope IN God.

In you put your hope in your money, your material, your hope will be hopeless.

#3 Let Us

v. 24

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Let us put our minds to the task of taking care of others.

Are you Christian?

Let us remember this not only for our own sake, but also for the sake of others.

  • Selfish saved Christians = impossible
  • Selfish Christianity = a contradiction of terms because we are saved for service to others

We must spur one another on toward noble living. We can do that by setting fine examples, by reminding others of their traditions, privileges, and duties when they are likely to forget them.

We are “revealers” – showers of Christ. If we are really Christians, we show to others who Christ is and what he is like. Christians are the ones in whom Christ is revealed in this world.

  • Christian = revealer of Christ. We are the visible representation of the invisible Christ.
  • Christ = visible representation of the invisible God.

God bless you!

#4 Let Us

(more practical)

v. 25a

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,”

Let us worship together.

Together (in community) is very important.

There are some who give up meeting together in the community of God. Some think they are Christians, but do not go to church services. It’s possible that some say “I’m Christian” but give up meeting together with God’s people, in God’s house, on God’s day.

  • Very clearly: isolated Christians = impossible
  • Hidden disciples, secret Christianity = impossible

To go to church = to demonstrate where our loyalty lies. This shows others what side we are on. Do you need Christ? Yes! If you need Christ, you need church because church (the community of believers) is his body.

We cannot live a Christian life while neglecting the fellowship of believers. This is a valuable time for our spiritual nourishment. God did not design Christians to be completely independent, but rather to be interdependent – to depend on one another to encourage them.

If you skip church, you skip seven days.

Church cannot be substituted with our personal study, nor with only watching it on TV or the Internet.

The church is the body of Christ, the community of believers, and it is imperative that we continue meeting together.

#5 Let Us

v. 25b

“but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Let us encourage one another.

One of the highest human privileges and duties and responsibilities = encouragement.

This world is FULL of discouragement and discouragers.

Many times, a word of thanks, praise, or cheer, has kept a man on his feet.

Remember Jesus’ 8 blessings in Matthew chp 8 “Blessed are the…”

Let me add another blessing:

“Blessed is the one who encourages others, for theirs is encouragement.”

We need encouragement together.

Finally, our duty as Christians together = “all the more” pressing because the time is short and the Day is approaching.

If we are saved, we live (how long?) do you know? You must know. We live eternal life.

“I live eternally”

Jesus “I give you eternal life, you shall never perish, no one shall snatch you out of my hand.”

Eternal life started the moment we accepted Christ as Savior.

But also we must remember that our physical life in this world is very short.

“Your physical life is like a mist that appears quickly and soon disappears; like a flower that blooms and soon withers.”

If we live eternally,

we must live in light of eternity.

We must walk WITH God, before God, and one day we will stand before God to do an audit of our lives on earth. So the closer we live to Christ, the smaller everything else in this world appears.

Conclusion: 5 “Let us”

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

God bless us all with 5 let us.

God bless you.

Let us pray.

  • Oct 06 / 2019
  • Comments Off on From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

From Abraham to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:13-20)

Download Notes in a .MD file

From Abraham to Christ Jesus! (Hebrews 6:13-20)

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.


Hebrews is a book of warning AND encouragement. There is a warning not to discourage nor threaten us, but to give us hope in patient faith, continually. Remember the end of last Sunday’s sermon? This book encourages us not to be lazy, but diligent with hope and patience in faith. After giving this encouragement, this passage gives us a sample to imitate: Abraham.

One of the key words here is “promise.” God gave this word continually to Abraham.

Actually God does not need to swear to speak an oath – because he never lies. There is no one greater than God. So what does this mean, God taking an oath by himself? This means this is DOUBLE emphasis of importance.

Also today, Jesus says, “Truly, truly I tell you…” – Jesus doesn’t need to say this actually, because all things he speaks are truth. “I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” So what does this mean? this is Jesus vow / oath to give us double certainty.

This passage is from Abraham to Jesus. Also in Matthew 1 – the genealogy of Jesus, it begins with Abraham and ends with Jesus. So this passage gives us an example to imitate Abraham.

Several times, the Bible mentions:

  • “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”
  • Galatians 3:7 “Those who believe in Jesus are children of Abraham.”
  • Romans “Abraham is the father of all who believe.”

What does this mean?

Abraham is not perfect in his character – he told several lies about his wife “she’s my sister” to keep his life. Also, he was NOT the first person to be saved by faith – who believed in God. MANY people believed and were saved before Abraham. So then, why does the Bible introduce us to Abraham as the “father of faith” so often?

What does this mean to you / me personally? “Abraham is my father.” – this means there should be a very close relationship, right?

This passage wants to make it clear, all who believe are children of Abraham, and children of God.

Abraham is the Father of all who believe (2 points):

#1 God gives

(promise is a keyword)

  • First, Abraham is the first public example of how we can be saved and declared righteous / justified. In this fact, he is our father, we are his children.

Second, we are heirs of Abraham’s promise. Still today, if we believe in Christ, we are sharing Abraham’s ultimate mission / inheritance.

v. 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

Not only this sentence, but also another promise that Abraham did not receive. (Make a note beside this sentence.)

The OTHER promise (he did NOT receive) – even until today, we are receiving and sharing that promise. That promise is BEING fulfilled through those who believe in Christ.

#2 God saves

  • Abraham is our public, official sample of how to be saved (there is a gap of 4000 years between him and us – but we are saved by the same faith by which he was saved).

Let me share HOW he was saved and declared righteous. Listening to this, we must continually remember we are saved in the same way.

His salvation story is the SAME as ours (3 points)

1. By faith

(Genesis 14 – today’s message is “solid food”) – Abraham was saved by faith, not works

In Genesis 14, he defeated allied kings to save his nephew Lot – and he was wondering if they would return to fight him again.

At that time, his name was Abram – and called him, “Do not be afraid. I’m your shield and your very great reward.” At that time, the thing Abram wanted most of all was a son. God gave him a promise – took him outside to see the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be.” He was 85.

Abram believed this promise. “Amen.” (“It is true.”)

So, saying Amen is SO important – God receives glory simply when we say, “Amen.” “I believe” means “Amen.”

“Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness.” (credited = imputed / like a credit card – banking term – to put to his account). For example, a man works, earns money, and the money is credited to his account.

But, Abraham did NOT work for his promise. God spoke, Abraham believed, and THAT FAITH was counted as righteousness and justification to his account.

It was Jesus Christ who did work for him on his account. And it was the work of Jesus on the cross that was credited to his account.

Like this, we also do nothing for our salvation. When we believe / accept Jesus as Savior, his righteousness is transferred to my account. His righteousness becomes my righteousness. Like whenever someone transfers money to my account, that money becomes my money.

  • “…in him we might become the righteousness of God…”
  • “…Jesus Christ is our righteousness…” (Corinthians)

#2 By Grace

Not by circumcision, not by keeping the Law.

When he believed and God credited it to him as righteousness, he was 85 years old – in Genesis 15.

In Genesis 17, when he was 99 years old, he became circumcised.

This circumcision happened 14 years AFTER he believed in the promise of God – so it is clear that his circumcision did NOT affect his salvation. And also, the Law was given through Moses – who lived 500 years later.

So circumcision, observing the Law, had nothing to do with Abraham’s salvation. God only gave him a promise, and he responded with “Amen.”

  • Why did God give him a promise?
  • Was Abraham worthy of it?
  • Did he deserve it? Did he earn it?
    • NO

God gave him a promise for a son BY GRACE – for nothing – this was a gift.

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, not by works, so that no one can boast. This is not of yourselves…”

3. By the power of Jesus’ Resurrection

Not by his own power.

We know God appeared to Abraham and said, “I’ll give you a son” when he was already 85 years old in Genesis 15. So…. maybe he would expect a son, pretty soon…. Seems a bit old….

He knew God was so faithful and capable of keeping his promise. “Your children will be like the stars.” So, he should expect to receive this promise immediately. Yet, God delayed and delayed and delayed until Abraham became 100, and his wife was 90 years old. Humanly speaking, this is unimaginable – impossible.

In chp 17, when he was still Abram, and 99 years old, he came to him again and said, “I am God Almighty. Walk blamelessly before me. I *have made* you the father of many nations.”

*have made* = present perfect (already)

Yet… no son.

God said, “No longer will your name be Abram – change it to Abraham.” (This name means “exalted father.”)

Abraham did not walk by sight but walked by faith. One reason God delayed and delayed (we know he is good, so faithful, and NOTHING is impossible)… So WHY delay? To wait. To commit ALL their physical strength and natural energy to decrease and disappear completely. Then, at age 100, he had a son. Then he had a rejuvenation of his body – this is a symbol of the resurrection power of Christ.

Abraham believed God’s promise, and it was credited to him as righteousness. The application is very clear.

As long as a sinner believes he has SOME power to save himself, he cannot be saved by grace. ONLY when we admit and confess: I’m totally helpless on my own – Only then, can God’s holy, helping, saving power help us.

We can see the situation of Abraham in Genesis, 4000 years ago.

There was no Bible; no church history books; no devotional books; no witnesses; no fellowship with other believers – he was almost completely ALONE – surrounded by unbelieving pagans. And yet, in this hard, terrible situation, he believed God’s promise. So, God honored and rewarded his faith.

Abraham’s faith in God’s promise did not diminish as time passed.

If we have true saving faith – it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger as time passes, regardless of our surrounding circumstances.

If you have faith, what is the basis of your faith?

If your faith is based on WHAT Jesus has done on the cross, it will become stronger and stronger over time. But if your faith is based on your own performance – your own work for God, it becomes weaker and weaker over time.

  • If your faith is based on GOD’S promise, it grows stronger and stronger.
  • If your faith is based on your feelings or circumstances, it becomes weaker and weaker as time passes.

Hallelujah~ One example.

If your lover is now far away in Africa or America, and he gave you a promise: I will return to you within 10 years. Our initial faith can be very strong: YES – I believe this. You will be full of expectation to see him.

One year, two years, three years, four years, five years, he does not come.

In this situation, your initial faith will become stronger? Or weaker? Depends on your heart / attitude.

If our initial faith becomes weaker and weaker – it means that our faith is based on our feelings – not on believing his promise. If we believe the PROMISE, then as the time passes, we believe stronger and stronger.

So, after one year passes, the probability of his return is 1/10. In the second year, 2/10 probability or returning. In the 3rd year: 3/10. In the 9th year: 9/10. In the 10th year: the probability of returning is 100% (10/10). So, as time passes, our faith becomes stronger and stronger with patience and hope.

Hope is a symbol of an anchor – an absolute standard.

Jesus also promised: “I am coming soon.” at the end of Revelation (3x). He gave this promise already 2000 years ago – and although we do not know the limitation of the period of time in which he will return, there IS a limit. So if we believe in his PROMISE, our initial faith will become stronger or weaker? Stronger. Because the period of time left is smaller and smaller and the probability of his return becomes bigger and bigger.

Still today, Jesus gives us a promise with an oath. “Truly, truly, I tell you…”

“Whoever hears my voice and believes in him who sent me will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.”

“To all who received him, … he gave the right to become children of God.”

“If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.”

The meaning of “Abraham as father”

v 15

“so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

This is why one of the 9 spiritual gifts is patience.

There is yet another promise which he did not yet receive. WE are receiving that promise given to Abraham.

This is very important – this is very close to the end.

God’s promise was for a son – but this was not the only promise.

Abraham received his one son, Isaac, but this was not God’s only promise: “You will be the father of many nations.”

Genesis 12 – the Calling of Abram

God called Abram and said, “Leave you house and your hometown and go to the land I will show you.”

v 2-3

“I will make you into a great nation; I will bless you. I’ll make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and ALL people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This promise is the gospel.

The ultimate promise of God given to Abram is “ALL nations will be blessed through you.” (saved through you)

Gal 3:9 “God preached the gospel in advance to Abraham.” There was no gospel preacher at that time – God preached to Abram in advance: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.”

We know God is so faithful and almighty. God gave his promise to Abram 4000 years ago. This promise has been fulfilled through Abram in his lifetime? NO.

Since that promise was given, 4000 years have passed – and this promise is BEING fulfilled.

Conclusion:

This promise: “All nations will be blessed / saved through you.” – only by Jesus Christ.

Title: From Abraham to Jesus Christ.

We are now between Abraham and Jesus Christ. This ultimate promise / mission given 4000 years ago is now being fulfilled through those who believe in Christ. That’s why we are called his children – because we are sharing in this promise and his inheritance as his heirs.

Hebrews 11: Faith chapter (more than 20x “by faith”)

v. 39-40

“39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Remember, today, through us, that ultimate purpose given 4000 years ago is being fulfilled.

You are given the same mission: “World blessing / mission / evangelisation.”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 15 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Grow up in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Grow up in Christ!

Hebrews 6:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.


Why do we like babies? We like to see them grow. I also love to see these children in our service grow up.

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

We are God’s children, so he loves to see us grow. If we do not grow, he is unhappy. This is sad because he is our Father.

Where there is life, there is growth.

To go to HS, we must leave elementary school. To go to college, we must leave HS. But, we do not leave what we learned in elementary school even though we move on. In elementary school, we learn the fundamentals, foundational knowledge of reading, writing, speaking, math. In HS, we can learn more difficult subjects, and read heavier books. In university, we use fundamental mathematics in our classes.

“Elementary” means “fundamental” or “foundational”.

In these 3 verses of Hebrews, there are 6 elementary teachings of Christian doctrine. This is the foundation on which we must stand, so we must be sure, unshakeable in this elementary foundation. But we must not stop here, we should continue on, continue learning. So we should practice these 6 foundational doctrines in our lives, but we must also continue on and on to build our higher progress.

We must practice these daily and on and on:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

v. 1-3

“1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”

Christian life begins with salvation – conversion, justification, regeneration, union with Christ, adoption, all take place at the same time, but logically, there is an order.

Logically, the first we experience is conversion. There are two elements: repentance and faith. So, the first elementary teachings about Christ are these two.

1 Repentance

The first is repentance.

Without repentance, there is no start to the Christian life. That’s why the first preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus was the same, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Luke 15:7 “There will be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent.”

This is the fundamental of fundamentals.

Essentially, repentance = a change of heart, but it has 3 elements:

  1. Intellectual
  2. Emotional
  3. Volitional
  • Repentance = change of viewpoint with regard to sin, Christ, and yourself.
  • Sin = anything against the will of God. The biggest sin = not to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord.
  • Jesus = the Savior and Lord of the world and God who became man to die on the cross for our sin and save the world through his blood shed on the cross.
  • Self = now I recognize that I’m a sinner – powerless, helpless, I need forgiveness, I need a Savior.

But we must know that true repentance cannot exist apart from faith – for we cannot turn AWAY from sin without at the same time turning TOWARD God in faith.

Also, true faith never exists without repentance. These two are inseparably bound together.

  • Emotional: sorrow for sin, desire for forgiveness = evidence of repentance.
  • Volitional: change of will, purpose, disposition. This is the inward turning from sin. Surrender for forgiveness – to seek cleansing. This is repentance in volition (will).

2 Faith

Practically, repentance and faith go together. We must practice them everyday.

We know we are saved by faith.

Everyone’s life is governed by what we believe – in what we have faith. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are driven by what you believe.

We are saved by faith.

  • “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
  • Eph “It is by faith you have been saved. It is not of yourselves so that no one may boast.”
  • Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

How can we get a saving faith? Can you get it through your own effort?

There are two sides to this coin.

  • God’s side: It is his gift – we have nothing to do to receive it.
  • Human side: we must practice our faith to grow in faith.

Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word.”

Please remember, saving faith is much more than intellectual agreement or acceptance. It is total surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior.

3 Baptism

Did you receive water baptism? This is just a symbol of cleansing and identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. This is an outward symbol of an inward experience.

Did you receive baptism by the Holy Spirit? The HS testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

“I’m a child of God.” This is the spiritual meaning of baptism.

4 Laying on of hands (안수)

This also means the sharing of some blessing from God.

If we have received a blessing, it is our responsibility to share it with others. Also, this laying on of hands shows a setting apart for good works.

We are saved by faith + nothing. (Good works cannot DO anything for our salvation – but we are saved TO DO good works.)

Eph “We are God’s workmanship, made in his image, to do good works which he has prepared for us to do in advance.”

Matt 5:16 “In this same way, let your light shine before men so that everyone who sees your good deeds will praise your father in heaven.”

If we are really saved by faith, we have a responsibility to do good works – ministry IN church, mission OUTSIDE church.

5 Resurrection

If there is no resurrection, there is no hope in Christianity.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will never die.” Jesus “Do you believe this?”

We all experienced remaining in our mother’s womb. Do you remember this? 40 weeks.
West: end of 9 months
Korea: beginning of 10 months
same – same

Just as staying in our mother’s womb was preparation to live in THIS world, so also our lives in this world are only preparation to live in the NEXT world. We can live up to 100 or so years, but no matter how long we live in this world, the next life has no end. Our lives in this world are as short as a blink of an eye – but the consequences are eternal.

One day, our hearts will stop beating. This will be the end of our bodies (physical) – but it will not be the end of YOU. Our physical bodies are a “tent” – and our next bodies are a “house”.

1 Cor “If our physical tent is destroyed, we have a house from God built in heaven – not built by human hands.”

So, as long as we live a short time in this world, we must live in light of eternity. We will use our time, treasure, talents more wisely. Our priorities will be reordered.

Remember: physical death is not annihilation but transition into eternity. We are looking forward to our eternal home.

Secular people say: “When he died, he left home.”
Christians say: “When we die, we go home.”

6 Judgment

Are you expecting this? Anticipating it? Or dreading it?

Hebrews 9:7 “Just as a man is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

Someday, we will stand before God face-to-face. Nobody can escape this fate.

Many people spend their physical lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, but we must remember that what matters most is not what other people say about my life, but what God says about my life. We are not put here for others only, but to prepare for the next life. God will do an audit and in this final judgment seat, he will ask only two questions:

What is the most important question in your life?

God asks only two:

  1. “What did you do with Jesus?” (Did you receive him? Learn to love and trust in him?)
  2. “What did you do with all things I gave you?” (Your time, treasure, talents. What did you do with it all? Did you spend it on yourself alone? Or use it for the purposes I made it for?)

Are you ready to give a correct answer to these two questions? That’s why we must practice these 6 elements daily:

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Baptism
  4. Laying on of Hands
  5. Resurrection
  6. Judgment

“For his kingdom! For his glory!”

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 16 / 2019
  • Comments Off on God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

God Bless You Through Hebrews (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God bless you through Hebrews

Hebrews 1:1-3 (Pastor Heo)

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.


“Better, better, more, superior” – this is the repeated theme throughout Hebrews. He is BETTER than all created things.

Theme: The superiority of Christ Jesus

Be assured + Live by Faith

In the sight of God, how can I be accepted by God? If I live by faith. If you put your faith in Christ, you will be accepted by God as righteous.

“The righteous will live by faith”

  • Habakkuk,
  • Romans,
  • Galatians,
  • Hebrews

In the NT, Hebrews is the only book whose human authorship is unknown. There are many suspicions: Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, Aquilla – but the name of the author is not given in the text itself.

Because the author’s name is unknown, also the time it was written is unknown. It is assumed it was written in AD 60s because that is before the temple was destroyed in AD 70. There are religious ceremonies and traditions mentioned, but no mention of the destruction of the temple.

v. 1-3

“1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways (OT), 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NT) 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Think about it: by nature, God is creator; we are his creations. God is infinite; we are finite. God is in heaven; we are on earth. God is spirit; we are material (from dust).

By nature, God is unapproachable, unknowable, hidden.

Q: How is knowing God possible? How is the study of God possible? What makes it possible to know God and something about him? This is a basic question for entrance into the study of Hebrews.

Do you have an answer?

We can say several things, but in one phrase: God’s self-revelation

The self-revelation of God makes it possible to know something of him.

For example, you know your birthday / place / mother / father. But HOW do you know these things? Someone told you. Like this, God reveals himself – and still is revealing himself. That’s why / how it’s possible to know him.

Revelation of God: The action of God by which he discloses himself, or communicates himself to his creation. He makes known about himself what could not be known in any other way.

2 forms:

  1. General
  2. Special

General revelation (3 areas):

  1. Nature
  2. Human history
  3. Your Conscience

1. Nature

Look at the created world – this is God’s handiwork. When we see this, we can know there is a creator, with wisdom, power, glory, and goodness.

Ps 90:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God…”

Also, as all buildings have a builder, so does this world

Romans 1:19-20 “Since what may be known about God, since the creation of the world – his divine power – has been clearly displayed so that no one has an excuse.”

Through Creation, we can know his power and glory.

2. Human History

The Bible speaks of God’s dealings with many nations: Greece, Rome, Israel, Macedonia, etc – more than anything else, he reveals himself through Israel.

By nature, Israel is weak and small – but when they obeyed, God empowered them to drive our 7 nations from Canaan who were greater than they were. But, when they disobeyed, God made them defeated and enslaved. But when they cried out to him, he sent them a deliverer and empowered them again.

Throughout history, we must know that God used more wicked nations or men to punish less wicked nations or men.

It is possible for God to use unbelievers to discipline disbelieving believers.

“From one man, God made every nation of man that they should inhabit the whole earth. God determined the exact times and places they should live.”

3. Human conscience

Conscience is in human beings – and the conscience tells us what is right / wrong. It tells us strongly “Do right ; abstain from wrong.” It also tells us “Every wicked deed must be punished.”

These 3 general revelation of God is ENOUGH to know there is a God who created all things – and know he is powerful, wise, and holy. But even this general revelation of God has limitations.

  • This is not enough to meet and know him.
  • It is not enough for us to have a personal relationship with him.
  • It cannot lead us to salvation (which is only found in Christ).
  • That’s why we need “special revelation” of God.

Special Revelation: God speaks

The action of God by which God makes himself known at specific times and places in specific ways, for specific purposes.

  1. Speaking
  2. Miracles
  3. Prophecy (in the Bible)
  4. Climax: Person, work, word of Jesus Christ

This is the entrance point of Hebrews.

The perfection of God’s special revelation = the purpose, work, word of Jesus Christ.

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

The same God who spoke: “Let there be light” is still speaking to us. He spoke to Adam, Noah, Moses, Joseph, and is still speaking to us.

OT: (v 1): “In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.”

  • Isaiah = vision
  • Jacob = dream
  • Abraham, Moses = personally
  • Jeremiah = object lessons
  • Hosea = marriage experience
  • NT (v 2): “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
  • Before Christ: “In the past…”
  • After Christ: “In these last days…”
  • OT = Covenant, promise, message, prediction
  • NT = New covenant, new promise, new message, new prophecy

In the OT, God spoke through human prophets, but now, no more human prophets. Now, he is speaking to us through Christ: “God’s special revelation” – which is progressing and changeable.

  • God’s revelation is changeable.
  • But GOD is unchangeable.

We are very changeable. Do you like this word? Do you want change? Of course.

The word change = to the better or to the worse. So, change has two meanings, positive and negative.

God is unchangeable. He is immutable, he never changes, because he is God. God can never be better because he is now perfect. God can never be worse or he would not be God.

God cannot be more holy nor more righteous, nor wiser than yesterday – because he is already perfect.

In this sense, God is absolutely unchangeable. That’s why we can trust him and put our faith in him. Are you sure of this?

But, God’s unchangeability does not mean “immobility.” God is a person, he has emotions – he can be sorrowful, happy, angry. He is active, a speaking God. So, he is very changeable. What does this mean?

God wants a personal friendship and partnership with us – who are very changeable – for better or worse. So, in these relationships with changeable man, it is necessary to change his dealings with changeable man to remain unchangeable in his purpose.

God does not show partiality, nor choose favorites – BUT he deals with us each individually very differently according to our obedience or disobedience. But now, we are living in the last days. That’s why Hebrews encourages us very strongly to “focus” on Christ – the author and perfector of our faith.

We know the transfiguration story of Jesus. Let me say it again briefly. This is important to understand the special revelation of God.


One day, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to a high mountain. Before them, he was transfigured – his face shining like the sun; his clothes white like light. Then, two great men appeared before him.

A voice came from heaven, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

We know that Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets in the OT. Moses represented the Law; Elijah the prophets. No matter how great a man, Jesus is greater.


Q: Why are there so many human prophets in the OT? And why Jesus is written in the NT? What is the difference? Why were they all recorded in the Bible? We must be clear in this matter – or we will be confused in our Christian life.

Yes, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, great men of faith.

Then, what is the difference between these men and Jesus? Why were they recorded in the Bible? Still today, God is speaking through Jesus.

The reason all human prophets – including great prophets – are recorded in the Bible so that we may see how they heard, obeyed, and were used by God.

Why Jesus? So we may hear him, obey him, and worship him as Lord and Savior.

There is a BIG difference.

Repeat (next time).

So, who is Christ?

In these short verses, we can see many titles and status’ of Jesus (at least 7).

v. 1-3

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

  1. Jesus is heir of all things – ruler; king; highest position
  2. Jesus is creator
    • 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,
  3. Jesus is visible God – the exact representation of God – the visible expression of the invisible God
    • John “No one has seen God; but God has made him known.”
    • sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
  4. Jesus is sustainer, supporter of all things – including living creation. Even today, God can sustain you in times of stress and hardship. Jesus is sustaining and supporting us always. Also, you are here today by Jesus’ sustaining grace and mercy.
  5. Jesus is provider of all things we need
    • Phil 4:19 “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ.”
    • Jehovah Jireh (Provider) – this is who Jesus is to us today. What do you need spiritually, mentally, relationally? Jesus will provide – do not be worried.
  6. Jesus is the purifier of sin. He provides also forgiveness. You know, my sins are so dirty. If I’m not purified, I cannot stand here to preach.
    • 1 John 1:9? “The blood of Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness.”
    • The blood of Jesus has power and authority. He is creator and sacrificed himself for us. No sacrifice for our sin could be greater than that offered by the creator himself.
    • Christ cleansed this whole world and took the penalty for our individual sins with his death on the cross.
    • “…he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
  7. His work was complete.
    • In your own job, if you do not finish your job, you cannot sit down.
    • Jesus sat down because his sacrifice was final and complete. “It is finished” on the cross.
    • At the right hand of the Majesty of heaven = he is equal with God – one person (second) of the Trinity God.

Do you need advice? Go first to Jesus. We must go FIRST to Christ for advice, wisdom, faith, love. No human counselor knows more about our ultimate security and well being than our Lord Jesus does.

Conclusion:

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

Only when you fix you eyes on Jesus can you grow spiritually.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus.”

God bless you through Hebrews.

Let’s pray.

  • 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)

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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)

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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.

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