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  • Jun 21 / 2015
  • Comments Off on True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds (Matthew 25:31-46)

06.21.2015

06.21.2015-PHeo

Download Notes in a .RTF file

Sermon Notes

True Faith is Proved by Good Deeds

Matthew 25:31-46 (Pastor Heo)

What is the difference between sermon and testimony?

  • Same: subject = Christ
  • Different: material
  • Testimony = personal experience + Word of God
  • Sermon = Word of God

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


 

There are 6 items (v. 35-36)

Conclusion is:
Eternal life in heaven for those who believe in Christ

OR Eternal death and torment in hell for those who do not believe

Last Sunday: faithful/unfaithful

  1. What has God given you?
  2. What are you doing with what God gave you?
  3. What do you believe about your Lord?
  4. What do you think God will say about you at the Judgment?

Today, the sheep and goats.

Yes, originally, Jesus came as the most powerless – a baby.

In his Second Coming, he will come as the most powerful – the reigning King over all the earth and all time.

  • ALL the angels with him –
  • ALL the nations before him –
  • He will separate the people one from another
  • Believer/non, Saved/lost, Christian/non, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Jesus used sheep vs. goats to picture the difference between Christians and not.

  • During the day, sheep and goats graze together. But at night, they are separated.
  • During the growing season, weeds and wheat are grown together. But at the harvest they are separated.

Likewise, in life, the “sheep” and “goats” work together and play together in the same place, even the same church, but at the Judgment, we will be separated.

At the Judgment, he will say to the righteous, “Come and partake of the inheritance that has been prepared for you…”

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Likewise, the opposite is also true for the unrighteous.

From this story, one thing we must NOT be confused by: it seems to teach salvation by good works – not so! There is NO salvation by good works – nobody at any time was ever saved by good works. The OT saints were saved by faith, the NT saints were saved by faith in Christ. We are being saved by faith in Christ. There is no gospel of “DO GOOD.” Yes, we must do good, but this is not the gospel.

Romans? “It is only by grace you have been saved by faith so that no one can boast – this not of yourselves, but it is a gift of God.”

  1. Habakkuk 2
  2. Romans 11
  3. Corinthians? Colossians?
  4. Hebrews 10:38 

All say the same thing, “The righteous will live by FAITH!”

This story is not teaching “salvation by works” but “EVIDENCE of salvation by works.”

You know a tree by its fruit. Likewise, you know genuine salvation by its works.

When we compare two judicial sentences (34, 41)

  1. One for believers (righteous)
  2. One for left siders (unrighteous)
  • v. 34: “’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for tyou since the creation of the world.”
  • v. 41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

What’s the difference?

The righteous = blessed by Father God

  1. v. 41 is NOT cursed “by my Father” – just “cursed” – God does not want to curse anyone
  2. v. 34 = inheritance (by birth) – this kingdom prepared for YOU since the creation of the world
  3. v. 41 = this kingdom prepared for the DEVIL
  4. The fire was NOT prepared for YOU

There is no evidence from Scripture that says that God predestines sinners to go to hell. (send to Twitter)

But, if sinners do not repent and believe in Christ, that’s where they’ll end up.

There are 4 lessons here.

1. God will judge us according to our ACTION in response to human needs (our HELP). He does not judge us according to our KNOWLEDGE, reputation, fortune, degrees, etc.

Remember Revelation 22: “Behold I am coming soon! I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

2. There are certain things we must know about the HELP we must give.

It must be help in SMALL things.

You know the things here that Jesus picks out are things that ANYBODY can do.

6 items:

  1. I was hungry, you fed me
  2. I was thirsty, you gave me a drink
  3. I was a stranger, you invited me in
  4. I needed clothes, you clothed me
  5. I was sick, you looked after me
  6. I was in prison, you visited me

Imagine these 6 items is NOT a big “give a million dollars” kind of thing – this list describes acts of mercy that we can do EVERY day in our EVERY day lives.

This does not depend on being wealthy, ability, nor intelligence. No special talent is needed. This is a VERY simple action – just to help others (the Golden Rule). Jesus demands our PERSONAL involvement in helping others.

Jesus actually repeated this list of 6 items FOUR times – this shows how important it is as a guideline (not exhaustive) to lead our lives.

3. These deeds were uncounted.

Both the righteous and unrighteous were surprised by what the did or did not do.

The righteous did not think they were helping Christ and piling up eternal reward. They simply, naturally helped because they had a loving heart. Their motive was NOT reward, but sacrificial reward – this was just an ordinary, daily, instinctive lifestyle. This was not a “special” event.

The unrighteous reaction was the same “Really? When? How?” This was in self-defense. “Oh Lord, of COURSE I would have helped if I KNEW it was you. But at that time, I thought that person was just a regular old guy.” Remember, if we help for popularity or publicity, this is NOT true help – not generosity.

The help which wins the real approval of God is “help for nothing but the sake of helping itself.”

4. Jesus confronts us with the wonderful truth that ALL such help given in this way is given to himself. At the same time, ALL such help NOT given is help that is withdrawn from him.

If you are parents, it is not difficult to understand this.

  • If somebody helps my son, his help for my son is helping me – if I’m a good father to my son.

Our God is the BEST Father, the greatest Father. To delight the heart of God is to help his children. So, today, around us, who are God’s children?

Narrow meaning and wide meaning.

  1. Narrowly = only believers in Christ – this is the only way we become adoptees into his household and inheritance in his Kingdom (John 1:12-13 “To all those who believed, he gave the right to become children of God.”)
  2. Widely = all people on earth – God is Creator, the Father of ALL – all people are made in his likeness. (Ephesians 4 “Our God is one God who is above all, in all, through all.”)

God gives his sunshine to ALL without finding fault – to sinners and believers alike. He is gracious, compassionate, merciful, generous to ALL. So, we also must develop this kind of heart so that these actions flow naturally and normally from our regular lives.

Yes, we know, just giving a drink is a VERY small gesture of care and concern – but build that up over time (i.e. compound interest style) – and it makes a HUGE difference. God is CHANGING you from selfishness into the likeness of his Son.

Remember: Whatever we do for others demonstrates what we TRULY believe about Christ.

How are we different from pretenders? Where is your final destination?

“Be reconciled to God” by believing and trusting in Christ and helping others.

**Colossians 3:23 “In whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men.”

Let’s pray.

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

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

04.05-easter
04.05.2015-PHeo-Easter

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

The Resurrection of the Dead

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

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

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


 

Jesus is alive! again!

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

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

In 1 Cor 15, this is the Resurrection chapter.

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that true?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The empty tomb

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

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

2. The Lord’s Day

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

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

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

3. This building

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

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

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

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

4. The New Testament

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

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

—-

Next, there are the testimonies of the witnesses:

We need three things:

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, today, this message remains the same.

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

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

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

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

Why? Without death, no resurrection.

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

Let’s pray.

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

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

  • Feb 01 / 2015
  • Comments Off on More Warnings (James 5:1-20)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

More Warnings (James 5:1-20)

02.01

02.01.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

More Warnings

James 5:1-20 (Pastor Brian)

Warning to Rich Oppressors

1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Patience in Suffering

7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.


 

Last time, James gave warnings, and here again, more warnings – straight from the heart – no “beating around the bush” – no room for any excuses.

We must not be partial, must not withhold love from others. Our outer conflicts come from our inner conflicts – wars, fights, murders, adultery, proceed from our own hearts.

These conflicts come from an unsurrendered heart.

Also, don’t forget the “sin of presumption” saying, “Oh, of course we can go and do this or that because I PRESUME that everything will go smoothly and the Lord will bless it.” We must rather pray, “if the Lord wills…” because the Lord guides a man’s way.

James 5 – scolding the rich.

James 4 – “you kill” (metaphorically) – he’s writing to Christians abroad – this is what he sees in their hearts. It’s the spirit of murder in a person when in hostility toward another person. “If you harbor hatred in your heart, you harbor murder – without repentance, it may one day manifest into murder.” James here is warning the Christians against this kind of spirit.

James 5 – covetousness and speaking to the rich. Sounds like he has some real anger issues against the rich. Why?

Should we be embittered against the rich?

Not necessarily, there’s nothing inherently evil about money – it’s just a THING. “The (LOVE OF) money is the root of all evil.”

We must own the money, not allow the money to own us. We should use money and love people but most of us use people and love money…

James is writing here to rich people in general – later he will speak to the “brethren.”

These are practical and prophetic sayings to the rich Christians. This was written before the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus in 70 AD. At that time, there were no rich Jews remaining. Everything they had stowed up for themselves was gone.

Lesson: Stockpiling money isn’t God’s will for your life.

It is good to have savings, but not to just stockpile and do nothing with it.

Story of a man in Oregon – rode around on a bike, looked like a beggar, picked up cans and took them to the stores to get bottles. When he died, it was found that he had $10,000,000 and he’d never used it. He even got free meals from the town in which he lived at the soup kitchen.

That money did NO good for anyone, even himself until after he died.

Bible “The wealth of the wicked is stored up for … the righteous?”

Wealth is often used as leverage to gain more wealth. Millionaires may hire people at minimum wage and not actually pay them.

Microsoft for example, for 9 years, hired “perma-temps” which were “permanent full-time employees” who were classified as “part-timers” – so they worked the same as the full-timers with NONE of the benefits…

Eventually, they sued Microsoft, and MS needed to pay.

Ever encountered that? Employ them as full-time, but give the pay/benefits of part-time.

Leviticus : “The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you until morning.”

The men needed their wages – they needed to LIVE.

This wealth was not only used as leverage, but also as power?

Rich criminals sometimes get off completely free, but the poor get blamed. Truth? Not necessarily. The best Lawyers = “truth” and freedom for many.

Thank God there will someday be JUSTICE.

Leviticus: “You shall show impartial justice – don’t be partial to the poor, don’t defer to the rich.”

Illustration from Billy Graham:

A group of the world’s most successful financiers met in a hotel in Chicago? in 1920s. CEOs, Presidents of companies, Presidents of banks, heads of monopolies, etc.

Collectively, these men controlled more wealth than in the entire US Treasury.

For years, newspapers had been singing their praises and encouraging the youth of the US to follow suit.

But 25 years later, many died BROKE – on borrowed money, convicted felons, and committed suicide (3 of them).

They’d made money their god, and when their god fell, they fell.

When they lost their money, they lost their gods, they lost their souls, they lost their lives.

Their end was shocking.

We all have a little bit of envy of those who are better off than us – not even just celebrities – next-door neighbors…

Asaph in the OT, who wrote the Psalms wrote:

Psalm 72:

2-3 “As for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped, for I was envious as … I saw the prosperity of the wicked…

“They are not plagued like other men…

“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence…
“For I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning. I may have become a stumbling block to others if I spoke thus.

“But then, I saw their end… destruction. Destroyed in a moment, utterly swept away by sudden terrors…

It’s easy to look as someone TODAY and be envious, but if we consider their TOMORROW, we’d be better to be patient waiting for the day of the Lord.

  • Do you invest in the world’s system?
  • Or do you invest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

2 Peter “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief when the world and its works will be burned up…”

The hope that the rich are holding onto will be destroyed – they will be without power, without prestige, without friends, without a checkbook.

But for those who have been trusting in the Lord, will find themselves to be very rich – eternal peace, life, love, joy.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you or persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you on account of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven will be great. For this is how they persecuted the prophets as well.”

What about those who are wealthy?

If they are good STEWARDS of the wealth that GOD has given to them, they will be well off.

Luke “Make yourselves purses which do not wear out – treasures in heaven – where moths do not destroy. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Derick Prince:

  • “Yes, trust the Lord, have enough, provide for your family, and have enough to bless others as well.”
  • “If he can get it through you, he can get it TO you. But why would he give it to you if it stopped at you?”

The world revolves around money, but we don’t have to.

Be PATIENT – like the farmer who works hard NOW for the crop and the promise that is to come. Wait for the heavenly reward that is not subject to corruption and destruction.

Let’s meditate on this Word and pray.

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

  • Jan 18 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Enjoy the Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Enjoy the Freedom and Power of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

01.18-Pastor Heo

01.18.2015-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Enjoy the Freedom & Power of Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35 (Pastor Heo)

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”


 

The last verse is the key verse from today’s reading. Remember this not only in your brain, but also in your hearts. This is the conclusion:

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

One time, Peter asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive? 7 times? Wow! So many!” At that time (and in the Bible) the number 7 is a symbol of perfection.

How about you and me? Can we forgive 7 times? Only 3 times? Not even one time?

Peter probably expected praise from Jesus for showing his great faith when he offered to forgive up to seven times. At that time, the rabbis taught that 3 times to forgive was sufficient.

But if we look at this passage clearly, we can see Peter’s serious mistakes:

  1. 1. He lacked humility – he was proud, he was sure that OTHERS would sin against him, but not he against others. Yes, when others hurt us, we remember this very clearly. But we have difficulty to remember our own faults against others.
  2. 2. He asked in measured limitations – if there is a limitation in numbers, then there is no true love in your heart – “Be rooted and established in love to know how wide, how long, how deep, how tall is the love of Christ – so that we may be filled to full perfection in the love of God.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What number is there? NONE. If there was a number, we would surely exceed it and go beyond God’s limited forgiveness (in this scenario).

This parable deals with the power and freedom of forgiveness. This parable is not about our salvation – about grace, freely given. The emphasis here is about forgiveness between brothers – not on God’s forgiveness of sinners.

From verse 23-27:

10,000 talents – how much is that? This debt was CANCELED.

At that time, 2,000 years ago, even 1 talent was enough to start a business (50,000,000 Won?)

At that time, in another parable (Matthew 25?) the Master (king) was going on a long journey and he gave 1 talent to one servant, 2 to another, 5 to another – entrusted to them.

At that time the entire TAX of Jerusalem was 800 talents.

Ordinary people had to work 20 YEARS to make ONE talent. So, it is ludicrous to think that one slave could ever borrow 10,000 talents from the king – it was obvious that he was STEALING when the books were checked.

His story is like our story – he is a guilty debtor. He was an enemy of the king, as we were once enemies of God. He thought he could repay the king by his own effort as we once thought we could pay for our own salvation through our good works. He was powerless in his debt, and at one time, we also were powerless in our sin. Both of us received merciful debt forgiveness.

“The servant’s master took pity on his and CANCELED the debt and let him go.”

v. 28-29

100 denarii – how much is that? – CHOKING over this amount – PRISON for this amount.

At that time, an average worker earns 1 denarius per day. This debt was very small compared to what this servant owed the king. 10,000 talents = a bus full of money. 100 denarii = a pocket full of money. This wicked servant grabbed, choked, threw him in jail. This second servant used the SAME method, pleading that the first servant had used “Please, have mercy, have patience.”

This first servant had been forgiven, but was unwilling to grant to others what he’d already received. He and his family had been spared the shame and suffering of the prison, but he refused to spare his friend.

If we receive unconditional forgiveness from God and then don’t forgive our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are WORSE than him.

v. 31-35

The King delivered this servant from prison, he saved him – but this servant actually put himself back in prison. He did exercise justice and cast his friend into prison – and the king said basically, “OK, cool. Let’s live by ‘justice’ then. Here’s your justice. I’ll do to you just as you have done to him.”

Conclusion: 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

In the Lord’s prayer, we pray all the time, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Jesus says, “If you forgive when others sin against you, also my Father will forgive you, but if NOT, then he WON’T.”

  • Eph 4: “Be kind and compassionate with one another.”
  • Col “Bear with each other. Forgive whatever grievances you have against one another.”

But, we must not forget the conclusion of this matter. This doesn’t mean “if you don’t forgive, your salvation is lost/canceled.” It also doesn’t mean “God MUST forgive you when you forgive others.”

You must understand the true meaning of forgiveness:

What is the ground/foundation of the assurance of salvation?

The assurance of salvation + the assurance of forgiveness = BOTH necessary, mutually exclusive. Without one, you can’t have the other.

Jeremiah 31:34 “The Lord (Jehovah) declares, ‘I forgive your sins. And if I forgive your sins, I remember them NO MORE.’”

Just like ONE salvation = eternal and never changes, likewise ONCE forgiveness against our original sin = eternal and never changes.

If we have assurance of salvation + assurance of forgiveness, then what is the ground/basis for our assurance?

  • We must repent. But this is not the ground upon which God forgives us.
  • We must have faith. But this is not the ground upon which God forgives us.

God cannot forgive/pardon sin/sinners MERELY on the ground of a sinners forgiveness. This would be impossible for a righteous God to do. He can forgive ONLY when the penalty is ALREADY paid.

For Him to forgive, and for us to receive his forgiveness, Christ died upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

This is the ONLY ground/basis upon which we can have the assurance of salvation + forgiveness. Even as he was dying on the cross, he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Even there, he had HUGE compassion for those who sinned against him.

In this world, the worst kind of prison is an unforgiving heart. We are throwing ourselves into prison and torturing ourselves if we don’t forgive others.

We must experience the power of forgiveness in our hearts. If we live only by justice, we put ourselves in prison. But if we live by forgiveness and mercy, giving others what God’s given us, we can experience true freedom and power of forgiveness and the forgiving of others.

No matter our experience, we cannot fully enjoy freedom, peace, and joy without forgiving others.

Yes, we show the true condition of our own hearts by the way we treat others. If we are humble and repentant, we can willingly and easily forgive others. But where there is pride and a passion for revenge, there is not a place for forgiveness.

Let me show the power of the real freedom of forgiveness in the Bible:

Stephen (Acts 7)

He preached a very wonderful, powerful, marvelous and biblical sermon. His sermon is one of the most powerful sermons in church history. But how did the congregation react? Clapping? Thank you? Nope. Death. By stoning.

Imagine I’m preaching here and someone in the audience began stoning me.

But Stephen did not even pay for this. He prayed for them as they killed him. “Father, do not hold this sin against them.” Why? What made him do this? Was he different? No, a normal man, filled with the Holy Spirit – anointed to do this. The power and freedom of forgiveness that he’d personally experienced empowered him to do this and forgive his own murderers as they were murdering him.

We must experience, enjoy the power of forgiveness deep in our hearts and makes us gentle and forgiving of others.

Our brothers and sisters, coworkers, neighbors, family members – we should forgive them all deeply, readily, quickly.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 11 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Whence Our Wisdom? (James 3:13-4:10)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Whence Our Wisdom? (James 3:13-4:10)

01.11

01.11.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Whence our Wisdom?

James 3:13-4:10 (Pastor Brian)

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition,there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


 

— No recording – cable is broken today —


 

Christians are not to expect rosy, perfect lives, we are to expect conflicts that Jesus and others told us to expect – but THROUGH them, our faith grows, and BY it, we overcome the world.

We trust Christ and he blesses our obedience.

James talks about the trials and how our faith is strengthened through the trials. He speaks of the rich man and poor man (the rich in faith). In fact, usually it’s the rich who oppress and persecute and sue.

Don’t set your goals on this world, but on heavenly riches.

Some Bible versions have the same word for trials and temptations.

But, temptations come from WITHIN, trials come from WITHOUT.

We have been given new hearts, new spirits, but we still need to deal with the flesh. But still, 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Jesus said, “From within, from the heart comes greed, lust, murder, robbery, etc.”

God’s gifts are given generously to us if we ask for wisdom – God grants wisdom generously, lavishly, without reproach (without finding fault).

I struggle with condemnation, judgment, self condemnation and self judgment. “The Accuser” (Satan) of the brethren accuses us and pushes these things to the forefronts of our minds. But the Lord gives us grace and advocates (speaks for) us against the enemy.

“If Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

Listen to my Advocate – Jesus, he says, “NOT GUILTY” – he gives without finding fault. He’s not ignorant of our failings and sins, but he still provides the means by which we can be forgiven. God gives lavishly – we must be open to receive from him and we must have faith to receive that which we ask for (wisdom).

James reminds us of the holiness of God and his word – 1/2 Timothy 4:21? “The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword…”

Where’s the GOOD seat? Do you say to someone “Hey sit over here by my feet”? God wants us to treat others equally and fairly – but we need the spirit of God and his sensitivity to do that.

Faith vs. Works.

  • We are SAVED by faith.
  • Evidence OF our salvation must be visible by works.
  • We are not saved by works – by the things we do. John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him  shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
  • We may HEAR the Word of God.
  • We may FEEL the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
  • But we still have the CHOICE to accept or reject that salvation offered freely by God.
  • Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, THE Life.

OK, so you’ve accepted his salvation by faith. Now what?

Look at your testimony, and give it! “I’m not the man I once was. I don’t do the things I once did. Yes, I still fall, but there is ONGOING IMPROVEMENT – I am DAILY being renewed and remade in the likeness of Jesus, my Savior.”

Now, on to works. “Do SUCH good works that other men praise God because of you.” (Even in your workplace, home, community, society, etc)

Then, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers” because you will be judged more harshly.

Ex: “God says in his Word ‘You shall PROSPER!’” So how can we not believe it??” (Actually that verse says, “So that your SOUL shall prosper.” Get the soul prospering first before pursuing fleshly, worldly things.

Some of the things that James speaks of here (probably MOST of these things) were actually going on in the church at that time. There were people who dreamed of riches without God’s will, there were those who dreamed of being teachers, there were envious people, bad tongues, etc.

Bad tongues.

“All creatures of the air, land, and sea can be tamed and have been tamed by man, but no one can tame the tongue. Consider what a large forest may be set ablaze by a small spark. The tongue also is a spark and may set the whole world on fire and poison those who hear it – when we are critical and complaining.”

Remember this: “Cast all your cares on the Lord because he cares for you.” (Read Psalms for some great care-casting).

Whence is our Wisdom? From where does our wisdom come?

What do you think of when you hear “wisdom”? A gnarled old professor? Well, he MAY be wise, but merely HAVING Knowledge (in your head) is not wisdom. The APPLICATION of that Knowledge is wisdom.

There are three kinds of Wisdom:

  1. Godly
  2. Worldly
  3. Demonic

Some people BOAST of their wisdom. They want people to NOTICE just how wise they are. But if they don’t have “the fear of the Lord”, they don’t have true wisdom.

Proverbs: “For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

What is this fear?

Being in AWE of God. We want to preserve his presence.

Some people are “wise” in a way, but it’s not godly wisdom:

  1. Earthly wisdom = knowledge used to your own advances. If you rip me off, I’ll sue the pants off of you. I’ll blackmail/take advantage of you. Spam you, Phish you, bully you, etc.
  2. Soul wisdom = intuition, feelings, etc.
  3. Demonic wisdom = deception

People are constantly looking for the truth in various religions and ways of life – all the while IGNORING THE Truth.

Here’s a testimony I’d like to share with you. This man goes out every week to Manchester and hands out these testimonies.

“Barry” was seeking wisdom in all the wrong places, but the Lord had mercy on him and led him to Christ. One man received this testimony and was so intrigued that he wants “Barry” to write more.

“Don’t talk to me about miracles. Show me one, and I’ll believe you. Christians can talk all day about the Bible’s ‘miracles’ but they can’t show you one. Obviously, the Bible is a tale of fairies, and has nothing to do with the real world – pain, failures, misery – and we all paper it over with fake smiles and try to make a crazy kind of life that we must make our home.

“Most of the above is true in the opinion of many – but here’s my story. This is the story of better and expecting better things. I’m sure many in France are hoping for better things now.

“My name is Barry. When I was young, a hippy, 60s generation, I was broken down, degraded, lawless, self-hating, delusional LSD tripper, occult-dabbler. As I ended this period, I was dying, extremely sick, and tormented. I was irredeemably insane. I was obese, and had sores all over my body. All who met me saw something so evil within me that they had to look away.

(Another friend of my was sitting in a cafe and said, “God, you’re so good, you can save anyone.” In walked Barry and the man said, “Maybe not him…”)

April 1972 – I knew this day was to be my last – I could not endure even one more tormented life. I was nocturnal, had dreams of parades of horror.

“Margaret was a young woman living near me and had been praying for me. Whenever she entered my room, an unnatural peace entered my room – and when she left, the peace left.

Final morning. Why should she care so for the wretch I’ve become? At least, I must go say goodbye to her. I went to her house and she told me and said, ‘God spoke to me and said you’ll be freed TODAY.’ I couldn’t believe her, but I asked her to pray for my soul.

“She was young, 24, married, had only been a Christian for 6-months. She prayed, ‘Jesus, I know you can heal him NOW.’ I suddenly convulsed and thought that I’d die immediately. The muscles of my face spasmed into grimaces of evil expressions.

“Margaret later told me that had even the heavyweight champion of the world had been there they’d have been ripped to pieces.

“Suddenly, I noticed that someone else was taking over my body – then a horrible wind rushed from my mouth for 1 minute – I thought I was surely witnessing my own death. I slumped to the floor and heard a death rattle coming from my throat.

“This is my miraculous story of rescue from demon possession – I don’t know how many there were, but at that time they were all cast out. That night, I slept my first peaceful night for 3 years.

Aug 25, 1972 – I became a child of the Living God. Jesus had risen triumphant from his grave, and likewise, I now was raised from my grave. Yes, really, that is the grace that I stand in today – I’m a Christian now and there is nothing special about me, BUT by crying out to Jesus, I’d given him permission to reach out to me and rescue me from the depths of my worst, most demon-possessed state.

“God is the Living God, and while he hates the SIN, he died for US – to lift our penalty from us and place it on Jesus for us that we might not perish but have everlasting life.

“All this is the gospel truth. Despite many failings, I’ll never forget this truth, this good news. I can guarantee that if you ask Jesus to reveal himself to you, he WILL – he cannot and will not leave your prayer alone.

“Joel/Job? And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thank you for reading this account of my life.

Barry Jones.


He’s handed out about 12,000 to people individually. He doesn’t know what effect that may have.

The same need that Barry had is the same need that every one of us, our families, our friends, our enemies need. Are you manifesting works that prove that you’re saved by faith?

God says, “Open up my WORD. Read the Bible. I’ll speak to you through the Word, other people, dreams, circumstances, etc, etc.” God is reaching out to you – he wants YOU to experience HIM more fully – experience his peace, joy, salvation, life change.

Even as a Christian, do you know THIS? Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Jeonju), Judea (Iksan), and Samaria (Gunsan), and to the ends of the earth (Korea – your home country).

Make THIS your New Year’s Resolution!

How many times have we HEARD the Word and NOT acted?

Please don’t read this as a call to “religion” – it’s NOT. “Religion” is a hopeless attempt to satisfy a God we cannot know in a life we cannot live. God calls you to a RELATIONSHIP – a RETURN to your loving Creator.

At the beginning of this year, if you’ve never accepted Jesus, BEGIN the journey (Sola Fide – by faith alone).

But if you’ve BEGUN the journey, it is no longer Sola Fide – by faith alone – your faith must be SHOWN and ACTED upon. WORKS PROVE your salvation. Consider all the examples of FAITH IN ACTION that James gives throughout the book. Rahab, Abraham (not always a shining example of faith), – but in his journey in faith, he OBEYED God (faith in action) and God blessed him.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 04 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Be a baby to enter the kingdom of heaven and then be a servant in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Be a baby to enter the kingdom of heaven and then be a servant in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-4)

Unfortunately, because my computer(s) crashed this Sunday, I was unable to record the sermon message or make the same kind of bulletin as previous weeks. But, here’s the Bible text nevertheless:

Be a baby to enter the kingdom of heaven and then be a servant in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

18:1-5pp — Mk 9:33-37; Lk 9:46-48

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  • Dec 07 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)

12.07

12.07.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Faith and Deeds

James 2:14-26 (Pastor Brian)

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


 

James is giving practical advice to his readers. In the beginning of the chapter, he warns against favoritism – showing undo favor to the “rich” of this world. “Oh, sit here in this nice place!”

  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans) and when you look at some of these lives (any lives actually), you’ll notice that they aren’t amazing.
  • Favoritism = giving undo favor where it is not due, and not giving favor where it is due.
  • James is bringing our identity back to Christ – we ought to keep the royal law = “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • If we keep only ONE part of the commandments and break ONLY ONE part, we have broken ALL the law. To break 1/10 = to break 10/10.
  • We must love others and show mercy (because we’ve received both from God himself).  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

“What good is it my brothers if a man has faith but no deeds? Can such faith save him?”

Paul writes “By grace you have been saved through faith…not as a result of works so that no one can boast…FOR we are his workmanship that he has created FOR good works.”

We aren’t saved BY works, but we are saved TO DO works.

Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees and did everything in his zeal to keep the law – and he even persecuted the church at first. But after meeting Christ, he realized that ALL his works and deeds were FILTHY rags before God.

1 Cor 15 Paul rehearses how God’s mercy has been shown to him “But by God’s grace, I am what I am – and I labored MORE than all the other apostles (yet not I, but the grace of God working in me).”

God’s power gave him the power and the anointing to do what God called him to do.

James also asserts that we SHOW our faith BY our good works. We must demonstrate our faith by our actions.

When we come to believe in Jesus, we become a different person ( “A New Creation” ).

Testimony:

A pastor talked of how he became a Christian – he was a teenager in a band who HATED people. He looked for fights, insulted anyone, make fun of the homeless, and yell curses. God saved both of us in the same year and our hearts were absolutely changed.

When Matt saw a homeless man, instead of yelling at him, he pulled over and gave him a blanket and a lunch he’d made for himself.

What would James say if we’d become Christians and CONTINUED to yell at the homeless. If there was no heart change, no ACTION change, there is no EVIDENCE that your heart has changed.

It’s easy for a “pure” person to said, “Yes, I believe in God – and I’m a good person.” Well, the demons ALSO believe in God – shall they also go to heaven?

In the gospels, there was a man in the synagogue who cried out (with a demon), “Ya! What have we to do with you? Jesus, Son of God?” – Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, bless you, you know who I am.” Jesus cast him OUT of the man.

James goes on to show that faith without works is dead – using the Scriptures.

  • Abraham – sacrificing Isaac (Genesis 22): God tested Abraham (remember “count it all joy as you meet various testings in the world”?). He was instructed to take his ONLY son Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. He did it. It took 3 days to get to Moriah. On the 3rd day, Abraham raised his eyes and left the servants to “worship” God. (This is an obvious act of faith on Abraham’s part). Abraham laid the wood on Isaac and carried the fire and the knife.
  • Isaac: “Father?”
  • Abe: “Yes, son?”
  • Isaac: “We have all the stuff except the offering itself.”
    Abe: “The Lord will provide, my son.”
  • Abraham built the altar and bound Isaac and laid him on the altar and stretched out his hand to KILL his son – but an angel of the Lord stopped him. Test PASSED.
  • Then Abraham raised his eyes and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its thorns. So Abraham used the ram in place of Isaac. He called that place, “The Lord will provide.”

Up to this point in his life, Abraham had at times shown a bit of a shaky faith. He lied about his wife ( “she’s my sister, actually” ) and brought trouble on himself and the people around him (TWICE).

Now, even after he’s been given promises from God:

  1. You’ll have a son
  2. I’ll bless you through Isaac
  3. I’ll make your descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore

But still, he takes his son Isaac to sacrifice him. He had such faith that God would do as he said to fulfill the promise, that even if he were to kill Isaac, God could raise him back up!

He’s taken it soooo far that he’s laid the wood on Isaac (remember Jesus also carried the wood of the cross). Isaac was NOT a young child – he was at least in his 20s. If Isaac had wanted to, he could have overpowered Abraham and said, “No way, daddy!” But he submitted himself to Abraham, laid down his own life – (remember, Jesus did this same thing for us as well – in complete agreement with God the Father).

“God will provide himself a (THE) lamb” – this is also a picture of Jesus – the ram caught in a thornbush – Jesus wore a crown of thorns for us to the cross.

Then, Abraham was told to NOT kill Isaac. In a sense, he received Isaac back from the dead – he was already sacrificed in his mind/heart. This is similar to Jesus’ resurrection as well.

James’ second example:

Rahab the prostitute protected Joshua and the spies when they investigated Jericho.

The prostitutes at that time also kept a boarding house – the spies went there for the night. The king heard about it and sent the guards to capture them. Rahab said, “No, they’ve gone.” But she’d hidden them. She’d also made a deal with them that when the men invade the city, they’d be protected from the destruction of the God of Israel.  So the men agreed – “put a scarlet rope from the window” – and they wouldn’t go in to kill the people.

After the walls of Jericho collapsed and the Israelites invaded, she was saved and assimilated into the nation of Israel.

This scarlet rope is symbolic of Jesus’ blood. In His blood, there is LIFE.

As we come around the table of the Lord for communion – as yourself, “Am I a part of this family? Is Jesus my Savior? Am I WALKING and ACTING in his will and his way?”

From the Daily bread – (hasn’t gone stale):

Feb 5, 2014: The Telltale Heart

We want to keep short accounts, not keep unforgiveness or sin in our hearts.

Recently, I read about a PI in the US who would knock on a door, show his badge and say “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we’re here.” And many times the person would look stunned and say “How did you find out?” And then go on to explain an unknown criminal act long ago.

This was an unconscious act of a telltale heart. We all know secret things about ourselves and our sins. The secret things we keep in our hearts may come back to us again and again.

  • John “By this we will know that we are before him. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than us.”
  • James “Don’t just say, ‘We’ll pray for you.’ If you can actually help them.”

Have you done the things despite your failures? Then find rest. Even if your heart condemns you, know that God is greater. God abides in us by the Spirit whom he’s given us. God is greater than our self-condemnation.

Remember James’ words to be practical in our faith. Remember John’s words to DO the works before men that God would have us do – so that they will glorify God through what they see us doing through his power.

Where we can, ACT. (Maybe even a random act of kindness – don’t procrastinate – it won’t happen) If you have occasion to help someone, HELP.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 12 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Saving Faith is Confessing Christ (Matthew 16:1-19)

10.12

10.12.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Saving Faith is Confessing Christ

Matthew 16:1-19 (Pastor Heo)

The Demand for a Sign

16:1-12pp — Mk 8:11-21

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”Jesus then left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Confession of Christ

16:13-16pp — Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”


 

Jesus taught the disciples about his crucifixion and upcoming death, but they were slow to catch on.

This whole chapter is all about Faith.

4 Kinds of Faith

  1. No Faith (v. 1-4) – Challenging Christ
  2. Little Faith (v. 5-12) –
  3. Saving Faith (v. 13-19/20) – Confessing Christ
  4. Serving Faith (v. 21-28) – Following Christ

Sadducees and Pharisees came together and challenged Christ.

Originally, fundamentally, these two were diametrically opposed – totally different in beliefs, policies, and lifestyles.

  • Pharisees = traditionalists, conservative, legalists, unbelieving religious party looking for self-righteousness
  • Believed in life after death, angel and demons
  • Were waiting and hopeful for the Messiah
  • Sadducees = political, wealthy, small aristocracy, a collaborationist party that cooperated with the Roman govt to keep their wealth
  • Did not
  • Were not

These two groups were so totally different, and yet they united so completely to kill and accuse Jesus Christ.

  • They didn’t lack evidence, but lacked honesty and humility.
  • They were spiritually adulterous and wicked (v. 4)

The sign of Jonah – also previously mentioned in chp 12. In this sign, just as Jonah was 3 days and nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. This is the sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is ENOUGH sign that Jesus is the promised Savior and Lord and King of Kings.

This is ENOUGH sign also for US to believe in Christ.

Parable: Luke 16 – The rich man and the beggar (Lazarus?)

The rich man lived in luxury every day and the beggar laid at his gate. One day, both died. The rich man went to hell. Lazarus went to heaven. This rich man’s name wasn’t written in the Book of Life (so we don’t know it), but Lazarus’ name WAS written there.

The rich man lived on earth for a short time with much – in riches, in luxury. Now, he lives on in hell as a beggar. Lazarus lived on earth for a short time as a beggar, but now lives in heaven in luxury.

The rich man said to Abraham, “Please, send Lazarus to tell my family (5 brothers)!” “No, they have Moses and the Prophets.” “But… if someone comes back from the grave to tell them…” “No, if they didn’t listen to Moses, they won’t listen to Lazarus.”

  1. We have ENOUGH evidence.
  2. We have ENOUGH witnesses.
  3. We have ENOUGH to know.
  • Look around at the houses – you don’t know who built them, but there is some kind of evidence that they WERE built and didn’t just “come to exist.”
  • Look at the sky – at the stars – there is also some evidence that SOMEONE put them there. If they were not put there by a man, then someone wiser than a man must have.
  1. Psalm 119? “The heavens declare the glory of God…”
  2. Romans 1 – ‘Since the beginning of time, God’s power and qualities have been CLEAR and can be understood so that NO ONE can be excused before God.”

#2 – Misunderstanding Christ (Little Faith) – v. 5-12

Spiritual things can be understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

“Oh you of little faith… Don’t you remember the feeding of the 5,000 (Jews) and the 4,000 (Gentiles)? I wasn’t talking about bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus left his confrontation with the Ps and Ss and his disciples went with him, but they forgot bread (and worried). Jesus used this opportunity to teach them about the dangers of the Ps and Ss: the “yeast”. Yeast makes bread grow larger and larger. Meaning: Evil influence, evil doctrine.

In the ministry of Jesus on earth, many people misinterpreted the meaning of his words physically, rather than spiritually. Ex: “You must be born again” to Nicodemus. “How is this possible?” Ex 2: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst, it will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – to the Samaritan woman “Yes, sir! Give me this water so that I don’t have to come to this well again!” Ex 3: “Whoever eats my body and blood will be raised by me at the last day.” – to his disciples “How can we eat him???” Maybe turned away at that point and no longer followed.

Misunderstanding produces little faith. (almost non-faith) – Therefore, “be on your guard” – keep Jesus at the center of your faith.

#3: Saving Faith – Confessing Jesus Christ

At least we must reach THIS level of faith

(v. 13-19)

In the New Testament – this is the first place the word “church” appears (referring to Peter and how Jesus will “build my church upon the Rock”)

Jesus took his disciples to the Gentile territory. Sycerea – near Philippi – it was the center for Baal worship and had many idols. Even the Greek god Pan had its shrines here. When Philip became the ruler here, he named the city Philippi.

Jesus asked “Who do men say I am? Who do you say I am?” Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Isaiah – there are similarities

  1. John the Baptist – STRONG messages – about repentance – “You brood of vipers”
  2. Elijah – omnipotent?
  3. Jeremiah – the weeping prophet, also rejected and despised by his own brothers and nation, a man of sorrows and humility and suffering

These answers are all incorrect, this answer cannot save them. “How about you? What do you think?” “Don’t ask me, ‘How about you?’ ask yourself, ‘How about you (me)?’”

Who do people say Jesus is?

We may think this kind of question is silly – but our personal destiny is determined by the answer to this question. The most important question we should ask ourselves throughout our whole lives is “Who is Jesus Christ to me?”

Peter answered: v. 16 “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

Jesus was pleased and said, “You are blessed.”

Even today, if we confess like this, Jesus will say to us, “You are blessed.”

What is the meaning? Christ (Greek word) = Messiah (Hebrew word) = Anointed One

3 offices were anointed by oil in those days:

  1. Priest (interceding for man to God by prayer),
  2. Prophet (preaching the Word of God),
  3. King (overseeing the people of God and leading them)

All the offices of all the men were merely shadows of the ONE man who would fulfill ALL of them – Jesus. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s self-revelation.

  1. Romans 8 – “He is interceding for us…”
  2. Hebrews 1
  3. Colossians – “All the fullness of the diety in bodily form…”
  4. Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – no one can snatch you out of my hands…”
  5. Jesus says continually (v. 17) – “Blessed are you Simon Peter, for this was not revealed to you by man but by God my Father.”

We don’t learn and understand about Jesus through our own personal investigation – it is only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we can get to know him and believe in him.

“On this Rock, I will build my church.”

Who/what is the Rock? NOT Peter himself.

The Rock = a symbol of God (repeated many times in the OT) – this Rock is Jesus Christ himself and the confession of believers who say “You are the Christ and the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “I will build your church” nor “you will build my church” but rather “I will build MY church.” The builder, founder, top-line AND bottom-line of the church (the head pastor) IS Jesus Christ alone. And anyone who confesses Christ as Savior and King is a living STONE that builds HIS church.

What is the church? (this is the first appearance of this word in the NT)

  • Ecclesia – Ec = out of; clesia = congregation/ assembly/ gathering
  • Ecclesia = “calling the people of God OUT of this world to establish the Kingdom of God IN this unholy world”

The gates of Hell (Hades) will never overcome it. (Not Peter, the church). Gates = symbol of power, Hades = symbol of death. This will never overcome the church because JESUS is the holder of the keys and the builder of the church.

“I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” Do you have this key in your pocket?

Jesus (continual truth-teller) says “You have the keys, whatever you bind/loose on earth will be bound/loosed in heaven.”

Today, Jesus is giving this key (the key of salvation) to the church. Jesus died for the church and then trusts the church to open or close the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven. Since his death to his Second Coming = the “Church Age”. During this Church Age, the timeless truth = it is the ONLY church in this age. There are many “institutions” (schools, govts, etc) in this world – but Jesus only died for ONE and only gives the responsibility and power to ONE – the church, his church.

If we confess Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and King “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” then you ARE the church – a member, a living/working stone in this church.

Jesus says, “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven…”

May God bless us with his blessing upon the church.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 05 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Desire and Deception (James 1:12-20)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Desire and Deception (James 1:12-20)

10.05

10.05.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

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Desire and Deception

James 1:12-20 (Pastor Brian)

12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.


 

James was the half-brother of Jesus, BUT considers himself a “bond servant” of Christ. He doesn’t boast in his relationship with Jesus except as a servant. He’s writing here to the 12 tribes scattered abroad (Jews, mostly) – in the “diaspora” – the spreading of the Jews into different parts of the world.

He is giving very practical advice and counsel. He is concerned about them living out their faith and being fruitful in ministry and life. He knows that they will have trials and suffering. James 1:2? “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds…”

Perseverance = going on to the end.

“The testing of your faith develops perseverance” Testing = making stronger, NOT trying to break. For example, steel: must be tested to strengthen it.

This is the kind of “testing” that God used to test Abraham. “Go up this mountain and sacrifice your son Isaac to me” (he was over 100 years old, this was his only son, through this son the Promise was to be fulfilled) – so why do it? The testing of his faith showed his heart to God – he knew that God would STILL fulfill that Promise to him – even if he had to raise Isaac from the dead again (which, in a sense, he did – because in his mind, Isaac was already dead).

Eagles also go through “testing”. When eaglets are “of age”the mother starts tearing up the nest and THROWS the eaglet out. The eagle struggles to fly, and finds that HE CAN! He didn’t know that before. But what would happen if he couldn’t fly? The mother swoops under the baby to catch it if it can’t really fly. Then, they will repeat the “test” again later.

The Queen of Sheba came to Solomon to “test” him with many questions. She came away convinced that all she heard about him was true.

God didn’t rid the land (the Promised Land) of its enemies before sending the Israelites there. He sent them to LEARN, to fail and then later succeed.

You start with the basics in school and build upon that.

Count these “tests” as fully joy – and allow perseverance to have its full work in you so that you may be complete and mature (not perfect).

Phil 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will complete it…”

What of these trials we face?

They are difficult. Trying. James says, “Ask God for WISDOM without ‘casting in your teeth’ (without reproach).” God doesn’t give a gift spitefully, nor to manipulate. He GIVES because he LOVES.

In the trial, ask “What can I learn from THIS experience?”

Maybe “try again” go around again, fail, fail, fail, succeed. God is looking for our reactions in these kinds of circumstances.

Now, this wisdom that James mentions is not some kind of abstract, philosophical, heady, theoretical wisdom – it’s practical LIFE wisdom.

“This is what you are to do to profit and grow in your trials and lives – ask in FAITH, remember how God has been faithful to his promises in the past, and trust that he will remain true to them in the future.” Doubt your doubts, and believe your beliefs.

Charles Spurgeon : “Faith comes…”

Romans “Faith comes from hearing…” (the whole verse) – but Spurgeon emphasizes “faith COMES” – if you don’t have it now, meditate (mutter), read, memorize, pray, proclaim God’s Word.

The Muslims proclaim their Quran multiple times per day – how much more should we also proclaim the Word of God!

We must hide his Word in our hearts, treasure it, and proclaim it.

What should we ask for? Not what you might think.

v. 9 “The humble man ought to take pride in his high situation – rejoice!” “But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position.”- He will pass away like the flowers. Imagine the fresh spouts in spring, scorched by the heat of summer.

Likewise, anyone’s life may be extinguished in an instant – you never know. Jesus also told this kind of story: “There was a rich man with an overflowing harvest. He decided to rip down his barns and build new ones to house it all. He would eat, drink, and be merry. Yet, his life was demanded of him that night.”

King Solomon (very rich) said in Ecclesiastes: “I hated all that I had and accumulated because I knew that I would not be able to enjoy it – but the one who came after me would get it.” Even Solomon fell from his high position at the end of his life when he turned from God.

In addition to maturity and perseverance, God wants to APPROVE of us.

There is a very detailed process for a politician to become a Cabinet member – they want to be sure there are no “skeletons in the closet” that would shame the government or create a scandal. However, where humans are concerned, things are often overlooked. But where God is concerned, things are NOT overlooked.

The Crown of Life: v. 12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under temptation….”

  • 1 Thessalonians “What is our joy, our crown, in Jesus? Is it not you – indeed, you are our crown of joy.” (The Crown of Joy – those who lead people to Christ and disciple them)
  • 2 Timothy 4:8 (The Crown of Righteousness) – given to the Christians who expected the Lord to come back and lived with that “Now there is in store for me the Crown of Righteousness…to all who loved his appearing.” (Looking forward to his return?)
  • Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4) – given to those who shepherd the church and are responsible for the flock “When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory, which will never fade away.”
  • James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because when he has stood test, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to him.”

Temptation:

  1. God allows some kind
  2. Some comes from within (our sinful nature)

Temptation is common in life (speed, lie, call in sick, cheat, steal, etc, etc) – everywhere we turn, we face it.

The Jews had reference to the 2 natures of man: good nature, evil nature. Paul also knew this “When I want to do good, there is evil there will me, fighting against the good I want to do… Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Christ is in him, giving him the victory.

Illustration of temptation:

  • Temptation comes – a begrudging thought. We play around with it a little bit – then go back.
  • We get a lustful thought – start doing it. “Oh, I shouldn’t be doing this” and go back.

Don’t let temptation go across the threshold of your mind. – Oswald Chambers

Let’s go into that more next week. Now, let’s prepare our hearts for the Lord’s supper.

What have we done throughout the week that is displeasing to the Lord? Confess those – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to cleanse us from our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Lord, forgive us our sins, and purify our hearts. In Jesus name.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 28 / 2014
  • Comments Off on You Have GREAT Faith! (Matthew 15:21-39)
Matthew: The Book of Kingship, Pastor Heo, Sermons

You Have GREAT Faith! (Matthew 15:21-39)

09.28

09.28.2014-PHeo

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

You Have Great Faith

Matthew 15:21-39 (Pastor Heo)

The Faith of the Canaanite Woman

15:21-28pp — Mk 7:24-30

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered,”Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

15:29-31pp — Mk 7:31-37 15:32-39pp — Mk 8:1-10 15:32-39Ref — Mt 14:13-21

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” 33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” 34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” 35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.


 

The Bible is the Revealed Word of God.

Are you a Christian? A Believer? Do you believe? Have faith? We cannot talk about the importance of faith too much. Faith is foundational to the Christian’s creed and conduct.

We are saved, justified, sanctified, see the glory of God, please God, walk with God, are healed, experience miracles, make the impossible possible. The whole of our salvation including past, present, and future depends on faith.

In today’s story, a Canaanite (Gentile) woman came to Jesus and asked him to heal her daughter – he said nothing. The disciples encouraged him to send her away. He said, “I’ve come to the children of Israel” (and sternly) “it is not right to give the bread to the dogs” (Gentile dogs). She said, “Yes, Lord, I’m a dog, but even the dogs eat the crumbs from the table.” Jesus was amazed. She showed great perseverance. He didn’t say, “Wow! Great perseverance!” He said, “Wow! Great faith!”

Remember Matthew 8, the centurion:

He came and said, “Lord, my servant lies at home, paralyzed in great suffering, please heal him.” Jesus said, “OK, I’ll go.” He said, “No, no, no, no need to come, you’re very busy and important. Just say the word and he’ll be healed.” Jesus was surprised – great humility! But he said, “You have great faith! I have not found anyone else in Israel with such great faith!” And immediately his servant was healed.

Remember Mark 10, Bathemaeus:

He was a blind beggar, and he shouted from a distance, “Jesus! Son of David! Help me!” Many rebuked him, but he cried out more and more. Then Jesus called him and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “I want to SEE!” Wow! great passion/zeal/eagerness! Jesus said not, “Great zeal!” He said, “Great faith! Your faith has healed you!”

Do you have faith?

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus saw and rewarded the same thing in each story: Faith. He is still looking for this today.

Matthew 18:18? “When I come to earth and see faith… Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

2 Corinthians “Examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith. Don’t you know that Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test.”

Everyone has “faith” or “faiths” – and everyday, we ACT on it. We act according to what we believe. Faith cannot be separated from action – it is the demonstration of faith and faith is the driving force of action. For example, why are you sitting on the bench? You have faith it won’t fall down or collapse on you. We buy a box of milk without first checking inside the box to be sure it is milk – because we have “faith” that it’s actually milk. When we go to the restaurant and order food, the owner doesn’t ask “Do you have enough money?” They have FAITH that we do. Likewise, taxi drivers believe that we will pay at the end of our route.

Our whole lives are built on faith and the reliance on testimonies of others.

“Faith” matters less than “saving faith.”

Not all faith saves us. Even demons have faith. Even Satan believes there is one God. His faith makes him shudder. But his faith about God will never save him. Faith IN Jesus Christ alone is saving faith. Faith in anyone or anything else will never save.

  • Dictionary: faith and belief = the same
  • Bible: belief = thought; faith = heart

Faith puts belief into active action and connects possibilities with actualities.

Faith is ACTing on what we BELIEVE in.

  • Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what we hope for…”
  • Hebrews 11:11 “By faith, Abraham… by faith Noah… by faith Joshua… by faith Samuel… “ and on and on.

What is the source of true faith?

2 things: God’s (divine) side

#1: God’s side

This is the work of GOD. This is a GIFT of God’s grace. Eph “It is by grace you have been saved through faith – not of yourselves…” Romans 12:3-4 “By the grace given to me, I say, do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought…”

Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus Christ is the author, perfector, and finisher of our faith.”

So, we have nothing to boast of, because faith is the GIFT of God.

BUT, #2, there is a human side.

Our faith grows greater and greater while we read the Bible.

  • The Word of God = the object of our faith.

Our faith in Christ grows stronger and stronger as we HEAR the word of God preached, Romans “Faith comes by HEARING…”

  • Jesus Christ = the object of our faith

Our faith also grows by prayer. This is the instrument in the development of our faith. One day, the disciples prayed, “Lord, increase our faith.” One day, a man with a demon possessed man came and said, “Help us please.” And Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” He said, “Lord, I DO believe. Help my unbelief!”

  • Third, our faith grows through the PRACTICE of faith.

Do you have faith? Yes.

Do you… practice… your faith?

Jesus says (Matthew 25?) “He who has will be given MORE, but he who does NOT have, even what he has will be taken FROM him.”

That faith that is given to us as a gift from God can be increased through our own practice. So, if you have little faith, it’s your responsibility.

  • By faith, we can be saved and spend eternity in heaven with Christ.
  • By disbelief, we will be found in our sins and cast into hell forever.

If we have true faith, we have real peace and joy and assurance. The great question is not: what can I do? But how much can I believe in Jesus Christ?

May God bless us all that Jesus may say of us, “You have GREAT faith!” Do you think Jesus would say that of you?

v. 29-31

Last verse, “and they praised the God of Israel” (this indicates that these are Gentiles).

Still today, if we have faith, Jesus heals broken lives. Yes, we can bring suffering people to Jesus. Who do you know that needs Jesus’ healing touch in their lives? We can bring them to Christ through our prayers, actions, attitudes – so that Jesus can do his healing.

v. 32-39

Jesus feeds the 4,000

Remember the previous chapter?: Jesus feeds the 5,000

This time, 7 loaves of bread and a few fish.

  • In the previous chapter, Jesus fed 5,000.
  • In this next chapter, Jesus fed 4,000.

Differences:

  • 5,000 = in the spring (sat down on the grass)
  • 4,000 = in the summer (sat down on the earth – little grass – high/hot summer)
  • 5,000 = in Galilee, near Bethseda (Jews)
  • 4,000 = in Decapolis (10 cities) – the root federation of 10 Greek cities (mostly Gentiles)
  • 5,000 = they had been with him one day
  • 4,000 = they had been with him 3 days (they’d used up their own supplies of food – so Jesus’ compassionate heart could not permit him to send them along hungry)

The motivation of the miracle: to meet human needs

  1. 5,000 = 12 baskets left (baguni = small)
  2. 4,000 = 7 baskets left (gwangjuri = big)

(same word in English – how about in Korean? = different)

In Greek, different word:

  • 5,000 = copinus = narrow-necked, flask shaped bag – like a lunchbox carried by Jews to avoid eating “Gentile” food
  • 4,000 = spuris = big enough to carry a MAN

Acts 9 – the story of Paul’s conversion

Immediately afterward, he started to preach, and many Jews conspired to kill him. They kept a close watch at the city gate in order to kill him, and his followers lowered Paul from the city “in a basket” (spuris – the same basket here)

We are surprised to see the reaction of the disciples:

The experienced the miracle of the 5,000 feeding some months ago. But… they forgot.

If only they remembered how powerful, graceful, unchangeable, Jesus is – they should have said, “Yes! We believe! Our Lord is able to MULTIPLY bread and fish! We do not need to worry!” But they said, “Oh, wow. Where can we get so much bread?…”

Do you / we also FORGET Jesus’ grace, provision, and power?

We have lived up to NOW with his grace! If we worry about the future, this is such LITTLE faith in Jesus!

Jesus fed us yesterday! He is feeding us today! Won’t he certainly feed us tomorrow as well? Why worry?

If you believe “I am what I am, I have been what I have been by the grace of God” then you also can/should believe “I WILL BE what I WILL BE by the grace of God.”

May God bless all of us to be called of Jesus, “You have great faith!”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 21 / 2014
  • Comments Off on James Sermon Art
Backgrounds, Resources

James Sermon Art

Here’s a collection of the sermon art I created for Pastor Brian’s series on James. Click any image to download a larger copy.

Widescreen

(1366 x 768px (720p HDTV size))

james-deep-wide

PPT

(1600 x 1200px – resizable to 1024 x 768px (for projector))

Inspiration and Resources

Screenshot at Mar 30 05-09-46 

  • Sep 21 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Introducing James (James 1:1-11)
James: Put Your Faith to Work, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Introducing James (James 1:1-11)

09.21

09.21.2014-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Introducing James

James 1:1-11 (Pastor Brian)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.


 

Where are you on the journey of Faith?

You’ve exercised faith, lived by faith in your life before – looking back, surely you can see it. “Lord! You’ve got to come through! Show me you’re there!” And he does!

Wow. The book of James is a challenge to me (the pastor) and to all of us. May God bless us with MORE faith.

James majors in FAITH PROVING ITSELF THROUGH WORKS.

  • Do we live by Faith?
  • Do we live by Works?

Luther lived during a time of Legalism when lots of abuses of faith were in place – indulgences, etc, trying to “work” yourself into the presence of God. But he finally found peace with God when he read “The righteous will live by faith.”

Actually, Luther – who’d lived by works for much of his life – went overboard after he changed his opinion. He strongly disliked (hated) James afterward.

But James is not only about “works” alone – but THE “works” and the “work” OF our faith. “Without works, faith is dead.” says James.

After repentance, we live by faith, grow by faith, and WORK on it. This is what James says.

——

We know that the Lord used 40 authors to write the 66 books of the Bible.

  • John = fisherman
  • Matthew = tax collector
  • Luke = doctor
  • Samuel = in the temple
  • Moses = royalty
  • Daniel = slave

2 authors in the Bible lived a life NO ONE else lived: James & Jude: brothers of JESUS.

When Jesus began his ministry, he taught from many different places:

The boat, the mountain, hilltops, the synagogue, homes…

Even there was a synagogue in his hometown (Mark 6:1-3) “He went to his hometown and taught and many were astonished and saying, ‘Who is this man? Where did he get this wisdom? Isn’t this the son of Mary? The brother of James? Aren’t his sisters also here?’ And they took offense at him.”

His own family and hometown rejected him.

Jesus was the oldest of 5 boys – nothing set him apart physically from the others. These people had watched Jesus grow up from the time he was young.

  • Mark 6:4 “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, among his relatives and his own family.”
  • In John 7:5 “Not even his brothers believed in him.” (after he was preaching and performing miracles) His brothers even teased him and said, “Hey, if you wanna be famous, go up to the temple brother!” (snickering)

They didn’t believe in him then, but then WHY is there an epistle from James (his brother) and Jude (his brother) in the Bible? They didn’t believe in him THEN, but AFTER his resurrection, they couldn’t NOT believe.

In his resurrection, James and Jude (at least) believed, became born again, filled with the Spirit, apostles, (and later martyred for their own brother/Savior).

We also need to believe and accept THIS TRUTH – that Jesus is the Son of God, died for our sins, was buried and resurrected on the third day to give us new life (this is the Apostle’s Creed which we’ve read this morning).

Paul

“I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas (Peter) but I didn’t meet anyone else except James, the Lord’s brother.”

14 years later, James spoke with authority at the Council of Jerusalem. This guy who once hadn’t believed in Jesus, became the lead pastor of the Jerusalem church! Galatians 2:12 “There are men coming to Antioch FROM JAMES.”

Even Jude, when he wrote his letter, he quotes his brother James, “Jude, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (my brother) and the brother of James.”

Neither of them ever quote Jesus as being their brother. This is part of their humility. They are SERVANTS of the Son of God – they recognized his authority and power and position as the Alpha/Omega – and acknowledge their position as his bond servants.

In the OT, if a person had fallen into debt, he could go into servitude and serve that master as a slave for only up to 6 years – in the 7th, he MUST be freed. But, some slaves felt, “My master is a good master – he takes care of me and my family – if I leave, I’ll likely be worse off. I’ll stay.” Then, there was a ceremony before God and the others to take him into his home. They used an awl to pierce his ear into the doorpost of the master’s house. He was then committed to this master FOR LIFE. This is the meaning of “bond servant.” THIS is how James and Jude see their relationship (now) with Jesus.

James then addresses his letter to the “Diaspora” – the twelve tribes of Jerusalem (i.e. the WHOLE church).

Many Jews had come back to the temple during Pentecost and heard Peter preach, had become born again and filled with the Spirit (3,000+ men in a single day), and went back to their homes and preached the good news there.

James is writing to THESE believers and encouraging them to remain faithful and encouraging them to PRACTICE their faith in a PRACTICAL way.

How many of you have had TRIALS this past week? They come and go, it’s a part of life – especially the Christian life because we’re living in “enemy territory.”

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.” (one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible) – v.2

They counted it as JOY when they were persecuted and suffered for the name of Jesus.

  • Is “all” an adjective? “Count it ‘fully joy’?”
  • Actually, it’s a noun. “Count ‘everything’ joy.”

In a message my family was listening to – we became quite stirred up. This was the story of a man who was a homosexual – in fact, a prostitute. The Lord got a hold of him, saved him, blessed him, and gave him a powerful testimony. He still had mannerisms that outwardly described him as feminine. But this gave a remarkable illustration of Naman – a general who had leprosy and was told to “go to the prophet” to be cured of his leprosy. He went there, and expected Elijah to wave his hands over him and clean him up immediately. But that didn’t happen, Elijah sent his servant out to him, and said “Dunk yourself in that river 7 times” (wasn’t that river dirty?) – Naman was ANGRY “Hmmmph! The rivers where I come from are WAY better than this!” The servant said, “Listen, IF the prophet had asked you to do some great, enormous, glory task, you would do it right?” “Right.” “Then, just do this – it’s so simple…” So Naman eventually did.

The man (homosexual) said that MANY times during his life, he’d had to “re-dunk” himself in the grace of God. He felt like he was becoming clean. It’s a PROCESS – it’s not IMMEDIATE. Have patience with yourself and others who are going through the process. God sees all and knows all and deals with it and HEALS.

If you see “Dunkin’ Donuts” remember that YOU need more “dunks” before you’re righteous and holy.

“Should I forgive 7 times?” Jesus: “Nah, 77 times.” You want mercy, give it as well.

I’ve got trials, but don’t count it “joy” but “trying.” Difficulties are “difficult.”

If you lack wisdom, ask God, he gives GENEROUSLY, LIBERALLY. When in a trial, ASK God and he will give you wisdom to know how to react.

Ex: Car accident

Cut off, side-swiped, “Lord, give me patience.” The thing worked out very well. LESS anger in Korea = less crazy. I got my car back BETTER than I left it. (Me too, same story.)

“How can I show myself as a Christian in this trial, rather than just as a ‘crazy’ angry guy?”

LOOK BACK on how God has helped you previously and ask IN FAITH for God to help you out in THIS PRESENT situation.

If you don’t ask in faith, what good is it? You’re acting like 2 different people. God HELPED you before, won’t he again? This is faith. If you have trouble with faith, ASK, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

James says, “God is a good God.”

Jesus says, “If your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake? NO. If you (evil by nature) know how to give good things to your children, how much MORE will he give you the Spirit?” CONTINUE asking, go DEEPER in the Spirit, be continually FILLED, LED, GUIDED by the Spirit, worship in the Spirit – and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.

From NOW, let’s prepare our hearts to EXPECT God to do good works in us and those around us. Let us now, “put our Faith to work.”

Let’s pray.

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